Have You Ever Wondered: What Is a Prepper Anyway?

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What is a PrepperA few days ago, I received an email from a high school student who was doing a school project on the subject of prepping. In her email, she asked for my thoughts on some of the issues in the sub culture of “preppers”.

Of course, I was happy to help her in any way that I could. While I was writing my reply to her, it dawned on me that some people who visit my website might not really understand what a prepper actually is.

This inspired me to share her original question here on preppersillustrated.com along with my response. Please note that for privacy reasons, I’ve changed her name.


Nickia Milfordy

Email address removed for privacy

School Project

Hi! My name is Nickia Milfordy and I attend (school and state deleted for privacy reasons). We have a project due coming up about different subcultures and I am particularly interested in the show Doomsday Preppers so I thought exploring preppers would be a good idea for me. I was wondering if I could get your opinion on certain questions I have. What are some of the social mores, values, beliefs and taboos that are in your subculture. Thank you so much for your help. Hope I will hear from you soon.

Hello Nicki,

Sure, I’d be happy to help. Preppers are people that belong to a sub culture of individuals who feel that it is important to prepare for any number or natural disasters or emergencies that might come their way in the future. They often refer to such an emergency as “doomsday”. The number of people who are embracing this way of life is growing quite rapidly. It’s kind of a strange community. The overall goal is “preparing for emergencies” but that’s about where the similarities end. There are quite a broad range of beliefs among preppers when it comes to “exactly” what one must do to prepare or “prep” as we like to call it. Some of the things that preppers have in common is that they usually want to have stockpiles of things like water, food, medical supplies, tools, and weapons for hunting and/or self defense.

The level of prepping in this sub culture ranges quite a bit. Some people simply store enough food and water to last during a short emergency, while others stockpile large quantities of supplies because they believe that they will have to survive on their own for quite some time. Some of the more extreme preppers even have secret underground survival bunkers where they plan to retreat to in an emergency. Others have secret shelters that they refer to as “bug out shelters” that are usually located somewhere other than their home. It’s not uncommon for these shelters to be located in rural remote locations so that if the prepper ever has to leave their home in an emergency and retreat to their bug out shelter, they won’t be around other people.

Other preppers believe that they will need a support group to survive so they plan on bugging out to an area where several members of their private prepping group will meet up and combine their resources as they are trying to survive.

One thing that most preppers have in common is that they tend to be a secretive group of people. They often tend to worry that in an emergency, others, who haven’t prepared, might try to steal their supplies so they tend to keep quiet about exactly what steps they have taken to prepare as well as what kind of supplies they have stockpiled. Many preppers even have secret survival caches hidden in areas other than their homes so that they can have access to emergency supplies should they have to “bug out” and leave their home for some reason.

Another thing that most preppers believe in is that they won’t be able to count on organized government agencies to provide aid for them in an emergency situation. Many believe that civilized society will break down and looters and marauders will create a very chaotic and dangerous environment to live in.

One thing that tends to be quite taboo in the sub culture is anything that might infringe on their 2nd amendment rights.

Hopefully this has been of some help to you. If you should happen to have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Good luck on your project!


Patty Hahne

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