5 Mistakes Every New Prepper Makes

by | Dec 10, 2015 | Headline News | 76 comments

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    This article has been contributed by J.D. at Survival Crackas. Download the free guide How to Build the Ultimate Disaster Kit.


    new preppers

    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?

    Bad idea!

    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!

    Also Read:

    10 Survival Tools Every Prepper Should Have

    Home Defense: Double Barrel Shotgun vs. AR-15

    12 Unusual Home Defense Weapons

    Jeremiah Johnson’s Green Beret Survival Guides

    The Prepper’s Blueprint: Prepare For Any Disaster


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      1. Heres a good for instance,,,
        Have a taurus 1911 9mm
        10 round mags from aftermarket supplyer
        Only shot it a few times and never stacked the mags all the way, just 5 or 6 then reload
        Stuffed 10 JHP rounds in it and lo and behold damn thing wouldnt feed.
        That could be a real problem…..
        Im partial to the 45ACP so never use that, but damn that was a shock.

        • Kulafarmer

          Hahahaha! Run into that feed problem too

          Different bullets can cause problems on feed. Check the ramp on the barrel. Fine machine lines can be interrupting the feed. Polishing the ramp will fix it.
          Bullet seating is another problem. Bullets may be longer than others. Going from a 115 gr to 147 gr bullet may give your weapon a fit too.

          • true, and certain Hollow Point ammo sometimes dont like to feed ,, particularly in the 45 size , and 1911 types

            also try different makers of rounds, if the leading edge of the hollow point hole into the bullet is rough or sharp it can have feed issues

            it is a common 1911 issue , even for copies..because they copy the feed ramp

            • now if your talking “magazine bind” thats a different issue .. that is the fucked up cheap mags.. go buy some good mags

              • I wont kick Taurus .. well yes i will .. sorry bud, but they suck and i wouldnt risk my life on any Taurus

                they r cheap for a reason

                • Better’n them Hi-points…. 🙂

                  • Regarding Taurus handguns,
                    There was a class action suit that was just settled, if anyone has a Taurus handgun here is the official web site that identifies the specific models affected and corrective action available.


                    Never fired a Taurus, so I won’t comment on quality, most every manufacturer has recalls etc, so I’m just gonna say, if you have one check it out, and take care of any safety issues that may effect you.

                • The Taurus 1911 that Kulafarmer describes has very good reviews.

                  I was reading and note there was a class action suite that was won covering several other Taurus models. Apparently they may discharge with the safety set or if dropped or bumped.

                  The following Taurus-branded firearms: PT-111 Millennium; PT-132 Millennium; PT-138 Millennium; PT-140 Millennium; PT-145 Millennium; PT-745 Millennium; PT-609; PT-640; and/or PT-24/7. The “PRO” series of each model are also included.

                  If anyone has one of these handguns they should google “Taurus class action lawsuit” to learn more.

                  This is my second attempt to post this, so I’ll leave out the link to the lawsuit site this time to avoid getting sensored.

          • “Check the ramp on the barrel. Fine machine lines can be interrupting the feed.”

            Thanks sling – that one little piece of advice might save someone’s life!

            • Sixpack

              That is a fact, but very rare. I found them on my Ruger P-85. You can have feed problems if you do not grip the weapon tight. And last of all is wear and tear.

              After a few thousand rounds going through the barrel you may find the weapon start to feel loose. These aluminum light frames are not as solid as steel. Also the manufacture says what load charge (+p+) of bullet the gun can shoot. Many times at gun show you buy in bulk military ammo and 9mm can go from 1050 to 1200 FPS and that difference can age your weapon quickly.

            • Checking the ramp may be a waste.

              I’ve been reflecting on this for several days.

              It’s coming back to me. The Taurus 1911 has a reputation for having about a half dozen of the most desired upgrades that a 1911 owner could ever want. Including a detailed feed ramp. Yes, I nearly bought one. Taurus has a reputation for cheap guns, but Kulafarmer’s 1911 is one Taurus got right. Two atta-boys for KulaFarmer good choice, assuming that is what he owns, I’d neve admit it…….

