Not everybody

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:

  1. Focus on a stockpile of supplies, instead of honing your skills.
  2. Not having enough water preps.
  3. Not having enough variety in food supplies.
  4. Not eating what you store.
  5. Relying of food storage alone.
  6. Relying only on personal arsenal and armory.
  7. 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?


About leftwingsurvivalist

I'm a survivalist and prepper with a difference!
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5 Responses to Not everybody

  1. Michael says:

    Neat site, I just discovered you.

    I think the whole “bugging out” thing is a bunch of nonsense.

    • Welcome, and thanks! I can see instances where “bugging out” is viable–but they’re almost all temporary bug-outs, and very local in nature. I count getting an evacuation order–say, most of NJ & NY as Sandy loomed–as “bugging out.” How many of the people who went to shelters had *any* sort of preps? Particularly, preps they could take with them (BoB’s)? But envisioning a full-on collapse of society, with a bug out to a “secure location”, that’s mostly for writers of fiction and/or movie scripts. 🙂

  2. Michael says:

    It’s the bugging out to your secure rural location when the cities erupt into whatever they’re erupting into this week that I was referring to.

    I live in a town of 10K people where we’re kicking along just fine. But, go into some of the semi-rural areas outside of town and it’s pretty clear that catabolic collapse is under way in those places. I’ll stay in town.

    • Um, not to be a nay-sayer, but I’d bet a quick look would find evidence of catabolic collapse underway in your town. Heck, I just lived in a metro area with a population north of 2 million, and it was plainly evident. One of the more insidious things about catabolic collapse is how slowly it creeps up. (We humans are great at spotting large-ish change over a short period, but we have a very hard time with slow incremental change…) Still, your general point is taken. 🙂

  3. Penrod says:

    This is an old post, but still highly relevant, so here goes:

    1) Common Mistake: Not figuring out what the most likely major problems are in one’s own situation/location, and then prepping for those first.

    Prepping well for the likeliest problems will get one decently prepared for less likely ones. Here in Hawaii, we prepped for hurricanes, and did a pretty decent job of it. Then in October 2006 we got hit with an earthquake. That knocked out power for c. 14 hours for the entire island of Oahu, so we decided to use that as a test of our preps.

    Result: we were in good shape except for water. We expected to have a couple days warning of a hurricane, so plenty of time to fill collapsible jugs and tub liners. Oops. So we added permanently stored water to our preps: first some five gallon water fountain jugs, then a 55 gallon drum. Later we used Google Earth to scout out neighborhood swimming pools and printed out the map. We also added water filters so we could provide water disinfection services for pool water for ourselves and the neighbors.

    Given what we have, prepping for less likely problems like a pandemic or a tsunami so bad it knocks out docks and airports doesn’t require much additional stuff: N-95 masks, disposable surgical gloves, very minor additions.

    TEOTWAWKI seems quite unlikely, and virtually unsurvivable in our situation, so we don’t bother trying. Still, if we did want to try, none of our current preps would be wasted: we would want all of them as part of TEOTWAWKI preps, and I’d argue that we should have made them first anyway.

    As far as bugging out: it is the only viable choice for some situations, such suburban or rural forest fires. That is exactly what happened to some family members in Idaho several years ago. That wasn’t long term TEOTWAWKI bugging out, but bugging out to another family member’s home for a few days. Their home survived, but every house on the other side of the street consisted of chimneys and ashes. They had thought out their potential problems, and were ready for the short term bug out.

    I think too many anti-preppers think that prepping consists of being prepared for only TEOTWAWKI, and don’t see that it is largely for far more likely problems which do not include the long term collapse of civilization. Even a lot of preppers seem to see it that way, which leads to over preparing for some extremely unlikely events.

    So I’d suggest people think through the likeliest short and medium term problems for them in their situations before doing much. Then prepare first for those situations. Nothing will be wasted if they later decide to prep for bigger, less likely, longer term problems.

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