What is some bad prepping advice?

I’m sure we all have received some bad prepping advice over the years. Be it from the unprepared, misinformed, uneducated, or it could have been good advice at the time but has since been debunked.

Two come to mind right now:

  1. Your entire food storage consists of beans and rice.
  2. You get some big rambo knife and think that’s all you need to bug out with.

What bad prepping advice have you heard?


  • Comments (33)

    • 6

      I’ve heard some people say “Oh, I’ll just hunt for food during SHTF”

      Lets break down why that’s a bad plan:

      #1 – Everyone else who are unprepared will think of that as the first solution to their hunger as well. We’ll have amateurs shooting all over trying to take down rabbits and deer with a pistol. Population will be decimated very quickly.

      #2 – If you do happen to find a deer or rabbit, how long’s that going to last your family? Then what? 

      #3 – Wouldn’t you rather have a variety of foods that you already currently enjoy and eat everyday? Stock it up now and you can have that and know 100% that it will be there. No extra calories wasted chasing a squirrel through your neighborhood.

      #4 – Have you ever even hunted or killed something before? Professional hunters that do this every year, have the best equipment, years of experience, and when populations are high sometimes go years between kills because it is hard.

      #5 – Alright you have your deer, now how do you gut it, preserve the most you can, and preserve it long term? 

      Lots more to think of besides having your guns and ammo.

    • 5

      Hello Mike.

      I guess the “bad” advice is a difference of opinion. A pal of mine….he has guns and beans and rice, MREs and no idea how to make any food. Bottled water only. Gated community.  He asked if I could make him some hardtack as he read that some from the Civil War was still edible. Umm……make your own hardtack if you want it. *I* have….ingredients and know how to use them.. But he is sure I will die first as I am a single woman, out in the country, with chickens and cows and live the homestead type life and “nobody” to defend me. I can and do shoot my own snakes<smile>. Huge disagreement about which weapon for in house defense. #4 shot or 00 buck ( MY choice). He is gonna die first<smile>. The MREs will kill him.


    • 5

      I think the worst advice, or worst concept, is to bug out… without having a proper, specific location.  People just think all they have to do is head to the country, and set up camp.  They give no thought to who owns the land or what those owners will do to squatters.  Some say they will head for national forests or other public land, but don’t consider who else has the same idea.  The country & national forests are not loaded with readily accessible food, waiting for you to come & harvest.  What do you plan on eating all these weeks or months.  As stated above, wild game will be spooked early on & soon will run out.  Even if you are able to harvest some wild game, any gunshot will attract other desperate people.

      Please, if you plan on bugging out, choose a location that you can actually reach and one where you are known & will be welcomed.  Your number one goal in a crisis is to AVOID conflict.  You ain’t Rambo.

      Your entire food storage consists of beans and rice.

      Yep, I hear of this a lot.  Don’t get me wrong, I store plenty of rice and beans.  However I will have plenty of garden produce to go with them.  Also, I store more wheat berries than all other food stores combined.  Think about how often you eat wheat product thru the day.  Then think about how often you eat rice and beans.  For me, I can easily have a wheat product every meal of every day.  I might have rice and/or beans once every few weeks.

      • 5

        I’ve heard many people say they will just bug out to the woods as well. You make many good points about that.

        Land isn’t too incredibly expensive in the middle of no where. Lets say you live in Albuquerque, NM. You could buy 5 acres for 8-12k as part of your investments. Diversifying is important, don’t keep all your 401k in Apple stocks. Then you have 5 acres that you can go out camping on, a place to bug out to, and if prices keep skyrocketing like they are, then it may be worth 30k in a few years and you could always sell it. 

        Good plan on storing wheat berries. I’d rather have a pizza, rolls, or loaf of bread than a bowl of rice. What kind of grinder do you have for it?

    • 5

      Good morning Mike,

      It was less about being specific advice and more about displaying the belief that one will operate outside of a civilization, a society.

