12 Bad Strategies That Will Get Preppers Killed

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By the author of Be Ready for Anything and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted

If you’re involved in the preparedness lifestyle, you’re probably into planning. Most likely, you research and study the excellent preparedness strategies put out by experts. Whether we prepare for incidents small or large, we all ponder what we’d do if something world-as-we-know-it-ending went down.

The trouble is, a lot of the plans that get made are more likely to get you killed than to save you. And people post these plans online, then new preppers read them and think, “Wow, what a great idea.”

I really love being involved in the preparedness lifestyle. I get to meet and correspond with lots of like-minded, down-to-earth people.  We have those awesome conversations that you just can’t have with the checker at the grocery store cash register.  I get to engage in email and social media discussions too, the likes of which would never occur with my second cousin who thinks that missing a pedicure appointment is a disaster worthy of government intervention.

But sometimes, I kind of cringe. Not all preparedness plans are well-thought out and practiced. In fact, there are several recurring themes that I hear or read that are not good ideas for most preppers, and I bet that many of you reading have also privately rolled eyes at one of the following strategies. (Or maybe even  publicly.)

I’m truly not trying to be mean when I share them with you here, nor am I trying to say that I’m the Queen Prepper of the Universe, who knows absolutely everything.  I’d just like you to consider the variables if one of these plans happens to be your default strategy.

Note: Some people really are ultramarathoners, expert hunters, ex-special forces, and super-farmers. If you are one of those folks, this article may not be for you. If you already regularly practice these skills, this article may not be for you. If you do nothing but talk about these ideas and daydream about your action-hero future, this article IS for you.

Bad Strategy #1: “I’ll just hunt and live off the land.”

Oh my gosh. No, you probably won’t. You might try to hunt, but guess what? Loads of other people have this same idea.  Unless you live hundreds of miles from civilization, the population of deer and wild turkeys will be quickly decimated in an event that renders the food delivery system inoperable.

Furthermore, hunting is not as easy as simply wandering into the woods, taking aim with a rifle, and popping a wandering buck in the head. Have you ever hunted? Have you done so recently, and by recently I mean within the past year? Have you ever field dressed an animal? Can you hit a moving target? Do you know how to set up snares? Do you know how to butcher and preserve meat? Are you in good enough shape to drag a 200-pound  carcass through the woods?

If you can’t say yes to every single question listed here, hunting should probably not be your go-to plan for feeding your family.

Bad Strategy #2: “I’ll go into the woods and live there.”

This is closely related to Bad Strategy #1.

But it’s worse. Living in the wilderness is not going to be a marshmallow roast. First off, there are no marshmallows out there. Just lots of predators and food that has to be killed and skinned before you can eat it.

In this strategy, people like to talk about their proximities to a national forest. “There are thousands of acres, just on the other side of my fence.”

Okay. But when is the last time you went into that forest more than a few miles on foot?  Did you spend more than a couple of nights there? Was the weather inclement? What are your local predators (not including the human variety)?  Do you have a camping kit that you can carry in on foot? Will your children and spouse be able to also carry supplies? Are you planning to build a house with some tarps and a Swiss Army knife? What will you eat and drink? Are you adept at foraging in your area? For how long can you actually survive on what you can carry?  How are your First Aid skills and what supplies will you have?  Can you handle the loneliness? And what about the other, perhaps less than moral, individuals that have the same idea? Have you ever lit a fire with wet wood?  Have you ever camped, outside of a campground area? What if it rains? In many climates, getting wet is a death sentence.

Bad Strategy #3: “I’ll bug out on foot for 73 miles through the mountains, even though I don’t regularly exercise.”

If bugging out on foot is one of your plans, I’d like to suggest you pick a clear day, put on a loaded backpack and some hiking boots, and go for a practice hike to your location.  Go ahead. I’ll wait here.

This one really bothers me. There is a large contingent of armchair preppers who have this idea. However, they don’t exercise regularly. They look back 20-30 years to their high school or military glory days, when they played football, ran track, or had a drill sergeant screaming right behind them as they ran. Just because you were once very physically fit, that doesn’t mean you are still able to hike up a mountain in bad weather with a 50 pound kit on your back.

This is a classic recipe for a heart attack, by the way. Extreme over-exertion. High-stress situation. High-sodium, easily packable food. Out-of-shape person. A few miles into the journey, particularly if it includes a steep climb, the person will experience a pounding heart, dizziness, and faintness, as the body tries to shut down to protect itself from the unaccustomed demands.  If the physical stress continues, the heart won’t be able to keep up with the demand to pump blood. Game. Over.

Embarking on an overly ambitious bug-out journey can endanger not only you, but the people making the trek with you.  What if you have a heart attack halfway up the mountain?  What if you have an asthma attack? What if you injure your out-of-shape self? Who is going to help you? If the situation is bad enough that you’re bugging out, you aren’t likely to be airlifted to a hospital for medical care.  Will someone put their own safety at risk to hang out with you while you recover, thus forcing the family to divert to Bad Strategy #2?

I’m not trying to talk anyone into staying in a bad situation when bugging out ould be the wiser course of action (like in Bad Strategy #11). But if your bug out route is a long distance or over difficult terrain, you need to get out there and start training before you put the lives of everyone in your team or family at risk.

Bad Strategy #4: “I don’t need a group. I’m going to go it alone.”

Ah, the rugged loner.

This is not a winning plan for many reasons.  Being with a group, even a small one, has many benefits. As Scott, from Graywolf Survival, wrote:

Humans started banding together to survive millions of years ago. They did this for one thing: because there’s safety in numbers. If you live by yourself, you can’t collect food, improve your fighting position, patrol the area, chop wood, filter water, and be on all sides of your property – all at once. Plus, you have to devote a large amount of your day to sleeping each night. And besides, who are you gonna bitch to about your day if you’re all alone?

…Even a small group of 12 has a HUGE advantage to defending an area and continuing on with other operations at the same time. With an adequate number of personnel, not only can you have a rotation of assignments to support 24 hour operations, you can afford people to specialize in certain tasks. This specialization increases the efficiency of the group overall (synergy) and was one of the largest reasons why we developed into a society.

It isn’t just enough to have a team, either. You need to train with your team, tactically, with an expert if possible.  And by training, I’m not talking about going out to play paintball in the woods. Max Velocity, author and founder of a combat school in West Virginia explains:

‘Tacticool’ training is not only designed to simply make you look and feel good, but more insidiously it will give you the idea that you are tactically trained and proficient, when you are not. It is the sort of training that will give you enough to really get yourself in trouble. For example, basic marksmanship and square range training have a solid place in the training progression, but you must move beyond the static range to tactical field firing training in order to be tactically trained. You have to understand how to operate your weapons ‘out in the wild,’ and to maneuver in real environments. Often the problem with ‘tacticool’ training is that among the instructors there is not the experience or facility to move beyond the square range, and there is only so much you can do, so instructors make stuff up that may in fact be disadvantageous to your heath. At Max Velocity Tactical the tactical ranges have been designed out in the woods and utilize electronic pop-up targets, bunkers and other such training aids to bring a realistic tactical environment, This allows a certain amount of stress and battle inoculation to be brought to the students in training. And critically, this is all done in a safe and practical manner. (You can read the rest of his interview HERE)

Maybe you only have a handful of people you trust. Maybe you only want to be with other military dudes. Keep in mind that there are things that you will need in an SHTF scenario that are a bit kinder and gentler.  It’s not just about brute force and protecting the camp or retreat. It’s about food, building a future, farming, sitting down, and even relaxing from time to time. Not every moment in a situation like that will be like a scene from an action-adventure movie.  We’ll still eat dinner, read a book, talk with others, sleep, and have relationships.

Bad Strategy #5: “I don’t need to store food, I’ll just take everyone else’s because I’m a bad-ass.”

Who can forget that episode of Doomsday Preppers that was shared all over preparedness social media and websites, in which a redneck and his team of merry marauders discussed their plans to take everything that preppers living nearby had stored away?

