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Categorized | Disasters, Skills

Real Life Preparations: what’s the difference between preppers and survivalists?

A wide variety of people believe in being prepared for diaster and bolstering self-reliance.  However the range of strategies and opinions differ greatly providing a near-religious zeal from different camps.

For instance, hardcore “survivalists” tend to believe in isolation within an armored bunker fondling 50 guns, a bunker of batteries, and a 10-year supply of winter wheat.  The opposite spectrum houses minimalists who rock the  multi-tool and a can of beans, and dub themselves prepared. Either extreme is a personal choice, although probably one has a higher likelihood of surviving a particular disaster.

Within the squishy middle is a less zealous yet equally concerned majority that generally gets left behind.

These are everyday people who have made self-reliance a facet of their lives and not an all-consuming definition of their identity. The average “prepper” would likely have prepared a bug-out-bag, stored some food and water, and invested in a few other items related to survival.  After all, prepping for future hardship is a distinct human animal behavior that has been a part of nearly every society for thousands of years.

The garden variety  prepper can be found anywhere from rural areas to apartments in major metropolitan areas. These people span every occupation and socio-economic bracket, and these are people who don’t want to wait around for help that may not come. They believe in taking care of themselves and their family in whatever situation that may arise.

The average prepper is not a hardcore survivalist or revolutionary conspiracy theorist; he or she just wants to be ready for the most plausible emergencies. There normally is nothing that would differentiate this person from anyone else you meet on the street. In truth, most “preppers” I know are somewhat quiet about it — even slightly embarrassed or tired of being ridiculed or perceived as paranoid.

preparednessFor some reason, admitting that you are concerned that some sort of disaster may eventually happen is cause for sneers and jeers from the non-preppers in our society. Most people have some innate ability to easily discount anything that goes against their personal beliefs. Someone who doesn’t believe that they will ever be stuck in a hurricane, earthquake or whatever can’t comprehend why anyone else would prepare for these events. So as a result you normally have to know someone pretty well before they will open up about being a “prepper”.

When you finally get that person to open up, stop for a minute and listen for the reasons that person may offer. Hear what they have to say, it’s very likely that they will have some very good advice and reasons for their actions. After all history has shown that disasters do happen, more often than we would like to count. Also there is historic evidence supporting the fact that people who have made basic preparations have fared better than those who made none at all.

4 Responses to “Real Life Preparations: what’s the difference between preppers and survivalists?”

  1. T.R. says:

    Good article , I would say most of us fall into the prepper category just because getting land and moving to a remote location is not practical, either because of family members or employment. So we just gather our supplies where we are at and practice skills as we can .

  2. B.E. says:

    I don’t really use the word “survivalist” at all since old media gave it such a negative connotation back in the 90’s that has stuck around.

    I think “prepper” and “outdoorsman” are far better terms to use in conversation.

    • Patrick says:

      B.E. — I think you’re spot on. When you get down to it, really — aren’t we all “survivalists?” But, you’re right. There is a real wacko connotation with the term, and I avoid it.


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