The 8 Most Common Preparedness Mistakes

Being fully prepared can be a daunting task. Our ReadyExperts have helped millions of people prepare and they have great insight into how to help you prepare. We asked a few of our ReadyExperts what were some common mistakes that people make when they begin to prepare.

Check out some of the points they talked about and contact your ReadyExpert to get help with your preparations.

What are you actually preparing for?

Disasters can strike at any time in any place. But what disasters are most likely to occur in your neighborhood? Do you have to deal with tropical storms, hurricanes, earthquakes or tornadoes? Based on what natural disasters are most common in your area may affect how you prepare by the things you store.

One of the most common preparations is for economic disasters. It doesn’t matter where you live, you will be better prepared if you have enough food storage to hold you over through rough economic times or unemployment.

Our ReadyExperts will be able to help you determine which products fit best with you needs. Since they’ve helped so many people prepare, they know items that would help you too.

common food storage mistakesWater water everywhere!

Most people think about eating, but how long could you live without water? Water storage is essential to your survival especially if you have freeze-dried food that requires water to prepare.

A lot of people realize the importance of food storage but assume that they’ll just have water in an emergency. In reality, a lot of things could happen to the water system or even local supplies to prevent you from having water. Not to mention that many people live in desert areas that are deceptively settled and people forget that water isn’t as abundant in those areas.

At the minimum, have a few gallons of water and a filter. Our experts can also help you determine how much water you’ll need for your family.

Not storing enough

Many times, people want the feeling of being prepared more than actually taking the steps to be prepared. They want the comfort of having something in their pantry in case there is a disaster. That leads to many people buying the bare minimum of food storage instead of a high-quality food that your family is accustomed to.

If you are not prepared to actually use the emergency supplies or food storage then you’re not prepared.

Appetite fatigue

This goes along with my previous point. Typically, when a person goes with the bare minimum, they choose a product that offers less variety.  This can have an affect on your overall health during an emergency. You want to prepare so you don't skip a beat - prepare with the foods that you typically eat.

Foods that you never eat

Do you know how many times I’ve heard someone say, “My food storage doesn’t taste very good, but if you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat anything!”

Why settle with food that doesn’t taste very good? If you’re going to prepare, prepare the right way! Get foods that your family already enjoys and that they are used to. That’s one of the things we pride ourselves on at The Ready Store - having food that people like to eat.

Where are you going to be?

When you think of yourself in a disaster, you typically always think of yourself at home, next to your food storage and 72-hour kits. However, are you at home for most of the day? Probably not. You need to be prepared at work, in your car.

Can you make anything with your food storage?

Food storage is great to have - if you can use it! Many times, people prepare with basic staples that are used for cooking - sugar, flour, wheat. But you’ll also need other basics to prepare these items. Don’t forget things like salt, cooking oil, baking soda, yeast, fruits, vegetables, etc.

Alternative cooking sources

Similar to the last point, if you have these basic items, how will you cook them? Imagine the power goes out. How would you cook your food? Freeze-dried food is always good for that situation but you might also need something like a solar oven.

What have you seen?

Help out those that are beginning to prepare by adding your advice below. Add your insights and share our knowledge.

Contact our ReadyExperts at 1-800-773-5331 to get help creating your own emergency plan.

70 thoughts on “The 8 Most Common Preparedness Mistakes”

  • Jess P

    I agree whole heartedly with (most) of this article.
    exect, "you will be better prepared if you have enough food storage to hold you over through rough economic times or unemployment"
    Prepared & freeze dried foods, are much more expensive than cooking from scratch. (unless you are growing and canning your own food storage).
    Depening on what type of economic disaster you are preparing for. You may be better off with that Money in the Bank ... or in a Mason Jar.
    If you are prepping for hyper inflation - sure, buy now. If you are prepping for something such as job loss - you may be better off with the(very portable and multi used) Money. You can buy a lot more Fresh Food, with less money.
    But their Point is Spot On - "What are you preparing for ?".
    You can't eat Gold, But you can't pay the Rent with canned peaches either.

    • Vakota

      I have actually done experiments with drying foods vs buying fresh. We found that is actually less expensive to buy dehydrated veggies as oppose to fresh. When you buy a #10 can of dehydrated bell peppers you are getting almost 100 Bells. We weighed the bells before drying and after drying and compared to the weight of #10 can. When you buy fresh veggies you are paying for refrigeration in transit, refrigeration at the store and also waste. When the store has to throw food away they roll that cost into the price of food; not to mention waste once you purchase the food. We haven't been able to determine the cost for FD food but I imagine the savings is still there.

  • Dan

    You are correct in most of what you recommend but something I see a lot of is over stocking on food and supplies. Keep in mind 2 things. One, there is a good chance you may have to leave your home so anything you can not pack with you is going to be a waste of time, money, and storage. So look towards renewable resources more than mass storage. Two you can not have enough ammo to protect 20 years worth of food for 20 years, so again look more towards renewable resources. Even if you can stay put, you should only be storing enough to get you through to the next harvest season, everything else should be renewable like seed stock etc.

    • Chris

      You make a lot of assumptions in your post. I believe that most people will in fact NOT leave their homes. Most people don't have a BOL and will stay in their home as long as possible. Bugging in has overtaken the fantasy of bugging out in most of the prepping culture.

