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Are You a Survivalist or a Prepper? Here's How to Define the Difference

Posted by Justin on

Humanity has had a few prosperous decades of relative peace, but nothing lasts forever. A growing number of individuals are preparing for a future catastrophe or disaster that may end Western Civilization.

Among these folks, there are two “types” of would-be survivors: Survivalists and Preppers.

So, which one are you? And if you’re neither, you might want to jump aboard one of these self-reliant  mindsets:


What’s a Survivalist?

A Survivalist is a lone wolf who thrives in nature. Think of a Survivalist as someone who prefers to live off of their surroundings and travel light, moving from location to location and minimizing risks to their person or their family by never staying in one place for too long.

To facilitate their strategy, Survivalists tend to have a wide range of outdoor survival skills, including hunting, building a fire and shelter, and more. They are more concerned with being prepared to leave at a moment’s notice and cultivating skills rather than gathering supplies.

What’s a Prepper?

A Prepper is both related to and different from a Survivalist. Preppers are focused on gathering all the supplies and safety materials they need to weather any storm, particularly with a larger group.

They will stockpile resources in bunkers, basements, and other safe locations so they can retrieve them if the SHTF ($h*t hits the fan!).

Furthermore, they may build up a network of like-minded individuals so they can find safety in numbers. It’s not uncommon for a Prepper to have a detailed end-of-the-world plan in place, just in case.

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Core Differences

As you can see, there are several significant differences between the two types of individuals.

Where Survivalists are focused on staying on the move and having the skills necessary to see them through any dangerous situation, Preppers are more focused on materials and supply-gathering than staying mobile.

This philosophical difference means that Survivalists are more likely to be at home in the wilderness, where they are less likely to encounter human threats, but Preppers are more likely to be found in the suburbs and in the safety of their own homes.

Furthermore, Survivalists are not concerned with having several fellow survivors with them and in fact thrive when they can stay by themselves. They may more often be armed and are content with hunting or scavenging for the rest of their lives.

Preppers are focused on the continuity of civilization in a more concrete way and may plan to build communities over time, after the initial chaos of any big disaster settles down.

Do They Have Similarities?

Absolutely! Both Survivalists and Preppers are more prepared than the average individual for any big catastrophe since they are thinking about it before SHTF.

They’re also likely to have a number of survival skills, including how to treat contaminated water, how to scavenge food or farm, and how to repair clothes and electronic equipment since new products will likely be quite scarce.

Which Should You Be?

It depends on your personality, but it wouldn’t hurt to pick up some of the skills and supplies of both. It’s important to recognize that both Survivalists and Preppers are skilled and ready for anything, even if they prepare for disasters in slightly different ways.

Consider your skills, your temperament and desire for company, and other factors before deciding to specialize.

Whether you prefer to stock up the pantry or survive completely off the grid, having some foresight about potential disasters is always a good idea.

What would you do if it ever came down to it? Let’s hope you’d be ready to take survival in your stride.


Thank you for reading, stay strong patriots.   

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