Off-Grid Cooking with the Amazing HERC Tea Light Oven

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
Off-Grid Cooking with the Amazing HERC Tea Light Oven

One of the challenges during a power outage is cooking meals.  While there are many options, most require cooking outdoors using stove-type methods such as a rocket stove, BBQ grill, fire pit or camp stove.  These methods work great, especially if they are coupled with a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven.

The problem, however, is that we can not predict or time when the power will go out.  Nor can we predetermine how long the grid will be down; it may be hours or it may be days or even weeks.  Not only that, what if the power goes out for a week during the coldest part of the year, with 10 inches of snow on the ground and a howling wind?  Cooking outdoors under those conditions is nearly impossible.  In addition, unless you are using biomass (twigs and leaves), there are fuel considerations when it comes to availability and cost.

HERC - Off Grid Cooking

Regardless of the drama, wouldn’t it be nice to have cooking source that you can safely use indoors, rain or shine, with just inexpensive tea lights as a fuel source?

Today I am thrilled to introduce you to the amazing HERC Tea Light Oven.  Not only that, one of these fabulous ovens has been reserved for a lucky (very lucky) Backdoor Survival reader.  More about that in a moment.

First, Some Background

I first spoke to Kris Johnson, the developer of the HERC oven, a couple of years ago when he requested some feedback on the Titan Water rack system.  We chatted back and forth by phone a number of times and kept in touch by email.  Last Fall, Kris called and told me about a new, indoor oven that he was working on – an oven that was powered solely by commonly available tea lights.

He called it the HERC which stands for Home Emergency Radiant Cooking.  What makes the HERC special?  Through design and the use of certain materials in manufacturing, HERC marries heat generated by convection with heat created by conduction and Infrared radiation. It is the combination of IR and convection that allows the HERC to get hot and stay hot while using only tea lights.

Practical Use of the HERC Oven

Whenever I do a review, I have some decisions to make.  Do I talk about the technical aspects or do I simply focus on usability in a survival situation? Today I have decided to focus mostly on the practical usage of the HERC oven because, to be honest, my interest throughout the testing was to see how well the HERC performed cooking real food.  The other stuff was secondary.

For the past week, the HERC was my only cooking source.  My fancy kitchen range was off limits.  Here is what I cooked along with a few notes.

HERC Tri Tip Before Cooking

HERC Trip Tip is Done Cooking

HERC Trip Tip After Cooking

3.5 pound Tri-Tip Roast:  Yes, I must admit it took guts to cook a $25 roast in the HERC oven.  Although it took longer than I expected (3 hours), this was the most tender tri-tip I have ever prepared.  The real surprise, though, was that there was no grease or juice splatter at all.  The HERC oven stayed pristinely clean and there was no smoking either.  Heck, when I cook a tri-tip in my electric oven, I usually have a big mess after the fact.  And sometimes, the smoke alarms go off.  Really.

HERC - Classic Chicken & Rice

Chicken and Rice Casserole:  This was the old mushroom soup and rice standard that we all remember as kids.

HERC Rice & Leftover Tri Tip

Oven Rice:  If the SHTF, we will be eating a lot of rice because it is filling, has calories for energy and stores well.  I made it in the HERC using a ratio of 2 cups rice to 3 cups water.  I added bullion cubes and herbs from my food storage, covered the pan and let the rice cook for 90 minutes.  With warmed over tri-tip (30 minutes in foil), this was our evening meal.

HERC Making Brownies

Brownies:  This pan of brownies took 90 minutes to bake instead of the conventional 30, but they too were perfection.  You can not tell from the picture but the cooking was even unlike a standard, electric oven where the edges tend to overcook and the center stays mushy.  I used a boxed mix that was 5 years old and well beyond its printed expiration date.  Moral of the story?  Packaged food will last a lot longer than most expiration dates will indicate, especially if stored in a cool, dry location.

Everything I cooked in the HERC emitted the delicious and comforting aroma of well prepared food.  As a matter of fact, the brownies baking were a huge distraction from my work – so much so I had to take a coffee break so I could savor the smell and admire the baking process.  (The HERC has a nice viewing window so that you can peek inside to see what is going on.)

Basic Instructions for Using the HERC

The set up of the HERC was pretty easy.  Shelly did it in about 30 minutes but said the next time he could do it in 10.  All you need to do to use the oven is load up each of the two tea light trays with 10 tea lights and slide them under the oven.  As you can see, we set the oven on top of cutting boards sitting on our counter but I don’t think that was really necessary.

HERC - Lighting the Tea Lights

You set your food in the oven by opening the top lid and placing your pan inside.  There are quarry tiles on both the oven floor and lid so be mindful of the heat if you happen to touch them.  I used Ove Gloves just to be safe.  By the way, one surprising aspect of the oven was that is accommodated a 9 x 13 pan with no problem.  Good to know and, as a matter of fact, the specs indicate that the HERC will accommodate an 11 x 15 pan.

Cooking Tips – Do’s and Don’ts

1.  Preheat for 20 to 30 minutes.  That is sufficient.  For the tri tip, I made the mistake of using a standard oven thermometer to gauge the pre-heat temperature.  It took an hour to register 350~ but then started to fluctuate.  Finally, I ignored it and simply allowed an internal meat thermometer to tell me when the meat was done.  I highly recommend getting one of these probe type external thermometers.  I use mine with my barbeque and smoker – indispensible!

2.  Allow plenty of time.  A pan of brownies that would take 30 minutes in a conventional oven, took 90.  Be patient.  This is a slow, but even, cook process.

3.  Stock up on tea lights!  Each “load” takes 20 lights and although I reused some that were only half burned, in a grid down you will go through a lot candles.  At a cost of 5 to 10 cents each, there is no reason not to have a few hundred or even a thousand or more on hand.

4.  Be mindful that the interior gets hot as does the lid.  Use oven mitts, ove gloves, or some other type of protection to keep your fingers from getting scorched.

5.  It goes without saying that you should never leave burning candles unattended.  Ever.

A Word About Tea Lights

Tea lights are made in two very different ways. They are either poured into the aluminum cups from a liquefied state OR they are pressed out of a sheet of wax, looking like little hockey pucks and then placed into aluminum cups.  Each type burns differently, with the hockey pucks burning hotter than the poured type.  It is easy to identify which method was used and in doing so you will have a good idea whether your food will cook faster or slower with “faster” being relative.

The poured candles (cooler candles) look creamy and are attached to the cup because of solidifying in the cup. The hockey pucks (hotter candles) look granular and are not attached to the aluminum cup.  The other difference is that some tea lights are slightly taller than others which means they burn longer.

Interesting enough, I checked and my bag of IKEA tea lights (which should also be called dirt-cheap tea lights) were of the hockey puck type. Note that I did not use them for this review so I can not vouch for their performance.

Whatever type of tea lights you have, my suggestion is to cook with them now while you have the luxury of time on your side. Try to purchase both types so that you can choose the type you prefer.  Store a bunch of the preferred type (see #3 above) however learn to cook with both types because in a pinch you might only have access to one kind or the other.

The Giveaway!

Update:  Sorry – this giveaway has ended.

Ah! Now here is the part you have been waiting for.  Titan Readywater has reserved one HERC XXL Tea Light Candle Oven for a lucky Backdoor Survival reader.  To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is respond to the following question in the comments area below.  This is a fun one.

From time to time, everyone makes a mistake.
What has been your biggest prepping mistake or goof?

I realize this question is not food or cooking related but truth be told, I have made my share of mistakes and hope to learn from yours. As a matter of fact, we all can learn from them.

The deadline for your entry is 6:00 PM Pacific on Thursday, April 3rd.  A winner will be selected at random and will be notified by email as well as in an announcement in the Sunday Survival Buzz.  The winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be selected.

Note: If you are reading this article in your email client, you must go to the Backdoor Survival website to enter this giveaway in the comments area at the bottom of the article.  As with all BDS giveaways, this giveaway is only open to visitors to the website.  Email and Facebook entries do not count.

The Final Word

My HERC oven is still sitting in my kitchen; I am not done with it.  I plan to continue using it so that I become more familiar with cooking using tea light candles.  I also want to experiment with different brands and types of tea lights.  Even more important, I want to bake some bread and perhaps even a pizza using some of my food storage items as toppings.  I will report the results in a future Sunday Survival Buzz.

Before closing, I would like to thank Kris at Titan Readywater for making this giveaway possible.  He has indicated that if you love the idea of the HERC and make a purchase before the giveaway is over, he will send a refund (or a second oven) if you are the winner.  Now how cool is that?

Backdoor Survival is blessed to have so many friends that are willing to share their products with you and for that, I am grateful.  The reason, I believe, is because Backdoor Survival readers are the best common sense Prepper’s on the planet.  Good luck, everyone!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Facebook which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.  You can also follow Backdoor Survival on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ and purchase my book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage from Amazon.

Spotlight:  The HERC XXL Tea Light Oven!  If you love the idea of the HERC and want to make a purchase before the giveaway is over, Titan Readywater will send you a refund (or a second oven) if you are the winner!

HERC Tea Light Oven

Bargain Bin:  Below you will find a link to the HERC and to items related to cooking with the HERC Tea Light Oven.

Unscented Tea Lights 100/Pkg-White: Prices vary widely with tea lights, just be mindful of the shipping cost (if any) and the burn time (if states).  The following tea lights have a stated burn time of 4-5 hours: Richland® Tealight Candles White Unscented Set of 125.

Taylor Digital Cooking Thermometer/Timer:  This is the thermometer/probe that I use.  Works great with the HERC in that it remotely displays the food’s temperature as well as the elapsed time.

Ove’ Glove Hot Surface Handler, Pack of 2: I would not be without these.  They are light weight and absolutely protect your hands and wrists from oven burns.  I put mine in the washer and dryer with no problem.  I know see there are some “knock-off” brands that might be worth trying, including these:  Oven Glove-Made of Nomex Heat resistant Fiber.

Lodge Double Dutch Oven and Casserole with Skillet Cover, 5-Quart: This cast iron Dutch oven will make a perfect addition to your off-grid cooking supplies.