I wrote about Tyler Smith and his plan a couple of years ago:

Most preppers, Smith says, are concerned with marauders taking their supplies. It’s not an unfounded fear, he says.

“We are those people,” he says. “We’ll kick your door in and take your supplies. … We are the marauders.”

We’re not in it to stockpile. We’re in it to take what you have and there’s nothing you can do to stop us,” Tyler Smith says. “We are your worst nightmare, and we are coming.”

Smith, 29, is the leader of Spartan Survival. The group has more than 80 dues-paying members. Smith founded the organization in 2005 to train and prepare others on survivalism.

Smith (a paroled felon who incidentally went back to jail shortly after his televised waving around of firearms) might be a joke, but you can’t ignore the danger of groups with similar plans.  This yahoo had 80 people on board with him, for crying out loud. And if you happen to have such a plan, you should probably realize that those of us who are really prepared won’t stand around wringing our hands and crying when you come to attempt to relieve us of our supplies. We’ve prepared for people like you, too. The post-SHTF life expectancy of those who plan to survive using Bad Strategy #5 will probably be a short one.  You might manage to raid a few people’s retreats (particularly those using Bad Strategy #4, but if the situations is WROL (without rule of law), it’s pretty much a given that the justice which will be meted out by the intended victims will be swift and final.

Bad Strategy #6: “I have lots of weapons and tools. I’ve never used them. But I have them.”

Do you have prepper tools that are still in the box?  How often do you make it to the shooting range?  When’s the last time you actually felled a tree then chopped firewood?  When did you do it without a chainsaw?

There are loads of different examples that I could give about tools that just sit there in their boxes, awaiting their moment of glory when it all hits the fan. For the purposes of Bad Strategy #6, I’m including firearms as a tool.  Skill with an axe is not a given.  Accurate aim doesn’t stay with you if you don’t practice. Have you ever attempted to pressure can over an open fire? Even building a fire is not easy if you’ve only done it once or twice. (See Bad Strategy #9 for details.)

Not only is it vital to practice using your tools during good times, when you have back-up options available, but you need to test your tools to be sure that they operate as intended. I once purchased a water filtration system for use during off-grid situations. It was missing an essential gasket.  Without that gasket, it would be totally useless. Sure, I could have tried to MacGuyver something, but the point of buying all of this stuff is to save your MacGuyvering for things you don’t have. Because I checked out my tool before I needed it, I was able to send it back and get a replacement.

Bad Strategy #7: “I don’t store food. I store seeds.”

I really love gardening and have stored an abundance of seeds. Seeds are a very important thing to store. However, if you store them to the exclusion of food, you’re going to have a really bad time.

The problem with depending on seeds for your food supply is that Stuff Happens. Stuff like droughts. Stuff like aphids. Stuff like blossom-end rot. Stuff like the thrice-damned deer that managed to get past your fence.

Furthermore, if this is your plan, have you grown a garden recently? Have you produced food on your current property or your retreat property? Do you have a compost system? Have you developed your soil?  First year gardens almost never produce what you expect them to. Do you know how much produce your family will consume in a year? How are you at food preservation? What about off-grid food preservation?

Because of these concerns, a garden should not be a stand-alone survival plan. It is a vital part of a long-term preparedness scenario, but you must also be prepared for the potential of failure.

Bad Strategy #8: “I’ll just run a generator and continue on like nothing ever happened.”

Generators are loud, smelly, and finite.

If you want to bring attention to yourself in the midst of a down-grid scenario, the surest way to do it is to be the only house in the area with lights blazing in every window. Generators are commonly stolen, because they’re impossible to hide, rumbling away beside your house. A person following Bad Strategy #5 would be likely to think that if you have a generator with extra fuel, you might have some other awesome stuff that they’d want too.

It goes further than simply drawing attention to yourself though.  Gas, diesel, and propane generators can be dangerous. They can produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly, so if the plan were to enclose it to deter thieves, it could be deadly. Trying to power your entire house by backfeeding while still hooked up to local utilities could endanger the lives of neighbors or utility workers. Refilling a generator that has not completely cooled is a fire hazard. Make sure that your generator doesn’t fall into the category of Bad Strategy #6.  There’s more to it than simply flipping a switch and having  power.  You need to learn to operate and maintain the generator long before you have to rely on it.

Keep in mind, if you do opt to use a generator, that this is not a long-term solution. There’s only so much fuel that anyone can store. Eventually, it’s going to run out, and if your plan was completely dependent on being able to run a generator, what will you do then? My personal preparedness plan is to revert to a low-tech lifestyle that doesn’t require electricity.

Bad Strategy #9:  “I’ll just use my fireplace for cooking and heating.”

This is one that I learned about the hard way, myself. A few years ago, my daughter and I moved from the city to a cabin in the north woods of Ontario, Canada.  I figured that with a giant lake at our disposal, a well, our supplies, and a woodstove, we’d have all we needed to surive an extended power outage.

Unfortunately for us, born and raised in the city, lighting a fire and keeping it going was not that easy. The mere presence of a fireplace or woodstove does not warmth create. It took me an entire month of daily trial, error, and frustration to master a fire that would warm the house. I also learned that cooking on a woodstove was not as easy as sitting a pot on top of it. Dampers had to be adjusted, heat had to be increased, and the food required far more monitoring than expected. The year we spent there taught us more than we ever imagined about what we didn’t know.

If using your fireplace or woodstove is part of your survival plan, how much wood do you have? Is it seasoneed and dry? Can you acquire more? Have you actually chopped wood before? Recently?  When is the last time you prepared food using your stove or fireplace?

The good news is, you can make this strategy work, as long as you don’t go all Bad Strategy #6.  Ramp up your wood supply and begin using your fireplace or woodstove on a regular basis to work out the bugs in your plan now.

Bad Strategy #10: “I’m going to hunker down in the city and scavenge what I need.”

This is a terrible idea on so many levels it’s hard to know where to start.

First of all, when utilities are interrupted, those in large metropolitan areas are left with few options. It’s hard to dig a latrine in the concrete jungle. Remeber when New York was hit by Superstorm Sandy? People were defecating in the halls of apartment buildings to try and keep their own apartments moderately sanitary. Unfortunately, sewage built up in the pipes and spewed into apartments, filling them with deadly human waste.

Store shelves will quickly be emptied before and after disasters, leaving little to scavenge.  If you happen across the wrong place, you’re likely to be shot by a property owner defending his or her goods. If you wait too long to evacuate, roadways will be blocked, and you can end up being a refugee, with no option but camps. Cities will be populated with desperate people, some of whom were criminals before the disaster struck. Even those who were friendly neighbors before the disaster can turn on you, because desperation can turn anyone into a criminal in order to feed their families.

Highly populated areas without outdoor space will quickly become death traps in the wake of a disaster.

Bad Strategy #11: “I’ve got my supplies, and now I don’t need to think about gloom and doom.”

Some people like to stock their goods and then forget about preparedness.  They don’t like to consider the threats they might face.  But mentally preparing for disasters is a very important step. I recently made a list of prepper movies (you can find it here) and suggested that they be used to run scenarios in your head.

This very vital step can help you to do the most important thing when a disaster occurs: accept that it has actually happened. The prepper mindset is one of problem-solving and flexibility.

It’s a unique way of looking at a situation, assessing the options, and acting that defines the prepper mindset. Think about any stressful situation that has ever happened to you.  Once you accepted the fact that it had happened you were able to set a course of action. Once you had definitive steps to take, you probably felt much calmer. You took control of the things you could, and you executed your plan.  Only by taking that first step – accepting that this mishap had indeed occurred – could you take the next two.

By refusing to consider the things that could happen, you run the risk of being unable to immediately accept it when it does happen. This sets you up for a very dangerous period of hesitation that could mean a death sentence for you and those who depend on you.

Bad Strategy #12: We’ll set up a perimeter and shoot anyone who breaches it.

With folks like the ones who intend to practice Bad Strategy #5 around, it’s no wonder that some people intend to practice Bad Strategy #12.

However, there are a few reasons that this is a bad idea.

