prepping mistakes

Common Prepping Mistakes
Survival tips from well meaning preppers that will kill you!

It's a killer idea! Or is it? Discover the common prepping mistakes and how to
avoid them.

Prepping isn't always easy. There's an information super highway out there that's
loaded with good-minded preppers who will steer you into harm's way with bad ideas
and tips. They could be wrong… dead wrong!

Misinformation, un-researched notions, and prepping shortcuts put you at risk, leaving
you unprepared when you need it most. You may end up with a more dangerous or
costly problem on your hands, or wind up dead as a result of following well intended,
but bad survival tips. It's the price you pay for not trusting your instincts.

Like your mother always said, don't believe everything you read on the Internet. Trust
your instincts. The reason preppers will die is because they take on bad advice, much
of it from well-meaning preppers!

It's time to put on your thinking cap, not the tinfoil one. Below is our list of common
prepping mistakes (and how to avoid them), so you won't wind up dead.

List of Common Prepping Mistakes (and how to avoid them)..
Someone in your circle of prepper friends has a killer idea and it looks good on paper
(or online), but you could be dead wrong for following. The following list of common
prepping mistakes illustrate exactly this prepper problem...

Mistake #1: Using plastic in the wrong way.
Circulating around the Internet since 2009 is this idea (re-using plastic bottles), which
is bad advice:




























Above, an image has been circulating since 2009 of various dried goods stored for home
use in plastic drink containers. This is extremely bad advice.

  • Why it's a deadly mistake: Two main reasons:
  1. Because plastic bottles are difficult to clean properly. Plastic bottles are
    somewhat porous and nearly impossible to clean because of it. Bacteria can
    easily grow on the surface of PET containers, especially after the bottle has
    touched your lips. Don't risk bacteria ruining your food and then getting
    botulism. Be as careful about your dry goods as you are about the foods you
    can at home!
  2. Because these containers have Bisphenol A (BPA), an estrogenic chemical
    known to be harmful to your health. It causes problems in the brain and
    increased blood pressure. Yes, it's true that regulations are helping to phase
    out BPA, but you just can't be sure if the bottle you're using is BPA free. Soda
    bottles are extremely caustic and even water bottles are one-time use only
    because they get crushed in use and this ruins the integrity of the bottle
    exposing you to toxins in the plastic.

How to remedy: Recycling is a better choice!

Mistake #2: Buying the gas mask before the pack of N95 respirators.
Truth be told, preppers will have more use for an N95 respirator than for a gas mask.
After the
Ebola Scare every prepper who didn't already own a gas mask ran out to get
one. (
Gas masks sold out quickly on Amazon.) The problem with a gas mask for  
pandemic preparedness is that once you've started wearing it, you've risked
contamination for future use. In other words, you'd have just one day of Ebola
protection. What are you going to use the next day of potential exposure?

If you're new to prepping, you'll feel better once you have the basics in place and you
can start with your lungs! Instead of running out and buying a pricey gas mask, first
get some surgical masks and respirators! Every prepper whether should look for a
good N95 certification respirator, like the ten-pack shown left, (or the N100 pictured
top left), instead of being tempted by the cheap kind.

An N95 or N100 mask is important, but you'll find it useful for everyday just to get
keep the dust out of your lungs while you work on your other prepping projects. Did
you know that heavy and repeated exposure to dust could lead to more severe
allergic reactions? It's better to invest in a set of N95 or N100 gas masks before
getting that all too
popular gas mask preppers are famous for wearing!

  • Why it's a deadly mistake: Preventing contagion requires disposable masks.
    Joe Alton, M.D., a.k.a., The Disaster Doctor, discusses the importance of medical
    masks to protect against contagious disease in an epidemic.  He says,"You’ll
    need both standard [medical mask] and N95 masks as part of your medical
    supplies." We'll add that eventually you will need a gas mask, too.

