In the world of mainstream media and contemporary pop culture, preppers and survivalists are often considered to be one in the same. Lumped together in a category by folks who have neither the desire nor the inclination to look any further, preppers and survivalists are seen as a fringe group of people with the same mentality and set of values. Those of us who are a little more in the know when it comes to things like self-reliance and disaster planning are aware that preppers and survivalists are not exactly always in the same camp. While both groups gear their thinking toward worst-case scenarios, they go about things differently and prioritize needs inversely.
This article will seek to define a few of the differences between preppers and survivalists, as well as note some of the things that can be taken from studying both sets of values and priorities. For the purpose of this article, we have broken down the mutual priorities of vital supplies, and personal protection.
Preppers: The prepper mind state on food and water is textbook stockpiling. Obtaining and storing large amounts of vital supplies is paramount to the true prepper, who is likely concerned about feeding more than one person.
Survivalist: The survivalist mentality when it comes to obtaining food and water is relatively nomadic. True survivalists invest in learning skillsets that allow them to live off of the land and scavenge vital supplies.
Insight: The way to achieve the best of both worlds here is to invest in knowledge as well as a decent amount of vital supplies. The thing about preparing for the unexpected, is that it is the unexpected. Stockpiling food and water won’t do any good if you have to bug-out on foot. Knowing how to live off the land won’t help if you’re forced to bug-in.
Preppers: Most preppers look to fortify their homes and amass large arsenals to defend against potential threats. Obtaining and storing large amounts of ammunition and firearms is standard prepping procedure, and this philosophy on protecting the home can also spiral outward to include things like bullet proof windows, safe rooms, attack dogs and things of such nature.
Survivalist: Survivalists are no lightweights when it comes to arming themselves. However, the true survivalist will look to arm himself with ONLY the weapons he absolutely needs. This is due, in large part, to the high value a survivalist places upon mobility. Personal protection for a survivalist can also include things such as mantrapping, snares, booby traps and forms of self-defense that utilize the surrounding environment.
Insight: The way to achieve the best of both worlds in personal protection is to purchase one or two primary firearms, and a great deal of ammunition. That old saying of “beware the man who owns only one gun, for he knows how to use it,” is quite applicable here. Unless you are part of a huge family, you don’t need a ton of firearms, you do need a couple, and you need to be proficient with them. And of course, a solid ammunition supply is critical or your guns quickly become ornamental.