Dec 28

10 overrated SHTF Preps

A great prepping strategy demands proper prioritization in order to be successful. Some items are more important than others, some are unnecessary altogether. While creating the list below you have to remember the scenario which I am referencing, a full on SHTF scenario where long term lawlessness and hardships are extreme, think EMP strike or massive economic collapse. I should also note that while I claim that many of these items are overrated, that does not mean that I do not own/stock some of them (none of us are perfect). When I say overrated I should clarify that I believe that these items have too many shortcomings to be of long term value in a major SHTF catastrophe, or that many people simply put too much faith in the capability of these items. With all of that in mind, what follows is a list of 10 overrated SHTF Preps.

1- Canned Food. Relatively short shelf life, bulky and tough to transport in large quantities. Additionally going to the local market and stocking up on cart fulls of canned tuna or SPAM can be very expensive versus buying traditional storage food in bulk.

2- MREs. Great for barter or travel but MREs are also loaded with calories (bad news if you hunker down at home and get no exercise). MREs are also very expensive and have a shelf life of only 5-7 years when stored in optimal conditions.

3- Huge 4WD vehicles. I get it, you love your 4WD Jeep. The huge tires, lift, tow bar on the hood and winch on the bumper sure do look great when you are cruising through the mall parking lot. I have a 4WD SUV and when it snows it is nice to be able to flip a switch and power through the slush. However all vehicles run on some sort of fuel and in a long term SHTF scenario I doubt we will be able to pull up to the pump, swipe a debit card and drive away. That 25 gallons of fuel you have in your garage in fuel cans? Not enough…

4- 100 round drum magazines. I saw an episode of Doomsday Preppers recently, one of the featured preppers had a 100 round drum and was quick to say: “Bigger is better!” Not necessarily. While “tacti-cool” to own, these drums are rarely practical and awkward to tote around. If I had to carry 200 rounds of 5.56 I’d rather do it in 30 round PMAGs versus 2 drums.

5- Portable Generators. This article, 5 reasons why you shouldn’t count on a generator when T-SHTF, stirred up some controversy but I stand by my opinion. Generators run on fuel and even solar generators, not full blown whole house solar setups, can be very restrictive when it comes to what they can power (and for what period of time). A great supplemental resource to have during an emergency? Of course! To be absolutely counted on when T-SHTF? Absolutely not.

6- Body Armor. The right body armor can stop bullets and greatly reduce your chance of injury or death. However body armor is heavy and cumbersome and might give those who wear it false confidence. False confidence could lead to an assumption that getting into a gunfight might not be all that bad and that mentality could prove fatal. Gunfights should be avoided at all cost, additionally strolling around in full kit (with helmet) is a great way to attract attention to yourself. If you have a vest/SAPI plates/helmet and think I’m crazy, put all of it on in addition to your Bugout Bag, go for a 10 mile walk and then let me know how you feel.

7- Camouflage Uniforms. In a long term SHTF event the use of camouflage uniforms might prove necessary for quick night missions while foraging for supplies, however anything beyond that could prove foolish. Stick with low profile but sturdy clothing which will not attract attention. Your family is not a para-military organization, outfitting them as such could prove to be more trouble than it is worth.

8- “Rambo” style knives. I have a few large knives but have found my small 3 inch folding blade to be of much greater use while in the bush (and at home). Massive survival/rambo knives are great to look at but unless you plan on getting in a knife fight with Stevan Seagal they really have no place in your kit.

9- Concertina Wire. Picture this, you are a with a roaming band of looters who are well trained and well armed. You pass by a small farm or through a subdivision and see torn down homes with trash all over the place, doors off the hinges and broken out windows. It looks like someone has been here already, time to move along. OR you come up on what looks like a small fortress, homes with boarded up windows, sandbags and concertina wire. Something of value is at that location and you will do your best to take it. You have 40 armed men, many of whom were former military or law enforcement. There is zero chance whoever is behind that concertina wire will stop you, and you know it.

10- Gold. Personally I see no value in this shiny metal object and wrote extensively about it in this article. In a long term SHTF scenario those who have the most gold will simply be those with the most gold. You cannot eat it, drink it, grow it or shoot it. Those who have extra food, water, weapons will not be very keen on trading them away for a shiny coin of perceived value.


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    • Ranger W on December 29, 2012 at 10:13 AM
    • Reply

    We are definitely on the same page. As you have mentioned on here before people also prioritize things so poorly. When people say “I have a gun and ammo, ill just go take what I need”. That is not being prepared by any stretch of the imagination.

    Also gold is only good if you bought it ten years ago and you are selling it now to convert to real assets like land and wells.