First, instead of just protecting you, this can actually make you a target. Less than ethical people may start to wonder what you are protecting so stringently, and may work to develop a plan to overtake you. Alternatively, more ethical people may decide they don’t want a group like yours in the area and plan to forcibly evict you.  If the situation doesn’t start off like the wild west, people who adhere to this Bad Strategy will turn it into that scenario.

And finally, the real kicker: those who survive some life-changing event will be the new founders of our society.  Do you really want to live in a place where people have to shoot first and ask questions later?  How we choose to live will set the course for how we continue to live.

There’s time to adjust your plan.

There’s good news, though, if I just peed all over your favorite plan.

There’s still time to make adjustments to make your plan more workable.  You can brush up on your hunting and foraging skills. You can start an exercise plan so you don’t die when hiking.  You can test out your tools and find your weak points. You can adjust your plan to be more ethical. You may not need to chuck the plan altogether but merely test and modify it.

The key with all things preparedness is to practice, to drill, and to make it your lifestyle. Work out the bugs now, while back-up is as close as the hardware store or grocery store.  Get yourself mentally prepared to accept the situation and change your plans on a dime if necessary.

Finally,  consider the kind of world you want to live in. If there was a giant reset, those who survive would pave the path for a different society. By our plans and actions, we can create a different type of world. One with justice, kindness, ethics, and freedom.

Right now, our society is led by criminal corporations, sell-out politicians, and thugs, both in and out of uniform. I’d like to believe that we can do better.

Resources to help you build a better plan:

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival

Rapid Fire!: Tactics for High Threat, Protection and Combat Operations

The Prepper’s Canning Guide

The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months

Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary

Picture of Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • I have commented on several posts on various sites mentioning many of the things in your article. I am old enough that about the only thing I will bug out for is wildfire and that will be in a vehicle. Our home place would be considered a retreat by most preppers but was begun before I ever heard the term “prepper” because we likt the rural lifestyle and anticipated a löw income retirement.
    If TSHTF in a big way long term survival and beginning a new social order are the name of the game. If you look at any of the aboriginal socities, community is what makes survival possible. Banishment is often a death sentence. I have some trustworthy neighbors and have good hope of extended family joining us in an extreme situation. I have a large garden project but I don’t have energy and time enough to raise everything we eat. In a bad siuation incoming family and sharing with friends could provide the labor to expand the gardens to restock stored supplies over time.
    We hunt and fish and would put more effort in that direction in an extreme situation. sStill and all the salmon only run for a couple months and there are only a few moose so agriculture is still the mainsty.
    My advice is to do the activities you will need to survive regularly, use your tools and enjoy the doing, keep a good stock of supplies to keep you going and know your neighbors and family

  • President Obama’s most searched Executive Orders

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  • Wow Daisy, You have come such a long way with your aspirations. Congratulations on your awesome articles, and common sense approach to prepping ! Miss ya

  • Don’t bring these logical points up to the SHTF site, boy they will ream you good! A lot of this stuff is just plain common sense, but staunch preppers think they have it all worked out! Oh well, they will have to learn the hard way I guess?

  • You hit all the major bug out “boo boos” …. one that never gets discussed …. “I’m never coming home again” ….

    very little discussion ever about prepping the home for a return after the SHTF … a whole new domestic & personal SHTF to experience …. just shutting off the water can evert a major disaster …

    • Great point, Illini Warrior. In fact, shutting off other utilities is also important: gas lines and water mains too. You don’t want a build-up of natural gas or raw sewage backing up because the municipal system had a glitch during the disaster.

  • Loved the LOGICAL sense of this article. Yes, cities & suburbs may be impossible to survive during a food, water, money & infrastructure failure. That’s why I moved on some acres in a rural area.

    I’ve been web-searching, TRYING to learn HOW many Square feet (or sq. meters) a garden needs to be, to sustain ONE person for 365 days. It’s the impossible question because it varies widely due to soil conditions, water, growing Zone, pests, etc.

    Some places suggest it’s possible to sustain 1 person annually with 1,000 sq. FT of space. Some say it can be done with less, some say it requires more.

    One good bit of info, was that it is good to plan on having 150 Quarts of canning jars per person per year. Got that from here= (and other great info.)

    Planting some fruit & nut trees (and perennial food plants, such as Asparagus, berries, vines, tubers, etc will reduce some of your workload per meal.)

    In colder climates, fewer growing days. Hot climates need more water, etc.

    Pest & Disease control will become vital, and even the ORGANIC or Permaculture people may be wise to have some bad-boy chemical resources on hand to survive the un-forseen PEST apocalypse that may hit you someday.
    I prefer “organic-natural solutions”, but if some “pest apocalypse” arrives, I don’t wish to starve to death just because I refuse to use some chemicals during a surprise bug or disease attack.

    Surviving from hunting-gathering is not workable, FORGET about it. It’s for the movies, and not for real life. I can see that solar cooking, heating & power generation (and water pumping) is looking more and more important. Gas or diesel generators are a dead end. I don’t know of anybody but farmers or oil companies who store 100 gallons or more of fuel.
    That’s how much you’d need to run just a few hours each day for year. Give it up.

    Solar panels make NO noise, have NO moving parts, never need a rebuild kit, and never need to be “re-filled” with fuel. Don’t need a tune up, don’t need to be started on cold or rainy days, etc. (think of how hard it would be for an “arthritic, 80 year old crippled retiree to hand yank a 5kw gas generator on a cold, dark, rainy night”? I think we ALL plan on living past 50,, so you’d better think about EASY power options, (ones that don’t require fuel or work.)

    • Solar is nice.
      Has a lot of benefits.
      But has one draw back: dependency on THE SUN.
      We recently went four days without any appreciable sunlight, overcast skies. Forecast has another four or five days without sunlight, rain, snow, sleet. Keep in mind, in a post-SHTF event, Weather Channel, Accuweather, NOAA are all likely gone.
      Solar can be good if you live in an area where there is predictable/given amounts of sunlight.
      For all those other places, have a backup or three.
      Does not matter how many square feet of solar array you have, no sun, that chicken is not cooking, no heat, not even hot water.
      Sure, some would point out all you need is a battery bank.
      How big to last for a week or more of no sun days?
      Throw money at anything and it is doable.
      But most dont have that kind of money.
      Look at your particular situation and make the best judgment call.
      Keep in mind, if you live in a higher latitude or altitude where snow happens, ya gotta clean off the panels of snow for sun to hit them.

    • solar panels require batteries which if youre very experienced can last 5 years they also require charge controllers and inverters which will get smoked with emp along with panels they also dont really work very many places to be of much use and spare me the reply i have lived off grid 32 years

      • Vlad, most of these people are armchair quarterbacks living in fantasy land. They’re living in cities and suburbs, and will fare no better than those around them when TSHTF- in fact, they will likely be the first to die or be captured, because they will have so much stuff, and be trying to travel right at the height of the event or soon after.

    • I agree with some of your points, here is some advice

      1. Shut off main breaker to your bug out location before backfeeding. It will disconnect your location from the electric grid.

      2. It is possible to make a sound proof box with intake and exhaust holes so that the generator can run without making much noise. Look it up on YouTube several people have successfully build these boxes.

      3. Generators can be made to run on a wide variety of fuels, gasoline, natural gas, propane, methanol. It can even run on wood, and anything that burns, using a wood gas generator. This can allow one to have a nearly inexhaustible supply, depending where one lives.

  • More hype to sell website traffic and storable food. The system will fail between 2020 and 2030.

    Done look at these fear websites anymore.

    • Looks like Ken didn’t read the article! I didn’t see a thing about selling. Yes, it was a bit of a clickbaitish-appearing headline, but the article had awesome information and great value within it.

  • You have made several point that I had made in the article I wrote before reading yours. Below is what I wrote. Thanks for your very good post. I re-posted on several blogs I visit.

