4 Prepping Mistakes You Must Never (Ever!) Make

I’ve been a preparedness instructor, consultant, and survival writer for 20 years. But these mistakes just keep coming up. No matter which crisis we prep for.

Whether it’s an economic meltdown, pandemic, earthquake, or something else. And there’s only one way to avoid them…

You see, most survival schools model themselves on the military. Which makes sense, as our veterans routinely tackle dangers that’d make your average person’s head spin.

But they also have the world’s largest logistical infrastructure supporting them and a budget bigger than the GDP of even rich nations like Turkey or Holland.

The average American, however, has a salary. Turning “survival” into an uphill fight.

What’s more, these tactics are based on a unit of fighting-fit soldiers. Not your average Jane or Joe with kids and a Golden Retriever. I mean, just try loading 150 lbs. onto grandma and see how far you get. That’s when it hit me… My heroes were wrong.

Forcing me to create something new…

I called it S.C.A.R, and while it won’t solve all your problems I, and my clients, have discovered this simple 4-part shortcut can quickly save you effort, money, and time. Plus, make you far more disaster-prepared than before.

So, what is this powerful tool?

#1 – Keep it Simple, Stupid…

Simple is the first part of S.C.A.R, and perhaps the most important. For veterans and newbies alike. That’s because disaster-preparedness doesn’t have to be rocket science.

Even if many “experts” claim the opposite. Using the latest shiny bauble to sell you something useless that’ll only gather dust in your closet or garage anyway.

Take solar panels… To have them installed could cost you $20,000. And maybe it’s cash well spent.

But is it a good safety net?

Because when they break that leaves you without power until a stranger sends a repairman. So, it’s failed there.

And the repair costs?

These could be $3,200 or more. Stretching your financial breakeven point
to over two long decades. And it could always break again. And again.

This makes sense for energy companies to encourage. After all, you pay for repairs.

And thanks to one-sided policies like “net metering” they pocket the cash from much (if not all) the energy you produce. And if they’re installed for free? Even worse.

Because if you don’t read the fine print your mortgage payments could skyrocket, your home could become harder to sell, and you could even lose it.

Not to mention shoddy workmanship, overcharges, useless add-ons that have little to do with self-reliance, hidden fees, and more. A situation some have compared to the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2008 and congressmen of both parties have labeled unfair. Even if it varies between states and companies.

But it’s also easily avoided.

For instance, with your own packable solar array, you can cut out the middleman. And if a storm hits? You roll it up and ride it out on battery power.

Safe and sound.

That’s why, whenever you do something survival-related, you must ask yourself, “can it be simpler?”.

After all, “keep it simple stupid”, or KISS for short, is a US Navy design principle for a good reason. Because the more complex a thing is, the more can go wrong. Plus, the more likely it is that somebody is taking advantage of you.

So, beware. Which brings us to our second tool…

#2 – Beware Fool’s Gold …

Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned the hard way, it’s that throwing money at a problem won’t help.

For example, a 1-year stock of freeze-dried food alone can cost around $7,500. Per person!

While low-priced doesn’t have to mean lower quality. In fact, overpriced tact-cool gadgets can even make it worse. By giving us a false sense of confidence. At least until SHTF.

Remember this next time you see a dehydrator selling for three hundred dollars you could easily DIY for one hundred.

Or a two-thousand-dollar water filter you can build yourself for only fifty bucks.

Or a wind turbine that costs three thousand dollars you can make for just $175.

That’s just as good. And will also build up your skill set.

Valuable dollars which, if you spend today, you won’t be able to spend tomorrow.

So, next time you’re out survival shopping, ask yourself. Could I do it for cheaper?

Now for the best bit…

#3 – It’s Not the Strongest Who Survive, But the Most Adaptable…

As Bruce Lee said: “Be like water.

Never stay stagnant. After all, the only constant is change. And it’s the unknown unknowns that hurt us the most.

As does limiting our options…

This can be something as simple as carrying cotton and petroleum jelly separately in your survival kit.

Separately they have dozens of uses. As a medical gauze, water filter, lubricant or more.

Whereas together all you’ll get a sticky hard-to-store mess that’s good for starting fires. That’s it. Think about it…

If you get a store-bought water filter you have, well… a filter.

But with a bio-sand water filter, you DIY yourself, you can reuse parts to match your needs as events unfold.

For example, you can make a toilet, off-grid shower, or clothes washer with just a few tiny tweaks.

They’re also MUCH easier to repair.

Just think of modern cars. It used to be you could fix them yourself with chop-and-change parts.

