You Might Be a Survivalist If. . .(A playful look at prepping for armageddon)

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image: woman survivalist wearing gas mask and hard hat seated behind a piled of toilet paper rolls, canned, goods, and water

Do you think you might be a prepper? Prepping is serious business, but that doesn’t mean we can’t poke a little fun at ourselves. I mean technically, the Spam cookbook was a gift, and who doesn’t panic these days when they get low on toilet paper, amiright? Enjoy these light-hearted, (mostly) tongue-in-cheek ways to know for sure if you might be a survivalist!

You Might Be a Survivalist (or Prepper) If…

  1. You have a cookbook all about Spam.
  2. You consider your extra-large ham radio antenna as “broadband”.
  3. You know how to cook leather.
  4. You’ve ever been on a Soviet “Potential Threat” list.
  5. SWAT has ever asked to borrow a few of your guns.
  6. Your new girlfriend comes over for the first time, and when she walks into the living room, the first thing she sees is your CHL regulation Man-sized target with 50 holes in the chest area.
  7. Your dog has more Emergency Rations than 95% of the U.S. population.
  8. You’re the first person at the gun range on Dec 26th to try out your new toys, and the clerk knows you by your first name
  9. The local supermarket manager knows to go ahead and open up the back dock doors when he sees you on a shopping trip.
  10. Your home and property are more secure and better lit than Fort Knox or Area 51.
  11. All the local restaurants know to save you all their 5-gallon buckets on Mondays and Thursdays.
  12. None of your vehicles have electronic ignition or pollution control.
  13. You know the tail numbers of all the helicopters in your area.
  14. The magazines on your coffee table include American Survival Guide, Guns and Ammo, Soldier of Fortune, American Rifleman, Shotgun News, and 4 -Wheeler.
  15. You welcome a “mild” El Nino storm because you know it’s going to fill your cistern.
  16. The power fails in your local movie theater, and you pull your flashlight from your belt and show yourself the way out.
  17. You use your Gerber Tool to cut your steak at a fine dining establishment.
  18. Your knife collection has its own footlocker.
  19. When people ask about all those colorful maps on your walls, you tell them that you are planning a “Fishing Expedition.”
  20. You can recognize the sound of a generator from four blocks away, but you also can tell the brand, horsepower, and kilowatts per hour that it is putting out.
  21. You have to kill a snake in your front yard, but then you skin and eat it.
  22. Your homeschooled children score in the 99 percentile on their SATs.
  23. You stock up on kerosene and firewood in 102-degree summer heat.
  24. Your shopping list includes numbered items like .22, .308, .357, and 7.62
  25. Your To-Do list includes changing the batteries on the seismic ground sensors surrounding your home.
  26. Your paperboy throws the paper into the barbed wire just for the heck of it.
  27. Your shopping list includes body armor.
  28. Your scanner includes the frequencies of every law enforcement agency within 100 miles, including the ones that don’t officially exist.
  29. Those maps on your wall have every bridge marked in red, with an alternate path marked around it.
  30. You have a key fob that says, “What Would John Wayne Do?”
  31. Your fence posts double as range markers.
  32. The window shutters have firing ports included in their design.
  33. You have “ammo” on your Christmas list.
  34. You’re on a first-name basis with every vendor at a gun show.
  35. You can’t put your groceries in the trunk of the car because it’s already jammed full with emergency kits, first aid supplies, and fully-stocked BOBs.
  36. You have emergency rations for your pets, and view your pets as potential emergency rations.
  37. You know the news three days before it hits the mass media.
  38. You’re convinced you’ve been exposed to so many chemical trails, you consider it a form of birth control.
  39. You have backup plans for your backup plans.
  40. You’ve ever bought antibiotics for human use through a vet or grains for human consumption through a feed store.
  41. You’ve got more than one grain mill.
  42. You’ve ever wondered how you might filter the used water from your washing machine to make it fit for human consumption.
