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.