General Prepping WWYD - When to invest and when to skimp.

Discuss those "what if" or "what would you do" scenarios you've been wondering about.

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General Prepping WWYD - When to invest and when to skimp.

Post by roOism » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:17 pm

General prepping question: When do you drop cash on the "good stuff", and when do you settle for generic/thrift store priced gear?

I see posts on prepper groups covering the full spectrum from people running a battle rattle that costs more than my car to people that manage to make do with cheap alternatives to just about anything.

So what type of stuff do you save up and spend good money on, and what type of stuff do you pick up at the dollar store or make yourself?
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Re: General Prepping WWYD - When to invest and when to skimp

Post by woodsghost » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:47 pm

Stuff your life will depend on should be higher quality. Stuff that might make things more comfortable can be lower quality. Stuff that you have to buy multiples of for stashes/cashes, or bug out bags you give to friends/family, might also be lower quality because they are cheaper.

On the other hand, "value for the $$$" should be considered. "Good enough" should also be considered.

Reid Henrichs talked about a guy who came out to train and brought "a SKS and a six shot pistol." Reid had high praise for the guy and it sounds like I"d have no problem standing alongside him in a fight either.



I'm right now thinking the Chicom chest rigs are about the best you can buy, and certainly offer the best value for your $$. I'd love to try a UW gear chest rig some day though, and a TT rig. I may change my mind later, but the Chicom rig will always be the best value for you buck, IMO.

The Mora is about the best value for the $$ in knives. There are very few other knives I would even consider. The cost to benefit is just too steep for most of them. There are a few others I want, but if I only had a Mora, I"d feel just fine.

The ALICE pack is effective and far superior to any other pack in the $20-$60 range. Once you start to look outside that range you find better packs, but for a lower budget, it is effective.

The Sawyer Mini is a good filter, but for $10 more, the Sawyer Squeeze offers far greater performance and options.

So I guess the answer, really, is "what level of quality and ability are sufficient for my needs?" Then you buy that level of quality. If you only need a $1 poncho, why spend $5? If you really need $150 in medical equipment for gun shot wounds and $$$??? in training, then buy it and don't whine. Or don't buy it and realize it won't be there if someone gets shot. I see dysentery being a bigger issue in a PAW than GSWs. But then I see a real need for general wound care equipment and knowledge, so I have the gear and the training.

These are just my opinions. Worth what you paid for 'em.


EDIT:

Just watched this tonight. There are some comments made about Condor gear. Lots of folks seem to like their gear and some pieces of gear have lasted a long time. Listening to their experience, it sounds like some gear is good if you wear it 10-20 days a year, but if you intend to live in your gear, day in and day out, for 1 or 3 years, then you really want to buy something durable. That means paying the extra money for quality.

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Re: General Prepping WWYD - When to invest and when to skimp

Post by Close_enough » Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:50 am

First, figure out what you need it for (risk analysis). Start by prepping for the most common stuff.

Then, figure out what you really need and will use vs. what you want and will just be dead weight. A polymer Timex or Casio sports watch tells time the same as a Rolex dive watch, but is cheaper, a lot lighter then the steel framed Rolex, and a diamond at 12:00 is less useful then a luminescent face.

Lastly, spend the money to get RELIABLE gear that does what you need. If it doesn't work when you need it to, you'll wish you had spent the extra money on more reliable gear. I've found that basic models from brand names tend to be the best value.

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Re: General Prepping WWYD - When to invest and when to skimp

Post by Stercutus » Tue Nov 22, 2016 5:16 am

So the first video says:

1. Eat Ramen Soup and watch VCR tapes
2. Save Money
3. Buy Guns, Gear and Ammo
4. Profit??????


The second video was a little more amusing. When the guy on the left would say stuff that was out in left field the guy on the right would pause a second and the drive on, 6:50 vs. 10:30 lollolol.

Video summed up:
Guy on the right "don't buy these expensive packs in case they get burned up in a fire, buy an old ALICE pack for $20-50 instead." Guy on left "Buy this expensive Tactical Tailor stuff it's kewl"
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Re: General Prepping WWYD - When to invest and when to skimp

Post by Beowolf » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:37 am

woodsghost wrote:Stuff your life will depend on should be higher quality. Stuff that might make things more comfortable can be lower quality. Stuff that you have to buy multiples of for stashes/cashes, or bug out bags you give to friends/family, might also be lower quality because they are cheaper.

On the other hand, "value for the $$$" should be considered. "Good enough" should also be considered.
^ That's pretty much my take.

And, for the love of Pete, test your gear. I'm horrible about this, admittedly, but it's on my mind quite a bit. And it's almost the best way to determine viability (with the best way being the real world SHTF).

