10 Common Survival Mistakes. Are You Making One Of Them?

James Walton
By James Walton April 12, 2019 08:32

10 Common Survival Mistakes. Are You Making One Of Them?

Do you remember what brought you here? Do you remember first thinking about preparedness and survival? Some people are born into this mindset. Others find the path later in life. No matter which type you are, you have likely developed your own ethos on the necessary parts and pieces that make up what many call self-reliance.

Its not easy for us to break away from that ethos but there are some serious survival mistakes that have stood the test of time. We are going to look at 10 of those common survival mistakes in this article. While you may not agree with everything you are going to read, I hope you at least consider it.

Putting Too Much Stock In Your Garden

I would never try to push people away from the idea of growing a garden. The food that you can produce in a garden can make a huge difference in your overall health, it can affect your calorie consumption and offset your needs from food storage, and it can also be a renewable food source year over year.

That’s a lot of good. However, you cannot rely only on a garden exclusively.

About 4 years ago we have experienced something called Derecho. IT was the first time many of us had heard about it. It nearly spawned a tornado and scared a lot of people. When I got from sheltering in place at work it looked as though God put the trees and local plants in a blender.

Homes were spattered with foliage and my garden was about 75% gone.

Don’t rely on your garden as the only food source. There are just too many uncontrollable variables. Its essential but its not your only answer.

Relying Only On Water Storage

Rain Harvesting Tank

Do you really have enough water or access to enough water? You must understand that you need to look at water in many ways. In fact, your water solutions should come from as many different sources as possible. Water is life. No water is death. Its really that simple.

That said, you are going to need to prioritize water solutions in all the ways you can.

  • Catchment
  • Storage
  • Sourcing (bodies of water/wells)
  • Filtering
  • Sanitizing

These are all pieces of the water game and many preppers are happy to omit some of these but in a true water crisis you are going to need all of this and it still might not be enough!

Related: Disinfect Huge Amounts Of Water With This Common Household Item

Not Leading At Home

The time for prepping in the dark corners of your home must come to an end. Many people don’t want to stir the pot, so they keep quiet because kids and family members don’t like them prepping. Well, that just opens a world of problems.

When you must do things by the light of the moon or in a quiet and hidden way it will hinder you. You need to have hard conversations with family members and identify some practices, a budget and an understanding that this is part of the family’s future.

Make everyone understand that you are going to use a small portion of the monthly budget for preps. You must take the lead on this and not be meek. Man or woman, there needs to be someone focused on disaster preparedness in the home.

Not Taking Courses And Trainings

If you are looking to experience exponential growth you need to train. You must be sure that you are getting the training that you need. Now, you hear the word training and you might think of a serious price tag. This all depends on where you go for that training.

You can get first aid training for free from your local CERT.

You can get classes upon classes of preparedness and survival training if you attend local prepper and gun shows. These shows will cost you about $15 to get into and you will get all the training inside the show for free!

If you have the means you can spend a few hundred dollars on trainings with the pros and you will benefit from that, as well.

YouTube is not the same as training.

Overestimating Your Abilities

One of the biggest survival mistakes is to overestimate your abilities. Its easy to get used to success in fire making when you are always practicing in your fireplace. Its easy to feel like a woodsman on the same piece of land day in and day out. Overall, its very easy to fall into the trap of getting a big head about what you can do.

The best way to crush this is to go do something hard. Find a new challenge. Put yourself on a new piece of land that you know nothing about and see how your skills fair there. You will come away with pages of improvements that need to be made.

Related: 12 Pioneer Skills We Can’t Afford to Lose

Preparing For The Long Term Before The Short Term

Its easy to fall into the doomsday scenario at the beginning of your prepping journey. In fact, its those high stakes that bring many people to prepping. Not many people start prepping because of a snow storm. However, you really want to be preparing for your next power outage from an ice storm in your area.

Are you buying fishmox and gas masks but don’t have a quality first aid kit or portable generator? Think and about annual regional disasters and short-term emergencies long before you start putting up gear for the end of all things.

Not Engaging Your Community

Many preppers think that engaging your local community or neighborhood is an option. Far from it. While you might be building up an impressive mutual assistance group or something to that affect, you still need the help, and to help, your neighbors.

These are the people you live around all the time. You will likely live near them in disaster, too. So, to combat the struggle of looking at them as enemies, you must get to know them. You might even consider involving them in your readiness plans.

From Scratch Cooking

How does food work? In the age of ultra-convenience that we live in, its easy to exist but never really learn how to cook.

How to Make Dandelion Bread

It’s also easy to learn how to cook a meal but never learn a thing about cooking from scratch.

  • Do you know how to make a basic dough?
  • Do you know to make egg noodles?
  • What about how to cook dried beans and rice?
  • Do you know how to breakdown and trim meat?

