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"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Friday, May 12, 2017

PREPPER: Prepping on a Budget

PREPPER:  Prepping on a Budget
All the latest prepper articles within...
TRUST in GOD is the Ultimate Prepper Tip!
It’s good to prep on a budget, as economic collapse is coming. I believe many people are new to emergency preparedness. It is hard enough to come up with the funds to get a good start of just having enough food for your family and yourself. That’s alot without all of the things you need for a bug out bag, cache, and all the tools to be self sufficient. We would need a homestead and a thousand other things, if we were without modern convinces and technology. We take so much for granted, including that we can just run to pick things up at the grocery store. For those of us newer to prepping, preparing is all quite overwhelming.

Certain Economic Collapse

The economic collapse isn’t like a “possible” Y2K thing. It is 100% for sure going to happen. The question is when. It is going to start when our debt clock hits 20 trillion. Forecasters have more firmly established the date as 2021. This means we are running out of time. We don’t have to just worry about the dollar being worthless. We need to realize we could very well face hyper inflation. So being prepared, even if order is kept, is critical.
My friends on social media include globalists, which is a story for a different day. They have interest in IMF. Let’s just say central banking cycles were never meant to last forever. One hundred twenty-five years is the norm. When first planned in 1964, our reset was intended for this year. However, our debt wasn’t quite high enough to trigger what needs to happen for the dominoes to start falling. When this was first planned, that wasn’t part of the equation. As far as how much money was to be printed for our central banking cycle, it ended in 2014. If they lift the QE, inflation would be 643%. If you haven’t been serious in preparing food stores, start now!

Free Things On Craigslist

I keep seeing all these acronyms and fantastic ideas. However, many of these things seem expensive. I’ve come up with a lot of ways to do things on a budget and to be prepared with a small budget. I will add things as I go. Don’t be afraid to check the free section on Craig’s List (craigslist.org). I went through it today. If I were stronger, I would have rented a U-Haul. There is a man in our area who needs to move and is giving away a wood chipper, generator, 55-gallon barrels, fire hoses, and a ton of tools. He is moving and has a “come and take all or get nothing” policy. I couldn’t believe all the things people are just giving away. Bricks, firewood, and kitchen cabinets were plentiful in our area.

Food Storage

Refurbished Food Saver

Food storage is a must when preparing. Food Saver sells refurbished units when they have them in stock for around $68 for the 2-in-1 unit. Plus, it comes with all the accessories it would if you bought it new. Their fresh bucks program is worthwhile. They also give free containers with any purchase over $99. The food savers can be used to draw air out for mini space bags for bug out bags. Take the roll out of the middle of toilet paper and suck the air out; you have a couple of rolls without taking up much space. Store larger items in a cache a medium-sized space bags. Depending on the size of your bug out bag, they would work for that, too. I’ve used these for years for seasonal bedding to save space.

Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers

Amazon’s prices for mylar bags and oxygen absorbers are still the best I’ve found. Remember to use the links from SurvivalBlog so they get the small commission to be able to run the website free to us. I would not have learned half of what I now know if it weren’t for this website. Thank you! I also appreciate that we are told this is the case with this website. It is the case for any of them with links; they just don’t bother to tell us. I can’t even express the gratitude I feel for all the good information found on this website.

Augason Farm Dehydrated Foods

The best deals I have found on Amazon with food is a 14-pound pail of Augason Farms honey coated dehydrated bananas for around $32.99 and their price for the same brand of #10 cans of powdered milk and eggs for $12.66 each are good prices. Every once in awhile they will run a sale that must be a loss leader for $3.99 for blueberry pancake mix. It goes between that and $17.99, so it is quite the difference. Grab a few when you see this, because it will go up. I didn’t realize it was such a bargain when I first saw it, so I didn’t grab it at the time. It is already packaged for long-term storage. The bananas are in a 6-gallon bucket. I’ve never seen dehydrated fruit for anywhere near this price. It is more than twice the price for anything dehydrated in their 6-gallon buckets.. I kind of over spent on those. I was new to Amazon and didn’t realize it switched to another seller when I hit the order button. It was $25 more.

Watch Your Shopping Cart When Making Amazon Purchases

If you are like me and make lists or leave things in your shopping cart, make sure and check the price. The prices can really fluctuate between sellers or even the same seller. I had a 55-gallon water storage tank on my list. It was the same seller but went from $156 to $104 within a couple of weeks. Amazon is also unbeatable for choices and finding unusual or hard-to-find items in one place.

Product Reviews

Amazon’s reviews are a great place to find answers to questions. However, I find this website (SurvivalBlog) and books better for reviews about which brands of weapons and knives are better. I seriously doubt anyone on Amazon reviewing a $15 survival knife that was made in China ever had to use them in an honest to goodness survival situation or a fight for their lives. I will listen to the experts on this. By expert, I mean the men and women who’ve seen combat, not the “expert” trained by vendors at a sporting goods store. For some things, I believe you get what you pay for and you shouldn’t skimp. It is one thing to get the best prices on beans and rice or the same brands of quality foods. But don’t skimp on the tools that could save your life or that will break when you are simply pruning a few branches from trees in your yard.

Online Ordering Beyond Amazon

If you have $20 to spend at the dollar store, you can do a lot more than you think with that. Many people have a lot of the things they need just laying around the house. If you live in a rural area, like a lot of people who visit this site regularly, there are some things going on you may not be aware of. People know about Amazon, but they don’t know about Google Express. So, if you live a a long way from a Costco, you can now order from them online along with a few other stores, like Walgreens and Whole Foods. The two latter stores aren’t really for those who are budget oriented, but it certainly has a convenience factor. You can also order online from the Dollar Tree, but you have to buy a case. A case usually contains 24 to 36 pieces for things like petroleum jelly, two-packs of antibacterial soap, or hand sanitizers.

Purchasing on Google Express

Google Express isn’t feasible for everyone. But if it works for you, a case or two of basic items, like hand sanitizer, petroleum jelly, or the 2-packs of antibacterial soap, might be worth purchasing. They also recently began to carry a 3-pack of sensitive skin Dial soap that is irritant- and fragrance-free. This soap, which from reading, appears to be beneficial, if you don’t want strong fragrances. However, the downside is that it isn’t antibacterial.
With Google Express you can pay a yearly fee or just pay a flat $4.99 for each order over $35. The yearly fee is $95. The service is newer, so there are coupons everywhere. It isn’t available everywhere yet. However, you can punch in your zip code to see when it will be available and which stores participate in your area. There is a refer a friend for a $10 coupon that you both receive.


Some of the prices at Costco are unbeatable especially for those of us who buy in bulk. If you have a business, you can also order from their Business Center and have it shipped. If you live close to one and just have a membership, you can still purchase from them. They just don’t deliver to residential addresses. Additionally, the prices reflect a shipping increase, so it is worth a trip to one even if it is a few hours away.

Apartment Homesteading for Preppers

herbs growing vertically
by Heath
There are many things to worry about when you have your mind set on preparing for the worst of outcomes. One of these problems is providing food for yourself when the SHTF, and that only compounds on itself when you live in the city. Undoubtedly there are advantages to living in a city, but how can you have a successful homestead in a city? To be even more specific – Is it even possible in an apartment?
This article will outlay all the basics you need to know to get you started on your homesteading adventures in your apartment. You will learn life hacks to get the most out of your space and gain the knowledge you need to have meaningful yields from your urban homesteading adventures.

