14 Of The Most Over-Hyped and Under-Appreciated Prepping Topics

You’re probably spending way too much time in overhyped prepping topics. AND way too little time in the underappreciated areas.

That’s not good!

Your time and energy are limited resources. So using them wisely is critical to make meaningful progress.

That’s why today I’m going to share the 5 most overhyped prepping topics. And 9 serially underappreciated ones.

And I truly believe after you hear all 14 of these, I’ll change your mind on what’s important and what’s NOT.

NOTE: You can either continue to read this article OR just watch the following video (both cover the exact same content):

OK, let’s jump right into the first “Over-Hyped” prepper topic.

1. Wasting Time Trying to Predict The Next Disaster

To me, this is one of the biggest wastes of time out there.

As humans, we have a terrible track record of predicting anything.

Sure, we can predict a few more minor things like tomorrow’s weather or your dinner plans. But not bigger, broader “societal level” predictions. I’m talking about significant events related to financial markets or future disasters.

And the more specific the predictions, the bigger the waste of time they tend to be.

For example, here’s an excerpt from Howard Mark’s recent investing memo “Thinking About Macro”:

“In December of 2019, the median forecast on Wall Street held that the S&P500 would rise 2.7% in 2020. What was the actual return? 18.4%! It was too low by 16 percentage points. Worst yet, in April 2020, after the Pandemic had taken hold (and after the congress and the fed had taken action), the consensus forecast return was revised downward to a negative 11%. That’s nearly 30 percentage points below the eventual outcome.”

These “professional” forecasters are pretty much worthless. We can’t predict the future when it comes to markets and disasters.

So, instead of trying to predict the exact next disaster, focus on being more resilient. Spend time becoming less fragile to ALL future disasters!

You don’t need to predict a future disaster – just assume there will be future turmoil. And then focus on taking action to be ready for it.

OK, here’s a quote from one of my favorite books on understanding risks in our lives, Antifragile:

“You can’t predict in general, but you can predict that those who rely on predictions are taking more risks, will have some trouble, perhaps even go bust. Why? Someone who predicts will be fragile to prediction errors….”

I think this is saying that those who spend time predicting and “believe” they can figure out BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE are just fooling themselves.

They’re fragile because they assume their prediction powers will help them see the future. Giving them time to “move out of the way” before disaster strikes.

But they’re relying on their “false sense of prediction accuracy” to protect themselves. Instead, they should be investing their time and energy to becoming resilient to ANY and ALL future mishaps.

One more quote from the book “The Black Swan” (by the same author) sums it all up by simply saying:

“Invest in preparedness, not in prediction.”

2. Mastering Wilderness Survival Skills

OK, now, before you start getting upset with me, let me say there is SOME value in learning Survival Skills. It’s just not as much as you think.

Let me ask you a few questions:

What are the odds of having to spend a night in a debris shelter?

Extremely low. You’d need to be stranded in the woods, without a vehicle, without a backpack. And be more than a day’s hike from any town or village. It’s just not likely to happen.

Or what about starting a fire with sticks?

Nearly zero if you keep an electric lighter or Ferro rod with you at all times.

How about making your own bow and arrows from scratch?

Perhaps this skill comes in handy in a worst-case, mass human extinction situation. But if that happens, you’ll find both by scavenging sporting stores or abandoned homes.

Now compare those bushcraft skills that you’ll likely never use to the following:

What are the odds of having to live without electricity for a week?

This happens to millions of people throughout the world ALL THE TIME.

What about a deadly pandemic worse than Covid 19 – where you don’t want to go into a grocery store without some type of gas mask?

Seems much more possible nowadays, right?

Or how about a wildfire tearing through your neighborhood?

Again, it happens every year, and it’s getting worse; that’s why you should have a bug-out plan…

So, unless you become unlucky and end up stranded on an island, most bushcraft skills are just a fun hobby AT BEST. They’re mostly just for entertainment purposes (like the video below):

So, instead, focus more of your limited time, energy, and resources where you’ll get the most bang for your buck. Abilities that will significantly improve your overall resiliency to the most likely emergencies.

3. Buying All the Latest Survival Gadgets

I do enjoy checking out all the latest survival gear and gadgets that come on the market nowadays. It’s cool to analyze them and even test them out from time to time.

