11 Prepping Mistakes You MUST Avoid At All Costs…

By "Just In Case" Jack | Updated: 09/07/2023

Retro military helmet and bootsToday I’m going to share the 11 worst prepping mistakes you have to avoid at all costs!

The biggest ones that can turn a bad situation into a deadly one.

Because sometimes, it’s less about doing the exact RIGHT thing…

But instead avoiding the DUMB mistakes…

TOPICS IN THIS GUIDE…    ↓(click to jump)
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Note: You can either watch the video below OR read the remainder of this article – both cover the exact same prepper mistakes:

↓ 10 Prepper Mistakes To Avoid At ALL Costs


1. Getting Overwhelmed

The very first prepping mistake is getting overwhelmed.

You may have already made this mistake if you’re new to preparedness.

But it’s ok; getting overwhelmed is natural.

Because, when you’re getting started, there’s way too much information to process it all.

For example:

There are the stockpiling basics (food, water).

Or you can go straight into building an aquaponic systems.

Which one is best?

Aquaponics is an advanced prepping skill.

It’s NOT for someone just starting out.

But it’s easy to fall into the trap of getting in over your head before your ready.

That’s why I wrote this article on the 10 basic prepping steps.

This post shows you how’s to avoid getting overwhelmed.

It starts with two weeks of food, two weeks of water, a hand-crank radio, etc.

It will help you make meaningful progress without feeling overwhelmed.

It’ll give you the confidence you’re doing the RIGHT things in the RIGHT order.

Guy In Hoodie Looking Over Cityscape

2. Trying To Predict The Future

The next prepping mistake is spending too much time trying to predict the future.

Human LOVE trying to figure out “what’s next”.

For example:

Will it be:

↓ America’s Biggest Threats In 2023+

Sure, thinking about these potential threats is “entertaining.”

But it’s not helping you get prepared.

Heck, even if you do “figure” out what’s coming, will that info change HOW you prepare?

Not really.

Most preparedness actions are the same for all major threats.

Plus, getting prepared IS within my control, while the event that creates SHTF is NOT within my control.

I can control how resilient my family is to anything the future may hold.

Focusing my energy on improving my readiness instead of spending time-consuming news.

Sure, it’s wise to be informed.

But there’s a point at which you’re no longer being “informed.”

At some point, your just NOT spending your time wisely.

So focus on what you CAN control and AVOID trying to predict the future.

Prepper Checklist eBook Cover - with gas mask on a SHTF scenery background

Want a free 78 item prepper checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

3. Comparing Your Progress To Others

The next prepping mistake is comparing yourself to others.

Why? Because there are a lot of people who’ve been doing this for a long time.

And you should look to them for inspiration, NOT envy.

I was even guilty of this when I first got started.

I’d watch videos and read forums and quickly become discouraged.

It can be so disheartening.

That’s why you should focus primarily on what you can control.

And comparing will only get in the way of your progress.

I heard a quote one time that said,

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

You’re excited to get started, you’re hopeful.

But as soon as you start comparing, and say things like:

“I’ll never make it. I’ll never be good enough.”

Comparison undermines your progress and make you feel anxious.

That sort of thinking  steals your joy.

Don’t let that happen.

4. Over Sharing Progress With Neighbors

The next mistake is sharing too much information with others.

This is especially true if you live near neighbors you don’t trust.

↓ How To Start A Neighborhood Survival Coalition

So try not to get too excited and start blabbing about your progress.

Also, avoid a food delivery at your house and next-door neighbors across the street asking,

“Hey, what’d you just get? I saw it come to your garage and you pulled it in, all that food.”

So keep your preps under wraps.

And if you have young kids, you’ve got to watch them.

They may start sharing your progress with their friends and family.

You don’t want everybody to know you have prepper supplies, right?

When times get tough, you don’t want your neighbors to know about your preps.

I recommend only sharing your preps with those you truly trust.

I’m talking about family members or really good friends.

Prepper Checklist eBook Cover - with gas mask on a SHTF scenery background

Want a free 78 item prepper checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

5. Not Calculating Your Food And Water Requirements

Next, people buy food and water without knowing how much they need.

First, you need to decide your target amount of calories and water.

If you’re new to this, 2 weeks is a reasonable goal, but of course, feel free to go higher than that if possible.

With food, we have a chart to help you out.

The right amount of replacement calories daily depends on age and activity level.

Once you have the number of replacement calories per day per person, you add up each family member.

This gives you your entire family’s daily calorie needs.

Multiply that number by how many days you want your stockpile to last.

