How to Sabotage Prepping [Top 12 Prepping Mistakes]

Avoid common prepping mistakes

What influences our behavior is genetics and experiences. Your experiences provide you with a chance to learn and change your behavior. Your capacity to learn from mistakes affects your behavior and better chances of survival.  In a SHTF situation, adaptation to new environmental conditions will force you to learn and adapt, or you won’t persist. Simply put, humans will go extinct if they don’t learn from their mistakes.

1. Not prepping at all

Prepping mistake number 1 has to be Not prepping at all.

I realize that a lot of people don’t want to get involved in Prepping because they think Prepping is only if you believe in a zombie attack, asteroids, or a Russian invasion.

The whole prepping movement is connected to a lot of stigmas. There are a lot of over-the-top nut jobs, sure. But, slowly, things are changing and people are seeing the importance of overall preparedness, self-sufficiency and just being responsible. This really is a movement everybody should be a part of. It should be taught at schools and advertised more in mainstream media.

Even pros at prepping make this prepping mistake if they become lazy. Sometimes we all fall into a false sense of security and get very surprised when SHTF. Then, in an emergency, it’s hard to find anything without a recently practiced plan. When you are in a hurry, you have to have an already prepared BOB, an emergency plan, a BOL with supplies, water, etc.

There is very little time to decide on the spot, and it can be a fatal prepping mistake if you aren’t prepared. A lot of people get hurt because they tried desperately to save their stuff from the house on fire. Escaping an emergency successfully means you have to prepare for it in advance. Only this way, you can quickly react or escape.

2. Prepping for just one emergency 

Unfortunately, people sometimes get stuck in one prepping “genre”. Some fear the zombie apocalypse; others fear an asteroid smashing into Earth, or an Allien attack.

Prepping for just one specific emergency scenario is a common prepping mistake. You really don’t know what to expect. You have to cover all the bases. Remember, if you’re not always prepared, you’re never prepared.

All your hard work will go to waste if you have prepared for zombies, and a wildfire comes along. This is a scenario that could well happen. Maybe you have planned to defend your home from invaders, bought weapons, stockpiled food. Bugging out to another location was never your plan. Then, a wildfire will force you to evacuate and leave all your gear behind. Then what?

3. Not having a detailed plan

When a disaster strikes, you don’t have time to stop and think about what to do, what to take, how to evacuate, where to go, etc. At that point you will be stressed, perhaps injured.

You are making a big prepping mistake if you don’t have a plan written down. It is one thing to think about things, carelessly, in theory, but completely another to actually write down an emergency evacuation plan. It can be a difference between life and death.

You can avoid this prepping mistake if you start making detailed lists of your home inventory, bug-out locations, and evacuation procedure. Plan now your BOB contents, what else you will take, and evacuation route. Always have a backup plan. In case you get separated from your family, have a pre-designated location to meet.

As you can see, there are a lot of details that you have to think about, and those can’t be done in a minute, especially in a panic. Make a plan in advance and rehearse. Watch this short video to see what a big difference prepping makes.

Prepping mistake is not preparing at all
Photo by QuickSurvive on Unsplash

4. Wasting money

When people get into prepping, sometimes they overdo it. They start getting overly enthusiastic and can’t control themselves when acquiring new supplies and gear. The most common prepping mistake is definitely buying too much food. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to be prepared for SHTF, but think about the logistics for a second. Now you have to think about proper storage conditions, multiple storage locations, rotating the food, and keeping track of expiry dates so nothing goes to waste. The more supplies you stockpile, the more time you have to invest in maintenance.

Another prepping mistake is buying the food you don’t like eating. If you don’ like eating honey now, it doesn’t make much sense stockpiling a bunch of jars for the future. Unless, you plan on using it as a barter item, in which case — Good job!

A lot of experienced preppers make this prepping mistake — constantly getting new gear. I agree that you have to keep up with the technology breakthroughs. Updating your gear is smart when done occasionally. But, don’t let the booming prepping industry take advantage of you.

How many pocket knives does a man really need? Please, do comment below.

Decide for yourself depending on the chosen emergency prepping plans, your location, level of preparedness, prepping skills, budget, etc. For example, if you live in a warm climate, think twice before you buy warm winter boots. If you have no intention of learning how to fish, don’t buy a fishing rod, just in case. Learn how to use traps, or buy a mushroom guide instead. If your budget is tight, spend it wisely. Choose a few of the basic items first, no need to upgrade.

Learn Your Land

5. Keeping all supplies in one location

This prepping mistake can set you back years and a fortune. You are carelessly risking losing all your supplies in one disaster event.  One fire, one earthquake, or one flood can take it away in hours, no matter how intelligently you stashed prepping items behind the kitchen sink or empty cereal boxes. A couple of skilled thieves can quickly find the most hidden spots easily. Not if that happens, but when that happens, don’t blame your bad luck. You were warned, right here, right now.