    On Ark Building

    I subscribe to a financial newsletter that is written by a gentleman who is much attuned to the financial markets as well as political trends among other things. His latest letter came via email this morning and he mentioned that one of his readers thanked him for helping him build his boat and it went like this: “lots of people can predict that rain is coming, but few tell us how to build the boat” Pretty good analogy? Think about that quote for a moment. I pondered that for a bit and related the quote to the prepper community. I find that many are predicting rain and very few are explaining how to build the Ark.
    Many of you have constructed “something” and know the work that goes into the preparation before a saw or hammer is brought out of the tool box. Building your survival Ark is no different. Starting with a blue print (plan) and acquiring some do-it-yourself skill sets, tools, equipment, materials and most likely- help. Does this sound familiar to you? An assessment and inventory of skills and “materials” may be in order.
    We, in the prepper/patriot community must use a rational and a common-sense approach to address the coming rain; whatever that may be and the rain may come in the form of a financial reset (most likely), climate/cosmic, or political (including war). It is my opinion is that one event may set off one or all of the other events resulting in civil unrest. You must have many skill sets into order to sustain and put into practice those skills. No one person can know or do everything so your reliance on others or community is crucial to the survival of you and your loved ones. One such book that should be a must have is “A Failure of Civility” written by Mike Garand and Jack Lawson- former combat Special Ops soldiers. It is NOT a military handbook. Another one is Selco’s SHTFPlan.com school. They are blueprints on how to build an Ark with others- community. Seeking groups and trainers to build lacking skill sets is imperative. Lone-wolf survivor thinkers will not last long in a major collapse unless they are mentally and materially sufficient in my honest opinion. Another aspect to consider: does your immediate family have “buy-in” to your blue print? Are they onboard with your plans and are they contributors? Dwell on that a bit. If it starts “raining” , will they accept it and follow your lead? Your survival may depend on your answer.
    This then begs the question: what are you doing and what kind of Ark are you building?

  • Just wanted to say #9 is not true. It’s not that hard and not as big a deal as you make it. But I would think you still have to worry about the smoke factor. When people see smoke, they will come. Just like generator noise.
    Learn how to make or buy a rocket stove that basically doesn’t produce any smoke. You can make one out of a paint can if you have to.
    And remember you can see a match a mile away in the dark. So make sure that doesn’t happen.
    Also remember this saying. “We walk on our food.” Weeds are all around and 99% of the people will die lay on top of their food. So learn what weeds and plants you can eat. And you can juice common ole everyday grass. Get a hand cranked juicer.

  • Fabulous points about “Shutting Off the utilities” in your home to protect it from problems such as electrical fires, gas leaks and water pipe failures (or scrappers taking water pipes but they don’t shut off the water.)

    Here’s a BIG one. Have some HYDRAULIC Cement handy,, so you can mix up some batches to PUT into the FLOOR drains (including any floor mounted toilets).

    That’s the fast, dirty, damaging way to seal your drains,, but if you are SMART, you’ll PRE-Purchase the REMOVABLE rubber FLOOR drain PLUGS that are available at some hardware stores or online. Don’t forget to lift the toilet and plug THAT pipe TOO.

    Then,, it’s EASY to remove them later when everything is OK again, and you won’t have to dig up the floor and install / repair the cemented drains.

    This is because “when the grid goes down” (even just temporary), or when the city sewer pumping system goes down (or local floods).. you don’t want all the local sewage to start backing up from all your floor drains and making your home into a sewage storage pool and unsafe to live in (and must be torn down).

    Even if you are going to be “Bugging-in” and staying home, if you have not installed special sewer shut off valves,, you’re going to be forced to FILL all your floor drains with hydraulic cement (or at least some fast setting concrete mix) to protect your home from all the local sewage.

    Yes, you won’t be able to use your toilets or sinks unless you replumb them to drain into some back yard septic system or other alternative.

    After the crisis is over and civilization is back to normal in your area, you’ll have to repair these plugged up pipes.

    Even if you do buy the removable rubber plugs,,, but those MUST be installed while everything is still DRY,, BEFORE the sewage starts “back flowing”.. and if you are a little too late,, you’ll have to mix up the hydraulic cement and shove it into the pipes as the sewage is flowing up,, hold it here till it “sets”. Rubber gloves, face mask, rubber boots, will be needed, and PLENTY of bleach for disinfecting.

    If you catch it during the first few gallons of SLOW backups,, you’ll be ok,, but you’d be amazed how quickly 100 gallons will come up from a failed city sewage system!!!

    • Craig, in regard to using the removable & adjustable drain plugs …. be ready to back them up with a cut 2 X 4 from plug to ceiling …. the hydraulic pressure from the sewer back up could be intense ….

      for the toilets there’s a bolt down plate & gasket that’s readily available for the standard toilet floor flanges … it’s your best bet

    • Craig’s recommendation “PRE-Purchase the REMOVABLE rubber FLOOR drain PLUGS” goes by the trade name Cherney Plug. They are inserted into the drain and then filled with compressed air to seal them against the walls of the pipe. They come in all sizes, the smaller ones don’t require more than a bicycle tire pump to inflate.

  • Not to sound rude, but it seems that You refer more to someone like yourself in this article. There are some of us “country folk” That can do almost everything on your list. It is a way of life, hunting, canning, wooodstove, cookstove etc, etc, Butchering, raising chickens.Growing food……

    • Hi, Marine43.

      You make an excellent point, and it actually underlines what I’m trying to say. If this is NOT your regular lifestyle, but is still your default plan when a disaster occurs, you are very likely to have a difficult time. Lots of people feel like these things will just come to them naturally, but they are skills that need to be acquired if you didn’t grow up doing them. 🙂

    • Marine43,
      I agree with you, but only to a degree.
      I live out here in the country too. And I have a lot of the knowing. But I did not get there overnight. Back in the day, I was a useless eater. Learned to raise livestock. Learned how to raise, slaughter, butcher, and process a hog. Got a book on that, three actually.
      Point is, everyone has to start somewhere.


  • Terrific article! The 1st rule of prepping should always be “prep yourself”… One must have mind & body in good condition… get healthy, learn & practice skills, be aware.
    Another point about living off the land or hunting & foraging… Suddenly switching your diet foraged foods will likely make one ill. Our bodies are no longer equipped to tolerate wild or undomesticated foods so start adding them to your diet. If you are planning on supplementing your food supply with foraged foods you really need to practice foraging in your chosen area, then actually prepare & consume these food stuffs. Foraging is labor intensive & the preparation is often time consuming before you have somthing the won’t make you ill.

  • What a sensible article, thank you. You covered all the bases. The things that runs through all these, I think, is to “prep yourself,” as Maria said.

  • We agree on so many levels. I have written and talked about how many of these strategies are bad as well. Your post made me smile, but sadly there will always be people who will hold to these bad ideas until it is too late.

  • Poorly written article in my opinion.

    Takes gernic ideas and acts as if people do not know how to deal with them. Just another “Preppers Shouldn’t do this because I dont know how to do this” article that offers absolutley no benificial information.

    For example generaters come in all shapes and sizes. I was a generator mechanic in the USMC and on deployments we were able to keep quite amd run power when needed without added noise.

    Not one thing mentioned in this article is a “dont do” they are all just things you should know how to do when its oracticle when its not. Its all situational based and can all be dealt with by propperly “prepping” mind, body and equipment

    • Hi CT –

      You’re absolutely right – this is not one-size-fits-all. But I think you missed the main point of the artice. What I’m addressing here is the supposition that all of these things are perfectly easy courses of action to those not already taking them.If you are an absolute beginner, surviving using these strategies is not likely to be successful.

      You summed it up in your last paragraph. The point is that you need to be getting in shape now, learning to grow food now, and learning the skills you need to survive now. After a disaster, it will be too late to address the learning curve.

  • Good article. I almost commented on #7 and the seeds thing, then I remembered some of my friends who grow and never preserve food. Then again, they don’t keep their seeds either. I will say that just a big of a mistake is storing food with no means to produce more, everything runs out sooner or later. Stocking food with no idea how to replenish it is planning to fail. Buying stuff with toxic ingredients is also not a good move. If food will be hard imagine health care.

