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Old 12-24-2012, 07:03 PM
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Default Survivalists vs. Preppers



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The other day someone wrote to me on another board:

Until about 2 days ago I had not ever heard the term "prepper" and don't know what the difference really is. Seems to me that one is a subset of the other rather than an entirely different thing, but I would be happier to have someone who understands that difference more deeply explain it. Care to do the honors

I replied:

I'm self-treating a self-diagnosed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with a "Thumb Stabilizer" (wrist brace) and so have been truncating many of my postings of late. I touched on this subject in my novel TEOTWAWKI Beacon's Story http://desertdavesteotwawkisurvivalg...-part-one.html However I'll try to give you an explanation.

You are correct. "Preppers" are a reaction to "Survivalists". While I embrace "preppers" I eschew "survivalists". But how to tell the difference?

Years ago I was watching an interview with a self proclaimed survivalist on TV. As he talked about his guns a fly began buzzing around his head. Instead of trying to shoo it away with a hand he began snapping at it with his teeth. It took several tries but eventually he managed to catch the fly in his mouth and swallow it. He explained to the stunned interviewer that flies were protein and in a "survival situation" every gram of protein was precious.

Example #2
Years ago my wife and I began tentative talks with two other sets of people with regard to teaming up in case of a nuclear exchange between the USSR and America.

One guy turned out to be congenital liar and megalomaniac who planed to start his own tribe after the bombs fell. We distanced ourselves from him. The other seemed OK and we went so far as to buy a Ruger 10/22 with him at wholesale through a friend he knew. But then one day we drove up into the mountains and he showed me the local Boy Scouts camp. He told me once law and order had been bombed out he planned to come up to the Boy Scout camp, kill the camp's live in grounds keeper and set up, you guessed it, a community in the mountains with him as leader. We distanced ourselves from him too.

The term "prepper" hadn't been invented yet so I guess my wife and I were technically "survivalists" back then. But I didn't want any part of people like that and so made plans to go it alone if the need ever came. Fortunately it never did.

A "prepper" may have a bungalow in the burbs and vacation cabin in the woods. They'll have stocks of food and water and a few guns.

A "survivalist" has some food, a lot of guns and may have a bunker in the bush.

You probably know some "preppers" without knowing it. Telltale signs are always fully stocked cupboards, food stored in the garage and/or basement and maybe a 55 gallon water barrel.

If you know a "survivalist" he'll have shown you his gun collection.

When "survivalism" was big in the media a friend of mine (fellow prepper) knew a Sergeant on the local police force. My friend told me that when the subject of preparing for TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) came up the cop had told him he intended to survive by taking what he needed for him and his family with his gun.

It's attitudes like that that cause "survivalists" to stock up on ammo and "preppers" to keep their heads down.

If properly stocked up you can feed your family for a year, your family and neighbors for a month and the neighborhood for a week.

Then what?

Getting back to your point, "preppers" probably split off from "survivalists" about the time "survivalism" became a hit with the media. Preppers just want to quietly prepare in case something happens.

Those people you see on Doomsday Preppers parading around with guns and gas masks seem to me to be more interested in garnering their 15 minutes of fame than surviving anything.

Of course you could argue that "survivalists" storing ammo are "prepping" too and that a "prepper" with a gun is a "survivalist" but I would argue that the difference is in the size of the food locker vs. the size of the gun locker.

I've got to stop now, my thumb is starting to hurt again.
Old 12-24-2012, 07:07 PM
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I've always seen "prepper" as a kinder, gentler term to refer to survivalist since the media has worked hard to crucify us for several decades. Some people want to see a difference in the two terms. But I see them as one and the same. The differences I see are in how "survivalists" prepare. Some eat worms, some are ready to live in the sticks with nothing but a knife and a flint, others store food and grow gardens. All different facets of "survivalism" or as some called it "prepping."
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:16 PM
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A few psychos posing as survivalists doesn't make them all that way anymore than a hoarder is necessarily a prepper.

I don't think one is a subset of the other, really, but there is a lot of crossover. Personally, when I think 'survivalist', I don't think guns. Guns take ammo, have moving parts. Added complication. When I think of a survivalist, I think of basic rudimentary skills--firemaking, flintnapping, meat butchering--and basically living on renewable resources. When I think 'prepper', I think people who store gas, lighters and the like.
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:55 PM
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People use the words as they were the same. Even if they cut into each other, for me a survivalist is someone who collects and trains skills while a prepper is someone who collects food and other things. A survivalist will endure and use their skills in a creative way, while a prepper will hide and try to mimick everyday life on their preps.

