5 Reasons Why Normal People Shy Away From the Prepper World

Some folks don't think preppers are quite normal. Here's why...   www.TheSurvivalMom.comI don’t believe I’ve ever started an article with an apology, but before I go any further, my apologies to preppers for this headline! I’ve met hundreds of you over the past few years at expos and other events, and you are all so normal!

I hope my apology is accepted! Now on to my story.

Quite some time ago I recorded an episode of my podcast and included 6 lessons kids should learn from the Trayvon Martin case.  Lesson #6 was, “Be aware of how others perceive you,” and it included some great quotes from a black minister who works with kids of all races.

As I thought about perception, I remembered a conversation with an Oregon woman who displayed a dramatic negative reaction to the term, “bug out bag.”

“Don’t use that term!” she said. “It makes you sound like a crazy survivalist.”

Well, I’m not crazy and I don’t consider myself to be a survivalist in the traditional sense, but if we hope to draw others into the ranks of preparedness, our loved ones in particular, then maybe we should consider how others perceive us.

Here are a few reasons why I think “normal” people shy away from anything related to the prepper world.

1.  Our terminology has negative connotations

Bug out bag” begs the question, “Exactly why do you think you have to bug out? Are you on the lam?”

Bug out location” sounds a lot like a robber’s hideout or the stereotypical 500 square foot log cabin in the wilds of Idaho, home to toothless refugees from “Deliverance”.

Bug out vehicle” — getaway car, anyone?

“C-Day” — Collapse Day, as in the day the United States of America collapses.

See what I mean? And I don’t think it’s a strike against anyone outside the prepper world who hears these terms and thinks, “What the heck??” If you’re not a religious person, this is akin to being around people who talk church-speak all the time. It can be a big turn-off.

2.  Ditto for our acronyms

  • SHTF: Sh*t hits the fan.
  • TEOTWAWKI: The end of the world as we know it.
  • WROL: Without rule of law.
  • GOOD: Get out of Dodge

In the real world, who talks like this?? If your friends need an acronym dictionary to figure out what you’re talking about, they may decide the prepper world is some sort of secret society with “special” handshakes and creepy initiation ceremonies.

3.   They think we’re too negative

When conversations naturally veer toward topics related to preparedness, that’s one thing, but if your stream of emails consist of doomsday alerts from Alex Jones and the like, they will begin to steer clear of you, guaranteed. I get those types of forwarded emails from my aunt, and even I don’t like them!

4.    Negative portrayals on TV

Let’s face it. “Doomsday Preppers” didn’t exactly do any favors for the prepping world. Too many of their preppers aren’t relate-able. Many are downright weird. If this is what your circle of friends and acquaintances see as the norm for preppers, do you blame them for not wanting to join the club?

5.   Preppers scare them

Nearly every prepper website focuses on topics like pandemics, collapse of civilization, the U.S. becoming just like Somalia, FEMA body bags, guillotines…well, sometimes people just want to think about the fun they’re going to have this weekend at the bowling alley. Who wants to be around people who scare them all the time?

6.   They really don’t see the need to prepare

This one you can’t do anything about. Until a person is motivated by their own observations, they will likely not do anything. People believe their own data and will act accordingly, thus the popularity of Home Depot hours before the arrival of a hurricane! One of the very first YouTube videos I ever made was in response to folks who ask, “How can I get my family/loved ones to prepare?”

Now, in no way am I saying preppers are crazy and that we shouldn’t prepare. My point is to consider how others perceive us. If we come across as scary, obsessed, or weird, then it’s no wonder that they shy away from the prepper world when it’s possible that being prepared has been on their minds!

You can’t do anything about Doomsday Preppers or all the fear-filled websites out there, but you can demonstrate by words and actions what a rational, completely sane prepper looks like!

Resources mentioned:

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Comments

  1. Linda says

    Great article! I agree that perception is very important. At my children’s school, it amazes me how many parents actually count on me to have whatever it is they forgot ( extra clothing, snacks, markers, first aid supplies, water, etc) to the point where I am the go- to person and it is well known throughout the school ( they don’t know I’m actually a prepper). Forgot snacks for t- ball? No problem, Linda has energy bars in her SUV. Splinter on the playground? Go see Linda, she’ll have it out in no time ( cleaned and bandaged). Restaurant ran out of crayons for a class trip after the movies? Linda’s got scented markers for everyone in the car!
    As far as terminology, we refer to our BoB as a 72 hour kit and never use acronyms. When conversations head toward preparedness, the peace , joy and sense of security preparing gives us is the first and foremost thing we discuss…people are drawn to asking great questions. No need to scare people. When people ( very close friends and family, that is) ask what crazy scenario we are preparing for….I wink and say ” anything”.
    Everyone chuckles in reference to Doomsday Preppers on Nat Geo, but I have to tell you that I have taken several pages of notes based on the shows. If you look past the sensationalized quirkiness geared for TV, there is a lot of valuable information in each segment.
    The last point you made about people not seeing the need to prepare is true but I feel it’s slowly changing as we’ve recently seen some serious weather related emergencies, unemployment worsens, etc. Rather than argue with them that they need to prepare, I choose to lead by example as mentioned above, and draw them to the light ( of peace and sense of security) like a moth to a flame!

