Common Bits of Bad Advice

Quite often, when I see people who are new to prepping ask advice on where to begin, I see a lot of the same of what I feel is bad advice posted on social media. Here are some examples.

Buy survival food!

The fact is that dehydrated and freeze-dried food is expensive. It also isn’t the healthiest, as many varieties are packed with sodium, among other things. Sure, it’s better than starving, but there are other options. Your local grocery store is filled with shelf-stable foods, much of which your family probably is familiar with already, including canned goods, dry pasta, and rice. Not only do you know that this food will agree with everyone’s digestive system, it is far cheaper than a pallet of freeze-dried meals. Learn how to preserve food at home, too, so you can take advantage of sales as well as keep your own garden produce viable longer. Not to mention that home-preserved food is generally the healthiest option.

Pack a bug out bag!

Being prepared for an emergency evacuation makes sense, but for the vast majority of the population, at least here in the US, it isn’t all that common in the grand scheme of things, at least not at the scale many preppers seem to envision. Wildfires and hurricanes can get people moving, for sure, along with smaller scale situations like factory fires and train derailments. But in exactly none of those cases are we talking a complete societal breakdown, with residents heading for the hills and planning to never return. The reality is that, at least thus far in the entire history of the US, in an evacuation your best friends will be a working vehicle, a cell phone, and a wallet with cash and credit cards. A bag packed with some essentials is wise, to include spare clothes, some food and water, and such, but we’re not talking about running off to the forest to live off the land. Which leads us to….

Learn wilderness survival skills!

Now, I’m a huge fan of knowledge for the sake of knowledge and I love to learn new things, but to suggest to a newly minted prepper that they spend time and money mastering the one-stick fire and building debris huts is, I feel, a poor use of their limited resources. There are exceedingly few likely scenarios where trying to eke out a living in the forest will be the wisest option. This is one area of expertise that takes years of practice to get a good handle on it. I’m not suggesting these skills are worthless, far from it, I’m only talking about prioritizing. Pursuing bushcraft and such on the side, while working on other things, is a better approach.

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Before I get called on the carpet for being negative, here are my recommendations for where to begin. As always, I’m not suggesting this is THE answer, it is just AN answer.

–Do everything you can to get out of debt and build up emergency savings.

–Get in shape, lose excess weight (if needed) and build up both strength and endurance. Address any health issues with your physician.

–Work on building up a pantry, stocked with shelf-stable foods your family likes to eat. Don’t forget water (and water filtration) and other essentials like prescription medications, toilet paper, and feminine hygiene products.

–Don’t overlook your pets. Make sure they’ll have food, water, and other necessities.

That’s not everything, of course, but those are great starting points. Remember, you can’t do everything, not all at once, so you’ll need to prioritize. Take care of the most likely things first, then branch out from there.

 

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