  43. You have a kerosene lamp in every room.
  44. Your living room coffee table is a board with a pretty cloth over it to disguise your food storage underneath.
  45. Your box springs are Rubber Maid containers filled with rice and beans.
  46. You save dryer lint to make fire starters.
  47. Your most commonly used fuel additive is Stabil, instead of Gum-out.
  48. You automatically choose the heavy-duty flatbed cart upon entering Sam’s or Costco.
  49. Your basement walls are insulated with crates of toilet paper, from floor to ceiling, all the way around.
  50. You know the shelf life of tuna fish, but don’t know how long you’ve had that open jar of mayo in the fridge.
  51. Other people are saving money for new furniture or vacations, but you are desperately saving to get solar panels put on your house.
  52. You were excited beyond all reason when they came out with cheddar cheese in a can.
  53. You’ve ever served MREs at a dinner party.
  54. You can engage in a spirited debate on chemical vs. sawdust toilets for hours on end.
  55. You’ve ever considered digging an escape tunnel from your basement to the nearest stand of trees.
  56. You know how to use a vacuum cleaner in reverse to filter the air in your designated bio-chem attack safe room.
  57. You’ve ever considered buying an above-ground pool for water storage purposes.
  58. You know what things like ‘TSHTF’, ‘BOB’, ‘GOOD’, and ‘TEOTWAWKI’ mean and routinely use them in conversations.
  59. You have different grades of BOBs.  And restock them twice a year.
  60. You know the names, family histories, locations, and degree of readiness of over a thousand fellow doomers on the internet, but you’ve never met your neighbors.
  61. The best radio in the house is a wind-up.
  62. You have better items in storage than you use every day.
  63. If the SHTF, you would eat better than you eat now.
  64. Your significant other gave you a sleeping bag rated at -15 degrees for Christmas, and you were moved beyond words.
  65. You’ve sewn secret mini-BOBs into the bottom of your children’s school backpacks.
  66. Local food pantries have come to depend on donations from your larder when you rotate stock in the spring and fall.
  67. You’re still using up your Y2K supplies.
  68. You have enough army surplus equipment to open a store.
  69. The local army surplus store owner knows you by your first name.
  70. When you fill up when your gas tank, it’s already 3/4 full.
  71. You have rain barrels at each corner of your house although you have a city water hookup, and a Big Berkey to purify the water.
  72. You have several cases of baby wipes and your kids are all grown.
  73. You call Rubber Maid for wholesale prices.
  74. You carry a pocket survival kit, a sturdy folding knife, a SureFire flashlight, and a small concealed handgun to church every Sunday.
  75. You start panicking when you are down to 50 rolls of toilet paper.
  76. You keep a small notebook to write down any edible plants you happen to see along the road.
  77. You shop yard sales, store sales, and markdown racks for bartering goods.
  78. You own a hand-operated clothes washer and a non-electric carpet sweeper.
  79. You have at least two of every size Dutch oven (the ones with the legs on the bottom), and 20 bags of charcoal, although you have a gas grill.
  80. You have sapphire lights, a survival whistle, and a Swiss Army knife on every family member’s keychain.
  81. The people in line at Costco ask if you run a store or restaurant.
  82. You require a shovel to rotate all your preps properly.
  83. You no longer go to the doctor because you can either fix it yourself, make it at home, or know and understand the physician’s desk reference better than he does, and can get the goods at the vets or pet store for MUCH less money anyway.
  84. You know that GPS has nothing to do with the economy.
  85. You start evaluating people according to ‘skill sets.’
  86. You track your preps on a computer spreadsheet for easy reordering, but have hard copies in a 3-ring binder, ‘just in case.’
  87. You’ve thought about where the hordes can be stopped before entering town.
  88. You know *all* the ways out of the building where you work.
  89. You view the nearest conservation area as a potential grocery store if TSHTF.
  90. You know that you have 36 gallons of extra drinking water in the hot water tank and your 2 toilet tanks.