              I like the Sig Sauer paradigm for pistols more than a 1911. Likely a personal choice. I also like a beretta PX storm sub-compact. Google form F vs form G before buying, it can emulate a 1911 or a sig, in a concealable version. There is also a Walther PPK that works the same way, and that is the gun that Hitler blew his freaking brains out with! FU Nazi’s.

              I like the idea of standardizing on a design concept. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you can hold the standard, and train to it!

          • Let’s try this again.

            Urban Warfare

            Any comments on that?

        • “mags from aftermarket supplyer”

          This could also be your problem. I have two Taurus’, .45 and 9mm, both with factory mags, 100s of rounds down the pipe both JHP and FMJ no problems feeding. The only problems I ran into were operator error, specifically my thumb hitting the mag release whilst doing drills.

        • I’ve seen this with high end OEM magazines, buyer beware. Test thoroughly all new firearms and accessories. Reliable vendors will exchange bad mags.

          I did get one bad mag made by or for Beretta. I fixed it myself, so I’d learn how to handle this kind of a problem. One aspect of prepping is self sufficiency.

          Test thoroughly applies to all things. When my power was wiped out for ten days, I shifted to my generator only to discover the original electrician put all the major appliances, like furnace, sump pump, refrigerator, washer, dryer, kitchen appliance circuits all on one leg of the 240 feed with only miscellaneous lighting circuits on the other leg. Beat the crap out of my generator until I balanced the load that also halved my fuel consumption. Took me about three days to get it all to my satisfaction. I have the skills to handle the problem, but most people would have needed an electrician. Rearranging circuits in a service that has circuits with shared neutrals could result in a fire if you just rearrange circuits and not keep them properly paired.

          Preppers need a good paper based library. You never know when you’ll need a new or unusual skill including basic auto and home repairs.

        • 1911 type guns are the most unreliable…get a striker fired G l o c k or a M&P SW….all mags should be full at all times if the mags are good and it wont hurt them one bit.

          • The 1911 refers to the year the US military accepted the standard for this handgun. Be liberals neve knew this? Yes this design is over a hundred year old.

            There are newer designs, but who cares!

        • Taurus makes a pretty decent revolver, but the semi-autos can be problematic.

          You get what you pay for.

          For a good budget 9mm, full-size semiauto, look at the Hungarian P9R, it’s a Hi-Power clone kind of thing, well made, reliable, for under $300.

      2. Great article JD and Mac!

        Personally need to work on more skills.

        • ditto

      3. God info..keep it coming.

      4. Great article Mac & JD
        I would add one if you don’t mind.
        Metal preparing your mind for having to use a weapon to hurt or kill some one.


      5. I don’t think I would store canned goods in a trunk of a car. They’ll either freeze in the winter or bulge from the heat of the summer. Just sayin’.

        • How ’bout making fire. Everyone should know how to make a fire by at least three different methods. Ferro rod, flint and steel, Bic lighter (no good during extreme cold temps), magnifying glass (need sunlight) or friction (bow and drill). A fire will keep you warm, raise your spirits when you’re cold and exhausted, help you create drinkable water (boiling), and a warm meal. Get out into the backyard and practice. Learn about tinder, making charcloth/char punkwood. Learn how to produce a fire in the rain or after a three day rain. Your life and family’s life may depend on it.

          • Put the bic in arm pit for a couple min work fine

          • The building a fire point is very critical. From my experience optimal fire making conditions have never existed when I needed a fire. Bad wood, wet conditions, poor tinder,and many other factors always seem to be at play. I learned fire making the hard way,by numerous failure and trail and error. The firearms suggestions are also excellent but because of the steady encroachment of gun grabbers sometimes very difficult to fully implement. Access to proper shooting ranges and professional training is a real problem in many parts of the country. Example; the closest 200+ yard shooting range to where I live is over 130 miles, a tactical outdoor shooting range over 150. I go where I can and shoot under conditions available but I am acutely aware that my skills are not what they could be. Ido believe anyone can become comfortable and competent at handling a weapon safely and moderately efficient under any circumstances . I handle, draw and dry fire my weapons daily even on days I don’t go to the range. I clean my weapons weekly needed or not just to practice breakdown and familiRity with my guns. Finally on a lighter vien I wish JD could help me locate where I can train fighting off bears and mountain lions although I am not sure I would take him up on it. I’ll pass on the actual practice of treating snake bites as well, those are OJT projects from where I am sitting.