      Why would you not store 5+ years of supplies? If you need the supplies and can stay in place its a perfect scenario. If you have to leave due to a short term emergency, if you do storage right is should still be available when you can return to your home. If you have to leave you have to leave but that should be the last resort not plan A. Not to mention most people don't have the land to produce food for a family for a full year. Best estimates say you need at least 2 acres for a bare minimum. Wheat and corn take up a lot of space in a garden; not so much in a bucket...

  • Dave W

    Water filtration can't be stressed enough along with your water storage. Chances are if you go through all your water storage then you'll need a way to purify any sources of water to keep healthy. Make sure you have a filter than can produce enough for everyone you expect to shelter plus some margin...

    And to help with appetite fatigue make sure you have condiments like hot sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, etc. Whatever you normally put on your everyday food to make it tastier. Then having a stash of luxury food can be and candies can do a lot to make stressful situations more bearable.

    And one more thing to think about: boredom. In some situations you won't be able to go outside and do something for a while, so board games, a few decks of cards or even some books can do wonders for morale.

  • Rebecca

    I am so lucky to be able to work from home. Other than maybe once or twice a month at the most, my jaunts around town are at most, 5 miles from my house. (I live in Cache Valley in Utah so that is why). We do have car kits, and 72 hour kits, but right now unless there was a natural disaster affecting our immediate area (Which is a VERY VERY low risk) we are going to be staying in.

    The farm where I get my meat and raw milk is only 8 miles away, and my sister in law and I take turns every 7-10 days getting our fresh milk.

    We also have a great variety -- we have tons of the basics, of course, from the local LDS cannery (wheat, rice, beans) but we also have a variety of seasonings, freeze dried ingredients, and MRE/JAW meals (for when we don't feel like cooking).

    My husband has made a hobby of re-loading shells. So as long as we have the gunpowder, we can make bullets. (this is in response to Dan's comment above regarding having enough ammo).

    Where I feel we are lacking is water storage. We have maybe a month's supply. But if we are in a drought, then it may truly affect us. No water purification systems will work without water!

    Another thing I feel lacking in is medicines and first aid supplies. We have more than the basics, but I don't think we have enough. (Then again, what IS enough?). I am certified in first aid, but none of us takes medication other than the occasional cough drop or Advil. I do have a ton of essential oils but I need to be better prepared with knowledge and experience of using them. Same with herbal remedies and concoctions I can grow and make myself out of common herbs.

    • Dannysea

      You are very fortunate in your lifestyle/location in these uncertain times.
      When I first started, I had about a dozen self-help books, and considered myself prepared-ish. As the months have turned into years thinking through, I realized a more comprehensive library was needed. I find it is broken up into five categories...
      1. Religious and study.
      2. Homesteading, and every conceivable trade how-to. (Water to specialty fields, including natural cures/ oils.)
      3. Certain stat books of American life, and other periodicals like map books especially topographic with roads.
      4. Dire emergency/ Fallout/ Nuclear/ Upset of the masses at-home.
      5. Medical, from dental to age-related how-to. this is where you can spend big bucks getting the layman perspective, mostly written by Doctors and specialists. Lots of cheater flyers and pamphlets.

      And when I come across a well-written article, I print it, then staple it and put it in a single sheet protector sleeve, saved in the proper category.
      Remember, none of us could possibly retain everything that we could come across. And knowledge is power.

  • Scott

    If you think you are ready, DO IT! Have one family member, or friend, say "go" and your "disaster takes affect at that moment. Live from the emergency prep kit(s) you have. . . NOTHING ELSE!!! That which does not work ::: fix!. As with a fire drill, people do not know what to expect untill they go through that situation.

  • TonyT

    I read a lot about people preparing bug out backs, but where do people think they are going to go? When everything is stored in your home, and all of a sudden you have to leave, are people considering where they will go? I'm just talking in general, but I wonder what their plans are if they have to go off on foot, especially with their families. Just a thought.

  • k

    Not walking the walk. One can prep and have all the great inventory in the world. Food, water, equipment, blah, blah. However, being comfortable with a simple life after a disaster of any sort is essential. Can you live without computers,lattes, possibly a matress for about a month at least. A bath for a couple of days? It is only then you can be truly prepared

  • Ken

    "K" had a great point about the simpler life. I keep some paperbacks around - those, you can pick up assorted ones at a second hand bookstore for next to nothing. Another good thing to do, I've found, is to physically print out and keep a growing list of "how-to" to grow corn, for instance. How to collect rainwater, how to make a solar oven, etc. Keep a printed copy in a particular place and you can keep printing and adding to it as you find more sources.

    • Sheila

      I do this too. I tell people to learn the old ways. Learn to cook from scratch, learn to sew by hand, etc. I also print out instructions on all kinds of things, even things I know, but maybe others don't.

  • Rachel

    Thanks for the link Ben.

  • Cathy

    This is a great article. Two years ago we ran from deliberately set wildfire. Like someone said here, 'practice'. Do a drill. As we scrambled to get animals out (horses, cats, dogs, chickens), I remember I was paralyzed. I didn't know where to start as everything was important. Now we have a plan.

    And water, we now keep bottles of water in our vehicle. We change them out a few times during the year. It is not only handy while running around town (we live in AZ), we will have water for when we evacuate. We did not have water during the wildfire. Being exposed to smoke, heat, stress, and frantically running around, we were dehydrated. All electric was cut off. We had evacuated to a local school on a Sunday and we had no water. Finally, Border Patrol realized evacuees needed water and they gave us a gallon jug.