Wilton 9 by 9 Inch Covered Baking Pan: This is the type of pan I used in my HERC.  I also have a similar 9 x 13 pan.

Emergency Essential Corn Bread 013Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials

I really love the Provident Pantry Corn Muffin Mix which I cooked up as corn bread in my cast iron skillet.  Oh my gosh – it was better than anything boxed that I have ever purchased and as good as home made.  The best part is that all I had to add was water!  Same with the Buttermilk Biscuit Mix.

These are just two of the food storage items that you can purchase at Emergency Essentials.  And if you need some recipes?  Go to the Food Storage Recipes page of Emergency Essentials for lots of creative (and free) ideas for using the good you have on hand.

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250 Responses to “Off-Grid Cooking with the Amazing HERC Tea Light Oven”

  1. From time to time, everyone makes a mistake.
    What has been your biggest prepping mistake or goof?

    My biggest mistake so far has been to do nothing at all, making just enough money to barely get by. Now that I’m retired, I’m still having pretty much the same problem.

    • Back in the 1980’s, when things were Much cheaper and we were all a bit free compared to now, I knew an old retired couple that were ridiculed by many of the towns people for spending their spare time driving around in a 4 cylinder truck collecting aluminum cans and glass bottles for their 5 and 10 Cent return deposits. In due time they collected enough solely from those deposits to pay cash for a brand new 4 cylinder truck.

      I only mention that as an inspiration.
      Where there’s a Will, there’s often a way.

    • Huh. So many mistakes to choose from. Probably, the power of proofreading and following your intuition . I once put an entire cup of baking soda in a cookie recipe because thats the way the recipe was mistakenly written. It said to do it, so I did. To say tgey were nasty, is a severe understatement. Surprisingly, they looked good though. There is probably an entire parable I could draw from here. But for now, like I said proofread and follow your gut:) Common sense is a valuable commodity in short supply some days.

    • The biggest mistake (which I am in the process of remedying) is storing all my food supplies in one place….disaster, vandalism , or robbery could make me lose all my supplies. So, am spreading them out in different places on my property.

    • I have had to throw out Peanut Butter because I bought too much. I did not know about the powdered long term storage type of peanut butter. You will make mistakes learning. You have to look at it as “insurance” that was not used. It is hard to balance everything you will need.

    • Don’t throw out old peanut butter! It has several uses such as using for cooking fuel or even as lighting.

    • I think my biggest peeping mistake is to not complete one task before starting another. I get so excited about the next prep discovery that I move on before thoroughly completing my current prep.

    • Like a lot of people, we stocked up for Y2K, one of which was peanut butter, I always thought that stuff lasted about as long as twinkies ;)…..wrong….we just opened a jar and it was baaaaad! guess we have to rethink peanut butter!

  2. When first starting out preppin’ I bought a TON of canned goods I didn’t like. I tried to eat them to use them up, but still ended up with a lot of waste. Moral=buy what you like!! :o)

  3. My biggest mistake to date is not starting to prep because I didn’t have the resources to do everything I wanted to do all at once. The articles covering a year long plan for prepping have been very helpful. A little prep is better than no prep…just lay out the priorities and make steady progress.

  4. first one was not getting started sooner i also was using milk bottles for water found out they do not last long one day i got up to water in bathroom bottles were leaking. love your helpful ideas that anyone can try

    • soda bottles– they are made to hold the carbonated pressure of soda pop. i have 3 cases in my closet that have been there for 2 years

  5. Letting my husband research and build a solar cooker. Took him a day of internet reading and three trips to the hardware store. After 70 dollars (yes,I said 70!!) it didn’t work. I took an old box, spray painted it, lined it with foil and put an old window on top. Cost, nothing as it was all laying around the house. Works like a dream. Moral of the story…don’t over complicate your prepping!

  6. My biggest mistake was waiting so long to start prepping. Second was buying a cheap cellphone/mp3 solar charger that quit working after a couple of months. It’s usually better to buy items that cost a bit more (not necessarily the most expensive) but are of a better quality. I have made many more mistakes, but try to forget them! 🙂

  7. I have found that storing your food storage properly is so very important, and rotating is essential, otherwise you waste a lot of your food and the money it takes to buy it.

  8. My biggest mistake was buying too many what I thought to be great preparedness items before researching them and finding out exactly their purpose.

  9. The biggest prepping mistake or goof I made and am willing to admit to online is, two years or so ago I slowly bought bottles of half-way expensive olive oil here and there while it was on sale thinking that with the expiration date on them being so seemingly far away I thought I’d have plenty of time to use them. Since then I’ve been more “into” the Primal/Paleo lifestyle and I avoid eating many things that require cooking in oil such as potatoes (french fries) that I used to eat a lot of, and, I use bacon fat more-so than oil for things like sauteed kale, so I now have a case of olive oil I suspect has gone rancid, or soon will.

    I’m trying to make the best of it though. So far, I’ve failed to get olive oil to burn in an oil lamp. I did get it to burn while in a glass jar with just a wick held by a thin wire. I plan to twist up a thicker wire to create a more permanent glass jar olive oil burning candle. And, I’m going to keep trying to find some way to get olive oil to burn in an oil lamp,… somehow. And not spend 70 Dollars doing so:)

    I wonder, is the tray that holds the tea lights for the HERC able to hold a liquid, or does it have holes in the corners? I have the idea that I could fill the tray with olive oil, toss in some corks with holes in the center with tiny wicks threaded through them, then heat the HERC with them. Or, create some tiny reusable olive oil tea lights of my own.

    I have yet to calculate the kilowatt per hour cost of burning olive oil compared to tea lights (or regular candles) I imagine the ratio is 1:10 or something. Or, maybe it’s not that bad? I read somewhere that two ounces of olive oil will burn for eight hours. I thought that was impressive.

    One thing I have learned so far, unlike with a regular candle, when I spilled the test jar of olive oil it put the flame out. I’m a risk taker, I tend to do things like run with scissors and leave candles burning unattended, so that’s a good quality in a light (or heat) source.

    I wonder how hot that oven gets the kitchen? Does it run pretty cool? It seems like it would be good to use in the Summer time when the air-conditioning is on and I want to cook something in the oven but I Don’t want to heat up the kitchen.

    I’m a big fan of slow cooking, using crock pots, that sort of thing, reading how your roast turned out was enticing.
    Seems like the HERC would make good jerky, too.

    RE: brownies, “where the edges tend to overcook and the center stays mushy” you caught my attention on that one! For the few times I do fall off the Primal/Paleo wagon I want perfect brownies.

    • Old olive oil makes wonderful home made soap. If you’ve never tried making soap, that seems like a “next logical step”. I have a great book called ” The Complete Soapmaker” by Norma Coney. It has dozens of recipes, step by step instructions and pictures of every step. I use no other soap now. (I also run with scissors :))

    • No, you can’t put liquid in the tea light holders. I recommend using your olive oil for another use. Tea light candles are quite inexpensive and well worth the investment.

  10. I’m sorry to say that despite my NOT being perfect, as I look back over 75 years, I don’t really see any big misteaks (misspelling intended) . Family is grown and away. I have enough supplies to take me through a month but after that, I”m SOL but it’s been a good run.

  11. My biggest mistake is not having enough water. We have the minimum recommended water for 2 weeks, but I know more would be better. I’m just procrastinating on getting a water barrel–I need to just do it!

  12. My biggest mistake is not keeping track of what is in my storage closet. I started off great, but sometimes, I get a jar of something and don’t mark it on my supply list.

  13. Like Chris above, my biggest mistake so far is not acting yet on prepping! I am doing lots of reading, researching and ‘head’ planning but need to put it into action. LOVE this stove and the thought of not only be prepared for emergency use but a possible permanent use for no/low cost (no electric or gas needed) cooking in a permanent off-grid situation!

  14. Our biggest mistake (that we have discovered) is not knowing where our preps are specifically, and not using them in advance of needing them. We bought a propane heater for indoor use several years ago. We never used it, it just went somewhere in one of our two sheds. We needed it this winter when we woke up to frozen pipes, but couldn’t find it! After wasting time searching for it, my husband discovered it wouldn’t start. More time wasted to get it figured out and finally it was working. He set it up under the trailer where the pipes froze, left it to do its thing, came back an hour later to discover it was too close to a PVC pipe that is for waste water. He partially melted the pipe, but caught it before it was completely ruined! Now we know we need to better organize our things and practice using them!!

  15. Like others have said… My biggest mistake was procrastinating because I could not do it all ‘right now’!!

  16. My biggest mistake was getting caught up in the “Bug Out” movement. In reality you will not bug out in every disaster. My Bug Out Bag was so heavy that I could hardly carry it. It held a lot of juck the the “experts” said that I needed.

  17. I’d say our top 2 mistakes so far would be prepping in fits & starts so I lose momentum not to mention the lists of what we have where (2 computer crashes) and buying in bulk without trying something out first(powered milk…ick). We’re going slow but steady now and I’m investigating different milks for drinking, learning to make my own mylar meals in a bag, canning and bread making from scratch are this year’s “want to learns”.

  18. My big BooBoo is “Follow Through!” I have realized ( mainly from reading Backdoor Survival) that I need to come up with a plan and then follow it to the end. I tend to go off in different directions instead of finishing one project and then going on to another. As a result I have several unfinished projects waiting for completion instead of a growing list of projects to which I can mark “Accomplished.” But … I’m learning! :0)

  19. When we first moved into our brand new home, I set up shelves in the basement for my food storage and prepping supplies.In addition to food storage I started buying cases of bottled water in 16-20 oz bottles when ever someone had a sale. I amassed about 50-24 bottle cases. Since I hate putting plastic in landfills we never really used them except for an occasional camping trip. Now (twelve years later) the water really doesn’t taste very good (kind of like sucking on pen) :} My husband suggested that we get rid of them, but in the event of ______ (name your crisis)they could still be used for washing up and watering plants and animals. I’ve been storing water in barrels and glass jugs for the last couple years.

    • Make your water taste better by pouring from one container into another. This puts air back into the water which makes it taste better.