The latest tactical watches are chalked full of technology, but they have a high price tag to match.

But again, these fancy new gadgets are NOT likely to be the gear you need in most emergencies.

Most essential survival gear has already been invented. And while this “old school gear” seems dull, they’re proven and work.

For example:

  • Freeze-dried foods, mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers (or desiccants)
  • Water containers and rainwater collection systems
  • Water filtration devices
  • Rocket stoves
  • Tact Bivvy’s
  • Bug Out Bags
  • Respirator Masks
  • Etc.

These are “older” but proven technologies that are much more important than the coolest survival gadgets you see coming on the market today. Thus, making most of the latest survival gadgets an overhyped prepping topic.

4. Paying Attention To Overly Fear-Based Survival Products

I hate hyper-fear-based marketing.

Perhaps you know what I’m talking about. It’s those 30-minute video sales pitches that tell a doomsday story. Often these stories are about a 3rd world country OR the coming apocalypse. Ancient biblical predictions are being proven today and end times are here.

The reason marketers do this is BECAUSE IT WORKS. But it’s not accurate. It’s a fear-based story to get you to buy their product to reduce the discomfort they created.

In my opinion, it’s not ethical. It’s pure manipulation.

IT works because it preys on humans’ attention filter.

You see, we don’t have the mental capacity to consume even a fraction of all the available information that’s out there.

So we use a simple filter to ignore the mundane, boring stuff. And only allow the most dramatic and exciting stuff to get through.

That’s why most media stories are negative. They focus on storms, shootings, diseases, floods, building collapses, plane crashes, etc.

The more dramatic the news, the more we listen and give attention to it. It’s hardwired into our brains for evolutionary reasons. Because those who paid attention to a wild animal attack survived, those who didn’t – well, didn’t survive.

And the media and marketers know fear is the easiest way to grab your attention and keep your attention. Fear in the name of profits.

Instead, I use reason and logic to talk to you with respect. I want to see EVERYONE work towards becoming more resilient over time.

Sure, some urgency is called for; you never know when the next big collapse or disaster will be. And a bit of urgency can help create a healthy amount of motivation.

But I think you should make sure the product being pitched to you has real value first. They should be willing to EARN YOUR TRUST before you buy.

If everything you hear is the end of world scary and fear-based, AND their $37.95 product is the ONLY solution to this problem. AND everyone who doesn’t buy it will perish tomorrow.

Then shut it off immediately and look for a product that has more respect for you.

5. Continuous “News” Cycle Consumption

This prepping topic is somewhat related to the previous one.

What is objective truth nowadays? Who the hell knows?

Seriously, it seems like TRUTH is a myth of yesteryears. Or maybe the past truth was only an illusion held firm by a select number of media outlets…

But it’s seemingly harder to get to the heart of any issue without a political spin or a hidden agenda tied to it.

And the news media makes money off YOU PAYING ATTENTION. They put those flashing red scrolling emergency banners at the top and bottom of your screens because they help increase the amount of time you watch.

The more people who watch, the longer they watch, the more they can charge advertisers during commercial breaks.

Most news outlets (cable, radio, newspapers, etc.) use “controversy” and “fear” to get you hooked.

For example: when listener numbers on hardcore political talk radio shows start to soften, the producers prod the on-air hosts to stir up the pot, to create some anger, to get their listeners hot and bothered. It’s an outrage machine (listen to the video below for more details).

And if you consider yourself to be “tuned in” and “in the know,” you’re probably paying a high price to be “informed.”

You’re paying for this “informed status” with the cost of your internal peace and happiness. You’re handing over your calm for what?

Restless nights, arguments with family and neighbors, mistrust of anyone who has a different political stance…

I think it’s a terrible trade-off. Because I believe statistics and narratives can be spun in any way the media desires. So what you hear is what you WANT to hear.

Instead of having a productive discussion about how best to live as a society – nowadays, it’s all about hate, blame assignment, and finger-pointing. And it’s just not helpful.

Instead, I try to primarily focus most of my time and energy on things I CAN CONTROL. And for the most part, the 24-hour news has minimal impact on my own life and resiliency.

It’s got an insanely high noise-to-signal ratio.

