There are some similarities between the 2 groups but far more and greater differences as well. Doomsday preppers have a unique and all consuming fixation on preparing for an “End Of The World” event, while Real Preppers are more inclined to think more about the next storm or local emergency. I will do my best to differentiate between the two and also show the similarities as well.
“Prepping” is common in much of the US (and probably world) and many do not realize they are a “prepper”. Do you have lanterns, flashlights, and candles on hand for a power outage during a storm? How about a couple days of food in the pantry in case a blizzard snows you in? Do you have a “hurricane kit”? Do you have a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, or other emergency supplies? If you answered yes to ANY of these questions, then you are a “prepper” also.
What I classify as “true preppers” are People who have become aware that we are a fragile species in reality, especially when confronted with what nature can throw at us. If you live along the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico Coasts, hurricanes are a threat and most People take precautions to have some supplies on hand to see them through a storm. If you live up North or in the mountains, you prepare for blizzards in the winter by having some extra food on hand and alternative light and heat sources in case of power outages. Tornadoes are another item that People get ready for. These all are situations that “Preppers” have thought of and keep supplies on hand to see them and their families through.
Almost everyone prepares in some way or another for these natural disasters, although too many wait until the storm approaches and then create “mob” rush on the grocery stores or home improvement stores for bread, milk, generators, and eggs. Some rush out to stock up on food and buy frozen pizzas and microwave burritos, not even thinking how they will cook these when and if the power goes out. True Preppers think of these ahead of time and look at the necessary steps and supplies needed to give their families the best chance of not only survival, but making the issue more of an inconvenience.
I live in the Midwest near the Great Lakes. I know I have the possibility of tornadoes during thunderstorms and also the odds are very likely I will see at least 1 major blizzard during winter. I do not want myself or my family having to take chances on the roads to get necessities because a storm approaches. I have put canned goods and other needed items we take for granted in our modern society aside for these emergencies. I am also an avid outdoorsman, so my family camps, fishes, hunts, hikes, etc. We have the lanterns and flashlights for these activities, along with a camp stove, sleeping bags and have learned to perform our normal rituals without the convenience of electricity and other comfort resources.
Another source of thought and planning for a prepper, especially in our current times, is another economic depression. Many have sought to live more modestly but also to relearn the forgotten skills and chores our Grandparents used to get through the Great Depression. We (as a whole) have become more self sufficient and grow some or much of our own food with gardens and can the abundance of our harvests. This has also become common among those who want to avoid the chemicals and GMO [Genetically Mutated Organisms (sic)] that are being forced upon us by people more concerned with money than health and good living. Rural citizens have been practicing this for generations, as some live an hour away from the nearest grocery and department stores. Being self sufficient is a necessity for them.
There are many other issues and emergencies People have “prepped” for, CME (Coronal Mass Ejections), war, civil unrest (whether following a storm or with the ignorance shown by many whether their team loses or wins a sporting event), wildfires, etc. Each person has a specific list of emergencies that they plan and prepare for that is based on their location and environment. Each must also prepare these emergencies based on their location and resources; urban dwellers may need to stock more food because they have less area to produce their own food, where a rural dweller stocks more hardware items because the hardware store is so far away.
Because of my outdoor pursuits, wilderness survival skills are needed in case an accident or other emergency occurs while I am away from immediate help. Vital skills such as acquiring and preparing wild food (plant and animal), building a shelter, starting a fire with primitive means, finding and making water potable, being able to perform sanitation in an austere location, first aid, etc. I learned these skills (which benefit me during an emergency even at home) not only because I spent my free time pursuing activities away from the security of immediate help but also because I am a fan of History and wanted to learn how our Colonial forefathers lived day to day. We think of our “heroes” like Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Simon Kenton, Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, Jim Beckwourth, etc as having the skills and knowledge to build a fire without a match and harvest food from the wilderness but even our “urban” ancestors had to perform these skills every day. If the power goes out, I must be able to build a fire in the woodstove or fireplace to heat my family’s home or cook our food. I have the luxury of a lighter and matches, but I also have my camping tools to perform these tasks as well.
I also study Native American culture and skills, these were the ones who taught our European immigrants how to survive in nature on this new land. The Native Americans not only survived but LIVED using nothing but “primitive” tools and foraging, hunting, fishing, and growing their own food and making their own clothes from what nature provided. Do I have to make my own clothes or harvest all my own food? No, but being able to pursue these skills is fun and reminds me all the while how easy we have it and the difficulties faced in not only surviving and living but doing so while building this great nation. For me, it made the sacrifices made during military service worthwhile to ensure future generations would inherit the Freedom and Liberty I cherish so much.
Doomsday “proponents” are more inclined to stockpile supplies and look at being able to “bunker in” for an extended stay. They feel they need more consumable supplies and only this and a well fortified bunker will allow them to survive an event. Many are fixated on one theory or another for the cause of the catastrophic event that will “end” the world. Notice I said “many”, not all, as some have been “labeled” as Doomsday preppers because they have accrued enough supplies and feel adequately prepared to live through a catastrophic event.
While I understand the need for having supplies on hand to make it through a catastrophic event, I see some issues with spending every penny I earn and every second I breathe in total servitude to a “possibility”. My preps have built up over the years to where I feel I am adequately prepared to face such an event and also the terminology used could be a possible divide on categories of “Preppers”. A global economic collapse would be an “The End Of The World As We Know It” (TEOTWAWKI) event. It isn’t what I would deem a “doomsday” but would change our lives and lifestyles dramatically, even more so than the Great Depression. Our society now is less able to provide for themselves and more dependent on others for simple and daily needs. The grocery store provides most of the food consumed by people today. If a pair of pants gets a hole (besides being in vogue style…lol), we throw them out and buy a new pair instead of patching/sewing them. We turn on a switch for light at night instead of lighting an oil lantern or candle to see by. These items and means of sustainment are also what creates a divide between Preppers and others in society. They see the pursuit of the skills and supplies to be responsible for oneself and family as a distraction from sporting events and other spectator pursuits. We see our Freedom and Liberty to mean a requirement to be able to be responsible to provide for our family and selves.
While I do not prep for an alien invasion nor live my life in a constant “bunker mentality”, I see the Doomsday and Everyday Preppers as being in pursuit of the same objective, freedom to be ourselves and provide the needs of our families in troubled times. Several of us not only prepare for our families, but have plans in place to help rebuild if that “doomsday” occurs. We stand ready to help our neighbors and community reacquire the society we have inherited from the hard working Pioneers that came before us.
One of the “mottos” I live by is:
“Survival is existence; I prep to LIVE”.
To me this means I do not spend all my money or time waiting for a disaster to strike or a hardship that needs surmounted. I enjoy my family, take vacations, visit natural wonders and pursue such trivial pastimes as a game of cards or horseshoes but I am ready to provide for my family during an emergency and am confident we will still be able to enjoy our time together even in the more trying times.
Get Trained. Be Ready. Stay Prepared.