  2. Tara says

    Thank you so much for this. I have been at the brink of prepping and have actually been prepping singlehandedly for a few years now. But I have not been able to bring my husband on board very far because he is totally turned off by the websites and information he’s seen and conversations he’s heard. He is a true optimist and he finds many of the popular prepping sites to be distastefully alarmist. I honestly think he would make a wonderful prepper, if he could get past the negativity that seems to accompany the general prepping population. We’re working on it. But I’m realizing in order for my whole household to embrace prepping we’re going to have to call it something completely different with a more positive connotation. LOL Any ideas?

  3. says

    It is nice that I have grown up to prepare for future hardships–even if it is just a job loss. I knew a family in my church who had a year supply of food and when the husband was on strike for his job (thus getting very little, if any money) and she is a stay-at-home mom, they relied on their food supply in order to feed their family since they had very little extra money to buy groceries since they still had to pay their regular bills, including mortgage, utilities, etc. I always try to buy extra canned and dried goods to add to my own food storage and I buy extra things when they go on sale. I can safely say that my family have a year supply of toilet paper and shampoo/conditioner (and a lot of soap), so at least we will be clean too. Ha! Ha! I just wish that more people would stop thinking that we are just doomsday people. They should really relate it to the children’s story of the ant and the grasshopper and how the grasshopper suffered because he wasn’t prepared.

  4. says

    Some people actually like the acronyms, thinking it makes them sound more official, mysterious, in the know. It puts them in a group and leaves others out. As for the doom and gloom, the sensationalism draws attention to them. Then, if these people are a little odd, the people who listen to them just try to separate themselves. I think the people who sound extreme are not doing their cause any good even if they sincerely think they are. These type people think they are sane and everyone else is aberrant. I wonder if they really want to change.

  5. PDXer says

    I try to teach for local or regional disasters. We have snow storms (not everyone knows how to drive in the snow), winds storms (downed trees and power lines), freezing rain (you aren’t driving anywhere, wheres your supplies), volcano’s (which way is the wind blowing), earthquakes (know where your gas and water shut offs are). I take them one step at a time from EDC’s to 72 hour kits to BOL’s. Nothing crazy there.

  6. says

    We have started a movement called Rerooting USA and it is based on many of the same ideas in prepping without the negative connotations. There are also some social elements to the plan as well. If you are looking to engage neighbors or friends please check out our set up at http://www.rerootusa.com. It is brand new but we are making some waves. Great article.

  7. Dave says

    Good point- but only if you give a rat’s ass about what other people think about you. As the superintendent of a 70 unit apartment complex, I know a lot more about my tenants than I want to. (Some of them have lived in this country for twenty years, and haven’t learned how to speak English yet- they are so dumb, that they would have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time!
    We had a hydro failure here, ( about a week ago), that lasted for 5 or 6 hours). I loaned out a half dozen flashlights, but on the proviso that if I don’t get them back- they are not available next time. (They all came back).
    Every one of these people knows about my preps- but only one other family here are preppers themselves. The rest: forgetabout it!
    You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink! (And in the event of a collapse- I gotta get out of here, (and I know who I am taking with me).
    My own fang damley thinks I wear a tinfoil hat- I don’t care, (I got enough preps for them- too!)
    (As to the rest of them: Yer on your own, Bubby!)

  8. Linda says

    Tara-
    Does your husband have life insurance? (so he’s “prepping ” for when he dies)
    Auto insurance in case of an accident?
    Homeowner’s Insurance in case of a fire?
    A 401k or savings account?
    Does he have a spare tire in his car?

    Well then, he’s already a prepper and he doesn’t even know it
    How about you call prepping “living insurance” ( prepping for when anything or everything else around you fails like the economy, natural disasters or him simply being out of a job).

  9. Pearl says

    I think you missed a big one: If they agree that prepping is reasonable, they’d have to actually do it. It’s easier to just call it crazy!

  10. Grandmamom says

    Linda I get the same reaction! Recently started with a new company, and still in training. I have been assigned to this location about 4 weeks now. Word gets out fast! Almost every day someone is asking for something, because they learned I usually have it. From tools, band aids, hair bands, deodorant, electrical tape,….. the list goes on. The weird old lady will have it.

  11. Tom H. says

    Good article but, IMHO, incomplete. The biggest reason I’ve encountered by friends, family, and “just regular folks” I run into, is that we preppers as a whole are WAY too political, particularly where slamming specific elected officials is concerned. These folks indicate that is the major reason they think of us as paranoid bat-stuff crazy nut jobs. And they use this reason for not becoming “one of us” even more than anything related to gun issues. Just my opinion, but we really need to tone it WAY down if we are to truly “love thy neighbor” as we have been commanded. Then we can perhaps help them as we really should.

  12. Nicholas Chowske says

    I completely agree with all of this. The biggest reason I shy away from prepping, preppers, and especially prepping websites/blogs/message boards/etc., is that in my experience, they invariably turn into antigovernment rants. It can be very discouraging.

