What I Wish I Knew About Prepping Before I Started

July 19, 2021 12 min read

what I wish I knew about prepping when I started

In today's episode of the Practical Prepper Podcast, Schmitt takes a step back and reflects on what he's learned in his prepping journey and started listening the things he wish he knew when he started prepping.


Emergencies can happen at any time and day, so it’s essential to be prepared. Download our free preparedness checklist today and be ready for whatever comes your way.


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We weren’t born into this life of prepping. We were molded by it. We learned to adapt and overcome in preparing for any emergency that may come our way.

But, not everyone became the flawless prepper they are today without making a few mistakes along the way.

Think back to the day when you realized how prepping was about to change your life.

Think of how responsible you felt for making the decision to put yourself up a beg above the rest.

Now, remember all those mistakes you made when you started. The ones that make you smack your head and laugh! “Oh, what was I thinking?”

Feels good to think of how far you’ve come, right?

Well, take comfort in knowing that, somewhere out there, someone is making those same mistakes as they learn on their own.

In this more sentimental and personal episode, Schmitt reminisces about his own journey of becoming a prepper.

He shares his thoughts and opinions on what he wished he knew before he started.

In his stories, he provides examples of several obvious mistakes he made along the way in the hopes of helping other people avoid them.

He may not be the oldest or the most experienced member here at practical prepper, but he’s come a long way.

Schmitt also reveals that not only has prepping changed his entire way of life, but it also changed his views about the past.

He takes a look back at the life lessons his family shared with him and honors his Uncle Charle’s memory.

Life may be temporary, but life’s pearls of wisdom don’t have to be.

Schmitt went from being an individual who scoffed at the warnings and lessons given to him growing up to be prepared for almost anything.

Stockpiled and prepared for anything from food shortages to extreme weather better be updated with the NOAA Weather Radio, pandemics to… everything short of a full-blown apocalypse. Getting a 

family home storage starter kit will save you in any emergency.


However, it wasn’t an easy journey.

He learned the hard way, through trial and error until he was baptized by fire. Be conscious also about wildfire safety.

Knowledge is power.

Not everyone has to learn from their own mistakes because you can learn from the mistakes of others. In hindsight and ignorance, we always realize there was so much more to learn when we started.

And, as we go further into the unknown future, there be even more to learn to prepare ourselves for whatever is around the corner.

Take advantage of reaching out and being receptive to the advice people give you. In the wise words of Schmitt's Uncle Chuck, “If you fail to prepare, then you are preparing to fail.”


Are you ready for a natural disaster? Click to download our free preparedness checklist today!


download our preparedness checklist




hello everyone and welcome back to another episode of the practical prepper podcast! my name is schmitt and i’ll be your host for today’s episode. it’s going to be slightly different than some of our more recent episodes. how so? you ask? well here at the practical prepper, we’re receptive to what our listeners have to say when they critique an episode, it’s the least that we can do for the audience that so kindly listens to us.

after considering your feedback following a few of our more recent podcast episodes, we’ll be taking a step back from discussing topics regarding the doom and gloom of a potentially apocalyptic future or the threat of a crumbling economy in a post-covid world. today, we’ll be pumpi     ng the breaks on the danger-bus to catch our breath by bringing a little levity to the show with a subject that hits a bit closer to home.

if i were a gambling man, i bet every one of you practical preppers out there have had this thought at least once. when you look back at yourself and your journey of becoming a survivalist, you’ve had to have told yourself, at least once, “dang, i wish i knew that before i started”.

maybe you were someone like me, who didn’t listen to any of the advice you were given growing up and had to dive headfirst into becoming a survivalist after last year because you realized you were foolish enough to think that you’d never have to prepare for such a catastrophic situation like the pandemic, shutting our country down and restricting our imports and creating such a hungry and panicking market as supplies became increasingly scarce. i mentioned it before, but my life changed when i saw people fighting for food and supplies at the grocery store. the shelves were bare and everyone looked terrified. with everything that a saw on the day they shut the country down, there was something i didn’t see. the people whom were calm and confident with what they already had. because they were smart enough not to risk placing themselves in a position where they would be forced to fight over pasta and toilet paper. i didn’t see them there because they were at home, comfortably sitting on a stockpile of food and critical resources as they watched the general public lose their collective minds. 

i have an uncle who considers himself a prepper. and for years i was amused by the fact that he stockpiled insane amounts of food, hoarded tools, and survival gear. i’ll never forget the first time i saw the warehouse he built. i remember him proudly showing off and explaining how he reinforced the walls fortified them so he had a stronghold to bunker down in case the neighborhood came to raid his stockpile of supplies.