    You are 100% correct on there is no promise of a garden production each year, especially for the inexperienced. Different soils require different things, which will also be in short supply, so knowing what your soil will produce best and how to do it is paramount to your garden’s success. That means wisdom from practice. Books will give one knowledge but practice gives on wisdom… just after you needed it.

    Also there is the real threat that growing will be illegal, so knowing what plants can be grown in the shade or middle of the woods is a big thing to know. What can you grow and hide in plain sight.

  • Good idea about pointing out that some need to reconsider things. Not so good in that you offer no real solutions. Not sure what your background is, but I can tell you from experience that some of these points were on target but needed a little more guidance. I was in special operations command for 10yrs and went to SERE school and have been in places with absolutely nothing i needed and had people trying to kill me. Even if people were to start going to the range and practicing with their guns, most still wont be ready. From almost every video i have seen, people are practicing improper techniques that will eventually get them hurt or killed. There are some people who have been in the suck and made it out alive. They then teach others their proven tactics which are then implemented later in battle all to be revised. The evolution of war. Even if the regular person gets practice tips from a champion target shooter, they will not be ready when those targets shoot back. That leads into the not being able to make it alone point. Those who can’t, need to be with those who can, but need to be able to provide other skills. So, instead of trying to perfect something they may not be able to do when the time comes, just get firmiliar with weapon systems, and spend more time learning other areas that will be beneficial to a group. The live off the land thing is the same. If you are not well versed in survival, be with those who are. All in all, the best way, in my opinion, is to network and establish protocols now. Its hard to get in where you fit in when SHTF, so get a rough plan and network in place now. Constantly revise your plans, and continue to learn. No plan ever survives the first shot. So if you have SOPs,(Standard Operating Procedures) in place, then you should be able to adapt to most things. After all, this is prepping right? So prepare and establish networks now.
    This wasnt a comment meant to be taken as negative. It was just to provided further guidance on some pretty important tips that you gave.

  • It is my belief the #1 and #2 in any preparedness plan would be strength in will and 2 character. I do plan but I also believe if you have those you stand a chance in making it. Yes there will be alot of trial and error but these are the people that show is all. So long way around the bush but most of these mistakes you are talking about can be ok for some. Thank you

  • Just a little comment on #2, not only will there be no wild turkeys and deer left, I’m pretty sure there won’t be any dogs, cats, squirrels, mice, rats, birds, raccoons, fish and anything else considred edible, for miles and miles around.

  • Ok, I understand some of these things are plainly stupid if you actually thought they would work. Secondly if you are a city slicker who is use to washing machines and electric stoves then most likely. You will die because you know jack shit. Another thing I understand simply hunting for survival is not plausible alone when you have other people with the same idea however more than likely they don’t know how to hunt and will shoot themselves before ever hitting the broadside of a deer. Yes I hunt. Every year. Yes I have weapons that I use regularly not just for the hunting season. Yes I camp out regularly and test my gear regularly. I also test my plan of action if things get real.
    Add something to that list if you are not prepared out dude the home you will die. I.e. Get home bag and the like.

  • Hi Daisy,

    Thanks for a great article. My wife and I have been urban preppers for over thirty years. The more we learned the more we realized we didn’t know. Fortunately the S never hit the fan. I pray to God that it never will but you and I know that it’s not “if’ but eventually “when”.

    But our time is up. We are getting too old to ever fool ourselves that we could survive a future SHTF scenario. Our health is waning . The benefits of twenty years of military training and knowledge are slipping away with every passing year. From failing hands we pass the torch of hope and faith to you the younger preppers who could survive the heavy demands of the ‘new world’.

    As long as the ‘new world’ survivors build their world on the pillars justice, honour, duty and faith there will be hope for our future generations and all the sacrifices that we made to keep this world safe will not be wasted.

    God forbid the worst case SHTF should ever befall us we have decided that we would end things on our own terms with grace and dignity. My wife has given me over fifty years of love and devotion. My life has been truly blessed.

    No man could ask for more.

    • The thing that you guys have is knowledge! That is invaluable to those with strong backs who are willing to work. 🙂 Never forget that you have something to offer, my friend.

  • Another really horrible strategy that I’ve heard people promote is to live in their RV and just move from place to place avoiding the worst places where the most chaos is and going where food is abundant. They think mobility will be the answer to all the problems. Running out of fuel when it becomes unavailable, not being familiar with the local surroundings and population and being very limited in how much food, water and supplies you can stock up on, are obvious drawbacks that come immediately to mind. I’m sure there are many others.

  • A few thoughts: nobody knows it all. Most people can learn a little about a lot, but it takes time, energy and determination to become really good at one or a few things. That’s the common sense equivalent of what industry calls the learning curve concept. The more you learn and practice, the faster, more efficient, and less mistake prone you become until you reach a disciple’s maximum production rate. And unless you want to live a remote subsistence life without contact with other people (like one family of “Old Believers” did [to evade Stalin’s purges] in the wilds of Siberia for several decades, and was totally unaware of World War II’s coming and going) where all of the family eventually dies out, you find or assemble a community of people with other skills and resources to trade and mate with.

    As one example of a skill area, I began digging into solar heat a few years back to learn what was possible. Today you can run a search on the phrase SOLAR COOKING on any of several search engines (I like duckduckgo.com because it doesn’t track you, and doesn’t politically screen out things of interest to you, unlike Google). You’ll get zillions of hits, including a few mega-knowledge base websites where you’ll learn of solar box cookers, panel cookers, parabolic cookers, fresnel lens cookers, folding umbrella cookers, and even double layer glass tube cookers. All of these types are available at retail, and most as build-it-yourself opportunities. You’ll learn about slow cooking and fast cooking. You’ll learn for instance that box cookers can not only cook, but boil water, sterilize medical instruments, do winter sprouting, kill bugs in stored grain, and dehydrate fruits-veggies-and-meats for better nutrition preservation than canning. You’ll learn that sufficiently large fresnel lenses (scrounged from freebie discarded old rear projection TVs) can even melt some metals, if you get the ones that focus to a point. You really ought keep the kids at a distance, and wear acetylene welding googles (the kind that doesn’t cover your nose) to protect your eyes with the large fresnel lenses — same with large parabolic cookers, as do the German manufacturers’ roving demonstrators.

    What you can’t tell about fresnel lenses is whether they are UV protected or not. If not, the sun will harden, blacken, and crack them in a short time. You either find out from the seller (if s/he knows), or by testing them out in real time. Also, what you won’t find out anywhere else in writing is that if you rig a couple of roller blinds (one each side of a large fresnel lens) just barely in front on the sun side — with pull cords — you can finely adjust how much light comes through, and therefore giving you fine temperature control. The best refinement to this idea is to cut a cavalry flag’s 90 degree fishtail pattern in each canvas blind — to make the process more like a camera’s light level F-stop control. As the two roller blinds are pulled slowly together, the light is gradually restricted equally from above as much as from the sides.

    (There’s also no reason why the roller blind temperature control system couldn’t be installed in front of large parabolic solar cookers for similar results.)

    The other temperature control is to move whatever is being heated in EITHER direction toward or away from the sun relative to the tightest focus point. It really helps to have a remote sensing thermometer to tell what results you’re getting.

    If you get the UV-protected lenses, they’ll be durable enough to power all kinds of water distillers — a life-saving matter when you’re unable to test for whatever kind of contamination might be in your local water.

    And WHEN is this knowledge handy? On average, useful sun is available “about” 3/4 of the year, depending on your latitude and rainfall amounts. That means that you don’t look on solar as the 100% replacement for all other methods, but as an incredible way to conserve the cash and storage space (for purchased fuels) or sometimes hard work (as in chopping wood) that you’d otherwise have to expend year around.

    The usual suspects for learning include the search engines, YouTube (reviews & how-to videos), Amazon, eBay, and anyone you know who has already done the relevant digging.

    This is just one example of the things you learn when you deep dig into ANY specialty gear & skill set.

    Did I reinforce the point that a small COMMUNITY of skill set and equipment holders beats the lone wolf subsistence model all day long?

