“One is none and two is one” is an old saw for most serious preppers. It addresses the fact that if you have only one of something, you may soon have none since it is likely to break or wear out. Redundancy is important, but don’t forget to add some variety to your redundancy.
For example, imagine that you decided to count on a water filter to filter all your water. You go out and by a Katadyn Ceradyn filter or a Big Berkey. Knowing that “one is none and two is one” you buy the spare parts kit and some extra filters. Knowing that you can always boil water if necessary, you figure you are covered.
But having only one approach to water purification is a potential liability. If you need to bug out on foot, you can’t haul a big gravity filter – you need a smaller, portable filter like backpackers use. If you are in the field and need to quickly purify water, you might be better off with a filtration straw or a sports bottle filter. There may be times when having water purification tablets is also a good idea due to their small size and low cost.
The same rule applies to many areas. For example, if you are picking up some heirloom seeds to store, don’t buy only one variety of green beans or squash. What if one variety does not perform well in your zone or your soil conditions? What if a particular mold or pest likes that variety in particular? It’s good to have an alternative to fall back on, because we all know that doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result is one definition of insanity. And what harm does buying an alternative variety do? None. If the first variety yields a robust harvest, you can simply save the seeds and replant next year.
I had an incident with a chain saw that illustrates how something can break beyond our ability to repair it. I had been using the same chain saw for 15 years. I had several spare chains, a spare bar, spark plugs and air filters stocked for it. Pretty well prepared for whatever might happen, right? Until one day, I am clearing a tree downed by a storm and the saw started smoking. I shut it off and noticed that my pants are covered in bar and chain oil. The reservoir inside the saw body that holds the oil had cracked and the oil had drained right out, rendering the saw inoperable and leaving me a sticky mess. If I had not had a back-up saw, I would have had to resort to the axe and bow saw to clear the fallen tree.
Even worse, imagine a TEOTWAWKI situation where your saw suffers a catastrophic failure and you have no axe or hand saw. You’d be up the creek without a paddle.
- Have two or more of everything you expect to rely on in a survival situation, but also have two different approaches or methods to do something.
- Remember: Man plans; God laughs. If Plan A fails, you need to have a Plan B to fall back on.
- Never have just one way to get to your bug out location, one way to communicate, one way to cook food, or one way to defend yourself.