    • You can also boil the water or, better yet, buy or build a “water still” and re-purify your water. Your ideas for uses are also acceptable, however very expensive toilet water.

  20. My biggest mistake was container gardening around my pool. I reasoned that within the confines of my pool cage, the plants would be insect-free and the harvest would be prolific; a ready-made greenhouse! I found 32 bins for only $5 each, drilled drainage holes, lined the bottoms with landscape fabric, put a layer of pebbles for drainage, filled with good quality soil, positioned them around my pool, and planted a variety of seeds. It was beautiful! I watered diligently every day, and within a couple of weeks, I had little green shoots peeking through the soil in all the containers! They grew very quickly; it wasn’t long before I had pods on the bean plants, and blossoms on the squash plants; I was so proud of myself and my great idea. Then…..the leaves began to turn white and fall off. I couldn’t figure it out — plenty of sun, watered every day, fertilized, and insect-free ………. CHLORINE!!!!!!!!!! Chlorine fumes from the pool were bleaching out and killing the leaves! As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed; I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I moved the bins to the yard; after all, insects need to eat, too.

  21. Some of my mistakes have been buying water in milk jugs that have degraded, not checking stores regularly and having stuff go bad and making a big mess, and not practicing enough with the things I bought and discovering I had no clue how to use them and/or missing parts when I needed them.

  22. My biggest mistake is not having enough preps in place because I’m moving and can’t afford to the extra space on a moving van. I’m also getting a lot of resistance from family members who don’t see the need! Frustrating!

  23. I have to say the same as the person a couple of comments above me…moving so can’t have too much stuff at the moment. However, this is also a blessing-in-disguise, as I am waaay to close to DC now, but am moving out west, thus remedying another big mistake!

  24. My biggest mistake is building a EDC bag that was too heavy to carry.
    i only work about 5 miles from home and i was sure that every little contingency had to be covered in triplicate.

  25. I guess the biggest mistake I’ve made is not starting earlier. If I had started this a long time ago and getting what I need slowly and on a regular basis it would have been better than waiting and needing lots all at once.

  26. My biggest mistake was buying survival How-To books but not reading them!!! They do me no good if I don’t read and learn from them before the SHTF. This year I have resolved to read them, highlight and take notes, and actually DO what I can hands-on.

  27. The biggest mistake I have made and continue to make as I have not found a good system yet that works for me is the organization of my food storage. All to often I have to frantically eat food that has or is about to go past the expiration date and even on occasion I have had to throw food out. I am constantly working on improving the system that we have to avoid wasting money and food.

  28. My biggest mistake was not starting sooner. Now I have too many things I need to get in a shorter time and on a limited income. Hopefully I’ll have time to be more prepared before the SHTF.

    • If you are in a pinch on funds, try looking in to Dollar Tree and other places like that. stores like that actually have tons of 72 hr bug out bag and survival items that you normally wouldnt think about.

  29. My biggest mistake so far was failing to test my equipment in between uses. A few years ago, I had picked some basic supplies. I gave everything an initial test run, then I packed it all up and let it sit. A while later, we had a major hurricane come up the coast. All the news reports said it was supposed to hit our area pretty hard. I pulled out my supplies to get ready and, of course, only about 4 out of the 6 flashlights actually worked. We had plenty of spare batteries, but the batteries weren’t the problem. The storm was 3 days out, so the local stores were totally cleared — not a single flashlight to be seen for miles. Luckily, we had the other four flashlights and plenty of candles. I was a beginner back then, and I definitely learned a valuable lesson. Don’t expect something to work just because you haven’t used it.

    • The most frequent cause of flashlights (and all other battery devices) not working, other than dead batteries, is some corrosion on the contact points. Use some sandpaper, steelwool, wire brush or even just a screwdriver to scrape the metal where it touches the batteries. When you can see “shiny” you will get a good connection again. I have resurrected several flashlights, radios, etc. this way.
      Speaking of dead batteries, se my post below.

    • Thanks so much for the advice, Pogo! Especially regarding the alkaline battery charger. I’m definitely going to check that out. Unfortunately, the flashlights weren’t corroded in this case. I’m definitely going to keep that tip in mind down the road though. Could save me a lot of time, money, and frustration with other battery operated equipment!

  30. Making an impulse buy on a large ticket item which wassomething you didn’t need that you paid for for many years. Now we process those decisions for at least 24 to 72 hours before making a final decision.

  31. I would say I was way too focused on the dog and the baby. I thought it would be much harder to find supplies for them. The dog was constantly sniffing out all of my hiding spots (we have no garage or other storage areas, just the duplex) and the baby is now over one year and so I feel like I’m back at square one with him. I can’t stock up on formula any more and he won’t be eating baby food much longer. This one is tough.

    • Beleive it or not, the formula is still a good way to give the dog extra nutriants, mix it in his food. the baby food is actually another thing that can give pupper that little bit extra. a happy dog is a protective dog in a crisis.

  32. My biggest mistake is not fencing off my garden area. Living in the northern Minnesota woods like I do, I’ve been feeding the critters instead of us! Darn rabbits and deer decimated my asparagus and strawberries last year!

  33. My biggest mistake is not inventorying the stuff I have, so I know what to buy and not buying the same things over and over.

  34. My first mistake was not buying.22 LR ammo when it was really cheap and plentiful,it’s hard to find now and when you do it’s limited to say 4 box’s of 50 and is not cheap anymore. Second is never store water in anything that isn’t designed FOR WATER/Food ONLY, it will taste awful after a short time,even the bottled water from the store are only designed for SHORT TERM storage.Third invest in a good dehydrator and a food saver ball jar vacuum system, they sell adaptors for wide mouth and regular ball jars and use moisture absorbers in most foods when doing so.Some foods like sugar’s don’t use them. Forth, get a good pressure canner,and get busy with meats and veggies.Fifth,get a water bath canner for everything else.Sixth, watch videos on how to can/waterbath and dehydrate, youtube has millions of them, pick a food it’s on there. Seventh,Use mylar bags inside sealed buckets for grains,beans and rice,it keeps those little beetles and moths out. Eighth, and I cannot stress this enough, “keep quiet” about your food/water storage, when and if the SHTF you will be a #1 target if you don’t.Youtube has dozens of ideas on hiding places for food and safe rooms. I’m not trying to scare anyone with that one, but facts are facts,Hungry thirsty people are desperate people.It won’t be zombies coming, it will be your informed and armed starving,thirsty neighbors that know about your stash.

    • cleaned out 5 gallon paint pails- hide extra stuff in plain sight- nobody will be the wiser

  35. My biggest prepping mistake? Taking my backpack on a hiking trip in a state park and leaving it in my cabin while I went to a restaurant in a nearby town to eat. While I was there, a wildfire erupted between the park and town and I wasn’t allowed to go back in for three days! I only had the clothes on my back. Never again! My backpack is within reach at all times.

  36. My biggest goof has been buying stuff I don’t really need, because it sounds good at the time. Most specifically, I have bought several “downloads” of programs….and never did them.
    Now I know that there are so many lessons on the internet, I am planning to use them more.

  37. Probably my biggest mistake was letting the neighbors know I have food stored. They are on welfare and I am sure I will be the first one they hit when the SHTF.

    • If your neighbors where smart they would stock up a little each month on thier food stamps — That’s how my food stores have grown in the past 6 months.

  38. I’m perfect!!!! LOL no really I have let somethings expire and need to be more organized and practice like this. If you don’t practice how are you going to know it will work when things really go bad? Also have backup plans. Would love the stove but I would never buy it way too much and I’m really surviving as it is. So my backup plan since I can’t afford this toy is I’m gonna build a rocket stove if there is no electricity I don’t think it matters how you get food on the table or how you survive just that you do.

  39. My biggest goof was ordering multiples of a food storage item because it was a “good deal” and seemed like something we’d like only to discover we don’t like the taste. Oops!

  40. Before I started using rechargeable batteries, every Xmas I would buy for “myself gift” all new batteries and throw out all the old ones. Well during all the activities I through out the wrong box. Double wammy cost for me. I’m a real stinker when it comes to having batteries ready for storms outages and road trips. Now I write the dates on the batteries themselves to make sure it never happens again.

    • EVERYONE!!!!!!
      Throwing away all of the batteries from a device when it does not work anymore is a huge mistake everyone makes and still makes. I found out recently that only one or two of the batteries are actually dead!!. The rest are still good. Buy a cheap battery tester from radio shack. Not harbor freight – it was junk, and test each battery. I was amazed.
      Then I found a re-charger on line that actually recharges regular alkaline batteries. It also switches to rechargeable ones too. Costs about $29.00. It has already paid for itself. I almost emptied my battery recycle bin. It also tests the batteries and confirms the previous tester. It is the “Maximal Power FC999 Universal Rapid Charger” on Amazon.
      I have no ties to either company.

    • Gaye – NFC- (not for contest)
      Margie – check out the alkaline battery charger that Gaye talks about. Just remember that the recharged batteries are not as good as new batteries in some equipment. (They show almost dead in my digital camera). But for many things they save money.

  41. Not getting started sooner. I have made plenty since then. All the newbie ones. Just found out I should not store my water containers directly on concrete. Listening to all the so called “experts”.
    Nice oven. Since my oven broke, I use my toaster oven.
    I wonder if you could use sternos when you run out of tea candles? Or as the other guy suggested, oil candles, or even vaseline in dryer lint? Would that make it unsuitable for indoors?

  42. My biggest mistake has been not using oxygen absorbers in all of my buckets, or not rotating properly!

  43. My biggest mistake was storing Salisbury Steaks packed in mylar bags in the back of my pantry. One of the bags failed and the meat started to rot. We couldn’t figure where the smell was coming from. We finally had to take everything from the shelves to find the problem. We were forced to clean most of the shelved because the gravy dripped down on to all the shelves.

  44. My biggest mistake in prepping was to keep it a secret…. Even from my husband. I had a fairly substantial amount of gear collected before I let him in on the secret. That is when he informed me that through Boy Scouting, he and our son, had a lot of the items I had searched for and obtained. Thus, we have redundancies. Not All bad, if something breaks, we are covered!

