What Does It Take To Be A “Prepper”?

13 Mar

The other day I wasted nearly 30 minutes listening to a Youtube rant about who were and who were not preppers. That rant got me to thinking about how I define a prepper. How would I say a person is clearly a prepper?

Well, of course, preppers prepare to survive disasters and emergencies. But I think the key factor is that a “prepper” has a preparedness mindset.

If the TV news anchor comes on and says a hurricane is about to hit the coast and advises people within a certain area to evacuate and tells others they should hunker down, does following that advice make one a prepper? I’d say not. They’re just doing what they’re told.

But if the person takes the advice to heart and begins thinking: “Hey, I should be prepared for all future hurricanes. And what if something else happens where I couldn’t rely on the grocery store?” Then the person takes some simple steps to protect their future. At that point, I’d say the person is a prepper.

1. A Prepper Has A Preparedness Mindset. Preparedness becomes a constant theme in the lives of many preppers. This mindset requires no special skills, no special abilities, and no particular religious or worldview.

Preppers understand that things don’t always go well, and they want to be ready when something goes wrong. Preppers realize that the steps they take now can help them in the future.

This is very different from any given set of survival skills. There are people out there with tremendous survival skills who I wouldn’t call a prepper. An example that comes to mind are free climbers who scale thousand foot rock faces without any safety ropes. What if something goes wrong? What if it rains?

A long time ago in a welding class, I saw a young fellow faint. He just fell down. He was OK. What kept going through my mind was how lucky it was he wasn’t holding a torch at the time.

What if a free climber with no safety net just happened to faint? No person should put themselves into such a precarious position that their life could be lost so easily if something goes wrong.

Despite our best preparations, something unexpected can do us in. We could faint while driving down the freeway. We can’t avoid all risks, but we should be aware when we’re taking unnecessary ones. Being aware of the risks we face is inherently part of a preparedness mindset.

2. To be a prepper requires that we try to make whatever preparations we feel are necessary and sufficient. This is a natural consequence of the preparedness mindset. It’s also a highly personal thing. What one person considers adequate preparation, another person might feel is woefully underprepared.

Some preppers feel secure with a two-week supply of reserve food. Others want a two-year supply. Others not only stockpile food but emphasize growing and raising their own food.

How much “stuff” we buy is limited by our budget. How many skills we learn is limited by the time we have to devote to learning them. Those are the two big factors which can prevent us from attaining our ideal level of preparedness.

In my estimation, if you have a preparedness mindset and make whatever preparations you feel are appropriate, you’re a prepper.

With the recent rise in ammo prices, I’ve looked into selling some of my surplus online. I’m not sure it’s worth the hassle, but if you plan to sell ammunition on an auction site like Gunbroker.com, here is some information:

Ammo can’t be shipped USPS. It sounds like UPS is the best way to go. You can’t take it to a UPS store, but need to take it to a UPS Service Center. You can also create an online account with UPS and have the driver pick up your delivery.

You must clearly mark your box for shipping as ORM-D and it must ship UPS ground. A box must weight less than 66 pounds. If you have questions, the magic number is:

UPS Hazardous Material Support Center at 800-554-9964

January 1, 2014 the ORM-D classification will become obsolete, to bring shipping inline with international standards. Rather than ORM-D, you can use a new funky looking symbol on your boxes.

To ship ORM-D, you’re technically supposed to receive hazardous material training, as required by the Department of Transportation. You’re allowed to train and certify yourself.

You cannot use paypal to receive payments for ammunition. It violates their policy. It sounds like USPS money order is the best means to accept.

I remember when individuals couldn’t purchase ammo through mail order. Some politicians want to revert back to disallowing ammunition sales through mail order. Back then, when hunting season came, you could go to the local hardware store and find sales and load up on 30-30, 12 gauge shells, and 22 LR. You’d pay through the nose for pretty much everything else though.

Here’s a neat article about brain fitness.


This Youtube video features climber Alex Honnold. This is the sort of climbing I’m referring to above (don’t watch if you have a horrible fear of heights!):

3 Responses to “What Does It Take To Be A “Prepper”?”

  1. ki4idb March 20, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    Another great article. Thanks, keep up the good work. I am a prepper myself and I would say that a prepper is someone who is prepared for the unexpected, not just a SHTF situation. We will have more unexpected events then SHTF situations, or at least I hope so.

    • preppernextdoor March 21, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

      Nice Facebook page of prepping information.

      • ki4idb March 22, 2013 at 2:57 pm #


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