Top 15 Beginner Prepper Mistakes That You Should Avoid! Rookie Prepper 101

Since the inception of my survival and prepping website, I’ve watched many YouTube videos and read even more articles relating to the subject. I’m no expert, but there are many things that I learn along the way that doesn’t make much sense to me. In this article, I will be talking about the top mistakes preppers make while getting themselves ready for a future crisis.

Have you ever watched Dooms Day Preppers and found some things they did a bit odd? I have, but in all fairness, its reality TV and they have to do things to make the show exciting and controversial at times to keep the audience entertained.

Here is my list of the top 15 prepper mistakes that I found while researching all things survival.

1 – SHUT UP! Don’t Tell People That You Have an Emergency Shelter!

The reason why I’m placing this prepper mistake as my number one is because it can end up being the most serious mistake you can make.

There was an old episode of the twilight zone (Shelter Skelter, see video below) where a guy was at a party, and he was telling everyone about his fallout shelter. What do you think happens when the emergency sirens went off? All of his neighbors came to his house and smashed the door of the shelter. Afterward, It was announced that the siren was a false alarm. Thank goodness it was because you would have had a massive dose of radiation come in if there was an atomic blast near the area.

Tell the people you trust and that you would want to join you and your family in your shelter in cases of an emergency.  You can also talk about it to other preppers if you have a prepper community near your home; But other than that small circle of people, shut up!

The most dangerous person is a desperate person, and you don’t want a desperate person trying to make their way inside the only safe place left for your family.

2 – Not Prepping for the Most Common Disaster Scenario For Your Area

One mistake some preppers make is not preparing for the most common type of disaster scenario for the area they live. It’s great if you have all your basis covered but if you only prep for an atomic blast and nuclear fallout and not the more common disasters you might be out of luck when a more predictable disaster strikes.

I live in an area where there can be significant flooding. It happens approximately once every decade. This year we had a flood that surpassed a record flood from the 70s, and a lot of people were not prepared.

Some had to take refuge in shelters after just a single day of not having power. Fortunately, where I live, I was not affected by the flood, but it doesn’t mean I should not prepare for the day when It might affect me.

A fallout shelter below ground will not do you any good if a flood strikes. All you will be left with is the cost of replacing everything you had prepped for in your water-filled underground bunker.

Back in 2014, Hurricane Arthur made landfall in our area as a category one hurricane. Many of us were out of power for more than a week. We were out of power for four days. We stayed home with our three kids and had no problems.

Fortunately, this was in the summer and not in the sub-zero temperature of winter. We had enough food and luckily we still had municipal water that was safe to drink and use for the shower. We had to take cold showers, but that is something everyone should be doing anyway.

Cold showers have many health benefits. Check this link to learn more about the benefits of cold showers.

3 – Some Preppers are Out Of Shape!

Ok, don’t scold me for saying this, especially in the age of political correctness; but preppers, you need to get into shape! How do you expect to be able to protect your family and your property if you have a hard time walking up a flight of stairs?

I understand that in this fast pace world that it might not be easy to work out as often as we would all like. I’m 35 years old, and I can remember when I was 25 how much easier it was to exercise daily. I would still consider myself in great shape because I try to do different types of things other than just going to the gym. I love to mountain bike and kayak and find that by doing different things it keeps me motivated.

If you want to get into shape but scared of going into an intimidating gym (I was like that), start with “at home workouts.”

I began my fitness journey over ten years ago with a program called P90X from Beachbody. You probably saw many of their infomercials on television during the wee hours of the night. One thing I can guarantee you from experience, IT WORKS!

They now even have different P90X programs that are only 30 minutes a day! Here is a link for P90X from Amazon, believe me, it’s money well spent!

4 – You Have NO Survival Skills and No Training

It’s all well and good for me to write an article about how to build a campfire with a Ferrocerium Rod; but shouldn’t I know how to do it if I’m going to call myself a prepper? A lot of people buy all sorts of fancy survival gear but never actually take the time to learn how to use it. You need to accurately and effectively learn how to use your survival equipment in case there’s an SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan) situation.

