You spend a lot of time preparing for disaster and SHTF scenarios, such as by stockpiling supplies and brushing up on your survival skills. But, even with your best efforts, you are still probably making a LOT of prepping mistakes.
Part of the problem is that there is a lot of bad prepping advice out there! Some of it gets parroted so many times that it sounds like solid info.
Even if you manage to avoid the bad prepper advice, our plans can still have gaping holes and blind spots in them. After all, the best way to learn is from real-life experience – and most of us have never come close to living through a real SHTF situation.
My goal in writing this isn’t to make you feel stupid for making prepping mistakes (we all make mistakes!).
Rather, my goal is to point out some of the most common prepping mistakes that newbies and advanced preppers alike make. Then, you can take steps to fix these mistakes rather than learn the hard way.
Telling People about Your Supplies
This prepping mistakes been mentioned a lot: if you tell all your neighbors about your 3-year stockpile of food and water in your storm shelter, then guess who’s going to come banging on the door when SHTF?
It isn’t just bragging to people about your prep supplies which could put you at risk though. You could inadvertently be “telling” people about your supplies by having them visible. For example:
- Are your rain barrels in a conspicuous location in your yard?
- Are your solar panels hidden?
- Do you really plan on using your generator in the midst of a large-scale blackout?
Keeping All Your Supplies in One Place
You don’t know where you will be when SHTF. You don’t know if you will be forced to evacuate your home, or if your Bug Out Location will be accessible.
For this reason, you better have supplies stockpiled in more places than just your kitchen pantry!
At the very least, you will want to make sure you’ve got a Bug Out Bag packed and stored in your home, work, and vehicle.
For long-term supplies, my family has supplies stockpiled at home, at our Bug Out Location, and we’ve coordinated with some neighbors and family members so we could go to them if necessary.
Improper Long-Term Food Storage
This is one of the biggest prepping mistakes we made when just starting out. We ended up having to toss a lot of food and also dealt with a huge moth infestation.
Luckily, we learned about our mistakes ahead of time.
Imagine how terrible it would be to open up a bucket of food during a true emergency situation only to discover it had gone rancid?
Not Running Practice Drills
The best way to learn is through experience. And the best way to get “experience” in disaster planning is to run test drills. I don’t mean that you should put yourself in a war zone or parachute into the middle of nowhere with no rescue means. But you can run practice drills of SHTF scenarios.
Here are just some of the basic drills you should run periodically:
- Disaster communication drill: disperse your family members and try to get in touch using your communication plan
- Go 3 days without using the electricity or plumbing in your home
- Go backpacking in the wilderness with just the contents of your Bug Out Bag
- Get to your Bug Out Location without a map and on different routes
Forgetting About How You Will Go to the Bathroom
This isn’t exactly as exciting a topic as making your own weapons or booby trapping your home, but it is one of the most important aspects of prepping.
Because, really, what would you rather be without when SHTF and you’ve got to hunker down: a toilet or a gun?
Many people forget that the plumbing will also stop working in certain disaster situations, such as EMP grid outages. Prepare yourself by making an emergency toilet.
Failing to Prep for Personal Disasters
Prepping for major SHTF situations like EMP, bioterrorism attacks, or economic collapse is great, but don’t overlook the possibility of a small-scale, personal disaster occurring!
For example, I know a prepper who recently lost his job, can’t pay his mortgage, and might have his home repossessed.
Instead of paying for a pricey storm shelter on his property and buying fancy survival equipment, he would have been better off planning a way to pay his mortgage quickly.
So make sure you consider all of the personal disasters which could happen to you, like fires, flooding, economic troubles, and home invasions.
No Survival Library
I read a lot of great survival advice and tricks online every day – such as cool ways to make a survival heater, or how to create your own weapons. The problem is that I can’t remember all of it.
In a grid-down disaster, I’m not going to be able to go online and Google a solution! Which is why it is important to have a survival library.
Check out the Primal Survivor Premium Ebook Bundle.
No Emergency Binder
An emergency binder is a waterproof folder which contains all of the important documents you might need in a SHFT situation.
A lot of preppers mistakenly think that these documents won’t be important because total anarchy will occur during TEOTWAWKI.
Yes, this may be the case… but it may be just as likely that military officials will be controlling who accesses roads, shelters, and supplies – and that you will need to prove your ID to them.
So read this post about what to put in your emergency binder.
Lone Wolf Mentality
This is by far the biggest prepper mistake that I hear and read about. Almost everyone glorifies the idea of bugging out in the woods by themselves with nothing but their BOB and wits to survive.