            • Perhaps studying up on THE BEHAVIORS of bears and big cats would be more useful. My Dad grew up in the hill country and lived WITH those animals for half his life. He always said, the most important thing to know is what the animal is probably thinking, and to act accordingly.

              We were taught not to startle animals or encroach on their space. Usually, not seeming like a threat to them,, will get you by them safely and on your way – without having to kill them. Dad believed killing (other than for food) was a last resort. I agree with that.

              I have a knack for putting different animals at ease around me. I’m the one who walks up to the typical “junkyard dog” and pats it on the head on my way by. Animals do not see humans as prey. They see us as a threat. The idea is to not be a threat OR an easy target.

              Many people seem to have this “get in my way and you’re dead” attitude when out in the wild. We have to remember that WE are in THEIR home, not vice-versa. We all expect people to respect our homes when they visit, and so do the animals want respect.

              That’s all I’ve got.

              • you get in the animals home, bear, lion ect, you’re on the bottom of the food chain then

            • I grew up around bears, cats, wolves, coyotes, etc. Number one is how hungry THEY are. It is one reason I keep adding wild animal food to my food forest, most of which is edible to me also. Even deer prefer to avoid humans if there is food elsewhere. Second is that they are all protein to me (I have a lot of wild rabbits). Third, have a well trained dog, it is a carnivore and you rank one down as an omnivore. Without your gun, make a spear. I have a new slingshot and have started practicing. Had one as a kid, but they are an amazing silent weapon.

      6. Make a Plan
        Know your limitations.
        Follow your Plan.
        Adapt as needed.
        Know Your equipment.
        Don’t expose yourself to unnecessary danger or risks.
        Know the capabilities of those in your group.

        • “Don’t expose yourself to unnecessary danger or risks.” Good one sling. No need to get involved in a firefight if you can evade. You (and your people) always come out the winner.

          • PO’P

            The wife and I are going it alone. We may at a later date join up with those who have made it through the first month. My wife is a good person but can not stand people who don’t pull their weight.

            • Us too, we are going it alone at least for awhile as we’ve learned over the years (which is why we don’t join any group) few pull their weight and do their share. We don’t need slackers around us. I think after the first month, we will know who is “real” and can stand up with us.

              • Statistics say only 20 percent of any group does the work. That would not be workable.

              • I have to say that a lot of flaming liberals will find religion when the SHTF.

                Prepared preppers that seem trustworthy now, may not be so when the chips are down long enough or are pressured or extorted by corrupt authorities.

                Months into the SHTF your best bet support may not be the prepper you know but the reformed liberal you didn’t. Buyer beware.

                Having a very small footprint now could make you less of a target later.

                • Yes. There’s no telling what a mother, father. grandparent or other close relative might be do to protect their children. We ALL know that TPTB habitually, even gleefully use children as leverage against their parents and family. We see it all the time, usually in criminal prosecutions. In SHTF, all bets are off, and all is fair game to people with no scruples or morals.

                  For this reason alone, in hard times, I personally steer clear of people with children. I can’t blame them, but I don’t care to suffer the consequences either. JMO

                  • sixpack

                    That is why I hang around here. Not only do I need feedback on what the unprepared person will do. but also what fellow preppers will do.
                    I have taken a few hits here and there for my hard comments but the benefits from their opinions gained where priceless. Not only do we have to Know our Enemy but our Fellow Preppers.
                    Our society has changed over the past 50 years and is not the same. There may be some remnants but the values have changed. Trust is a major issue.

                  • When I prep I prep with an eye to my children. You are right, our children are our biggest weakness, they are also our greatest strength.

                    People who are unprepared and have children will be desperate as well as dangerous.

                    Read up on the 1921 Povolzhye famine. If the NWO crowd take it to the limit, it could get that ugly. The US has a target on its back. They want a crisis so big that Americans will surrender to it. Amazing how they are framing the California terror attack as a reason to shred the constitution and disarm Americans.