  • How to remedy:  Before you buy the whole family an NBC gas mask, buy a box
    or two of surgical masks (the kind you can get at the dollar stores), plus the
    more specific pandemic variety available online, such as the N95 or N100,
    pictured left. As a reminder, the main reason for a gas mask is for nuclear,
    biological or chemical attacks:


    Eventually you need to nsure your family has all three:
  1. surgical masks - also called dust masks, a surgical mask provides a layer
    of protection for such things as dust and bodily fluids, but it does not fully
    protect against viruses and is porous and does not provide a tight fit
    around the face. Its primary purpose is protect others from germs.
  2. N95 or N100 respirators - filters small airborne particulates and reduces
    risk of virus and bacteria filtering into the lungs
  3. NBC gas mask - helpful for reducing risk of nuclear, biological and
    chemical attacks.

Mistake #2: Getting a tourniquet (but forgetting the snake bite kit)!
Many preppers find incredibly ingenious ways to make a tourniquet, but they don't
know how to use one properly. Even Hollywood has a way of showing someone
applying a tourniquet to leg and then cutting out or sucking the venom. Warning:
misuse of a tourniquet could result in loss of limb!

  • Why it's a deadly mistake: A tourniquet has a purpose, namely to stop
    bleeding fast. It's important to keep the blood in the body where it belongs! A
    tourniquet is not for extracting venum from snake bites. A tourniquet could keep
    all of the venom in one place, and make the patient's limb swell, which will
    makee it harder for antivenin to get to it. (Antiveneni is an antiserum with the
    antibodies against specific poisons to combat venom of snakes, spiders, and
    scorpions.)

  • What you can do: Don't risk life or limb, get a snake bite kit and get some
    education on using a tourniquet (and get a snake bite kit):


  • Learn how to deal with a snake bite. Whatever you do, never cut a bite
    wound, and never attempt to suck out venom. Never apply ice or water,
    and never give a person alcohol or caffeinated drinks.

Mistake #3: Not taking daily hygiene seriously.
We humans face a battle of the bugs daily. Thousands of microorganisms are crawling
on you right now, and most of them are on your hands. As preppers we sometimes
get caught up in buying stuff, like
pandemic gear, and then we overlook the reason
we bought the gear in the first place -- to keep us from getting sick.

  • Why it's a deadly mistake. While putting together a pandemic kit is
    worthwhile, it's actually more important to routinely wash your hands several
    times a day with good old soap and water to avoid getting sick.
    Did you know antibacterial lotions could do more harm than good in your daily
    routine? It's true. You see, microbes are all tiny living organisms -- some cause
    disease, while others don't. Germs, or pathogens, are types of microbes that
    can cause disease, those are the ones we're after. Staphylococci is one such
    good bacteria that will help you clot your blood.

  • How to remedy: You can avoid getting sick or spreading disease to others just
    by washing your hands.  Use warm water. Skip the antibacterial stuff as part of
    your daily routine, and save it instead for when the situation calls for it, like an
    epidemic or pandemic, so you can keep your body as healthy as possible in the
    meantime. So now you know Wash your hands more often!

Mistake #4: Canning butter.
Rookies don't can butter, and advanced preppers shouldn't either!

  • Why it's a mistake: Botulism. There's no reason to risk botulism in canning your
    own butter.


Mistake #5: Having a bugout plan (but not a bug-in plan).
The concept of bugging out seems a lot more glamorous and adventuresome than just
staying home and bugging in, so preppers spend hours planning their great escape,
thinking about
bugout bags, bugout clothes, bugout bikes, bugout vehicles, and
bugout locations. Bugging in is more realistic.

  • Why it's a mistake: After having spent years planning the great escape, it
    makes no sense to abandon everything you've worked  toward accumulating.
    Besides, there's an advantage to staying on the turf you've got. When your
    adrenaline is pumping the flight or fight response kicks in.


Mistake #6: Trusting your old bottle of bleach.
If you're trusting bleach to kill off bacteria in your water, then you'd better become a
label reader. Make sure it's unscented bleach. The scented stuff is loaded with toxins.
What's more, bleach expires quickly. It has only a six-month shelf life, which means
that it loses is potency.


  • How to remedy: Have water filtration tablets handy. They take up much less
    space than pool shock and will be safe for your family to drink.

Read more about the
10 things to know about bleach before you buy too much.

Mistake #7: Stockpiling Pool Shock for water purification.
It's shocking that well meaning preppers stock Pool Shock. Intended for swimming
pools, preppers aim to decontaminate large amounts of emergency drinking water
with this toxic stuff.