  • Daisy, thank you for all of the great tips.
    Been living in the city so long I forgot all the training my parents gave us in farming planting, Boop soil prep, and living without electricity in the country.
    Too old not good health to bug out anywhere. Gotta shelter in place on top 4th floor of senior BLD. I can ride a bike tho.

  • Common sense, thought provoking ideas to save lives in true disaster (may it never be!). We are experienced homesteaders and your points made us think again about some of our assumptions. Fear and panic, the greatest risk in a true emergency, are only overcome by forethought, careful planning and nerves of steel. In the words of William Wallace: “hold… HoLD… HOLD!”

  • prepping is murphy’s law. whatever you prep for is not going to happen. it will be a different situation. unless you get lucky. do you want to depend on being lucky?(cue the clint eastwood clip). no.

    that’s why you have to diversify. you can’t depend on just one plan to survive a sthtf sitch.

    my thinking went to having knowledge and live in a remote area. i’m not going anyplace if i don’t have to.

    i have the skills and equipment to fix, make things that others don’t have.

    guns, food, skills. meh. i have em’ and i hope i don’t have to use em.

    • oh yeah,
      one more thing….

      when hunting……end of the world or no, never, I MEAN NEVER, shoot at a moving target. it’s unsporting. it’s cruel(wounding and not killing cleanly)and in a shtf sitch, a waste of ammo and just stupid(you cannot determine what is behind a moving target with any certitude….).

      please don’t promote such a notion.

  • Great article Daisy! Made me LOL!
    I have heard or read just about every single one of those.
    Granted not everyone can be, as you pointed out, ” the Queen Prepper of the Universe, who knows absolutely everything.”
    No one does. Few ever really will get close. Just keep trying!
    Try to be a well rounded individual covering all the basics to keep you alive. Not everyone can be a SEAL Team 6 trigger puller, or US Marine, etc.
    But not everyone can grow a garden, knit a blanket, stitch a wound, hunt and process game, or run a mile or three.
    Gain whatever knowledge you can in the here and now and not post-SHTF OJT.
    And if you dont know it, find friends, family, neighbors who can compliment your skill sets.

  • Not to make light of anything stated in this article, but “Bad Strategy #12: We’ll set up a perimeter and shoot anyone who breaches it” is how the scavenger and unprepared classes get to know each other. While they are trying to figure out your tripwire layout, they get to really know each other and build their shady alliances. Your highly secure redoubt is the location for the sociopath and forgot to prep meet up groups.

    Seriously, though, shooting someone and watching them die is extremely difficult even in combat and even when you are highly trained. Although we humans are ruthless and efficient killers, it is not natural to kill your own kind. I know you may think it is easy, especially if you watch a lot of TV, but it’s horrible to take a human life. For example, are you going to kill a 13 year old kid that wriggles through the wire because they are just that desperate to eat? The damage to your soul that even a justified killing inflicts is hideous. I know what I am writing about here through my personal experience in war, my thoughts are not that different from others I have spoken with.

    Please give your kill ‘ em all plan some reconsideration.

  • Great article! You just described 90% of the “prepper” community. I know people in everyone of those categories and the problem they all have in common is more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease than a shtf problem. If you can hardly survive walking up a flight of stairs, you won’t make it far in an apocalypse with all of your brand new gear still in boxes.

  • Great article Daisy. Very cogent and articulately explained. The only problem I see is living right in the middle of a large city, such as we are in San Diego. We can go south into the Baha, but I’m sure the Mexican authorities will stop that as soon as it starts. That only leaves us Four ways out of here. Three are freeways that would become clogged to a stop in short order. The other one will also become clogged, but not as fast because it is a small two lane road into and over the hills and out into the desert. So we have decided to Cloister ourselves in house and deal with predators as they come calling. I have chosen not to use a gun except for hunting food which might only be stray dogs whose masters have died. The noise would probably bring in others who heard the report. Knives and machetes are the most silent, and can do just as good a job in close quarters when dealing with marauders. I will send your link to everyone on my mailing list.
    Again, a great article !

  • you are so right in all your points. I live in a small cabin in the woods in central Ontario and I’ve thought about everything you have written. I heat with wood. I’ve got the axes and saws (manual) to harvest wood, cut to length and split if I need to. Not easy work by any means. My main weak spot is growing food. This has not been a great area for that and over decades entire communities tried farming only to finally give it up and move to Manitoba. The weather is so unpredictable, you can’t know if there will be a frost in June or August and kill your garden if anything is growing at all. I have food storage but anything can happen. I had squirrels get into one large bin full of dried beans peace lentils etc. They ate every single one. That was a big loss. There are no guarantees even if we do everything right.

  • Just remember, lots of people means lots of mouths to feed, lots of people who may sell you out or complain and lots of people who might disagree on your decided courses of action. Having said that, if they are all in agreement and willing to pull their own weight and maybe someone else’s as well, a group can accomplish things that might not be done otherwise.

    Plan for everything that can fail to do so. Especially if it is mechanical or electronic. Most of all, remember that you live amongst a generation of spoiled people who would rather believe that all of this is a conspiracy theory or a bad dream but they will still expect you to feed them at meal time when food is scarce or nonexistent and being out of shape they will become difficult to deal with very quickly when they experience hunger sensations they are not familiar with. Women can be counted on to push the women’s rights agenda that they have been taught since they were little girls and in addition to their lack of strength and lack of helpfulness they will display other traits that will be inconsistent with survival when it matters most. They will likely be so detached from what is happening that they will talk or cry at a critical time when making noise could cost your life.

    • Child, without women you wouldn’t survive long and neither would your lineage (if any women would waste her time). The world being as great as it is now is because of women’s involvement AND man’s. Anthropologist have already proven in many past societies that men and women overlapped roles so you can disavow yourself of your notion that men did all the work while women sat and did nothing (saying nothing of the preservation of language and culture that they gatekeep). But by all means be a slave if strength and lack of emotion is all you can offer; I’m sure society can get a good use out of you.

      Remember, society requires people and without harmony you’re not getting far; learn some emotion, logic, and actually useful skills beyond living like a hick and maybe your small village will survive a decade. Your willingness to put down 50% of the population for “lack of helpfulness” when their roles have exceeded the usefulness of your own aging strength shows your “inconsistence with survival” since you’re already ready to cause discord – that’s what will be the end of you. Learn to cooperate, hate women – and people – less, and get off the internet. Much of this is a conspiracy; we won’t forget how society works overnight since we’re not starting from scratch. Go read a novel and relax; you won’t survive any longer than anyone else without learning how to work WITH humanity. You are the very definition of spoiled thinking that anyone would waste time with this militant attitude just to share a meal someone else prepped for you (wonder which sex that was?).

  • Good article and good observations Daisy; thank you. Just a couple of observations.

    The likelihood of encountering “Tyler Smith- style” pirates, in my opinion, is very real during all days of a SHTF event, regardless of where you are located. You may have to give them your “stuff” to survive, so diversify what you place in each location and what you carry. Survive!

    The word MILITIA is a trigger word for many people, but is the essence of the survival group concept being talked about, here and other prepping blogs. I’ve mentioned “survival group” to some of my neighbors; most freaked; a few was ready to start making road-mines. What other “name” could I try?

    Recent events have shown me that “Social Justice” efforts at revenge could cause wide-spread catastrophe events just as destructive as fires, tornadoes, etc. It’s VERY doubtful to me that government help may be on the way.

    • For listeners who would overreact to words like “prepper,” “survivalist,” or “militia,” try using words such as “self-sufficient,” “small-footprint,” or “sustainable.” Let’s turn the tables on the P.C. crowd’s theft of perfectly decent words like “gay,” “diversity” and “tolerance.”

      Let’s use the NWO’s precious euphemism for warehoused humans (“sustainable”) to refer to people whose lifestyle allows them to exist in a sustainable manner. No need to redefine the word. Same for “small-footprint,” only in our case we’d be referring to how many other people’s efforts must be redirected to support our lifestyle. People who depend on redistributed taxpayer dollars don’t have a small footprint, regardless of how they’ve calculated their carbon credits. Conversely, people who can sustain themselves with what they already have (skills, tools, real estate, plants, animals, and community all taken together) are living sustainably and have a small footprint.