If you have this mentality, then consider the old proverb:
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
We humans are social animals by nature, and this has been key to our success for millennia. It wasn’t our brute strength of speed which allowed us to kill mammoths and climb to the top of the food chain – it was our ability to work together.
For more on why the lone wolf mentality is a terrible prepping mistake, read this post on how to get your neighbors in on your prepping plan.
How many of these prepper mistakes are you making?
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very good article we’re one of the fill people that do not have to worry about water sewage all that power especially were already off the grid one thing though you didn’t mention is water most people stockpile water and jugs and forget to refresh them watering jugs and containers only last for so long and can get mold in them we were holding up water into our Homestead that we know how long water will last before it gets stale nothing people forget is to keep an eye on your local water sources Food Supplies people should always rotate many Preppers forget about that they’re into stalking how much food they can get you’re right about the neighbors they will be on your doorstep no matter they know you have it or not when disaster hits It’s the nature of the Beast that is the reason why we’re off the grid and four and a half miles from our nearest neighbor and we’re sitting at 75%. Being able to provide for are homestead and our animals just some little insight and to really test your skills go a week homeless just what you can take and survive I was homeless for a while I’ve lived off the grid and places it really holds up your skills and you really get to see the nature of the Beast of people how they really are and keep up the good articles they help keep your people aware
Some sound advice there, especially about team work. I have found it interesting to read up about the history of the early settlers in the US. This is about as realistic a survival when the SHTF actual scenario as you are ever going to get, so why not learn from their successes and mistakes. The biggest mistake they made which very nearly cost the early colonists their lives over the first Winter after they landed was not having skill sets and proper team work. They very quickly discovered that heading out, establishing their own independent homestead simply did not work. There were quite simply not enough hours in the day to do all the tasks needed to survive. Teamwork was key!
Want to survive? Find your self an Eagle Scout! They have all the training they need to survive. Buy scout manuals for camping hiking tenderfoot through eagle. Read them study them and get an Eagle Scout coach. Don’t forget first aide and treatment of wounds even if it’s just a scratch. The Boy Scout motto is be prepared. Take them as an example
Don’t leave all your preps in one place. We had a house fire a couple years ago, lost some preps to the fire but lost ALL the preps to the restoration company storage locker for 11 months while the house was rebuilt. You get a comfortable, safe feeling when you have access to your rainy day stuff. You get very nervous when you don’t have access to it. PS. Safes are fireproof, they are NOT waterproof! Have a Plan B to get into your safe when the dial burns off.
I might have missed it, but are your ebooks the only form of books you offer? Just reflecting on the sentiment you shared regarding accessibility. Very good advice, I believe I will be trying the bug out for three days to ensure I have the right supplies stored for my husband and myself. Lots of great info here, thank you.
We recently released a book on Amazon – Disaster Preparedness For Women: 52 Steps To Get Ready For Anything, which you may be interested in. Available in Kindle and paperback.
It’s my FAVORITE preparedness book. I’ve temporarily misplaced it! How? I don’t know. But if I don’t find it soon I’m going to have to reorder because I hadn’t finished it. Lol
You also need to not believe that “all ________________ people are robbers; rapists and criminals. We need to learn to work together once more.
Don’t have many choices here. I’m a 68 yr old woman. I live alone in the Smokey Mountains. I also have a very limited income. I was lifting some very heavy boxes and injured my shoulder badly. Now I can’t use my left arm. It’s almost a laughable situation. Looking back I should have had kids. They would be grown by now and could help out. Got any extra kids for rent?
I agree with most of the information, however in a disaster or economic collapse situation fresh water and sanitation is very important. People who “Bug out” rarely focus on where are you going to go to the bathroom.
On another issue, how many people do you know that have lived without electricity for an extended time? I am lucky, I live in a rural area with a water-well on the property and other large clean fresh water sources within 500 feet. Also a large fuel tank and two gensets that can run my home if power goes out, calculations would allow me to have power for at least 2 months. Food stocks for 6 months calculated at 5 meals a day. Also a wood burning stove and stacked two months worth of wood. So I am set for future issues. This winter people in my area had a wake up call. We had a large winter storm that closed the passes and roadways to our area for almost a week. I live close to city of about 30.000 population. Within a few days grocery store shelves were empty and gas stations out of fuel. I was fine. City dwellers, not so much. So yes, in a critical incident there will be “Zombie’s”, these are the people who always depend on others for everything. They probably have less than three days food in their house or apartment. They don’t know how to do anything for themselves and if their Cell phone doesn’t work they have a mental meltdown. When things go to crap, they will be acting like zombies when their belly’s are empty. This leads me to my last comment. How will you defend yourself from these people? If you are prepping list does not include firearms and ammo, well, you are prepping for someone else. Just my opinion.