I’ve read a lot of great prepping tips online over the years, and we have written prepping tips for food stockpiling, bugging out by vehicle, for female preppers, and more.
However, I am very aware that most of the prepping tips just regurgitate the same info. Like how we should make a communication plan or learn outdoor survival skills. These are important tips but, after a while, it is all old news.
Here I want to talk about the prepping tips that you probably have never been told. Some of these go against conventional prepping advice – but might be the very thing to save your life in a disaster.
1. Test Your Mental Strength
A lot of preppers I know are highly confident in their ability to survive a disaster. Yes, confidence is one of the pillars of mental strength. However, it can also backfire.
One of the reasons people fall apart under pressure is because they think things are supposed to go well for them. When this expectation doesn’t correspond with reality, mental strength fails too.
I stockpiled food, water and ammunition. I’m not supposed to sitting here hungry!
Instead of whining when things don’t go as planned (and, no matter how hard we try, we can’t plan for every disaster situation!), people with mental strength meet problems with quick thinking and solutions.
So test your mental strength by doing something outside of your comfort zone. Or use any of these tactics to build mental strength.
2. Don’t Plan to Rely on Just Yourself
Self-reliance is the core value of prepping. If a disaster strikes, you shouldn’t expect anyone to come to your rescue and you should be able to take care of all of your basic survival needs.
However, that doesn’t mean you should plan to go about it alone!
The Lone Wolf attitude is one of the biggest prepping mistakes. Sure, you might be able to survive all on your own – but why would you want to? As humans, we have strength in numbers. Even “weak” people might have something surprising to contribute – like helping the group stay calm, serving as lookouts, or getting into small spaces.
So learn self-reliance while also building your support network!
3. Learn to Eat Insects
In Bug Out situations, many preppers believe that they’d be able to catch wild game to eat. In reality, the pyramid of wilderness survival food shows us that large game is going to be hard to come by. Even if you do succeed, how the heck are you going to haul a big dead buck to base camp or preserve while bugging out?
Even small game might not be very plentiful, and you won’t always have the time for hunting or trapping while bugging out. That leaves you with insects as a plentiful, easy-to-obtain source of survival food.
Get used to the idea of eating insects! And read this post on how to eat insects for survival.
4. Keep Printouts Handy
I consider myself above average when it comes to skills like tying knots – but even I have been known to mess up something as basic as a bowline knot when under stress. That is why it is helpful to have how-to printouts of important survival tasks.
Here is just of the info you’ll want to print out or have in a field guide:
- What water treatment method to use
- How to treat water with bleach
- How to make a tarp shelter
- Survival first aid
- Edible plants in your area
5. Learn to Drive Stick
If SHTF, you might not be able to drive your normal vehicle. It pays to know how to drive unconventional vehicles such as trucks, bulldozers, semi-trucks, ATVs, and even tractors.
6. Practice Spring Cleaning
When you are a prepper, “spring cleaning” takes on a new meaning. It is good to do a semi-annual check of all your prepping supplies.
During this time, you will want to:
- Throw out any expired food and replace it
- Perform an inventory of all Bug Out Bags
- If you have kids, do an emergency drill with them
- Update supplies for the upcoming season
- Update contact lists with new phone numbers or addresses
7. Befriend a Refugee
Last year, I kicked up quite a storm when I wrote about survival lessons from the Syrian refugee crisis. People got so intertwined with politics that they failed to see the many prepping lessons we can learn from the disaster.
I’ve met a few Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Their stories have taught me a lot of valuable disaster preparedness information. And let’s not forget all of the survival lessons learned from the Bosnian War that I picked up while playing soccer with Bosnians.
8. Make Survival Skills Fun
It is a fact of life that we are more likely to do something if it is enjoyable. So, make prepping fun for you and the entire family!
How can you do that? You could:
- Go orienteering
- Go camping
- Build a fort
- Play paintball or laser tag
Read more fun ways to practice survival skills here.
9. Get Your Finances in Order
This is actually a prepping tip for beginners, but preppers often overlook it or don’t take it seriously – especially those who think that “The economy will crash during an emergency anyway, so what’s the point of saving money?”
The truth is that you can’t make a prepping plan if your finances aren’t in order. You won’t be able to set aside money each money to build up emergency supplies. You won’t be able to afford first-aid and survival courses.
