Five Common Mistakes New Preppers Make and How to Avoid Them- Part 2, by S.M.

Practicing Poor Opsec (continued)

There are a lot of different ways to see if a person is receptive to prepping or whether they are sheep. Help those who ask for your help or are interested in becoming prepared. I actually put together an easy 30 day pantry list and have been asked for a copy by several people shortly after the “winter weather” discussion I mentioned earlier. They can easily grow from there on their own. Some other great topics that you can work around to a preparedness conversation that I like to use are:

  • Civil Unrest. Everyone is discussing and following politics right now, and I frequently hear people who worry about riots, civil unrest, and martial law.
  • The Economy. More people than I would have originally thought are concerned about the markets being artificially propped up or skewed data from the BLM. Many times these conversations lead to discussion of the possibility of a massive economic collapse, the fall of the petro dollar, and other related topics.
  • The Backpack Gun. I’m including this one because honestly I am surprised at how often it leads to connecting with like-minded folks. I am always in the market for good deals on guns. When I come across someone who trades or sells guns, I always tell them I’m in the market for a small caliber pistol just to throw in my backpack. Not only have I picked up a few deals on pistols this way, but I have on multiple occasions been met with a response like, “Oh yeah, I keep a bug out bag in my car and one at work” or “Everyone should have a reliable gun in their GOOD bag; I’ll see what I can find you” without me ever mentioning it was anything more than a backpack.

Those are all good conversation starters that allow you to quickly tell the mindset of the person you are talking too. If they aren’t on the same page as you, change the subject. They won’t ever think twice about it. If they are on the same page as you, proceed with caution but continue discussion; you may have just made a very valuable connection.

Another thing to think about, especially if you live and shop in a small town, is being aware of what you buy and how often you buy it. If you go down to a mom and pop grocery store and are buying 25 pounds of beans and rice every week or 100 rolls of toilet paper when you’ve never purchased those items in those quantities before, people are going to notice. Pick up a little here and there, if you are forced to buy it at your local grocery. We have a Sam’s Club 30 miles from our home, and it is well worth the time and membership to be able to go there. Buy in bulk, because that’s the way it comes at Sam’s and you don’t have someone who lives three blocks over from you ringing out your groceries wondering why you need so much dried food. This is obviously more prevalent in a small town. If you live in a large metropolitan area, then you have much bigger obstacles to figure out than what the grocery clerk thinks of your unusual purchase. Even in rural small town America, I won’t move preps into or out of their location during the daylight. It is tougher working in the dark, but it sure beats the prying eyes of neighbors and the random passersby. Always be conscious of how what you’re doing and buying looks to an outsider and do everything you possibly can to minimize your family’s exposure.

Not Having a Physical Library

Assembling a library of how-to books in the digital age is nearly effortless. I currently have over 1,000 digital books, all related to being prepared for a crisis and self sufficiency. Most of these I’ve found while researching specific subjects online. In the information age, it is so easy to find a plethora of information on any subject. Don’t take this for granted. All of my digital books are backed up on redundant systems. More importantly take into account the books that you reference the most, and make sure that you have printed copies. My physical library is nowhere near as expansive as my digital library, but the books that I reference most frequently are also available to me in printed form and with proper care will last a very long time. I cannot stress enough to you that no matter how many times you have your digital library backed up, you still absolutely need good old-fashioned printed books. Three of my most commonly referenced books that I own in both digital and print editions are:

Patriots: Surviving The Coming Collapseby James Wesley, Rawles

The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery

Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbookby David Werner, Carol Thurman, And Jane Maxwell.

Failure to Develop Skills

Food storage is finite, survival devices wear out eventually, and books deteriorate with age. In the end, the people who are best prepared will be the ones who took the time to develop their skills prior to the crisis. Develop your skills now, while you have every modern luxury available to you. The worst time to learn about gardening is when you and your family are depending on the harvest for your very survival. There is a plethora of survival items available for purchase in today’s marketplace, most of which are very useful but also, like every item manufactured today, has a limited lifespan.

It is my opinion (and I’m sure some readers will disagree with me here) that sooner or later prepping should evolve into self reliance. How do you know how much food to store to endure a crisis? You simply don’t. It is generally agreed upon that having a year’s supply for your household plus extra for charity is a reasonable goal. However, a year can go by very fast and the changes that come about in those twelve months may not necessarily be for the better. Year two could be much worse than the first. If you only prepared for a year at worst and didn’t take the time to develop critical skills when you had the chance, you very likely won’t see the end of year two. Work towards educating yourself while you have abundant resources at your fingertips. After you study a particular area then put what you learned to use. Below are some ideas of key skills to learn:

  • Gardening. Study gardening this fall, and follow up by planting a garden in the spring. You may not think you have room for a garden, but a great deal can be learned by maintaining even the smallest container gardens.
  • Automotive maintenance and repair. Learn to work on your own cars, and do your own repairs and diagnostics when you can.
  • Lifestock care and management. More and more places are allowing backyard hens. If you live in a place that does, then get a few and raise them for meat and eggs. The same is true with rabbits. They are easy to keep in even the smallest yards. If that’s not a possibility, ask around about local farmers who might let you help around their farm so you can learn the ins and outs of keeping livestock. I know very few farmers who would pass up the opportunity to have an extra hand around on the weekends.
  • Outdoor cooking. You could build a solar oven and begin using it this weekend, or perhaps build a cob oven with your family over the next few weekends and use it to cook your next batch of homemade pizza.
  • Water collection and purification. Set up a rainwater collection system and learn the different methods for purification, boiling, distillation, chlorination, ceramic filtration, et cetera. (If you have built a solar oven, then you could also build a solar still.)
  • Firearm proficiency. Become proficient with your firearms. Yes, ammo is expensive, but missing your target in a life or death situation is more expensive. If you already own a firearm and are anything less than proficient in its use, then you are simply allowing the possession of a tool to provide you with a false sense of security. Train often and stay sharp.

Not developing these and other critical skills could, in the worse case, cost your life and your loved one’s lives. At best, it will make for a very stressful transition period with lots and lots of trial and error. The more self reliant you are the better prepared you are.

God blessed you with the ultimate survival tool and placed it right between your ears. It’s up to you to make the most use of it.