When it comes to disaster prepping supplies, the line between “essential” and “regrettable” can be as thin as your emergency supply of toilet paper.
We’ve rounded up a list of purchases made by seasoned preppers who, despite their best intentions, found themselves caught up in the hype only to rue their decisions late on.
1. Body Armor
Have visions of running through the apocalypse with body armor to protect you? It turns out that it’s impossible to run in full battle gear. Even if you are in fantastic shape, wearing heavy metal plates on your body is going to slow you down.
The lesson? Mobility matters more than protecting 15% of your body.
2. Bulk Foods Just Because They Are On Sale
Buying foods in bulk might seem like a genius idea. That’s why one prepper decided to stock up on cases of canned minestrone on sale. Well, it turns out that not all soups are created equal. When he went to try one of the cans, it was one of the worst things he ever tasted.
The lesson? Try foods before you buy cases of them!
3. Prepping Kits
Pre-made emergency kits seem like a good way to stock up quickly. But those kits targeted at beginner preppers are complete garbage.
The lesson? Assemble your own kits with items that are actually good quality.
4. The Cheap or Knock-Off Version of Anything
We all love to save money. But, if your gear breaks on you the first time you use it, you will spend a lot more in the long run.
The lesson? When your life depends on that item, quality matters.
5. Solar Power Banks
It turns out it’s not a good idea to leave a power bank out in the blistering hot sun! If the power bank doesn’t literally melt, it will lose capacity quickly.
The lesson? Opt for dedicated solar panels and keep batteries in the shade.
6. Gear that runs on CR123 batteries
Those headlamps with their multiple light modes seem like the perfect thing for a grid outage. Until you realize that they run on CR123 batteries. Where the heck are you supposed to get replacements during a disaster?
The lesson? All gear should use the same type of batteries. And have lots of backups.
7. Seed Kits in a Can
It turns out that you can’t just store seeds for endless periods of time and still have them germinate. They have to be stored in cool places and packaged with oxygen absorbers and desiccants to survive long periods of time.
The lesson? Do your research before buying!
8. Thousands of Rounds of Ammo
It turns out that you can’t eat or drink ammo when the power goes out or a blizzard locks you in.
The lesson? Prioritize essentials over excessive ammo stockpiles.
9. Bow Mag Bullet Tipped Arrows
Bullet-tipped arrows? That sounds cool- until you realize that they completely destroy your arrows. And why would anyone choose arrows when you can just use a firearm?
The lesson? Choose functionality over cool factor.
Those military MREs seem like the perfect survival food. The problem is that their shelf lives are only about 4 or 5 years. Even if you are okay eating something that tastes like sawdust, it will go bad. On a cost-per-calorie basis, that’s a lot of money wasted!
The lesson? You are better off stockpiling pantry items in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. These last 25+ years and end up cheaper.
11. Bartering Items
You’ve heard the advice: you need to stockpile tobacco, alcohol, condoms, and pills as barter items. But let’s think about that for a minute. In a post-collapse world, going out to barter will open you up to robbery.
The lesson? Stockpile items you actually need so you don’t have to barter.
12. Ka-bar Knife
The US Marines use it, so it must be good – right? It turns out that Ka-Bar knives are too large and unwieldy for most people.
The lesson? Buy things that make sense for you, not because some “survivalist” recommends them.