5 Rookie Prepping Mistakes to Avoid
by Guest Contributor: Will Ryan
Prepping for your withdrawal from mainstream society comes with a steep learning curve. A small mistake could leave you in a pinch when you least expect it, leading to costly repairs or, worse, the end of your remote hideaway. You need to take care of your equipment, prepare for the worst and make sure you have everything you need to live a healthy, sustainable lifestyle off the grid. From truck seat covers to vitamin deficiencies, learn how to create the ideal homestead operation.
Going off the grid takes practice and patience. If you’re new to the game, avoid these five rookie mistakes at all costs.
Not bringing a paper backup
Leaving the modern world behind usually means not having access to the internet. Even if you set up your own router, you should prepare for potential outages. Nasty weather, weak connections and damaged equipment can leave you without this convenient tool, especially when you’re on the road.
That’s why it’s best to bring along paper copies of equipment and vehicle manuals, how-to guides, maps and just about anything else you might need to read in the wild. Bring along plenty of books to keep boredom at bay, as well as physical resources, such as those for purifying water, growing fruits and vegetables and hunting wildlife. Print off web pages you’d normally read on your computer and keep these documents organized in case you need to access them in an emergency.
Not creating a contingency plan
Let’s face it, there’s always a chance your homestead could take a turn for the worse. You could run out of food or water, accidentally injure yourself or get hit with a natural disaster. But that’s all a part of the fun.
However, you need to create a series of contingency plans for every conceivable scenario. Run through the possibilities in your head and create real-world solutions. Imagine the worst-case scenario as well, such as what happens if your backup radio dies or you can’t reach the closest town because the phone lines are down. Learn when and how to call for search and rescue in any situation. Put these plans in writing and record several backups.
Research the area in question and talk to those who are familiar with the land, including the local climate, soil and crop patterns, wildlife and other potential hazards that may not be on your radar. Here’s some more information about when plans go wrong.
Failing to protect your vehicle
Your vehicle will become your lifeline to society when living off the grid. If you plan on fixing and repairing your car or truck yourself, you should focus on preventative maintenance. Unless you’re an experienced mechanic, there may be a limit to your knowledge under the hood, especially if you need to repair your vehicle on the side of the road or in the middle of the wilderness.
Regularly inspect and maintain your vehicle to keep it running as long as possible. Keep plenty of essential tools and supplies on hand so you can change the oil or add air to the tires without visiting your local auto shop. Avoid certain problem areas in the wilderness when driving off-road, such as deep bogs, rocky ravines, and icy pathways that could damage your vehicle.
Don’t forget about the inside of your car or truck. This will start to feel like your second home as you work the land, so keep the interior as clean and sanitary as possible. Use a truck bed liner and floor mats to protect surfaces from spills, water and mud. You can quickly rinse off these mats and covers as they start to fill up with dirt. Living off the grid can be messy. You should be able to go about your business without worrying about dirt, deep stains, mold, rust or electrical damage.
Neglecting your health
Maintaining a balanced diet is hard enough. You need to take precautions when leaving modern society behind. As humans, we need a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Thirty-one percent of the U.S. population is at risk of at least one vitamin deficiency or anemia, with 23 percent, 6.3 percent and 1.7 percent of the U.S. population at risk of deficiency in one, two or three to five vitamins or anemia, respectively.
Living off the land and growing your own food may severely limit your diet. Talk to your doctor about your health and your plans to go off the grid and heed their concerns. Create a plan for corresponding with your doctor over the long-term and keep a log of your health as you start changing your diet. Try to balance your new diet as much as possible. If you have to drive to the local grocery store, so be it. Be aware of certain vitamin deficiencies and what they mean to your health.
Keep plenty of medication, first-aid supplies and sanitary essentials on hand so you can practice good hygiene. Learn how to use common medical equipment, such as a scale, blood pressure monitor, thermometer and stethoscope, so you can monitor your own health at home.
There’s no point in living off the land if you’re not taking care of yourself. Just because you’re totally independent from mainstream society doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see a doctor from time to time.
Limiting your survival skills
You should always try to expand your survival skills when living off the land. Going solo comes with plenty of risks that most people don’t have to worry about, such as testing their drinking water, protecting themselves from wildlife, or not having access to the internet.
You may encounter new challenges and obstacles down the line as well. Use this opportunity to build on your homesteading knowledge and experience. Explore new areas, try growing different types of food and learn more about the local climate as time goes on.
Use these tips to dot your i’s and cross your t’s before going off the grid. The more you prepare, the better off your homestead will be.
About the Author
Will Ryan is Marketing Manager at Husky Liners. With a wealth of knowledge of and passion for restoring classic cars, off-roading and researching new car technologies, Will has proven time and time again to be a huge asset to the Husky Liners team. In his spare time, Will loves to spend time with his dog and fiancé.