Building Redundancies Into Your Preps
In the military we were taught, “Two is one, one is none.” It was stressed that if you only have one of something important you can’t depend on it; it will eventually break, fail, be lost, or stolen. We can’t even imagine all the ways something can break or fail. And, according to the infamous Murphy, that failure will happen at the worst possible time. Everything works before it breaks.
Does this mean we need to have two, or more, of everything? Of course not. Mostly we are referring to what the military would call ‘mission essential gear’. Stuff you need to have–or really want to have–to overcome foreseeable challenges. In the military, a weapon and a radio are examples of mission essential gear; if one of those items fail, the mission will likely also fail. So look at your preps and ask yourself, which items are ‘mission essential’?
We still don’t have to have two of every essential item. Yes, some things you’ll need to have extras, but others you can have an alternative that will work. I don’t feel the need to carry two identical pocketknives in case I lose or break one. I can carry one pocketknife and one multi-tool–which also serves additional purposes–and have a backup knife. Start by analyzing your five basic needs: 1) food, 2) water, 3) shelter, 4) security, and 5) energy and decide how much redundancy you need to build into each system. Some are already in place, i.e. if your freezer goes out, you still have your non-perishable foods; if your water filter breaks, you can still boil water.
Also important to consider is where you store your redundancies. If you have five ways to make fire, all carried in one pouch; yeah one is none. All your food preps in the basement and it floods; all your guns in a gun safe and it electronically fails.
But it’s a hassle to be redundant. “Dammit, I finally have one and now you’re telling me I have to get two?” Or, “They’re all nice and neat there together and I don’t have space to put them in two (or three) separate locations.” And if two is better than one, is three better than two, and four even better? Decide for yourself–doing your best to filter out paranoia–at what point do you feel safe and prepared? Don’t get too carried away; even if you have the money and space, rotating all those extra items can become a resented inconvenience.
Stuff is transient; redundancy in knowledge and skills is critical also. Knowing more than one way to do something significantly increases the chance of success. Have a backup plan. Being mentally and physically prepared will allow you to improvise, adapt, and overcome.
There is an old army joke about a combat soldier getting two wishes from a genie. He thinks and decides he wants a magazine for his rifle that never runs out of bullets, and poof it is laying in his hand. The genie asks for the second wish, after pondering the soldier says proudly “I want another one…”