  13. Thomas Brandon says

    I couldn’t aree more and even when you try to use logic they don’t see the need–An example is one of my friends from childhood in Michigan is a serious snowmobiler and when talkin about eneral safety I found out that they didn’t even carry basic first aid kits let alone flashlights, survival blankets, fire starters, etc should they brake down on a remote trail. They thought I was nuts because I travel with a day bag and my truck contains stuff for an extended brakedown or intrupted traffic flow. They had a cow when we were without electricty for several hours while we on a lakeside vaction a week ago but yet, they don’t understand that we need to be self sufficient for a week or more during huricane season since I now live in the south. Bottom line your points are valid and for sure the programs on tv haven’t helped the cause at all.

  14. Diana G. says

    Totally agree with Tom and Nicholas. I find that many of the sites come very close to suggesting domestic terrorism. Then there’s the religious intolerance, the nasty comments about liberals, gay marriage, Muslims, intellectuals,etc. I pretty much only read this site now.

  15. says

    I have a hard time with the “Prepper” thing as my grand parent on both side were preppers. Almost if not all my great aunts and uncles and my aunts and uncles have gardens and can the produce. Who doesn’t have a chain in their car/truck????

    Just hicks from the sticks with a rainy day fund. (Hick- Highly Intelligent Country Kind) The skills I learned growing up can support me, building trades, maintenance, gardening, operating equipment.

    You hear the media talk about it and you look at it and it appears totally different. You do what you can with what you have. Try to make the world a little nicer while you are here and remember that no one gets out of this life alive. (there is that negativity creeping in again) 😉

    The vast majority of human history life has been Much more difficult than if has been in the last 70 years or so. Our memories are short.

    Night

  16. Elouise says

    I think my biggest aversion to joining the prep-squad, is the appearance of hostility and disdain towards others. The examples of preppers I’ve seen appear to invest a lot into weapons and defensive strategies against even their neighbors. Some seem to be itching to shoot anyone who comes on their property. I’ve kids and I think, in an emergency, I’d be afraid to live next door to a prepper. That being said, I actually enjoy preparing for emergencies and being self-sufficient/sustainable, I just don’t employ an “us vs them” mentality. Also agree with others about the anti-gov, politically aggressive appear to be a preoperative stereotype. Perhaps community prepping and outreach workshops would improve the reputation?

  17. Midge says

    A few weeks ago my dog was injured by coyotes. He was defending his own fenced yard. He was defending our children, our smaller dog, our cats, our chickens, our expensive rare wool sheep, etc. He was a great hero, and did his job even though it risked his very life. As it turned out, my son shot and killed two of the invaders to save him. He would have fought to the death.

    I took him to the vet and it cost nearly eight hundred dollars to fix him all up. Nearly good as new. As I spoke with the vet staff about the incident a woman in the waiting room with a poodle mix became all weepy for the sake of the coyotes. She was appalled that I wasn’t “pro-enviroment” (on the coyote’s side). She was appalled that I had a gun. She told the Doctor she was afraid to be in his office, knowing some of his clientele might have guns. She was even affronted that I had first aid supplies for a dog, which I had used before transporting my animal to the vet.

    Some people will never become “preppers” just because they aren’t in touch with reality. Their world is lighted, cooled, heated, paved and safe, and that’s all there is to it. A tree root cracking their flawlessly smooth sidewalk is a horrible disaster. Waiting in line for four minutes to get a latte’ is unforgivable sin. Hurricane Sandy is a “story”, not reality. Coyotes eating their precious poodle is only a nightmare.

  18. Sandy says

    I hate to say it, but we don’t speak to much about prepping, except for my parents and our children.
    I think we need to re-think who all we are telling, because when and if an emergency arises, guess
    who is going to be coming after all that you have worked so hard for? Everybody and their brother.
    I think I’ve mentioned being prepared for emergencies to a couple friends, but just to plant the seed in their heads. I want them to think about the basic essentials, I don’t know what they have or don’t have. They don’t have any idea what we have. It seems a little wierd, being secretive, but isn’t that why we are doing this, to keep our families safe? We don’t really want everybody to know what our stockpile looks like. Or for our family to come up in everybody’s gossip topics. We just started about a year ago, really figuring out what we should have and what our plan should include. We don’t have enough food and water yet, but we know how to hunt and fish and garden. I’ve been saving seeds and looking up info on how to keep them. It’s alot of work, educating yourself about all the primitive ways that are nearly a lost art. We don’t really have the space to have barrels and barrels of water or an entire basement of goods. I think in a true emergency, we may not be able to stay at our home. Thus, all the supplies would be a waste, because we wouldn’t be able to take them all with us if we had to leave. We are Christians and we believe that the Lord will provide. But, I think He wants us to have wisdom and knowledge. We just need to use our heads and layout a plan to include how we would all get back together, should we be separated in a catastrophic event, where will we go if our home is destroyed, and getting a binder together of all of our important documents. I have lagged on this, because I don’t know the answers to all of these questions yet. It’s hard to know for sure what escape routes would be available and the like. I think we all need to invest in TOPO maps of the whole area, and a good compass, so if we are on foot, we can find our way. We can’t rely on the GPS systems or cell phones in an emergency. We need a plan. Blessings to you all for sharing and caring about the rest of us. Thanks.