These cooking basics are paramount to any survivor or prepper. It is vitally important that you know how to take raw ingredients like flour, eggs and sugar and turn them into something that can feed your whole family.

Related: The Lost Art of Scratch Cooking

Reliable Backup Communications

Comms is one of those things that preppers consistently fall short on. It’s a strange thing. It could be because we always have the holy grail of electronic communications in our pocket. However, there could come a point when cell phones are offline and who in the world has a land line?

Whether you go the route of HAM radio or explore things like satellite phones, you should consider a backup form of comms that can address the need when it arises.

Not having reliable backup comms puts you on an island and that will be a lonely one.

 Hiding Your Preps And Lifestyle

This final common mistake might surprise you. Why are you hiding your preps and your lifestyle?

If what you do is right and it will protect you from disasters, why wouldn’t we want that for everyone. Think about it, the more people who are prepared the better off we will all be.

Its time for preppers and survivalists to come out of the shadows and stop being meek. We don’t need to hide. We need to be vocal about emergency preparedness. Sure, we are going to get raised eyebrows and strange looks but the more the message gets across the more people will start.

Imagine a nation filled with hundreds of millions of prepared Americans. It’s a beautiful vision.

Its easy to get tripped up by these common survival mistakes. Prepping is no easy thing and its also something you don’t have the luxury of spending a lot of time on. You might be nervous and maybe even scared about your next move. Doom is looming over head and you are in the perfect environment to make a bad decision.

At the end of the day we can only do what we can do. Every little bit of preparedness helps, still, there is plenty that can go wrong if we aren’t careful. At the end of the day prepping reaches hard limits, fast. Be it money, time or space. Hopefully, this article helps expand those hard limits.

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James Walton
By James Walton April 12, 2019 08:32
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23 Comments

  1. Raven tactical April 12, 11:21

    Well its important your garden works. Without it your dead in a long term event. Which in my opinion it’s going to happen because the country is over and done with.

    I would say most just buy guns and ammo and never use them. The majority of gun buyers don’t use them. When I say use them run stress drills behind cover running 100 yards.

    Reply to this comment
    • BobG April 13, 11:53

      Running drills and the such are not an option in my part of the country. The local indoor ranges prices for specialized courses are astronomical. I shoot at my local outdoor range and have gone out of state for some rifle and defensive pistol courses .

      Reply to this comment
  2. Hoosier Homesteader April 12, 11:54

    Mr. Walton’s point regarding putting too much stock in your garden should be heeded. A productive garden is far from being a sure thing. We need to gather food too: wild edibles, fishing, hunting and trapping. Then, hope your garden is a good one.
    Regarding being more open about prepping; I wouldn’t shout it from the roof tops. You don’t have to tell others “what you have”, but you certainly can, and should, carry on dialogs with others on “how to” prep. There are a lot of good people out there, but there are nasty ones too. It makes me recall what was said during WWII: “Loose lips sink ships”. Your desire to help others also comes with the risk of making your home a target.

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    Reply to this comment
    • Raven tactical April 12, 14:21

      The problem is hunting will be tough when everyone goes out and crushes the game population. You will have to kill people hunting close to your land.

      Reply to this comment
    • Bob April 12, 20:01

      Relative to the garden point…I have seen 40acres of soybeans that were 8inches high in the spring, taken down to the dirt level by a tornado, as if they were mowed. And if you have a garden, make sure you have a means in place to irrigate in case of drought…ie., soaker hoses or sprinklers…you just might save the harvest.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Wannabe April 12, 14:16

    Great point about cooking from scratch. So many kids and teenagers and young adults these days have no clue how to cook nor have any desire to do so. My daughters included unfortunately. My wife did really good trying to include them in cooking. This day and age is just too convenient to run to Burger King or little ceasars. Gonna be a lot of burnt rice out there. Another thing forgotten across the board is casting your own Bullets. Easiest way to get the necessary lead is go to a range, ask owner if you can pick through the mounds bullets rest in, and In a matter of a few hours you have thirty pounds of projectiles. Melt the bullets, skim copper jackets and trash from top and good clean lead remains. Don’t have to worry about tin and antimony mixture because it is already in it. And set aside the copper jackets and you have a stash of copper. Even in EOTW situation, if you know where shooting ranges are you can get lead. Then happy reloading. Sure you can get it from car batteries but that takes a lot of time to extract the lead, clean it in a mixture of baking soda and water to neutralize the acid, and the yield is very disappointing. A standard 12 volt battery will only give you seven or eight pounds and it is too soft for shooting so you need to add tin and antimony. And as everything with prepping, get the necessary equipment and supplies now before you can’t. This is a very good article by the way.