    I pray that we never have to experience any extended periods of time where we have to use our supplies. We are living in difficult times and it is so difficult to really know what to expect except for what can happen in our local area.

  • Jeff Greenspan

    We solved out get-away problem by buying a motor home. We stocked it to the hilt only to discover that we have a weight problem and the motor home is unsafe to drive. Can goods weigh a ton but so does water - water 8.5 lbs/gal. Our motor home is designed to carry enough water and propane to last us about a month - 45 days on extreme rations. The gas tank is full - 80 gals. @ 8 miles/gal. - we can get about 6-7 hundred miles out of town.
    To overcome our weight problem. we decided to buy a small trailer and tow our stores rather than have them inside the coach. This is a much safer way to carry our supplies.
    Also, are planning to have solar panels installed to greatly increase our ability to survive in comfort for a longer, indefinite period of time.
    I think that for a lot of situations, having a trailer that is stocked a ready to go, is a great answer for being truly prepared. If you are stocking a motor home, be very aware of the weight problem because it is very serious.

  • MrsP

    We try to eat organic food for the most part. It's sad how few companies offer organic or even non-GMO food for storage. I won't eat soy so that cuts out even more items. I did find one source that's non-GMO and doesn't put chemical nasties in their storage products but it's fairly expensive and even they use soy in some items. :P

    We did a weekend "test" and found that one gallon of water per person per day is way too little. 2.5 gallons is more realistic to allow for hygiene uses and washing up. We were using oil lamps and found we didn't want to breathe the fumes so we are now planning to use LEDs.

  • Tom

    I don't want to offend anyone but Jeff G. hit a chord with me. We have been camping for around 40+ years. From ground covers, tube tents to motor homes. You can never have too much but you can only have what you can reasonably haul and protect. I like the trailer idea but trailers are easy to steal. The other question raised above is where will you go? My question is how will you get there? I anticipate there is a good chance that either armed bands of pirates or the government will have most roads closed down or severely restricted on access. Do you have a good excuse to get through? Papers that authorize your movements? if martial law is in effect you will need a get out of jail card to go anywhere. How are you going to accomplish this? Food for thought.

  • Jeff

    MrsP, We try to eat only organic too. Much to our surprise, Costco is having a gigantic bulk food sale that is mostly organic. They have isles of the stuff. At least out here in Sacramento CA.
    PS everyone: don't forget the toilet paper. LOL

  • gatlinuk

    If there is an EMP your cars wont work (not the newer ones anyway) plan a walking route to a bug out position just incase. Water purification and distilling are a part of my kit even though i am nowhere near the sea. I have all freeze dried foods, pulses and spices in a huge back pack separate from my essential gear just incase i need to loose it. I plan to eat what i can find naturally and save the food in the backpack for an emergency

  • Sonny

    Along with my food stores and water I also store vegetable seeds organic and renewable as well as Mason jars, lids and rings. If you have to grow your food you better know how to store it through winter including canning meats. Also I make my own medicine from plants and roots I find in the forest making tinctures which range from cuts and scratches to antibiotics and antivirals. Do you have a excellent medical kit? I live by a philosophy that it is better to have it and not need it, that to need it and not have it. I came from a poor family as a child and learned to do without and live on less. I worry about those who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Another thing to have is a library of do it yourself books. Trades will be essential to survival such as electric, mechanical, carpentry and survivaist techiques. Be self sufficient and train for scenario's and put yourself to the test to see if you can measure up! God bless!

  • Lyn Rogers

    I have a two month menu with room for changes so I based by food stock on need plus we do not eat out much and prefer home made (do not like all the weird additives). You not only have to worry about having the food but if stolen by force? do you think they will take flour, salt, etc. So my menu is simple to make but probaly not worth taking. Lots of vege's, basic's, meat to a minimum, and stock the tvp (possible for pet food if needed) stuff. We do not eat many deserts so I can make most from scratch. I have been getting recipes for homemade ketchup, miracle whip. etc. Plus we have a water bed for toilet water if necessary. Generators, uns, solar, and we live way out of the mainstream area with water sources. Want to put up a greenhouse but canned is easier as you get older. Maybe not the best but you do what is right for you, where you live, and how many.

  • Jack Hommel

    Some good points folks, but if you plan to "bug out", who's going to protect all you've left behind? Will you have wasted all that as you leave? Think hard on that point.
    Jess,I'd ask you to re-think the money issue. Paper currency will have zero value. Barter will be your only hope in time of real disaster whether it is due to social collapse or economic collapse.
    For Jeff; Our extensive computations indicate 50 rolls of T.P. per person per year.
    Mrs. P., 1 gallon per day WILL keep you alive even if you do stink. It isn't pleasant but 2.5 will expend your supply quickly. If you live in our beautiful desert southwest, you CAN NOT have too much water on hand.
    Re: Sonny's med kit thoughts; Make it big! Lots of strip bandages and lots of antiseptics.
    As a last point, the coming times are going to be worse than many can imagine. I was military trained and you cannot be ready enough.

  • Viet Vet

    I find some good things in your story and some BS. To tell people you can't have enough ammo to protect 20 yrs of supplies is drek. I have 500,000 rnds of ammo with the ability to reload another 250,000. I also have black powder weapons. From pistols to cannon. Don't forget to salvage ammo from the bad guys. I have enough food for 50 people for three years at a 1500 calorie a day diet. That is also 3 meals a day. thats assuming no game being had. After then crops in the field. A retreat made from buried overseas shipping containers. A well that taps an aquafier. All this in the middle of nowhere. And done in the last 4 years.