      So, when speaking with people who are so deeply brainwashed that they overreact (are “triggered” in current narrative), try using my suggested terms correctly and appropriately. I’ve seen a blending of political ideologies within the permaculture-oriented social circles. Some are into permaculture “to save the planet,” while others are into it to save themselves and their communities. Permaculture works for both goals, and can thus be a bridge between groups which have been propagandized to be hostile to each other. I believe people who have been brainwashed by the MSM and limousine liberals are beginning to at least stir in their sleep, if not actually awaken. Wake them up gently, and show them the way.

  • I am a pepper of sorts. But my problem is I live in a single wide Mobil, I don’t have that safe cellar but , have made the call not to leave. I Have cats and dogs and I will not leave them. Solo here we are, any suggestions on how to be safe here… I lost my better half suddenly, two years ago, I began prepping about a year I try to think of what I need but it does seem overwhelming. Thanks for helping me your articles do help.k

    • Karen—I think you can start by taking care of your health while you begin to slowly acquire reserves. Assess your strengths and vulnerabilities and then come up with short and longer term steps to take to work towards your goals.

      I’m sorry for your loss.

  • Daisy, thank you for the great article. I truly appreciate the positive direction you went with it and the practical information you included.

    Thank you also for this paragraph:

    “And finally, the real kicker: those who survive some life-changing event will be the new founders of our society. Do you really want to live in a place where people have to shoot first and ask questions later? How we choose to live will set the course for how we continue to live.”

    So true. In life, we can choose to be totally self centered or we can choose to give back, think of others, and be a good person. So many of us either forget that this choice exists or we just give lip service to it, then do whatever we want anyway.

    I’m happy to say I haven’t (quite) fallen into any of these bad plans! Every time we have a power outage or a storm, we consider it “practice.” We lived three months in a tent in the desert and didn’t do too badly either. It taught us a lot about what we really needed and what was useless.

  • I haven’t seen anyone touch on the most important asset one can have during a crisis. A clear mind developed by much reflection, solitude and the ability to be calm under unimaginable circumstances. Don’t matter if you have all the stockpiles in the world if you can’t react under pressure may be of little use. As one observes, the current state of affairs most of the population is so addicted to their devices and non stop entertainment, if a grid down situation develops and your brain is so addicted chemically; no different than a drug addict or alcholic, the future may not be bright. How about the millions addicted to opioids by Big Pharma? Realistically only the strong will survive.

    The journey continues
    from the backwoods

  • Unfortunately you’ve presented an accurate reality for about 95 percent of current so-called preppers.
    And, yes, as one of the Combat Special Forces experienced ones, and a life long ‘survivalist’ practitioner and instructor, I probably don’t need this info anymore because i wrote some of the book on it. You can read some of my articles on this same subject in other survival blogs like Survivopedia and magazines.

    But as far as seriously practicing your ‘dynamic preps’ as i call it, you have to take in the reality factor and narrow it down to what is appropriate for your particular relative situation and circumstances. The biggest differential, of course, is obvious depending upon the type and expanse of an emergency. I just got back from Nebraska and parts of Iowa as a volunteer 1st responder. You know, the one with hardley any news coverage? Despite the fact that it’s actually so bad that they don’t want anybody to really understand the consequences, mostly long term like the possibility of Nebraska going completely bankrupt for years. Especially the farmers. Most of these people who live in flood plains or near fast moving rivers with winter climates should know of the continuous risk of dangerous and deadly flooding in this time of global weather difficulties with our own government exacerbating the natural problem with their agenda based Geo-engineering. with aerosol distributions? We rescued one woman who was trapped on the second her second floor of her house with the water completely covering her house and she tried to last a couple days drinking a few cans of pop from the fridge before the water got too high but was getting desperate for clean water. She said she had plenty of stored food, if she had some scuba gear to dig it out from her cellar! I asked her why she didn’t have a flat boat or a raft so her and her kids could at least get to higher dry ground and shelter? She got snotty with me and said, those are too expensive for her budget right now and besides, she knew she’d be rescued sooner or later.
    I asked her what if we never got here for a month or so? She said ‘none of you business’.

    And just to add one additional point to the message you made about wannable great white hunters thinking they’re going to be neo-Jeramiah Johnsons, the joke will be on them and not funny at all.

    Depending on the ‘extent’ of the apocalyptic disaster and to what degree of ‘lawlessness’ we degenerate into on a wider prolonged scale. World wide pandemic or long term power outages would be one example, It would only be a a few weeks where any aspiring hunters would either die of exhaustion and starvation pursuing ghosts of wildlife all but depleted or deeply hidden in forests and mountains virutally impossible to traverse, or killed by other hunters, who prey on you as game. Or following you back to your camp and taking you out there. The main thing is to know just how rough it is to completely live off the land. Almost nobody can do it, at least not for very long. All these National Forests are really Mother Nature’s population control helpers. Read a book called 411 or check youtube for all the people who go missing and never found after venturing forth on Nature trails in these places. The Forestry Dept. doesn’t even keep a record of any of this.

    One key to give yourself better odds in an all out bad scenario is first to get an awareness grip on the most likely serious happening for your situational location. Obviously Earthquakes and firestorms in California. Flooding along the Mississipi. Both would require bugging out-if you could move fast enough.
    So you’d have to plan for that rather than try to survive in place. Being in a non flooding rural area simply is better than living in the big city all things considered. Which will self immolate not long after it completely shuts down. That’s a no brainer which people still make lame brain exuses like ‘i can’t afford to move out to a piece of rural land. You don’t have to have a permanant rural location but if you can afford to live comfortably in a big city, you can afford to prep for bugging out. Next is security. All the stockpiling in the world means nothing if you can’t protect it. And it’s much, much more than just having a gun and enough ammo. Good luck and keep learning.

  • Groups may be fine when the going is easy. But what happens when things really get serious? Who can you really trust? Not saying going it alone is any better, but people will act very different when faced with life and death situations.

  • All these strategies contain the possibility of a bad result, but the Author addresses only one side of the story.
    Any SHTF strategy offers the same potential for risks and of being a “bad strategy”.
    One size never fits all and neither does one person’s survival plan or set of do’s or don’ts. They just do not fit everyone’s needs.

    Like Bad strategy #1, hunting and living off the land.
    As long as you focus on smaller game like rabbits, rodents, feral animals and such, fish and birds, then yes there will be plenty of game.
    Of course this form of “hunting” may require using traps, snares and such, rather than guns.
    Bigger game and stray livestock will still be options, for those living outside of the cities.

    As far as bugging out into the woods, (strategy #2) and the, “going it alone” thing, (strategy #4); the Mountain men and Gold Prospectors did this and most of them survived and some even prospered.
    So doing the “group thing” is not the only way. Some people are just not suited to being in a group.

    Much in the same way, storing up large quantities food and supplies can be a bad idea, as well as “bugging in”. If you have more ” stuff” than you can load into a PU truck and a small trailer, they you have a problem.
    There are many reasons you might have to bug out. A Wild Fire (even in the city, after SHTF), a plague, Gangs, War Lords, etc.
    If you are dependent upon what you have “stored up”, you may hesitate to pack up and leave and that could be the worst strategy of all!

    As far as bad strategy #3 on the list, being is shape is a good thing. However the Early Old west settlers, had never walked beside their wagons for 10 to 15 miles a day either. Many had never driven a covered wagon before, shot a weapon before or used many of the “new” tools, they had to have and use on the trip ( see bad strategy #5). However, they managed to survive and settled the West.

    Everyone is different, everyone’s motivation, location and area’s resources are different.
    No strategy is bad for everyone, some are worse than others. Like expecting to be a “bad ass” and attacking others and taking their supplies.
    However if the “others”, are the “bad asses” that are attacking good people and robbing them, then that might be a worth while thing.
    Are their any, Robin Hood types out there? Will there be? Who knows!

