by Gaye Levy, The Sleuth Journal:
Webster defines an expert as a person “who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area” That being said, when it comes to preparedness, is anyone ever really an expert?
Let’s be realistic. Every prepper, myself included, was a novice at one time or another. Along our journey, we have consulted books, websites, blogs, and various government publications in our quest to learn abut preparedness in general and the prepper lifestyle in particular. Were any of the individual authors of these sources experts? Perhaps they were but if that were the case, why does our search continue?
Having chosen the prepper lifestyle, we continually find ourselves in search of that next best thing, whether it is a piece of gear, a new type of freeze dried food, a fabulous new prepping book or a masterful survival skill. No matter what it is, there always seems to be something out there to capture our attention.
While I do believe that is it worthwhile to be forward-thinking when it comes to prepping, I feel it is equally beneficial to reflect on past mistakes. Learning from prepper mistakes is an important part of the process and allows us to to move forward with a renewed sense of resolve to do it better “the next time”.
In this article I share some common and not so common prepper mistakes. I have made many of these myself, while others, through dumb luck or planning, have been avoided. Are you guilty of any of these prepper mistakes?
14 Common and Uncommon Prepper Mistakes
1. Failure to inventory stored food supplies
It is easy to amass a sizable supply of food in a short period of time. This is especially true if you tend to purchase a little bit extra each time you shop. Before you know it, you have a closet, pantry, a basement full of stuff but no clue as to what is inside.
Creating a master inventory is only half the battle. Adding to the list as new items are purchased and removing items from the list as they are rotated out takes diligence and perseverance. My own efforts in this area are embarrassingly poor.
My best advice in this regards is that if you are fairly new to prepping, don’t let this one slip by. Keep track of what you have from the get go and save yourself a lot of grief down the road.
2. Failure to perform a risk analysis and prepping for the most likely disruptive events first
When first getting started, it is easy to go off willy-nilly preparing for all sorts of calamities. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, terrorist attacks, pandemics, nuclear melt-downs, civil disobedience; you name it and the call to prepare will be out there. I can guarantee that this will drive you crazy!
I recommend that the very first step you take when prepping is to evaluate the most likely risks specific to your geographical area and your personal domestic situation. Most, if not all, city, county and state governments will have emergency management websites that will help you sort through the most likely disasters to occur in your area. Take advantage of these public resources.
Don’t stop there. Take a hard look at demographics. Are you in a city where gangs, mobs or terrorist attacks are likely? Do you live in a remote area where the failure of transportations systems or the lack of fuel will cut off you off from supplies from the rest of the world? Is your employment situation tenuous requiring that you build up some cash reserves to get you by just in case the job goes away?
Clearly, at the beginning, some choices will need to be made regarding the best use of your prepping budget. Just remember that food, water and first aid supplies should be at the top of everyone’s list. After that, assess the most likely risks and plan accordingly.
For ideas, take a look at 12 Months of Prepping: One Month at a Time. Here you will find links to articles that take you though the process of gathering what you need in terms of supplies, gear, tasks, and skills to set you on a positive path of preparedness. It may not seem like a lot, but at the end of the year will will be better prepared than 95% of your neighbors.
3. Preparing mostly to bug out rather than bugging in
We all talk about having a bug-out-bag and without question, having your most basic survival items in a pack that you can grab and go if you need to get out of dodge in a hurry is important. But beyond that, over and over I see people acquire all sorts of gear for surviving on the run – perhaps in the woods or bush at a remote location.
I know that in my own case and also with the majority of the readers on Backdoor Survival, hunkering down and bugging in will always be preferred to taking off into the unknown with our stuff. For many, the choice to bug in has to do with family, health concerns or financial considerations. That, plus the availability of stored supplies makes bugging in – or staying at home – the choice when a disaster strikes.
At the end of the day, take care of your bugging in needs first and foremost. Plan for outdoor cooking facilities (perhaps an existing charcoal grill?), supplemental lighting (like this $20 Dorcy Wireless Motion LED Flood Lite), stored water, and a portable generator now. Later, down the road, you can expand your supplies to include the essentials for truly bugging out.
That said, pay attention to mistake number 4.
4. Failure to evacuate at just the right time
When the storm of the century is heading your way, know that it is time to evacuate. Load up your vehicle and go. As much as you feel that your are better off in your own home, if the authorities tell you to leave – and even if they do not – get out of harm’s way as a precautionary measure. Do so while you still have the ability to load up your vehicle with supplies and fill the tank with gas.
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