This prepping mistake is common because people unfortunately don’t have enough room for storage in the first place. A lot of urban preppers live in already too cramped apartments and don’t have a lot of choices. Urban preppers who are worried about this prepping mistake can rent out a garage or a storage unit and keep their supplies in two separate locations. Think about leaving a box at your friend’s house, or at neighbors. It pays to network.

Prepping mistake is not having adequate storage
Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

6. Not buying quality gear  

Don’t buy just any knife. Not all backpacks are the same quality. Not all raincoats will do.

A lot of people don’t do their research, or just get caught up in buying stuff. In a SHTF situation, you really want a reliable knife that won’t break. You have to rely on your backpack not to break under heavy load. And, your raincoats should effectively protect you from rain, not with just 75% effectiveness.

Don’t fall for those 3 for 1 deal. This is my prepping mistake. I blame it on my “Asian gene” (I’m not Asian, btw). When I see a bargain sign, or a sale, 50% off, I get into frenzy mode, and can hardly control myself.

Focus on quality, instead of quantity to avoid this prepping mistake. How many low-quality items do you really need?

Even in real life, I am a big fan of Minimalism. Think about it — examine your closet. You probably have a dozen of cheap t-shirts, while you only wear one or two. This means that you wasted money on the ten t-shirts that you don’t use, and those two that you do wear, are cheap. Next time, think about buying one or two more expensive items, of better quality, style, and durability that will bring value and joy every day. Note that I am not suggesting oversimplifying things. Clear the clutter to see things clearly.

Unfortunately, buying quality items means spending more money. In most cases, that’s just how it is. You can always look for deals, shop around, wait for sales, or Christmas presents.

prepping mistake is overpaying. wait for sales.
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

7. Not testing your gear 

I bought a kayak this summer. My initial thought was to use it to go fishing. I still haven’t unpacked it. At the end of the summer, I still haven’t used it once and tested it to see if it’s functional at all.

This is obviously a big mistake. I feel deep shame even thinking about the kayak. I am fully aware that this a common prepping mistake, yet I still made it.

This prepping mistake is especially applicable to weapons, especially guns. Many people think that using a gun is simple, you just point and aim, right? Well, there’s more to it. It is actually really hard to hit your target. Can you imagine how hard it is to hit a moving target? Even for an experienced shooter, this is a challenge.

Why do you think people go to shooting ranges and practice over and over? Some do it for good company, but others don’t want to make this prepping mistake and not be prepared. You must be in a real dangerous situation, thinking about saving your life, if you are pulling your gun out. In case you are attacked, you better not miss, or that big black bear is coming at you will all its might.

8. Not developing skills 

The most common prepping mistake is focusing only on stock-piling food, gear, and useful barter items. This is definitely not going to be enough. Can you imagine yourself sitting locked up in your house munching through your supplies like a hamster?

Not working on any valuable skills is a prepping mistake you don’t want to make.

Without any skills at all, you won’t be able to safely go outside, find your way in nature, camp, find mushrooms, let alone hunt and kill. This is a scary thought.

I am not great at fishing, but I am definitely not a rookie either. This summer, I went fishing early in the morning and spent 3 hours freezing, catching only seaweed. I even started joking about going vegan.

This was an eye-opening experience for me — never underestimate nature. It is brutal. You have to bring extra clothes with you even during the summer. And it was a reminder of how hard it is to catch your lunch. Excruciatingly hard.

So, if you are planning to hunt your own food after SHTF, learn everything there is to know about fishing, hunting, lures, traps, etc. Good sources of information are specialized websites, like Outdoorlife, for example. They feature interesting and educational real-life hunting stories like The Tokyo Rig and The Dall Sheep hunting among many others.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Don’t teach a man to fish and you feed yourself. He’s a grown man, fishing is not that hard.

Nick Offerman

Face it. You also need a useful set of skills to help you survive. And it’s better to start now when you still have time to practice and become a master. Hey, even bartering needs practice, when you look at it. A timeless recipe for learning any skill is — you have to first observe someone who is skilled in action, then try it a few times by yourself, fail, learn from your mistakes and then try again.

9. Relying on modern technology

There is a specific category of preppers that anticipates the EMP. EMPs are not just theoretical threats. SecuretheGrid warns that EMP is a matter of When, not if… Think about countries on the other side of the globe — Russia, China, North Korea are developing and planning EMP attacks. The same can be said about cyber terrorism. You don’t know when and where it will strike, but it will.

They are probably the only ones who are not going to make this common prepping mistake — thinking that electricity, Internet especially, will be always there. When modern society collapses, everything goes down — ATMs, phones, radio, TV, computers, shops, you name it. And it usually goes down fast. So, there is no time to prepare after it happens. If case you were wondering, an EMP destroys electrical devices even if they are turned off. Ha!

Now is the time to anticipate what can go wrong, and adjust your strategy. Switch to non-electrical devices like a solar oven, manual wind-up flashlight, hand tools, manual coffee grinder, etc. Even if you aren’t persuaded so far, buy some walkie-talkies as they can be used on hiking trips and are a great backup in case of an EMP.

Without the Internet always there to get you out of trouble, buy a compass, prepare physical maps of your area, and learn how to navigate on your own. Scary, right?