  • joanne

    could someone give me ketchup and miracle whip recipe? thank-you.

  • Jeff G.

    No one has yet mentioned that there is strength in numbers. This might be a good forum to discuss the possibility of creating a place where, we of like minds, can go to and live as a community; watch each others backs and live safely among friends. Maybe there is a ghost town somewhere that we can meet and take over or a strategically chosen GPS coordinate. And let us not forget that sharing our stuff with less fortunate people - families with kids - is something that we are all probably going to confront. I, for one, would rather share some food with someone, rather than kill them. Does anyone know of any other forum like I just mentioned?

  • Jeff G.

    Tom and others, I have yet to see anyone mention that there is strength in numbers. This might be a good forum for some of us to discuss the possibility of creating a community of like-minded people and choosing a bug-out location where we can meet up. An old ghost town or a GPS coordinate. We can watch each others backs and live safely. Does anyone know of any other forum of this kind?

  • kaytee

    @ Joanne: or


  • buck

    Very good posts, people. Sounds like all of you are prepared, or are preparing. I think there is a big difference between, short term emergency preparedness, and long term end-of-civilization type stuff. (as I was preparing to write this, my home town, Anchorage AK, just got hit by a 5.7 mag earthequake-- best shaker we've had in awhile) Anyway, for short-term, I would have batteries, propane, bottled water, and a suitcase full of clothes, and eat out of my pantry and refrigerater, and shelter in place. For long term, I have a wind up radio, bolts of cloth, wood and a wood stove. For short term, think camping, for long term, think Omish--or the dark ages--but with hungry mobs with guns. Also, I would not advertise how prepared you are, unless you want everybody you ever told, and there friends, and there kids, and there pets, to show up emply-handed, and hungry at your door--or worse--loaded for bear and starving...

  • Ronbo

    Some truly great ideas and lessons learned. Without a doubt putting forth well thought out plans is a key element. I too have a military background. The skill sets obtained can be valuable. Nevertheless, military operators rarely have to worry about beans, bullets and equipment because the logistics specialists take care of that with whole navies of sealift and airlift. Once in place the equipment, shipping containers and fuel delivery gear stretched across the desert as far as the eye could see and beyond the horizon. Beware the not-so-great advice. The stupid recommendations like "even if you can stay put, you should only be storing enough to get you through to the next harvest season, everything else should be renewable like seed stock etc." That has to be some of the worst advice I've seen. Even with the experience and skill set of a smart farmer you will need farming implements, acreage, the ability to irrigate, and the knowledge to raise more than a couple of tomato plants and how to pick plums from the backyard tree. Even with a lot of luck you will not be able to grow enough food, chickens, and dairy in your backyard, or several backyards, to feed a family or several families. Anything could happen such as your well pump failing, theft, a 50 year draught as witnessed recently, so plan well and beware of quacks.

  • KO

    I agree with most of you. I live out of town and have prepared as well as I can. I have a main supply of food to support 3 for 1 year and possibly another three people with extra food that I have been collecting. I have an artesian well for water with water purification and another source of water as well as stored containers of water. My medical supplies contain almost anything that could be needed as well as a small surgical kit for that unexpected event. I have sleeping arrangements for 14 people with blankets and pillows for all. I have the means for supplying solar and wind power. My garden area is 60X150 and I have chickens, ducks, and goats for milk, meat, butter, yogurt, or whatever is needed. I also have security in place. I would like to have an underground cargo container but the funds just aren't there. Good luck to all of you. By the way I am a single woman with fire power as well. If I can do it so can you.

  • KO

    Those of you that live out of town don't forget that animals make a great addition to your security system, especially ducks. They are loud when intruders show up. So are donkeys, and turkeys. Chickens get quiet, maybe thats where that saying comes from.

  • RamboMoe

    I agree about the water. Most people underestimate how much they will need to drink, let alone extra for things like washing, food prep, etc.

    I always use the 4L/person/day rule. So if you want to prep for 3 days, that's 12L per person in the household. 3 weeks is 84L per person.

  • Dorinda

    One thing that is always recommended is to store at least a month ahead on your perscriptions. I haven't found a way around that one yet as you can only fill a certain amount at a time at the pharmacy. I have portable 72 hr kits, but no perscriptions in them for just this reason. My husband and I are on multiple perscriptions and this is a real concern for us. My other suggestion about storing food is to use what you store and rotate. I try to have a strictly food storage meal at least once a week and incorporate food storage into as many other meals as possible primarily so that I will learn what to do and what not to do with it. Also, remember that you system will react a bit differently to a diet of freeze dried food so help it prepare by using it a little at a time.

  • Backwoods

    Something that goes unmentioned too often is the importance of balance between prep, non-prep, and mixed investment choices. Most people operate on limited resources... they cannot stack in a 100,000 rounds of ammo at $50K because they might someday need such a pile (presumably for trading, because if you're shooting 100K rounds at someone who is shooting back, you're hit long before you are out of ammo). If you knew disaster would happen in three days, the choices would be clear. But you don't. Dual-purpose investments often make more sense... a water collection system that you can use before, during, and after any sort of disaster, for example. Replacing a questionable well pump or an unreliable pickup may be a better investment in an uncertain world than buying day #181's allotment of food storage. If you have a localized disaster, you might really NEED that truck, and in the event of societal collapse parts for it might be more dear than gold... or ammo. Growing chickens for eggs and meat gives you food now, and both food and skills for the future. If you have a $5M nest egg, the perfect remote getaway might be an easy choice... but not if you have NO nest egg and a moderate income. Prep smart, exactly because you don't know what is coming.