The Garden

Your first step is developing all of your growing areas into something worth growing vegetables in. This includes any window space, kitchen window, or balcony if you have one. If you have a balcony with one of those sliding glass doors, you have a jackpot regarding growing space in an apartment.
Any windows you do have will need to be cleared away of furniture as this will be your only way to get sunlight to your plants. You will also have to keep your window blinds or curtains open for the entirety of the day to get the little amount of sunlight that you do get. This can raise the issue of people being able to see what you are doing, but the risk is a necessary one.
Once you have designated the growing areas; you will need to plan out how you are going to use your growing pots, vertical gardens, staggered gardens, hanging baskets, trellises, planter boxes, and balcony pots. All of these are available for you to maximize your growing space.
vertical pots herbs on balcony
Any wall that gets a decent amount of sunlight will beg for a vertical or staggered garden. The vertical garden is built as one unit stacked on top of each other so you can grow in many beds within the same amount of space. Staggered gardens would be best utilized on the balcony or next to a sliding glass door. If you have a big enough window, it could be used from the wall next to the window and staggered out in front of it. Staggered gardens are best described as the descending rice fields you see in the mountains. It’s a great use of space as you can have different levels of dirt for various plant’s needs in one area.
You will also want to set up your trellises along walls for vine plants you may choose to grow. If your space is too limited for trellises, you can always use hanging baskets for growing them. Other plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, and leafy greens like spinach do well in them as well. The best part is harvesting as all you need to do is pick them off like apples in a tree unless you are growing greens. It’s important to note that you want to keep an eye on how much sunlight you are getting with hanging baskets as they tend to get a lot which could be detrimental to your leafy greens.
If you have a balcony, you will want to maximize your growing space on it because it will most likely be the area where you receive the most amount of sunlight. This is a great opportunity for planter boxes and balcony pots. There are many options for you to choose when it comes to these, so the best advice is to find something solid and built to last. You will find out quickly if it’s cheap when you come out in the morning to find your planter box spilled out on the ground.
The balcony rails can also work as a trellis. You may need to add some cross sections to it, but it will work perfectly for you if that is an option you need.
It’s important to stress this one more time as it will save you a lot of headaches. Do not buy cheap pots, planters, or materials for building. You need these things to last you a long time, and if the SHTF you might not have the opportunity to replace something that has broken. It’s better to fork out the few extra dollars on the thicker better pots, than the flimsy ones that you can break with your hands if you tried hard enough.

The Soil

You will need soil for your garden, and hopefully a lot of it. Unfortunately, you will have to buy this probably, or if you are patient and resourceful enough, you can find someone who is selling or getting rid of their top soil. Either way, you will need it unless you are going a hydroponic/aquaponic route.
Once you have the right amount of soil, you will need to keep the microbial bacteria happy, and that means providing organic material to the soil from time to time. Without a doubt, the best way to do this is composting.
With compost, you provide the soil with all of the vital and subtle nutrients we find in healthy soil. It’s the only sure way of accomplishing this without having to spend a dime. The only problem is the limited space in the apartment.
For making compost in an apartment, you will need a compost bin to put all of your table scraps – excluding meat and dairy – into. These bins vary in sizes, and a lot of them will have an easy way to turn it so oxygen gets to the microbes so they can break down the material into compost.
Ideally, you will want to “hot compost” as opposed to “cold compost.” This simply means that the mixture of nitrogen-rich content(Roughly 30%) to carbon-rich content(Roughly 70%) is at the perfect ratio for the bacteria to do what it does best. When done correctly, you will be able to have usable compost in a fraction of the time. It typically takes “cold compost” to be ready anywhere from 6 months to a year! This is a massive difference to hot compost which can be ready in as little as two weeks.
There are other factors to hot composting that need to be addressed if you want to be successful. You have to ensure that the compost is always moist. It should be as moist as a wet sponge. The next thing you will want to make sure you do is to “turn” the compost. This is essential because the bacteria is aerobic, meaning it needs oxygen to thrive and work. If you can compost within your apartment, it should be in a bin that is easy to flip or turn.
If you are unable to make your own compost; you will have to buy it, or you should expect to get less and fewer yields over time, and eventually degrade the soil to something that won’t give life anymore. There are many varieties out there, but the best option is anything organic. You really don’t want to use Miracle-Gro, or anything similar. They will grow big plants, but the additives they are introducing into your soil are harmful to a healthy lifestyle. Finally, in case of the SHTF scenario, make sure you have a surplus of compost if you have to buy it.

Water Collection

Collecting water is one of the most important aspects to homesteading, and for the needs of an apartment homesteader, it becomes vital to your garden’s survival. You will also be extremely limited to what you can do in regards water collecting. The simplest method at your disposal if you have a balcony is setting up gutters to collect water. The outlet will have to go into a bucket, but bringing out as many plants as possible when it is raining, and collecting what you can from the gutters will help tremendously.
Your other option is creating a water collector from a tarp, four poles, and a bucket for the water collection. All you need to do is set it up when you know you will have rain. The four poles suspend the tarp above the bucket, and at the low point, a hole in the tarp will pour water into the bucket.
This is the easiest way to collect water. You will undoubtedly turn some heads by doing this, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives for this one.


I won’t be going into too much detail here, but suffices it to say you can get either of them going in your apartment for relatively cheap.
These systems use a growing medium instead of soil to grow plants. With the hydroponic system, you will need to add additives to your water for the plants. While the aquaponic system uses fish to fertilize the plants, and the water is filtered and recycled back to the fishes.
Aquaponics stands apart from hydroponics on the fact that you can also raise fish for consumption, and not have to pay for those additives that a hydroponic system needs. Both will require electricity to run, and the aquaponic system will need more because of the aerator for the fish tank.
This can be a potential problem in a SHTF situation and we have outlined some ways you can make your entire hydroponic or aquaponic system work without electricity in the article stated previously.

Alternative Energy

Due to your limited space, there isn’t much you can do in this regard. Your only option is to install solar panels on your balcony – if you have one. This could potentially take up valuable growing space, and the growing space should always take priority. The best advice is to hire a professional to assess your situation and tell you your options, or if it is even worth it.
You could also install a wind generator on your balcony, but the output probably won’t be great. Experiment with these options and get some professional advice if you really want to collect solar or wind energy for your power use.

Raising Rabbits

Because you live in an apartment, you won’t be able to raise much of anything in regards to meat. You have fish from the aquaponic system, but you are very limited to what you can keep after that. Chickens are completely out of the question so you really only have one option. Rabbits.
Mostly kept as pets, they are a good source of protein when there is nothing else. They are very easy to keep and take care of, and the investment isn’t too steep considering the situation. You could potentially feed them entirely from your garden if you are capable of growing enough produce.
The best part is their birth rate. It’s a common saying, “They breed like rabbits.” This statement is entirely true. The gestation period for rabbits is roughly 30 days, and they tend to give birth to a litter of 4-12! The problem then becomes, “Do I have enough space for all these rabbits?”
As the chicken is the ultimate homesteader animal; the rabbit is arguably the ultimate urban/apartment homesteader animal.

