PREPPING MISTAKES: 6 Mistakes Preppers Make That Can Get You Killed

These are six very common mistakes I see people make, that in my opinion, could be detrimental to your ability to survive. Just a warning, relying on Gear, Guns, and Ammo are all on the list…..

Not Having Enough Water

55 Gallon Water Barrels Stocking up on water is not glamorous, it’s certainly not sexy, but your life sure as hell depends on it. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see; it’s also the deadliest one we can talk about.

I really can’t overemphasize how important it is to have a clean drinkable emergency supply of water. While stocking up on water may not be as exciting as buying guns, ammo, and gear; it’s one of the most important things you can do, and should be number one on your list of priorities.

They put too Much Importance on Their Gear

What kind of gear should I Buy? This is one of the top questions that I receive from new readers; it’s also something that takes away from what you should be focusing on: knowledge.

Gear BagsNewbies, and even some old timers, often obsess over their gear. They sometimes put so much emphasis on stockpiling gear that it can actually start to hinder their ability to survive without it.

I love survival gear as much as the next guy, but the problem highlights something I see in all aspects of society: our culture has become addicted to the quick and easy fix. In survival, that doesn’t exist. There’s no silver bullet, there’s no magic piece of gear, and nothing except good old fashion knowledge and training will improve your odds of surviving a disaster.

They lack the Knowledge it takes to Really Survive

EinsteinKNOWLEDGE in the key to survival. What, didn’t you just say that?

Yes, I did and I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face if that’s what it takes for people to get up off their butts and learn what it really takes to survive.

You can own every piece of survival gear ever made, but if you lack the skills to survive that gear is useless. To be truly prepared you need to learn how to survive without your gear.  Once you have a good grasp of what’s needed to survive without it, then you can start to focus on what gear you should buy.

The Rice & Beans Mentality

Bulk Burlap Bags of Rice and BeansI’m not trying to pick on Rice & Beans. They’re actually one of my favorite foods, and in my case, they might be the perfect food to stock up on. The point I’m really trying to make, is you need to tweak your plans to fit your unique situation. If rice and beans are what you normally eat, then by all means, go ahead and stock up on rice and beans.

Just remember that buying a truckload of emergency food that you’ve never tried, or would never normally eat, is not only expensive, but it could get you killed.

An emergency situation is never the time to find out how your body will react to certain foods. The last thing you need during a survival situation is to find you don’t like the food you stocked up on; even worse would be finding out you have a life threatening food allergy. And even if something that drastic doesn’t happen, do you really want to be stuck eating foods you hate?

Becoming too dependent on your Guns & Ammo

Oh no, I said it. Bring on the hate emails and the angry comments. But before you get too upset, give me a minute to explain.

Guy Holding a Rifle I love guns! In fact, I think they’re one of the most important items that you can have. That being said, there are a number of people who I’ve encountered over the years that think having a gun means they’re somehow prepared to survive anything. I’ve actually heard some people say, “I don’t need to stock up on supplies. I’ve got all the guns and ammo I need to survive.”

In my opinion, that type of thinking is not only juvenile, but it also shows a complete misunderstanding of what it really takes to survive. Stocking up on guns and ammo is definitely important, without them you’re putting yourself and your family at risk, but it’s also not the be-all-and-end-all of survival.

Not Understanding that People will become a Threat During a SHTF Crisis

Large Group of PeopleDuring a crisis situation, people will likely become one of the top threats to your safety and security.

While the world may be filled with millions of good and decent people, in a crisis situation these people can and will quickly become unpredictable. In my opinion, during a disaster of any size, the most dangerous locations will be large cities or areas that have a high density of people. This is a threat that must be considered.

Shirts of Liberty

OFFGRID Survival book



  1. Kim A, you must buy open pollinator seeds or “heirloom” seeds, they are both the same. Hybrid seeds will not yield seeds for you to use for the next season. If you keep your seeds in a freezer they will last for years. Goal is to keep them away from warmth, light and moisture, so best NOT to store them in plastic (or pill bottles), but in paper envelopes, then seal all the envelopes in a canning jar with a good seal. This keeps condensation from the seeds. Check them regularly. Also, pick up a copy of “Gardening When it Counts” by Steve Solomon. It is specifically for growing food in hard times. But, it would certainly behoove you to learn how to grow food NOW, not to wait until your life depends on it. There is a lot more to it then planting seeds.