  45. My biggest mistake happened after a prepared a delicious crock pot meal. I had put everything in the crock pot, turning the knob on, and left the house for the day. Upon returning home later that evening, I didn’t smell the aroma of dinner ready to pull out of the crock pot. Upon further investigation, I learned that I forgot to plug the crock pot in. So very disappointing! I have a hunch that won’t happen with a HERC, especially since you have to pre-heat with candles, and I won’t be leaving my house while the candles are burning. =)

  46. My biggest mistake was thinking I had done “enough” and started slacking off. Now I realize I have been dipping into my stores, and not replacing them.
    Time to get back on track.

    BTW: I couldn’t remember what HERC stood for, so I decided it meant
    Heating Element Replaced by Candles!

  47. My main mistake was trying to buy as much as possible at first and not taking into account that some of the items we would never eat because we don’t care for it. I’ve found that I only buy what we like and not just buy because something is on sale. Buying that way is a waste of money and energy. Best to buy only what you and your family will eat and use.

  48. Worst and most costly mistake I made was buying food that I didn’t like just because it was on someone’s list of “what to stock up on” for emergencies. I am a lot smarter now and have found ways to cook and store what I like to eat. I have also learned to live off the land. This whole experience has been fun – a great adventure.

    Would anyone like to buy a bunch of MRE’s that taste like cardboard?

  49. My biggest prepping mistake was not starting sooner then just this past fall! Yeah I know, silly right? Me- Floridian- hurricanes- natural prepper– nope! But having learned from that mistake I am actually learning and thinking in a very different way now- always double thinking on purchases to see if they will stand the test of time, if they are good for BOB etc..

  50. My biggest mistake is buying FD entrees in bulk before sampling them. I bought a case of FD stroganoff in #10 cans, and though it was delicious, it didn’t agree with my Dads’ digestion at all! Now we eat a new item once a week to see if it is acceptable to everyone before I buy anything in bulk quantities. In a SHTF scenario, it will be less stressful to only make one meal rather than having to cater to different digestive needs!

  51. My mistake in the beginning was poor storage planning which prevented good rotation practices which meant I had to throw away expired food. Now I have a dehydrator and better rotation so expiring canned food can be dried and vacuum sealed. I’m still struggling with storage as I am renting and have to settle for temporary shelving etc. But that isn’t stopping me from doing what I can do (though I do envy people with basements).

  52. Our biggest mistake (so far) has been ‘overbuilding’ hubby’s bug-out bag. He had to sit on the floor to get it on and then roll over to be able to stand up. Needless to say, it has been re-organized!

  53. My biggest prepping goof…hmm. I’d have to say BOB cloth rotation. It’s been a couple of years and at least one kid ago. Not to mention the parents’ bins. We’ve done our own kind of growing!

  54. ABOUT the HERC Tea Light Oven…what a great backup oven! I want one…but have you checked out the price???? $389 for this model….WOW!!!!! A bit much for my budget. Gaye, how about you work a 20%+ discount for your readers. Doable???

  55. The biggest mistake in cooking during a power outage is forgetting that all your prep equipment just happens to be ELECTRIC…OOPS….Like the grain mill that I bought to grind all that beautiful hard wheat. I planned on making bread and baking in my sun oven!! Big problem was, no flour was already ground and major cloud cover that day for the second big OOPS. Looks like canned chili instead!!

  56. Biggest mistake is keeping prep supplies in different places and then not knowing exactly what we have or where it is. Organization is key!

  57. My biggest mistake was not considering prepping when I chose where to live. There is not nearly enough storage and while my landlord said I could have a garden, the location gets very little sun, I am not able to compost nor have any kind of rain collection.

  58. Buying things during shortage, ie .22 long rifle ammo, when the price has skyrocketed. Wait and let the price come down.

  59. My biggest mistake (so far) was not starting a rotation system right away. I found several cases of food that I had to throw away because they were so far past expiration date I was afraid to try them!

  60. My biggest mistake: We prepped for Y2K and had a years worth of everything,even toilet paper. 55 gallon water barrels, etc, then after Y2K used most of the stuff and never replaced it. We had a 14 foot wall that we built shelves on in a spare bedroom, bought lots of dehydrated foods, etc, had everything we though we would need. I have now started building up again, SLOWLY as my husband is a cancer patient and I am unemployed! Changing things around a bit this time. I love this blog! Thanks for the chance to win this oven, I always worried about cooking outside and having everyone smell it and know you had food.

  61. Although I started food storage many years ago, I did not have a good system of planning and organization. So here I am now with some stuff that is needed, lots of stuff that probably isn’t and more needed stuff than I can think about! Hopefully I can figure out, soon, what I still need and get everything organized.

  62. My biggest prep goof is probably filling my BOB almost too heavy to carry – and it still doesn’t have appropriate shelter/clothing for a northern winter! That still needs to get fixed. My funniest goof happened while stocking my first aid kit. I ordered a couple wound dressings from Amazon, but forgot to check the small print (i.e. read the details) and ended up with two 12″x30″ dressings – big enough to fill the whole kit by themselves!

  63. My biggest mistake so far was to store T-paper in the garage. Even when double wrapped in plastic, mice found it and had a comfortable winter before I discovered it. The Costco packs are too big to store in the house so I guess I’ll have to get some plastic tubs with sealable lids to store paper products.

  64. Having bought many cans of wheat 30 yrs ago and then recently letting my husband follow the advice of the county extension. He told my husband it wouldn’t even be worth feeding to the cows! He through it all away, and now I’m hearing it was probably better wheat than I can buy now!!!!!!!

  65. My biggest mistake so far was buying dehydrated celery and I didn’t know how to use it. I was a novice cook at the time.

  66. Like so many others one of the biggest mistakes was not starting sooner. We put off buying stuff because we didn’t have a place to store it. We actually had lots of room for storage. But we were remodeling and adding a dedicated storage area, so put of the purchases until it was finished. Now we have some catching up to do.

  67. My biggest mistake so far hasn’t been a really bad one. I bought several bags of sugar when it went on sale at our local grocery store and instead of putting them up correctly, I stuck them in a pantry in the pump room of the basement. Unfortunately, not long after that the pump room flooded. The water did not get in the pantry, but the moisture from all the water in the room turned the sugar rock hard. We did end up using it eventually (I think there may be one package left) but we have to hammer it to get it usable.

  68. My biggest prepping mistake has not been starting to prep in my younger years. Now with a wife and 2 kids, money is tighter.
    Prepping has become a fine balance between cost and necessity.

  69. My biggest prepping mistake was to be in too much of a hurry one day. I’d bought about 25 lbs of boneless chicken breasts to pressure can, and the number 25 stayed in my head as I processed the jars. 3 loads of 10 lbs pressure for 25 minutes. Agghhh! It should have been 90 minutes, not 25. On top of that, some of the Tattler lids didn’t seal properly due to the too short time. I did manage to re-can them but it was an annoying waste of time and resources to do so all because I was rushed that day and wanted to finish canning 3 loads before the electricity costs jumped up to max for the upcoming time period. Never be in a hurry, do it right the first time.

  70. My biggest mistake is not having my supplies inventoried and all in the same place. I was brought up by parents of the depression, so I have “prepped” all my life, save things……, garden, can, freeze, you name it. And all of this has come in handy now that I’m retired and on a very limited income. I only buy what I like and have been using it up as I go. But I still can’t find my Berkey water purifier…. hmmm. And I really need a heat supply if the power goes out during the winter with -30 temps and windchills down below that. I would have to move out… to the kid’s place! ha ha ha! NOT!

  71. Moving to an area without basements left a need for an extra room for storing preps. An unused bedroom was pressed into service for storage of several cases and pails of grain. One afternoon there was a sound like falling rain, which when tracked to its source was falling grain! The Goof? The light through the bedroom window retained enough UV to weaken the pails over time and lead to the “grain fall”. Block the light!

  72. My biggest prepping mistake has been not doing enough research on the things that I purchase online. Just not doing enough research all together.

  73. My biggest mistake is probably not doing enough research before I buy. Always seems to be I buy it then find something better and cheaper later.

  74. My biggest mistake was not sending off for ‘samples’ of dried foods. I found out I DON’T like a lot of the pre-made foods! Ugh! So I learned to get dried veggies and prep items so I can make food I will eat! LOL!

  75. I believe my biggest mistake was allowing myself to become overwhelmed with all the information out there and not having a plan of my own. Thanks mainly to you, that has been corrected. Instead of panic buying I now have a system in place and I’m slowly increasing the amount of time I’m prepped for. My goal is to have enough of everything for 2 years.

  76. My biggest mistake was not to rotate when we added things to our stock pile. Second biggest mistake was to buy the entire quantity of ‘whatever’ at once so that when the dates came due we were eating lots of one type of food. Now we rotate well, keep a good inventory and are working on increasing our stores as I have a feeling we will become the bug out location for all our children.

  77. My biggest mistake has been not saving enough money. I only started prepping at the end of last year. If I had saved even a little more money I could make more progress faster in my preps.

  78. My biggest mistake has been not keeping up with replenishing supplies! When children were young, I was on top of building my storage but as time passed and children grew up, it became a back burner item. Am now working on building things up beyond a two weeks supply.

  79. My biggest mistake has been not keeping on top of food stored in the freezer. Things get forgotten and then wasted. I decided to try to keep track with an erasable white board on the door. That way I have an idea of what’s stored before I even open the door.

  80. My biggest mistake? I prep in fits and starts rather then slow and continuously. Prepping for need needs to be a day to day lifestyle, not something done in leaps, bounds and lulls.

  81. From time to time, everyone makes a mistake.
    What has been your biggest prepping mistake or goof?

    Buying a a low quality item.

  82. I think my biggest mistake is trying too many of the gadgets that I see. Sometimes it upgrades an older item, sometimes it is just something that I thought looks cool. Now I have lots of things in drawers and storage that I won’t be using, that a couple years ago I had to have. It’s been a couple of years since I had a trip to take things to a thrift shop, so time to do that soon.