10. Don’t forget about your health 

It is called Survival of the Fittest, after all. Prepping for apocalypse means prepping yourself, too. Fix your teeth now, get in shape, think about eye surgery. Seek treatment for other diseases, because they lower the body’s resistance to infection, making you more vulnerable.

New Yorker reports that Steve Huffman, C.E.O. of Reddit, had laser eye surgery for the sole purpose of improving his odds of surviving a doomsday event.

“If the world ends—and not even if the world ends, but if we have trouble—getting contacts or glasses is going to be a huge pain in the ass. Without them, I’m fucked.” Steve Huffman

Huffman isn’t the only celebrity getting eye surgery, and I think they are right. Even without the Doomsday looming over our heads, wearing glasses or contacts is an obstacle in normal life, not to mention a huge pain in the behind. You will see more clearly the end of our days with 20/20 vision.

I remember long summer vacations spent at my aunt’s house by the beach with great fondness. What I tend to forget is how my mom took me to the dentist each year before summer, just to make sure I don’t get a toothache away from home. I always thought she was being overly cautious, but now I know my mom was a prepper at heart. God bless her.

Many people put off going to the dentist’s for years, thinking it is only a cosmetic issue, and make this common prepping mistake. Poor oral health is a serious risk to your body’s overall health.  Absolutedental lists 10 serious health problems you should be aware of. Healthy gums — a healthy body.

Getting in shape is tough, especially now after the coronavirus epidemic.  But, if you plan on outrunning zombies, you better do it. Going to the gym is pretty risky, and Popular Science agrees. Muster the willpower to exercise at home. Take Baby Steps, start with stretching, a plank, or a 7 Minute Workout. Try out Jennifer Aniston’s doable plank routine.  You can do it like celebrities — buy some gear, maybe Frank Underwood’s rowing machine from House of Cards, watch Blogilates on YouTube, or choose an app and get cracking. Thankfully, in this Doomsday scenario, we still have the Internet to rely on and there are plenty of options for every level and time-frame.

Sadly, COVID-19 killed my ketogenic diet. One sad look from the mirror confirms that. As a longtime prepper, I should have known better, and not make this stupid prepping mistake. I have read many studies proving that a bad diet, rich in sugars, carbs, and fats, makes us more susceptible to COVID-19. Don’t repeat my prepping mistake and avoid junk food because it provides only instant gratification and long-term health problems. Balanced nutrition is the way to go.

11. Don’t be a lone wolf 

Getting your family members into prepping increases your chances of survival. Don’t think you can survive on your own for too long. Experienced preppers don’t make this prepping mistake. Even with all their survival knowledge, they know it is good to have somebody watch your back. You could take your better half to the shooting range. Teach other people valuable prepping skills to help them survive. Next time you go camping, take the whole family. This will be a great bonding experience and a prepping practice.

Get to know your neighbors, help them with mundane chores if you can. Don’t be afraid to tell them you are a prepper. Come out of the closet. You can infect them with a prepping bug.  This way, you are improving your chances of prosperity after a doomsday event. Being around like-minded people means you will always find a helping hand.

When I first got into prepping, I was quite surprised how helpful other preppers are. They are genuinely interested in sharing their vast knowledge. If you are a prepper, you are a part of a great community of prepping friends. Connecting with other preppers is rewarding on many levels.

The Preparedness Experience lists the Top 5 Prepping Conventions. Among them are Self-reliance Expo, PrepperCon, which I highly recommend. The Simple Prepper lists Best Prepper Shows for 2020. You should definitely check the one close to your area. You can learn about new skills from experts, see new gear in person, make friends, and have fun.

Prepping mistake is not connecting with other preppers
Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

12. Not learning from your mistakes

Some psychologists suggest that some people will never learn. One study suggests it’s all in your head. People who think they can learn from their mistakes did better after making a mistake. In other words, they successfully bounced back after an error. 

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t—you’re right”

Henry Ford

I believe that everyone should consciously work on themselves to be better human beings to advance in life. Mistakes are a learning opportunity. They show you when it is necessary to work harder to succeed.

To entice you to change your ways, I will give you an example of how animals successfully learn from their mistakes. I read scientific research focused on female elks. To avoid hunters, with age, elks made a behavioral change via learning. To survive, they didn’t just become more cautious during hunting season. They managed to fine-tune their behavior over time — using secure forest areas and avoiding roads to escape predators (humans).

Work on your ability to stand corrected and move swiftly from your mistakes. Don’t be afraid of correcting your behavior, being too confident or proud.  Your identity thrives on making changes. You want to grow and improve with years.


Ready, Set, Prep. Learn from mistakes. You’ll be fine.

Don’t forget to floss…

Greg - Prepping Insider

Hey, I'm a prepping enthusiast. Prepping for me is simply something of a passion. I have personally lived in many different rural properties that have given me a wealth of knoweldge and experience in practically living out survival and preparation situations. It’s not about getting the latest survival gadgets or buckets of food as its more of a lifestyle.

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