So yes, you need to do some very basic math. But once you have that number, you know exactly how much food to buy.

The same thing with water, but water is even easier.

Instead of knowing how many calories, I recommend 1 gallon per person per day.

Then multiply it by how many days you want.

Some “experts” recommend you go with a half-gallon per person per day, but I think that’s a big prepping mistake.

If you ever get a chance to do an emergency practice run, I bet the amount of water you’ll need will surprise you.

Because you need it for cooking, cleaning, bathing, and consumption.

And if you’re in the summer’s heat, you’ll consume a lot of water.

So prepare for that.

And if you have any animals, like a dog or a cat, they also use water.

If you have farm animals, oh my goodness, now you got to provide for them.

The bottom line:

I’d rather have too much water than not enough.

So I go with 1 gallon per person per day.

6. Afraid Of Making Small Mistakes

The next mistake I see is funny because people are so afraid of making a mistake that they don’t move forward.

Since you’re reading this article, that might be you.

I wrote a post at TheResilientLife called Failure Is The Secret Sauce To Success.

And I truly believe that.

People overanalyze and plan to avoid ANY mistakes.

They’re so worried about mistakes they never move forward in a meaningful way.

But forward momentum is critical to success.

Sure, you want to avoid making mistakes but move forward after that.

And if you make a mistake, it’s okay.

You need to make sure your mistakes are not fatal.

For example:

Don’t spend every dollar you own on one mistake.

Instead, make small mistakes, learn from those mistakes, and keep going.

That’s the way we humans learn.

We make small mistakes and then adjust.

“Experts” tend to become experts by pushing forward through mistakes.

So don’t be afraid to make a few small prepping mistakes.

Prepper Checklist eBook Cover - with gas mask on a SHTF scenery background

Want a free 78 item prepper checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

7. Focusing On Only One Aspect Of Preparedness

People spend too much money or time on just one aspect of preparedness and resiliency.

It’s a broad topic, so you can’t spend only your energy and time on food.

Because you have water and communications and escape/evasion plans and on and on.

There are many preparedness topics, and you should time on each one.

And again, that’s why I compiled a list of 10 basic steps to preparedness.

I want to help you get your bases covered before you start going down the rabbit hole.

Deep diving too far into any given topic could consume all your time.

For example, you may decide that aquaponics solves all your problems.

And it could be an excellent solution for you.

But I want you to get your 10 basic steps in place before going down that rabbit hole.

Don’t get me wrong; I love aquaponics.

But that’s just one aspect of many things you can look at.

For example, there are topics such as:

I want to ensure that you have covered your bases before deep diving.

So make sure you’re spreading your time out in all the areas of preparedness.

8. Ending Up On Too Many Email Lists

The next prepping mistake I see too many folks make is ending up on too many email lists.

Perhaps you read an article on a survival site, and then there’s a pop-up, and they say, ” Oh, okay, I’ll put my email in.”

And then you go to another site, and there’s another pop-up or a scroll up.

The next thing you know, you’re on 10 or 15 different site email lists.

And I’ll be honest, most of these lists are not putting your best interests first.

You see, there are a lot of marketers in the survival space nowadays.

Their sole purpose is often to generate as much money off you as quickly as possible.

And they’re very good at convincing you,

“This is the exact course/item you need to solve all your problems.”

But it’s just not true.

Now, there are some good products out there and good people in the industry.

And I like to think that we’re one of them.

Sure, we’ll share some courses and items that make sense.

But we test and make sure the products are of high quality.

But there are a lot of people that don’t. Instead, they say,

“How much can I get paid to send this offer to their email list.”

And boom, they send it and make good money doing so.

But that leaves you feeling overwhelmed.

That’s why I recommend you sign up for only the lists that provide FREE value upfront.

It’s ok if they provide some courses and things that…

But only if they’re doing it in a way you can trust.

It’s not just blindly sending you stuff all the time.

We send offers, it’s true.

It’s a one-way we generate some money here at Skilled Survival.

That way, we can keep producing tons of FREE content for everybody.

But we also have a few products and courses to help you achieve your goals.

Prepper Checklist eBook Cover - with gas mask on a SHTF scenery background

Want a free 78 item prepper checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

9. Avoiding Intimidating Gear / Supplies

The next prepping mistake to avoid is investing in critical survival gear that seems too advanced.

A perfect example of this is a gas mask.

You see images of people with gas masks, and perhaps you feel only doomsday preppers buy those.

And to some folks, they look cool; for others, it can look scary and intimidating.