  83. I think one of my biggest mistakes in Prepping is, I think, “What is going to be needed, if or when the SHTF”? I think of all the things that will be needed, what will I have to learn, make my list, check off what I get done. Then, I get what I call “Preppers Brain Block”. I then have to step away for a while, let life go on, and then step back into Prepper Mode. It is like starting all over again. Practice, practice, burn out, practice, practice, burn out, practice, LOL.

  84. My biggest mistake is buying a hous in a neighborhood where houses are too close together. I cannot even drive a car around either side of my house.

  85. Biggest mistake has been waiting to start until after we retired. More difficult now on a limited income but has been great learning new skills.

  86. My biggest mistake I’ve made in prepping is to buy too much can food, which I really don’t like to eat to eat at all. I have ended up with all this food nearing expiration that I don’t want to eat.

  87. My biggest mistake has been not getting started soon enough. Better late than never though, and your site has been very helpful in this regard. 🙂

  88. There are several mistakes of note. The two biggest are waiting too long to start and not having a garden until this year.

  89. One of my biggest baking mistakes was adding 1/4 cup of nutmeg in a muffin recipe instead of 1/4 teaspoon.

  90. My biggest mistake so far has been to NOT buy enough of certain items I find for a bargain. When I decide I need more, go back and it’s gone. You’d think I would learn by now.

  91. My biggest mistake has been spending too much time collecting info, pins, and books about prepping. READING ABOUT prepping doesn’t get it done!!

  92. Buying scented jar candles at craft supply stores when they were on sale. when we lost power for nine days we realized they give off very little light – but the house smelled great!

  93. Out biggest mistake thus far has been when we built our chicken coop. We were trying to save on money by using a dog pen already on the property. We put stone in the gaps around the base to make sure nothing could dig in, but we didn’t account for an aerial assault. Our flock was decimated before we could get alternative housing set up. In the end, we had to scrap the whole lot & put them in a more protected location.

  94. My biggest mistake was looking at too many prepping sites and compiling my need and want list from all of them. Luckily I had not made to many purchases on smaller items I felt we may need. Then I found Backdoor Survival website and now I rely on Gaye for item reviews and information from everyone that posts. It could be too easy to buy everything listed on all of the sites, if money is no object. You have to step back, do the research or listen to someone else that has used an item and then make an informed choice. I may have five different ways to cook outdoors at this time but at least I did not spend a lot of money first. The tea light oven is on my must have list for indoor cooking. We had a very, very cold, windy, snowy and a lot of ice this winter. I told my husband I could not imagine having to try and cook outside in those conditions. It would have taken all day to get something to cook properly in minus wind chills. I enjoyed your reviews Gaye on the dishes you prepared. At this time I am looking for purchases that can serve more than one purpose, buying wisely and of course on sale. Make a spread sheet on items you need or would like to have and it becomes a reality list. Research well and do the best you can to prepare, spring is now upon us and so is tornado season.

  95. My biggest mistake I made in the earliest days of my of prepping was purchasing gear and not being more cost conscious with my money. Here are several great ways to find the gear you need at a price that’s more wallet sensitive. First, the Salvation Army Stores, go often and browse for used camping gear, and clothing. And the money goes to a good cause. You’d be surprised what people donate. Next are garage sales, auctions, and your local Army Navy surplus stores. And last, Craig’s list. I’m cautious when it comes to Craig’s list though, for obvious reasons. One of the first rules of “Prepping” should be don’t pay retail as it will impact your effort in building your emergency fund.

  96. My main mistake was to get out of the habit of organizing my food storage.
    I have gotten past that now, and set up a binder notebook for food storage and other preps.

  97. From time to time, everyone makes a mistake.
    What has been your biggest prepping mistake or goof?

    Not being organized enough and spending hours looking for things. eg power outage – could not remembering where I put my solar radio and my lugable loo

  98. My biggest mistake so far is in my food storage system. When we first started storing food I put it in boxes and stored the boxes where ever I had room in the house with the idea of rotating it out on a regular bases. The problem is it’s all over the house in different places and hard to find what I want when I want it. I have had a few occasions where I ran out of something, knew I had it stored in my boxes but had a hard time finding it. So I started storing my food on shelves out where I can see it all and get at it quickly when ever I want or need to. The mistake is I never combined my boxed stuff with my shelved stuff. So that food has just been sitting there not getting rotated like it should have. I need to get in those boxes and use up what we can and toss what has now gotten way to old. I’m sure I wasted a fair amount of money not getting that stuff rotated out like I planned. But at least I found a system that is working a lot better for us. I just buy extra of the things we use when it’s on sale and shop my food stores when I need more items in the kitchen. It’s helped cut the grocery bill down a lot buy doing it that way.

  99. I’d say my biggest mistake is buying something but not trying it out before needing to use it in. For example I got a great little camp stove for my birthday. It was sitting in the box for a few months, then our power went out & we needed to use it. We read the instructions but found out we really weren’t good at building and keeping the fire lit. It would have been so much better had we tried it out in a non-emergency (i.e. Stressful) situation to get the kinks worked out.

  100. My biggest mistake was listening to the wrong people when I began. It took a long time to correct all the mistakes.

  101. My biggest mistake is not trying out foods before buying them in bulk. Just recently opened a 10 grain pancake mix and it tastes like glue. We have a case of it. It also has soy in it which we are trying to avoid.

  102. I have a crank turn radio for emergencies. Power goes out and I start cranking to get news reports. Forgot to stock batteries that can be used and did a lot of cranking to receive sketchy reports. Keep stocked batteries now of all types.

  103. While I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, the biggest mistake was in not doing some serious research and reading before running out and spending a lot of money I really didn’t have. My number one priority has always been my kids, even more so since I am a single parent, they’re young, and they depend solely on me. Yes, you can run to the dollar store and stock up on some (relatively) cheap “preparedness supplies”. Yes, you can start filling up empty 2-liter bottles with water and storing them away; you can even do a quick run-through or mental checklist of things you already have on hand – but you really need to map out a plan before you do much of anything. What are the most important (life-sustaining) items you’re going to need for your family? How many days’ worth of these supplies do you need to have on hand, even as a first-pass (I’d suggest starting with 3 days’ worth and working up from there)? You have to “cover” water, food, shelter, and heat in the first wave and then build on that foundation – add some form of power generation and a way to communicate. Expand your food and water supplies. Add a few creature comforts for yourself and the kids to help pass the time and (hopefully) make everyone a little less miserable.

    My mistake was in thinking I was doing pretty well and then realizing that, while we had plenty to eat for a week and we could always wrap up in a few more blankets to keep warm, how did I think we were going to heat the food or keep the pipes from freezing? I can’t even build a fire in the backyard to cook over – we don’t have any wood or even a tree to cut down where we live! Plan B really shouldn’t be to start hauling out pieces of furniture to burn! A little bit of research and planning on the front end would have saved me a lot of time, money, and worry here on the back end!

    Good luck everyone. If I can do it – starting late in the game, making my share of mistakes, doing it all on my own with three kids and no trust fund anywhere in sight – you can, too!

  104. So many comments! You’re the best, Gayle. My biggest mistake was being hasty. I bought a little too “deep” in my pantry on a couple of items. It’s easy to buy a bunch of foods for a deep pantry without calculating the rate at which you use that particular item. For most things it’s OK because the product doesn’t really go bad just because you pass by the expiration date. But some things — specifically olive oil — do degrade relatively quickly. Always check (Google) the estimated expiration dates of products you buy and know your rate of usage. I like to store freeze dried foods for the long haul (some up to 25 years storage) which I don’t touch. But the day to day items have to be purchased with your usage-rate in mind. Thanks for all you do!

  105. Waiting too long, I am in beginning stages amd have so much to learn, also have to do it on a very tight budget. This would be so awesome to fool around with

  106. My biggest mistake so far has been to not purchase more prepper products while I had a job. Today I am unemployed and find it frustrating that I can not continue to prepare for the future.

  107. When I first started this little lifestyle adventure I went wild on Amazon. I was buying anything (that wasn’t too expensive)I could get my hands on without any research. Yikes!!! I was spending way too much time watching the news and started to panic. Now I am taking things one step at a time and your book “The Preppers Guide to Food Storage” has taken a lot of the guess work out of it.

  108. Number 1 – biggest ‘prepping’ mistake . . . not putting enough emphasis on personal individual health, overall endurance.
    OK, so I have some of the prepping done, much more to do – but when it all comes down, I know that I should have walked that extra mile, not skipped that work out, paid more attention to ME, not what I have in place.
    Don’t misunderstand what I mean by the above statement. I’m a 60 year old urban divorced woman, I take NO medications, in good health, eat great – but, if the time came, could I walk/bike to my son’s house and back in the heat of a grid down situation. Do I have the physical endurance to ‘hold up’ in my urban setting in a grid down situation… I don’t know.
    My focus now, is not so much “what” I have, but more aligned with “how” my physical body and mental/emotional strength will sustain me. I am in concert with many of the previous comments, yes… I need to catch up with prepping, more water, more amo, more, more….
    But – MOST important is my physical/emotional/spiritual prepping. Going out for a walk, want to join me?

  109. Like many folks have commented — I just recently started prepping and get frustrated that I can not build my ‘stores’ faster! “Plan your work and Work your Plan!” I am doing my best one step at a time! Thanks for the opportunity to win this great stove! Your blog is wonderful and has great information! Thank you for sharing!

  110. My biggest mistake…wow…how many mistakes? Let me count the ways. I think the biggest mistake was not keeping a good inventory right from the beginning. That would have eliminated a lot of ‘do we have this?’ and avoided a lot of duplication.

  111. Biggest mistake….holding out for the BEST deal on product…and then it’s sold out and not available anywhere, at any price. I have learned to be frugal, not cheep!

  112. My worst mistake is not being systematic about what I need. For instance, I have camping gear and some food, but no water. I have no clear idea of where my gaps are, and I haven’t been getting the most crucial things first.

  113. I’m afraid that my biggest mistake will end up not storing enough food. Living paycheck to paycheck doesn’t allow for much. I feel good about shelter (in place), water, fire (cooking), but not much to cook!

