This article has been contributed by J.D. at Survival Crackas. Download the free guide How to Build the Ultimate Disaster Kit.
Even though newbie preppers have the best intentions, they often make these 5 common mistakes.
1) Not practicing survival techniques!
Seriously, how many “preppers” do you know that just buy survival gear to impress their friends! Just buying stuff, watching videos and reading articles will get you nowhere.
You actually have to practice survival techniques if you want to be efficient in an emergency or SHTF Situation. Survival must become second nature to you. Once a disaster strikes, you won’t have the time and the luxury of logging onto the internet and looking up videos that demonstrate how to deal with your specific situation.
You have to practice it all beforehand so that muscle memory kicks in and you do not have a panic attack!
For example: Say you fell into a lake or a river, you are fighting hard to stay afloat. You are breathing hard and adrenaline is pumping through your body. At this specific moment, you probably WON’T remember that you can create a makeshift float by tying the ends of your trousers and filling it up with air.
Even if you do remember, you will struggle to get the trousers off quickly since it will be the first time that you are doing it underwater.
Hence, you have to practice this technique until you do it without thinking.
The same applies to first aid, starting fires, signalling, fishing, gathering food etc.
- You have to practice making a fire in unfavorable conditions
- You must know how to deal with snake and insect bites
- You must be prepared to deal with a confrontation with a bear or a mountain lion
- You must know all the different types of knots as well as you know the alphabet
- You should be able to provide artificial respiration to a person in need (hey, learning this can be quite fun!)
- You should know how to read a map and compass in case your GPS fails.
Just having a vague idea is not enough – you must be confident enough to take decisive action.
Prepping is not a hobby that you engage in to pass the time; it is a lifestyle that you embrace every day.
Also, you must train and develop the athletic ability to thrive in a survival scenario. You should be able to climb walls, jump over obstacles, climb trees, sprint fast etc. It does not matter if you are unfit now – start by training for your first 5k run and then you can work your up to marathons, triathlons and iron man/woman competitions.
2) Putting all your eggs in one basket:
Do not stash all your food and other emergency supplies at a single place. Distribute it over 2-3 locations.
For example: Don’t just store hundreds of food cans in your basement alone. Place some in the trunk of your car. Put some in a box and store it at your workplace. Store some in your vacation home or log cabin. Keep weapons in 2, 3 different areas of the house. They do not all have to be guns. Pepper sprays and knives will do too. Place another weapon in your car or carry it with you. Make two bug out bags instead of one and place them in separate locations. The spare one can be used by your partner, spouse, friend etc. And please, use and replace your supplies. Do not let them just sit there, awaiting their expiration date. Service your firearms, sharpen your knives. You get the idea!
3) Not knowing how to use a firearm:
Yah it’s cool to buy a powerful weapon and shoot watermelons with it. Anybody can do that. However, using a weapon in the real world is quite different. You have to draw quickly – it should become a reflex action and yet, you cannot be an impulsive shooter or you risk shooting a friend or a neutral person.
You have to learn to take cover and to diffuse a tense situation. You should know how to shoot moving targets. You should be aware of your legal rights (and limitations). Simply hitting the bullseye at a shooting range does not prepare you for all this.
You have to stage mock drills and take special courses if you want to become an expert at handling weapons. This might sound a bit too much but then, why carry a firearm if you are not good with it? It sure won’t save your ass if you don’t know how to use it!
4) Using prepping as an excuse to buy fancy survival gear to impress your friends and yourself!
People are becoming increasingly materialistic – buying stuff has become an addiction. Do not fall into the trap of purchasing expensive items just so that you can flaunt them in front of friends and family. Yes, proper equipment is a lifesaver but knowledge and practical experience is also part of the equation. Do invest in gear by all means, but know that simply decorating your home with hi-tech survival goods does not qualify as prepping. Possessions can be replaced but knowledge and practice are priceless!
5) Not collaborating with other preppers:
OK, imagine that shit does fit the fan! So now what – are you going to ignore the other 7 odd billion people in the world and try to survive all alone?
In times of an emergency, you need to be in the company of other people – preferably those who had the foresight to plan for a disaster! More people equals to a wider skill set and a group can accomplish lot more than a single individual. Keeping in touch with other preppers promotes exchange of ideas and helps you to maintain focus. Join a preppers’ group today and if you do not have one in your area – go create your own! Get involved in educating the community upon the importance of prepping.
Remember: Prepping is not just for the paranoid, it is for the prudent!
Hopefully, you will steer clear of the aforementioned newbie mistakes. This website is packed with FREE useful info on prepping and survival. Stick around and get educated.
J.D. Runs SurvivalCrackas.com and lives with his family in Southern California. You can also follow him on FaceBook and download his Guide How to Build the Ultimate Disaster Kit free of charge!
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