                    • In a famine, having 2 ounces of fat on your frame just screams of a Food source.

                    • Just read about the 21 famine. Thanks. I also prep with my son and his family in mind and figure 5 in all my doings (Big garden). I would put him and grandkids before all others. I am glad he started prepping over a year ago. I don’t see that as a downside because the basic family unit is the oldest survival technique. If things go wonk as is common in history, family will likely be the best you get… and some will surprise you when times get hard.

        • This is important

          Do not ask a person to do something that you would not do yourself.

      7. How does one be the “gray man” when they are a member of the “gray man group”?

        I’m just not interested in the politics that goes along with who’s the “King Prepper” factor. I like keeping my bugout bag light…and that means all that baggage just doesn’t make the cut.

        • That reminds me, I need to go through my BOB again.

        • Joining a ‘grey man group’ is one of the fastest ways to enter the spotlight. In today’s world of tracking, you become linked to everyone in the group.

        • I had to look up gray man on the internet. One comment was the man was too tall to be a gray man. The first image in my head was Jeb Bush. I started laughing. Is he a perfect gran man image for tall men or what!!! He disappears even when on stage with lights and cameras. I have to take a closer look. Thanks for using an expression I had to look up.

      8. keep your weapons in a secure place as to not get them stolen for possible use against oneself. Have barter friends, but don’t disclose your stash.

      9. OMG a prepping article!

        • YEAH, AIN’T IT GREAT?

          • In Mac’s defense though, there is only so much one can print about prepping. There is a lot of collective knowledge here, and it is difficult to find information that SOMEBODY hasn’t already seen or doesn’t already know about.

            Mac often gets slammed for printing the same info repeatedly. Yet, if he goes off the reservation too much, other people complain about that. Can he ever win?

            Of course Mac wins. He wins when people visit his site and learn something they didn’t know, and it doesn’t have to be from the article itself. The comments are just as important as the article – sometimes even more important.

            I learn from the comments, and try to leave something for somebody that they didn’t know as well. It’s nice to get the benefits of reading a thick book, without actually having to read the book. That’s what I personally glean from the comments here…the benefits of years of knowledge and experience.

            To me, THAT’S WHAT THIS SITE IS ABOUT.

            • I learn a lot from the economy articles. As far as prepping, I like the comments best, evenwhen I don’t agree. It is best to make an opinion after considering other options. Also, some things work better in other situations than mine. No site no life no prep is perfect for every situation.

      10. Mistake preppers make,don’t become overwhelmed that you don’t know it all.Would be great if we all had a Grizzly Adams upbringing along with a few special forces tours thrown in(oh,and personal training from Bruce Lee!).That said,keep storing/practising knowledge and do what you can while still enjoying life.

        New to prepping,you can till it hits still ,get ready!Any questions new folks,just ask/research net ect.A lot of folks here with good backgrounds that can help if you ask.As a very wise man said(ad naseum!)”The smalls add up!”.

      11. I call bullshit on the tying the pant legs and trying to float with them. It MIGHT work with some type of material but not all, i.e., I think polyester pants might hold air but cotton blends will not. Your mileage may vary but don’t bet your life on that tactic.
        it didn’t work for Bear Grylls, either, when he tried it.

        • There are Navy Survival Videos on using clothing on UTUBE for floatation. Wool might be a problem due to water being absorbed into the material. Real heavy.

          • You beat me to it, sling. Thanks.

        • Works good with tight weave like kakis but totally sucks with denim jeans. I took a cold water rescue course years ago and found out how hard it was to stay afloat.

        • Ketchup,

          Anyone in a sea-going service could tell you, the makeshift pants life vest is a real thing. The cloth makes the structure and the water seals it. Gotta keep it wet and refill regularly by cupping air into it through the the waist. It’s not ideal, nor is it easy, but it’s better than nothing with no land in sight. Cotton works just fine, too.

        • Ketch, I’ve been through some of that training (in a pool). Jeans work OK as long as the legs that are full of air, remain wet. You will have to keep up the air in them by blowing into them or sweeping them over your head. Beats the alternative.

