TV and other media sources have done a good job depicting “preppers” as militants, racist, and borderline terrorists. While there certainly are some people in the prepper community who fit that stereotype, it doesn’t mean all of us fit that mold. If you think about it, everyone is a prepper to some extent.
You don’t show up for an interview looking like you just rolled out of bed. You prepare by making yourself look presentable and arrive with the supplies necessary to survive the meeting. Similarly, you don’t go camping naked and afraid. You prepare for the trip by packing supplies, tools/weapons, and shelter.
Preppers are just more dedicated at being prepared for any occasion than most people… including civilization-ending disasters. Let’s look at how people prep from one extreme to another.
At the basic extreme, we have those who prep for small events. If preparing for a meal, you’d buy ingredients and arrange them to be cooked later. The prep-work is slightly different when going out for dinner, because you dress for the occasion and wear perfumes to be more attractive.
Some people take PrEP to prepare for a “really good time”, whenever it may happen.
Older people take Cialis, for when the moment’s right.
This may be simple and short-sighted, but it’s prepping… sort of.
Most news agencies along the Gulf Coast tell people to prepare for potential tropical storm activity during hurricane season. Families buy bottled water and non-perishable foods to prepare for this dangerous season.
At least they’re prepping for something.
These preppers purchase everything they think will help in a survival situation, and maybe a state-of-the-art bunker with all the luxuries of modern life. These wannabes may have all the right things to survive, but probably don’t know how to use all that fancy equipment.
That posh bunker is probably useless without electricity to power all those bells and whistles.
Well, at least they’re trying to prep.
Activist Preppers are the type who prep because they fear our country will become a police state. They fear our civil liberties will be taken away and are prepping for a possible confrontation which they, theoretically, may be called upon to defend the nation. They may or may not have bunkers full of supplies, but they probably have enough guns and ammo to equip a small army or well-regulated militia, which may prove necessary for the security of a free state.
Technically, it’s prepping.
Hobbyist preppers follow the usual “SHTF” or “Prepper” social media groups. They read prepping or survivalist-themed books and have hobbies that complement the lifestyle. Circumstances may force hobbyists to be less equipped than what some consider ideal, especially according to the most opinionated in our social groups. Many hurdles faced by some preppers stem from how expensive prepping is:
- Land – Most people can’t afford to buy a second property out in the wilderness, and building a bunker is probably out of the question too.
- Supplies – Non-perishable food is expensive, especially if you want variety. The price for specialized water purification tools are outrageous too. The retail turkeys in our prepper groups squawk about and worship Berkey Water Filters all the time, but those filter systems start at $200 and the replacement filters cost almost as much! There are cheaper alternatives for camping, but they tend to hover around $50. That’s a lot for some people.
- Storage – Hardly anyone has space to store several years’ worth of food and water, much less a lifetime supply. And, it costs money to buy that extra storage capacity.
- Familial restrictions may forbid “hoarding” or owning firearms too.
Don’t be overly critical of hobbyist preppers. They may not have the materials most preppers have, but they tend to have the knowledge to find or grow what’s needed to survive. Afterall, anything can happen to a stockpile and leave you with nothing except knowledge and skill.
They’re prepping as best they can.
Most of the preppers I’ve seen in various social media groups appear to fit in this category. They’re the people trying to prepare for the next major long-term disaster. A SHTF situation so disastrous, it causes economic hard times, civil unrest, and/or famine. They store food, water, ammunition, and some have an extra property to which they can move (or bug-out).
Most of these preppers have trained themselves to be self-sufficient if necessary. They can live off their supplies for months, and have the skills to find or grow more food to live for many years.
This is prepping.
TV shows and the news have promoted this extreme form of prepping and it’s what most non-preppers tend to think of when they hear about prepping. Preppers of this type usually own a home out in the wilderness or have an extra property they can bug out to if the situation becomes dire. Their property almost certainly has a fully stocked underground bunker too.
Preppers of this sort are prepping for cataclysmic civilization-ending disasters. They’ve stockpiled enough non-perishable food, water, and other supplies to last a lifetime or longer. They usually have the knowledge and ability to find or produce even more supplies. They also tend to have an arsenal of weapons to defend their hoard.
They’re prepping for doomsday… and will wage war to defend the hoard.
What type of prepper am I?
Based on the criteria described in this article, I’d consider myself a “serious prepper”.
- I own property and can relocate or “bug out” if needed.
- I’ve stockpiled enough food to last over a year (by myself), and know how to grow more.
- I’ve trained myself to use the equipment I own, and am proficient with firearms.
I’m not a wannabe prepper, but I definitely want-to-have some of the stuff extreme preppers claim to possess. If I win the lottery or land a high-paying job, the first thing I’m buying is a small bunker (with no technological bells and whistles).
Unfortunately, my spouse isn’t very supportive of prepping and sees it as an embarrassing hobby of mine. He jokingly calls me a hoarder and doesn’t approve of the numerous ideas I have for my property. Needless to say, firearms are forbidden in our household.
Of course, my self-assessment could be proven wrong if I don’t actually survive the incident or attack which causes civilization to fall. Heck, I’ll probably be murdered by a snowflake who can’t handle the fact that I have a different point of view, but that’s a story for a different article.
I’ll close by saying that everyone is a “prepper” in some small way. Some people are prepping for one or two scenarios they’re convinced will happen, while others try to prepare for every possible disaster. Some preppers can only afford to stockpile knowledge, while some are rich enough (or took out a loan) to own: a bunker, food to last several lifetimes, and enough weapons to supply an army.
We all prep in different ways and should remember that no one has a perfect preparation plan. Now go hold hands and start singing “Kumbaya, My Lord”, like a bunch of hippies.
 “Naked and Afraid”: Even on the TV series, the “survivalists” are allowed one helpful item.
 Prepper-like Hobbies: Activities can complement a prepper lifestyle and allow people to practice their preps or survival equipment. Such activities include: Camping, hiking/backpacking, gardening, hunting, fishing, martial arts, beekeeping, and much more.
 Most Preppers: I already know this article is going to trigger some of the more extreme preppers. They seem to be driven to exclaim they know a lot of people who’re just like them. People who own a mountain of cash or are in debt from taking out a loan to build a bunker to survive for all eternity.
 Disastrous SHTF… Now? It could be argued that we’re already living through the beginnings of such a disaster. There have been supply shortages since 2020, fertilizer is in short supply and the 2 largest suppliers (China & Russia) are hoarding it, famine is starting in Africa, WW3 almost seems inevitable now that the Soviets invaded Ukraine and are probably sabotaging Western infrastructure AND keep escalating the war.
I mean, pick a disaster.
 Firearm Prohibition: Firearms may be forbidden in my household, but we aren’t defenseless. I’ve worked in law for enough years to recognize and take advantage of loopholes when I see them, so despite the prohibition, I’ve made certain we have many weapons to defend ourselves if the SHTF.
One thought on “We’re all Preppers”
What about the people who merely identify other preppers as targets?
Are they preppers? That’s the kind I think I’ll be.
I like your list breakdown. I’d say it’s pretty accurate. I don’t prep, not formally. But I do write apocalyptic fiction so, at least I’ve prepared my mind for calamity.