“schmitt, if you fail to prepare, then you’re preparing to fail. when it hits the fan, you better be ready or else you’ll be like everyone else out there, out of luck”

that’s not exactly what he said but you get the point. he had kind of a colorful way of putting things especially when he doesn’t think you’re taking h im seriously. in hindsight i regret doing that. but i started taking him seriously. granted, i was a little late to the race at that point but eventually, his life lessons and stories became a mentor for me in learning how to prepare. so chuck, once again i thank you for doing the best you could to teach the family everything you could during the time you had, this episode is dedicated to you. 

apart from everything he had in his warehouse, out of all the food and tools and everything else, the one thing that was more important than everything he bought… was his mentality.

you can buy as much as you want to stockpile but the key thing you need isn’t fortified walls but a fortified attitude. now that’s something you build over time, you can’t go get a bulk supply of that at a store. it’s something most people don’t consider because they’re so focused on buying supplies. i didn’t get far when i was panicking over everything, i wasn’t learning how to utilize the small number of resources i had or how to properly pace myself when buying the right supplies because i was scared. i needed to embrace the situation at hand, not let my emotions get the best of me. i needed to think! i needed to learn what was important and unfortunately, because i didn’t always listen as a kid, i made a lot of mistakes along the way. but we’ll get to that. so first and foremost, the thing i wish i knew before i started prepping was the value of keeping a level head in the present moment and a clear vision of what to anticipate in the future. current events can sometimes make the future look dim, but don’t let it take you down, think of it as a challenge in a way that makes you prepared to overcome. always be thinking of the best way to overcome what may be waiting around the corner. if you have the right mentality when it does hit the fan you will be able to survive even if your stockpile magically poof disappears and you’re forced to be alongside those people panicking in a store. you will be the one that comes out on top because you have the mind of a survivalist. mental fortitude and disciplin, those are key. they’re what separate the weakwilled people for the strong. 

now, let me get off my soapbox here, so we can move on to some of the other things i wish i knew before i started prepping. one of the social changes i noticed that i wasn’t expect was all of the newfound attention you get when you have a supply of the things that people need. they don’t look at you like we all did with chuck growing up. no! after something like last year, the people you know begin to try really hard to stay buddy-buddy with you. if they’re not smart enough to prepare for themselves, they’re at least smart enough to befriend the people who do. i knew i could expect a call of two from people i don’t talk to that often every time i something on the news that talked about surges or shortages. some people will treat you differently in times of a potential emergency. even if you thought they would be preparing for their own future and learning for themselves after seeing the steps you take, some people made up their minds a long time ago to just depend on others people.

going back to pacing myself and keeping a cool head, i wish i had learned the importance of finding legitimate reviews when it comes to buying survival products. i found an “alleged” survival food that promised to be the best survival food you can have. and i bought a lot of them. i was so disappointed in myself, as i just sat there with my terrible decision looking back at me in the face, i still see it steaming on my plate, i can still taste the putrid fakeness of the potatoes and the rice. and the sauce that covered my tounge with a film that tasted like plastic for two days after. i can’t say the name for legal reasons but i am still angry abot it to this day! research your products beforehand. read the reviews on the tools you buy, and read the ingredients on the survival food you buy. if the ingredients are impossible to pronounce then it’s probably impossible to digest. i went through two other survival food companies before i found the one that i trusted and they’ve held that trust for over a year now. and no, it’s not because they today’s sponsor it’s because they have never let me down. and i’m proud to say that 

“today’s episode is brought to you by - valley food storage. valley food storage is my favorite survival food company. it’s the food i turned to when 2020 started to go south and i couldn’t get any food at my local grocery store. unlike the other brands out there what i like most about vfs is how healthy their food is. other survival food companies will put tons and tons of low-quality calories in their food - valley food storage doesn’t.

if you’re interested in starting or continuing your food storage journey valley food storage is here to help and they’re offering you an amazing deal of 25% off your entire order. this is the largest sale i’ve seen them have since the won me over it’s only for the faithful listeners of the podcast. as a thank you for your support

to unlock your 25% off just go to valleyfoodstorage.com/practicalprepper. that’s valleyfoodstorage.com/practicalprepper to unlock your 25% off coupon.”

