The following article was contributed by Selco of SHTF School.
Over the years being in the prepper and survival community, I realize that my favorite topics for writing are about survival myths.
There are two reasons for that. First I have been through SHTF, so it is obviously clear to me what are the myths about survival and what are the truths, in other words it is kinda easy for me to write about it.
Second reason is because at the same time it’s hard. It is not hard to write about it, but it is hard to explain to people what it’s all about.
Reason for that, is not because I consider most of the prepper’s idiots, it is about the preconceptions inexperienced people have about survival, or being ready for SHTF.
That preconception is so huge, and so deep, it has been plugged or conditioned into a lot of Preppers so hard, over so many years of bombarding from youtube, blogs, forums, movies and similar that sometimes it look simply hopeless too fight.
Where to Look?
I remember for the first time seeing and teaching a group of students who considered themselves survivalists and preppers. After few hours of talking with them my first impression was to tell them, or to yell at them „ you are so fucking dead when SHTF, on second day you are dead!!!“
Of course I did not tell them that, but the point is that their survival mentality and mine were like two completely different worlds.
No they were not idiots, just regular folks who look and checked for the most common information about survival out there available, or most commercialized, or coolest.
And no, I do not think that everyone needs to go through years of war in order to become survivalist, just some common sense and some effort.
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It is like they learned everything they knew about survival from the guy on youtube channel, who read it from the book, which was written by a guy who heard something from a friend some time ago. So many of the sources they ‘relied’ on or trusted were dangerously worthless…
Folks, there is much more to learn from let’s say a diary of holocaust survivor, than from youtube guy who is testing his new BOB in his backyard!
Actually I would rather have memorized the diary book, instead of owning the BOBs that most of the youtube guys are testing and recommending!
This whole topic is huge, but let’s address the more common mistakes I see all the time. Each of them is not a mistake by itself, but if you put these as a ‘priority’ it is something that definitely will get you killed when SHTF:
The ‘Cool’ Factor
Here is a scenario that happened. A student on my survival course has been offered to choose some equipment to complete a survival training task, the amount of equipment to choose from was limited.
He is trying to ensure he has covered all of the ‘seven priorities’ of urban survival. When he gets to the water „section“ there were two items, a camping stove set (the Trangia model), and an old dirty plastic bottle, he could choose one.
He choose the plastic bottle for the section „water“.
I asked him ‘can you tell me why did you choose plastic bottle instead of the camping stove set?’, his answer was: “I saw on youtube that plastic bottle can be use for boiling water and making it sterile“.
I asked him:“ why did you not choose the camping stove set, it can do same thing, much easier, can do even more things, and last much longer etc etc“?
He did not have an answer for that, other than his previous one.
Folks, watching something on youtube (believe it or not) that looks cool, does not necessary mean it is right, or right for every situation.
I believe that youtube video was about using plastic bottle in survival when you do not have anything else, but taking it instead of something really useful just because looks cool or it’s a ‘good trick’???
This plastic bottle story is just one example, many other times on various courses I see very similar things.
Internet is full of good advice about tactics, techniques, and equipment for SHTF, problem is, that in the same time internet is full of s..t, so choose carefully where you look to learn something, Check for guys who CREDIBLY tested something or experienced it, or you test it yourself before real SHTF.
I know, it is big industry and big money out there about let’s say „ how to survive end of the world with cool equipment and looking cool“, but from my experience I did not see cool equipment in my time, and the ‘cool’ people died very early on…
Folks who survived had stuff that worked and mentality that worked. ‘Coolness’ was not important in that time, even if someone had some ideas about looking and being cool, those ideas gone with first bullets hissing around their heads.
If you’re preparing to have cool equipment (only) and look cool when SHTF you are doing something wrong. Seriously.
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Commodities, Peace of Mind, and Degrees of Knowledge
Again, having a commodity by itself when SHTF, on it’s own is not a problem. There is nothing wrong in preparing to be in as much comfort as possible when SHTF.
But huge number of Preppers are preparing only for that! And that is wrong.
Simplest example here, is man who is preparing for SHTF by buying good generator, in order to have as much comfort possible when SHTF, but at the same time he does not know ways to start a simple fire.
Generator here is something like an upgrade, fire (knowledge) is essential.
Nothing wrong with owning a generator, if you also know and have supplies up to the level where a generator ‘fits in’.
Or you have man who has 5 assault rifles, and a lot of ‘knowledge’ (youtube again) about tactical movement – but he has NO clue how hard (noisy) it is to move through partially destroyed buildings, or he never fired the rifle inside an enclosed space (room, empty corridor) and did not experience the impact of that event on his ears.
Nothing wrong with owning 5 rifles, if you know everything up to that level.
Five rifles alone does not mean s..t.
Internet is full of advertising that if you do (or buy) whatever they offer you, you’re going to have something like ‘best time of your life when SHTF.’
Of course it is a lie, even if you are fully prepared it is not going to be a joyride, it is going to be hard and life changing.
And by ‘buying solutions’ then you are just buying peace of mind, nothing more. Worse still, you are seriously underestimating SHTF.
PLEASE make some common sense decisions in your preparing. Do not find yourself in situation where you have 30 spices in your pantry but you do not have duct tape or an axe.
Start from the basic in every „pillar“ of survival, evenly, then build on that base with logic and sense. Build all pillars up at the same time, don’t take ‘defense’ for example and focus and build that to the highest level while ignoring the six others…
I’ve written about these before, but just as a brief re-cap, the seven ‘pillars’ of Urban Preparedness are:
Use the internet to help your preps, but confidence check your sources, and do not believe everything you read/see!!!
I see and read to many people treating prepping like some ‘fun game’ as opposed to the serious matter it is. Please choose your approach wisely folks…
The following article was contributed by Selco of SHTF School.