I’ve stumbled across another list to discuss, this one entitled “The 7 Common Mistakes that Every Prepper Makes” (link here, although I’m not really tickled with the hosting site, generally). Frankly, the only real issue I have with the list is its title: most of us (well, lots of us, anyway) approach prepping with a good deal of thought, and have managed to avoid these pitfalls. That being said, it’s a good list, and it does bring up some things that can trip us up. I’ll be watching the original-post site, to see what more they have to say on the topics; my comments are below.
So, here they are; let’s call them the 7 Common Mistakes a Prepper Can Make:
- Focus on a stockpile of supplies, instead of honing your skills.
- Not having enough water preps.
- Not having enough variety in food supplies.
- Not eating what you store.
- Relying of food storage alone.
- Relying only on personal arsenal and armory.
- Getting out of Dodge at just the right time.
With the exception of some fairly minor linguistic quibbles, this list sounds like things I’ve been saying… Let’s review, shall we?
First, you can have a giant hoard of stuff stocked. If you don’t know how to use it, it’s of no use to you whatsoever. Allow me to add to this particular bullet: have backups/secondary methods for the things you’re storing. (Lighters? Check. Matches, for when the lighters are out of fuel? Check. Firesteels, for after the last match is used? Check. Flint and steel, for after the firesteel (magnesium) is used up? Check. Practice using each of the above? Check.)
Second, water preps. This one is potentially one of the most overlooked things… How much water, really, gets used by you or your household in a day? At that rate, how many days worth can you store? What are your options for getting more water? Will you need to purify it? How will you do that? (Have you practiced purifying it?)
Points three and four I tend to lump together. I’ve gone on at length about eating what you store, and storing a variety of things. Rice and beans do store easily, but I wouldn’t want to rely solely on rice and beans for more than a couple of days–certainly not if I had a hand in the planning. There are so many ways to store so many things that would make for much tastier emergency food… Just talking about it reminds me that I should get back to my “food preservation” train of posts.
Point five is also related to the above–don’t rely solely on your food storage. To be fair, if a particular “collapse” is a short, local one (snowed in for three days, just before you’ve gone grocery shopping), go ahead and live off your food storage until “normal” returns. In the unlikely event of a full-on “loss of the rule of law” Rawlesian collapse, you’ll want to have a garden going, too. If you’ve had more than a little time to prepare, orchards are wonderful things, even if you’ve only got room for one or two trees.
Point six I’ve touched on recently–don’t rely solely on your personal arsenal and armory. I’d expand the concept of “arsenal and armory” to include tool chest and skill set. You can’t know how to do everything, nor the space to store the equipment to do it. You can know how to do lots of things, and so can others in your group (friends, neighbors, etc.). Having many overlaps in knowledge and supplies can only ever be a good thing in an emergency.
Lastly, getting out of Dodge at the right time. I believe the original poster intended “not knowing when to do so.” This one I have the most mixed opinion of; very often, “bugging in” is a better option (in terms of safety, not to mention simplicity) than “bugging out.” It’s easier to maintain your stores if they’re close at hand, rather than at some mountain hideout. (If you’ve got a BoL, and can keep it stocked and maintained, more power to you.) However, having a BoB good for (at least) 72 hours, “just in case,” offers additional flexibility, allowing you to choose between bugging in or bugging out.
Now it’s your turn: what are some other common mistakes? What mistakes have you made, that you’d like to warn others against?