their delicious meals, great customer service, and if you’re more of a person who likes to harvest what they eat, they even have starter seed kits. because anotherthing i wish i knew before i started prepping was the power in self-sufficiency. after i started buying the food and supplies i needed on my journey to becoming a proud survivalist. i started feeling this desire to depend on no body but myself. i wanted to learn carpentry i wanted to learn how to grow my own fruits and vegtables. and that’s what i did. while i haven’t built my own fortified fortress like my uncle chuck, i have built my own small home garden to grow food on my own. don’t get me wrong i still stockpile on my survival food. that’s not going anywhere but in me. but there is another level of confidence in being able to be self-sufficient. i can go out any time and grab peppers, thyme, zucchini, watermelons, pumpkins! what i can’t grow outside i grow inside with my little garden box. i wish i knew the drive that prepping would inspire in me once i started. especially looking back at the person i was compared to who i am today. the skills you learn and the security you feel is 1000xs more satisfying than the skill of being able to put in the right order of tacos at a drive-through. i wish i knew how much my life would improve before i started prepping. i don’t need to depend on useless commodities to make me feel better, i go out to the garden, i go to my workbench, i take one second to look at what has changed and i feel pride. of all reasons why i shold prepare, fear was always high up on that list, but pride is number one on my list. security second, and proactive third but i had to learn how to get there.


i had to make a lot of mistakes before getting to the point where i’m at. when i started, it was obvious i had a lot to learn. i reached out to communities, i talked to my aunt and cousins, i read blogs, watched videos, got opinions, took guidance, got hustled, bounced back. kept going because there is so much out there to learn about the world of prepping, so many ways one person can improve their life, their level of security, and their ability to overcome and take on any situation that comes their way.  because this is not a one time fad you feel like doing and being one and done with it. it’s a journey. it’s a lifestyle. it’s a change that you make that changes your entire perception of the world and the people around you. i wished i had the foresight back then that i have now. another mistake i made was underestimating the extent of my resources when i started. i thought the meager handful of supplies that i stocked up on would last me as long as i had the endurance not to blow through them. yeah, huge mistake. i wasn’t ready yet, i hadn’t learned that it’s better to have more than enough that to fool yourself into thinking that you could probably get by with what you got because things will get better before you need more in your supply. my supply had dwindled down to nothing way faster than i thought, and that right there was another lesson i wish i knew before i started. moments like that are what inspired me to improve my survivalism, to establish a more self-sufficient lifestyle. people may still not take it seriously but they have yet to experience the power of prepping. and i’m sure you listeners have your own stories. about the things you’ve learned and the mistakes you’ve made in the past and how different you are today compared to when you first started prepping. i bet you all could easily flood our inbox with personal comments, and tips of your own, and you should. you know that we’ll see them. who knows, maybe we’ll cover all the helpful advice and tips that you send us in a future episode. you’ve all personally learned so much along the way, that what you say could help change the life of someone who is just starting out on their own! leading by your example could help someone change for the better without having to experience the deceit of buying cheaply made survival tools or bear the terrible aftertaste of plastic by a fake survival food company that refuses a refund and lies in their marketing. you can help all the other novice preppers out there to avoid those mistakes and assist them in taking the right steps in the right direction so when the day comes we can all have one less person out there, fighting for the last box of pasta on the shelf because they didn’t make preparing for the future more seriously. share what you’ve learned to support the hunger to learn in those people who are just starting out. just like my uncle did for me and my family.

if you fail to prepare, then you’re only preparing to fail. thank you all once again for listening to this sentimental episode of the practical prepper podcast. i’ve been your host, schmitt, just covering a few of the things i wish i knew before i started prepping and i’d once again like to extend a special thank you to valley food storage for sponsoring today’s episode. not only do you have the best survival food in my opinion you also provide special opportunities to those who believe in your product. don’t forget you can get 25% off your order when you go to to unlock your 25% off just go to valleyfoodstorage.com/practicalprepper. that’s valleyfoodstorage.com/practicalprepper to unlock your 2 5% off coupon.”

and i like to thank you one more time for tuning in to the practical prepper podcast. your support and engagement with the channel mean so much to us here. until next time, be prepared and take care!