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Re: General Prepping WWYD - When to invest and when to skimp

Post by woodsghost » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:12 am

Yeah, the second video is pretty funny. I really enjoyed the dynamics between the two.


On the first video, something occurred to me today to mention. "Investing" and "skimping" depends on your family and life situation. I feel Ried is saying we need to be willing to sacrifice luxury when we want something. I"m all on board with that. My wife and I don't even have a TV, so we avoid a lot of monthly costs. We have very simple cell phones. We rarely eat out. The food we do eat we prepare ourselves, and it is less expensive food. We don't use the air conditioning as much in the summer, or as much heat in the winter. Our clothing is not name brand and is fairly simple.

We do these things to save money. Not for prepping, but because we are knocking out school debt as fast as possible, and saving for other normal goals. So I agree with Reid that in order to put your money where it needs to be, you need to make sacrifices and skip the coffee house drink, or skip a weekend or two out with the boys this month, or downgrade a few electronics, or make a lunch instead of eating out.

But there are costs which are too high. I strongly disagree with Ried in that I would never eat just 1 package of Ramin a day to save money. I can eat very cheaply, but I will not sacrifice my health, mental or physical.

And I have personally known three four prepper families who screwed up their children by creating a life of high dysfunction because of prepping. I have seen more on Doomsday Preppers. I have also personally seen, and seen on TV, how families manage to prep without damaging their children or the relationship with their spouse. But I have seen so much "screw up" that I know it is a very real possibility and a very real potential cost. I will never sacrifice my family on the alter of Preparedness. That is too high a cost.

I doubt this is the type of answer you were looking for, but I just woke up today with the need to share this often unspoken cost.
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Re: General Prepping WWYD - When to invest and when to skimp

Post by Close_enough » Tue Nov 22, 2016 3:05 pm

woodsghost wrote:Yeah, the second video is pretty funny. I really enjoyed the dynamics between the two.


On the first video, something occurred to me today to mention. "Investing" and "skimping" depends on your family and life situation. I feel Ried is saying we need to be willing to sacrifice luxury when we want something. I"m all on board with that. My wife and I don't even have a TV, so we avoid a lot of monthly costs. We have very simple cell phones. We rarely eat out. The food we do eat we prepare ourselves, and it is less expensive food. We don't use the air conditioning as much in the summer, or as much heat in the winter. Our clothing is not name brand and is fairly simple.

And I have personally known three four prepper families who screwed up their children by creating a life of high dysfunction because of prepping. I have seen more on Doomsday Preppers. I have also personally seen, and seen on TV, how families manage to prep without damaging their children or the relationship with their spouse. But I have seen so much "screw up" that I know it is a very real possibility and a very real potential cost. I will never sacrifice my family on the alter of Preparedness. That is too high a cost.
Living well within your means is probably the best day to day prepping you can do. There will always be unexpected expenses, and being able to deal with the unexpected is part of what we prep for.

It's possible to easily save several hundred dollars per month without any real loss of quality of life with a couple of simple measures. Brownbagging lunch instead of buying it, drinking your own coffee (the Costco brand is actually pretty decent), cutting back or eliminating take out dinners in favor of frozen "meal in a bag" selections, dropping cable TV in favor of internet based service or eliminating it completely ($100/mo buys a lot of Disney DVDs), and learning basic handyman skills.

As with any hobby (once we get beyond the basics, it really becomes a hobby) it's possible to go overboard. Prepping is somewhat unique in that going overboard is unusually self destructive. Financial investment (equipment purchase and maintenance, storage space, training), time investment (training and maintaining), and state of mind all have to be kept under control. And, yes, I recognize the irony that I'm posting this on ZPAW board.

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Re: General Prepping WWYD - When to invest and when to skimp

Post by taipan821 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:42 pm

roOism wrote:General prepping question: When do you drop cash on the "good stuff", and when do you settle for generic/thrift store priced gear?

So what type of stuff do you save up and spend good money on, and what type of stuff do you pick up at the dollar store or make yourself?
I'm a uni student...which means I'm broke.

