Top 9 Mistakes Of Prepping Newbs

1. Following the wrong advice: Many new survivalists become fixated upon the advice given by others. They read the latest preparedness book or blog post and automatically assume the advice given is best for them, without considering their individual needs, skill level or location. In order to be self-reliant you need to learn to think for yourself.

2. Not eating what they store: Many new survivalist fill their pantry with unfamiliar foods, thinking they will adapt their diet “when the time comes” this is nonsense. You need to learn how to prepare and use these foods now, so they become a familiar staple.

3. Relying only on their food storage: Many new survivalists think once they have their one year supply of survival foods, that’s the end. Don’t get me wrong, having a deep larder is important, just don’t overlook the possibility of needing to replenish your supplies, and obtaining the skills and resources needed to do that.

4. Not storing enough salt: Many new survivalists fail to store this staple in the quantities needed. Don’t discount the importance of salt. I suggest at least ten pounds of iodized salt per person as a minimum. For baiting game (illegal in most areas), I’ve put away several salt blocks. These can be found at any agricultural feed store and are sold for cattle.

5. Building an arsenal: I see this all the time. Many new survivalists spend thousands on weapons and related gear, yet have only a two-week supply food and no water filter. This is stupid. I love guns and gear as much as the next person – but I know food and water are more important to my survival. Sure; we need weapons to protect what we’ve put away, just don’t neglect the other stuff.

6. Relying on bugging out: I’m not a fan of the “grab a bug out bag and head for the hills survival strategy”. In most cases you’re better off staying where you are. Having a bug out bag is a good idea, just don’t make bugging out your only plan or first priority.

7. To much stuff not enough skill: Many new survivalists believe they can be saved through buying. This fantasy has been promoted by self-serving survival gurus for years to fill their pockets with cash. Sure supplies are useful and some are needed – just don’t become dependent on stuff – instead develop your skills.

8. Storing only one type of food: More than a few new survivalists have made this mistake. I can’t remember exactly where I read it, I think it was on another survival blog – but the author suggested his readers store hundreds of pounds of wheat and nothing else. While wheat is the backbone of my food storage, storing only one type of food, no matter how versatile is foolish.

9. Not taking care of pet needs: Many new survivalists fail to consider the needs of their pets. If you have pets you must plan for their needs by laying back the necessary supplies to keep them fed and healthy.

What was the biggest mistake you made when you were a newb?


  1. Until the big SHTF happens, we’re all newbs. Preppin’ is just preppin’. Kinda like studying for the big exam but you haven’t gone in to take the test yet.

    • Blueflyer83 says:

      This was a revelation I had not too long ago. The one thing that has begun to make me a little more nervous than “The Man” coming for my stuff, is other preppers and military vets who haven’t properly prepared. These people will be far worse than the proverbial zombie most people are expecting to troll around aimlessly looking for food and supplies. These types will be ready to do what it takes to ensure theirs and their family’s survival. Good post BugoutBob.

  2. Those top 9 are great. As for my self. I plan for bugging in but can bug out. I prep and practice. I rough it sand bar camping days at a time and have learned the river and its bank fairly well. One mistake I avoid is pre-pack a first aid kit for burns, splinters, cuts, rashes, stings and bites. Poison ivy or a bee could ruin someones day. I’ve become good friends with others that do the same. A lone wolf can only talk to him self for so long.

  3. For me 6 months supplies should be sufficient just make sure you have plenty storage jars bags etc coz when spring arrives thats when we plan for next winter drying out foods etc also I think getting closer to the coast maybe a good idea in winter as there is always a food supplie

  4. I am just getting started at getting ready !! I will soon become a specialist ! Doing my homework now and thinking of ways to become a pro at this.

  5. I am fairly new to prepping and I am doing what I can. I am thoroughly convinced that skills are going to be so much more valuable than stuff. The problem is- I am not particularly handy or skilled…Do you have any advice for those of us who have a less than average skill set? Anything other than trying to learn what I can, practice, and build a few relationships/ community with people around me that would want to help eachother out?