But gas masks are not that difficult to understand. We have a great post on gas masks to educate you.

And then, at the end of the post, we show you our favorite gas masks.

But it’s a very important piece of your basic preparedness starting plan.

For example:

What if there’s a chemical or nuclear attack, and the air you breathe is dangerous?

Or perhaps the next pandemic is 10 times more deadly than the one we just had.

In such a case, you’re not going to the grocery store with a face mask.

You’ll only go to the store if you have a gas mask.

Why? Because you’ll want to filter EVERYTHING through these masks.

And if you don’t own one, good luck getting one after the event happens.

A gas mask is something you need to buy ahead of time.

For example:

People tried to buy gas masks in March and April after the pandemic took root.

But they had to wait up to eight months for a gas mask.

So, if the pandemic was 10 times more deadly, you put your order in, and you’re dead before it arrives.

So don’t wait on gas masks.

Don’t be intimidated; it’s an important piece of critical gear.

Do some research, and then you can go ahead and buy a good one.

I recommend at least one per family if your budget’s tight.

If you can, get one for each family member with extra filters.

Jump Over River

10. Saying, “I’ll Never Bug Out.”

The next big prepping mistake I hear is when people say:

“I’m NEVER bugging out. No matter the crisis, I’m staying put in my house.”

And for the most part, you’re probably right.

But what happens if there’s a wildfire that gets out of control?

We’re talking about immediate evacuation.

That’s why you need a bug-out bag.

A bag of YOUR supplies you can grab out the door.

I’m talking about some:

You need a bag with supplies that are YOURS and only YOURS.

That way, you won’t depend on handouts or other people’s kindness.

You have a little bit of resiliency right there on your back.

Everyone should own one because you never know when you have to evacuate.

Now, some people are disabled, and some people don’t want to leave their prepper supplies.

But recently, folks in the last wildfire season decided not to leave.

And they perished because of it.

They loved their home and didn’t want to leave, but that’s foolish.

You can replace “stuff,” but not your life.

So grab your bag and get out of dodge until it clears.

Prepper Checklist eBook Cover - with gas mask on a SHTF scenery background

Want a free 78 item prepper checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

11. BONUS – Trying To Go It All Alone

The last prepping mistake I see people make is they try to go it all alone.

Now, my earlier mistake about oversharing, you’ve got to be careful about that.

You don’t want to overshare, but you don’t want to do this all alone.

For example:

I’m helping you avoid mistakes I’ve seen other people make.

And mistakes I’ve made myself.

Why? To make your path to resiliency smoother.

Going it alone will mean you’ll make way more mistakes than necessary.

It’s a really hard road to get from the point you’re at now to where you want to be alone.

My job is to help you reach your goals without wasting time, energy, or money in the wrong places.

That’s why I think the answer to the lone wolf mistake is to become a part of our community called The Resilient Life.

The Resilient Life

You should join our online community of like-minded people called, TheResilientLife.

Inside TheResilintLife, we’ve broken down each aspect of preparedness into different preparedness badges.

And underneath each badge are a list of prepping requirements.

These requirements are activities perform, and as you meet them, you get to check them off.

And what’s cool is that we keep track and give you a score as you check them off.

It’s called your readiness score.

You can go from 0 up to a 100 readiness score.

So as you get started, you can check off actions you’ve already done.

That way, you’ll get an accurate preparedness score you’re at today.

And then, you highlight some preparedness actions you want to focus on next.

And as you complete these next steps, you’ll see your score go up and up.

Perhaps you start at a score of, let’s say, 50, and then three weeks later, after you’ve done a few activities, you’re at 60.

And then, you focus on more actions and move up to an 80.

You’ll see your progress (and watch your resiliency) go up.

We’ve also tied The Resilient Life to a private group.

That way, you can share your successes or questions.

And these fellow preppers are there to help you.

It’s sharing of information to help you succeed.

When you have a question, they’re there to help and answer it and say, hey, this is how I did it, or this is how you can do it too.

And people are sharing some cool stuff with this private group.

For example, people are sharing their:

  • bug out evacuation plans
  • bug out bag supplies
  • the best prepper foods to store
  • the water storage containers they choose
  • etc.

These are real people sharing real information.

And it’s very cool to see.

So with TheResilientLife, you get to a tool that:

  1. Tracks your preparedness progress
  2. It helps you choose the next best preparedness actions to take
  3. Motivates you and holds you accountable via the community

So I think you should take a few minutes and check out TheResilientLife.

I believe it’s the best way to help you avoid as many prepping mistakes as possible.

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