I don't look down on "prepping" but I do look down on the prepper lifestyle, and I do not think we should use the word prepping instead of the word survivalism just because it sounds nicer. Survivalism is the broader term and it can include surviving in any type of scenario, it doesn't even have to be totally slanted towards an unknown future disaster. IMO survivalism is something that involves someone's personality, while prepping is for those who don't want to grow.

We need to reclaim the word survivalism.



Flame on.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:09 PM
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In a word, (or two)... "Who cares?"
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:14 PM
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Was Tim McVeigh a survivalist or a prepper? I don't wanna have anything in common with him.
Old 12-24-2012, 08:35 PM
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To me, preppers are accumulating resources to see themselves through times of trouble.

Survivalists, on the other hand, are attempting to create a sustainable situation that will outlast the supplies of the prepper.

Obviously there's overlap, and I'm on my way to being as survivalist though I currently am mostly a prepper. I'd say I'm about 15 percent of the way.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:37 PM
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when i here the 2 terms this is what i think

Survivalist - Someone who has trained for a long time and has honed their skills to live off the land with minimal supplies, usually a loner with a very small group of people they plan to include in their group.

Prepper - Usually a larger group of people, but could also be a single family that plans on rebuilding a community to grow and harvest food either in the same location they now live, or a pre-determined bug out location. usually has a large amount of food, water, medical and other supplies stored for just in case events.

I do not include any negative ideas about either group, really to me the only difference is the survivalist could also be referred to as a minimalist, while a prepper could be more categorized as a farmer / rancher. i think both styles are admirable.
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Old 12-24-2012, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FullMetalJacket View Post
Was Tim McVeigh a survivalist or a prepper? I don't wanna have anything in common with him.
Neither....he was a TERRORIST
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Old 12-24-2012, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FullMetalJacket View Post
Was Tim McVeigh a survivalist or a prepper? I don't wanna have anything in common with him.
He also owned guns, drove vehicles, served in the military, went shopping like the rest of us, etc. Are you sure you don't want to have anything in common with him? That doesn't leave a whole lot left.
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Old 12-24-2012, 10:33 PM
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I believe they are two heads of the same beast. You prep in good times to become a survivalist when things go bad. Some are just more extreme than others but heading toward the same goal, surviving.
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Old 12-25-2012, 10:45 AM
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A survivalist is a prepper and vice versa. Both a trying to be sure that they and the people that they care about are able to care themselves should something happen that causes a significant impact on the normal everyday activities that we have all come to expect.
Old 12-25-2012, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeK View Post
He also owned guns, drove vehicles, served in the military, went shopping like the rest of us, etc. Are you sure you don't want to have anything in common with him? That doesn't leave a whole lot left.
In common? Maybe.

But he had a hatred that transcended any similarities.
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Old 12-25-2012, 11:30 AM
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We are all born with a genetic predsispositon to be a survivalist. The "survivalist" instinct is stronger in some people than others. This could be an effect of the way a person was raised, or learned through life experiences. Some people try to hedge their bets by prepping.

Tex
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:27 PM
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Survive means to:
1. Continue to live or exist, esp. in spite of danger or hardship.
2. Continue to live or exist in spite of (an accident or ordeal).

Prepare means to:
1. Make (something) ready for use or consideration.
2. Make (food or a meal) ready for cooking or eating.

So you would think a Survivalist was someone seeking to continue to exist. But instead most so identified individuals seem to have a death wish. Mainly anti-government types or worse. Heck, I have seen some say they would rather die than (fill in the blank).

Whereas the Preppers tend to follow the make ready definition. Though many seems to be making ready for a apocalypse rather than more common events. (most common events are well covered if you are prepared for a apocalyptic event).
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertDave View Post
The other day someone wrote to me on another board:

Until about 2 days ago I had not ever heard the term "prepper" and don't know what the difference really is. Seems to me that one is a subset of the other rather than an entirely different thing, but I would be happier to have someone who understands that difference more deeply explain it. Care to do the honors

I replied:

I'm self-treating a self-diagnosed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with a "Thumb Stabilizer" (wrist brace) and so have been truncating many of my postings of late. I touched on this subject in my novel TEOTWAWKI Beacon's Story http://desertdavesteotwawkisurvivalg...-part-one.html However I'll try to give you an explanation.