  • How to remedy: Pool shock just isn't safe. Stock Potable Aqua tablets instead.
    In 35 minutes you'll have fresh drinking water without shocking your system.
    Read more about the best water purfiers for preppers.

Mistake #8:  Not having a reserve water filter.
Preppers have water filtration systems set up for everyday use, but they don't often
have backups.

  • Why it's a mistake: Your everyday water filter, like the Big Berkey, has a long
    life, but if you're using it every day, then you're robbing yourself in crisis. Have a
    spare filter on hand, so you're ready to take on the raw water to filter it into
    safe drinking water for your family.

  • How to remedy: Have a spare filters on hand for your everyday water filter.

Mistake #9: Packing the bugout bag, but not ready to walk with it.
Preppers talk the talk, but they don't often walk the walk. An easy fix is to take a local
hike with a bugout bag atop the shoulders of everyone in the family. Experiment to
see how walking affects the wearer.

  • Why it's a mistake. Poorly fitted backpacks will rub you raw, give you blisters
    and cause chaffing and discomfort.

  • How to remedy: Talk with a backpacker! Take a hike! You want the weight to
    rest on the hips and not have all the weight on your shoulders. If the weight
    isn't distributed correctly, your shoulders will get sore and you may have
    extreme discomfort on your lower back.

Mistake #10: Lighting a match after the floods.
Surprisingly, many books and websites on survival tout the benefits of having a candle
and matches after the floods.

  • Why it's a mistake: While a camp stove is valuable for heating your food,
    making water potable and providing heat, one light of match could ruin your
    whole day with an explosion!

  • How to remedy: Don't light a candle! For lighting you can use an LED flashlight
    or solar light, and you can survive on food you've stored that doesn't require
    heating provided it hasn't been contaminated with floodwater. Carefully check
    your surroundings for hissing and possible leaks well before you even think of
    lighting a candle. If you smell gas or hear a hissing noise, call your fire
    department and leave the area.

Mistake #11: Not practicing your defensive skills.
Bruce Lee once said, "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I
fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."

  • Why it's a mistake: You may be caught by surprise, but if you practice you'll
    know exactly what to do in the event your skills are called upon.

  • How to remedy: Target practice, karate class, self-defense class -- do what it
    takes to learn and practice.

Mistake #12: Putting food directly into a food grade bucket.
As a prepper, you did the right thing and bought a food-grade bucket, then you
bought oats, cornmeal flour, and sugar in bulk, and thought you'd do a quick dump
and seal the lid and get on with your other prepping chores. Here's why that's not
necessarily a good idea.

  • Why it's a mistake: Sometimes little critters get into your food stores, which is
    particularly true with grains. Without oxygen absorbers the little guys have all
    the oxygen they need to thrive, and you've left them an oasis of food to live
    their long life and even have enough for future generations. Oxygen absorbers
    would have killed them off, but your whole bucket has been contaminated. If
    you had packed the grain or sugar into individual mylar bags, along with the
    oxygen absorbers, you would have curbed the problem -- possibly only one bag
    would have the little critter population, and not the entire contents of the
    bucket. NOTE: Potatoes and brown sugar are among the few things that you
    should NOT use oxygen absorbers.

  • How to remedy: Get a heat sealer along with some mylar bags and oxygen
    absorbers and do things properly.

  • And another thing...
  • DO NOT ever use hand warmers instead of oxygen absorbers! Using hand
    warmers with food is misguided advice. Hand warmers are not a food safe
    material. Instead use them to keep your firearms dry only. Use oxygen
    absorbers for your food.
  • DO NOT confuse silica gel packets with oxygen absorbers.

Mistake #13: Using plastic milk bottles for water storage.
It's tempting to use a plastic milk bottle to store water, because it's a cheap solution,
but using a plastic milk bottle can cost you dearly.

  • Why it's a mistake: Milk bottles, the kind that are not clear, will degrade
    quickly. They weren't made last! They were meant to decompose. What
    happens to many well meaning preppers, is that their bottles start leaking or
    they load collapse and suddenly there's water damage. Either it's a problem
    with your landlord, or a mold issue for your as a homeowner. Neither makes for
    a happy ending. Think you're a clever prepper and will store dried goods in
    them instead? Not so fast on storing dried goods in milk bottles, or soda bottles
    for that matter.