Now a microchip breaks and it’s game over.

Compare that to the Cubans who are still driving models from the 1950s to today.

That’s why it’s good to ask yourself. “Can I use this for something else?”. If so, congratulations. It may just save your skin in a pinch. Especially if you can make it yourself from salvaged supplies that are plentiful in a disaster zone.

This is the adaptable part of S.C.A.R.

What’s more? Put all these together and you get something truly amazing that’s…

#4 – Resilient to The Point of Insanity…

However, to illustrate this, I’ll first have to digress to a story from WW2. Between an American David and a German Goliath.

It was mythical; the way soldiers spoke of it…

As if there was a monster in the woods, ready to pounce and invincible to allied firepower.

This mythical beast was the German Tiger Tank.

The height of technology for its day, with its heavy armor and gun, it could annihilate almost any allied opponent while being near-immune to return fire…

On paper, it was invincible.

But as the war progressed, the Tiger showed its true colors…

You see, it was a very complex tank, with specialized components. This meant its parts were hard to replace.

This also meant the Tiger was hard to fix. Oftentimes left to rot by the roadside after a malfunction.

The Tiger was also expensive. In money, time, and resources. Hurting the German war effort.

And who was the David in this story?

An American tank. One that in a head-on battle needed to outnumber the Tiger three-to-one to stand a chance.

The M4 Sherman.

Now, the Sherman didn’t have a mythical reputation. But what it had was resilience.

The Sherman was much simpler, with just a few exchangeable parts mass-produced for different applications.

It was also cheaper to make.

This meant what it lacked in firepower it made up for in numbers. With 50,000 built vs. just 1,347 Tigers.

This also guaranteed that spare parts were available in an emergency. Keeping it in the fight for longer.

Lastly, the Sherman was adaptable, with many variants, as its chassis was modified to meet otherwise unpredictable events.

The Israelis even used a modified Sherman as late as the 1980s, 40 years after the war!

In short, the cheaper, simpler more adaptable Sherman was a superior strategic choice to the better only-on paper Tiger. This made if far more resilient.

That’s why S.C.A.R is so important.

Because if I could tell my younger self only one thing, it’s that we already have everything we need to prosper.

I’m better prepared now than I ever was because of it.

And happier.

All because of a simple four-point check list.

But if you’re truly interested then I’d advise you to click the link below to check out my 20 top projects for off-grid living and survival. Not only are they simple, cheap, adaptable, and resilient, they cover all your essential needs.

Like food, water, electricity, hygiene, and more. To ensure your comfort in a crisis.

These are hand down the most useful projects I’ve met in my years as a preparedness instructor and I just wouldn’t feel right keeping them to myself.

So, please, check them out.

Written by

Cache Valley Prepper is the CEO of Survival Sensei, LLC, a freelance author, writer, survival instructor, consultant and the director of the Survival Brain Trust. A descendant of pioneers, Cache was raised in the tradition of self-reliance and grew up working archaeological digs in the desert Southwest, hiking the Swiss Alps and Scottish highlands and building the Boy Scout Program in Portugal. Cache was mentored in survival by a Delta Force Lt Col and a physician in the US Nuclear Program and in business by Stephen R. Covey. You can catch up with Cache teaching EMP survival at survival expos, teaching SERE to ex-pats and vagabonds in South America or getting in some dirt time with the primitive skills crowd in a wilderness near you. His Facebook page is here. Cache Valley Prepper is a pen name used to protect his identity. You can send Cache Valley Prepper a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com

Latest comments
  • Why can’t I see these 20 projects? Nor download them?

    • Hello Tom,

      You have to click the image at the end of the article and follow the next steps to discover the projects.

  • Same problem as Tom.

    • Hello,

      You have to click the image-banner at the end of the article and follow the steps to discover those projects.

  • You try it and let us know if it works. I get a home improvement site.

    • Hello Roger,

      We have now checked the issue and fixed it. You can try again.

      Alex from Survivopedia

  • NO the link is BROKEN on the image and gives an error message -“This site can’t be reached https’s server IP address could not be found” Something is coded incorrectly – Please have your web master check and correct this error.

    • Hello JayTee,

      Thank you for reporting this issue. We have now fixed it!

      Alex from Survivopedia

    • Are there survival classes, actual workshops that you provide?

  • Good things to know, chico!

    1) KISS: War Between the States ARMY officer told his people, Keep it simple, stupid. He was likely from Pennsylvania, because he sounds like a coal miner.

