Survivalist Forum banner
1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
antisocialbutterfly
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://men.style.com/details/features/full?id=content_7476

They live next door to you, not in bunkers. Young, successful, urban “preppers” are stockpiling for the apocalypse—and they think you’re crazy not to.


Dressed in a navy-and-white-striped polo, fitted khaki shorts, and a hefty silver watch, Mike, 37, blends in with his neighbors as they return to the well-appointed high-rise they inhabit in Alexandria, Virginia, after a casual Friday at work. Mike, who moved to the D.C. area about a year ago for a website job in nearby Crystal City, is the picture of American industriousness and upscale success. He’s the first person in the office each morning, he’s working on a master’s in communications in his spare time, and he lives in a sleekly designed apartment with a spectacular view of the Washington Monument.

But another picture of Mike, also very American, starts coming into focus after he opens the double doors to his kitchen pantry.

There, he’s stashed enough food and water to live on for 90 days. The inventory is staggering: a floor full of water jugs lined up like soldiers; 150 water-purification tablets; 75 freeze-dried meals like kung pao chicken and two dozen ready-to-eat meals (MREs), complete with mini Tabasco bottles and breath mints; 20 pounds of rice; enough canned goods to stock a grocery-store aisle ... and dessert. “I love chocolate,” Mike says; his personal hoard includes 60 Hershey’s bars—50 of the 3.5-ounce variety and 10 one-pounders.

He shuts the pantry doors and continues the tour in his living room, where there are 10 backpacks lined up against the rear wall. Some are filled with more freeze-dried food, others with camping gear. “This is part of my thing that is maybe weird,” he says, betraying no sense of irony as he opens one backpack and pulls out a T-shirt, pants, a rain jacket, and a hat—a full camouflage outfit. “If things do go bad, I’m not going to walk down the highway looking like everyone else.”

In the sixties and seventies, men who considered themselves survivalists found a lean-to (or better yet, a bunker) in the country and holed up with a ham radio, a shotgun, and rabbit meat, anticipating—and perhaps, in a perverse way, wishing for—the nuclear holocaust that they considered inevitable. Today, guys like Mike who are worried about, as he says, “a complete societal breakdown,” prefer to be called “preppers” (as befits their polo-clad ways). They’re living off the fat of the land, not off the grid. They’re the guys in suits (most preppers are men) next to you on the train or the expressway, making their way home to watch The Office or Monday Night Football or to play soccer with their kids in the back yard. And they are not about to leave their good jobs and desirable zip codes just because at any moment the economy could collapse or a bird-flu pandemic might arrive. Instead, preppers are cramming their homes full of goods to help them through the tough times ahead, including luxuries that old-school survivalists would scoff at, from laptops in ammunition canisters to bottles of vodka to iPods in waterproof cases.

“Hard-core survivalists say I’m a complete poseur,” says Mike, who estimates he’s spent about $10,000 on his stockpile. “They give me flak for living in the city. True, I’m eight miles from one of the biggest targets in the country—but I’m not going to live in some podunk town. I like to go out to dinner and bars. I like my nice, soft, cushy life.”

According to Jim Rawles of SurvivalBlog.com, survivalism is growing at a rate not seen since the seventies, fueled by such obvious crises as the housing crash, the tanking economy, looming environmental disasters, and the spike in oil prices. All of these things have conspired to validate the preppers’ paranoid worldview, but, more than the supposed Y2K computer bugs or the post-September 11 terrorism panic, the catalyst was Hurricane Katrina. It was an unholy confluence of natural calamity, government failure, and ensuing human suffering, disorder, and anarchy.

“For me, the horrid government response to Katrina really struck home,” says Jason, a 34-year-old who runs SHTFblog.com, a survivalist website. “I don’t think the government is out to get me, but I do think it’ll be inept at delivering help should I and much of the nation need it during a time of disaster. Then there’s SARS, global warming, increased food and fuel costs ... Watch the evening news—why wouldn’t you prepare?”

Preppers don’t preach about the Rapture or hold up the end is near signs. They keep their identities under wraps, partly because they don’t want their neighbors and coworkers to think of them as better-dressed versions of Ted Kaczynski. “I don’t talk about it to a lot of people,” Mike says. “They make fun of you.” But preppers are also secretive because they don’t want a crowd at the door—waiting for handouts—when things do fall apart.