  19. Chandra says

    Sandy RE: seeds. The very best way to store them long term is to grow them out at least every few years and save seeds again. Check out Suzanne Ashworth’s book Seed to Seed for directions. The best conditions to store seeds is can be summed up as cool and dry. In good storage conditions, most seeds will last from three to five years. The exceptions are parsnips and members of the onion family. Those have to be planted every year. They simply lose germination quickly regardless of conditions. It is possible to keep seeds for about ten years by freezing, but you have to be very careful of the moisture levels in the seeds. Too dry and you killed them. too moist and the ice crystals kill them. I work for a call center at a heirloom seeds place and have to know this stuff.
    As for the politics, I am probably on the opposite end of the political spectrum from most preppers and nearlu all survivalists. So what? I take wisdom where I find it.

  20. Lauren says

    Nicholas and Tom – I agree with you 110%. I “prepped” in the Rockies mostly for fear of tornadoes, wildfires and blizzards. Now on the Gulf Coast – I “prep” mostly for hurricanes. I figure if Obama turns out to be a zombie Muslim, institutes Sharia law and releases smallpox – I’ll probably be prepared for that too. 😉

    I stock water, food, medical supplies, ammo, etc and have extensive plans and training but I do not participate in the “prepping community” mostly because of the radical political/religious beliefs. I also have a hard time wrapping my head around the argument that one should spend inordinate amounts of money and time prepping. Granted, people probably find it as entertaining a hobby as say – fishing, but I will never spend massive amounts of time/money “prepping.” I haven’t spent a cent on my hurricane go-bag. It’s all supplies that were given to me, or that I originally purchased for hunting/camping/hiking. It has everything from suture supplies to canned food from the food bank, from when were very poor.

    I’d rather just live my life. When it comes down to it I’d rather take $5 and spend it on some bait and go fishing today, rather than another few days of nonperishable food. I do take many more precautions than most, but it’s all in balance.

  21. Hollister says

    Sandy, In a nutshell my plan is to keep the food factories (farms) going. Most will not be ready to deal with an EMP. Your offer: you can draw water with a capped 2 inch PVC pipe and an inner tube one way valve (5 gallons/day/horse), grow food (vegetable seeds by the pound are cheap) and have tools (a scythe could be worth its weight in gold). Would the livestock owner want your team or cut 60 acres of wheat with a butcher knife? Think: what would a cattle, hog or chicken farmer need for the next 5 years if the power went out? They have grain and meat already. You will be guided to each other.

  22. Darin Murray says

    Thanks for the article and comments. Not sure I would be considered a prepper. More of the type that wants to be as self-sufficient as I can be. To be in the woods as far as I can be, as I have an aversion to humanity. LOL. I look at all the prepper, back to the land groups and sites I can. Sadly in almost everyone, the attacks on gays, Libs, etc is hard to get through when ya just wanna learn about vertical gardening, as an example. Us gay Libs also know something could happen to make us need to bug out or rely on what we can grow, hunt or raise.

  23. Richard Blaine says

    The bottom line is people view preppers negatively because preppers reflect those people’s own complete and utter lack of preparedness back on them and they don’t like it. Consequently they stick their heads in the sand and ridicule anyone who is prepared. This perfectly describes 99% of the zombies wandering around desperately searching for food water and fuel after Katrina, Sandy and numerous other natural disasters. Personally I have no desire to appeal to or be seen as acceptable by them. When the SHTF, just what I need is a bunch of completely unprepared people wanting to mooch off my preps with nothing of any real value to offer in return. No thanks, let them stay ignorant and reap the rewards of that ignorance.

  24. Richard B says

    “October 16, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Thanks for the article and comments. Not sure I would be considered a prepper. More of the type that wants to be as self-sufficient as I can be. To be in the woods as far as I can be, as I have an aversion to humanity. LOL. I look at all the prepper, back to the land groups and sites I can. Sadly in almost everyone, the attacks on gays, Libs, etc is hard to get through when ya just wanna learn about vertical gardening, as an example. Us gay Libs also know something could happen to make us need to bug out or rely on what we can grow, hunt or raise.

    I don’t have any problem with gays but the bottom line is contemporary liberalism is nothing but the incessant (and hopeless) pursuit of the utopian nanny state at the expense of individual liberty and self sufficiency. Liberal ideology is about as diametrically opposed to prepping and self reliance as one can get and there’s really no way around it.

  25. Geo says

    Lots of good points here…. The prepper community does not seem to be a very welcoming community at all, the message boards are filled with radical right wingers, and the fringe seems to be featured on TV shows like Doomsday Preppers, but think about it….. The more people who are prepared, the more people you help to be prepared, the less people you will have to fight off when the SHTF….