Most “news” you consume daily is noise. Very little of it is essential a few months or even a year later (minimal signal). It’s mostly just junk (or noise).

The more information you consume daily, the more noise gets in.

And if something is truly a signal, don’t worry; you’ll hear about it in other ways. Your neighbors will mention it, or your emails will include a reference.

Here’s what the book Antifragile has to say about the “signal to noise” problem:

“Thanks to [constant news cycles], we are living more and more in virtual reality, separated from the real world, a little bit more every day, while realizing it less and less. Consider that every day, 6,200 persons die in the United States, many of preventable causes. But the media only reports the most anecdotal and sensational cases (hurricanes, freak incidents, small plane crashes) giving us a more and more distorted map of real risks. In an ancestral environment, the anecdote, the “interesting” is information; no longer today. Likewise, by presenting us with explanations and theories the media induces an illusion of understanding the world.”

Well said.

OK, let’s move onto the over-appreciated prepping topics. These are the thing you should be paying more attention to but probably are not.

6. Measuring How Resilient You Are (OR Not)

I want to start with a couple more quotes from Antifragile (again, it’s one of my favorite books):

“It is far easier to figure out if something is fragile than to predict the occurrence of an event that may harm it.”

“Not seeing a tsunami or an economic event coming is excusable; building something fragile to them is not.”

So stop spending so much you’re your time-consuming news and trying to predict the next disaster. Instead, reallocate that same time and energy into activities and self-improvement that have a REAL IMPACT when a future disaster arrives.

Just go ahead and assume the future holds several major disasters in your lifetime. Then do something about it.

Go from being a part of what I call “The Fragile Masses” into “The Resilient Few.” That’s what my website community, “The Resilient Life,” is all about.

We challenge you to take care of the preparedness basics. And then once those are covered, we give you the motivation to keep going.

To become as resilient to the unknown future as you’re comfortable with.

7. Don’t Ignore The Prepping Basics

Prepping basics may seem boring to some:

2 weeks of food, 2 weeks of water, medical supplies, yawn…

But the problem is, those “basics” are the building blocks becoming resilient.

If only everyone in the world had the prepping basics in place. We as a human species would be much more resilient to all future tragedies (global or local). But unfortunately, it’s more fun to focus on more interesting topics.

8. Honing Your Situational Awareness

Here’s the deal. Some folks have a good sense of situational awareness, while others don’t.

I don’t know if some folks are just blessed by their DNA and brain makeup, or perhaps it’s the way their parents raised them. It’s probably some combination of both.

But man, if you don’t have good situational awareness, you’re in real trouble when things get chaotic.

It’s hard to think straight when you’re in the grip of fear. And situational awareness is not just during times of chaos – it’s anytime you’re in new or public spaces.

When I go somewhere new, I take stock of the “situation,” like the place’s layout, before relaxing and enjoying myself.

I want to know where the exits are (in case of a fire OR a mass shooting).

I want to take stock of the folks I’m with and keep an eye out for anyone who doesn’t quite belong.

Heck, since I have little kids, when I go to the grocery store, I strategically park where they don’t have to walk behind any cars or cross streets. Sure, it’s a further distance to walk, but it removes the risk of my kids getting run over on accident.

You should learn how to stop and think about the world around you more. To work on improving your sense of situational awareness. That way, this prepping topic can reduce many unnecessary risks in your life.

9. Plenty Of Water Filtration

AlexaPure Large Water Filter

“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water” – Benjamin Franklin

This is so true. That’s why you should stockpile water today.

But what if you have some water, but it becomes contaminated or compromised?

If you’re ever forced to drink contaminated water, you’re putting yourself at extreme risk – especially during an emergency.

Severe uncontrollable diarrhea is deadly during an emergency – especially if you can’t get any medical assistance.

Water filtration is one of those “boring, forgotten about” topics in preparedness. It’s one of those “yeah yeah, I get it” topics. And that’s fine IF you’ve got your water filtration plan in place.

Suppose you have a LifeStraw, or a few sawyer minis, and AlexaPure Gravity Filter or a Big Berkey, great. Just make sure you have plenty of water filtration at your disposal NOW.

If not, then please heed this warning and make this happen TODAY.