  6. Really... says:

    1: #irony
    2: I don’t know if you’ve ever been hungry, really hungry, but if you have, then you would know that you’d be willing to eat ANYTHING; the last thing you’d care about is if you like the taste or not.
    3: Agreed, but personally I think you should aim for more than 1 years worth.
    4: I’m sorry, I don’t know how whatsoever salt is relevant to this, it would be interesting if you could discuss it in more detail.
    5: Couldn’t agree more, but I think this is a very rare mistike and thus shouldn’t be in your top 9. Think about it, almost everyone willing to spend 1000’s (as you suggested) on weapons won’t have made such a commitment without doing there homework first.
    6: If you are trying to explain the top 9 mistakes, please don’t include a point based on personal opinion, you might not like the idea of bugging, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a top mistake made by preppers.
    7: This sounds like something someone with a lack of cash would say to make themselves feel better (no offense to anyone intended). Because really, at the end of the day, if you have loads of food , weapons, a bunker maybe etc. you have a high chance of survival. On the other hand, you can have all the skill in the world, but unless you have food etc. your chance of survival is much slimmer. In other words, I would say it is more like 70-80% gear and 20-30% skill.
    8: I understand why you’d want different types of food, variation in your diet and all; but foolish? Cummon, like I said with no.2 when the shtf and you are hungry, you won’t give one.
    9: I agree, but then it is a subjective matter and depends on your view of the value of your pets life when your own is at stake; therefore I don’t think it should be in your top 9.

    Thanks for the read though, really interesting to see what others have to say 😀

    • Should follow your own advice about not sharing personal opinions. Fault finding is the easiest skill. Looks like you are an expert in it.

  7. You know, I am a friggin genius and I know much more than 99.9% of folks out there prepping. You sir, have hit the nail on the head and put me to shame with this page. Each and every point seems well-reasoned and an accurate description of the most common prepping mistakes. Thank you.

  8. @Really…
    1: True lol
    2: This has more to do with what your body is acclimated to processing than what your personal tastes are. Many people, myself included, experience adverse effects when their diet undergoes a significant shift. Cramps, gas, diarrhea are all common possible side effects of making a sudden and significant change in your diet. Using your stored food acclimates your body to its content. If you don’t eat what you store I suggest packing lots of pepto and immodium.
    3: Agreed
    4: Salt will be worth its weight in gold in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. It’s often the only source of iodine that people will consume. It’s also handy in preserving and dehydrating meat for later use. That’s pretty essential if you can’t rely on electricity to power your deep freeze. Those are only the first two that come to mind but you get the point.
    5: This one is subjective, however I do know of a few people that remarked how they didn’t need to store food because they had guns and they were just planning to take what they wanted from others. Seriously. Not on forums either. People said this to my face.
    6: This point wasn’t based on personal opinion although it included it. Remember the rule of 3’s. If you can avoid bugging out then that’s at least one of them taken care of.
    7: You both make valid points here however it think both you and the OP are going in opposite directions. Surely we have all met one of those 300lb guys with the library of survival books, full tacticool gear and every episode of Man vs Wild on DVD. Unless you actually go out into the wild and practice your fire building skills you probably won’t be able to build a fire having just read about it in a book or seen it on TV. Hone your skills.
    8: You make a good point. Historically people have survived off of boiled shoe leather. If you are taking the time and investing the money though you need to diversify your food supply. Recent studies are linking over exposure to certain types of food with food allergies. That would suck to have a year’s supply of wheat on hand only to develop a gluten intolerance later. Anyone who says you don’t need to diversify your food supply is an idiot.
    9: Agreed. Subjective and not always relevant. Worth considering if you have a pet.

  9. I agree with much of what you have said. The most critical of all is THINK FOR YOURSELF. Listening to others postings, experiences and stories can give good ideas to the novice and experts.

    Plan A – Shelter in Place – Shelter, Food, Water, Friends of like mind, weapons, ammo.
    Plan B – Bug out – same as Plan A but different stuff Plus vehicle, fishing, hunting and food prep gear.
    Plan C – Stay behind and make it hard for bad guys to follow my family and friends as they leave. – Weapons, MREs, water filter, traps.