Think about it for a minute, if you’re caught in the middle of a crisis without your bug out bag or any self-defense weapons, all you can rely on is yourself. You have to become the weapon that will defend you and your family from whatever danger comes your way.

If you’re in relatively good shape and know how to defend yourself; and learn many different survival skills you will have a much higher chance of survival. You don’t need to be macgyver to be a survivalist, but it does help to have a particular type of skill set.

5 – Chose the Right Food When Storing for Long Term

Most of the preparatives videos I watch relating to a long-term emergency food storage stock are great information. Including one of my articles, you can read by clicking here. But there are some videos I’ve watched that suggest some very odd things that are indeed not food items you would want to rely on in a survival situation.

The first example is Moroccan Ramen Noodle Soup. These packets of minute made soup are awful for your health, especially if you depend on that for your protein and nutrients intake. The only consumption you will receive from this soup is a massive dose of sodium. Unless you have an equally massive amount of water to wash that down with you probably won’t survive too long eating this soup.

There’s also no protein, or pretty much anything else of value. These noodles are what I would call “fillers.” A can of premium dog food would be better for your overall health than this crap.

What I also sometimes see in peoples long-term emergency storage are sodium filled snacks. There’s nothing wrong with having some comfort food in your emergency stock. I would recommend it but what I wouldn’t recommend is having a considerable amount of those types of food. Just be sensible and do your research before making or buying an emergency food stock.

6 – Having Too Many Small Pets

I debated placing this one on the list because I’m not sure if this is something that is necessary to avoid if you’re a prepper. I think I would only recommend this prepper mistake to preppers that believe the end of the world is coming and they are preparing for such an event.

Most preppers, however, prepare on a smaller scale like natural disasters that will leave them without power for days, even weeks. If you believe the apocalypse is coming, you should probably look into getting a big animal.

A big dog can be an asset to you and your family if you’re trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. A small dog will drag you down while a big dog can become your families, ultimate protector.

7 – Not Having Anything to Exercise Your Mind in Your Bug In/Out Location

First Aid Book Is a Valuable Tool for any Prepper!

Some people only think of food and water while setting up a bug in or bug out location. Of course, food and water are the most important things to look after, but you should not neglect your mind when preparing for the worst.

Store some books in your shelter and better yet, buy some survival books that will be of benefit to you in a SHTF situation. Books about how to make a garden, how to preserve food or how to make fire and my personal favorite, a First Aid Book (Amazon Link)!

The valuable information in a first aid book would be something that would most likely save someone’s life in these types of scenarios. If you begin to panic and forget your first aid training, all you would need to do is grab the book to refresh your memory.

Even spending time learning everything there is to learn inside a first aid book would make you a valuable person to have in a group in a post-apocalyptic world.

Board games are another good thing to have in a shelter. Keeping your mind occupied while you wait days or weeks to know what’s going on outside might prevent you from going crazy!

8 – Preppers That do Not Have Any Fitness Equipment In Their Shelter

The best way to keep from going into depression while you’re stuck in a fallout shelter is exercise. I almost never see a fallout shelter list that includes exercise equipment in their list of things to have. I’m not talking about anything elaborate or expensive bulky equipment. Having a few dumbbells is all you need.,

I recommend resistance bands. Resistance bands take no space, are cheap and weighs next to nothing. You could even bring them with you if you need to bug out. This type of exercise equipment can be just as good as a row full of dumbbells. All you need to do to increase resistance in these bands is to widen your legs while standing on the band. If you widen your legs, it makes the section of band from your foot to your hand shorter and adds resistance, mirroring a heavier weight than previous.

Click here to check out the high quality and inexpensive resistance bands I bought from Amazon.

9 – You Rely Too Much on Electronics

I’ve seen a lot of prepper videos where people have buried their stashes and pinned the specific locations on their GPS. If the grid goes down for an extended period, or if there’s a massive EMP that unleashes near your area, how are you going to be able to find your way with a GPS that no longer works?

Learn how to use a map. It wasn’t that long ago that we traveled with maps. We had to stop on the side of the road for 5 minutes to figure out how to get to our next location.

What I suggest is buying a map of your area, or better yet, a map of your entire country in the form of a book. That way you will be able to go where you need to if there’s a long-term blackout situation.