Closing Thoughts

Turning your apartment into an urban homestead will be a challenge with ups and downs to learn from. What is important is to use this article as a guideline and not the end all to truth. There are always innovations and new techniques to try when it comes to homesteading, and this holds true to urban homesteading. Even if you are in a one bedroom apartment, you can turn that into a homestead, and be prepared for the challenges that the future may throw at you.


10 Deadly Mistakes That New Gun Owners Make

By Travis Pike – NRA firearm instructor and Marine Infantry veteran
Purchasing a firearm is a big step in someone’s life. If you’ve never owned a firearm this is a major, even life changing, event. New gun owners tend to make a few mistakes. I know this as a concealed carry instructor and I see new shooters at my course all the time. Here are the top ten mistakes I see new gun owners make the most.

#1. Using a Cheap Holster or Sling

This is the worst. I understand being on a budget but a cheaper can holster can be dangerous in a multitude of ways. A cheap nylon holster that is designed to be universal is a very poor option for carrying a gun. The same goes for some Chinese made nylon sling that proclaim itself tactical. Both can be dangerous and unreliable.
A poor holsters offers horrid retention and can be downright dangerous when it comes to carry a firearm concealed. It accidentally coming out is a major issue. Let’s not forget the potential for the holster’s material getting inside the trigger guard and pulling the trigger. A poorly made sling maybe cheap, but is likely to break with Chinesium bending and cheap materials tearing and fraying. My suggestions for a quality budget option? The Blue Force Gear Vickers Sling and an Alien Gear holster are both affordable and quality pieces of gear.
Related: DIY: Bedside Holster System

#2. Getting a Light Trigger Job

If you are a sport shooter then a light trigger can be very beneficial to you. For self defense though a light trigger isn’t always the best option. In a stressful situation too light of a trigger may cause you to have a negligent discharge. Secondly a light trigger means you’ve changed the gun from stock. The gun is proven to work with stock parts, is it proven to work with a trigger job? Is the trigger reliable? Did competent gunsmith install it? If not you may face reliability issues as well. A half pound AR 15 trigger is not a good option for a home defense rifle.

#3. Trying to Replace Skill with Accessories

No matter how many do dads or gizmos you attach your rifle, handgun, or shotgun you won’t be a better shooter. You are likely making your weapon heavier, and doing nothing to make you better. A good shot is going to be a good shot regardless of accessories. The only way to buy skill is to buy, training, and hitting the range.
Related: Futuristic Looking Rifles and Guns

#4. Forgetting (or not learning) the Fundamentals

You always fall back to the lowest level of training you have mastered, and that should be the fundamentals. Learning the fundamentals is the necessary building block to becoming a better shooter. Shooting fundamentals are divided into  proper sight picture, sight alignment, breath control, trigger pull, grip, stance, and follow through. Mastering these fundamentals seems boring, but is the key to success when it comes to safely handling guns.

#5. Not Securing a Firearm(s)

Buying a firearm isn’t just buying a gun. There should be room in the budget for ammo, a holster or sling, and a way to secure it. It doesn’t have to be a full on safe, but at the very least a lock that goes through the action. This doesn’t prevent theft, but keeps anyone from easily accessing the gun. If a gun is not in your direct control it needs to be secured in some manner. Be it a safe, a lock, or completely disassembled.

#6. Not Understanding Ammunition Types

There are wide varieties of different forms of ammunition for different purposes. Using a type of ammunition outside of it’s purpose can be dangerous. Self-defense firearms should be loaded with self-defense ammunition. Good hollow or soft point ammunition, it prevents over penetration. A full metal jacket load will zip through a target and have the potential to harm others. Hollow point, frangible, and soft point ammunition is less likely to overpenetrate and harm others.
Related: How And Where To Store Ammo

#7. Buying the Wrong Firearm

So to be clear there is no objective wrong firearm. However, there is wrong firearms for certain purposes and certain people. For concealed carry your best bet isn’t going to be a S&W 500 Magnum revolver. In some cases a person with reduced hand strengths or arthritis may be served better by a revolver than automatic if they can’t effectively rack the slide. At the same time a 12 gauge shotgun is great for home defense, but smaller people may have trouble handling it.
Buy a gun that fits your purpose, your skill level, and your physical needs. Never go too big, that’s dangerous. If you can’t handle a particular firearm effectively then you can’t handle it safely.

#8. Relying on a Manual Safety

A manual safety is designed as a secondary mechanical safety. The primary safety is the 6 to 8 inches between your ears. Your brain and ability to be a safe gun handler is way more important than any manual safety. Manual safeties can and do fail, ask Remington about their Model 700 safety. It may be comforting to have a firearm with a manual safety but do not simply depend on that safety to keep your firearm safe.

#9. Forgetting to Maintain the Gun

A gun doesn’t need to be cleaned each and every day of the week, even a carry gun. However, guns need to be cleaned on occasion. Not only when they’ve been fired, but when they’ve ben exposed to the elements. This is especially true for concealed carry guns who may be exposed to sweat or pocket lint. I’d clean a gun exposed to the world at least once a month if concealed carried.
A dirty, and rusty gun that goes click when you need it most is seriously dangerous.

#10. Not Memorizing the 4 Safety Rules

The 4 Gun Safety rules always apply. During my time in the military before every range we recited the 4 safety rules. To this day they are scorched into my memory. I end the article with these 4 safety rules to get the point across as best I can. If you follow these rules you’ll be safe with each and every firearm. These four rules were written by Gun Guru Jeff Cooper.
  • All guns are always loaded.
  • Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target.
  • Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified

13 Ways to Catch Fish for Survival 


A lake, stream, or ocean can be a lifesaving resource in a disastrous situation.  Most large water sources can provide food resources, including fish. Catching fish for survival can be trickier than you may think. The pressure to catch fish can get to you, and a string of bad luck could leave you with an empty belly. Stay in control of the situation, and pivot to a different fishing technique if one isn’t working out for you. Different techniques are more effective for different types of fish in various regions of the country. A few of the options we list below are not legal in many places, and should only be used in those regions for survival.

1/15 Pole

Whether you are fishing with your favorite fishing pole or making one from scratch, a pole is the go-to solution for catching fish. One major downside of a fishing pole is that holding a fishing pole usually keeps you from doing other survival priorities. Passive ways to catch fish for survival may be more valuable for than your usual fishing trip. You will need to free up time and calories for other survival priorities whenever possible.

2/15 Traps

You can buy a trap or make a trap, but traps are one of the best ways to go for catching fish passively. Baiting a trap and coming back to a full trap a few hours later is a great feeling. A few common types of traps include:
  • Fishing Weir – Make a maze or block a stream or river to trap fish moving up or downstream.
  • Eel Trap – Weave a basket with a small, inverted opening in one end. This trap is often demonstrated in survival shows and takes skill and time to construct using bushcraft methods.
  • Soda Bottle – Use a two liter coke bottle to easily make a trap.

3/15 Spring Reel

Spring reels are cheap, don’t take up much space, and are quick to set up. They are self contained, with the line and lead always wound up. This makes them compact, clean, and portable, making them great for car kits or INCH bags. http://amzn.to/2q4tiA2

4/15 Throwing Rocks

It sounds ridiculous, but we’re serious. Rocks are not just for traps when it comes to catching fish. A well timed medium sized rock in shallow water can easily stun or kill a fish.