  • Marlene

    I am also picking up odds and ends that people may need. I feel odd putting it in print but if the SHTF some medical items may not be available or available cheaply. I picked up a "Walking Boot" size large at the Goodwill for $7.00. The $90.00 price tag still on the box. Accidents happen. I also bought a wheel chair for $35.00 dollars that was top of the line...also at Goodwill. It's on loan to a friends mother now as the arms are removable and she is able to slide from the chair to her bed with ease. I have other medical supplies also.
    I have made a Bug Out Trash can. Beefed up the wheels and axle on a large rolling trash can (I have two) and I am layering supplies in it just incase a car is no longer an option. I got the idea from the local LDS church survival open house.
    These may sound a little out of left field but the cost is minimal and if there isn't a need for some of the stuff they might make for good bartering.

  • Cindy

    MrsP - you can buy the organic from Costco on-line. Sams Club has some too.

  • Tom Martin

    We live in the country and have a pantry full of quart jars filled with fruits, etc. I see many people with pantries full of goods in quart jars and other glass containers, yet I see no system of restrain to keep those jars on the shelves instead of falling off to certain destruction in the event of say, a ground shake. Simple poly-coated boundary-wire such as can be found on spools at a hardware store are ideal for this.

  • Erika

    to Dorinda--as a pharmacist, I can tell you that insurances usually have a window of at least a couple of days in which you can fill your meds early. If your meds are written for a three month supply, it is an even larger window. Many insurances will fill 5-7 days early on a month supply, or 15-21 days early on a three month. Checking into this might get you ahead. That won't be as easy with controlled substances, but for heart medications, inhalers, etc., it can made a huge difference!

  • Alexandria

    We have no way to know what situation we need to prepare for and every situation may require a different number of supplies. However, I think that there are some important things to have plenty of in any situation:

    1. Water
    2. Bullets
    3. Medical Supplies

    Obviously there are many other necessities but these are my top three.

    We need to be prepared for anything the way this country is going.

  • Lanette

    Firearms. When food supplies are short then you need to forage. Do you think you can't? If you're hungry enough then you will get very creative in a short period of time. The price of ammo has skyrocketed(thanks to the moron at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.)but is still available-for now.

  • Sayldog

    Also, think in terms of redundancy. For example - need heat? First line of defence is a wall mounted ventless natural gas radiant heater, because gas may flow even if the electricity is out. Second line of defence is a kerosene heater and 25 gallons stored with shelf-life extender. Third line is a wood-burning wall tent stove (with a cooking surface and water heating tank)with additional lenghts of flue pipe.
    Need to cook? First option is small propane powered camp stoves with a supply of cannisters, useful for cooking just-add-water foods etc. Next up is the oven/range from an RV and a dozen 20 pound tanks of propane. Next option is a large camp style dutch oven along with cast iron fry pan and other conventional camp cook gear.
    Need water? First use is the storage water, then the high quality filter, then the build it your-self filter.
    The point of this being that initially you will need some ready-to-use stores (ie freeze-dried fully prepared just-add-water Ready Store food!) That will give you the luxury of time to move forward with your plan to survive - stage 2 being food basics from your storage, stage 3 grow raise harvest forage and hunt your own.
    The same applies to all your survival preps - lighting, hygiene, comfort, defense, bug in/out planning, communications, etc. This doesn't have to be an expensive endeavor, but is a matter of having a plan and giving yourself the time to move forward. The prepper with Ready Store food reserves will be thinking weeks ahead, not scurrying to survive the day.

  • Shella A.

    Lyn Rogers -- You cannot use TVP as a pet food. It is made of soy and dogs cannot digest it at all. You might as well feed them cardboard. Cats are obligate carnivores and cannot survive on it either. Better to go to one of the few dehydrated pet foods for your pets. There is at least one out there that is for dogs and cats, but it is expensive. It is however lightweight and keeps indefinitely until rehydrated. I will supply the name, if anyone is interested.

    Also, everyone needs to remember their animals in the water storage. They have to drink as well as we do.

    Don't forget you can and should drink the water that food is prepared in, like boiling veggies, eggs, etc. You can also feed this to your animals as their water requirement. Do not waste water on hygiene. Store baby wipes or bath wipes instead. You may not be "fresh", but it is better to survive.

    If bugged in, totally limit flushes of toilets as a total waste of water. Rig a toilet bucket or dig a latrine at the farthermost point of your property. If a latrine, keep bagged lime to cover daily 'deposits' and reduce the smell and insects. Think "outhouse".

    Hope this helps.

  • Wes

    What's the safest way to store Coleman propane canisters? Can they be stored in your basement safely? Since I live in the upper Midwest, I'm wondering how they react to weather extremes, such as cold temps?