        • They will hold some air, but just enough to keep you semi-buoyant. Don’t think you’re going to get more than a hundred feet with them. I’ve done this, there are better ways to cross a water barrier.

          You can build a decent gear raft in a couple of hours. You’re still going to need to be able to swim.

          A log will float you across if you can hang on to it.

          Any fast water, you need to stay out of it. Knee depth is enough to knock you over and carry you.

      12. Just my 3 cents worth, but the primary thing that motivates corpsmen to learn life-saving techniques is the fact that soon they will be aiding real people.

        That’s hard to duplicate in my suburban livingroom. Can do GSW drills until the cows come home. Also, can buy the gear from Chinook Medical, but practicing to remedy a pneumothorax on a dummy isn’t the same thing as doing it on a real person. To foul up on the dummy costs some ego. Screwing up on a real person would leave them worse off than they were.

        I take JD’s point. Simply having the stuff doesn’t mean one knows how to use it.

        • wally_bunglefester

          Compound fractures and finger skin deglovement.

      13. Good article, add first aid into the mix.

      14. Man people are talking about trusting their life to a Taurus or a high point those suck. Get a glock or ruger revolver. Anyway there is a story of a military guy ending up in the drink and did the pants thing. I heard about it and when the air escaped he just did the maneuver to cup more air in them he was out there a while. It’s worth a try if your in the situation. Sound like righting a kayak after you rolled it and now it’s full of water and you gotta dump it and re enter it. I had to do this when I was a scout and it’s not easy and forget it if your not a strong swimmer. Lucky for me I’m a fish and have swam some distances across lakes. Swimming is a good skill. Slingshot I’m same way can’t stand people who don’t pull their end of the rope. This bullshit of people being entitled to the fruits of your labor will not fly after shtf. In nature the weak die. Giving free shit is charity and it’s from the heart not by theft like it is now. But for the guns get the best quality mags I’ve not had any trouble with glock mags and they aren’t much more$.

        • Asshat not criticizing your firearm suggestions, but I don’t like plastic guns. My preference is aCZ75B in 9mm, a Springfield 45 for conceal carry. I also have a Walther 45 in my bug out bag. All of them are good shooters.

      15. Ive been focusing a lot lately on “value” preps. Things I can get or build for cheap that will have tremendous value when I need them. So far I’ve built a few large and small rocket stoves that use very little bio mass (leaves, twigs, pine cones etc.) to cook efficiently. Ive also built a small forge, and metal melting foundry. Ive made tons of fire starters from used candle wax, dryer lint and jute twine. These types of things take time to make and will be lifesavers when they’re needed. Ive also been storing raw materials and metals that may come in handy. There’s tons of videos out there to teach you how to create these things and you never know when next day shipping something off amazon will no longer be an option.

        • I just cooked on my rocket stove this week for the first time using a brown grocery bag and pine cones. Living in the woods, fuel is plentiful. Need to practice so as not to make a lot of smoke.

          • I put a Mylar sheet on my mattress then a blanket and flannel sheet. I turned the heat to 55 and was as warm as if I were sleeping in the tropics. After a week it has not torn. I haven’t tried colder b/c of edible house plants; but it is seriously warm. If there were no heat, my house plants may not make it but I would. I am considering trying Mylar as a coat or cloak lining. I bought a box of 12. Living in the mountains, I will get more. As far as survival goes, you don’t have to heat your house, you have to heat your body. And water above 32°F.

      16. No prepper group joining here. The fewer people who know about our preps, the better. I don’t want anyone to know our defensive ability either- that uncertainty on their part may delay or prevent an attack. It doesn’t make sense to trust folks before you’ve seen them under severe stress. For us, the best bet is to seem hungry and scared, while being fed and armed.