Rock fishing
Source: Imgur

5/15 Bowfishing

Bow fishing is one more way to make the versatile bow and arrow have even more uses. While we talk about active and passive fishing techniques on the list- this is the most active of them all. It takes a good amount of skill and energy to get a fish with an arrow. Diffraction of the water makes it hard to hit fish deep, even if the water is clear and they are visible.

6/15 Firearms

Although extremely difficult and ill advised, you can shoot fish. Like bowfishing, you need to account for diffraction when aiming your shot. A vertical shot is the only angle where this is not a problem.

7/15 Spearfishing

Not many people have a spear laying around, but there are a few different methods you can use to make a fishing spear on the go. Crafting a spear out of a branch is pretty easy with some lashings and a little bushcraft skill.
Fishing Spear

8/15 Cornering

Fish are pretty easily cornered in shallow water. You can use a weir trap to help you out, but herding some fish and then just grabbing or flipping them on the shore is an easy way to get a quick meal.

9/13 Limb Lines

Limb lines are a great way to catch catfish and can work on other freshwater fish well too. Tie your line to a tree limb that goes over the water and keep the bait and hook just under the water. This will help it dance and make noise, attracting fish. Some even prefer to ‘set’ the limb under tension like a trap trigger to set hooks better. When triggered, the limb will pull up much like the spring reel. Limb lines are a quick way to catch fish without having to be there.

10/13 Trot Lines

A trot line is similar to a throw line, but with a whole lot more hooks and it is usually made out of a sturdier line or even cable. Most trot lines are 50-100 feet and you can get a lot of hooks on that length. Like limb lines, they are often used to catch catfish and need to be sturdy enough to hold several fish at once. While they may take a good amount of setup time and materials, a trot line can catch tons of fish. It is a great passive way to catch fish.

11/13 Jugging

Attaching a jug to a line and tossing in a baited hook is a quick way to drop a line when you don’t have to worry about current. Like the few listed above, jug fishing is used often to catch catfish. And like some of the better techniques on the list, you can drop your jugs off in the morning and pick it up at dusk- a great ‘fire and forget’ method.

12/13 Nets

Cast nets, drag nets, gill nets- nets can change the game when it comes to getting fish. It is one of the easiest ways to catch fish of any size, from bait fish to an entire seafood meal. Gill nets are the preferred net for survivalists because they are a net you can set up and come back to, rather than having to toss or drag it yourself. 

13/13 Explosives

Explosives can shock and stun fish in a large area. While this is illegal in most places, very loud, and possibly dangerous- it is still a way you could catch fish if you had spare explosives laying around. It is not the most practical way to catch fish for survival, but it is a way that works so it makes the list. You aren’t trying to blow up any fish here; they won’t be too edible if you do that. A small underwater explosion should give a good enough concussion to the fish to confuse or stun them, making them easy to collect.
Grenade Explosive

The Final Word

Fish are a great food resource and can be plentiful in some bug out locations. If you don’t have the gear you are used to; don’t let that hold you back from staying fed! There are a few methods that we kept off of the list just due to their practicality. Fishing with chemicals is possible- but not very safe for consumption. Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.


Top 10 Survival Skills You Need to Know


50 Mistakes Made By Preppers and What to Do About Them

The longer you have been prepping, the more you realize how easy it is to get sidetracked and to prep for things, that in the big picture, are of a relatively low priority.  It is no wonder that articles on prepper mistakes and lessons learned are so popular.
It is has been a couple of years since I wrote about some of the mistakes and goofs we all make while prepping.  Since then, a lot of things have changed. For one, the mainstream media has caught on to “three-day kit” mania which means more and more families are now ready for short term disasters. On the other hand, threats from wacko foreign leaders have escalated to the point where terrorist-driven EMPs, pandemics, and outright wars have become more of a possibility, if not a probability.  Talk about two very different sides of the same coin!
With the wisdom gained from living as a prepper for the last seven years, here are fifty common and uncommon prepper mistakes we can learn from.

Learn from these 50 Commonly Made Prepping Mistakes

Before starting, I should point out that I struggled with the ordering of these items.  Although there is always a strong interest in supplies, gear, and food storage, it is planning coupled with a survival mindset that will see you through the prepping process  For that reason, I am starting with those particular topics.
The other thing I want to point out is that there is a bit of redundancy to the solution and resolution of some the listed prepper mistakes.  It stands to reason that a mistake doing one thing will overlap with something else, and so, for the purpose of this article, I felt it was important to maintain those small redundancies.  Now that I think about that, isn’t that the prepper way?
With all that said, let me warn you that this is a long list.  Grab a cup of your favorite something, and learn from these common or not-so-common prepper mistakes.


1.  Failure to perform a risk analysis and prepping for the most likely disruptive events first
When first getting started, it is easy to go off willy-nilly preparing for all sorts of calamities.  Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, terrorist attacks, pandemics, nuclear melt-downs, civil disobedience; you name it and the call to prepare will be out there.  I can guarantee that this will drive you crazy!
I recommend that the very first step you take when prepping is to evaluate the most likely risks specific to your geographical area and your personal domestic situation.  Most, if not all, city, county and state governments will have emergency management websites that will help you sort through the most likely disasters to occur in your area.  Take advantage of these public resources.
Don’t stop there. Take a hard look at demographics.  Are you in a city where gangs, mobs or terrorist attacks are likely?  Do you live in a remote area where the failure of transportations systems or the lack of fuel will cut you off from supplies arriving from the rest of the world?  Is your employment situation tenuous requiring that you build up some cash reserves to get you by just in case the job goes away?
Clearly, at the beginning, some choices will need to be made regarding the best use of your prepping budget.  Just remember that food, water and first aid supplies should be at the top of everyone’s list.  After that, assess the most likely risks and plan accordingly.
For ideas, take a look at 12 Months of Prepping: One Month at a Time. Here you will find links to articles that take you though the process of gathering what you need in terms of supplies, gear, tasks, and skills to set you on a positive path of preparedness.  It may not seem like a lot, but at the end of the year you will will be better prepared than 95% of your neighbors.
2. Not keeping your set of emergency documents up to date
This is probably one of the most common mistakes and is one that I am guilty of.  It takes quite a bit of work to gather the documents, scan or copy them, and store them in your designated spot.  In my case, they are stored on a flash drive on my survival key ring.
A good time to go through the process of updating documents is during be the annual switch to daylight savings or whatever date you set aside to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
While you are at it, think about storing current pictures of family members and pets as well.  You just never know when they will be needed to help locate loved ones following a disaster or disruptive event.
3. Failure to provide instructions for those that are left behind
Over and over again, I learn of situations where hunderds if not thousands of dollars of unopened tins of freeze dried food is sold at estate sales.  The heirs did not have a clue that mom was a prepper and so they got rid of the stored food and all of the prepping gear for pennies on the dollar.
If something were to happen to you, would the remaining family members know what to do with your preps?  Would they even know what they are and why you have them?  Todd Sepulveda, the editor of Prepper Website,  has written an open letter to youyr love ones that you should read, modify as needed, and keep with your important documents.
Additional Reading:  A Preparedness Gift That Costs You Nothing