My backup stoves are alcohol stoves made up of coke cans, I make them for fun and have a few so I can afford a couple breaking, I don't own a gun or a battle rig (don't need it). I invest in easy to make meals (freeze-dried and ready to eat)
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Re: General Prepping WWYD - When to invest and when to skimp

Post by ManInBlack316 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:59 pm

I've gone the cheap route and I guess I'm getting into the moderately expensive now (I didn't have any qualms ordering a $60ish chest rig from UW Gear, but I think $220 for a chest rig is ridiculous). The cheap route let me try things out first without blowing hundreds of dollars, plus now I have a few backups for family/friend. It helps if some of your preps also are things you can use now, that small rechargeable battery I keep in my EDC bag in case of emergencies also works if I'm dumb and forgot to charge my cell phone, that Grey Ghost Gear bag I bought to use as a small GHB/BOB is my EDC bag (to be filled with things in the car or house), that Baofeng radio I'm looking at buying maybe could also be used to just listen to radio stations while at the beach or something.
It also helps that I'm married, so prep money is my share of the "spare/fun money" we have leftover after paying bills, this makes me really think hard about spending big money on things.

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Re: General Prepping WWYD - When to invest and when to skimp

Post by RonnyRonin » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:12 pm

True but not terribly useful advice: Always try to find the distinction between cheap and inexpensive.

Nearly everything can be found for less somehow, if you can articulate exactly what you are giving up in any particular product when you are saving money it is a good start.

When buying surplus you are leveraging tax payers dollars to save money (with a bit of lowest-bidder and 20-years-behind-the-curve technology handicap thrown in). When buying used you are trading cost for risk (condition of the product, mystery problems, no customer support, or just a plan ol' scam) and time (sometimes takes me years to find that one-in-a-million deal I've been looking for). Sometimes you are just giving up a brand name, but this isn't as common as people like to say.

As with anything a lot of research will save a lot of heartache, and my super generic advice is just avoid things that are crazy cheap at an every-day price, 9 times out of 10 the same money spent on something used or on sale for the same price will yield better results.

Most of us start cheap and slowly upgrade over time. Some cheap things endure the test of time (for me; Mora knife, gerber saw, trangia stove) while other things rapidly get relegated to the junk drawer/backup kit/cache buried who knows where (ALICE packs, most surplus battle rattle, budget sleeping bags/pads).

Certainly I've spent boat loads of money on expensive stuff that didn't live up to my expectations, but if bought carefully enough it can often be flipped for the same or more if you are patient enough so I tend to view many large purchases as fairly low-risk. Once you've built a solid personal experience base from cheap and mid range stuff you can start to hone your personal preferences enough to better guess what it is you really want. At this point it is much better to just bide your time and save, as buying the cheap but good enough option instead of what you really want will often have you buying both eventually.
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Re: General Prepping WWYD - When to invest and when to skimp

Post by .milFox » Thu Nov 24, 2016 1:45 pm

High use (EDC) and critical (if it fails, you're dead) items should be top notch. The first because of the amount of use amortizes the costs of better gear (fails less over time, etc). The second, because the obvious. (ie, climbing gear, cbrn gear, drivetrain components)

Everything else? Deal hunt. Consider number of uses versus quality. A tent, for example - if you only camp once a month, does it matter if it takes you twice as long to set up /it's twice as heavy? Price / weight / durability, pick two. Or one.

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Re: General Prepping WWYD - When to invest and when to skimp

Post by RoneKiln » Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:02 am

Keep in mind the curve of diminishing returns. I've found mid quality generally goes toe to toe with top quality for a third the price. I used to travel a lot so I refuse to buy cheap backpacks. But a good quality mid price frame pack has lasted me hundreds of flights and been lowered or dropped down only God know how many cliffs (I used to rock climb a lot) and is still reliable after 2 decades of abuse. It's held up just as well as the top tier packs some of my friends have paid far more for.
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Re: General Prepping WWYD - When to invest and when to skimp

Post by Sun Yeti » Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:18 pm

For me, prepping is either a hobby or a form of insurance, maybe both. As a hobby, I will spend money on things I think are cool, but not more than my 'fun money' budget can handle. From the perspective of prepping as insurance, I'm not going to spend more than a few percent of my annual income on a disaster insurance policy. Either way I look at it, I get a similar answer.

I don't enjoy shooting guns for it's own sake, so I haven't bought any. That's a skill that has to be maintained, so it's too costly in terms of my time to be worthwhile insurance, and it's a terrible potential hobby because I'm not interested. For someone else who does enjoy shooting, the cost/benefit is pretty different. So, even if we're both rational people, we may invest in different things depending on what we enjoy, or how much money we have.

Get smoke alarms, get fire extinguishers, print out directions to the nearest hospital and hang them by your door. After that, if you spend a grand on guns, I spend a grand on a bug out bag filled with gear, and a third person spends a grand on more cans for the pantry, none of us are 'right'. There's just too much uncertainty in what the world's going to throw at us to say otherwise. Not to say just spend on whatever tugs at your gut; every situation requires a specific judgemental call, but there's no magic formula either; to have one of those we would have to know what was coming in advance, and if we did, it wouldn't be prepping.

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