    • saras says

      The more I prep, the less I say,
      the more They ask about it, the more they get turn off,
      my security and my family means more as the world gets wilder
      I will not speak bad about the way you live, or your beliefs
      that is between you and the maker
      you can find good sites, bad sites, radical sites, get the best info and throw the rest away
      may you be blessed

  26. vorpalblade says

    As stated by another poster “distastefully alarmist” is what turns me off to it. I think I’d learn a lot more about prepping if the sites weren’t so god awful. I see the practicality in being a prepper. However, there is this elitist brother/sisterhood that seems to permeate the community. And heaven forbid, I question the end of the world or odd conspiracy theories. Where are the “normal” preppers? The ones who prep because, yeah, something could happen at some point, but they’re not scouring political/weather/extremist websites looking for the worst news to put in their prepper spank bank. Those are the people I want to be learning from. Most websites I gather what knowledge I can, but mostly I just lay low. Sorry, to be so abrasive, but it really grinds my gears.

  27. carl says

    What i find fascinating about preppers, at least from what I know about them on the tv show. is how more than a few of them are morbidly obese, and while they will spend countless hours and money preparing for the remote possibility of extending their lives a few more years, they are oblivious to the stroke or heart attack that will kill them first.

  28. david says

    We recently had a severe flood and my neighborhood was dislocated from society for 2 weeks. I saw normal people who own Porsches, Bmws etc have million dollar homes etc.. go insane, pacing up and down the neighborhood, after just 3 days without electricity , refrigerated food gone bad, water running out. It was pretty scary watching lawyers turn zombie in 3 days. That is all it takes for normal people to become so frightened its scary to behold, in 3 days they run out of stuff. People when they become afraid are scary. After 3 days those who weren’t prepared were so dazed I told them to start walking towards town there would be help at the bottom of the mountain they started walking to town about 6-7 hours away on foot, in true zombie fashion over the roughest terrain. I was prepared it was like a vacation. I was afraid to offer help because they roved in packs and they had this air of desperation , like they would take everything from you or they couldn’t get enough (one woman who had kids wanted me to stretch a cable from my propane generator 1000 ft to her house- a propane generator gives you about a years electricity hooked up to a 1000 gallon tank- she kept insisting she had kids so she was more important) a madness of fear gripped them in mass fashion -people who days before were stock brokers, bankers, CEO’s On top of the world type people etc… Those who are unprepared congeal together into packs roving up and down the street and have a most terrifying air of despair. I found the best way to safety was to offer sound advice getting them out of my immediate area and diverting them away from the neighborhood toward possible authorities.

  29. Thalia says

    You have to be very carefull about terminology. I could never get my parents to prep, untill I stopped calling it prepping. Prepping means preparing for disaster, which is negative. Instead, just ‘have a little extra on the side’ or ‘buy some back-up soupcans just-in-case’. This is positive, because it means you have an edge on the neighbours who, unlike you!, will run out. And who doesn’t like having an edge? Play to their competitive side!

    Also, don’t tell them to stock up food, tell them to get extra groceries. Crazy preppers buy food, normal people buy groceries. Its about shifting the focus from survival to comfort. And once they get started and experience the safety of having a stash, they might look more into prepping on their own!

  30. Grandma says

    I remember people building bomb shelters in the 50’s and we put aside for Y2K, so this way of thinking is not new to me. But, our daughter and her husband are one reason I can’t understand the current culture’s “Preppers.” The last time we visited our children and grandkids we were told to not come back. We are, “bringing too much city” into their world. As of right now we are still not welcome, we have no contact with our children or grandchildren. Unless we lose our “city ways”, and take up their way of life, “listening to them and only doing what they say”, we are cut off from them. This only causes us to look at prepping in a negative light.

    • RIP-6 says

      im story this happened to you. This truly saddens me. The most important survival item that most people overlook is human companionship and nobody does it better than family. I really hope things turn out better for you.

  31. Nasse Puh says

    I agree. One of the things i find a bit awkward is being an european reading american prepper sites is the ever present gun toting. In our part of the world carrying a gun is an affair almost exclusively for hunters and law enforcement. Some sites seem to think that 48 shotguns is all you need to survive, while we have no natural relation to guns at all and want to stay as far away as possible from these folks who just seem to be extremely paranoid. I don’t want to live in a SHTF-community where a new SHTF is lurking every day, even after the big SHTF. I belive helping each other in every way possible is the only chance to live a bearable life, i don’t want to live in a world that reminds me of “The Road” and every day is a risk. I feel depressed seeing these alarmist news every single day. “Have you collected enough bullets today?” in an never ending flow…

  32. Nasse Puh says

    And how to talk about prepping in a “normal” way? Since i was brought up as a genuine city kid i talk about my newfound fascination of nature and all the activities therein like camping, hiking e.t.c… Being a competent hiker is in my world a better plan than buing another machinegun. Less Rambo, more Bear Grylls (yes i know he was a soldier). :-)

    Of course i understand the importance of being able to protect my family and i’d like to have a gun stashed away somewhere if there’s some nutcase kicking in my front door but that must be the last solution when everything else fails. I don’t want to become my gun since i don’t believe it’ll help in the long run. Waco should prove that firepower is a false safety, there’s always someone else with more firepower.