  • Melissa

    I don't agree with not having cash, not every emergency is a SHTF situation. As a family of 6 with a pay check to pay check income I assure you having a little cash Stashed for emergencies is a life saver. We don't spend our change or $1s we stash them away. We have a decent food storage and continue to add to it but if my car breaks down and my kids need to go to a dr I am going to need cash to fix it, if my house burns down and all I can grab is my family and our BOBs then I will be glad I put cash in them. If hubs looses his job again our cash might make the difference in keeping the roof over our heads and our stock instead of having to sell off my stocked stuff to keep the home. Balance is the key. I do not put my faith in the cash for SHTF but I do for regular emergencies.

  • Allen

    I agree with a lot that has been said here. I think the real key here is that one person or family cannot do it alone for an extended period of time in an extreme situation. There is, as has been said before, strength in numbers. What needs to happen is for small groups to add to their numbers by recruiting people with different "skill sets". For example, I am a vet and well prepared with weapons and ammo, BUT, I am also a very skilled woodworker, I have an MS in chemistry and therefore be would be valuable as a math and science teacher for kids. However, the group must be careful in their selections. It would be easy to let the wolf into the flock

  • Sam

    I've read some really great ideas here, and would like to add a thought or two. Keep in mind that if you keep food stores in a trailer or such, the temperature will have an effect on how long & well they will keep. Rotate your stock. I live in an area big on farming on most levels. Learn how to barter. I already do this by working on a farm in exchange for fresh produce. I preserve what we don't use right away. Also, we have found small card games at yard sales for cheap. Uno is our favourite. They are easy to carry and help with boredom. Be well

  • Name Abby

    I was very lucky as a teenager whose father was Highway Patrolman. We lived near Las Vegas, Nv. Going to High School during the Apollo lift offs and Nuclear war, the Dept. of Energy had classes to be prepared. One thing of importance for everyone is to have Sea Kelp capsules on hand in your medical kit, lots of them. If you are exposed to Nuclear Radiation take Sea Kelp it contains iodine. Also, take Vit. C, and plain old asprin to help with side effects. Nausea, burning eyes and skin are first symptoms of expossure to Radiation. Have chickens for some reason the eggs they produce are a safe form of protien even when the chickens aren't safe because of Rediation, keep food for them too, protein will be hard to come by, you may have to hide your chickens. Have stored Vit. c, as citrus is hard to store. There are books out there regarding this, and a dirty bomb is survivable, immediately find the wind direction and travel away from it. If you have to leave, go to a friend who has a well out side of a small town. Have things to barter, money will be worthless, be prepared to defend your family and food. Traveling to an isolated area isn't a good idea, you may have to create a community to stay safe. The person I will travel to has a well and I have stored some food for them too, they will also house and protect us.
    God Bless Our Military !! But be prepared to protect yourself and food. You may not like the food you have stored but when you get really hungry you will eat anything and be glad you have it. One time on a test I got so thursty I drank water right after the horse and didn't care I may get worms, you can kills worms later. There is a book by Cresson H. Kearny called "Nuclear War Survival Skills" this has good information. This is surviveable folks, and perhaps the worst thing to happen will just be being unemployed for months. Start with a list of ideas and make them happen as you can, whatever you have will help. Barttering will be how business is done, and you will be your own police.
    My father taught me to not be a victtim !!
    Empower Yourself !!

  • Andy A

    Every on her has some wonderful ideas, I want to believe it wont happen in our lifetime but it already has happened to millions. My thoughts are what if the roads are blocked by not government but pirates, can you drive a motor home off road? Not very far. My family has a Cabin in the mountains, That is where I will attempt to go, but what if I get there and someone has pirated the cabin? This is going to make some people laugh but have any of you ever watched the TV series "The Walking Dead"/? Not that there would or could ever be a Zombie threat, but if you are familiar with the series this is the conditions I feel we could face. Constantly defending ourselves from the enemy, constantly seeking safe shelter. Our cabin is equipped with all modern conveniences except Clothes washer and dryer. A composting toilet system, A well with nearly perfect water, a Generator and solar backup with Inverter. However The Inverter will not Run the Electric Stove Or the Water Heater. My fear is not being capable of reaching the Cabin in time. Just things I think about from time to time. Best Of Luck everyone and
    May your higher power (if you believe in one) watch over you and help you. Otherwise please realize we will never be fully prepared.

  • Brenda

    @Sheila A. I would like to know the name of the dehydrated pet food & where to buy it. Thanks! If they get hungry enough I guess they will eat like cats & dogs did before commercial pet food, they will get table scraps.

  • Carol R

    There is one subject that deeply concerns me & others like me that never seems to be discussed on any prepper's website at all, & the subject & question is, what about those of us who are disabled & or handicapped? I had one person tell me that basically I & millions of other disabled & handicapped people are just screwed! But I refuse to believe that just because one is handicapped that doesn't have to mean we're screwed! I would love to get helpful products & ideas that would help the disabled! For example how about a back pack or gun holster that would be designed for wheelchairs or items that would make prepping easier for handicap people? There can be a multitude of prepping helps & ideas that would or could help disabled people! I would love to hear as many ideas & suggestions as possible of ways to help the handicapped! Let your imaginations fly with this subject, but, please be kind hearted about this! You too could someday become handicapped yourself! What would you do if you were disabled? What kinds of ideas or things would you like or need to have or know about? What about those who may be around you that are disabled & how could you help them? If you were to write a handicapped prepper guide what would it contain? Again please be kind hearted about this! You never know what any day may may hold in store for you yourself! My heart felt thanks to all for all suggestions & helpful ideas! Just because someone is handicapped doesn't mean we're not preppers too!

