13 Mistakes That will get a Prepper Killed

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As preppers we are always looking to try and improve our skills to increase our survivability, but we rarely take the time to look at and learn from the mistakes that preppers commonly make. This article will cover 13 mistakes that will get a prepper killed and will discuss several mistakes that you should consider. If you find yourself making any of these mistakes take appropriate actions to correct your bad habits and increase your survivabilty after TEOTWAWKI.

Prepper Mistake #1: Not Having a Thorough Plan

planing a bug out

Having a plan in place is one of the most paramount steps in becoming a successful prepper. A mistake that a lot of people tend overlook or fail to thoroughly develop is a solid plan; people thinking that when the world goes to hell they'll just round up all their gear and head to the mountains won't make it long in a SHTF scenario. You need to have your gear already together and know the exact route you'll be taking to your predetermined bug out location. Doing all this will save you time, and keep you from scrambling when shit has gone awry. Not every plan will go as expected so always have several backup plans to ensure your survivability.

Prepper Mistake #2: Bragging about your Preparations

This second mistake can be hard to avoid at times if you're a person who likes to talk about their new preps. After all you've spent some time saving up to get that new piece of gear and you want to show it off a bit. I'm sure we've all been guilty of this at some point but you want to keep this sort of thing to a minimum. Only share specifics on your preps with people you can trust your life with, in a SHTF scenario people may remember that guy who has a few months worth of food in his basement and this can lead to unneeded conflict.

Prepper Mistake #3: Overestimating your Physical Fitness Level

don't underestimate fitness

Overestimating your physical fitness capabilities during a survival situation can lead to serious complications. You should know how far you can push yourself and what your fitness level is, knowing this will help prevent you from taking on tasks that can leave you completely spent or even hurt. Like any other prepping skill physical fitness takes some time to develop and should be practiced on a regular basis. Some key points for preppers to focus their training on in my mind would have to be endurance, cardio, and strength training workouts. Working out and staying fit will allow you to set a faster pace and prevent injury when bugging out.

Prepper Mistake #4: Not Abiding by the Law

When SHTF there are going to be some people who think they can take what they want by force and get away with it. While this may work sometimes karma will eventually catch up with them. If you're one of these people who's plan isn't to stockpile food but to raid stockpiles chances are your life will be rather short. These people are prepared to take by force, while preppers are prepared to defend with force. This can only lead to bloody conflicts and is by no means a solid plan. Even simple crimes in a post collapse scenario can lead to devastating and unnecessary consequences. Take the safer route and build your own stockpile and gather preps the right way, you'll appreciate what you have more and you'll be safer for it.

Related Article: Best Bug Out Bag Backpacks

Prepper Mistake #5: Lack of Navigation Skills

lack of navigation

If you're bugging out it's likely that you'll find yourself in a situation where you could become turned around or lost. Having the proper training in navigation can keep you on track and even prevent you from being lost in the first place. In addition to this you'll be able to pick out key landmarks on a map and judge elevation and distance to make traveling easier and safer. For example in some situations you may want to steer clear of major roadways and maybe follow a stream or river instead to stay out of sight and have a good water source at hand.

Prepper Mistake #6: Killing Looters on Site

One mistake I can see a lot of gung ho preppers making is that of killing any looters on sight. While you should always defend what is yours killing someone should always be a last resort. This kind of force should only be taken when necessary. Let's say you see some guy rummaging through your garage and without saying anything to the man you just shoot him. So now you've got a dead guy in the floor of your garage and you're not entirely sure if he was doing bad things even. Then there comes the possibility of his buddies coming in a gang to seek revenge on you. There are a lot of other avenues to pursue in these situations and taking another person's life should be the last one you choose.

Prepper Mistake #7: Lack of Sanitation

lack of sanitation

Lack of sanitation has already proven to be a killer mistake in the past. Back in medieval times sanitation was a big problem and this is why diseases and epidemics would cause such a toll on people back then. Even the ancient Romans understood the importance of sanitation as they were some of the first to create aqueducts, sewers and public baths. Being able to keep yourself clean and dispose of waster properly will not only keep morale up in a SHTF scenario but it will keep you and your party safer from diseases, infections and epidemics.

Prepper Mistake #8: Overlooking Security

Security when SHTF  will be of utmost concern and I feel that it is something a lot of preppers tend to overlook at times. Security should start with yourself being completely aware of what is going on around you. Then you can expand and work on securing your family, home or whatever else you may need a security blanket over. Security can be as simple as building a fence with some sort of thorny bushes around it, the fence will make it harder for any intruders to get in and the bushes will further deter them. Your weapons can also be effective means of security if you have the proper training, even the sound of a shotgun racking a round can be a good deterrent.