Another great way to find out where you’re going is to learn how to navigate by using the sun. Here is an article I wrote, “11 Easiest Ways To Navigate Without A Compass”.

One thing I can say for sure is that learning how to find your way using the sun is far simpler than I expected. Especially before I first began my research about the topic.

You should also buy or build a Faraday Cage in case of an EMP. Keep some of your electronic equipment in there in case disaster strikes. You can even buy a small Faraday Bag for less than 10 dollars from Amazon.

10 – Stop Spending Too Much Money On Survival Gadgets!

Another prepper mistake I see all the time is people buying expensive and elaborate survival gadgets they probably don’t need. Most of these gadgets are very gimmicky, especially if they are grossly overpriced.

You see it all the time, someone trying to reinvent a knife or an axe. Yes, some survival gadgets are useful, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to buy too many gadgets in the past. It gets kind of addictive after a while BUT I justify it by having a website and having to have things to research and review. What’s your excuse???

Set a limit for yourself by establishing a fixed amount every month for prepping. You don’t want to bankrupt yourself from obsessively prepping. What’s the use of preparing for after the storm if you’re not living your life beforehand?

11 – Not Keeping Up With the Expire Dates

Every Preppers should have some water purification tablets.

You should have two types of emergency food storage. One that is for the near future and one that is for something that might only happen in the far future.

In the two to five-year shelf life section, you need to keep up with the expiry dates and make sure to rotate your food stock. Go a step further and stick some expire labels on every food items. Don’t forget the water containers since, after a while; water will begin to go bad if there was some sort of contamination.

It’s a good idea to also have Water Purification Tablets (Amazon Link) in case your water starts turning green. These types of tablets will ensure that you have safe drinking water for a very long time.

Click here for an article I wrote about the different kinds of water Purification tablets on the market today and everything you need to know about them.

12 – Not Staying Organized Is a Big Prepper Mistake

One of the biggest mistakes some preppers make is not staying organized. If you stock up on food and stick it a room somewhere and forget about it, it might not be exactly what you expect when it is time to recover that food if an emergency strikes.

Preppers should also have a plan if the time comes when you have to evacuate your home and maybe even the city or town you call home. Just like you have a fire escape route plan for your home, plan a bug out a route that would avoid significant traffic backup if you need to leave fast.

13 – Not Storing Enough Water

Usually, most preppers will have enough food to last at least 72 hours but what about water? Are a few cases of bottled water enough? It wouldn’t be enough for my family of five.

Every member of your family will need to have at least two liters of water a day. Multiply that by least a week, and you should be all set.

Water is much more important than food. You can live up to three weeks without food but only three days without water. Water should always be priority number one. Click here for my article about everything you need to know about proper water storage.

14 – Only Preparing to Bug Out Rather Than Bugging In

Many preppers just prepare a bug out plan and lack the focus of a bug in plan. I agree that bugging out when the world is ending and traveling deep into the woods sure seems like an adventure. But if a hurricane or an earthquake strikes, the safest place you can be might be in the basement of your home.

It’s a different story If a storm is strong enough to call for an evacuation but if its something more manageable then you will most likely stay home.

So while you’re planning your cool bug out scenario take some time to think about staying put for a few days. And remember, if a nuclear bomb goes off close to your area, the last thing you want to do is be traveling outside and exposing yourself to radioactive fallout.

15 – Storing All Your Prepping Gear In The Same Place

This is probably the most common mistake a rookie prepper makes, Im even guilty of making this mistake. Storing all your prepping gear in the same place, and that is a big mistake. You’ve heard “don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” well this is pretty much the same idea.

Some preppers have all their gear stored in their garage. Did you know that the garage is usually the weakest part of your home? If a hurricane strikes and your garage is inaccessible, how will you access all your prepping gear, food, and water? Try to store some prepping equipment in different locations within your home.

If you have a storage locker that you’re renting, you could store some items there. If you are unable to go to your house, at least you’ll have a backup stock.


I hope you found this article useful. If you have any other prepper mistakes that I might have missed, please let me know in the comment section below. We love hearing from you, even if you disagree with me!

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