  2. I agree whole heartedly with this article. One cant prepare for every possible scenario. Mentally you’re not so limited…. knowledge and practical skills these are where we need to place our priorities. People with a varied skill set can find a solution to the real life problems that’s going to face them when the darkness falls. Yes you need tools to work with, but without the practice and skills to use them then your screwed. A great author once wrote “specialization is for insects” you’ve got to be the quintessential jack of all trades to not only survive but also thrive in an emergency….

    To the do this successfully you must expand your knowledge to not just knowing what to do, but also why it works. A basic working grasp of things like physics,thermodynamics, chemistry and biology are more valuble than any gear money can buy. Even obscure knowledge about Religion, Psychology, and just plain old people skills will be valuble in dealing with other people in a crisis situation. The “Well Rounded” person is going to have an easier time surviving those times ahead.

    The key is adaptation. We preppers are becoming mainstreamed but its not all positve more exposure turns us into a marketing niche. A demographic to be exploited.. like hunters and fishermen…always marketing the latest toys and gadgets that we must have to pursue our passions. Bull shit! You want to prep then look to our to the older generation especially. Those who grew up in a rural location….they lived the very conditions we may find ourselves faced with in the hard times to come….there’s more…so much more but Ill relinquish The soapbox for now….good night

  3. City folks and rural don’t forget yours and anyone that has abandoned their residences have a hot water heater that holds 30-80 gal of water. Then you can drain your lines for a few more. Just a note for the short term.

  4. In a total SHTF situation, the Interstates will be gridlocked and the area highways will most likely have roadblocks (to keep the riff-raff out) and lord knows what else. Think they might have forgotten the railroad tracks? If the trains aren’t running it becomes your own private road. I have some WWII videos showing jeeps with tireless rims pulling long strings of trailers to transport troops. The wheel spacing is the same so some extra rims could be used to “ride the rails”.

  5. The “…People will become a Threat During a SHTF Crisis” has really got me thinking. Having food or things (gear, or whatever) is simpler to address than dealing with people. I read the “Survival Threats – People” article you link to on this page as well. (Also helpful)

    I hope you will do a future article specially about how to handle people during such a crisis. It does not seem feasible to avoid everybody all the time. It also seems possible that some people will be a net gain and others a net loss and it might not always be easy to predict what category somebody would fit into. Identifying true allies is a skill I would like to learn more about.

  6. I would argue the beans and rice are *always* a bad idea as more than a condiment. With fat you get more calories into less space, which is a premium when you’re only relying on yourself for a food supply. And the last thing you need is to find out you were teetering on the edge of diabetes when suddenly all you can depend on for calories is starch.

    You can buy canned meat and canned butter. Better yet, you can buy freeze-dried meat and canned butter. And I would. You will feel a lot better, your head will be clearer and you will cope better with stress.

    • Coconut oil is another long term super healthy fat that can be added to rice and beans and any cooking really. I’m also stockpiling unsweetened coconut. Can be used to make milk and is a super food!

  7. i allways laugh at the ham radio comments. why would you want to get a ham lic? just buy a used ham radio,make sure it works,read books on how to use,get other ham operators to contact. do not use radio un less the shhtf. then there wont be any one worrying about your lic. who are you looking to arrest you ? stupid,just plain stupid. i myself wouldnt want to contact anyone,just lay low,till things get better.

  8. I couldnot agree more about the shtf senerio. A lot of preppers say that you have to have numbers to survive and the more people u have the more likely u are to survive… which I think is complete bullshit.. in a shtf senerio u can’t trust anyone everyone is a threat to u and ur families survival… survival is self reliance!! Thax for listenin and remember the future belongs to those of us who prepare for it today… may god be with y’all..

  9. WOW, is all I have to say….WOW…..I agree with the article, to a point. The reality show,really put things over the top didn’t it? LOL

    The only thing you need to remember to survive…be vigilante and be quiet. Never carry more than 25% of your body weight of ANYTHING, not gear,food, or water no more than 25% of your weight,period. Remain mobile, fed,hydrated…….God help us, TV is going to kill us all…..LOL

  10. In any real SHTF situation, the Rockies are the best place I’ve seen for survival – as long as you are far from the bases and not downwind. Plenty of game, trees, and water. Winter survival is old hat here. People on the coasts I think should abandon bug out plans because there is nowhere safe from the masses or fallout, a well prepped and defended shelter seems to me the only option there. Good article, because eventually ALL equipment fails and all stored items run out.