  33. Kathy says

    Tara,
    Tell him you’re getting ready for your retirement 😉
    I showed my husbands siblings the neat way he repurposed the solid wood pantry shelves when we expanded the pantry upstairs two years ago. I have storage area in the basement now. I had a lot of my preps sitting there. The one BIL(brother in law ) yelped , What are you, a survivalist? I said no I’m getting ready to retire in a few years and the income goes down then. So if I can get a few things that can store long term now before prices go up, why not. My other BIL who had just come off an almost 3 year unemployment stretch, said That’s a great idea. You never know when (and how much) prices will rise in the future or if one will be unemployed. I’m going to start doing that too. And I believe he has started to “put things away” Of course I am over 60 and retirement is looming , so that may not work in your case. It’s worth a try

  34. Robert says

    Preppers are crazy.
    Prepared people are not.
    I have spent a majority of my life in the ‘prepper’ movement, and i’ve grown to despise the term ‘prepper’ because of what nutters have turned it into.

  35. Grimm says

    If the prepping website scare you or others look at some homesteading sites. Most homesteaders have the same preparedness mindset but are far from being the nut jobs we see as ‘preppers’.

    I recommend taking a look at Prepared Society. A great group of homesteaders that don’t just talk about bullets, batteries and bandages. Lots of talk about chickens and livestock, gardens and canning.

  36. Army832 says

    Just take a look at the story of (the ant and the grasshopper) enough said, that is my reason for gaining information.

  37. Kathy says

    vorpalblade,
    We’re out there quietly “putting things away”. I agree some of the sites I went to in the beginning were Doom and Gloom, Arm up, Zombies are coming sites. It’s was trial and error but I found this and a couple of other sites that are truly helping me extend my efforts above just having “extras” on hand for small emergencies.

  38. Mary says

    Thank you for the article and the video. You are so right, you can lead a horse to water, etc. etc. So I just do my own thing and keep my opinions mostly to myself. I have found that friends and family will come to me with questions occasionally and I will give my advice, but I don’t expect them to take it, that way I can avoid feelings of exasperation.

  39. anonymous says

    The extremism on many prepper sites is a huge turn-off. I’m a preparedness kind of person, having lived through or near wildfires, earthquakes, blizzards, tornadoes, etc., but I have a hard time going to many preparedness sites because of the nasty political rhetoric of some. Homesteaders sites are better, generally, but some of those are nearly as bad.

    Preparedness is just common sense, period. Disasters and every-day emergencies happen and it’s smart to have some wiggle room, just in case. Common Sense Preparedness is how it should be presented to get the maximum number of people involved.

  40. Mike Chen says

    When people tell me I’m a pessimist, I respond than the long view of the human future I hold is based on solid evidence they are free to refute. (I am a prepper because the uncontrolled growth of the human population will eventually lead to a resource shortage and population decline, the timing,speed and severity of which is yet to be determined.)

    What makes me an optimist is that I think I can lessen the chances of a bad outcome for me and my family.

  41. Jim Bow says

    Very good article and comments but I’m sorry you are not peppers or survivalist, etc. You are not preparing for SHTF, TEOTWAWKI, or WROL. As far as anyone should know you are just following your interests, your hobbies: camping, hiking, gardening, animal husbandry, hunting, fishing, canning, or you’re an EMT or into HAM (radio) whatever part of prepping that is common and considered acceptable to the world. Maybe you live in the north and have a wood stove to cut your heating costs or a generator to keep the freezer cold in a power outages. Your motives may still be prepping but no one has to know that and you are now required to convert every ones way of thinking. Also keep your mouth shut don’t tell people what you are doing or have stocked up. Or their plans will be to show up at your place for a handout. I had a friend say his plan was to bring his family to my house., I told him don’t even think about it, you have been warned now prepare. That does not mean you wouldn’t help others but your preparations should not be their survival plan. Otherwise they will never take personal responsibility. Use those short term power outages as an opportunity to teach them how to prepare. After those experiences ask them what they could have done to be better prepared in the future and provide them with a list of items they should have in an emergency. I learned the power can be out for two weeks due to an ice storm and during that time I had no well water. My friend also learned his basement flooded without power for the sump pump. I agree there are a lot of people out there who are clueless but we all have our strengthens and weakness. A hundred years ago preparing by storing goods and learning skills was just plan normal and was expected for survival. I consider seeing the future events and preparing for them as a gift and helping other prepare as a calling.

  42. Brenda says

    Thanks for the article. I agree with much of it. I like to make sure that I have what I need in an emergency. I like to make sure I have enough so that I can shop the sale and get the best price. I like to garden, re-use and DIY. This is nothing new in fact I grew up with this way of thinking. We had supplies and a larder so that we did not have to run out at the last minute for the things we needed. We re-purposed and we repaired. Now its called prepping.