  114. Have likely made several real ‘doozies’ I’m not yet aware of… some that do come to mind are: not keeping a more accurate inventory of long term food storage items, not dating the first food preps purchased (causes much guessing re rotation), not doing a more careful job in sealing mylar bags when I first started to repack my bulk purchases. Have learned to be less lazy and more careful now…
    but I shouldn’t be too surprised if other “little challenges” arise!

  115. My biggest mistake. Not starting sooner…and when I first started I made some good purchases that wasnt smqrt. If the family wont eat something now…they wont want it when the SHTF! BUY items your family will eat!!

  116. My biggest mistake to date has been my not following explicit directions with the Survival Water Distiller that I purchased. The Directions say to use this equipment outside. I didn’t, since it was still winter up north and I didn’t have an adequate outdoor burner available. I distilled water on my kitchen stove with an electrical burner first set on 6 (until I had spent 20 minutes with just a few drops of distilled water. Then I jacked the heat up to 8 (just shy of highest). That must have burned a lot of electricity to get just 2.5 cups of distilled water. Yet it produced a lot of steam indoors that condenses on cold walls, and can even get inside of walls through electrical switches and receptacles, eventually contributing to mold development if the moisture remains too high for too long inside of walls. So, I learned to follow directions and not cheat the instructions I had read. Then also, the directions said to not leave the area, but did not state why to remain in the area (and the reason why is to listen for when the boiling “hiss” stops, which tells you your bottom pot is now dry). So, I would leave for a few minutes at a time and then come back to examine my measuring cup to see if I was close to the 2.5 cups of distilled water that I was told to expect. Well, the last time I came back I couldn’t hear the “boiling” hiss from the lower pot. I decided the lower pot was probably “dry” (which it was). I quickly turned the stove top off, and learned a second lesson about not following manufacturer directions. There was no damage, but there could have been. I had put 3 cups of water in the bottom pot expecting 2.5 cups of distilled water coming out of it. But I had failed to adequately estimate how much moisture would escape during the warm up time, and during the boiling time (before the distiller is added) and when chlorine, etc. is being evaporated away). This would vary depending upon how much heat I used and how much time was involved (so the manufacturer cannot be precise in estimating this). Next time I will fill the bottom pot 3/4ths full (at least 4 cups of tap water); and then when my distilled water reaches 2.5 cups, I will turn off the heat and let it cool down and proceed with following all directions. But first, I will find or build a high heat outdoor furnace (so to speak)that can heat water fast, and safely. I remain pleased with the product for what I bought it for, but there remains a learning curve that requires practice and some augmentation with additional purchases to the extent that convenience is important to me.

  117. When I moved my family from Texas to Ohio, I didn’t consider the difference in local restrictions or survival knowledge. I grew up with the thought process of your property is your property. Here I can’t do anything, hardly even plant a garden large enough to sustain my family without the gov’t. Getting involved. As for knowledge, I still need to get into touch with the local prepping community to find someone to teach me the local wild edibles… the plant life is so much different here than what I grew up with.

  118. My biggest mistake was storing a lot of canned good that was on a list of items to have in an emergency. They were items that I thought I would need in an emergency, not items we really eat now. Time goes by so quickly that in no time I had a big supply of items that were expiring and nothing we would eat. I had to give away as much as I could. Now I stock short term items that we eat and leave my long term storage to freeze dried items that I can use to cook in an emergency up to 25 years from now. Now I don’t have to worry about having to use the items up in 1-2 years.

  119. My biggest mistake is putting it off and not learning the basic skills to begin with. Practicing the gardening, canning, having chickens, having the knowledge and skills ahead of time and already make it a part of everyday life.

  120. My biggest mistake was buying a bunch of storable food when we had a chunk of cash and labeling it all with the date bought, but not identifying amount bought (1 of 6, etc). I pulled the last bottle of syrup off the shelf and noticed that it was exactly one year old. But I had no idea how many I’d bought
    to know how many we needed to last a year.

  121. my biggest mistake is not having enough medical supplies. we have good supplies of food water and fuel, but lack the medical emergency items. I should have started stocking those items along with food and water.

  122. When I first started prepping I read EVERYTHING and jumped into without discerning what was the most applicable for me. I bought 20 pre-packed Bug Out Bags, I was going to give some as gifts and others for donations. They were reasonably priced, but I didn’t realize how cheap all the items inside were. I thought I was so smart saving time! But I came to realize I could have packed each bag myself with much higher quality items at probably the same cost. The recipients of the gifts don’t really know the difference! They’re just happy to have something (usually their ONLY prep item).

  123. My biggest mistake so far has been when I bought a case of an unfamiliar brand. It was horrible. I donated it to a food bank. Even though I ‘saved’ money on the case I didn’t save anything if no one would eat it.

  124. My biggest mistake has been two-fold: not starting until just a few months ago and feeling overwhelmed thinking I have to do and learn everything now.

  125. I had started prepping and one day it struck me that I haven’t planned on traveling with my chickens. I started setting up a separate first aid/ survival chicken kit. I live with them everyday but only was thinking of my family and dogs in planning for exit. Super simple and will end up with great eggs.

  126. My biggest mistake was not organizing my food storage room. Tried to get the stuff in there quickly and because I’m so short I have to use a step stool to get to things. Building a new house and boy is this storage room gonna be organized. Can’t wait to use it and be able to find things.

  127. My biggest mistake was purchasing a year for one long term storage food, and then when I finally got shelves made to store it on, discovered that while most of the food is good for 25-30 yrs, there are several items (like pearled barley that I don’t have a clue what to do with) that expire within 7 yrs. So soon, I need to start using up the “short term” storage items and zero in on the things that will last. I am behind on water storage, but have 36 gal. water to flush, and 2 water bobs + 1 55 gal drinkable water storage. I need to add a min. of 2 more 55 gal containers. Keep pressing on towards the goal.

  128. My biggest mistake was not having an inventory system for my food stores. We simply added to the stack and didn’t mark when and where we bought it. The disorganization later cost us money we don’t have trying to figure out expiration dates and are these still safe to use? When in doubt, throw it out. It was very disheartening to see food going to waste had I taken the time and had the knowledge at the time to do it right.

  129. My biggest mistake was putting money out for items that won’t really meet my needs. I have a good stock of some supplies, but nowhere near what I will need. I’m doing this on my own, no support from family and friends, who thinks I’m off my rocker! So now, I have to prep for more than just myself.

  130. Mine was buying a used 4×4 pickup that needed some work but I couldn’t fix it. What a waste of money, Boy do I regret that. We really need that money now. I make some classic idiot mistakes.

  131. My husband & I began our prepping slowly and methodically, so we are fortunate not to have too many mistakes. But one that we did make was a doozy! We purchased six chicks during the coldest winter that Texas has experienced in quite awhile. Having no place outside to brood them, my husband built a very nice, large brooder that we kept in the dining room. It worked well for a couple of weeks but then the “chicken dust” got ahead of me! By the time the weather had warmed up & the girls had feathers instead of down, my entire house looked like we were living in a recreation of “The Dust Bowl”. What made it worse? I just spring-cleaned the house a few weeks prior to purchasing the chicks. Lesson learned: brood chicks outside, in warm weather.

  132. definitely buying “needed” items before researching thoroughly to make sure they work as well as they are supposed to.

  133. My son and I were going to make a cheap solar oven. We put it together perfectly except for one thing. We lined the inside of the box with foil. We were cooking chicken and the foil made the heat reflect back to the top of oven. Needless to say we did not have any chicken. We learned we have to make the inside of the box dark to absorb the heat. We will try again of course, but one of those HERC ovens would be terrific to have!

  134. Well I have a few mistakes to mention.. First I bagged brown rice in Mylar bags and 6 gallon buckets because I’m trying to be healthy but then read over and over not to do brown rice as it goes rancid much quicker so it’s been a couple yrs I think I’ll have to start pulling it out & using it & giving some away soon. The other goof is I bought 2 rain barrels to catch rain originally for watering my plants, started prepping later, now I’m not sure how bad it will b to drink this water even after filtering and boiling since it’s not the bpa free barrel! I live in Cali and we haven’t had hardly any rain do I’ve been filling them up w water from the hose to use as water storage and change out the water every 6 mos. oh well in an emergency after filtering & boiling I’ll probably be glad to have it! I do keep also about 50 gal of clean water ready to drink stored.

    • boiling,bleaching, and filtering are not enough. You need a distiller. You can have fresh drinking water from salt water or pond water if you have a distiller. I got mine through they are pricey but can save your life! 350$ your life is worth it

  135. My biggest mistake was buying a TON of freeze-dried food for food storage. Expensive, and not very tasty. It will last a long time, though. It takes up a lot of space, too. Another mistake – not storing water! Yet. We are finally saving up for some drums now, but considering we live in a desert that gets to 115 in the summer, what were we thinking?!

  136. Stocking up on processed food because it was cheap.

    And having gallon jugs of water leak by not storing them properly

  137. My biggest mistake was not knowing myself better. I grew up as the oldest child, the “take care of… (person, place, thing)”. I grew up a “Fixer”and fixing things for others was a knee-jerk behavior. Cup of sugar, no problem (never got returned … still no problem the next time. Need a ride, no problem (never an offer of gas money or a ride if my car was in the shop … no problem).

    Then one year we had a huge Ice Storm.
    Yep, folks showed up, no previous invitation, no extra food, no sleeping bags… the “just knew I’d be all warm and toasty, and knew I wouldn’t mind if they joined me”
    These folks had laughed at my non-electric backups : my little wood heat stove, my wood cookstove, my water barrels, they laughed but they came. I felt like the Little Red Hen. So by the 3rd day of these free loaders I cooked up a Big batch of chicken wings and about halfway through the meal I asked “How do you like eatting crow?”

    Then I got Outrageously Brave and told them they needed to get hotels or go mooch off someone else. By nightfall the next day they were all incensed and GONE, some had been family, others neighbors and ‘friends’.