Jack Spirko, a 35-year-old media-company owner, lives in a subdivision outside Dallas, in a sprawling house with a home movie theater and two living rooms. He’s taken pains to make sure that none of his neighbors know he’s been vacuum-packing quail meat and stocking up on zucchini from his backyard garden for the past three years. “If you walked up to one of them and said, ‘Do you know Jack? Do you think he has six months of food in the house?’” he says, “they’d say no. We don’t wear camo. We don’t look like survivalists. We look normal.”

And if The Day After Tomorrow comes, preppers are going to maintain their ordinary, comfortable lives for as long as they can. Spirko, for one, always has around 20 pounds of Starbucks coffee on hand (“If I couldn’t have a cup of coffee in the morning, that would be my apocalypse,” he says, chuckling); grows jalapeños and tomatoes in his garden to make salsa, which he jars and stores in the fridge; and keeps his wine rack full with about 80 bottles of Argentine Malbecs and Chilean Cabernet-Merlot blends. This past summer, when grocery stores stopped selling tomatoes because of the salmonella scare, Spirko gave his away by the bagful. “Then when they thought jalapeños were the culprit,” he says, “I was making jalapeño slices with cheese and bacon.”

Preppers insist they don’t anticipate such far-out end-times scenarios as an asteroid hitting the earth or all the circuit boards in the country going down at the same time. Nor, they say, did they grow up watching post-apocalyptic films like The Omega Man and Mad Max and hoping they would become reality one day. They’re rational guys, watching their mutual funds tank just like you are, and thinking it might be smart to invest in some extra food, gasoline, and a few of their favorite indulgences, just in case.

Eric, a 32-year-old CPA in Northern California, is so concerned about his stores’ going to waste that he has his wife and children do regular tastings of freeze-dried foods and MREs, so they can decide what they do and don’t like. “Why have it if they’re not going to eat it?” he says. Unfortunately, his family proclaimed all of the MRE fare—except for the chocolate-chip brownies and chocolate-peanut-butter spread—“gross.” So Eric has squirreled away M&Ms in bulk to keep the kids quiet. For himself, he has a case of vodka. “If the **** hits the fan, I might want to tie one on,” he says.

Most preppers build up their rations by themselves, but not always because they don’t want help. More often than not, their wives, girlfriends, and friends think they’re fantasizing about disaster scenarios so they can play the role of Will Smith in I Am Legend.

“My wife thinks I’m crazy,” says Matt, a 37-year-old executive at a high-tech company outside Dallas. “She’s sort of a Pollyanna.” She doesn’t understand his weekend trips to a cannery, where he preserves different types of pasta—including farfalle and rotini, plus alphabet shapes for his 1-year-old daughter (“Macaroni would get old quick,” he says)—nor why he’s commandeered so much closet space. “But if a dirty bomb hit Dallas,” he continues, with the slightly misinformed hyperbole that preppers sometimes engage in, “every grocery store would be wiped out in an hour. That stuff can happen, and she doesn’t think it can.”

When Paul, a 29-year-old sales representative in Denver, hosts dinner parties, his guests sometimes ask why the kitchen shelves are sagging with the weight of all the canned food. He says it was on sale. He has a few like-minded friends, however, whom he calls when he spies a good deal at the grocery store. “They have their pantries,” he says. “If I see a 15-pound bag of rice for $15, I’ll let them know.” And even though his wife isn’t completely supportive (“She just lets me do my little thing,” he says), he stores tampons and makeup for her.

But all of this dogged readying for doomsday doesn’t mean the preppers don’t wonder occasionally whether they should be spending time rebalancing their 401(k)s instead of setting aside textured vegetable protein. Whenever Philip Nelson, 36, a technology executive in San Antonio, goes shopping for more things to add to his stash, such as backup video games for his PlayStation Portable or board games for his kids, he thinks, Am I losing my mind? Then he checks out the latest hurricane news on CNN.com and thinks, We’re in a weird time. “The more I try to talk myself out of it,” he says, “the more I think, I’m crazy if I don’t do this.”
 

·
Angry Libertarian
Joined
·
168 Posts
Hmmm...I wonder how many people will read this little article and say "hmmm...good idea should have thought of that myself" or "hmmmm...these guys are retarded and this is an amusing piece."

Judging by the type of publication, I'm gonna lean more towards the later. Call me pessimistic if you must.
 