    2) It doesn’t matter if you have a million in your back pocket, blow the wad on overpriced junk gadgets, you’re no more likely to survive than the average bro in the ‘hoods, and yes, many of them are prepping. I’ve been saying it for years, watch the ‘hoods, see how people have been preparing. The worse the neonazi left is, the more people are prepping there, and count one in ten has the brass to wear that MAGA hat outside the apartment. People are renting empty apartments to stock. I have 27 cousins in East-central Penna who farm. They all sell fruits and veggies, and dairy for ‘pet’ food. All sell meat on the hoof. Most popular mag is countryside Small Stock Journal, and most popular shows are how-to canning and other prepping things like butchering.

    3) Oldest American Indian saying, adapt, adopt, survive. Silent Running should be your theme. It’s how we survived 5 centuries, and there are more of us today, many millions more, than there were when Columbus arrived. Teach the children and the revolution will grow until we’re all free again. Dead men might be heroes, but they leave the rest helpless. And now the revolt is coming to a head.

    4) KISS. If you can’t make it at home, DIY, do you need it? And if you do need something and know making it yourself is impossible, you should have been saving it and replacements for years. This goes for junk American-Irish silver (Antique silver from Europe contains lead, and so does pewter), which is silver-coated brass or copper utensils, bowls, serving dishes. Silver, brass, and copper were common even in the ‘hoods at one time because all three are health items, killing everything from internal parasites to zits. The average, individual American Indian owns more guns than the average family in Texas, and for good reason. Liberals are everywhere. Even Malcolm X said liberals are the real enemy of the people.

    We’re taught the Bubonic Plague was the great leveler of society, rich and poor alike died of it. True, but much smaller percentage of the middle class died of it than the peasants because they ate from and with silver and brass (which is made of copper and zinc). Wealthy people ate from gold and died. Peasants, of they could afford it, used copper and cedar. Canada had one squirrel reported with the Plague, and that sent those in the know into panic, and for good reason.

    • What we need is someone to produce a book or books on how to prep using equipment of vehicles made from stuff you have scavenged or gotten from scrapyards. not exspensive stuff that is great untill it breaks or gets damaged after SHTF or a TEOTWAWKI/1859 Carington level event when the expensive stuff becomes unrepairable. The prepping stuff that you built yourself it it breaks or gets damaged want parts no problem just hit the streets or scrapyards for the required parts and while you are out there see what else thats useful that you can pick up as well.

  • Hello,
    Same problem as Tom and POCC, the link takes you to a home improvement site and I don’t see anything even related to prepping.

  • You have got a real problem, not us. Clicking on the banner now produces this:
    This site can’t be reached
    https’s server IP address could not be found.

    • Hello Jimmie,

      Thank you for reporting this issue. We have now fixed it!

  • the matter of survival can not be any too difficult since millions of people spanning thousands of years survived. what they did you can do.
    first thing up is to avoid behaving like civilians. focus on the military practices. it is true – silence is golden!! most civilians have no clue what being quiet means!! no joke!!
    you have no store and no medical – what will you do for water and food? step by step see to this. no clue? buy a real good book that has greatly detailed instructions.
    see that you have tools to hunt and garden and defend. see that they are all properly stored/protected. see that you know how to use them.
    (it is 1 thing to shoot at a still target. quite another to shoot a moving target. a major feat to shoot a moving target that shoots back at you!!) hoorah people
    in most cases forget a bug out because a great many people and gangs of people will watch for you eagerly. you will not make it out of the cities for some time to come.
    if you must go then you must know your route and move at night. carrying a big heavy pack is not my idea of a fun trip. stash such as this outside the city.
    good luck 2 ya all.

  • Where do you get your prices from? 20K for solar? Wow did you get ripped off! You can easily build a 1 – 1.5 kw off grid system with top quality parts for 6k. Or a grid tied 2k system for 3k. Portable solar setups are garbage and waaay overpriced. You could make one with 200 watts of solar and 220ah of batteries and an inverter for 700 bucks. And solar doesn;t break down (unless you buy junk). Geeez

    • You can build your own for $6000, but I have seen whole house systems which claim to take you off the grid for $20,000 they produce 5Kw and have Tesla battery banks.

      Way too expensive sure but not impossible to spend that much.

      • Mine cost that much. A storm came, and since then it has never worked. And NO ONE will come to fix it. Paid cash. Too bad, so sad.

