Some Preppers can be hoarders, but by no means are all hoarders Preppers. We tend to gather too much stuff, however. Some Preppers subscribe to the “Two is one and one is none” notion, in other words, you cannot have too much of a good thing, but oh you can in some cases.
If you were to weigh your field survival kit or bug-out-bag right now, you may be surprised that it weighs as much as it does. You started out great, 25 to 30 pounds, which is just right for most people that have not trained daily with a pack shouldered. However, you spotted a great deal on a tactical flashlight, so in the bag it goes, another block of emergency rations just in case, another survival knife, a pair of well deserved cold weather woolen pants, well there is plenty of room still, so in the bag, they all go. Another poncho, one is good, two is better right, so what’re another 10 pounds added to the bag.
There are the basics, which everyone needs to survive, and there are the wants, the comfort items, the “what if this happens” item. One of those what if items might be a suture kit, not heavy really, but unless you know how to use one, do you really need one. Things add up quickly.
Well, you might be thinking that even though you don’t know how to use a suture kit, you might run into someone that does. The possibility of someone stumbling upon you as you struggle to sew up a gash on your leg that knows how to stitch you up seems remote, but thinking ahead is important, but there is “probably” and then there are “unlikely” scenarios. However, if you are traveling with a group and have divided the supplies and someone in said group is experienced, well that is a different matter altogether.
If you look in your pack, there is probably something or even a number of items that you put in there for “just in case”.
We can sit around all day and dream up possible survival scenarios and then come up with a piece of gear or some material thing that could help but is that practical. You know what the basics you need in any situation, so go with shelter, water, fire, food, and first aid, and then the gear and materials needed to help you maintain and add to your packed items.
This is where knowledge comes in handy. You need items to help you collect and purify a water source, and the means replenish your food supply and to help maintain and add to your shelter needs.
Add a quality fixed blade knife, multi-tool, some 24-gauge wire, water purification tablets, quality cordage, emergency fishing kit, machete, and a pot in which to boil water, and with the right skill sets and knowledge, this is all you would need in your pack to survive.
Food stockpiles can get out of hand. It is great that you have year’s supply of food put away but when did you put it away. Have you been keeping track of the expiration date, have you looked for infestations from insects, rodents, and what about spoilage.
You do not want your food supply to be just days from expiration when disaster strikes. It is a balancing act because no one knows when disaster may strike. To make sure your food is always fresh you have to rotate it. Eat the oldest and replace, and of course keep a close eye on the dates, which requires some organization and effort on your part. You have to assume a disaster could strike today so if it did, how fresh is your food supply.
What happens to your food supply if you have to evacuate, how much can you carry, can you leave by vehicle or do you have to bug-out on foot. You do have to think long and hard about how much to have on hand. A year’s supply may end up being wasted, or in some cases, it may not be enough.
If you live in an urban area, less is probably better because the prospect of having to bug-out is greater than if you lived in a rural area.
Preparing for a crisis is not simply stockpiling food, water, and medical supplies in a spare bedroom or closet. You may need a plan for transporting a good deal of your supplies to another location possibly and what about when disaster strikes and you cannot get back home and family members are forced to assemble at another location, for example. What happens to your supplies?
Your supplies do you no good unless you have access to them, so part of your planning may have to include alternative storage places that you have access to at all times. You may need a way to transport your supplies and this could include backpacks for all family members and/or a bug-out-vehicle, but consider the possibility that you may not be able to drive due to road or highway conditions or because of an EMP.
As with any plans, you have to accept the fact you may have to change the original plan based on real-time intelligence. When planning you make certain assumptions based on prior experiences or based on the experience of others, but you may encounter situations for which you did not plan. Flexibility is important and be prepared to leave behind some of your supplies, or cache them until you can get back.
You can see where having too much on hand may become a problem, so it is important that you have enough, but in reality, you can have too much as well.
Fine-tune your supplies, gear, and materials and remove those items not crucial to your immediate survival, because survival is, after all, living long enough to be rescued or until help can arrive.