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Bug-Out Blunders

February 14, 2013 by  

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.

Austin Fletcher

is the Executive Director of Category Five, a Preparedness Education Network, and is a prepper at heart. After graduating from Arizona State University with a degree in Global Business Management, Austin spent seven years in pastoral ministry while building ministry and business relationships around the globe. During that time he became keenly aware of the coming financial storm that is upon us today, and has been prepping ever since. For this reason, in early 2009, Austin and his team at Category Five began to change the original purpose of the organization to become what it is today. Prepping is not about being an expert in survival or having experience as a former Special Forces soldier; prepping is about building on the strengths of those you prepare with and educating yourself about things you can control. This is the idea behind the Category Five, and the necessity of a Preparedness Education Network.

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  • Bob W.

    I’ve been ‘Winter camping’ many times over the last 25 years and prefer it to summer camping because of the lack of bugs , snakes and extreme heat. It all is a matter of practicing your techniques and getting used to the weather.

    • JimH

      Hi BobW., The one thing I dislike about winter camping is that it’s dark at 4:30 in the afternoon. Unless you have a mountain of firewood, it’s a long wait till bedtime.
      Maybe a lantern and a good book. If it’s a bad book you can use the pages to get the campfire lit.

      • Wellarmed

        I am Glad you mentioned a good book as part of a survival kit. Staying in charge of your faculties during a stressful situation is key. I was taught survival in the BSA by a former SEAL and Army Ranger. Our survival training was not sugar coated, and I can say that I earned that merit badge (wilderness survival).

        I agree with the Author that excessive collection of gadgets is a surefire way of setting oneself up to be let down. I am certain that I could walk off any road in this country with just my K-bar and I would be able to hold my own regardless of the weather conditions.

        I do not consider myself to be a survivalist, just a realist. I wish my fellow Americans would return to their roots of self sustainability and independence as that is the true basis of what freedom means, not what is parked in the garage or how fat ones bank account may be.If and when the SHTF all Americans should be able to respond in a way that provides for their families without resorting to barbarism. That is my definition of true civility.

  • dan

    I don’t know where you learned to camp….but a tent is a luxury,not a necessity. I’m glad you had a sleeping bag,but you could have survived without that ,too, if you were properly dressed. Take advantage of those snow drifts and make a nice snow cave … just make sure a snowplow can’t get close enough to wreck it. Practice your survival skills before you need them.

  • JimH

    I believe the thing to remember about a bug-out bag is you may have to carry it long distances on foot. Lugging unessential gear around will slow you down. Decide if you really need what you’re taking with you. Weight and bulk could be a deciding factor.

  • FreedomFighter

    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.

    A person to learn from is invaluable: suggest course in edible plants, where a guide takes you on hikes thru your area and points out edible plants, seasons, and shows prep methods esp in winter.

    BTW nothing more important than knowing your gear, your life will depend on it.

    Laus Deo
    Semper FI

    • http://www.lowvisualimpact.com/ nycpatriotgal

      Survival is not just about having the right equipment, but also knowing how to use it. The company Low Visual Impact Bushcraft and Survival has videos that show people how to use the gear and gives a lot of helpful tips. Their products are sturdy and reliable. My bugout bag and smock are now my prized possessions. I am amazed at how much essential stuff I can get into the 72 hour pack. It is so well made, that I don’t even feel like I am carrying it, which is important since i don’t have the strength of a man. For the smock, all the pockets are great. I can have essentials like a firestarter, compass, maps, dried food, canteen, survival knife, and other gear all handy, instead of having to stop and drop my pack to dig something out. Plus, the smock blocks the wind, and as long as I am layered up underneath, I am good to go. I tried teh smock out on a hiking trip in January to practice survival in the woods and it was awesome.

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