Other prepping topics can wait a few days but not water filtration – it’s THAT important.

10. Not Having Any “Plan B” Extreme Weather Strategies

TACT Bivvy In Hand

Tact Bivvy Mylar Survival Blanket

Most of the time, having an abundant supply of clean water is the number 1 survival priority.

However, occasionally, this priority can get trumped by extreme weather conditions.

In general, you can survive about 3 days without water. But you can perish in 3 hours (or less) due to severe heat exhaustion or hypothermia.

So, what’s your plans should the power go out and force you to live in below-freezing conditions for a week?

Or perhaps it’s the opposite – what about 110-degree weather with no AC?

You need to have a plan for these potential extremes to protect yourself and your family.

Now maybe you have a wood stove in your home and a nice pile of firewood. Perfect, you’re good to go.

Or maybe you have a backup generator and a bunch of gasoline to keep it running in the middle of the summer. Great.

But what if these options are outside of the range of what you can afford…

I recommend you get some mylar space blankets for the cold. OR you could also check out building a makeshift heater with small candles and some clay pots.

And for the summer heat, basements are the easiest way to “beat the heat” if you have one. Otherwise, shade, a bit of a breeze, and a spray bottle with water are the next best options.

Extreme temps are dangerous. So please, figure out your backup plans NOW before you’re cooking or freezing to death.

11.  Not Investing In A Gas Mask & Filters

Mira Safety’s CM-7M

OK, we went from 3 days with dehydration to 3 hours with hypothermia, and now we’re going to go down to 3 minutes.

If you can’t breathe, you can survive for about 3 minutes before you pass out. And then, over the next 10 mins or so, your body and brain will go into permanent shutdown mode.

Smoke from a fire can significantly impair your ability to breathe. SO, in such an emergency, a gas mask can be a literal lifesaver. But it has so many more uses than just for traditional smoke.

It can prevent you from breathing in potentially deadly toxins or pathogens. I’m talking nuclear fallout, chemical agents, never gases, debris dust, or harmful viruses.

In a worst-case scenario, anyone breathing in deadly air without protection could be a part of the “real walking dead.” Those folks whose time on earth is severely limited but don’t know it yet.

The bottom line is gas masks are a critical part of a basic preparedness plan.

Unfortunately, many folks feel they are overly advanced or too doomsday-like to own. But that’s just wrong.

They are critical Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and should be a part of your preps. It’s something you get early in your preparedness journey.

12. Physical Fitness

The hard truth is:

Being overweight or living with a chronic illness is a significant survival disadvantage.

Now, for many folks, there’s not a lot of choice in the matter. Sometimes, the hand of cards you’re dealt is not ideal, and you’ll just have to make do the best you can.

But for everyone else, you shouldn’t ignore your physical fitness. You want to be strong and healthy, with plenty of endurance, should a widespread disaster hit.

You want to be the one helping your family and not becoming a burden to them.

At the very least, be someone who pulls your own weight from both a physical standpoint as well as a mental one.

Fitness can help with both of those goals.

13. Personal / Local Emergency Prep

What is more likely in the next 10 years?

A worldwide EMP disaster, a supervolcano explosion, a nuclear holocaust?


You get in a car wreck, lose your job, deal with a flood, tornado, earthquake, hurricane, etc.

Yup, it’s the local/personal emergencies that are WAY MORE likely to occur any given year.

But again, planning for those events is not as “interesting” and not as “entertaining” as trying to guess the cause of “the end of the world as we know it.”

But that’s a mistake. You should focus on becoming more resilient for everyday emergencies first and foremost.

When it comes to prepping topics, spend time where the likely payoff is best.

14. Not Performing Simulated Practices

You’ll never know if your survival and preparedness plans have holes in them unless you practice.

We had a Resilient Life member who simulated a weeklong power outage. They reported several things they were mistaken about.

For example:

They were surprised by how much water they actually went through. And underestimated their water needs due to using water for cleanup, cooking, and pets.

They also discovered the value of having many non-electronic entertainment options, such as board games, puzzles, and books.

I’ve also heard many stories from folks who saw a “perfect” bug-out route on a map. Only to discover the trail was impassable once they tried it.

The bottom line is if you haven’t practiced, then you’re not prepared.

via Skilled Survival.

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