      These people think that they can outfit themselves like foot infantry and walk to safety anywhere they want to.

      Here at forum, I’ve posted more than once the acronym structuring the national response to serious emergencies and definitely disasters. The acronym “COG” = Continuity of Government.

      If these people do not follow the orders of the government responders and the posted signs, they will also learn the meaning of the abbreviation “CCA”. CCA = “Confined by Civil Authorities”.

    • 4

      If you are planning to bug in you dont need to plan to bug out (and vice versa).

      You dont need a knife.

      You only need a weeks supplies.

      I’ll raid someone elses preps.

      We will go by road.

      My friend/ boss/ colleague/ neighbour will surely take us in

      Farms are so big they cannot be protected.

      My (pick your diety) will take care of us.

    • 7

      The lone wolf prepper.

      During a true SHTF, they will not last. During a minor month or two disaster, they will be fine though. 

      • 6


        I am sorry but I have to disagree. Or at least make a point for the other side.

        Pal, mentioned above, has a “group” that he thinks will move in and they will all be a happy group, looking out for each other. He will have ” 15 guys with guns”. Okay..in a 3 BR house in a gated community, in a city, with no outside water source. And no ability to hunt nor grow food. Not one knows how to cook and even better…the only way to cook is the gas grill as long as they have propane. Just the idea of 15 guys in a 2 bathroom house….I see ” issues”<smile>. 

        He is sure I will die first as I am in the country, ” allll by yourself”. With hens, pony and cows. TRAINED flock guards and herding dogs, serious fencing and clear lines of sight of trespassers. I have trained the kids in wild edibles and medicinal plants. I can milk a cow or a goat in less than 10 minutes and can make whatever dairy items I want. My local pals are good ol’ country boys<smile> that don’t  think about “prepping” as that is just how they live. They grew up hunting and fishing and such and have been very helpful over the years teaching me the things I did not grow up doing. Not only do I shoot my own snakes but learned to skin and tan them also. I taught 18thC domestic skills so could fairly easily live that way. Thinking about it….I guess I do live that way now but with running water and A/C<smile>. 

        I do hope it never does get to the point that we see who dies first<smile>.


      • 8

        During an extended crisis, what happens to your hungry, good ole country boys?  Do they starve peacefully while you prosper or do they become a threat?  Do y’all work together since you are pals?  If that is the case, you are no longer a lone wolf.

        I have long said, the most dangerous threat during an extended crisis is not some horde coming from the city but hungry friends & neighbors.  I have no realistic expectation of surviving while they starve, as my neighbors too grew up hunting.  Therefore I realize for me to survive, I can’t be a lone wolf… no matter how much I know, how much I have or how many guns I possess.  For me to survive, my neighbors have to also.  I’m no lone wolf.

      • 5

        Redneck is a good example of a level headed and sane prepper. He plans for things that others don’t, like helping out others and storing extra for them.

      • 4

        Liebrecht – You make a good point about sticking many people in an area not designed to sustain that many people.

        In a survival TV show I like they usually have one person alone and trying to survive in the middle of the woods. They struggle to build a shelter, hunt/gather food, and do other things to survive. In one season though they changed things up and allowed pairs of people to go out and survive instead of the single individual of past seasons. It was interesting to see how having two people changed up the dynamic and made some things easier and quicker like building shelters and hunting for food, but as the show continued you saw how hard it was to sustain the amount of calories needed for two in such a small area. In that case, it is better for the single person.

        During a long term catastrophe people need to spread out. No longer will the city with 5 million people be able to sustain itself. Sure there are many hands to do work, but way too many mouths to feed and not enough resources. I think that’s why for most of human history people were spread out so much, because that’s where the resources and food was. But with the introduction of shipping and transportation, we are able to ship into a densely populated city as much food as we want from all over the world. 