  • Jim

    There are too many variations of how a person could be handicapped to write a general book on survival for them, but each and every person in any group you join should be able to find ways you can support the efforts, whether it is cleaning, preparing, and storing food others collect, entertaining and teaching children, reloading ammo, tending stock, or acting as a sentry to ward of predators. The greatest survival skill is flexibility, so learn every useful skill you can that may contribute to the needs of a survival group.

  • Meghan

    There are so many aspects to consider when prepping, but one I was wondering about was: What if I do have a well, but the SHTF & I have no electric for the pump? How else will it work (w/o the obvious generator)? Thanks for all the ideas!

  • Marshall

    To Meghan: Hi, if you live in an area that allows you the use of a shallow well pump, you are a lot better off than someone like me who lives in an area that requires a deep well pump. There are many ideas on the internet from buying a pitcher pump that can draw from a shallow well all the way to homemade devices that work in same. I am SOL because there is no non-electrical means of drawing water from a deep wells reservoir. If you use city water, once the city well tank is depleted by you and your neighbors, and there is no electricity to fill it again, you are SOL.

  • Bren

    Water Buy Seychelle brand water pitchers, sports bottles, drinking straws, and hand pumps. The extreme water filters for these take out e-coli , nuclear contaminents and 99% of everything else. These were tested in Japan after the nuclear reactor one of the universities. So there is certification on how well these take out 99.9% contaminants. The Japanese also bought these water filtration systems. They also have adjustable hand pumps with a filter on it to use in your water barrels, or where ever you need to pump water.

    We love using these and have bought the extra filters for long term use. They also have straws with a small filter in it. So you can drink water anywhere. I take mine and use them when eating out. I keep this in the car.

    The sports water bottles are great to use on airplanes and going on trips, to have your own mini water filtration system. Especially going to other countries.

    Their containers are made out of BPA Free plastic, so you can leave the sports water bottles in the car in hot weather, and not leach any bad chemicals like regular bottles of water do. Saves a lot of money not having to buy bottles of water, plus you don't know where the water comes from.

    One filter for the water pitcher will do 300 gallons of water. Also will raise your PH
    level. I have a Seychelle water Pitcher at work, since it is city water, and I would NOT drink the water at work before I bought these. We have well water at home and filter this also. Have put
    in a hand pump well.

    Gives us peace of mind knowing we always are getting good clean contaminate free water, through the Seychelle pitcher. We also live 40 miles away from a nuclear reactor plant, which is having problems.

    Another must have product is Silver Sol Gel. Love this Kills germs, great for burns, any types of rashes, cuts, yeast infections, etc. check out on activz. com

    Other suggestions for prepping. Go garage saling,
    you will be amazed at what you can find.
    Look on Craig's list for garage sales in your area. The ads are usually very detailed what people are selling.
    Prices are reasonable. Sure saves a lot of money
    instead of buying new.

    Great comments from everybody else.

  • TEP

    I see very little written on prepper sites about animal husbandtry. While this is a moot issue for brief emergencies, in the course of a longer disaster we can and should rely on animal resources for food, transportaion, clothing/shelter, energy supplemenation, etc. Do you know how to ride a horse, harness a team to a wagon, tend sheep or goats or pigs, raise chickens or geese, do you know how to butcher an animal? Include among your friends people with these skills or your long range plans WILL fail. I am lucky enough to live in the country on a farm with 3 natural water supplies, pasturage, and tillable acreage, and woods for fuel. I have allof the above skills, and as a nurse can treat your ills and
    and injuries and birth your babies if necessary. The only thing I am lacking in is protection, luckily one neighbor is a state trooper. Include in your books some animal husbandtry manuals, but practical application is the best experience. Locate a farmer in your area and barter your skills for some first hand experience with animals, you'll be glad you did.

  • debbie e

    While I am not handicapped I am older and not as obviously valuable to a community in a survival situation. I recommend becoming an expert on low tech skills which can be performed while sitting. This will motivate others to assist you with your mobility needs, and you will not feel like a burden. Most leather supply stores should be able to put you in touch with a craft person to help with holsters, etc. Perhaps a scabbard for a long gun worn for a over the shoulder draw?

  • Ben from Texas

    Reach out to like minded people in your close area.Figure out a meeting place if TSHTF and power goes out,that way your group can devise a plan on bartering and how to over come a crisis.Our group has had classes on gardening,bread making,canning,first aid,martial arts,gun safety and gun shooting courses.Hunting,trapping and fishing skills atre a must..Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it..God Bless,,Jesus saves..Ben

  • MJ from Oregon Caost
    MJ from Oregon Caost September 29, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Lots of good comments on how to survive physically, but I haven't read one that tells us how to survive spiritually, or how to prepare for eternity. It's a simple fact, everyone faces eternity once in their life and everyone dies once. Scripture says, "It is appointed once for man to die, and after this, the judgment." It also says that we can't save ourselves. This isn't about religion--it's about having a relationship with the Creator of the universe. If you have only religion and you reach the end of your physical life, the physical preparations will mean nothing. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Me..." (John 14:6) Just make sure you have the right Jesus, also, as there are many religions that teach a false Jesus. You can find the real Jesus in the Book of Isaiah (especially chapters 42 through chapter 53). Also read the Book of John (and then re-read it!). There's only one way to eternal life with GOD, and that HIS way. You can't get to eternity with Him by being good, buying your way in, or following a religion, a priest, pastor, prophet or rabbi that tells you there is any other way! Prepare physically, but don't neglect eternity--that's much more important and lasts a whole lot longer.