    My Motto – We are either part of the solution or part of the problem.

  10. Really? Couple of observations….the “arsenal” is also used to procure game. Why is it that you think weapons are only for protection? Bugging out is not something short term as you apparently think. Why the hell would I want to stay in a large city where supplies are non-existent, no fish, no game and mobs of both thugs and police will make life miserable. Here is a clue….a bug in location in the country remote and stocked. Bug out means a dozen 30 gal stackable containers filled with supplies along with bug out bags. Food, gold, silver, ammo, water, etc. piled into two 4wd suv’s and get as far as we can on whatever notice we have. Hopefully all the way there but bug out bags as a last ditch back up with zero plans to go back. I have pistols, deer rifle, .22 rifle and a 12ga remington 870 plus…compound bow, throwing knives, tomahawk and even a slingshot. Small game traps, 4 different ways of doing anything from making a fire to building a raft. I have surgical tools and enough first aid supply to handle anything from bee sting to gunshot. That’s just the stuff we are taking with us. When we get there we have 120 acres with spring fed streams that feed a river which goes through the property, stocked pond, cattle, chickens, gardens and an abundance of wild turkey, deer, squirrel and rabbit plus a dozen other people with their own arsenals and supplies. I have jungle warfare, survival and escape/evasion training from the military, a lifetime of gardening, hunting, fishing and forest craft. The point is that you can’t judge everyone by the same gauge. I get that you are decrying newbie mistakes but I don’t want some newbie to read your stuff and discount the idea of bugging out. There are sound reasons for it. What the newbie should take away is to get educated and trained. Knowing how to hunt and kill food and then use the skin and sinew to make other things is invaluable in a long term bug out. One thing I’ll guarantee in a TEOTWAWKI scenario is that I’ll last longer in the woods than you will in the city.

  11. Another good reason to eat what you store (apart from the deterioration aspect) is that a sudden CHANGE of diet, from whatever you normally eat to something completely different, can be disastrous, both for the digestion and in other ways.

    Flatulence is a big one in a confined space, as are stomach aches and cravings for foods you no longer have access to. Surviving will be difficult enough for most people, especially if you have to bug out, so don’t make it any harder than it has to be.

    In the 1970s I was forced to live off the land for a few moths (long story), fortunately during the summer. I’d never have made it in winter. I wasn’t prepared, so when the excrement hit my particular fan, I found myself in trouble.

    I survived, sort of, but I had a permanent almost disabling headache, as well as other symptoms of malnutrition, and this under nearly ideal conditions, relatively speaking. I wasn’t getting enough food or the right kind of food, but the change from my normal diet was at least half the problem. I also learned the hard way that, though herbal brews made water less boring, some leaves, bay (laurus nobilis) being one example, are narcotic. Be careful. Know what you’re eating and drinking. Some plants can kill, even in small quantities.

    Libraries have books on survival, ranging from “fun” titles like “Eat the weeds” and the ungrammatically-titled “Food for free” through to REAL (SHTF) survival, Learn as much as you can, including slaughtering techniques. You can’t afford to be a vegetarian in a survival situation, and some books do give detailed instructions.

    Eat (and replenish) your stocks, That way you won’t have a sudden change of diet to make you even more miserable than you’re sure to be if you find yourself in a TEOTWAWKI situation..

    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.


    Really… asked about salt. I can assure you that this is VITAL, especially in hot weather. Forget all the “salt is bad” propaganda. We can’t live without it. If you find your legs getting progressively weaker, everything you try to do is an effort and it’s getting worse despite an adequate diet, chances are you’re low on salt. Dissolve a level teaspoon of whatever salt you can get in a glass of water, drink as much of this as you can, and follow it up with a glass of plain water. If you feel stronger tomorrow, you’ll have your answer.

    I agree that iodised salt has greater survival value, or failing that, sea salt, but any salt is better than none, especially if you’re suffering from salt depletion.

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