Prepping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Prepping Mistakes
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Curad Silver
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

  • 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

  • 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
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
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

  • 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
  • DO NOT confuse silica gel packets with oxygen absorbers.

Mistake #13: Using plastic milk bottles for water
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

  • 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 all the food storage 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
  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

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!

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

Prepping Mistakes (and how to avoid them)
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!

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...

Common Prepping Mistakes
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

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
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:
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