overrated prepper items

10 Overrated Prepper Items

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I recently wrote an article that talked about the 27 most underrated prepping items. Now let’s talk about 10 of the most overrated prepping items.

I think sometimes we get really excited about certain products because we see some “celebrity” preppers using them and well, if they’re using it then it must be good!

Some of the gear that preppers talk about is actually good gear, but some of it…isn’t. Sometimes people get paid to hype up a product and sometimes they’re just doing it for the views and don’t really care of it works well or not.

It’s up to us as consumers to do our due diligence and really research a product before buying.

I know a lot of people aren’t going to agree with this list and I accept that. Please let me know in the comments why you disagree and also let me know some other overrated prepping items.

Here are 10 overhyped prepper items:

  1. Hand crank radios – Probably going to lose some people here but I feel like hand crank radios take way more effort than they give. You could spend 30 minutes cranking it (expending a lot of valuable energy and time) to get just a few minutes of worth-while radio and/or light. I believe it’s a better idea to get a solar panel and charge your device that way. Or get a NOAA weather radio or HAM radio (with license) and use rechargeable batteries (that are charged with a solar panel).
  2. Raw beansBeans take a lot of time and resources to cook. I think it’s fine to prep them, they are a good source of protein, but please know how to cook them before storing and make sure you have plenty of resources on hand to cook them in an emergency. I’d also recommend storing canned beans or even dehydrated/freeze dried beans so you can save your resources and time.
  3. Lifestaw and Sawyer water filters – These are the most popular water filter straws because they have been the most available for so long. You can go to practically any outdoors store and Walmart and find them. So why buy anything else, right? And everyone seems to like the size of the Sawyer. But they are far from the best. They’re okay to have around as backups, I’ve even tested the Lifestraw and it filtered that particular water fine. So as backups, they’re alright. Maybe it’s because I don’t mess around with my water purification, but I want my water purification to have activated carbon in it. I’d suggest getting something that has activated charcoal (carbon) in it like a Survivor Straw.
  4. Alcohol stoves – Yeah this is gonna be another big debatable item. I have used and tried alcohol stoves many times and even made my own plenty of times. But I don’t get the appeal. The alcohol is heavy to carry and it burns up rather quickly. Way quicker than propane/butane. For home use, it seems alright. My suggestion is to try the various options on your hikes and camping, etc., and figure out what is going to work best for you in longer term situations, particularly away from home.
  5. Button compass – You see these a lot on paracord bracelets. They might give you a *general* idea of where you’re going but they’ve been proved to be off and wrong more often than not. Invest in a good compass. They’re important enough that you want to spend a little extra money on one to be able to have in your vehicle and in all your kits.
  6. Hair clip survival tool – This is a weird one. I bought this cause I thought it was cool cause I wear hair clips a lot. A hair clip and a survival tool in one?! Score! Right? Not so much. As soon as I started to use it for anything, it immediately started bending and just not functional at all. Get a real multitool.
  7. Tampons – Let me be clear, tampons are great for what they were intended for. However, it’s gotten out of control when people keep mentioning using tampons for gun shot wounds or any other medical reason. Please click here to watch an amazing video by Dr. Bones that explains why a tampon is not a good first aid choice. Instead, pack the proper gear, like gauze.
  8. Wallet multitool cards – I’m not a fan of the wallet survival tools that have like the saw and the wrenches and such all right there. I am a fan of the ones by Grim Survival, though, as they’re super durable, you can pop out the tools and can actually make stuff from them. If anything, just carry an actual multitool.
  9. Snake bite kits – The problem with snake bite kits is that all they come with is a suction cup and a little blade. There’s a lot of studies these days on what to do when you get bit by a snake and many are saying don’t use a suction cup and don’t cut it. If anything, get the proper knowledge on what to do if you ever get bit by a snake and how to tell the difference between just a bite and a bite that injected venom. You can always put together a little snake bite kit if necessary.
  10. Bagged water – I think the concept behind bagged water is neat. The water inside the bag is purified, it’s fairly lightweight (because it only holds 125ml (about half a cup) and has a fairly long shelf life (around 4-5 years when stored properly). However, the biggest flaw is that it only has about a half a cup of water. And the bag isn’t as durable as you may think. I did a stress test on it once and it busted on the first test. That amount of water would only be good for an instance in which you are about to die without just a drop of water. I think it’s a bit impractical to carry around a bunch of those bags of water. They’re very popular in pre-made survival kits. Instead, take a water bladder, carry multiple forms of water bags and purification methods and find other ways to store and carry larger amounts of water that’ll be more useful for you.