  91. You have enough pasta stockpiled in your basement to carbo-load all the runners in the New York marathon.
  92. You know which bugs are edible.
  93. Your toenail clipper is a K-BAR.
  94. You have a hand pump on your well.
  95. You’ve numbered the deer romping in the yard by their order of consumption.
  96. You know where the best defensive positions and lines of fire are on your property.
  97. You must move 50 cases of food for the plumber to get to that leaky pipe, and you have your own hand truck in the basement to do it.
  98. You have #10 cans of ‘stuff’ that the labels fell off of, but you won’t throw it out or open it because it, ‘might be needed later,’ even though you haven’t a clue as to the contents.
  99. You have ever given SPAM as a serious gift.
  100. You’ve made a range card for your neighborhood.
  101. You’ve made bug-out cargo packs for your dogs.
  102. The Ranger Handbook is your favorite self-help book.
  103. You have more 55-gallon blue water drums than family members.
  104. You own more pairs of hiking boots than casual and dress shoes combined.
  105. You have a backup generator for your backup generator, which is a backup for your solar energy system.
  106. You go to McDonald’s and ask for one order of fries with 25 packs of ketchup and mustard.
  107. You are a single male over 40, but you still have an emergency childbirth kit, just in case you have to deal with that possibility.
  108. You’ve had your eye out for a good deal for a stainless steel handgun to conceal in the bottom of the magazine rack next to the toilet.
  109. You have a walking stick with all sorts of gadgets hidden inside.
  110. You have two water heaters installed in your basement, but one is a dummy that’s been converted to a hideaway safe.
  111. You’re a substitute scoutmaster, and you taught your son’s troop to set mantraps and punji pits, and haven’t been asked to stand in since.
  112. You’re on your fifth vacuum sealer, but you keep at least one of the worn-out ones because you can still seal up plastic bags with it.
  113. You haven’t bought dried fruit in years, but you buy fresh bananas, apples, peaches, and pears by the case and have three dehydrators.
  114. Your UPS man hates you because of all the cases of ammo he’s had to lug from his truck to your front door.
  115. You have duplicates of all your electronics gear, solar panels, and generator parts in your EMP-shielded fallout shelter.
  116. When the power goes out in your neighborhood, all the neighbor’s kids come over to your place to watch TV on generator power.
  117. You have set aside space for your live chickens in the fallout shelter.
  118. You must open the door to your pantry very carefully for fear of a canned goods avalanche.
  119. You have a ‘Volcano’, you know you can cook anything, and you cast evil glances at your neighbor’s annoying, yappy poodle, muttering, “Your day will come, hotdog”.
  120. You’ve learned to make twine from plant fibers to be used for snares because you fear that all of your preps and hard work will be confiscated by FEMA troops or destroyed by earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear blasts, ravening hordes of feral sheeple or reptiloids from ‘Planet X’
  121. The Police Chief calls you to find out what guns to buy for their officers.
  122. You start thinking about building a wind power system and seriously consider taking the effects of frequent overflights of unmarked black helicopters into your wind calculations.
  123. You seriously consider selling ANY body part for ANY prepping-related purpose.
  124. You pronounce the words TEOTWAWKI and SHTF in your everyday speech.
  125. You consider the neighbors to be a long-term food option.
  126. You have put any part of your sex life on a rotation schedule.
  127. You love your grain mill more than you love your children.
  128. Someone tells you they had a toilet backup once and your first thought is “Big deal. Lots of people have two toilets.”
  129. The process you go through when planning a party involves the words inventory or rehydrate.
  130. Your wife/husband leaves you and you insist they take their bugout bag with them.
  131. You put your Food Saver bags into a Food Saver bag and vacuum seal them between uses.  Or…you know firsthand that fresh eggs will crack if you try to vacuum seal them. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

