Having Gear Does Not Guarantee Preparedness

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This article is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com


One of the first things people do when they get interested in prepping is going out and buying gear.  It is great to have a list and just check off items you already just purchased.  Whew!  Got the stuff, now I’m prepared.  Well… sort of.  There is one critical step that is being missed.

Use it!

I’ve heard and read comments from people who, on one hand, have made the commitment to be prepared and are buying the items needed;  but on the other hand, when asked how the things worked, they say, “I don’t know, I haven’t opened the box yet-I’m saving it for an emergency..”  I am glad they are getting started, but not even opening the box to check it is a critical error.

Here’s why:

The item might not work.   When we first got started we bought some cheap stuff that ended up being junk.   Sure, it might be better than nothing, but why rely on something that will fail you when you most need it?  Being in the middle of a power outage would not be a good time to find out your flashlight does not work, or you did not have the correct size batteries for it.  Which brings me to the next point…

Know what you actually need to make the item work.   For example if you have a backpacking stove for a power outage, you will need fuel for that stove.  If you had never opened the box, you may not know this until the day you try to use it.

Some gear need maintenance  Knives, machetes and other items with edges need be sharpened or oiled, firearms need to be cleaned, even

Know how outside factors affect the use of some items  Until you actually practice with the gear, you won’t know how it will work in the “real world”  You may remember my bear spray experiment  where we found out how just how fast you need to use that spray when being attacked, and how a small change in wind direction will affect you.

Read the instructions!  Some things are self-explanatory, but some things are not.  For me, putting a tent together is NOT self-explanatory.   If you have a tent as part of your bug out gear, do yourself a favor and practice with it a few times.  Try assembling it in the day, as well as in the dark.  Putting a tent together at night is a whole experience in itself… especially with kids around.   I know it sounds tedious, but imagine if you were stranded somewhere, and you’re trying to build a tent you’ve never seen assembled, with parts that are still encased in plastic, in the dark, in a rainstorm.

Some items don’t last long   Check your supplies a couple of times a year, so you’ll  know what items have expired or deteriorated over time.  Then you’ll have a chance to repair or replace damaged goods.

Or they may not fit   Another reason to try things out are size changes.  Kids quickly outgrow clothes, backpacks and footwear; adults gain or lose weight so any items that no longer fit should be replaced.

There you have it, a cold, rainy day or a snow bound weekend when you are stuck at  home would be a great opportunity to check your emergency stuff and try things out.  Do it now, before you find yourself in a real emergency.

 © Apartment Prepper 2014


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  1. I have an example of this. I bought a radio/flashlight with a usb charger, it was not a cheap one but a fairly well known brand. I took it out hunting a year ago thinking the kids could charge there itouch on it. Nope, incompatable. It’s still a nice little handcrank radio/flashlight. But that’s it.

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