  • How to remedy: Get into dry canning or package your foods in mylar with
    oxygen absorbers.

Mistake #14: Hiding food in the garage or attic.
It's tempting to store food away up high in the attic, or low to the ground on in the
garage because you've run out of places to hide your food, but there are many
reasons why its inadvisable to store food in the garage or attic, including:

  • Why it's a mistake: There are three main reasons why hiding your food in the
    garage or attic is a bad idea:
  1. Temperature fluctuations. Storing food in the garage or attic subjects your
    food to fluctuations of heat and cold. A better place is to store your food is
    inside your home
  2. Toxic cement. Putting food and water supply directly on the cement leaves it
    vulnerable. cement leeches toxins into your food and water supply.
  3. Vermin. Mice and rats can chew through even the toughest food grade buckets
    to get at your food.

  • How to remedy: Instead of storing things in the garage or attic, find clever
    hiding places throughout your home. One of the most common is under the bed.
    You'll find clever ways to disguise your wares as a coffee table. If you're a clever
    prepper you'll also find room behind the couch, in crevices between appliances,
    under the stairs, in an ottoman, underneath a chest of drawers, or closets in
    the kids room.

In short, there are many well-meaning preppers on forums, blogs and Web sites who
dispense unresearched advice. Be thoughtful in regards to your prepping activities.
Just because someone says it's a good idea, doesn't necessarily mean it is one.

And another thing...
Even well respected survivalists can dispense bad advice.

Cody Lundin says, "
Beware the on-line survival expert as they are usually full of shit."
Like we said, even well-respected survivalists dispense bad advice.
We have something to teach Cody Lundin, about the art of keeping your ass alive....
and that is to wear some shoes! Not only does the Occupational Safety & Health
Administration regulation require wearing shoes, but it just makes sense). If the shoe
fits wear it!

Twelve reasons why Cody Lundin should wear shoes or boots:
  1. sharp stuff -- Rocks, class, nails, splinters, HIV-infected needles and such, all
    are pathways to pain, not to mention infection and mayhem.
  2. rust - Did we mention the rusty nails? Have you had your tetanus shot
    renewed?
  3. germs - You really want to bring in the germs from public bathroom floors into
    your home?
  4. fungus - Microbial growth and infections from athlete's foot won't kill you, but
    have you ever heard of the flesh-eating fungus?
  5. poop - when the poop hits the fan, do you also want to step in it? That stuff is
    loaded with contagion potential (disease and parasites).
  6. frostbite - You're okay with gangrene? You'd risk loosing life or limb?
  7. hot concrete - There's a reason why you don't walk your dog on a mid summer
    day. Dang, that smarts!
  8. airplanes, restaurants, and stores. Yeah, the law says they can't let you in.
  9. horse hooves - this isn't your first rodeo, is it? The horses wear them, and well,
    they might stomp on your tootsies.
  10. ticks, chiggars, leeches, jellyfish, scorpions, snakes -- anything that bites!
  11. heel and arch support, shock absorption
  12. gait - you'll run faster when the zombies chase you.

So Cody, as much as we love you and your
survivalist barefeet, and as much as we
are happy to read your books, the bottom line is this: if the zombies chase us, we're
tripping you. Sorry dude! You were a shoe-in for this little banter!

Happy endings...
Your prepping journey can lead you in many directions. Consider always the source of
the prepping advice. Prepare to live happily ever after. Do your research, but know
that every prepper makes mistakes.

Being a prepper is just as much about creating solutions and making compromises, as
it is about honing in on your intuition. It's a learning process, and a gamble. It's
edging your bets, and thinking things through. The only thing you can do is to trust
your gut and dig a little deeper. If it's too cheap or too fast, there might be a costly
penalty involved.

If you
read other prepping Web sites, you're sure to find a theme of the most common
"mistake" newbie preppers make -- namely, buying unpalatable shelf stable foods
that sit on the shelf until they expire, not rotating the food, etc. Death by boredom
rarely happens! Trust us, you'd eat that food if there was an apocalypse: it would
sure beat eating cockroaches. Tell us what you think. Write us!

Related articles...

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