    Reply to this comment
    • efzapp April 12, 17:45

      Wannabe, so you cast your own bullets. Where are you going to find firing caps? Just wondering.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck April 12, 20:45

        Caps and powder take up a lot less room and weigh a lot less than loaded cartridges. 5,000 large pistol primers is a little larger than a square pound of butter and weighs just a little more. Large rifle primers are basically the same size as large pistol primers and small rifle and pistol primers are even smaller and lighter.

        Eight pounds of Unique weighs just that and is about as big as a gallon can of gas. Eight pounds of 3031 the same. Unique will work satisfactorily in most handgun cartridges as will 3031 in most bolt action rifles. If you are using an M-1 or M14, you might want to lay in 8 pounds of 4835(not checked for correctness but from memory) and if you are using an AR-15, eight pounds of the most moderate powder for that firearm. If my memory banks serve me correctly, Unique is also suitable for shotguns. I would not store some of the more modern powders unless they were suitable for a wide variety of handguns. The same with rifle and shotgun powders. I don’t intend this to be a treatise on handloading as I would need to do much more research before attempting an article on that topic. I just wanted to point out that reloading supplies, the consumables do not weigh much and don’t take up much room. If one uses a multi-caliber powder, you would only need two or perhaps three at the most. If you were hunting mostly small game, a light load using a handgun powder in a rifle cartridge and a light weight bullet would take the place of a .22 If you would like an article on hand loading, chime in and let me know. If there is enough demand, I will undertake such an endeavor.

        Reply to this comment
        • IvyMike April 12, 23:47

          Left Coast Chuck, everyone reading askaprepper would love to see you write a couple of articles on any topic that interests you. Don’t be surprised but we all admire your knowledge and the way you express yourself. #mancrush

          Reply to this comment
      • Wannabe April 13, 15:27

        Efzapp, you stockpile them now. A thousand primers for less than forty bucks. For a couple hundred dollars you have ten thousand primers. There you go. My goodness man, get stuff in place NOW just like it has been said a Million times. And if that is not an option, if you can’t save forty bucks then get matches and recharge the spent primers you have used up. Look it up on YouTube and educate yourself. If you can post on this website you have access to the literally thousands of videos on reloading. From basic equipment and supplies to knowing how to recharge your spent primers. Get educated and get prepared. Anymore questions?

        Reply to this comment
  4. DEFENDER April 12, 14:45

    Tell everyone?
    NO
    Most people do not prepare.
    Nor can you convince them to do so.
    If you tell all your neighbors you are prepared:
    When it comes time –
    YOU will be Overrun.
    When the neighbor kids are starving you don’t think they (parents) will absolutely kill you for food, water ?
    If they cannot get-to you they will try to burn you out.
    It is also why I have 2 AR15’s and practice with them,
    a “Lot”.

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    Reply to this comment
    • Augie April 12, 16:45

      Excellent commentary…People don’t want to think about having to kill someone but that will end quickly when someone who is very desperate tries to kill you or your family…. I’m completely OK with people thinking I don’t have shit…They can think what they like.

      Reply to this comment
    • Raven tactical April 13, 10:40

      So kill his kids and him

      Reply to this comment
  5. HoundDogDave April 12, 16:04

    While I agree with sharing ideas and expertise with like-minded people along with promoting preparedness to the uninitiated, not drawing attention to yourself is a necessary component of being prepared. Anonymity is your friend if the SHTF. Else your hard work will be raided in short order and taken from you by the filthy masses.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Lancinator April 12, 17:35

    Sadly, I have to agree with the “don’t tell neighbours” philosophy. Years ago, I approached my two next-door neighbours, both hard-working sensible folks, and suggested that they put a little away and some emergency gear in case of bad times. Both of them, separately, said the identical thing: “I don’t have to, because I know you have.” Yikes! Both have since moved away, and I keep my mouth very shut around the new neighbours.

    I also have a fair stock of weapons and ammo, but, living in the suburbs, if your neighbour is starving, and their kids are starving, I can see things going badly very fast. Sure, a few rounds of 5.56 will repell the first few people trying for your food, but I can see people popping out to see what the gunfire is about, the cry of “They have lots of food, and they just shot at Andy!” going up, and a maddened, hungry mob attacking your house. If you successfully hold them off, I imagine the next step would be Molotov cocktails flying your way in a “If I can’t have the food, neither will you!” Pyrric finale.

    I’ve mulled this over, and I think the best solution is hiding your preps before the event and after SHTF, loudly stating that your family is starving too, and eating sparingly, and in total secrecy. I have enough to give everyone on my block one meal and then it’s all gone.

    I miss living in a small town out west, where people were a lot more self reliant, but, as a dweller in the big bad city, I have to roll with the punches and deal with what I have to work with.

