Here's a quick look at areas of prepping I feel are often overlooked by many preppers and survivalists. They are presented in no particular order. Are you overlooking any of these?
1 - High Visibility Colors - Although black, camo, and Earth-tones are all the rage, there are times when high visibility is preferred. You need some clothes, packs, bandannas, cordage and other gear in bright, highly visible colors like Bright Red, Safety Orange, Neon Yellow, and Hot Pink. See yesterday's post for more on this idea.
2 - An Emergency Fund - Many of us believe that the dollar is going to collapse at some point, and that paper money will be worthless. That may be true, but until then we do need money to pay bills and buy stuff. And, even in a economic crash, the dollar will likely have value for at least a period of time. It is a good idea to have an emergency fund set aside for when you need it. For more on money in an economic collapse, please read Fernando Aguirre's The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse.
3 - Getting out of Debt - I was the owner/moderator of a Yahoo group, Surviving the End, many years ago. One group member offered his plan to prepare: He was going to rack up as much credit card debt as possible buying supplies to survive an economic collapse caused by peak oil. He believed such a collapse would happen "within the next 2 or 3 years," and that banks and other lenders would be unable to collect on debt. He also planned to stop paying his mortgage "about 6 months before the collapse." I'm not sure how he planned to time the event so precisely. This was in 2006. It is now eight years later, and banks are still collecting on debt. If he truly carried out his plan, he and his family suffered absolute financial devastation years ago. Don't be like him. Make getting debt-free a major prepping goal.
4 - Spirituality - Yes, I know a number of people will roll their eyes at this category. Being dismissive of religion is a very "in" thing to do these days. Your hipness is duly noted. Yet, I believe that our mental attitude is an extremely important part of prepping (see my article Prepping Your Mental Health). My spirituality (I am an imperfect follower of Jesus) gives me great peace and comfort, as well as a sense of purpose, focus, and an understanding of what my true priorities should be. Besides, I really do believe God answers prayers and can work miracles.
5 - Building Community - I get the sense that there are a lot of "lone wolves" in the prepping and survivalist community. Folks that just want to hide with their families at some mountain retreat far from civilization. This is a mistake, especially in the long-term. Instead, we should work on building community. (Personally, I think living in or near a small town, far way from a mega-city, is the best option - but that will be another post.)
City vs. Country by Fernando Aguirre
6 - Sleep - Another category that may make some eyes roll. After all, we live in a 24/7 world in which most people like to proudly proclaim about how little sleep they need to get by. Sleep is much more important to good health, mental sharpness, and physical reflexes than most people realize. Making sure you get enough sleep on a consistent basis is one of the best ways to prepare. For more on sleep see Sleep - It is Important.
7 - Health and Fitness - This is a category most people acknowledge is important, but many folks still don't do anything about it. I am constantly amazed by the number of preppers and survivalists I know who are smokers, or who are very overweight, or who have chronic health conditions like Type II diabetes and high blood pressure that are largely self-inflicted. We all know the excuses - I don't have enough time, I'm too busy, eating healthy costs too much, its too hard, I'm too set in my ways to change... But in the end they are just excuses. Make health and fitness a priority.
8 - Doing Things Other Than Your Hobby - This one may come as a slap in your face to some, but there are many preppers who aren't really preppers. Instead, prepping is just the excuse they use to engage in their hobby. Some folks like guns, and "prepping" is a great excuse to buy more guns and spend more time at the range. Some folks like gardening, canning, sewing, and other homesteading activities, so prepping is a great excuse to engage in those activities. However, you can tell the hobbyist from a prepper by what preps they do outside their hobby.
A great example is the profile I watched a couple years ago on a older "prepper" couple. The husband was a gun enthusiast - he had 80-some guns - but he had little or no food and water storage, didn't garden, and wasn't interested in any other aspect of prepping. It became obvious during the profile that prepping was just the excuse he gave his wife so that he could buy more guns. If all your preps are in one area, you're not really prepping.