        Your pal with 15 people in a small house probably aren’t going to fair very well. Unless they seriously get their butts in gear and establish a nice little homestead like you or Redneck have. But even if they did have something like Redneck has, they are going to have to scale up production because 15 mouths are a lot of people to feed. 

        Again, jealous of your setup with all that livestock. If you are able to manage things currently I don’t see why you shouldn’t be fine during a disaster. Maybe adding one friend to your prepping group would be smart to lighten the load, help provide additional security while you sleep, etc…

      • 7

        But even if they did have something like Redneck has, they are going to have to scale up production because 15 mouths are a lot of people to feed.

        And why I stress stocking lots of garden seed.  If you don’t have much room for doing so, or no big budget, then store varieties that are super high in nutrition and ones that produce lots of tiny seed.  A big corn plant only puts out say 500 -1000 kernels.  Amaranth, where the whole plant is edible, puts out hundreds of thousands.  A pound of collard seed will number over 100,000 seeds where a pound of amaranth seed would number around 600,000.  A pound each of these two varieties can feed a lot of folks, with the collards grown in the cool seasons and the amaranth grown when warm.

        Just yesterday I ordered another pound of each to go into a freezer.

      • 5

        My pals here are self sufficient now. One built a deer stand in his “back yard” for his dtr…with power, heat and all the comforts of home. she usually gets 2 deer a year.  In a worst case….they would swap some venison for eggs or bread or something.  We swap now. I sent kid#1’s pal home with 3 dz eggs an hour ago. So while not a group per se…we would help each other but not in the context of ” me prepping extra for your family of 12 to move in with me”. My other real friends are scattered all over the country…so no real issue with them showing up but if they did, lend a hand and become part of the family. One issue that became clear this past week is fuel. I have a pony if all else fails. But if that happens….I would be going where anyway? A 15 mile one way walk to visit pals? Cell is non existent out here and if you have a 911 call at night, it takes the police over an hour anyway. Closest town, 7 miles away by road, has a population of 1100. Kids and I could easily walk to the lake to fish. I have deer and turkeys on the place. Several turtles in the pond if needed. Spare hens and the ability to make more chickens.  My home is the original homeplace for a ( oh my this is prolly non PC but don’t know any other way to say it) plantation so was designed to be self sufficient. 

        Pal with beans, rice and guns……could not grow a garden nor hunt anything due to location. SMALL lot in the city. And he is in FL so even ground water is awful. They could not even dig a decent latrine there. He was given the opportunity to kill a chicken and he did. The folks he was visiting, cleaned it, plucked it and handed it to him in plastic and a grocery bag when he left. He never even took it in his house but went right over to my friend’s house ( he lives next door) and holding the bag at arm’s length….asked her if she knew what to DO with this. Her answer…yep…cook it. She had him over for dinner the next night for roast chicken. He was freaked to eat it. The idea of storing enough food for 15 grown men for even months…….how would they do that? Even MREs for that many for very long take up a LOT of space. He does have an open invite to grab my friend and if they can make it up here, they are welcome. But 1000 miles in a “situation”  is a long way to bug out. 

        I guess “lone wolf” means different things depending on your situation.


      • 7

        My pals here are self sufficient now.

        Wow.  You are blessed to have all your friends self sufficient.  I’ve never met anyone who is & all your pals are.  My goal is to become self reliant in an extended crisis but right now, with me working a full time job, there isn’t enough hours in the day.  I garden enough produce to supplement our meals and do raise grain fed catfish for an occasional meal.  I’ve had chickens in the past & they likewise added to what we ate.  Plenty of game around here but I don’t hunt anymore.  In a crisis, that wouldn’t last long anyway.  But to be self sufficient is quite the achievement.

        But everything I do is is designed to aid becoming self sufficient.  My gardening, besides putting food on the table, prepares me for a time where I might have to grow all my food.  I keep hundreds of pounds of garden seed in storage and every year add to it, as these seed only last a few years… unless you freeze them.  I keep plenty of fuel in storage so as to be able to run the tractor long enough to greatly expand the gardens plus I have some solar capability to handle critical functions, such as powering the well pump.

