The bad news is that I’ve made most of these prepper mistakes…the good news is that you can learn from my mistakes:
- Focusing On Just One Type of SHTF Event: Admit it…you have a prejudice towards one or two types of SHTF events. For some it’s economic collapse or Civil War II…for me it was electromagnetic pulse (EMP) or coronal mass ejection (CME). If you focus just on one type of event in your preps it may leave you more vulnerable if you guess wrong…as in if you prep for a two week power outage and experience a 24 month period of unemployment. If you guess wrong you also run the risk of overwhelming yourself…take my CME example…if I focus on prepping for a CME the level of preparedness required stretches out to years… if you get it into your head that you have to prep for years then you’ll become depressed if you’ve only achieved months of preparation. You should celebrate each prepping milestone, not beat yourself up because you haven’t achieved everything you want based on your pet scenario…keep building to years but do it as you can and don’t beat yourself up…every little bit counts.
- Focusing On Just One Type of Prep: New preppers and fair weather preppers often focus on just one type of prep. By far the worse culprit for the type of prep many focus on is Security. There’s something addicting and exciting about firearms and firearm accessories in particular. Think of the Full Spectrum Foundations as links in your preparedness chain. Some preps are definitely more important than others but unless your entire ‘chain’ is strong the weak link will bring you down. I’ve heard otherwise intelligent (and I thought moral) individuals proclaim “I don’t need food, water, etc. because I’ve got guns and ammo so my family won’t have to go without.” Moral arguments aside if you think you’re a tactical ninja and can take what you need by force all you have to do is look at what happened recently to the battle tested former U.S. Navy Seal Chris Kyle…combat ready doesn’t mean invincible. Conversely, if you focus all your energies on your Food preps and neglect Security then you won’t be able to protect yourself, your family or your preps from even the most unseasoned, but armed hooligans.
- Not Fully Integrating Your Family into Your Preparedness Activities: This can be tough…and depends primarily on the foresight, moral strength and awareness of your spouse. Many, including prepper spouses just aren’t ready to confront the reality of our current lifestyle’s fragility. If your husband or wife is tolerant you’re lucky, if they’re an active participant…count your blessings. Integrate your family into your preparedness activities (or dual use hobbies) to the greatest extent possible without sacrificing your relationships. I’ve seen prepping tear families apart and I’ve seen it bring families even closer together…it’s all up to you….that is you and your family.
- Not Building Relationships: To live a full and fruitful life you must building a network of like minded people to support each other in good times and bad…remember OPSEC when discussing preparedness though.
- Deciding Now to Bug Out or Bug In: You probably have a good idea whether you intend to Bug Out or Bug In…but keep your options open. If I lived in hurricane country I’d definitely have Bugging Out as my primary plan but I can foresee certain situations where even in hurricane country I’d rather Bug In. Don’t wed yourself to a plan so hard that you give up your flexibility.
- Not Rotating Your Food: There’s no doubt that prepping can be expensive if you’re not careful. Buying storage food is easy but costs more. Keeping a deep larder involves buying the food you eat anyway and rotating out the oldest to eat as you replace it. We do both here and on occasion I’ve been known to get a little lazy with my rotation…even with the simplicity of my Shelf Reliance – Food Rotation System…which means I end up with a lot of expired food and very expensive dog food…rotate that stock!
- Not Learning to Use Your Gadgets: It’s all well and good to buy quality tools and gadgets but make sure you spend the time to learn how to use those tools or they won’t do you any good when it counts. I hate learning to use a new phone or GPS but I make myself do it so I know their capabilities and can use them rapidly if necessary. Another tool I’m currently teaching myself to use is my new reloading setup (I bought the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit).
- Not Hedging Your Bet: As you keep prepping you’ll eventually reach a point where you hit yourself on the forehead and scream ‘oh crap…it’s all in one place.’ Look for ways to spread your risk…geographically. Move some of your preps (not all of one kind though) to another place you own or another building on your property. Additional options are developing a cache or entering into a prepper compact with another prepper family to mitigate this risk.
Prepper Compact: An agreement between friends or family members that live varying distances from each other to shelter the other’s family if they have to Bug Out. With a prepper compact you agree to take in the other family in the event that one family must bug out from their home. Agree on what you would take to the other’s home and if one family lives in an area where bugging out is the first choice (hurricane, wildfire, dense urban core, etc.) then pre-position preps at the remote/destination home.
- Prepper Proselytizing: Spreading the word about preparedness is important…that’s what Prepography is all about…but don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you have to convert everyone you meet into a prepper. There are three reasons for this:
- It’ll just frustrate you that people aren’t ready to pull their heads out of the sand or think for themselves. It’s hard to overcome the Normalcy Bias.
- It’s poor OPSEC (Operational Security)…remember those guys we talked about above that plan on just prepping with firearms and ammunition and taking someone else’s preps…just saying!
- Those who aren’t willing to see the light will label you as ‘one of those crazy survivalists’ and tell ALL their friends, neighbors, random strangers and everyone else they meet…again it’s an OPSEC issue.
- Giving Up: It’s easy to become overwhelmed as you try to become more self sufficient and increase your level of preparedness. Don’t fall into this trap. Celebrate your successes…even the little ones and enjoy the feeling of satisfaction that comes moving one more step towards your ultimate preparedness goals.
- BONUS MISTAKE…Not Enjoying Life: Don’t become so focused on preparedness that you forget to enjoy the life you’ve been given. It’s prudent to prepare but it’s also important to enjoy the time we have on this Earth…don’t focus so much on one that you ignore the other…do both and live a full and fruitful life!