The Survival Mindset

4. Prepping for doomsday and  ignoring the short-term
It was quite common in 2010 to plan for doomsday to the exclusion of everything else. While we all need to plan for long term catastrophic, or disruptive events, the reality is that day to day short-term calamities can and will occur so you better be ready for those as well.
A bunker or survival retreat in the middle of nowhere is nice to have but not to the exclusion of having skills and supplies you will need while hunkering down following a short term disruption caused by a natural disaster or other disruptive event.
5. Underestimating other humans as a threat
In a perfect world, we would all get along and go about our business in a mild-mannered way, not bothering anyone or causing others harm.  Alas, as humans this has never been the case.  From biblical times forward, man has opposed man.  There have been and still are warriors, armies, soldiers and dictators, enemies and foes.
As mass shootings have revealed, mental illness or drugs can make good people go bad.  Add the uncertainly and chaos created by an unstable society and the potential for human threat becomes a major cause for concern.
Whether you embrace firearms or shun them, you still need a way to defend yourself, your family and your property.  Consider pepper sprays, martial arts, and other defensive mechanisms in addition to traditional firearms.  It is foolhardy to believe that having some means of defense is not needed because “there is no one out to get you”.  Don’t be naive in this regard!
Desperate people are dangerous people.  And the lack of food, water and supplies will turn ordinary people into desperate people in a heartbeat.
Addtional Reading:  What to Do If You Are In the Middle of An Active Shooting
6. Disregarding the role of comfort when it comes to being prepared
There is no reason you need to treat prepping as your own personal reality show.  In most cases, surviving with bare bone basics will not be necessary if you do a bit of advance planning.
As you set things aside, consider basic comfort items such as flannel sheets, grooming supplies, and chocolate.  Heck, even some M&Ms or hard candies will be unbelievably comforting following a disruptive event.
Additional Reading:  16 Items To Help You Hunker Down in Comfort
7. Believing everything you read on the Internet
Check your sources and use common sense.  If something seems off, investigate before taking what you read at face value.  That includes what your read here on this site.  I do my best to be credible but honestly?  Sometimes even I make mistakes and have to backtrack based on new research and knowledge.
Use your head and you should be fine.
8. Relying only on yourself and ignoring like-minded members of your community
When I first started prepping, I did not mention my new little “hobby” to anyone.  You know, OPSEC and all that.  But about a year into it, I realized that I could not do it all on my own.  There were things I was having trouble grasping and I needed help.  As I tip toed around the edges of my community, I found some like minded people and much to my surprise, I found that I had skills and knowledge that they lacked.
The mutual exchange of skills and knowledge ensued along with some informal agreements to team up if circumstances required us to be on our own for any period of time.  This included teaming up for shelter and food as well as defense.
The importance of having a peer group of like minded comrades in my own community was strengthened as I read R. P. Ruggiero’s Brushfire Plague and continued as I explored other truer than life survival stories,.
How you decide to expand your community contacts is up to you but be advised that when it comes to survival 1 + 1 will definitely add up to more than 2.
Additonal Reading:  Survival Buzz: Eight Lessons Learned from Survival Fiction
9. Just because someone else does something does not mean that you should do it to
There is an unspoken rule of the road in boating:  just because the other guy is doing it does not mean he is right or knows what he is doing.  Personally I have been there and done that and nearly ended up on the rocks.
The same rule applies to prepping.
As someone who reads a lot on the internet, you have likely come across many authorities with “expert” advice on one topic or another.  This is where the gray matter between your ears becomes the most important tool in your box of prepper skills.  Think it through before you unilaterally apply someone’s expertise to your own situation.  Let me repeat: this includes advice and suggestions from this website!
Go back to the beginning and do a risk analysis.  Examine your budget; can you afford it?  What are your living conditions?  What is the likelihood that a hurricane (or earthquake or wildfire) will threaten your home?  Are you physically up to the task of bugging out on foot?
Every step along the way you should be asking yourself these questions and more.  You are unique.  Recognize and embrace the fact that with preparedness, one size does not fit all.
10. Falling victim to prepper procrastination
You have read the best books out there and spent the wee hours of the night reading every website you can find that teaches and preaches preparedness.  You should be ready to embark upon your preparedness journey but remain a lurker.
There is no other way to say it but this:  just start.  Select one small task or one small project and see it through to completion.  Take some baby steps and spend an hour, perhaps two, and get something done.  The results will be worth it.
Additional Reading: Learning to Overcome Prepper Procrastination.
11. Obsessing about being behind the curveball
Read this carefully then read it again.  You will never be done.
There will always be stock to rotate, supplies to purchase, and skills to learn.  Being worried and obsessed about getting every thing done at once will only increase your stress during an already stressful period in life.
Get over it!
12. Feeling smug in thinking your prepping journey is over
I have been prepping for over seven years and believe me, there is still so much I want and need to do.  Let me re-phrase that a bit.  There is much that I want to refine and improve so I am better at this business of prepping.
The risks you prepared for last year may not be the same risks you would prepare for today.  You have done a personal risk assessment, right?  If not, think about doing so now.  While you are at it, be honest about your health, your finances, and your ability to get by for an extended period on your own.
Let me break it to you.  After doing a personal risk assessment, you will no longer feel smug.
13. Forgetting that there is a life beyond prepping
Of all of the prepper mistakes, this is perhaps the most difficult to overcome.
For many, the call of prepping becomes a full-time avocation.  Living and breathing preparedness becomes the norm, disrupting work and family activities as well as the personal quiet time we all need to recharge our internal batteries.  Sleep becomes elusive as you fret about being ready.  You live in a perpetual state of stress.
Hopefully, this has not and will not happen to you.  Trust me, though, it does happen and at one time this happened to me.
Above all, remember that regardless of what you think about the future, you still have one precious life to live.  You can not stop the clock of time so unless you feel an imminent danger, continue to live your life as normally and joyfully as possible.  Attend family celebrations and continue to take vacations.  Have fun and learn to play.
Isn’t life itself the reason you are prepping to survive in the first place?