None of the products above are necessarily bad, they’re just overrated and there are probably better options out there.

Do your due diligence and make informed decisions. Read and watch lots of reviews first before buying anything. And really think hard about how it’s going to be utilized in YOUR plans and gear.

Now it’s your turn to yell at me, agree with me or offer your own advice and opinion about what you feel is an overrated prepping item.

Conquer tomorrow, by preparing today!


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4 thoughts on “10 Overrated Prepper Items”

  1. 1) Hand crank radios. I agree, to a degree. Definitely not first line or even second. However, having something that you know will work when you simply do not have any more batteries or cannot access them; or the sun is not shining or you are sheltering; and several other reasons that I believe justify having a QUALITY crank radio. As a radio. If it does not have a light or phone charging port, that is fine with me. I do want to be able to receive NOAA Weather Radio Emergency Warnings and broadcasts, and get whatever information I can from any still transmitting AM/FM stations. Those few that have Short Wave and/or Amateur Radio bands and can receive SSB, all the better. I take them out from time to time to make sure they still work, but they are put back until I might need them. I use my other communications gear as my primary means of information acquisition and two-way communications as necessary.

    2) Dry beans. I definitely agree with this. And would include rice, as well. I stock both, but they are not for protein substitution. They simply are not the same as meat in terms of the effectiveness of the protein in the body. I do not store dry pintos at all, due to their limited useful shelf-life. (Yes, they do keep for years, but as they age they are far more difficult to cook easily and successfully.) My go-to dry bean is Great Northern. I can do everything I want with them. Instead of the beans and rice that many store, I store lentils in addition to the smaller quantities of rice and beans. Many more health benefits and they cook rapidly, unlike beans.

    3) Life Straw and Sawyer water filters/purifiers. Agree for the most part, and for the same reasons. The Sawyers can have the other stages of treatment added in line with the purifying micro tubing that is the purifying agent in the Sawyers. That is all they do, however. Purify. Take out biologicals. Nothing for anything else, as was said. And while a system can be built, it adds to the cost, so getting a purifier that is also a full treatment system to take out odors, tastes, metals, heavy metals, pesticides, and the list goes on for the good ones. And while the argument is made that our wilderness streams really are not infected with many viral agents, I am of the firm believe that if I cannot tell which ones are and which ones are not, and whether a dead animal with a viral disease is upstream in the water, or some victim of a viral outbreak is upstream in the water, filling it with thousands of viruses, I am going to purify all my water, as well as treat it for everything else, too.

    4) Alcohol stoves. Another one that I agree with, to a degree. I am in the process of choosing which of the quality alcohol stoves I want to put into several of my modular kits. Primarily for the reason that I want options. As many as I can get that are effective and reasonably priced. I may not be able to get propane, butane, white gas, or the other standard fuels. I might be able to find one of the usable alcohol fuels, though. I stock it at home, but the thing is, if I am out and about, and I cannot use my other stoves for whatever reason, I have enough alcohol to get by for a couple of days, and will be looking for any and all of the fuels that I can use.

    5) Button compass. Another agree, to a degree. There are some very good button compasses. They are not a penny a piece, or even a dollar each. You do have to pay for quality. And quality button compasses can be had. Most, as was said, do give the general direction of north (or point to wherever the magnetic north pole is at the moment), but some are far more accurate than that, if you look for them and pay the price.

    6) Hair clip tool. Never even seen this one, so I will leave that judgement to Morgan.