    • Florida Solar Sales are running wild,( door to door sales people are plentiful, especially after Hurricanes, etc.) We read the Fine Print. It will blow your mind when you finally grasp what a solar installation will end up costing you. It will take Years to pay it off on finance, and the pay back is peanuts. And, selling your home without paying off the bill is insane.. Listen to these people who Wzrn You Against Purchasing Solar panels for your home. Honestly, put your money into a home garden, or ammunition, or portable solar panels for small appliance needs. But, above al else. PREPARE……

  • Cannot figure out how to get to the 20 projects, can you help

    • Hello Robert,

      Click on the image-banner at the end of the article and pay close attention to the video you’ll find.

      Alex, from Survivopedia!

  • I just listened to the whole long long talk. I want to order it for the $37 but it would not give me a place to place my order!!

    • Hello Shell,

      Thank you for contacting us! One of my colleagues will be in touch ASAP to help you with your order.

      Stay safe!

      Alex, from Survivopedia.

  • #5…Never get lulled into thinking you are ‘ready’ for a SHTF situation. There is always something to learn or practice. You might be ‘prepared’, but you’ll never be ‘ready’ when it happens.

    • You are so right.. We failed to get a generator and last weekend our power went kerfuffle. Cost a bunch to buy a small generator run by GAS. I’ve been telling my husband to buy the right one and now we only have partial power in our house. I will never let my husband of 50 years say Oh we don’t need something ever again. Something I do for food prepping because he is fussy about my food storage is to use coupons to buy things we need and saving those thing, I can get things we need to save and he does not have a fit.

      • Hi Jackie….one woman to another…I don’t pretend to know your husband at all!!! But my husband used to be a naysayer of all happening! Thank God he has awakened although not to all! Something is better than nothing right?! I know you don’t want to disrespect your husband, but sometimes you must do what’s necessary and just let them throw that fit!!! If it’s crucial to you, it should be to him as well!! You’re his WIFE and respect goes both ways! If you need to take a bit of control due to his stubbornness or head in the sand, get it done! He’ll get over it!! Especially when the SHTF and you have gotten things taken care of!! A generator is incredibly important! And a solar generator is needed! If our grid goes down due to a HEMP… you won’t be getting gas or propane!!! Nor when our economy collapses which it is coming! Whether a diy or an excellent prebuilt, do it! I highly disagree with the assessment by the author that they’re no good. 4Patriots offers a great 2000W that’s expandable!! Research! But fast!

  • 4 other things to remember

    1. Don’t eat yellow snow
    2. Don’t go into the jungle at night ( not a good idea).
    3. Don’t go into the jungle in the daytime (not a good idea)
    4. If the locals are high tailing it out of town,, run with them, When they stop running , the you can ask “Why are we running?”

    • Sage advice. You must be an ancient with all of your scholarly wisdom! Thank you o’ wise one!

  • Some of you have formidable prepping abilities and readiness. This is commendable indeed!!!
    I am a poor, disabled woman of 70, tired, living alone and … grateful that my youth is already spent.
    Have done some food prepping (to be able to share, as needed) and am active with prayer and volunteering religious artwork for families.
    Hoping some of you, at least, know of a holy priest or two that you will support & assist through the night that is already encroaching ….because,
    without the Holy Sacraments, the quality of ones soul – and hence also societal life – will deteriorate, despite whatever else may be in it. (Am speaking as a devout Catholic reminding others with similar priorities) Blessed Christ.mas

  • LOL,I’ve gotten to the “buy” page but after entering all the info and clicking on the pay now button I get nothing. If all the times I clicked on the pay button go through then everyone can buy a copy from me ;).

    • Avatar photo

      Hello, Lawrence. One of our colleagues will contact you via email Thank you for your interest.

  • Regarding the story about the tanks, apparently we still haven’t learned anything. The simple, versatile Jeep (cheap to make, easy to repair, simple to use) has been replaced by the Humvee (too large, too complicated, hard to repair, expensive to make).

  • Taking the time to write these comments 3 days after Christmas Day 2021. Super important tips that must be kept in mind….and i will plan to incorporate some elements of those tips in a post-Apocalyptic fiction adventure novella draft i am authoring now based on the realities of the economic collapse and crime chaos in Venezuela, where i have resided off and on for over 20 years. AND interacted with folks ranging from the homeless, remote backcountry campesinos, cowboys, paramilitary gang leaders up to diplomats….as well as running my own adventure tour operation to offbeat destinations here. , i wrote Mark on the Facebook page a few minutes ago…and hope to get to know ‘Cache Valle Prepper’ a bit better….maybe even swap a few notes….he could be a great resource as an advisor if curious directors or producers desire to take the story to a film production stage.

  • When you click the banner, it now says that this product is no longer available.