        Like I said… I’m jealous.  I go to the store twice a week plus make a weekly stop at the coop.  Can’t imagine what it is like to not need to go.

      • 7

        LOL….don’t be jealous. I just choose to hang out with people that can take care of themselves. There are quite a number of folks around that can’t imagine making bread at home on a regular basis. One interesting question I get…” But what do you DO with the milk???” “Umm…drink it” is met with a lot of EWWWW YUCK responses<smile>. I guess milk comes from the Magic Milk Factory<smile>. #1 kid didn’t know you could BUY ice cream until he was 5. Kid#2 was shocked that people BUY eggs. Just go move a hen if there are no eggs! For that matter, the kids have never had store bought jelly/preserves.

        One dear pal always asks in the spring…Do you have enough bullets? Snake season and all that<smile>. I bake him sweet potato pies and coconut cake. So not “all” the way self sufficient as I do not grow coconuts/chocolate/some other things but if the worst case happened, some things will just have to be a memory. I haven’t bought soap in 30 years. Yes, it would be a PITA to lose elec and some other perks of modern life but not a lot more upset than that. 

        Out my back door is 1000s of acres of woods. I am not really worried about lack of game if it came down to it as I have seen how well a lot of people shoot<smile>. 

        And back to expanding your gardens. It is just me and the kids so garden for US can be handled without tractor. Back to the “us” vs “15 men with guns” situation. I can easily grow potatoes for US but to grow them for a bunch of people, problem. Harvest the wild grapes for US, easy…..for a lot of people, prolly not. You do have a lovely set up there!

        I go to the store prolly once a month as Kid#1 is fond of deli sliced ham so we go after golf lessons. I do have freezers but the project this month is to can a bunch of things that are currently in there. I keep enough gas to run the mower all summer<eye roll>….and only fill the van once a month. 

        No, I am not Granny Clampett on top of a mountain. I do not yet have a carriage and team. Worst case….cow could pull stuff around here like logs. She would not be HAPPY but could do it<smile>. Worst case, I won’t mow but tie the cows out to mow instead of them being in fencing. There is always more than one way to skin a cat<smile>. 

        Now if I could remember where I was using my drill last<smile>. I have to swap out screws on door hinges and strike plates. LOL…..getting old is not for weenies!


      • 5

        Good afternoon Liebrecht,

        Do you know if these “pals” / acquaintainces (?) administer their own annual flu shots ?

        The only good, upbeat news in this area, “Hurricane Alley”, is that COVID varients will soon be declared illegal.

        Does self-sufficiency include emergency dentistry ? optical care ?  serious infection control ?

        After a responder colleague here got a copper head snake bite, did research on stocking the anti-venom pharma.

        I admit not being like the mentioned “pals” / acquaintances (?). I am not self-sufficient.

      • 5

        Good evening Bob.

        Semi retired Dr ” across the street ( about a mile away)” who disced my pasture and I usually take some eggs over along with a basil plants for his wife. And my other bud is a first responder for the past 47 years and fire chief for most of them. Babysitter when the kids were small…EMT and her son is police chief a couple towns over. So we sort of have that ” under control”. These folks are a phone call away if needed but not friends as in having each other over for dinner, going out together, friends. But more than just knowing them in passing. Another has built an actual village on his property including a chapel. And a fish pond for his granddtr. so she can fish from the porch of the new cabin her built for her. He was a plumber in a past life so he has helped with some issues of an old house. He has known this house since he was a young man and he is no longer young on the outside<smile>. 

        I “plan” for the probable issues. I can’t be ready for every thing that may come up. Like a plane of skydivers crashing into my porch while I am sitting there. I could get clobbered by a cow again and die this time instead of just being crippled. One dog is my “snake dog” She showed up as a puppy ( stray) and turns out that she has a certain bark. Look where her nose is pointing and……VOILA. Snake. Perfect system? No. will I do more, prep more, do things “better”? Of course! This is just where I am so far.