Supplies and Gear

14. Creating a 3 Day Kit and ignoring the long term
Putting together a three-day kit and calling it quits is a recipe for failure and a ticket to Camp FEMA or some other shelter.
Let’s be real. The government, the media, and the Red Cross have been promoting the 3-day kit for so long that it is safe to say that the term “3 day kit” is now common vernacular.  Not surprisingly, the 3-Day Kit has also become a marketing phenomena.
The good news is that the more that people jump onto the 3 day kit bandwagon, the better for the rest of us.  That is three days we will not have to reach out and help them.
On the other hand, something as simple as a winter power outage can last far longer than three days.  And a cyber-attack, pandemic, or earthquake?  Two weeks, a month,or even a year of emergency supplies would be much better.
Additional Reading:  15 Tips to Keep You Comfortable During a Power Outage
15. Stocking up on prepper gadgets that are cute but hardly useful during a real disaster
A lot of junk is being pitched to preppers.  I am embarrassed to say that in the early days, I pitched this stuff as well.  These days, I stay away from such things as credit-card knives, match-light fire starters, and keychain survival kits.
I do however, stock up on inexpensive, pocket-sized flashlights, mini-survival kits of varying types in compact tins, and multi-tasking tools and household products.  It is the gadgets I never heard of and didn’t think I needed until I read about them that I avoid.
16. Having the latest in survival gear but not knowing how to use it
This is more common than you might think.  How many of you have a closet that represents a survivalists dream?  Emergency radios, compasses, propane stoves and lanterns, tactical knives, firearms, cross-bows, hand tools, solar kits and more lie idle and unused and untested in more homes than you might think.
Every single one of these items needs to be put through its paces two or three times a year at a minimum.  Not only do you need to know how to use your gear, but you need to ensure that your gear is in good working order.  Blades need to be sharpened, batteries need to be charged and skills need to be refreshed.
It is human nature to acquire stuff we want simply because we want it.  Don’t let that happen with your prepping gear.  Buy it used or new, then use it not just once, but periodically throughout the year.  The very best preps are those you can incorporate into day to day life.
Similarly, do you have copies of your gear manuals tucked away in case you need them?  Storing them on a laptop or flash drive is a great idea but only if you have some way to power your devices when the grid goes down.
17. Not knowing what you have because you don’t have an inventory
You are walking around the local outdoor emporium and see a fantastic deal on tactical knives.  Great, you can never have too many knives.  Unless, of course, you are spending money on your 5th knife but do not have a portable lantern.
See what I mean?  You should keep a list of what you have and what you need so you do not accidentally spend money where you do not need to do so.
18. Blowing your budget on gear instead of on food, water, and medical supplies
Shopping for new gadgets, gizmos, and gear is both fun and addictive.  Who wouldn’t want the latest $150 tactical flashlight or that set of high tech night goggles to use in spotting bad buys before they see you.
Purchasing survival gear is a necessary part of the prepping process but it should not be done to the exclusion of food, water, and medical supplies.  The exception to this rule is water purification and fire-making tools both of which can be acquired for very little cost. For example, consider pool shock for water treatment plus a magnesium fire tool and dryer lint for fire-making.
Over and over again, I learn of families that have thousands of dollars invested in gear, including an arsenal of firearms and ammo, but have less than thirty days worth of food.  Not only that, the food they have is poorly packaged and is therefore subject to spoilage or an infestation of pests.
When developing a preparedness budget, pay close attention to the day to day needs you will incur following a disaster or disruptive event.  Doesn’t it make sense to take care of those needs first?  The gear will come in time so ensure that you are not gear rich but food poor.
Make a concerted effort to avoid impulse purchases and you will be fine.
Additional Reading: Survival Basics: Starting a Fire
19. Storing all of your preps in one location
This is tough for many especially if you only have one home and do not have close relatives or friends where you could stash some stuff.  Still, see if you can put together a suitcase or duffle bag with some emergency items and store them at your office or at someone else’s home.
Set up a barter: I will store yours if you will store mine.  That sort of thing.
If an alternate location is not practical, consider storing items at various locations around your home.  Not everything needs to be on shelves in the basement.  Spread things out so that if the basement gets flooded, you still have dry items in the upstairs bedroom.  Use your imagination and don’t forget to do the very best you can to package everything so it is resistant to moisture and pests.
20. Forgetting about those with special needs
Think about special situations in your household that will need to be addressed in a survival situation.  This may include children, pets, or  someone with physcal or mental challenges, and the elderly.  As you go about your daily routine in normal times, take note of the things you will need to stockpile for these special family members.
For example, have you considered the need for feminine products?  What about canes, walkers, and manually operated wheelchairs?  Pets need food, crates, and toys to keep them occupied while the rest of family members are recovering from chaos.  It will be impossible to cover every contingency but be aware of what those needs are now then prioritize those that you deem most important.
Addtional Reading:  How to Prep for Feminine Hygiene Needs and Survival Basics: Be Prepared For Pet Emergencies

Survival Skills

21. Failure to practice self-defense
There is far more to self defense than owning a bunch of firearms and a copious supply of ammo.  Have you practiced situational awareness?  Do you know what to do if a stranger comes to your door asking for food?
And about the guns and ammo – when is the last time you visited the range for some target practice?
22. Buying gear and supplies while ignoring the need to develop skills
Buying stuff is easy.  You save your money, select your merchandise and go to your local outdoor emporium or Amazon and make a purchase.
On the other hand, learning new skills or practicing old ones takes time, patience and bit of study.  Do you know how to start a fire without matches or a butane lighter?  Do you know how to take advantage of natures bounty by knowing how to fish or hunt?  And what about growing your own food?  Could you do it if you had to?
Developing skills to become self-sufficient are every bit as important as having a closet full of the best gear money can by.  Remember that.
Additional Reading:  46 Pioneer Skills for the Modern Homesteader and 5 Uncommon Skills That Will Be Useful After the SHTF

Survival Health and Medicine

23. Having a comprehensive first aid kit but not knowing basic first aid skills
Having a robust first aid kit (FAK) is a given as is having a supply of emergency medicines.  But what about knowing CPR?  Or cleaning and dressing an open wound that is bleeding profusely?
Many communities offer free or low cost classes on first aid.  Now might be a good time to check them out.
Additional Reading:  Best Practices for Dealing with Wounds in a Survival Situation
24. Tossing expired prescription drugs because the pharmacy tells you to do so
If the stuff hits the fan, pharmacies will be closed or, if they are open, supplies will be meager.  A three year old bottle of pain medication is going to be better than nothing as long as you use common sense when dosing.  The same thing applies to antibiotics and other medications.
Learn what you can now about alternatives to traditional medications such as herbs and essential oils, then brush up what you need to know about fish antibiotics for survival situations.  Don’t be the person who says, after the fact, “who knew?”.
Addtional Reading:  What You Need to Know About Expired Prescription Drugs and Why Store Fish Antibiotics For Survival
25. Failure to plan for human waste
No one wants to get sick, let alone contract a disease that may go untreated due to the lack of available medical facilities or medical personnel.  One of the best ways to avoid sickness is to maintain good hygeine and to properly dispose of human waste.  This is not as easy as it sounds because traditional waste systems may be inoperable due  to the lack of water and or ruptured sewer lines.
Planning for this contengy does not have to be complicated.  Super strong hefty bags, five gallon buckets, and kitty litter can be used on a temporary basis if needed.  The point is not to omit this important prep.
Additional Reading:  Dealing with Poo After a Disaster and Survival Basics: Hand Surface Hygiene When There’s No Water to Spare

