I’ve received an email from a TV producer looking for candidates for a new show about preppers. In corresponding with them, and reading the types of questions they are asking people, I’ve been giving thought to the different kinds of survivalists there are out there. While there certainly is a fair amount of overlap between these categories, I thought it might be interesting to look a bit deeper into these terms.
Please note, these are my own definitions for these terms. Your opinion might differ a bit and, if that’s the case, I’m cool with that. Feel free to drop a comment below and state your case.
A prepper is someone who is interested in disaster readiness, likely has at least begun to make their own plans and preparations, but isn’t necessarily concerned with just an end of the world scenario. Instead, they are more worried about mundane emergencies, such as severe weather or long-term power outages.
A survivalist, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with one or more apocalyptic events. Whether they are looking at EMP, economic collapse, pandemic, or nuclear war, they gear their preparations for the extreme long haul. Many of them also tend to have security issues rank rather high on the list of concerns.
A homesteader is kind of a survivalist by default. They are working towards providing most or all of their needs on their own. They grow extensive gardens and many have at least some form of livestock. They can their own food, cook from scratch, and have well water for the most part. Should a major disaster occur, unless the devastation were to impact them directly, they’ll generally be mostly unaffected. They may or may not be completely off the grid but even if they have power lines coming to the house, they know how to get by without it.
The armchair survivalist is the guy who frequents all the message boards and other online forums, quick to point out flaws in everyone else’s plans, but hasn’t done much of anything in terms of actual preps himself. Many of these guys (and they are almost all male) have stated a major component of their plan is to shoot everyone and anyone who comes near them after an apocalyptic event. He’s often a major fan of post-apocalyptic fiction and has naughty dreams about saving young damsels in distress by riding in on his Harley, guns a blazin’. These guys are often easy to spot in the mall as they are usually about 100lbs overweight, haven’t shaved in a week, and are ogling all the pretty young things walking around as he wolfs down his fifth chili dog at the food court.
The raider is the one who makes mental notes about his neighbors’ preps and often talks about how great it would be to be able to just walk into a warehouse and make off with all kinds of great stuff in the absence of law and order. He figures that as long as he stocks enough ammo and guns, he will be able to take whatever he wants. If he has any food stored at all, it is probably 10 year old MREs he bought online from a Y2K prepper and hasn’t touched since. Fairly often, the raider and the armchair survivalist are one and the same.
What are your thoughts? Did I miss any major categories? Which one(s) are you? Leave a comment below to start a discussion.