      • 3

        Good morning Liebrecht,

        The thread is titled “… prepping advice..”.

        The term “self-sufficient” does have an involvement with the term “phone calls”. Here, for example, during a hurricane, cell phones don’t work and sat phones sometimes do not.

        Seventy year olds are a heart attack away.

        If grandaughter can fish from the new cabin, so can others. Real prepping advice amplifies.

        A basic probable matter requiring maximum efforts is emergency health care: medical, dental, optical. 

      • 2

        Once you have had homemade jam, nothing in the store is appealing.

      • 6


        Once you have had homemade chocolate, chocolate chip mint marshmallows in homemade hot cocoa after coming in in the evening on a cold, wet winter evening with everything locked down…….aaahhhh. Simple pleasures and all that<smile>.


      • 2

        Wife made homemade chocolate three days ago and it didn’t turn out too well. She likes it dark and really healthy though, so maybe that was her problem.

    • 5

      “Eating snow to stay hydrated.” — It will give you some water, but snow is 90% air, so you have to eat a lot of it. The riskier thing however is lowering your body temperature too much, which will make you burn calories faster and risk you dying from the cold. 

      A little snow is alright sometimes however. When I would go snow shoeing and work up a sweat and was really hot, a bit of snow helped cool me internally to keep going. It’s important to dress in layers so if you are hot, you can shed some.

      • 3

        Yup! Agree that eating snow is bad advice. Better to put the snow in a water bottle and stick it inside your jacket for your body warmth to melt it.

        You can also fill your water bottle with snow, then if you need to pee, pee on your bottle. It’s gross but your pee is going to be 97 degrees so it will help warm up and melt the snow in the bottle.

    • 7

      Oh, there’s so many. Some of them end up in the prepping myths article

      A lot of bad prepping advice comes from low-effort companies trying to sell products, eg. by saying it’s a good idea to have your water storage in soft pouches. Which is so inferior to storing water in a proper container that won’t fall apart, be punctured, etc.

      Personally speaking, one beginner mistake I fell into back in the day was thinking everything should be camo / tactical.

      • 3

        Does camo and tactical have it’s place in the modern prepper’s gear?

      • 6

        Yes for tactical gear (which can include good backpacks, shoes, gun belts, and so on). But the key is to not be a mall ninja LARPer who buys/wears this stuff just because it looks tacticool. eg. Camo is only useful for gear designed to blend into nature, like a hunting jacket. But your main go-bag shouldn’t be camo because it makes you stick out in most settings.

    • 3

      I do wonder when I read of anyone in a SHTF situation running off to the woods thinking they are going just plant some seeds and here comes a crop you need good soil to grow any thing and if you have to stay there you will need to feed the soil has you just cant keep taking you have feed the soil with some good compost  , and the local wild life will look at your vegetables like a ice cream store so you will need really good fences and if you have to build a shelter at the same time well all I can say is good luck

      John from oz

    • 4

      There is a plethora of bad prepping advice circulating around, and in my opinion much of it boils down to too many preppers focusing on, and offering advice for, a zombie-apocalypse style societal collapse while overlooking the far more likely scenarios like natural disasters and such.  Some of the bad advice, or simply overlooked topics in my opinion include:

      • Focusing on guns and ammo at the expense of potentially more important and useful items.  For instance, if you keep a gun by your bed, but not a fire-extinguisher, then you need to re-evaluate how you research and analyse threats. Same if you have a larger stockpile of ammo than you do food and water.  Now I’m not saying guns and ammo are not important, but it’s clear that many use prepping as an excuse to indulge their gun hobby. 
      • The idea to avoid roads in anything other than a war-zone is ludicrous.  Anyone offering that advice has clearly never done much off-trail hiking or trekking.  Walking or riding a bike on an unkept surface is at best exhausting and at worst dangerous.  If your goal is to move your body as fast and as far as possible, then stay on roads and paths unless you honestly fear you may be murdered.  
      • And speaking of bikes, far too many preppers fixate on bug-out-vehicles and fuel storage while completely overlooking bicycles.  While the masses sit in traffic jams or run out of fuel, those with bikes will zip on by.  Corporeal transportation is a neglected topic in the prepping community, in my opinion.
      • Not enough emphasis on physical and mental health, with extra emphasis on mental health because it is clear that the prepping community is rife with folks who struggle with stress and anxiety (obviously all of us do to a degree or we wouldn’t be here!).  While we all know we need to keep a cool head in a time of crisis, we very rarely discuss the challenges of mental health or ways we can care for ourselves and others.
      • 2

        Those are all some great ‘bad advice’! You make a good point about the roads. I’ve seen many recommend staying off roads, but roads truly are the fastest and easiest way to travel.

      • 3

        These are so true!! That last one about mental health really hits home for me. I rely on a prescription to keep my anxiety levels lower. As part of my prepping journey, I’ve tried to go without it (with support and approval of my doctor), but the longest I’ve made it in recent years is 1 month without medication before the anxiety gets overwhelming. I haven’t been able to get more than a 90-day supply, that they won’t refill until I’m down to 2 weeks or less, but I do have a bottle of a lower dose of the medication stored and a fewer older bottles of my old medication that might still work stashed away. I should be good for short-term scenarios (and always having a few weeks supply with me when I leave home). For long-term scenarios, I know (and have the supplies) to slowly wean myself off the medication without risking major side-effects. I think this is the best I can do as far as a prep, so I try not to worry about it past that. 

      • 3

        My mother is on one medication that is important to her and I’ve tried to help her build up her supplies as well. Refill as soon as possible, put the new bottle in the back of your medicine cabinet and pull the older bottle to the front to rotate through, see if you can skip one dose a week (be careful and maybe don’t do this if it’s an important med though) and slowly you will be able to build up a little reserve. 

    • 4

      I have thought many times that the advice of ‘Bugging out’ to be bad on so many fronts.

      I think the police or army would agree…………. as their first advice when bad people are on the lose is always ………….’Stay Indoors…….’    This is absolute……… unless you have transport and move very early…. well before it gets dire! (Last week we ran out of gas inside 48 hrs in some places THATS how quick it could happen).

      Your bag?….. the military have about 51-83 lbs in their bag…. thats all! So get all the gear you want to take, weigh it and put it in a bag….(not very much is it?)

      Now ….. walk 15 miles with it….. (that might get you to the city limits?) If you have a small child, carry them too as soon as they cannot walk any more! (If I were to try this I would do it with the 83 lbs….. not because I am full of huge muscles….. its just I would teach myself a lesson).

      Stay where you are…….. you know the environment and people that may be there to help. To go to a new place means traversing a multitude of people that know you have valuables in that rucksack…… They will take them……..

      So we decide to go on the road”…. where do we go? how do you get there? and who will welcome you when you get there?

      Well you are gonna meet many people on that road all having no idea which direction or what to do. We have bred a nation that needs help with very minor things…….and many that have learned its easier to take than prepare.

      There are some who have buried….. homes….. rations and survival gear in places only they know of……. and to them I would say…… go…….. To others that have well planned out farmsteads they have invested in over the years…… Or maybe friends who would share….. I say all good!

      The rest I would say …stay!…… Invest in yourself and become a valuable commodity (Unless you can eat that Rolex, gold or dollars to stay alive) Learn how you can be the asset that others need…….. Nurse…. doctor….. welder….. electrician…..mechanic……and… barter!

      Store what you can and keep it to yourself……. unless the next guy is bringing an equal amount to the table……….. be that expertise or supplies!

      Of any two options…… “Its better the devil you know”

      • 3

        Bugging out is going to be one of my last resorts. It introduces so many variables and things can get dangerous and deadly quickly.