The Moderation Key: How to Recognize When Prepping Has Gone Too Far

Now, I’m an advocate for preparation in almost every form for almost every situation. In nearly all cases I will urge you to err on the side of over-preparation as opposed to being underprepared. Which is exactly why this is such a difficult topic for me to discuss. But it is a truth that every survivalist must face at some point or another: prepping can go too far. And that when it does, it can be ugly. This is why you must understand the moderation key.

Above all, any prepper or survival enthusiast should value realism. And at a certain point over preparing gets pretty unrealistic. Do you really need ten years worth of canned beans stashed in your garage? Are you really going to use three entire pallets of ammo? Will that warehouse full of gasoline canisters all get used before they go bad?

The Moderation Key: How to Recognize When Prepping Has Gone Too Far cans

The Moderation Key

These are things you have to think about. Don’t get me wrong: by no means am I suggesting that you stop prepping because you think you’ve finished the job. Updating your survival equipment and systems should be a constant game of checking expiration dates, replacing bad meds and food, refining your “bug out bag”, and replacing old tech with new tech. But use common sense and listen to your friends when they start telling you things like:

“You’re going crazy – no, you DO NOT need to mortgage your home for a Panzer Tank.”

When Does Prepping Go Too Far?

So how far is too far? Well, that isn’t an easy question to answer. Because everyone is going to have different skills, tools, resources, and levels of assistance when it comes to a disaster situation or the end-times. Some people may only have/need a single backpack to ditch town with, other people may have a pickup truck full of gear, supplies and loved ones. It will vary for every person and every situation.

We all worry – some of us more than others. And that is fine. But when someone’s persecution complex starts hampering his or her day-to-day lives it is a problem. Generally, there are a few signs and symptoms of a prepper gone overboard, telltale indications that someone is infringing upon extremely paranoid territory.

The Moderation Key: How to Recognize When Prepping Has Gone Too Far full truck of food


This is the most common issue when it comes to over-prepping. Because it is easy for people to get carried away when they are thinking about their own safety. But if you go broke and end up homeless and starving on the street because you spent too much on survival gear and went bankrupt, that in itself is a pretty big survival fuck-up. Right? Right. So watch your budget. And don’t spend outside of it – emergency preparation is extremely important but not more important than food and rent.

Stockpile Overload:

Do you have an entire Costco in your garage? Do you honestly think you’ll live to eat it all before it is stolen from you or before you decide to move on? Maybe if you live in the boonies and have some land to yourself this is an appropriate measure of preparation, but if you are in a neighborhood or city it’s simply not reasonable to have a stockpile of food large enough to feed the population of Bangladesh.

When You Become a Criminal:

I know that laws and regulations can be a pain in the ass. And I know that sometimes breaking a small law in a little way isn’t that big of a deal when you are doing it to ensure your own survival. But when you start illegally excavating in your backyard to build an unsanctioned nuclear bunker you are going too far. Do you have a shed full of RPG’s and C4, you have probably gone too far. If you commence a pre-eminent attack on the government and police, to get them before they get you, you’ve definitely gone too far. If your house is booby trapped like the house in Home Alone, you have gone too far…

You Are Missing Out On Life:

This is perhaps the most important symptom of over-preparedness on this list. Because if you are so worried about the apocalypse or natural disasters, or civil unrest that you let it start hampering your experience as a human being, you have a BIG problem. Paranoia can be helpful, but it can also be crippling. If you are avoiding people altogether, staying locked inside, or spending more time worrying than enjoying yourself, you need to take a chill pill. Preparation is only a means to ensure survival so you can continue to enjoy your life – if preparation gets in the way of your life and prevents you from living it, then there’s no point in prepping in the first place.

Too Many Weapons:

Listen, we all love our guns and our knives. And everyone has a couple weapons that they’re saving for an extended emergency or disaster (and if you don’t yet, you need to get on that STAT). But at a point, you have too many. Realistically a person can only hold two knives or two guns or one of each at once. A person can only carry one or two rifles. And a person can only carry so much ammo… which means that if you have a garage full of handguns and assault rifles and pallets on pallets of ammo, you are probably way over-prepared (and way over budget). There are thousands and thousands of survival scenarios someone can get stuck in, but I can only think of a handful where a gun would come in handy, and fewer still where you’d need enough guns to rob Fort Knox.

Finding the Balance

balanced preparaion | The Moderation Key

It’s a Goldilocks problem – too much preparation and your a broke paranoid freak who missed out on life. Too little and you’re just dead. I don’t have a way of telling you exactly when you’ve over-prepared but the symptoms listed above should give you some good indicators.

Once again, I don’t want anyone to go underprepared on my account: it takes a lot to go too far, so don’t get paranoid that you’re being too paranoid (or worse yet, paranoid that you aren’t being paranoid enough).

But wouldn’t it be a waste to spend your life savings, and decades preparing for the worst, buying gear and storing food away until you had no more space, and being generally terrified that the end of the world was right around the corner, only to get bogged down and ruined by your own investment in emergency preparation? That’s called irony, and we all know what irony can be…

Some people will probably find all of this intuitive, a simple matter of common sense. Other’s might be surprised to discover that they’ve been over-prepared for years and have to go outside to dismantle their front lawn anti-aircraft gun. Some people might even realize they’re way underprepared compared to the rest of the survivalist community, and decide they need to do more to get ready for the end. Just be careful. Because as with everything, when it comes to survival preparation, moderation is key.

Up Next: Top 10 Natural Remedies for Chicken and Duck Keeping

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