    The Biggest “bad strategy” is a failure to properly plan.
    Proper Planning includes realistically looking at your situation, your local resources and your potential threats , problems, etc and deciding what is the best option or options for you.
    Then make your plans (Plan A, Plan B and Plan C, (no single plan fits all scenarios)) and look at how you can make it work.
    A trial run is a good thing, to help identify problems with in your plan, so that you can fix them, now before it is to late to fix them.
    Flexibility and Adaptability are some of the biggest keys to survival. Don’t get stuck in a rut or a singular mindset.

  • Regarding living off the land, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa and in a 50 hut village. I can tell you that there was no meat. It had all been hunted out and the only meat was small ground animals that someone would occasionally snare. The town hired a hunter to bring back meat and even lent him a gun and shells for a reduced price on game. The hunter sold the meat to others for more money and came back empty-handed.

    People are people aren’t they?

  • A very interesting and spot on article. At age 21 I spent 10 months alone living off the land. There were no maurauders or competition for food where I was. Still it was a full time job to forrage food, gather firewood and find places for each kind of weather. Forraging was the most time consuming. Figuring out a snare that would work was cause for a major celebration. I robbed packrat nests for seeds, birds nest for eggs, drank Polywogs and minnows from the creek- yes, I swallowed them whole. I quickly devised a way to keep my fire going or At least coals hot all the time.. and then transport hot coals when I moved camp to let local plants regrow while I forraged a different area.
    I kept my mind busy with thinking of ways to meet needs, remembering memorized scriptures, I even played simple games like tic tac toe with sticks and stones instead of Xs and Os. As the weather changed I had to find ways to stay warm. I made beds so piled with leaves I felt like I was floating and in one place all the clean dried rabbit skins made a warm bed on a low wooden structure.
    I knew camping and Forraging from grow in up with a dad who loved camping and a Mom who enjoyed Forraging. They gardened but I had no seeds, no guns, no fancy gear. Just a will to live and well taught skills. I had half a book of paper matches and a pocket knife and one change of clothing. I came back when it was safe, with the knife, well worn clothing being worn double because it was November and the weather had cooled. And I had a few more matches. Not being squimish, learning to save my fire and carry hot coals to the next camp saved my life. My prized possession was first a soup can the a slightly larger can that once held corn. The last two months I added a 1 lb coffee can to my cookware. I could make a soup, drop in a clean rock to act as a stirrer and leave it to boil while I forraged w old or food as needed. I would add water and leave again but it was food I could come back to in the evening. The corn can was then for teas. Some pleasant and some medicinal. I wasn’t sick or injured but I drank medicinal teas for variety and to stay well.
    I’m 72 now. Could I do that alone now and succeed? Doubtful but if of necessity I’d try. With a lot of competition or lawless raiders. Alone I’d be dead.
    I’d hope to be able to stay home in my little rural home. I heat water,cook, and heat the home with a choice of wood or pellets from a gravity fed hopper. I have wells here. One on commercial power and one ready to uncap and use a manual winch. The underground river isn’t deep.
    I have sceptic systems here. My home is off grid solar. Ground mounted with a low fence around it. Weeds are pretty much covering the fence and disguise it well. Panels are almost unseen. Sheds and shop buildings stand out but the home is less noticeable and screened by trees on what would have been the most visible side. One fence line along a side dirt road is finally begining to grow cactus from pads laid along side the fence. I’ll fill in empty areas with pads from the new growth next year. I plan on fruit and pads from there for food. Also it makes climbing the fence less attractive. A no care food source.
    The opposite fence line the long ways of the property will have fruits and berries as I can get them thorns, but food, and in the summer as they mature they will draw water from the accecia- water ditch. I have fruit trees and grapes. The old garden spot I started years ago is still rich good soil. I just have started reclaiming it but it’s done great this year with just a top dressing of rabbit droppings.
    I raise chickens, ducks, and rabbits for eggs and food. I’ve been conning both water bath and pressure since I started helping Mom as a little kid.
    I’ve always figured on food to last At least to the next harvest and extra incase of emergencies or company. The garden is doing great now but couldn’t be planted until mid June because of frosts. September usually brings first frost and October brings snow. Injuries kept my planned greenhouses from being dug and built. Two styles. Weather permitting this winter I still hope to get them built.
    My husband isn’t able to walk far. At 82 he has Alzheimer’s and is failing. I’m working with weights as I walk or work to rebuild my strength after injuries and surgeries over the last two years. I’m healthy. I just need strength and stamina to keep going and I’m not going to just sit and do nothing.
    I’m part of a small family group if SHTF but my real contribution is knowledge and experience and some good preps to share.
    I enjoy reading here. What’s presented is really clear and right on point.
    The challenges are good instruction or good reminders. I’m enjoying the comments.

  • As usual, a GREAT article Daisy provides us.


    Specially after learning about some of my friends, city fellows whose idea of getting “into the wild” was going to a barbecue in someone´s hacienda, having to deal with cooking on homemade fire pits because of the lack of bottled gas…I can see how wrong some people can be about their preps.

    Look for long term sustainability, and short term immediate response. Networking is key.
    And plans to come back home after SHTF are a must. I should know better.

  • I like those. Hang out long enough and you’ll hear each one or a variation thereof. Having been a hunter for many years, I can’t count the number of times I went out and never saw a thing. Some critters, like rabbits aren’t edible year round, unless you’d cherish treating a helminth infection with tree bark and lichen. That’s one of the reasons for hunting seasons, especially with small game.
    For those of us with physical disabilities or advancing age, bugging out may not be the best choice. The factors that might precipitate that need are many, and they need to be weighed carefully before a decision is made. Yes, 20 years ago, I could hike 20-30 miles a day with an 80 lb backpack, but I’m pushing 60 and now suffer from degenerative joint disease, so I’d be lucky to make a 5 mile trek unlaiden without requiring days to recover. Know your limitations and be aware of the limitations of each member of your party. Yes, fear and adrenaline can make even disabled folks perform feats of strength and endurance, but there’s a limit to how much a body can take without paying a horrible price. Be realistic and don’t kid yourself or have over inflated opinions about your abilities. Always remember, Rambo was a Hollywood movie. It was not a survival guide.

    • So true. As we age we have limitations but we have the knowledge that others may not have. thanks for your comment

  • I do agree with most of the advice, critique, and commentary in this post.

    Though, I have one point of contention, I would think most preppers would intend to use a generator only when needed, not to power up their location so they can live as they did before grid down.

    It’s only reasonable to shut off the main breaker to one’s bug out dwelling, disconnecting the dwelling from the electric grid, before backfeeding.

    Generators do make much noise, but several people on YouTube have built special sound proof boxes with exhaust and intake holes that greatly reduce the ambient generator noise and yet allow the generator to run.

    Finally, generators do require fuel, for this reason alone preppers should only use generators only when truly necessary. Generators can be made to run on a great variety of fuels; gasoline, natural gas, propane, methanol. Generators can be made to run on wood (via wood gas generator) which is plentiful in some parts.

  • Solar power and other renewables like home wind turbines and home water power turbines combined with adequate battery storage is probably the best way to consistently generate electricity in a grid down situation.

    AliExpress sells solar panels, home wind turbines, and home water turbines all under $300.

    Though, if there are extended periods of time when there is no or insufficient wind, solar, and water then a generator would be a great emergency electrical power source.

    Another reason to not solely rely on solar, wind, and hydro is IF one has to leave quickly, one can very quickly and easily load a generator on a vehicle and drive off

    Finally, solar, wind, and hydro are all very susceptible to EMP attacks, generators can be stored in EMP proof enclosures to protect from EMP blasts.

  • One of the worst things many preppers do is talk to much. If you like telling people how prepared you are and they tell friends about the nut job prepper, you make yourself a prime target when things go sideways. Even a well prepared, well armed homestead will fall to attrition. There will be far more people wanting what you have than you have protecting your stash.

  • I liked this article because it says what I have been thinking and saying. Many people talk a good game but its much harder to actually put a game plan together.

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