    • TSP

      THANK YOU THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS!!!! As I was reading people's comments I was thinking about why someone hadn't posted ANYTHING about people's ETERNAL DESTINATIONS! So, BLESS YOUR HEART for remembering to share the TRUTH with all!!!!!!

  • Cliff

    This article was good to get people thinking. The comments are even better. Lots of people are thinking about possible future events. I would like to add one thing. I was not in a hurry to get our bug-out bags ready - it took me 6 years of doing a little at a time. But, just recently I was thinking about the fact that there have been 3 train derailments close to my home during those past 6 years. Evacuations were announced for each of them. We've been lucky not having to evacuate; but, now we are prepared to go at a moments notice. It's not all about when the SHTF. Sometimes, it's about surviving the next minor catastrophe.

  • Mike

    IF civilization as we know it collapses, all the prepping in the world won't save you unless you live in an underground bunker with filtered air for the rest of your life. Look at how many nuclear power plants there are in America, if something happens and there is a mass extinction of humans, who will run the power plants? Nobody...left unattended, the will melt down...Radiation will spread across the land and there will be no food or water fit to consume. So unless you plan on going to Mexico or Cuba or or happen to be lucky enough that there are no power plants upwind OR long storage is a waste of time.

  • ReaganIsBest

    Thank you one and all for providing me and my wife a nice comfortable retirement and a vacation home - My investments in firearms/ammunition companies, oil/energy companies, and food storage companies have paid off handsomely. It's because of you folks that the stock markets are at all time highs and your desire to stockpile thousands of rounds of ammunition has produced record profits. I thank you for allowing me to retire much sooner than I had planned. If not for you folks I would still be trudging to work in Delaware every day. Thank you! p.s. don't forget to Vote Libertarian or Republican in the next election.

  • Madelaine

    Great comments and ideas. I am a believer in the Girl/Boy scout pledge and believe moderation is the key to being prepared. Have enough food and water to last your family at least one month, enough money in the form of gold/silver or other things to barter with to get you through another month. Enough bullets to see you through one gunfight and always fill your gas tank up as soon as it hits the half empty mark. A medical kit with a large bottle of aspirin and another of acetaminophen, a gallon of colloidal silver and a big jar of honey and a bottle of vinegar. A couple of bars of soap. Paper plates, cups and cutlery and you should be good to go. That's MY two cents, LOL.

  • TheBingeThinker
    TheBingeThinker October 18, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Excellent advice (gotta work on the solar cooking part).
    Regarding water...
    1)Get some aquarium charcoal for the filter basket of an old coffee maker and run your tap through that to make purified water, and start saving it in canning jars. OR go to and get some coconut charcoal and a cheap emergency filter kit.
    2) Install Rain barrels ASAP.
    3) Save tap water also. Ask restaurants for their old 5 and 10 gallon pickle and condiment buckets, and oil containers. Wash them well and use 16 drops of bleach per gallon to keep tap sanitary for up to a year.

    All can be run through the charcoal again right before drinking to eliminate the chlorine and any off flavors.

    Get some essential oil of oregano. Several drops of this in water will kill protozoans and other icky bugs. It's been used for pets water dishes that remain sitting, and it works well.

    • Jordan

      From thebingethinker in 2014:
      "Get some essential oil of oregano. Several drops of this in water will kill protozoans and other icky bugs." NO it will NOT.

      Oregano is a mild bactericide. Kills bacteria only. Protozoans, amoebas and cysts are far too resistant and require strong chemical agents, a halide like chlorine or iodine, or a strong boil to kill them and render the water safe.

      Carbon/charcoal filtration is for, and it will state, taste, odor and chlorine.

      Since it can take several days for consequences of infection to appear, the source of the infection may be mistaken for other things. The results, though, can be life threatening.

      Let's be careful, helpful but ACCURATE.

  • Ruth Chiles

    Folks should check out the Square Foot Gardening books by Mel Barthamoul great system....less work less cost...for growing your own food....right outside your door...dont walk on the soil.....
    Handicapped can garden also....Also check out the website.....
    Square Foot Gardening Forum......everyone shares info.....

  • Jeff

    First thing, get out of high density population centers and get your hands on some acreage. Start homesteading and cultivate some self-sufficiency skills. And, stock up on firearms and as much ammo as you can get your hands on. Prepping is more a mode of life more than anything.

  • David

    I agree with 98%mof the comments above but think we are missing out on one particular area- health! One person talked about people on medication and lack thereof. If for example you have asthma or diabetes on your family and you run out, your in deep trouble! If your on good terms with your doctor, how about telling him/ her what your concern is and can they prescribe a little extra to stockpile keeping in mind refrigeration requirements (solar panel /invertor etc). The government mandated expiration date is many times ridiculously short. What about infections from a small cut or scratch which we would normally not worry about but could end up lethal? Google fish antibiotics and you will be amazed at what is available cheaply and in most cases per the manufacturer is exactly the same as you get over the counter from a druggist. Keep in mind that in an SHTF emergency playing with medication can be lethal but an infection can be too!! Use only iodized salt and don't forget the vitamin C tablets (scurvy may kill a lot more people than you imagine). Suture kits, bandages, antiseptic washes, etc etc. Use your imagination and read, read ,read!!

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