The difference is in the way they spend their cash and in what each group does to ensure the long-term survival of their families. There are actually no less than 18 types of preppers (I talked about each of them in detail here) but here’s another way to look at this:
There are preppers who carefully research, compare, and assemble their own gear, tools, and stockpile. And then there are preppers who just buy pre-packed stuff from the Internet.
Are those who buy pre-packed kits safer than if they didn’t buy anything at all? Sure. But by how much? I cringe every time I see people buying stuff out of fear alone. They end up paying 2 or 3 times as much than if they had taken time to research and make informed decisions.
Fear is good, it motivates us to take action. But buying solely out of fear (well, coupled with lack of information) is a complete waste of time and money.
Reason #1: You spend way too much money
Did you know some of these bags cost as high as A THOUSAND BUCKS? That would make sense if it also includes a firearm, but that’s obviously not the case. I’m looking at one right now (I won’t give you the link because I don’t want anyone buying this) and the seller actually has the audacity to tell me I’m saving $100!
Save your money. With less $300 (way less, depending on how much time you have on your hands) you can make the best bug out bag ever, and it will be customized to your needs. This doesn’t include guns and ammo, of course, but neither do these pre-made BOBs.
You can build a nice starter BOB for under $100 if that’s what you can afford. The 300 dollar price tag is more of an upper limit that only a seasoned prepper would spend.
Reason #2: You get to buy stuff customized to your own needs
Premade bug out bags have a little bit of everything. They’re one-size fits all solutions and never take into consideration the individual needs of the buyer.
Age, sex, location, climate, medical conditions, whether or not you have a bug out location, and the type of disasters you prep for, all these factors have a lot of weight. But since they’re casting a wide net with a pre-made bag, they have no choice but to market one size fits all solutions.
Well, they do have a choice because, they could make customized bags the way they make bespoke suits. I have a feeling their businesses would go to the next level if they did. But that’s just my opinion.
All in all, even if you do buy a premade bag “because it has the basics”, expect to invest extra money in missing essentials such as:
- thermal pants and underwear
- an extra pair of reading glasses
- alternative ways to start a fire!
- an extra cell-phone batttery
- toilet paper
- various medicine and medical gear for whatever condition you have (asthma, diabetes, etc.)
- and other bob essentials (read the full list here)
As you can see, not having some of these items in your bug out bag could cost you your life.
Reason #3: Not room for extra items
Since these manufacturers want to keep their product lightweight and compact, they’re not gonna leave too much empty room inside. So when you want to add more stuff to your premade bug out bag, stuff that you need, you realize you just can’t get it in there.
Sure, if the bag is MOLLE compatible, you can attach smaller bags to it but then you have to pay extra for those! Best to get one bag from the get-go and save yourself time, money, and frustration.
Get a backpack suited to your needs and keep these tips in mind before you purchase one.
Reason #4: You learn how to use it
People who buy pre-made bags usually throw them somewhere in the closet and forget about them. They feel safe in their own minds so the extra effort to open them is unjustified. But when you assemble the bag yourself, you get to learn so much about each item and how to use it.
You first have to compare several brands of every item, which means you have to read the specs. That’s quality information right there because by reading it in more than one place, it fixates in your mind. You get to read reviews of people who used each product and see the pros and cons. Most people who write product reviews, write from their own experience. You’d be amazed how much you can learn by reading the comment section on Amazon.com.
If you buy some of this stuff offline, you get to open the packaging and hold it in your hand. That may not seem like a lot but your subconscious mind is already getting used to each item.
And if you take the extra step to actually test your gear, that’s fantastic. Yet, it’s not something “accidental preppers” usually take time to do.
Reason #5: You still have to rotate food and meds
Something tells me a lot of the people who buy prepacked bug out bags have no idea about the need to rotate their stockpile. Food will spoil, particularly if it is stored someplace warm, such as in their closet (where a lot of people keep their bug out bags).
I’m willing to bet a lot of the food these people store spoils and a lot of the medicines lose potency because they never think to rotate it. Smart preppers, on the other hand, know that rotating their stockpile is essential. Tip: to make it easy for you to remember, you can do it twice a year during daylight savings time. Rotating everything every 6 months is more than enough.
Reason #6: They don’t give you the tools to get more food and water
Most likely because their target audience doesn’t know or care about how to do that. You need ways to purify water, several ways to start a fire, gear to catch fish, etc.
Even though they might tell you these bags are designed to save your ass for 72 hours max, you could still wake up with the need for more food or water. Just imagine the amount of water you’d need if you or a loved one got a deep cut.
Who buys pre-made bug out bags, anyway?
There’s a huge number of people who want to prepare but don’t want to put in the effort. They usually spend a lot of time on political sites, ranting but when it comes to actually being prepared, they fall short.
Why? Because they haven’t been taken in by the prepping community (most of them, at least) so they don’t know about these things. They fall victim to those pre-made products advertised directly on those political websites (or through their newsletter) and they never get to read survival websites like mine and articles such as these.
Now, I know there are a lot of exceptions to any rule. Clearly the companies that sell pre-made bug out bags and pre-packed food are doing very well.
But we know better. Pre-made stuff is, in fact, a tax for laziness. We realize that we have much more to gain if we take some of the time we’d spend browsing the Internet to learn new things and use it to pre-pack our own bags.