        • I feel the same way, as I said below, everyone has another best friend or a relative that will show up eventually and that’s when the trouble begins,

      17. Things I think people would kill you for-
        1) food, esp. canned or easy to prepare
        2) alcohol of the drinking type
        3) cigarettes
        4) medicines, esp. painkillers and antibiotics
        5) guns and/or ammo

        There are many more of the above items that imho, you should NEVER offer for barter if you are in a fixed position. I don’t even think I would let someone know I had aspirin, as the word might get around that I had drugs. Some things that could be bartered without too much danger would be-
        1) toilet paper
        2) hygiene items like shampoo and toothpaste
        3) shoes
        4) tampons
        5) camping gear, sleeping bags, tents,tarps

        • I have wondered about that… bartering and inviting ransacking. I like your second list. I am not sure I would want to barter at all. I would prefer being unseen.

        • 2isone ~ I agree with your concept… but I would remove footwear from the barter list. In any serious conflict, where supplies are disrupted and consumer goods scarce, decent shoes/boots are worth their weight in gold. Even now, good quality shoes/boots often cost $100 to $200; imagine the value they will have when TSHTF and they become hard to get and/or even more costly. Having extra ones to barter could easily make you a target.

          Instead, I would have candles/lighters on the barter list. I pick up candles dirt cheap at yard sales; people often clear out their kitchen and pantry drawers and toss 15 or 20 candles in a box and mark it $3 and I usually get them down to $2 or even $1. In a long-term crisis, pick out the half-burnt ones, the dirty ones, the chipped ones — and barter those away. Not only do you want the best ones for yourself, but trading the inferior candles gives the appearance that YOU have scrounged these out of a drawer. If you trade nice clean cello-wrapped candles, it might look like you have a big stash of new goods tucked away.

          Cheap lighters provide tremendous value. You can find boxes of 100 lighters online for about $20 or so. Sometimes you can get a pack of three or four lighters for a buck at a dollar store. For a measly quarter, you have something that will provide 500 or 1000 lights; and with fewer people smoking these days, and with even smokers often being low on matches or lighters, when TSHTF disposable lighters will almost immediately become fantastic trade goods.

      18. There’s a difference between being a “prepper” and a survivalist IMO.

        But I’ll bet the majority of either even has any idea how to tie proper knots, especially more than one kind.

        A few basic ones: ht tp://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/06/24/7-basic-knots-every-man-should-know/

      19. Well said JD. Can I hear an ‘Amen’!

      20. Go the gun shows and look for the guy who’s selling magazines. They often have factory mags tucked away in the box of aftermarket stuff for the same price or a couple of dollars more.

        When you find a good deal, leave the case of MRE’s at the show and stock up on the magazines. You can’t have too many.

      21. High on the list of new prepper mistakes would be to buy large quantities of food or medicine that have short expiration dates – especially if it is stuff you do not use or eat on a regular basis. Do you really need 26 bottles of Tylenol expiring in June 2016?

        Another mistake is focusing on Bug Out Bags but ignoring materials and supplies for Bugging In. Can you repair or cover a busted out window? Or barricade a blind entrance? Or stay warm without fire?

        And a really big one, similar to the fancy gear the author described, would be to have a $150 white gas stove, but to NOT have any fuel on hand. Or to have a $300 sleeping bag, but no tent because you are waiting to buy that $700 beauty of your dreams.

      22. “”””””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?
        Bad idea!
        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.””””””

        I don’t agree with this at all, if you’re in a group, everyone in that group will have another best friend or a cousin that will show up eventually and use your supplies..

        • I think it is possible to make small groups and necessary. It can also be your worst nightmare, so be careful about it. I am more the deer hiding in my Food Forest than front and center in armed combat, looking for a battle. I pay attention mostly to keeping my preparations invisible to those around me. My son is working on buying a family compound for a dozen of us. I hope he does! He is in contact with me to be sure I can garden, and with an address I can do online research about rainfall, soil, altitude, rainfall etc. In any event, I continue my preps here for all of us. Scary days. The Mexicans around here, even in town, tend to live in family compounds where each family owns all houses on a block and some small subdivisions are nearly completely related. I admire that. My friend closed
          yesterday on selling her house to a young couple, they put 16k down and daddy
          financed the rest. The family all have homes in her neighborhood in Texas. She got an above market offer the day she put her house up for sale. Even more so here in New Mexico. Corporate culture willfully broke up American families by insisting that you had to move away to move up. I remember that when I was young, thinking it was bad for people. Now so many are prepping alone.

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