Maybe we should update this list of essential attributes of survivalists to include a sense of humor. What do you think?

Thanks to Bob Mayne over at Today’s Survival Show podcast for putting this together and for permitting me to post it. How did he know I save my dryer lint??

Okay, be honest. How many of these things do you do?


This post was updated from the original posting on September 15, 2009.

78 thoughts on “You Might Be a Survivalist If. . .(A playful look at prepping for armageddon)”

  1. LOL! I love this…much of it is wa-a-ay beyond my own level of paranoia, but so much just hits the spot! And I WAS excited when I found out that there was such a thing as cheese in a can…and I STILL am! Peace to you all.

    1. Would you believe that list has been one of the most popular blog posts ever? It's funny but all too true for many of us!

  2. TodaysSurvivalShow

    If you cut your own hair with the KBar survival knife from your bugout bag…you might be a survivalist!

    If you use empty .45acp cartridges as a thimble…you might be a survivalist!

  3. TodaysSurvivalShow

    One more,

    If you shout "Wolverines!" before going to the shooting range…you might be a survivalist!

  4. Today'sSurvivalShow

    I liked it too!

    If you use old ammo can's for food storage…you might be survivalist!

    If you use an old tackle box to hold your first aid kit…you might be a survivalist!

  5. Nancy Frye-Swope

    This is hilarious funny, even though it was poking fun of many of the things we do! Last Mother's Day I got a shotgun from my husband and was thrilled beyond reason! Here's hopin' to hook up with you when tshtf. NFS – The Retired Biker Housewife

  6. TodaysSurvivalShow

    You might be a survivalist if…

    Your bug out bag has a better food selection than your neighbor's pantry!

    Your kids ever ask, "Mom, what brand of MRE's are we having for dinner tonight?"

    You have a plan to take your chickens with you if the SHTF.

        1. They make chicken diapers, which could be easily modified into little chicken backpacks. They aren’t going to carry much, but 1/4 to 1/2 cup of scratch would supplement their natural foraging nicely for a few days. [I shudder to think about attempting to fit a flock’s-worth of little backpacks onto uncooperative chickens in a hurry.]

  7. You're relieved when you find six more bottles of your favorite marinade in your storage supplies 'cause the other six you already knew you had were nowhere NEAR enough.

    As you're standing looking at the Easter / Halloween / Valentine's clearance candy, you wonder, "how long would vacuum sealing these at home keep them reasonably fresh for?"

  8. TodaysSurvivalShow

    If you have a back up generator for your generator…you might be survivalist! By the way, just cleaned my garage today and got rid of some Y2K supplies 🙂

  9. this was pretty funny…oddly enough since i read this the other day i can't stop thinking about spam. if there isn't a spam cookbook, there should be.

    i'm not a survivalist, but i do love spam!

    1. My husband was raised in the Pacific and likes nothing better than fried Spam slices and lots of white rice!

  10. Funny how a lot of those indicators also apply to our family. We have 9 children and everyday life sometimes seems like a survival. Ha HA

  11. If you can identify the gear that is used in movies like Resident Evil. (I came up with that one when I made the comment in chat that I noticed that Alice in Resident Evil 3 was dual wielding a pair of Kurkuri Machetes to dispatch zombies!)

  12. Sweet T Makes Three

    I just laughed until tears came because just about everything listed I have either done, thought about, or am now Googling how to do thanks to the inspiration. 🙂

    1. You might do a little research about Google and decide if you want to find a new search engine that won't be tracking you like DuckDuckGo or scroogle.

  13. OMG, get out of my house!!!! Too funny, I sent this to my better half and he asked when I gave the interview for the article, lol.

  14. You might be a survivalist if you believe that John Hinckley Jr was blood kin to George Bush Sr and that all U.S. presidents since the 1800’s are blood kin to the British crown, with the possible exception of Reagan.

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  17. Hahaha! I can relate to quite a few things on this list – especially the "fence posts as range markers" part. Great list!

    1. One Steel T post every ten feet, wooden four by fours every hundred feet, a six by six post at three hundred feet, yup got em.

  18. I always buy extra wheat and corn and penicillin at the elevator, when I'm buying feed for my alternate food sources.

    1. I bought some expensive Procaine for the horses and got needles that were human size as well the look on the wife’s face when I said, “ya know in a pinch I can use this to treat a human” LOL

  19. I neither considered myself a "survivalist" nor paranoid till I read this. Until I got to the 10th one that described me and I was only half way down the list!

  20. This is tooooooo funny. Or am I getting to this point. I thought last week when I was throwing out dryer lint what an idiot I am that is fire starter

  21. I freakin loved this post…enjoyed this so much, I’m trying to become a prepper…i dont have much but working on it.

  22. – You read your ‘ammo shopping list’ to your kids by numbers and they know exactly what your talking about and which gun each goes to.

    Lol – This is a GREAT list. I told my hubby – for the ones that don’t apply to us – it’s a ‘To Do List’.


  23. I think someone has been watching me… Lol. Yep chicken and pets have rations – and could be rations themselves if warrented. Lol. Love it (love my pets too – just too funny).

  24. SilentNightPrepper

    My wife also sews hidden mini-EDC kits to the inside of all our jackets – so no one gets left out in the cold lol.

  25. It would be nice, that when someone writes your biography, that they at least tell you about it…the question is, how did he know so much about me? 😉

  26. I just read this article and loved it! Great encouragement and some new ideas. My friends laugh at me, but on the other hand, they tend to take me serious when I start asking if they have their stuff for an upcoming storm or whatever is going on at the time.