Bugging Out – or Not

26. Preparing mostly to bug out rather than bugging in
We all talk about having a bug-out-bag and without question, having your most basic survival items in a pack that you can grab and go if you need to get out of dodge in a hurry is important.  But beyond that, over and over I see people acquire all sorts of gear for surviving on the run –  perhaps in the woods or bush at a remote location.
I know that in my own case and also with the majority of the readers on Backdoor Survival, hunkering down and bugging in will always be preferred to taking off into the unknown with our stuff.  For many, the choice to bug in has to do with family, health concerns or financial considerations.  That, plus the availability of stored supplies makes bugging in – or staying at home – the choice when a disaster strikes.
At the end of the day, take care of your bugging in needs first and foremost.  Plan for outdoor cooking facilities (perhaps an existing charcoal grill?), supplemental lighting  stored water, and a portable generator now.  Later, down the road, you can expand your supplies to include the essentials for truly bugging out.
Let me be clear.  You do need to have a contingency plan for evacuation purposes but do not ignore your hunker down at home bug in plan.  Unless your home is not safe, plan to shelter in place at home rather than take your chances in the wilderness or at Camp FEMA.
Additional Reading:  11 Things To Do When You Must Hunker Down in Place
27. Failure to evacuate at just the right time
When the storm of the century is heading your way, know that it is time to evacuate.  Load up your vehicle and go.  As much as you feel that you are better off in your own home, if the authorities tell you to leave – and even if they do not – get out of harm’s way as a precautionary measure.  Do so while you still have the ability to load up your vehicle with supplies and fill the tank with gas.
Sticking around when there is at least a 50% chance of a disaster occurring (hurricane, flood, landslides, tsunami, wildfire) is just plain silly.  Part of your planning should be to determine the trigger point for evacuation as well as identification of an evacuation site and a route to get there.  Better yet, plan multiple alternate routes as well.
28. Not having an evacuation route planned out in advance
Right.  I just said that you should plan to hunker down at home and bug in.  That said, there is still a possibility that you will have to leave in order to ensure your safety.
Be ready with at least two routes out of dodge including one route by foot or bicycle. In addition, map these routes on paper and just in your head or on your smart phone.  Mudslides, downed trees, and even mobs of thugs may impeded your way.  Be ready.
Additional Reading:  Finding Your Way Back Home Without a Map and Compass

Water and Water Storage

29. Using a Berkey day to day but never testing the filters
I consider the Berkey to be the gold standard of water filtrations systems.  A Berkey is on the expensive side as are the Black Berkey filters.  Doesn’t it make sense to keep it in tip-top shape?
You should test your filters using the red food dye test at least twice a year.  Failures do happen but oten they are easily fixed by re-priming the filters and or resetting the washers.  Don’t wait until there is a water event before testing your Berkeys.  This is important.
Additional Reading:  Maintaining Black Berkey Filters
30. Storing pool shock but not learning how to use it
Using pool shock to clean up bad water is not difficult but you do need to be mindful of proportions to water and safety considerations.  Read this article then practice making up a batch of clean, safe, drinking water using pool shock.  And for heaven’s sake, get yourself a few pairs of safety goggles!
Additional Reading:  How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water