    While I have learned much from the self named prepper sites I too am turned off with some of the “us against them” mentality. Among some quarters I would be considered one of the “them” and ofttimes feel like there is a bull-eye painted on my forehead when reading some of the sites. People who are ready run the gambit of race and creed and no one group dominates IMO. It is about taking care of your family and putting what you needed by just in case.It was something you just did to take care of your self. I do not know why being ready had to turn all political and anti-government stuff. That to me is a turn off.

    Growing up being prepared was what you did to keep the lights on and food on the table during storms and hard times. It was about planning, budgeting,security, standing on your own feet and not combat.
    I am happy to find that there are sites which focus more on the positives of being ready, of keeping the home fires burning and not all of targeting of groups one does not like or understand. Quite honestly from what I see of too many preppers online I would have more to fear from them than any natural or economic disaster.

  43. Snafuperman says

    To be honest, I don’t use prepper terms, if I can avoid it. I “put a few things away” in case of “emergencies” so “I have options”. I don’t prep for specific things – I focus on those multiuse things that apply to every situation – food, water, shelter, heat, and security. And I’m always quick to point out that everything I have will also be a huge help if one or both of us lose a job and we have little or no money for food.

    Building a larger pantry supply in case of bad weather or loss of job in a bad economy sounds MUCH less nutty than saying I’m preparing for some tsunami from an asteroid hit or whatever the extreme nutters are up to.

    Great post and one of my favorite websites. I’ve given the book to three people so far because of its non-hysterical take on things.

  44. Roger Willco says

    GREAT POSTS! Modern life has turned me into a marshmallow! I had to read stories about combat, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and the Old Testament to toughen up my mind. I have to push food away from me, press buttons to keep me comfortable, and all this luxury made me weak. I am not weak anymore. I prep, but when I am in a restaurant I thank God that life is still so comfortable. I’ll bet North Koreans wish they could experience a difficult economy like we’ve been experiencing since 2007! Life is so tough for us Americans, we send flying robots to fight our wars on the other side of the planet!

    Seriously, when I used to watch “Doomsday Preppers” I considered some of those folks to be genii (I think that is the Latin plural form of “genius”). They had solar powered banks of batteries, gravity-fed water systems, and stuff a low-tech person like myself couldn’t think of. As long as times are “normal,” preppers will seem weird. When disaster hits, preppers will be the wise, and non-preppers will be the fools.

    Hurricane Sandy was a wonderful exercise in preparedness for people like me who live in the Northeast. Too bad 147 people died.

  45. Roger Willco says

    I forgot to add one thing. Do you know who is the biggest, most serious prepper in the world? That’s right, it’s UNCLE SAM!! He has cities underground stocked with five years of food for the continuity of government. One is named “Cheyenne Mountain.” How many people would call Uncle Sam crazy?

  46. holly says

    I belive another reason, some won’t like this either, and I also won’t apologize. .
    is because they are Religious. ..notice I didn’t say religion. ..I said religious people. now calm down, I’m a born again Christian, and I live for Christ,and my mission is to spread his gospel and ,share the love of Jesus Christ ♡
    But I come across ones who just don’t want to see all the world events lining up with the word of God..
    All they say is ,well God will provide,and he don’t want us to worry..!?!?!?! We should put our faith in him….ect,ect…
    seriously people….this is all true..but your ignoring God’s warnings? He is telling us several times to not only be spiritually prepared but also physically. . I could go on and on but I wont. Maybee this just falls under stupidity. .
    God Bless♡

  47. Schneb says

    I’m with Nasse Puh re guns. And coming from a ‘left’ political point of view, and while I don’t agree with the poodle-owner’s point of view that Midge related, I know people who would wish for a non-lethal solution to the coyotes. I don’t see how, at that point, there was one–and coyotes, like any animal, become a serious problem when unchecked by other balancing factors in nature (anyone here who HASN’T hit a deer while driving, or doesn’t know of someone close who has?). So I’m personally OK with guns, but the way some folks frankly, seem to worship them is a barrier to a lot of folks. And, obviously, there’s a political divide that aligns with strong pro-gun views. So for a lot of people, being a prepper means being strongly pro-gun, and thus, of a certain point of view. If prepping becomes more about coming together as communities in the face of catastrophes, and less about facing down the government (by/because of owning guns) and with-standing attacks by fellow citizens, it will have a broader appeal.
    But for a lot of people (whose opinions and experience I respect and am thankful for hearing!) their guns are a key part of prepping and they look at a worse/darker ‘worse-case-scenario’, in which the govt. becomes a tyranny and lawlessness leads to widespread criminality. I can see how their views make sense if one starts with a certain set of assumptions, even though I don’t fully agree with those assumptions.
    Thing is, if we can get more people to be prepped, we reduce the risk of those darker versions of worse-case-scenarios. If most folks in New Orleans had 2 wks of food/water, and a few basic hand tools, etc. Katrina would’ve been a very different scenario. I think the prepper movement is getting us there, though slowly and gradually. Focusing on the parts of it that we can all agree on will help it to spread further and faster.

  48. Flo says

    A Google search linked me to your site and I already like your articles. Your advice seems common sense based, with a budget in mind.