You are correct. "Preppers" are a reaction to "Survivalists". While I embrace "preppers" I eschew "survivalists". But how to tell the difference?

Years ago I was watching an interview with a self proclaimed survivalist on TV. As he talked about his guns a fly began buzzing around his head. Instead of trying to shoo it away with a hand he began snapping at it with his teeth. It took several tries but eventually he managed to catch the fly in his mouth and swallow it. He explained to the stunned interviewer that flies were protein and in a "survival situation" every gram of protein was precious.

Example #2
Years ago my wife and I began tentative talks with two other sets of people with regard to teaming up in case of a nuclear exchange between the USSR and America.

One guy turned out to be congenital liar and megalomaniac who planed to start his own tribe after the bombs fell. We distanced ourselves from him. The other seemed OK and we went so far as to buy a Ruger 10/22 with him at wholesale through a friend he knew. But then one day we drove up into the mountains and he showed me the local Boy Scouts camp. He told me once law and order had been bombed out he planned to come up to the Boy Scout camp, kill the camp's live in grounds keeper and set up, you guessed it, a community in the mountains with him as leader. We distanced ourselves from him too.

The term "prepper" hadn't been invented yet so I guess my wife and I were technically "survivalists" back then. But I didn't want any part of people like that and so made plans to go it alone if the need ever came. Fortunately it never did.

A "prepper" may have a bungalow in the burbs and vacation cabin in the woods. They'll have stocks of food and water and a few guns.

A "survivalist" has some food, a lot of guns and may have a bunker in the bush.

You probably know some "preppers" without knowing it. Telltale signs are always fully stocked cupboards, food stored in the garage and/or basement and maybe a 55 gallon water barrel.

If you know a "survivalist" he'll have shown you his gun collection.

When "survivalism" was big in the media a friend of mine (fellow prepper) knew a Sergeant on the local police force. My friend told me that when the subject of preparing for TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) came up the cop had told him he intended to survive by taking what he needed for him and his family with his gun.

It's attitudes like that that cause "survivalists" to stock up on ammo and "preppers" to keep their heads down.

If properly stocked up you can feed your family for a year, your family and neighbors for a month and the neighborhood for a week.

Then what?

Getting back to your point, "preppers" probably split off from "survivalists" about the time "survivalism" became a hit with the media. Preppers just want to quietly prepare in case something happens.

Those people you see on Doomsday Preppers parading around with guns and gas masks seem to me to be more interested in garnering their 15 minutes of fame than surviving anything.

Of course you could argue that "survivalists" storing ammo are "prepping" too and that a "prepper" with a gun is a "survivalist" but I would argue that the difference is in the size of the food locker vs. the size of the gun locker.

I've got to stop now, my thumb is starting to hurt again.
I see survivalists as a short term thing. Like survivorman, Ron Hood and Dual survival. (Some of my favorites) I think of prepper as 1st the TV show (The law of familiarity) and 2nd as Someone expecting a long term need like years.
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rainman240 View Post
I believe they are two heads of the same beast. You prep in good times to become a survivalist when things go bad. Some are just more extreme than others but heading toward the same goal, surviving.
Yea .... What he said.
Old 12-25-2012, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by zatoichi View Post
In common? Maybe.

But he had a hatred that transcended any similarities.
I'm afraid some here would enjoy having all the similarities, especially the hatred.
Sad "Cant we all get along?" Naaaa
Old 12-25-2012, 01:28 PM
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I believe that somewhere along the line (Ruby Ridge? Rambo? Waco?), through the media, the term Survivalist became synonymous with "Radical anti-government seperatist gun nut." The general public began to associate any one interested in firearms, hunting, and being capable of spending the night in the back country by themselves as being a "survivalist." People began to refer to themselves by more gentle terms like "outdoorsman" to avoid the media assigned stigma of the term "survivalist." The term "prepper" was probaly a more natural progression for those who live in a more urban enviornment who stock items in preperation for an event that could leave them without all their modern conveniences.

Just my two cents.
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Old 12-25-2012, 01:45 PM
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To me 'survivalist' from the 70s and 80s was advance bushcraft. Practicing your ability to survival in the wild with a knife and the clothes on your back. Now it has taken on a different tinge with people who drool over their guns.

'Prepper's are often seen as hoarders.

I prefer 'homesteader'. People who work toward living self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyles.
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