More importantly, if you are swamped with bills, you won’t be able to move towards more self-reliant living – such as paying for a solar system for your home or buying an off-grid property.
10. Prioritize Sanitation
No one wants to think about the rivers of sh*t that flow through cities after hurricanes. Or the outbreaks of deadly diarrhea that strike after virtually every major disaster. Yet, these sanitation disasters are exactly what we should be prepping for!
You better make sure you have an emergency toilet option available. For those who can’t afford composting toilets, the two-bucket toilet system is best. Be sure you have stockpiled:
- Sturdy trash bags
- Saw dust or newspapers
- Plastic gloves
- Antibacterial hand sanitizer
11. Quantity Does NOT Equal Security
The stereotypical image of a prepper is someone with a huge stockpile of food, water, band-aids, and ammo in their homes. Unfortunately, this is actually what a lot of preppers are striving for.
Yes, having tons of supplies stockpiled is really important if you need to hunker down for long periods of time. But having tons of stuff doesn’t necessarily make you “prepared.”
What if you have to evacuate? All of those supplies aren’t going to help you!
What if your home gets raided? You’ll suddenly find yourself without any resources.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t stockpile lots of supplies (especially if you are financially able to do so while still investing in things like survival courses).
However, don’t become disillusioned. Security is about brainstorming Worst Case Scenarios, planning for each of them, and having the mental flexibility to adapt to whatever circumstances you find yourself in.
What other unconventional prepping tips would you add to the list?
By User:Takoradee (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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1. Learn a second language. Most practical would be the first or second most spoken language in your community or neighbouring communities. This ties in with 2 & 7 on your list. During a short-term SHTF scenario, or long-term TEOTWAWKI scenario, you never know what human migrations may happen and what language they may speak. Communication is so fundamentally important. There is also advantages in knowing a language that others around you may not. Alternatively, consider learning sign. Very young children can pick it up before they can talk, few people know it (so it can be a private language), and can also be used in noisy place or if hearing is temporary (or permanently) impacted negatively.
2. Don’t overlook foot health/fitness. Shoes are the corsets of our feet. https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/stop-foot-pain-a-nerds-guide-to-healthy-feet/
It can help in a short-term SHTF scenario if your footwear gets ruined/lost/stolen, and it can help in a long-term TEOTWAWKI scenario if we all wear moccasins-like-shoes because their ain’t no synthetics and rubber trade has been interrupted.
3. This is going to seem frivolous, but it is not. Hair care: Know how to do a regular and a french/dutch braid. I am surprise at even the number of women who do not know how to do this for other people much less themselves. If SHTF and you don’t want to either deal daily with knots or later end up hacking hair due to rats nests from *lack* of daily care … There are two solutions. Solution one: scissor or knife hair to be 2-3 inches short (to keep it out of eyes/face). Solution two: do a snug braid or two and leave it like that for up to 3 days or longer with no daily maintenance, with near no knots when it is time to undo & redo braids.
Note: If you or someone you care about has kinky hair, you may have more complicated hair styles to learn for keeping un-straightened hair neat and secured. Those with kinky hair are likely to loose access to flat irons and chemical straighteners so these are skills people with kinky-hair among their family/friends should have. Luckily, some of these styles last even longer than a pair of french braids would.
All excellent points. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.
Hey. greeting from a dutch prepper. I know this article is a bit old but i only just found it.
Its a good piece however i would like to comment on the braid. A braid or ponytail is ussed against a woman when she is attacked. This in already a problem in “normal”life. In shtf it would be even worse.
Would the same not apply to long hair in general?
This goes with the checklists. I have my documents folder and a life hacks folder. These include hacks for when water shuts down and/or electricity is gone. I even have one for when kids move back home with grand kids…
One thing the prepping community has loudly ignored is the need for preserving culture. In your preps you should have good, hardcover copies of your favorite literature, vinyl records, board games, party games, outdoor games and sports equipment. What point is there in surviving shtf if we lose our cultural identity? Also, the apocalypse is not going to be action packed. It will be dead boring. Having these things will help preserve sanity as well as culture..
Furthermore, you should stock up on those $1 bottles of spices at Walmart. When all you have to eat for months is rice and beans, you’ll be glad for a little garlic or chili powder.