  11. All good points except Beans and Rice. A little hint here….in a true SHTF scenario we are ALL going to be eating food we don’t like. Consideration for storage is shelf-life and nutrition PERIOD. Taste be damned. If it tastes like cardboard, that is going to be the least of your concerns. Please! You think after that short supply runs out you will be more happy with deer entrail soup and skunk cabbage?

  12. You make good points across the board. I’ve often said that skills and knowledge are more important than gear as well, although a good knife is hard to beat.

  13. I am very happy to see people are taking these situations seriously. Guns, I don’t have and don’t want. I don’t want to have to use one and then the enemy pin point my location due to the sound of the shot. They will know about where I’m at and I won’t even know they are there. So I use cross-bow, quiet and does the job, a bonus is I can reuse my ammo.

  14. I have a friend who thinks the only way to prep is buy all the guns and ammo he can. When I told him he needed to start stocking up a food supply for his family, he counters that I should be in charge of buying the food for my family and his (8 total) while he provides the defense.

    I said that was absurd, the amount of space and money needed to put away food, water and other supplies for 8 instead of 4 far exceeds his ability to provide defense. Especially since we don’t leave near a major metropolitan center.

    When I asked him what the heck he was going to do if he could not get to my house in a SHTF scenario as he lives about 20 minutes away, he said he would just trade ammo for food. Like it was a given people would give him and his family food to eat. I asked him what he would do for water and he said he would use the nearby pond. I asked how he would purify it, he said boil it on the stove.

    I asked if SHTF, how you going to use a stove when the power and gas might be off. He replies he’ll use his propane grill. I asked what he will do when the propane runs out. He then got angry and said fine, don’t call me when the looters are banging on your door for food. I finished by saying I won’t be able to call him because the phone lines and cell towers will be useless.

    He later called me to tell me that he could provide his own food with his guns. I asked him the same thing others have said here. Everybody is going to be using the same area for hunting and the resources will be gone quickly. Plus I asked him if he knew how to skin and gut a deer or squireel or rabbit. No reply and hung up on me.

    This is the sort of thing that scares me. He’s the guy that will turn on everybody a week into a SHTF scenario when his supply of food and water are gone and nobody wants to trade food for weapons.

  15. Wow, did all of this give me food for thought. I thought I might start storing some food and water, first aid kit and lighting capability instead I’ve come to realize, I don’t have a chance. My little emergency supply probably won’t last much more than a couple of weeks. I ordered some freeze dried food, purchased canned tuna, potted ham, potted meals,rice, beans, condensed milk, oats, first aid supplies (tons of those), I guess I thought I might be able to help, da…at least a gallon of water a day, up to now, I have 12 days worth. I now realize water is key. I want to order 50 lbs of wheat, oil and more freeze dried food. I will buy bourbon for barter as suggested. Store more gas/wood for my fireplace. I have plenty of batteries. I think I will need to continue my storing for a goal of 6 months storage for four people and a child/infant. Would love suggestions for a baby <1 yr if breastfeeding.

  16. In a SHTF event,your best option is to be invisable, even if you have a large group and are well prepared and trained (ie PATRIOTS). an old moonshiners trick to hide your smoke can keep you invisible but still warm in he winter. hint they used a stream.

  17. hi from the UK! I’m a basic prepper (better than nothing huh?) and I try not to think about it all too much as its quite overwhelming. But I have kit and I know how to use it. I don’t know how much this happened in the U.S., but during WW2 virtually the whole country had to be on rations and share so many of the basics to survive. Whatever my family grew, harvested or reared, half if not more went to the War Effort. People worked together and shared what they had to survive. I don’t believe this just helped huge numbers survive (genetic diversity and all!) but if this situation happens (again) the mental state of people is boosted by working together. I used to think my folks tales of The War Effort was dull and boring but now I realise they actually went through what it is here we’re all planning for. Times were hard, but they worked together, shared and survived. Shared skills, food, feeling and emotional stress during a very emotionally stressful time. Even post war it went on for years to get the country back up and running. I understand that the threats are different these days, but as humans we’re little different to the people then. Good luck :)

  18. Really, let’s think about this…. If everyone’s plan is to “run” and go hide out in the woods… Um yeah there is going to be no where to go because everyone is in the god damn woods!! SHTF… Run outside like a psycho… Come one! If this is everyone’s plan, then the best thing to do is stay put, shoot… Prolly best to “hide” in a city!
    #1 prepper mistake- Bragging about your stock pile! Oh SHTF- remember “so and so” said he had a huge stock pile…. Let’s hit him up!! Boom, he stocked up for us!
    Think people think!

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