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    Reply to this comment
    • Wannabe April 13, 15:37

      I agree about keeping your stores hush hush. Not enough to go around and will quickly run out for my own family. I would almost never just give anything away without something in return. It’s called free market. Tired of giving away and no reciprocation. Sorry, but I’m getting a little sore about this. Can’t build society back if most are consumers and not producers as well. Just does not work. Leaches and locusts can not prevail.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Steve April 12, 17:47

    AND, a” Prepper” is an insurrectionist or anarchist in the eyes of the Gov’t. They can’t control you if you don’t “need” them.

    So commo should be cautious.
    Do most people even take care of their daily driver car? Something they use and need every day? Naw. So are they going to do ANYTHING about soem ficticious event or condition? Naw. Is our current society based and stimulated by independent self sufficiency? Naw.
    I will remain quiet and cautious.

    Reply to this comment
  8. left coast chuck April 13, 00:22

    There are two thoughts about radio communications. There are those who advocate it, as does the author of this article. There are those like me who have strong reservations about being able to broadcast long distance. I have no reservations about a receiver that will intercept short wave, but being a blabbermouth, I am afraid I would be to liable to offer advice and spend too much time on the air which could well be ill-advised.

    I could be totally wrong, but my inclination at this point is to limit over-the-air communication to receive only with the exception of GMRS which is limited in broadcast ability. I would limit GMRS communications to local broadcast for tactical information only.

    Reasonable minds can differ and even if I am totally correct for my situation, it might not be true for yours. Each of us needs to decide what we think is best for our individual situation. I just raise the question because I know others think along the same lines.

    Otherwise, a good article outlining important considerations for peppers. The topics covered are pertinent and the reader should give them serious consideration and develop plans that satisfy his individual situation.

    Reply to this comment
  9. red April 18, 04:03

    Good advice, always, thank you. Cooking from scratch: Many of the old, from scratch, cookbooks are available online. When the books were first published, there was no convenience store to run to, and the grocer had the basics, with some extras for the well-to-do.

    If you live rural, or semi-, then you should know all the eatable plants in the area. You should know how to ‘hide’ a garden in ornamentals. We have canna lilies for the starch and shoots. Passionflowers for the shade and fruit. Nopale cactus for pads (nopalitos, now considered a health food) and fruit, as well as a hedge. Sugar cane sorghum for sap and seeds (the sweetcorn is hidden inside the patch 🙂 Local varieties of chilis, teosinte, tepary beans, save seeds from kohlrabi and radishes (which look OK scattered in different beds) and so on. Fruit trees are desert-oriented. Figs, olives, pomegranates, and more. Some things are planted down in the brush to take advantage of nitrogen-fixing trees like mesquite and others. While the weather can turn against us in a moment, it’s good to know how to hide the garden beds from folks who see only weeds or flowers, not food. BTW, garbanzo beans love cool, dry weather, and a lot of things can be planted among them to use the nitrogen they produce, and to cut the wind. People have no idea they’re food because how many raise their own, today? Garbanzo plants do not look like beans. Our soil is caliche with sandy adobe clay. Perfect for raw brick. If you don’t understand, go look at Casa Grande, still standing after being abandoned 800 years. Once dried, the material will chip, but is like stone. You might shoot thru concrete, but not this stuff without special weapons. There are roads Native Americans construct of it a thousand years ago still in use. niio

    Reply to this comment
  10. AC April 18, 10:39

    Some interesting comments. I’ve been in situations where after a hurricane knocked out all power AND gas stations, I had one liberal neighbor (who was wealthy) say that “I” had plenty of gasoline stored and it wasn’t fair. Idiot. But the situation abated after a few weeks. I also had a generator and actually offered hot showers to neighbors (which many did use). But no neighbors did anything bad.
    I just would like to say a few things though. In a real SHTF scenario, like passing a budget killing green deal or some other dumb bill that causes our currency to default and hyperinflation (most likely scenario), history shows us that it will NOT be roving hoards you have to fear. People have been shown to band together in crisis. The ones to fear will be the government. There are ALREADY laws on the books BANNING ‘hoarding’ of virtually anything during a crisis. And during a crisis, the first thing the government will do is declare martial law and suspend the constitution AND all your constitutional rights. Firearms will be seized (as was done in New Orleans after the hurricane), ownership of gold and silver will be banned, and people will hoards of anything over a few days of water and food will have these assets seized and either be arrested or killed (if they resist).
    So, yeah I do a lot of the things mentioned here, but my best advice is sure be prepared, but better advice would be to NOT elect these idiot liberal politicians, AND become more political and educate Liberals as to the upcoming destruction that their philosophy will bring (as it has always in the past).

    Reply to this comment
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