    I found this article to be particularly interesting with regards to the mind set of those who do prepare for life’s ups and downs, versus those who don’t. I’ve lived both sides of the “prepping” issue in a rural as well as an urban setting. I grew up with a grandmother and great-grandmother who lived through the Great Depression and WWII when food rationing was the norm. I learned, through their examples, to always have extra food and other supplies on hand. I didn’t realize until I was an adult that many of the foods I grew up with were Depression era inspired. The one sentence advice my grandmother and great-grandmother gave me has served me well, “Plan for the absolute worst and hope for the very best”. Eventually I had a family of my own living through a record setting cold snowy winter in a northern state, one known for its cold winters. We suddenly found ourselves snowed in and with no running water when the well pump froze up. I had to melt snow and boil the water to make my two-week old daughter’s formula from scratch, but we survived quite nicely and my daughter was no worse for the wear. There have been numerous weather and man-made emergencies since then that would have been absolutely miserable to live through had I not listened to the lessons of my childhood.

    The one issue that seems to divide the “prepper” community and “non-prepper” community the most is the issue of firearms. Basically, you’re “dammed if you do” and “dammed if you don’t”. (Thank goodness no one, where I live, knows I have firearms. They never will know unless I’m forced to defend one of my own.) I actually had someone tell me, “Everyone with a gun, except the military and police, should be arrested and thrown in jail.” Once or twice, in a particularly bad mood, I’ve said something like, Wow, Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot would have liked you.” Most of the time though I try to be much more pleasant and say, “Last time I heard that was the basis of Chicago’s and Washington DC’s gun restrictions. There is just one tiny problem with that approach.” I go on to relate whatever the latest figures are for people in Chicago or Washington DC injured or killed with firearms, and then say, “All those gun restrictions didn’t seem to help keep those residents safe. Now, imagine what might have been the outcome if just a few good guys had an open carry permit or even a concealed carry permit and could have taken on the bad guys? The police can’t be everywhere all the time”. By this time those opposing guns are giving me the evil eye and all but dialing Homeland Security.

    It’s been my experience that some preppers themselves are as responsible for the negative views others have of preppers as anything the non-prepper community has said or done. “Preppers” often resort to name calling towards those they don’t completely agree with, both religiously and politically. Who in their right mind would want to join a group of people who will use derogatory or belittling language toward those still learning about an issue??

    Hopefully I’m one of the few who have had these experiences but either way I’ve learned that regardless which side of the “prepper movement” a person is on they are in a “catch 22” position. The only way I’ve found to completely avoid the name calling and weird comments is to NOT discuss anything “prepper” related with anyone in the general public. If a person does discuss their prepper activities then, at the very least, other people are all too willing to take advantage of you. At the other end of that extreme are those who expect all “real preppers” to be extremely religious, have the latest highest priced “Rambo” gear, and be at the far right wing of the political spectrum.

    The bottom line here is if we want others to accept us, and see the wisdom in our beliefs, then we must start by being accepting. Begin by cutting out all the name calling. Regardless of how funny it may sound at the time, it definitely doesn’t help convince anyone of anything. Try to remember that at one time we were all learning about being a prepper and how to properly do things. If nothing else at least try to “agree to disagree”. I’ve actually been able to learn something new from people when I could get past their personal beliefs.

  49. says

    It’s just a label. I prefer to think of myself as just a responsible individual. I seek the knowledge and skills that will help me and my family to live well in every way during any circumstance to the best of my ability and theirs. That’s it.

  50. RIP-6 says

    Just to shed some light on terminology. I haven’t read though all of the posts here so I apologize if this has been brought up already. The terms and acronyms as you pointed out “who talks this way” is military speak.(and we love acronyms,) More specifically special operations forces. Each special ops or black unit has a specific function wetheYr or not it’s navy seals, green berets, rangers, delta force, pj’s, marine force recon, just to name the declassified ones. All use this speech. As you may know special op units operate from the shadows or in a clandestine manner. They seldom wear uniforms and they blend in amongst the indigenous peoples. This means in order to keep things like equipment from being “discovered” The use of safe houses and caches are used. When things really go south and one must leave in a hurry “bug out” and going back to HQ is not an option the “bug out bag” is the one item you will always have that will get you by enough to be evacuated or continue on mission. The acronyms are more like a kind of pig Latin to communicate to other team mates as to what’s happening so they to can act in time and keep everyone else guessing. Like hey the SHTF time to bug out regroup at cache 3 location blue. The terms have just migrated to the common household I believe because of the whole zombie/doomsday phenomenon. I think that prepping has been unfairly judged out of context. Military wise it’s just a matter of being prepared like parable of the ant and the grasshopper. We do truly fear what we don’t understand. Hope this helps.

    By the way FYI, the term “zombie” in most survival circles is also code. Talking about prepping for the end of government like scenario can be termed dangerous speak. So a lot of these so called Zombie survival sites advertise this as a type of camouflage to discuss these things more openly. I mean think about it, nobody in their right mind believes zombies could ever exist. So why the sudden explosion in zombie survival shows and websites? Your less likely to be looked at seriously if everyone thinks your nuts. How honestly many of these sites have you taken seriously?

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