You remember the meaning of KISS, right? Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Prepping has gone high-tech. You can now outfit your bug-out location with a complete cadre of solar panels, deep-cycle batteries, generators, and other accouterments that will keep you in every possible comfort if the bleep were to hit the fan. Why, if you pour enough money into your prepping efforts, you hardly have to change your modern comfortable lifestyle at all. Let the other poor saps struggle to cope - you'll be living in style.
Until, of course, you blow an inverter. Or run out of diesel. Or the batteries fail. If you haven't adapted to life without conveniences, you'll be in deep doo-doo if your conveniences fail. It's a whole lot easier to read about this stuff and become an armchair expert than it is to actually do stuff - and fail.
My friend Enola Gay, who knows a thing or three about the harsh realities of off-grid living, wrote an excellent piece on why the most intelligent approach to prepping is the simplest. Consider the conveniences of our pioneer forefathers and embrace their wisdom and creative solutions to their basic needs.
Along those lines, SurvivalBlog had an equally excellent piece called The Hard Truth about Starting Your Survival Homestead. Believe me, this writer knows what he's talking about. "I have noticed a frightening trend being used by many of the “survival seed” companies that have started up in the past several years. The same trend shows up on many “survival/ prepping” web sites. This is pushing the idea that in TEOTWAWKI one merely needs to open the bucket and have an instant survival homestead. That isn't necessarily so," he writes. "The Garden of Eden in a Bucket group would have you believe that these skills can be learned and preparations made after the fact."
Let's face it, most of us didn't grow up learning homesteading or survival skills at our parents' knees. If we want to acquire the wisdom of our forefathers and their seemingly (emphasis on seemingly) effortless techniques for living a low-tech rugged lifestyle, we have to learn them the hard way. I had to teach myself to can, to milk a cow, to make cheese, to garden, and an endless list of other skills. And let me assure you I fail all the time. That's the price I pay for having grown up living a soft and modern life.
But here's the thing: today, everyone lives a soft and modern life. (Well, almost everyone.) It's not meant to be an insult, it's just the truth. The dangerous part is when we think we can just effortlessly - tra la la - waltz into a pioneer lifestyle in a "bleep" situation and expect everything to be just like it is in the books. If we plant a garden, it will grow. If we get a cow, she'll be gentle, healthy, and give endless milk with hardly any effort on our part. If we buy a farm, fences will never break down and barns will never need repair and cougars will never take a calf.
I encourage any and all prepping efforts, but please - please - don't think homesteading or low-tech living will be easy or trouble-free if you spend enough money or read enough books. You need to go through trials and errors and endless failures at a time when those failures won't mean the difference between life and death.