Perhaps the most daunting aspect of living the preparedness lifestyle is that there is so much to learn. Pick any subject, and it seems that there are endless “experts” to listen to and hundreds of products to choose from. Once you’ve done your research and purchase your products, you’ll inevitably find someone else whose research landed on different products for different reasons.
As the executive director of Category Five, I am regularly asked questions about what piece of gear I recommend for this or what product I recommend for that; and it always makes me think about my own closets where I have an ever-growing collection of “junk” tools (and even more half-built projects sitting in my garage). Most of these blunders were from my early days of prepping when I thought that all I really needed was a bunch of cool gear and I would be ready for the big crash. Then, after learning more about prepping and practicing with the tools I had, I quickly began to learn that knowledge is infinitely more important than gadgets. Additionally, knowledge greatly improves to efficiency of your gadgets and saves you a lot of money spent on inferior or needless products.
Therefore, as you learn about preparedness from websites like Personal Liberty and Category Five or other resources available to you (such as the Category Five Preparedness Guide), just remember that all the goods and gadgets in the world will do you no good if you don’t know how to use them or for what practical purpose you bought them. For this reason, Category Five is constantly researching and reviewing products and strategies that are brought to our attention, as our aim is to save you time and money by sorting through the “junk” and finding the best available tools. Nonetheless, we suggest that you educate yourself as much as possible before purchasing anything. Whether you purchase what we suggest, if you don’t know how to use what you buy, you are guaranteed to be unprepared in an area where you thought you were.
Don’t believe me? I recently practiced winter survival with some prepper friends of mine in negative-degree weather. I went to pull out my new bug-out tent and found that I had purchased the wrong model number for my winter bug-out kit. What I had in my bag was the summer tent with little more than bug netting as my shield to the wind and cold. Thankfully, my other gear was high-enough quality to compensate, and one of my friends had a large-enough tent for both of us. Still, it was a very disappointing reminder that buying a piece of gear and sticking in your closet can come back to haunt you if you never take the time to learn how to use it.