    7) Tampons. 100% agree. I am glad someone with some authority and respect in the industry is saying this, as well. I was taught to never put anything IN the body. That includes plugging bullet holes. There are far better ways to treat them, with far fewer risks. And the other uses, such as fire starters and such, do work, but so do many other things. I believe tampons fall into the group of prep items that need to be kept, in quantity, for the purpose for which they were made. Because alternatives are simply not very good.

    8) Wallet multi-tool cards. Agree to a degree. The overwhelming majority of the freebee and $1 or $2 cards are not well enough made, even the few that have a decent design, to waste the space and weight in my wallet. I have found a couple that I do carry of that type. I also like the Grim cards mentioned, and have found most of the ReadyMan cards to be highly useful. A couple of similar items I carry are a folding wallet LED light. Not a great deal of direct light, but in absolute darkness it is amazing what it will do. The other item is one of the quality folding wallet knives. I have seen junk ones, but the ones I have are very well made, and extremely sharp.

    9) Snake bite kits. Most are pretty much useless, and some downright hazardous. A couple of them, however, I believe do have some use in a few limited circumstances. As much for various spider, wasp/bee/yellow jacket, and scorpion hits as snakes. Though, again, in a few instances they can be of use by those that are aware of their limitations as well as their strengths. It takes research to find out the best ways to use the good ones, done by people in the field that have been at risk, and have had to treat such things in the field. They have come up with some innovative ways that are safe, and at least somewhat effective in some circumstances. Best to be prepared in ways so you do not get bitten by much of anything.

    10) Bagged water. I disagree with this one. I have a great deal of bagged water and rotate it out regularly. The limitations listed in the article are quite true, for the most part, but some of those limitations I actually consider advantages. At least for me. The small size helps control water intake, and more importantly, waste, especially by children. (And clueless adults.) Handing them a 125ml pouch of water will help encourage them to conserve and not waste. And, hopefully, gain a quick lesson in just how important water is. If one pouch is not enough, give them a second. Even third and fourth if it is really needed. If you hand them a 500ml or larger water bottle, bottled water or in a reusable bottle, I can almost guarantee that at least some of it will be wasted, and possibly more consumed than is needed in some circumstances. So, yes, I have and use water pouches. Many of them. I do not consider throwing one or two in a bag a ‘water supply’. Though I must say, I do not throw the out of date one away. They do go into bags, but as wash water and such.

    Other things I consider useless are most of the contents of most ‘Altoids’ tin kits. So many of the items are included simply because they are small enough to fit. Most have no practical use, though. Three tiny hooks, a couple of split shot, and 10-feet of 2-pound line simply is not going to catch very many fish. They would be better used to catch birds, but that is something else. Just because they fit they are almost always put in the small kits. Better use of space, I believe, would be to put in a wallet fishing card. You get a great deal more of the hard to make items, with even less space and weight. The same goes for a sewing kit with six needles each with different colors of thread. Two needles, pre-threaded with white and black threads are enough. And the list goes on. Just because it fits is not justification for including in kits. Neither is price. If it is cheap (opposed to a bargain or quality at a good price), it is probably not worth what was paid for, and with the problems of false confidence given by having ‘survival’ equipment with you, can actually be a hazard in the long run.

    Several more items that are miniature versions of various tools, usually cheaply made, I feel are pretty much useless, though often recommended to be part of a kit. You cannot do anything effective with a conventional hammer head with a four inch handle. Especially one that only weighs a couple of ounces. I see these all the time. A hammer head, pliers with jaws that do not align, knife blades that cannot be sharpened, and tools that do not fit anything standard. Not a one of them would I give to anyone I care about. I would give a box car load to people that I do not like, though, and tell them how well equipped they are. lol

    There are so many other things that I find laughable, and often downright dangerous that are being sold as prepper necessities. When you are contemplating that ‘cool’, ‘neat’, inexpensive, ‘must have’ item think about how one of your children could use it, or a dear friend that is elderly. Would they be able to do what the item is intended to do, with the item? You might be able to. Can they? Because they might be the ones that have to in a bad situation.

    Just my opinion.

    Jerry D Young

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