·
Looking ahead
Joined
·
2,178 Posts
Interesting article. I fit in more with the prepper description myself as a matter of circumstance. Its tough to break away from working and bills long enough to enjoy the outdoors :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Good article. It’s nice to see that more people are taking this type of thing seriously.
 

·
it tickles dont it
Joined
·
228 Posts
good read.
only thing i see of late is the splitting of "survivalist" into two descriptions prepper or "nut job" aka-survivalist of old. Doesn't sit to well with me. It'll be like most gun deal fudd vs shooter vs bench rester vs..........
maybe it is just me. We all are in this for the same thing to be ready, some just chose to not prep for 5 yrs or 5 days.

good read one of the better ones I've read as of late though!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,268 Posts
***Jack Spirko, a 35-year-old media-company owner, lives in a subdivision outside Dallas***

Well... Now all the Dallas folk know where to go knockin when TSHTF.... LOL They talk about the need to keep quiet and then add names and locations in the article- um.... yeah... :rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,092 Posts
i been doing this typle of life choice since the 1982 era ..i have never like the idea that i was in the bunker typle nutcase typle person and the gun toteing family members .that the media typle called us in the early years of the movement
i just all ways belive in haveing something extras on hand when bad times came around
most of the poeple i work with do the prepper for the bad times
and they do have some extras things in the cabinets for so call hard times
the so call hardcore survivalist typle has fade away into the old typle small town liveing off the grid typle farmer typle ..those who still have that typle of thinking are going to stand out in the crowd and draw a lot of heat and unwanted attenion to them
as for haveing firearms i do belive that i have the basic god given right to protect my family and myself for being trying to harm us
that my 2.cent worth
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
I don't see my self hording starbucks or chocolate however I would like to make sure I can have a working internet connection. Thought about trying to find or make a small laptop to run a linux on for web, email, chat, and voip. Linux mainly so I can get a interface that might be a bit more friendly without a mouse or turn off gui to save the cpu cycles. The smallness so maybe I'd be able to throw it in a go-bag and it won't need as much power as say a desktop or laptop. Then again I don't really eat a lot of candy or drink starbucks. I have been known to waste money on energy drinks though...
 

·
To the Liberty Tree!
Joined
·
1,312 Posts
I got a good laugh over the guy who's stocking up on makeup for his wife. I just have to ask if anyone here is storing makeup? I know I am not and the thought had never even crossed my mind but who knows maybe I am alone in this.
 

·
Happiness is 2 at low 8
Joined
·
1,403 Posts
I got a good laugh over the guy who's stocking up on makeup for his wife. I just have to ask if anyone here is storing makeup? I know I am not and the thought had never even crossed my mind but who knows maybe I am alone in this.
My apologies. The comment I just edited out, although funny in a sick sort of way, was out of line....


Allan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,268 Posts
I got a good laugh over the guy who's stocking up on makeup for his wife. I just have to ask if anyone here is storing makeup? I know I am not and the thought had never even crossed my mind but who knows maybe I am alone in this.
Yep. But really- it's a cost savings issue. Most cosmetics last at least 3 months to a year- so when something is on sale and I have coupons- I get a couple/few and I'm good for the year and have saved a mint AND I don't have to worry about going out to shop for the crap when it's getting low ;) And- I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a girlie girl. :upsidedown: (Or- *can* be.)
 

·
Happiness is 2 at low 8
Joined
·
1,403 Posts
I think it is a nice gesture on his part to provide those items that just might help his mate feel more "normal" during a very un-normal time. Think of it as a luxury item...

If her appearance is a a big deal to her now, a major part of her sense of "self-worth", then perhaps it will help her deal with the "crap" going on around her WTSHTF...

Those whose self-image, self-worth, is closely tied to their physical appearance may place a much higher value on make-up even in times where it's only the 2 of you. AND cosmetics might be a valuable bartering commodity.

Allan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,123 Posts
I live in a town of 18,000. Not a metropolis by any means. I like keeping some of the comforts around as long as I can if things fall apart. Some of the office staff at work refer to me as the hillbilly. I'd rather be that than a whiney mamma's boy who doesn't even know how to pump their own gas. There is only one other person I tralk prepping with. They are a prepper themselves. We order ammo, mylar bags, O2 obsorbers and other things in bulk to get better prices.
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top