Related Article: Best Bug Out Location

Prepper Mistake #9: Sheltering in a Bad Location

bad shelter

There are many options for shelter in both an urban and wilderness scenario, but being able to choose one that doesn't put your life at risk is something you need to think about. When you're picking a shelter you want to be sure that it is structurally sound so that it won't collapse, if you're in the woods you'll also want to be aware of any widow makers over head like large tree branches. When you find yourself in an urban environment be sure that the shelter you choose offers good security or can be fortified for extra security.

Prepper Mistake #10: Refusing to Bug Out or Bug In

Some people like to think that if something goes bad that they'll just immediately head for the hills in a bug out. While others will refuse to leave there home and bug in which could introduce even more risks. There is no clear cut way to decide which is best to do, but refusing to either bug in or bug out reduces your risk of survival that much more because you won't even consider the other option. When SHTF you have to be prepared to do whatever it takes and use your best judgement to determine if you're safer bugging in or bugging out.

Prepper Mistake #11: Inadequate Wilderness and Urban Survival Skills


Not having the proper set of skills to survive in either a wilderness or urban setting is bad news for any prepper. No matter what environment you're going to be in you need to know how to survive in it and since it is hard to say that we will be in one or the other during a collapse it is best to develop skills in both wilderness and urban survival. Urban survival might focus on things such as E&E techniques or just using what people have left behind and repurposing it to fit your needs. While wilderness survival would include things like plant identification and shelter making. Having good backgrounds in both of these areas of survival will greatly increase your odds after TEOTWAWKI and turn you into surviving machine.

Related Article: The Best Survival Water Filters

Prepper Mistake #12: Failure to Store Adequate Amounts of Water

People often think that they won't need to stock up on water in preparation of TEOTWAWKI they feel like food is all they need to worry about. While food is an important item to stockpile, it is a well known fact that the human body can survive much longer without food than it can without water. If you're in an area such as a city where water distribution from the tap would come to a halt during a collapse you'll thank yourself for prepping that water. Sometimes this isn't enough for people to start stocking water because they believe that they'll just find water where ever they can. This might work if you can find some bottled water laying around but that will be in short supply after an event like this. The problem isn't necessarily finding water it's finding CLEAN drinkable water. One thing that I would recommend you do in addition to storing water is have some means of purifying or filtering water so that you can find water and make it safe to drink.

Prepper Mistake #13: Lack of Experience and Training with your Firearm

firearm training

Having a firearm can be a huge advantage after TEOTWAWKI you can use it for hunting as well as defense. Having a firearm or any weapons for that matter is useless if you don't have the proper experience and training with it. Not knowing how to properly use and manipulate your firearm could injure or even kill you or the people around you. I recommend that you go to any classes in your area that cover firearms so that you can gain a better understanding of them. I especially recommend that you get yourself a hand gun and take the necessary classes to earn your concealed carry permit, you'll learn a lot and this kind of info could save your life during a bug out scenario.

Hopefully if you are making any of these mistakes you will make the necessary changes to correct them. If you have any other mistakes that you think preppers commonly make feel free to leave them in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out or shop for lots of prepper gear and supplies and don't forget to check back soon for even more articles coming soon to the blog.


  • Illini Warrior

    #6 – killing looters …. totally agree with not automatically killing them – IF IT’S NOT WROL and there’s some kind of working law enforcement ….

    otherwise – it’s just as critical that a looter(s) – that’s part of a raider gang – not report back your bonanza pile …. otherwise the “3 Ss” shoot-shovel-silence could be your best plan ….

    • 14. Drain and clean any stored water you’ve treated with regular bleach. All of it contains lye in it. “TOP JOB” is back at my Dollar General Store after one complaint it was on their next delivery truck. “Top Job” is what we used before Clorox. It has no lye or water softeners in it like the powered bleach. Lye is caustic and you are supposed to use industrial gloves when using it so why would you wash anything in it let alone use it for purification for drinking or storage water. You wouldn’t now that you know. Ask for Unsented “Top Job”.

  • Linda S

    Excellent article & some good points! I especially agree with #8; nothing like the sound of racking a shotgun to change a bad guys mind.

    • Thanks Linda I’m glad you liked it, and yes racking a shotgun just has a certain sound to it that says back off!

  • Meryl Graham

    Love the article…as always. Totaly agree that plans with back up plans is number 1. We believe that the only difference between a plan and a dream is action so take action now to avoid just being a dreamer.
    Cheers from Oz.

    • Hey glad you enjoyed the article! We always like hearing from the community thanks for the comment!!