Preppers - Profiles of Survivalism Part 1
While some people think of prepper as simply a updated term for survivalist, there are some core differences between these two groups. The primary difference is preppers tend to focus on supplies and equipment while survivalist focus more on Bushcraft and wilderness survival skills. Preppers are also planners and have a course of action planned for a wide variety of disaster scenarios.
In many emergency situations the best course of action is simply to stay at home or as preppers call it bugging in. While simply staying at home doesn't require much effort or planning in some short term cases; severe weather or long term bugging in scenarios can require a great deal of planning and supplies to comfortably make it through.
It takes a lot of water to make it all work; most people don't realize the massive amount of water they use per day. However, this ugly fact surfaces rather quickly when the faucets stop running. While having several cases of bottled water might be all that is required to stay alive; the veteran prepper generally has enough water stored not only for drinking but also for cooking, washing, and flushing the toilet.
While a person can survive for weeks without food, it's not something you really want to have to do, especially if it can easily be avoided. Preppers often have months, sometimes years, worth of food stored carefully for future use. Canning, vacuum sealing, dehydrating, salt curing, and Mylar bagging are all methods preppers might use to insure their long term food supply doesn't go bad for years. Prepackaged MRE style meals and canned goods can also generally be found in their found storage inventory.
In some cases having power when the electricity is out is a nice convenience; however, in other cases it is much more critical. Most preppers will have a method of producing at least some electricity during power outages; often this is accomplished by generators used to run some essential items until the power is restored. It is also not uncommon for preppers to use inverters and large 12 volt batteries to keep electronics and other devices going during a power outage.
As mentioned earlier, often times the best thing to do during an emergency is just stay put; however, there are times when leaving your home makes more sense or is required such as during a forced evacuation. Despite being somewhat reluctant to leave a large stockpile of supplies behind; preppers are generally well prepared to leave their residence in an emergency which they refer to as bugging out.
Bug Out Bags
The bug out bag is one of the prepper's core pieces of gear in an evacuation. This bag is often called by other names such as a 72 hour kit, a get out of dodge bag, go bag, etc. but basically it allows the user to survive on the contents of the bag alone for a couple days. So if there is little to no warning before evacuating, a prepper will grab this bag and head toward safety.
Bug Out Vehicles
While there is no standardized vehicle driven by all preppers; they tend to favor 4wd pickups and 4wd or AWD SUV's for their off road capability as well as cargo capacity. These preparedness fans also generally keep their vehicles well stocked and maintained with many never letting the gas tank drop below half a tank. Items like tow ropes, tire chains, jumper cables, and wrenches are also commonly found in a prepper's bug out vehicle.
Bug Out Locations
Once you have left your house you need a place to go, which preppers refer to as bug out locations. These locations can range from an isolated spot in the woods all the way up to a secluded second home or cabin purchased for just such occasions. Which location is selected will depend on the type of disaster, and available escape routes. Preppers will often have supplies cached along the route to their bug out location in case they need to make the journey without their primary bug out vehicle.
While we covered some supplies like food, water, and generators previously in the bugging in section; preppers are probably more likey than the other groups in modern survivalism to stock an abundance of daily use items like toilet paper, tooth paste, and coffee. Furthermore, they generally have a lot of camping and outdoor related gear for bugging out scenarios.
Different guns work better for different situations, and since the prepper tries to prepare for a wide variety of situations it often leads them to purchase a large number of firearms. Expect to finds handguns that can be easily concealed, and rifles and shotguns for defense and hunting applications. A seasoned prepper well also likely keep a large supply of ammo on hand as recent years have seem ammo extremely hard to get at certain times. Some preppers also choose to reload their own ammo to further decrease their dependency on the retail market for their ammo supply.
Communications can be crucial in an emergency and this hasn't escaped the prepping community. While certainly not all or even the majority of preppers are ham operators, they are probably more likely to be ham certified than the general population. Preppers are also likely to utilize other forms of two way communication such as CB radios, marine band radios, and handheld Walkie Talkies. They also frequently have scanners to monitor police, fire, and EMS to further aid their ability to access whatever situation is occurring.
Of all those in the preparedness movement, preppers are probably are the most likely to have large amounts of various fuels stored. Generators can be extremely useful when the power is out but require significant amounts of fuel to keep then running for extended periods of time. Preppers also like to have enough fuel to top off their vehicles without having to stop before evacuating or refuel along the route to their bug out location. Propane is another fuel often store by preppers often for heating and cooking purposes.
Acquiring all the gear and supplies listed above is a long term and often slow process; however, the experienced and diligent prepper is well prepared to handle most disasters. Those of you that are interested in prepping should consider starting with a bug out bag which can be used to support you for several days whether you are bugging in, or bugging out.