    Wow, if it had been The SHTF event I would have been toast.
    Time passed I moved and never sent out any of those nice little change of address notices either. So, I have to say that for any Prepper one of the greatest preps to have in place is a knowledge of yourself and those lifetime knee-jerk behaviors that could get you into a terrible fix.
    I know better now and have managed to bite my lip many times since. Not knowing myself was my biggest mistake, things stay MUCH closer to the vest since then, much better OPSEC I guess you’d say. Except for that pig, but that is another tale with a funny and happy ending.

  138. My biggest mistake was getting all these goats. I have figured out the noise they make is just them laughing at me. No matter what I use as fencing, they just laugh. Barbed wire, electric wire, hog wire, no mater what, they go to the neighbors yard and she DOES NOT like this. Anyone want some goats real cheap?

  139. One of the first mistakes I made was to not write on the 2 liter bottles before I filled them with Salt, Sugar, and Flour. My son was helping, and put them all on the same shelf. Thankfully I only poured a little Salt into an almost empty Flour container before I noticed how grainy it was.

  140. Great site!! My biggest goof is not being able to convert friends and family to this lifestyle. Its hard because I know they will show up later but wont help now.

  141. I would have to say that one of my biggest goofs was that I took some advice from someone that told me you could cover eggs in mineral oil and then seal them and they would be good stored….. Well, that was an experience! Ha ha…. Especially when the storage was opened because it definitely didn’t work and wow what a smell!!

    • Only unwashed eggs store for a very long time (like six months) but they need, cool, dark, dry and they need to be able to breathe. Mineral oil will clog any and all pores, even an egg’s. 🙁 avoid that junk like the plague.

  142. Our mistake: too many irons in the fire, as they say. I try to handle the food, med & necessities storage and my hubby is supposed to take care of back up power, heat, water, etc. He has had lots of plans and ideas, wood gasifiers, making charcoal, rain water collection, but he’s never completely completed any of his projects. Thankfully I know this is how he rolls, so I at least have a camp stove, the propane tanks filled, and water stored in soda bottles. I hope someday he can finish what he’s started, he really has very good ideas!

  143. My biggest prepping mistake was transferring 25 pounds of popcorn into milk jugs then storing them on a shelf in the garage. A family of rats sampled every bottle. They chewed holes through the plastic screw-tops and sides, feasted for days on the kernals, and left a nasty mess before we actually heard them fighting over the trove.

  144. A slow start has been my biggest mistake. Believing I didn’t know where to start kept me from starting at all. The 12 month schedule has helped me a lot.

  145. My biggest mistake is listening to my Hubby. I love him, but he has a fight or flight complex left over from his Army days. He doesn’t seem to take into account his currently being disabled. We sat down together, I gave him a budget and let him plan our preps. Everything he bought/wants/lists has to do with leaving. Not that he planned where we would go, except “out there.” I finally put a stop to it when I told him to pick up his BoB. The thing weighed half of what he does! I’ve got us prepping in place and planning bags on season and needs rather than everything. And I understand that you never have enough of some things, but really… lighters, waterproof matches, Vaseline cotton balls, ever strikes – and more – he’s got 2 lbs in each pack of just ways to start a fire! In EVERY pack!

  146. What has been your biggest prepping mistake or goof?

    Mine was waiting to start my collecting of items we as a family could need.

  147. I started to late( it’s never to late) but only got really interested when my 2 sons were prepping and finely got on the band wagon with them. I still buy bottled water as I cannot stand the taste of our village water. I need to do something about that. I have learned so much from this site. I was looking at all the prep sites and did not like what a lot of them were saying so I narrowed it down to just 2 sites and everything is making more sense to me now.

  148. I found out the hard way if you are going to keep bleach keep it on the bottom rack and in a plastic catch bin!

  149. I am coming to preparedness late in life. That has been my biggest mistake… and storing water in milk jugs 🙂

  150. Our biggest mistake was not buying an 80 acre farm w/house that we had a chance to buy. It was on a dirt road out in the country. The perfect place for a prepper. The farm backed up to a large river. We would have had land to farm, woods for stove wood, deer roaming through for meat, fishing and water. It was a Beautiful place.

  151. If I had only known, I would have started Dave Ramsey’s baby steps earlier; this would have led to us eating out a LOT less often, and our home would have been paid off quite a while ago! Not necessarily TEOTWAWKI prepping, but certainly ‘hard times’ preparation!

  152. Biggest mistake was not freezing certain food items before storing that may have contain insect eggs that can hatch several months down the road. No one likes to think of bugs… but even with the best storage methods those pesky insect eggs are still present. Over the years I have found some dry foods are more prone to insect larvae than others!

    After three months of storing dry cat & dog food with a two year expiration date mind you. All my dry pet food had to be tossed…When opened I noticed webs and small worms. These turned into small moths…it was snowing moths in in my storage area. This does not happen with canned pet food!

    I now freeze all dry dog and cat food as well as chili flakes, dry chili’s, bread crumbs, black beans and walnuts before storing.

    I have a small full freezer so…I now make use the car trunk of my car to freeze large bags of dry pet food and bags of beans during the winter. Freeze items for 2-3 days when temperature falls below freezing (32 degrees) before adding into storage. I have not had a problem since!

  153. We’ve been prepping for 25+ years…before the term came into vogue.
    Our biggest mistake was not storage temperatures,(OURS IS A COOL 45-50 DEGREES ALL YEAR ROUND) but HUMIDITY. Before we purchased our commercial grade dehumidifier, all of our cardboard boxes that had store bought items in them had mold PLUS quite a few of the lids on our quart and gallon vacuum sealed jars had rust on them. We had to throw away all the boxes of course, many seals and lids as well, and quite a few of the contents in jars where the seals had rusted through.
    Even after the purchase of the dehumidifier, we still had some mold. Then we bought an OZONE machine (AIR-ZONE) which killed 99.9% of all mold spores. So finally, no more mold or rust.
    The above is only one of many many learnings gleaned over the past quarter century of stocking up, living off the grid, and being more or less self sufficient.

  154. We were in the process of packing and storing things in a storage shed before we moved. I packed a lot of block paraffin away to use for candles and other things. Well, low and behold, the temp got up to 120F + in the shed. What a mess that was. From now on I will store it in a metal container then temp won’t matter. Live and learn.

  155. I live on acreage in Oregon near the Columbia river. I have chickens, ducks and a few rabbits, plus dogs and cats. I am older than most and have more or less been ‘prepping’ most of my life. My biggest mistake ever, has been putting my dry rice and beans into washed out milk jugs. Mice can chew through them, causing great loss of the food. I now use my old mayo jars, not suitable for canning. Being glass, the mice cannot chew into the stored food.
    My second mistake has been not having enough feed for the animals. I found out the hard way this last December when we were snowed in for a week and ran out!If you have animals, you need to ‘prep’ for them, too.

  156. My biggest mistake was waiting too long to get started. Wish I had known then what it is that I know now. My choices in my younger adult life would have been different. While I do know that it is never too late to get started, I do hope that I will inspire my children to be mindful, frugal and seek a lifestyle that is self-sufficient.

  157. well mine is not having any money for food so i have pretty much eaten what little reserves i had……i do have some chtf prep items, not food though, but i am fairly new to this and just never did research until now, so biggest is lack of knowledge and knowhow, waiting so long, and finances…………i also wish i had some more technology to make some of this great stuff, like this herc tea light cooker…….what a fantastic idea…. sure would love to win it, would really get me going in the right direction……all i have to cook with is a microwave! thx

  158. Biggest prepping mistake? Stocking up on “survival” foods only to learn that my food-related health problems are from soy… any idea how many foods have soy? Gave everything containing soy away to friends and relatives that don’t have problems with soy and kept what little was left and have started over.

  159. One morning hurrying to get off to work on time, I put a nice beef roast into the crock pot to cook for our family’s supper and left for work….only to come home late in the afternoon to find no delicious aroma in the house from the roast/I had not turned on the crock pot!! As it had sat at room temp all day long, the dogs had a good supper. Don’t remember what the family ate.

  160. Biggest mistake – not writing down what I bought so not knowing how much of which items I have. Biiig mstake!!

  161. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, I am not perfect by any means. My biggest mistake is not getting started earlier. Other mistakes that I’ve made are allowing myself to get in debt before I started prepping, and storing and not rotating water I had stored in on bottles, so they leaked.

  162. I think we have done really well so far. We sold some items we no longer needed and used the $ to get started. My mistake was ordering online and having everything delivered to our home. Many different FedEx and UPS drivers brought items to our home, and most of the boxes stated that they were from prepping stores. Not sure what we could have done differently. I surely don’t like the thought that so many different people know what we have and how much we have. We have kept our prepping to ourselves, even our children don’t know that we are prepping.

  163. My biggest goof in prepping was probably to tell a very few (3) friends/neighbors to try and get them to prepare for their own families. Only one of the three actually began to store food and supplies for her own family.. the other two gave the old answer of ‘I know where I’m coming if I need to..’.. Which is not the answer I am comfortable with. I am a single parent, and spent way too many years working and being unaware of the actual need to prepare to sustain us. I am a nurse, but unemployed and money is very tight. My kids and I have enjoyed learning new things in the preparedness area, fire starting, food storage, survival skills, etc. I would absolutely LOVE to win this tea light oven, and we would actually use it often. Other than a grill, we have no other grid down method of cooking. I just want to encourage other single parents here. We flooded last year, July 4th. We lost alot of things due to water damage, but the food storage was safe. Our beds are actually mattresses set up on buckets of rice, pintos, oats, pasta, grits, sugars etc. Put a bedskirt over the buckets, and no one can tell. I have read several places that the bucket, with the mylar and O2 packs make it safe.. I PRAY I do not have any future problems with bugs in the food storage, but I do get anxious about that. I did go the pickle bucket route, and yes, the smell lingers, even after soaking in Murphy’s oil soap and bleach, but when money is so tight, a food grade bucket for $2 will do. The milar bags are so thick, I don’t see the food absorbing the slight odor of the bucket. I told my children last year that it was my goal to never payfull price for anything, and I rarely do anymore. I only shop the buy one, get one sales for jarred foods- jam, spaghetti sauce etc, and I no longer buy much pre-made foods. I buy single ingredients, spices and bulk foods like rice, and I cook everything from scratch. I make our laundry soap and bake my own bread. We live in an apartment, and I am not allowed to grow anything, but I dehydrate what I buy. I just want to say, no matter where you are, and no matter what little resources you have, you can do something !! Thank you, Gaye, for all the information you share. It has helped one woman and three kids down here in Florida. Bless You.