      • PJ on December 29, 2012 at 8:52 PM
      • Reply

      Land is relatively cheap these days, I need 20 acres in the redoubt for sure.

    • Shartner on September 13, 2013 at 9:47 PM
    • Reply

    That,s right, erny will keep deadman out without concertina wire. But canned food last a long time mang.

    • Louie on March 10, 2014 at 12:14 AM
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    Look, I agree MOSTLY with what you said. But be ACCURATE when you speak. Canned food does NOT, repeat does NOT have a “short shelf life” This has been proven over and over and over again. What planet are you from??? 5 years PAST the expiration date is not a problem. 10 YEARS is NOT out of the question at ALL!!!! That’s NOT a short shelf life? Heavy, yes. Who cares? So is 20 bags of rice. ALL FOOD IS HEAVY unless you want to carry saltines around with you. Canned goods, properly stored, can last 5 years plus PAST the expiration date. Maybe you need to check up on these things before you speak.

      • PJ on March 10, 2014 at 9:32 PM
      • Reply


      Thanks for the comment! I thought I’d address a few things to clear the air. First off you mention my reference to the short shelf life of canned food. As a matter of fact in the article I stated:

      Canned Food. Relatively short shelf life, bulky and tough to transport in large quantities. Additionally going to the local market and stocking up on cart fulls of canned tuna or SPAM can be very expensive versus buying traditional storage food in bulk.

      So canned food has a short shelf life RELATIVE to say….freeze dried food buckets.

      Relative: In consideration or proportion to something else.

      I totally am with you, canned food has been proved to be edible well past printed expiration dates, as a matter of fact I wrote about it here: Canned Food Expiration Date MYTH Are there cans of tuna out there which will be good for 25 years? Absolutely, but are ALL canned foods good for that long? Hmmmm….

      As far as caring about heavy, I’m guessing you’ve never had to pack around days worth of food on your back before. Which would you rather have, some lightweight freeze dried food / MRE meals or 15 cans of chunky soup?

      Lastly: I’m from earth 🙂

    • Flynn on March 12, 2014 at 6:06 PM
    • Reply

    Mostly good advice here, but definitely have to take issue on a couple of the points:
    First the “Rambo” style knives. Most people miss the point of these knives; if you’re the type who is always carrying around 20 pounds of steel such as a short blade, a hatchet, a saw, a fighter, a machete, and a utility knife then sure the Survival knife is superfluous. But if you can only carry one blade, or only have time to grab one blade, then the survival knife comes into it’s own. But get a good hand made one not the cheap overseas garbage. My Gudowski knife is irreplaceable in my kit.

    Second the gold. You’d better have it and in fractional coins. Don’t worry, 6000 years of courting the metal isn’t going to change no matter what scenario comes down the pike. It will be worth it’s weight, it always has been and there is no reason to think that’s going to change. Humans, stupid or otherwise, will always trade goods or services for it.

      • PJ on March 12, 2014 at 9:01 PM
      • Reply


      Thanks for the comment and your opinion.

    • justanother on May 24, 2015 at 3:15 PM
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    LOTS of assumptions in this article… example… MRE’s will make you fat because all you will be doing is sitting in your basement… UM OK!!! Second.. Armor is bad because it makes you feel invincible and its heavy. As to the first I guess using this logic ANYTHING that can increase survivability has the ability to make some clown feel invincible. As to the latter,, YEAH it is heavy but if you arent a fat overweight slob or someone with serious health issues you can train to that standard. If you own guns for defense and you don’t own armor then you are either A. terribly in denial as to the abilities of your possible adversaries or B. you are an idiot…….

      • PJ on May 26, 2015 at 7:20 PM
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      All of my articles are assumptions or simply wild guesses based on no facts or actual experience. Thanks for pointing that out, and…I am a legitimate idiot…unless single digit IQ scores are good?

        • JUSTANOTHER on June 8, 2015 at 3:10 PM
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        NOBODY likes to get beat up about their opinion. We all wan’t to be right and from the looks of other responses you have been worked over pretty well. Don’t take it personally,, Our community is very diverse and unfortunately over populated by self impressed and self appointed “experts”. Some of your points are valid and I agree with them completely, IE your opinion on not making wet canned goods the foundation of your storage plan. Also having more PMags and less 100 rnd drums.. Again I agree with this MOST of the time… an exception would be a static weapon for defense…My issue with some of your opinions stated is that they are common among the “prepper” community based almost solely on cost.. IE good armor is expensive or MRE’s cost too much when compared to canned goods… If guns are ever involved armor is CRITICAL. You can’t avoid every fight

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