  27. You might be a survivalist if … You sign your kids up for scouting and volunteer to help for the free training –

    Saving your Mother’s Day tea tins to make mini faraday cages for portable harddrives

    Being more thrilled with the concealed carry bag than the tea tins on Mothers Day

  28. “You’re convinced you’ve been exposed to so many chemical-trails, you consider it a form of birth control.”

    This one had me giggling. After three wives and no children, my father assumed he had become sterile because of Agent Orange in Viet Nam. When my mother told him she was pregnant with me, his first thought was, “Is it mine?”. He was 43.

    For the record, the answer was ‘yes’. I look just like him and my mother is a honorable woman.

  29. Must say, many of these come with living poorly in the country (how I grew up) and with children (I have 5). . . I read it and I was grinning the entire way. Shouldn’t kill and eat the snakes though, they keep the mice/rats at bay, to useful to eat (we had mice issues, snakes were a good thing in our part of the woods).

  30. I don’t consider myself hard core, but I can answer yes to waaaaay too many of these. 😉 And my S-I-L saves me her dryer lint and paper egg cartons too!

    1. The Survival Mom

      HA! The other day at church I looked around and wondered, how many of these people are carrying? In Texas, I’d say a fair number.

  31. Great post.
    This needs to be in word or .pdf format with little check boxes in front of each line. That way we can print it and keep track of where we are!
    Also, the Facebook “The Survival Mom” link at the bottom of the posting doesn’t work. Looks like Facebook changed the name format or it was typed in wrong. I think the spaces in the name are messing it up.

  32. Daniel TheCaptain

    “The power fails in your local movie theater, and you pull your flashlight from your belt and show yourself the way out.”
    Had to laugh on this one… It just happened about three weeks ago! LOL! People thought I worked for the theater and kept asking when the power will be back?

  33. …if there’s a Lindt Chocolate outlet in the plaza you work in and you offer to take all that expired product “to the dumpster for you while you’re so understaffed” , because you know Lindt is foil-wrapped and will keep for years passed the date on it…

  34. And the hubs thought I was going overboard with the preps. Can’t wait to show him this list (and tell him I’m NOT done yet) ROFL. Too much thanks

  35. Let me just say this. Somebody’s been watching my uncle, very closely. His belief, that there are spies, is looking possible.😁😁😁

  36. Prepared Grammy

    *You look at rabbit manure as little nuggets of gold to be used in your garden.
    *The cashier is wondering why you’re always buying Mason jars, and asks, “What are you canning in winter?”
    *Date night with your husband always involves a trip to the farm supply store for more animal feed.
    *You get excited every time a young hen starts laying.
    *Your adult kids don’t worry about running out of something, because they know they can just shop at Mom’s house.
    *Your grandsons play in the pantry, and call it their “house,” because they could actually live in it.
    *Your “To-do list” includes getting more Mason jars because it’s time to harvest honey.
    *You have feminine care products in your home storage, even though you don’t personally need them.
    *You’re a public school teacher, and teach your kids (students) how to garden.

    True stuff.

  37. “You’re the first person at the gun range on Dec 26th…” doesn’t happen in our county, cause just about everyone has a shooting range in their backyard. Christmas day starting about 10 am sounds like a war in progress and goes on till about 4 pm. Even if you didn’t get a new bang-bang, all the shooting makes you want to do a bit of practice too, and friends come by to show off their new weapons, so more practice.

  38. I recognize myself in a few of these…saving the dryer lint (and those toilet paper tubes) cases of beans and rice…etc I’ve been doing this since the 80’s and now I’m 65. I keep wondering what my family will think when they come to clear everything out when I’m dead? What did she need with a gross of toilet paper? What did she need with 100 tubes of toothpaste? Why is there 500 lbs of rice and beans under the bed? Grandma was losing it…

  39. Sigh.

    I actually do a couple of the things on this list.

    And, I agree with a couple of other posters, that some are pretty good suggestions.

  40. “You track your preps on a computer spreadsheet for easy reordering, but have hard copies in a 3-ring binder, ‘just in case’.”

    I aspire to this level of preparedness.

    You’re our hero.

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