  164. my biggest mistake was to ask my husband to build the chicken coop!!! 2 years later no chickens and the door just fell off…. only to find out he just stood it there to see if he liked the way it would look from the house!!! sheeeeesh

  165. I’m sure I have many but most most recent mistake was dismissing the fact that my plumbing in my basement was suspect. I purchased a couple 55 gallon water storage containers, had my correct water hose, filled my containers but then couldn’t get the water completely shut back off. After several days and a dripping faucet with at least that many gallons of water, I finally called a plumber. I can add an $86 additional charge to my water storage plans but at least I can turn on my water now without it dripping!

  166. I stored some bleach in a closet and after several years the container cracked and the bleach leaked out destroying some clothes nearby. Now I know to rotate bleach regularly. I use it as it gets older in my laundry and buy new for my storage.

  167. Waiting and then binge spending and then there’s the whole problem of lack of knowledge… steps to rectifiey these many problems we face….

  168. My biggest mistake has probably been telling too many people that I am preparing for when (not if)the shtf. If I could do it over I would keep preparing but tell fewer people.

  169. I think one of my “goofs” was trying to store those bottles of vitamin waters for a DIL, who has some health problems. They don’t store well.
    I’m also going to an alternative energy show in June as I am trying to see about getting a wind and solar generator. If I can keep the sump working and 3-4 plugs in the kitchen going when (if ) the nat. gas shuts down I believe I can provide at least one hot meal for them.

  170. I have just started prepping this past year. My biggest mistake other than being so late to prepare is I tried to vaccum seal flour. Obviously did something wrong because my kitchen looked like it had snowed and I was a snowman! Have not tried that again! Not fun to clean up 5 pounds of flour that looked like 20 pounds!

  171. Biggest mistake I have made is a total lack of organization of my preps. This led my wife to mistake several boxes of long term food to be trash and throw out several hundred dollars in preps.

  172. My biggest mistake was to buy a 5 gallon bucket of powdered eggs from SAMs and not opening it up. When I finally did I found it wasn’t in a Mylar bag. I cooked up some for breakfast and it was terrible! It was also too late to take it back.

  173. In buying food I have bought large cans of peaches because they are so much less expensive than 8 smaller cans. You have to eat a lot of peaches, quickly, so that those cheaper peaches don’t go back and cost you more. Realize your usage and buy accordingly of things that you like.

  174. My biggest mistake was starting to prep later in life. I try to pull information from everywhere, trying to catch up. I just end up overwhelmed.

  175. After complaining multiple times that our ten year old oven didn’t work right anymore, I had finally had it. I was making cookies for a school function and showed my husband how they turned out knowing that after this I would finally get a new oven. Black and flat! Unfortunately, my kids were in the kitchen to witness my “elephant walk” and the heavily “placement” of the cookie pan on the stove. I stomped around complaining that I now needed to use a friends oven and to make more dough. An “I told you so” was in order! It was silent. Knowing my husband would support me, he calmly walked to the oven, turned around, looked me in the eye and said, “Honey, the oven is on broil.” It was silent for about three seconds until my kids busted out laughing. Trying to hold it in, my husband had to let it go.” What do you do when others are laughing at you? You laugh with them. A great family moment that after seven years has still not been forgotten. Especially each time I burn rolls, cheese or cookies. Yes, it still goes on, only now the oven doesn’t have to be on broil.

  176. One of my biggest mistakes is actually two-fold. First, my preps were scattered all over my house, making it hard to locate exactly what I needed or even to know precisely what I had. and second, everything was in one location- so fire or tornado or thieves could wipe me out. I have done better the past months in centralizing preps and becoming familiar with what I have. But I don’t have another location to store items and no real area to hide them. Haven’t figured out what to do about that. A storage unit doesn’t seem feasible- climate controlled ones are expensive and I think would be a target area in a disaster situation. Any thoughts on alternate storage areas would be appreciated.

  177. What do you mean by website? Anyway My biggest mistake with prepping for when SHTF is not doing what I need too. I have a special weather emergency radio, and a two way radio that I can’t program. I did get the needed batteries fir them. But I am rectifying that because next week I go to a ham radio meeting in my city and they will help me. I’m thinking I just maybe have found other preppers! Still need to get needed birth certificates and important docs together. When I read Backyard it gives me push to get things together!

  178. During our recent ice storm & power outage we learned we had several mistakes which we learned from. Thinking back over those long days & nights with the power out, I think not having our preps as organized as they should have been and lack of communication with the outside world would be at the top of the list.

  179. Our biggest mistake in the beginning was buying too much of one thing, instead of a little of this, and a little of that. Bigger amounts mean they all expire at the same time. We keep things rotated by dates but still end up giving away what we can’t use. Also started checking expiration dates in various stores, trying to compare. Smaller stores have further dates then the big box stores. When you think you are saving it turns out you’re not.

  180. When I accidentally stumbled across a popular survival website, I got so scared that I immediately went out and bought over $100 in canned goods. We really do not use canned goods that often. Our preferences had changed to fresh or frozen. What I discovered is that I no longer even like some of these food items, even though we ate them when we were younger. Our tastes have changed. I eventually donated quite a large number of those items to either family members who wanted them or to the food bank. Now I buy only what we enjoy eating now. The down side to this is though I try to keep enough for 6 months, we seem to go through the good stuff really fast, so it is a constant struggle to keep that 6 month supply.

  181. Biggest mistake would be lack of organization. With preps and every thing in life. I am a clustered mess. Slowly getting taken care of but have lost a lot of time and money in the meantime. Start organized stay that way. Much more gooder:)

  182. seems like, so far, one of my biggest mistakes has been not implementing a good method for keeping inventory…not having a real handle on what i have and what i need. since starting i have now seen a number of solid systems for planning meal menus and stocking accordingly. trying to implement that now. better late than never. :/

  183. My biggest mistake is not starting soon enough! I have now begun and bought a water purifier two weeks ago. With a recent trip to Haiti, unreliable electricity, dirty water, prepping seems even more important to me now. Thank you for your timely and valuable information.

  184. Biggest mistake, dehydrated meals. We hated them. They tasted burned and they use far too much water to be practical during an emergency when water may not be available.

  185. My biggest mistake is not starting sooner but I’ve been researching like crazy and have finally started preparing! Websites like this are priceless!!! Thank you!

  186. My biggest mistake has been and continues to be procrastinating. I have been reading and planning and not doing much. My intentions are good but I need to start doing more.

  187. Biggest mistake is not learning to use the equipment I’ve bought and not printing out directions for things I’ll want to make when TSHTF, such as soap, toothpaste, etc.

  188. My biggest mistake was storing some food storage in an unsafe place and losing all of it to rodents!!

  189. My biggest mistake in prepping has been procrastinating. I have been reading about prepping for quite a while but am just now starting to actually take action. If I had been doing this all along I would have my pantry and water stores full! 🙁

  190. My biggest mistake was not sealing and storeing my TP well enough and finding that mice like to make a nest in it in the winter

  191. Not starting sooner..but were on our way now…canning..gardening. . Are our main focus at the moment.I just learned to can meat..much more to do..

  192. our move to rural tenn was planned… planned… planned…then we rethought the plan.
    in the end, we did many things ‘right’ and only a few things ‘wrong’. the one thing we did that has given us many hours of laughter since that move was that in our planing we were prepared to go ‘off-grid’. (NO electricity) we planned to use WOOD HEAT, and a simple gas range for all else. this sounds great, and it was…except.
    my wife had very long beautiful hair. and to take care of it we planed to have her cut it short and use ‘short hair’ care items. this was great, until we had moved in to our house …the evening of our second day my wife washed her newly cut ‘short hair’ and then got out her curling iron to ‘do’ her short hair…OOPS! no electric power!

    for about 4 weeks she looked like Phyllis Diller.

    we did enjoy the move to rural tenn and its many adjustments…and today we laugh about the ‘short hair’. and also our plan to use our ‘electric blankets’ to keep warn on the nights when the wood heater, in the living room, would not keep our bedroom (at the other end of the house) warm.
    ((NOTE: water froze solid in the water-glass left on the bedside table.))

  193. My biggest mistake when getting started was spending too much money on cans of prepared meals. Now I’ve moved more to buying cans of the dehydrated ingredients I actually use in my day-to-day cooking. Mysupply of prepared meals won’t be wasted, but I like the ingredient method more.

  194. My biggest mistake in prepping is concentrating on the food aspect and not enough on the other parts like
    tools or equipment that you will need during the difficult times

  195. Once when baking oatmeal cookies I put a cup of salt in the cookies instead of sugar. Although my kids wouldn’t eat them, the horses loved them.

  196. My biggest mistake is not rotating food properly. I end up throwing old stuff out. I need to be more organized. I was glad to read about your 5 year old brownies though!

  197. My overall biggest mistake, was not being aware that I should be prepping in the first place. Now that I’ve been prepping for a couple of years I think that my biggest mistake has been not keeping up with our bug-out bags and food availability. Both of these have been corrected and I sleep way better at night knowing that.

  198. My biggest mistake was waxing cheese to store. It seemed to be working so well that I did several pounds only to find a few months later that the wax had cracked and the cheese was all rotten.

  199. Our biggest mistake is that we have not run ourselves through a simulated grid down experience for a period of time. I believe that it would be very enlightening to go through such a test run. We have some gear, equipment, food stores, etc. that we have never used, so we could become acquainted with those things. It would also be very useful to find out any areas for which we have not prepared adequately.

  200. Not reading the instructions all the way thru because I was sure that I knew what else had to be done to finish a product I wanted. There was one critical part I missed and I wasted a day and almost blew myself up in the process. Now I read everything twice before starting something I have never built before.

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