Food and Food Storage

31. Storing food items you don’t enjoy
Number one on the list is do not store food you don’t like and will not eat no matter what.
We have all done it:  purchased an item when it is on sale because it was a great deal.  If you won’t eat it now, what makes you think you will eat it later?  Spending money and using your precious storage space on food you will not eat is just silly.
All that being said, if desperate, you will likely eat anything.  Still, we are talking about preps you are putting in place in advance and not a scrounging effort after the fact when the pantry is bare.
32. Lacking the knowledge to properly store your food supplies
There are six enemies of food storage:  Temperature, Moisture, Oxygen, Light, Pests and Time.
Okay, some might say there is a seventh enemy: namely the two legged type that gets into the tastier items and eats them without telling anyone.  That I cannot help you with.
Seriously though, storing food for the long term, meaning five years or longer, does take some care.  Brush up on the basics of food storage and set up an active rotation program.  You don’t necessarily have to store food for 10 years or longer but what you do store, even for a year or two, should be protected to the best of your ability.
One thing to keep in mind that except for the problem with pests, most food will still be edible even if it is not stored at optimal temperatures in a moisture and oxygen-free environment.  Learn proper storage methods to ensure maximum taste and nutrition.
There are many food-storage articles on this website.  Simply yype “food storage” into the search box at the upper right hand side of the page.  In addition, consider “Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage” as an all in one resource available in both e-book and print form.
33. Not rotating out of date food items
Label everything with the date of purchase.  Sharpie pens were created for this purpose.  However you choose to keep track,  rotate your stored food items the best you can without getting paranoid about it.  Many of the “use by” and “best by” dates on canned and packaged goods are put there by the manufacturer but relate more to taste and texture than actual spoilage.  See the next item.
34. Throwing out packaged and canned foods because they have passed their use-by date
During my recent move, it broke my heart to throw out hundreds of cans of perfectly good, commercially canned meats, fruits and vegetables because no one would take them because they were past their “use by” date.  Read this three times out loud:  Use dates on commercially canned goods are mostly a myth!
However you keep track of your food inventory,  rotate your stored food items the best you can without getting paranoid about it.  Many of the “use by” and “best by” dates on canned and packaged goods are put there by the manufacturer but relate more to taste and texture than actual spoilage.
Let common sense plus your eyes and nose be the judge.  If the outside of a can is dented, rusted, or shows signs of leakage, toss it.  If you open it and it smells off (or even if you THINK is smells off), dump it.  Just be mindful that you will want to secure and dump bad food in such a way that children or curious pets can not get to it.
Additional Reading:  What You Need to Know About Eating Expired Food
35.Storing everything in the same place
Think about it.  If everything is stored in your basement and the basement is flooded, you are going to have a problem.  I know, you are thinking that everything is packaged in moisture proof packaging, right?  If you have 3 feet of water in your basement, that will not matter since you will not be able to get to it.
Canned goods should be on a shelf off the floor, and mason jars filled with home canned items need to be secured to their shelf with a bracket or cordage.  The last thing you want is for your precious food jars to fall to the ground and shatter during in an earthquake, hurricane, or other disruptive event.
These are just a few of the scenarios that cause your food storage to be inaccessible or unusable.  Think about the disaster risks where your live and plan your storage locations accordingly.
36. You don’t know how to cook it
Remember when I wrote about wheat in Why You Should Store Wheat for Survival?  For heaven’s sake, do not purchase wheat if you do not know how to use it.  Of course, it would not hurt to learn about wheat.  Freshly ground, it makes a heavenly loaf of bread the only problem being that it is so good you may eat too much and gain 50 pounds which would be another problem entirely.
If you are new to wheat, consider reading John Hill’s book, How to Live on Wheat.  To this day, I refer to it frequently.
But wheat is not the only survival basic that may be unfamiliar.  Beans of all types, as well rice, are two food storage staples.  Learn to cook these items now, so you have an arsenal of recipes ready to go when and if the time comes.  Both beans and rice are inexpensive and work well with a variety of condiments making them ideal additions to the survival food pantry.
Additional Reading:  How to Make a Survival Casserole and 8 Reasons Old Cookbooks Are Important
37. Storing a lot of basic foods but omitting comfort foods
This happens to me all the time.  In my quest to eat healthy 100% of the time, I sometimes go for weeks eating basic, blandish food. By that I mean no fresh fruit, no cookies, and no Kettle Chips.
Eat well, and eat healthy but be sure to allow for a splurge once in a while, too.
38. Failure to include freeze dried meals as part of your over food storage strategy
Yes, freeze dried food is pricey.  With some care, however, you can find pouches, tins, and buckets on sale.  The advantage of freeze dried food, and meal pouches especially, is they are lightweight and therefore transporatable.  They are quick to prepare and require no planning or thinking.  Add hot to boiling water, stir, let sit for a short time, and eat.
Freeze dried meals will get you through the initial stages of a disaster or disruptive event, giving you plenty of time to think through longer term meal planning in a survival situation.
There is one important aspect of planning your freeze dried food storage:  try some sample meals before you invest in a six month or one year supply of one particular brand.  I have my own preferences that you are welcome to use as a guideline (check out Mountain House or Legacy Foods) but there are others.  Also keep in mind that some kits are chock full of sugary drinks and other fillers. Yes, you will need some beverages but they should not comprise 40% of your daily caloric intake.
Additonal Reading:  The Big Deal About Freeze Dried Food
39. Improper storage temperatures
Temperature and mostly heat, is one of the enemies of food storage and yet it may be something you may not think of.
Keep in mind is that temperature fluctuations can be as bad as a sustained high temperature.  I don’t claim to know the science but what I have found is that food stored at a constant 80 degrees will hold better than food stored at 30 in the winter and 90 in the summer.  Anecdotally, this is especially true of canned goods I have stored in my home.
Additional Reading:  Survival Basics: The Six Enemies of Food Storage
40. Not storing liquids to reconstitute your dried items
Have you ever tried to cook rice without water or broth?  How about pasta?  As much as I feel freeze-dried foods have their place, the liquid in canned fruits and vegetables will provide you an additional source of hydration.  In addition, the drained liquid can be used to re-hydrate freeze-dried foods.
Win win.
41. Not planning alternate fuel sources for cooking
This should be a no brainer.  When the power goes out, you will need a fire, grill or portable stove.  Rocket stoves and even propane stoves are inexpensive.  Just keep in mind that you will also need fuel for your stoves, whether it comes from sources you gather (such as biomass) or from purchases of propane, charcoal or wood.
42. No condiments or spices to wake up the taste buds
Salt, pepper, some chili powder, mustard, sugar, honey – the list is endless.  These items do not need to cost a lot nor do they need to take up an extraordinary amount of space.  When push comes to shove, however, your eating experience will be greatly enhanced by having a variety of flavor enhancers on hand to enliven the taste of your stored food stuffs.
43. Not storing a variety of items
I confess that  I can go for days eating the same meal of baked potatoes over and over again.  That said, most people need and want variety.  This is especially true for children, the elderly and the infirm who may already be picky eaters.  Plus, you need a variety of foods items in order to get a full complement of nutritional value from your meals.
44. Storing food in inappropriate or unmanageable packages
Your mileage may vary, but I prefer to package food in small, manageable sizes.  In my own household, items stored for the long term (beans, rice, lentils, cereals, dog food etc.) have been stored in 1 gallon Mylar bags and not the larger, 5 gallon size.
take four or five of these small bags and put them in a bucket or Rubbermaid bin so that I can pull them out for use one at a time.  For me this is more practical since there are only two in my family.  Plus, if there is a short term emergency, I can pull out what I need without having to repackage the whole megila.
Another best practice is to store a variety of foods in a single bucket.  So, for example, instead of creating a bucket filled with a single food type, create a bucket that include a variety of foods plus appropriate condiments.  If you are ever forced to use your food storage, you can pull a single bucket with everything you need to get by instead of riffling through a dozen or more buckets to gather what you need for meal-preparation.
As a bonus, if you are forced to evacuation, your DIY meal bucket will be ready to go.
Additional Reading: Survival Basics: Using Mylar Bags for Food Storage and  Best Practices for Using Mylar Bags
45. Improper storage containers
This applies to a lot of things.  Here is an example:  do not store you rice in a bucket that previously held pickles without pre-packaging the rice in a Mylar bag.  Pickle-flavored rice may taste good if you are pregnant but practically no one else will appreciate this exotic dish!
Seriously, though, make sure your food storage containers did not hold toxic chemicals in a prior life and make sure your containers are moisture and pest-proof.
46. Purchasing a kit without evaluating the contents
This is another lesson I learned the hard way.  Before purchasing a kit of any type, look at the contents and decide how many of the items will be truly useful.  If there are items you don’t want, can you give them away to someone else?  Also look at the total cost.  Is the kit still a good value even though you will not use everything?
This also applies to bulk sized products at Costco, Sam’s or other warehouse type stores.  In many cases, I will purchase a giant sized package knowing that a third will not get used.  Even so, the purchase is a good value.  But do not assume this.  Sometimes it is better to pay more per ounce for a smaller size.
47. Being totally dependent on food storage for all of your meals
Regardless of how robust your food pantry, it is prudent to consider other sources of food.  If you have adequate light conditions, you can supplement your stored food with fresh vegetables from your garden.  At the very least, you can grow some herbs that will not only provide nutrition, but will also have medicinal qualities.
In addition to a garden, large or small, learn about the local resources that may be available by foraging, fishing, and hunting.  Most areas have some sort of local bounty, whether berries, trout, deer, or even the common dandelion.  Learn about them know and practice all of the ancillary skills needed to safely turn them into edible fare.
48. Worrying about a 25 or 30-year shelf life when you are 70 years old!
I am being a tad bit cynical and facetious here but really, if your lifespan is 20 years, don’t worry too much about 30 year items.  Sure, you can give them away, donate them, or use them in less than 30 years but the point is, don’t stress if the items you store away have only a 5 or 10 year shelf life.
Remember to store a variety of foods and food groups.  It is better to have a mix of items with varying shelf lives than to get hung up on extremely long storage life.
49. Relying only on home canned goods
This may shock you but did you know that most authorities put a shelf life of one to two years max on home-canned goods?  This is especially true of meats.
Now I readily admit that I am not an expert in this area but my good friend Daisy Luther is.  She has written a book on canning for preppers but beyond that, read what she has to say in the comments to the article Prepper Book Festival: The Preppers Canning Guide.

Everything Else

50. Don’t become a hoarder
As with everything in life, don’t take prepping to the excess.  Hoarding is not the same as prepping and the accumulation of useless or marginally useful items can take up every spare corner of your home or apartment.  Although it is wise to keep extra on hand for barter purposes. be realistic about your ability to prep for the long term while maintaining a clutter free home enviroment.
Additional Reading:  Why Bargain Stockpiling is Not Emergency Food Storage  Is Prepping a Monkey On Your Back?

The Final Word

There was a time when I was a prepping newbie and even now, seven plus years later, I have more to do and more to learn.  In my heart of hearts, however, I still feel like a beginner and so I empathize with those that are just getting started.  They may be moms and dads, seniors like myself, or enlightened millennials. That said, these days I feel fortunate that I have come so far with my prepping activities.  Moving beyond obsession, the prepping way of life is now a part of my core.  It is “what I do” as well as being a hobby and a passion.
There is one thing that all preppers, whether just starting out or seasoned, have in common.  We all want to be able to take care of ourselves and our needs during the best of times and worse of times.  We want skills, knowledge, and enough food, water, and medical supplies to keep moving forward and to survive regardless of dire circumstances.
Some of us may prep a little and others may prep a lot.  Along the way, we may make some of the mistakes I have listed above, and most assuredly there will be others.  At the end of the day, however, we all want to live a life filled with growth, opportunity and the ability to take care of oneself physically, mentally and spiritually.  To me, that is what prepping is all about, mistakes and all.