Being a prepper can be hard work. You have skills to learn, tools and supplies to collect and maintain, a vegetable garden and maybe livestock to tend. You’re trying to make your household budget extend to cover emergency reserves as well as daily necessities.
It’s a hard road to walk – and it doesn’t get any easier if, when you tell people you’re a prepper, half of them immediately assume you’re crazy.
Sadly a lot of people have the wrong idea about preppers, and that isn’t because of what actual preppers do. The problem is there are a lot of myths going round about what prepping is and what kind of people do it.
If someone hears too many of those myths, and doesn’t know the truth, it’s no surprise they think preppers are crazy. Hell, I’ve been researching them to write this article and I’m starting to worry about myself!
OK, here are some of the craziest things people believe about preppers:
Preppers Are Hoarders
Watch any reality TV show about preppers and you’ll get dramatic shots of barns, basements and bunkers crammed full of supplies.
Racks and shelves packed with food, medicines, tools, seeds and ammunition are part of every prepper’s life, right?
Wrong. Could you afford to stockpile five years’ worth of food? Exactly; neither can we.
A lot of preppers have enough food reserves to keep them going for a couple of weeks if there’s a bad winter storm, and even then we’ve often built up that stockpile slowly, by adding a couple of extra cans of soup to the weekly groceries when we can afford it.
Some do have more, but what you see on TV is the most extreme examples. Most preppers aren’t sitting on an underground warehouse full of stuff.
Preppers Have Bunkers In The Woods
If you’ve told people you’re a prepper, you’re probably used to being asked where you plan to bug out to when disaster strikes.
There’s a common myth that we all have bug out locations already prepared, and probably stocked with even more food, tools and ammo.
In reality, while a BOL is great to have, very few of us can afford a parcel of land somewhere – never mind a fully supplied survival retreat.
Yes, some preppers do have a prepared BOL, and a lot more have one or more locations they can head for in a crisis – although these usually don’t have much (or anything) in the way of supplies.
For most of is, though, the reality is that we plan to stay right where we are. That’s where our supplies are, it’s the place we know and, for the average prepper, it’s where we have the best chance of survival.
Preppers Are Afraid
Why do you spend all that time and money on preparedness? You must be scared of everything, right?
Wrong again! Preppers don’t want to be ready for a crisis because we’re afraid all the time.
We want to be ready for a crisis because we’re realists who know they can happen, and optimists who plan to survive if one does. If we were afraid we’d just be planning to run around screaming when something bad happens.
Preppers Live In Compounds With Lots Of Guns
We’ve all seen on TV how preppers live.
They have big compounds surrounded by old school buses and concrete walls, and half of their house has been turned into a massive armory filled with ammo crates and racks of rifles.
Except no, we don’t live like that. OK, a tiny number do (and of course they’re the ones you see on TV) but 99.9% of preppers live in perfectly ordinary American homes.
Mostly that’s because those are the homes we have; we live there because we have jobs and families and social lives, and moving to a compound in the desert is neither practical nor attractive.
Most of us aren’t heavily armed either. We do tend to have guns, because guns are a great asset in surviving a crisis, but we’re much more likely to have a shotgun or hunting rifle than an arsenal of tacticool firepower.
Preppers Are Far-Right Political Extremists
Preppers live in compounds with lots of guns. Weirdo neo-Nazis live in compounds with lots of guns. Therefore preppers are weirdo neo-Nazis, right?
Well, no, wrong again.
For a start, we just covered half of this; most preppers live in a farmhouse, a suburban home or even an apartment, and don’t have lots of guns.
And for another thing, preppers can be anywhere on the political spectrum.
Is there a little bit of a conservative bias?
Maybe, because preppers often hold values like self-reliance that are more associated with the political right, but you’ll find every opinion. I know plenty of centrist and liberal preppers, as well as conservatives.
Preppers Are Opposed To Government
Hey, we live in a democracy. You can safely assume that about half of preppers – along with about half of everyone else – are opposed to this government, but are we opposed to the idea of government?
For most of us the answer is a resounding no. Why do you think we’re preppers in the first place?
It’s because we know that, if society collapses, the consequences will be dangerous – and we want to be ready to survive them.
We’re not really into the idea of anarchy, and that’s what you’ll probably end up with if you don’t have a government. Preppers don’t usually have any philosophical objection to authority figures, as long as they don’t violate our rights.
Preppers Are Preparing For Doomsday
Honestly, preppers don’t always help ourselves with this one. We often joke about being ready for TEOTWAWKI – but most of us aren’t, and never will be.
Would we like to have all the skills and resources we’d need to survive the total, irrevocable collapse of western civilization, and rebuild a thriving little community that preserved as much of our way of life as possible for future generations?
Of course! Who wouldn’t?
In reality, most preppers are quite happy if we’re ready to survive for a few months – or even a few weeks – on our own resources. We’d love to be ready for Doomsday, but what we’re really preparing for is a major natural disaster or civil unrest and the temporary social collapse that follows.
We’re better prepared for a permanent social collapse than most people, but we’re under no illusions about how hard surviving that would be.
Preppers WANT Doomsday!
Let’s finish with one that isn’t funny at all – in fact it’s extremely annoying.
Many people seem to think preppers actually want the world to fall apart.
Maybe they believe we don’t want our preparations to go to waste. Or they think we believe we could build a better society than the one we have now. Maybe they just think we’re selfish monsters who want to sit on top of a bunker full of MREs and guns, watching everyone else starve. Whatever they think, they’re wrong.
Preppers don’t want anything bad to happen.
We don’t want society to collapse, because that would be a terrible experience even for the most prepared among us. Also, we don’t want the power grid to fail so we can have the fun of running all our appliances off a noisy, smelly generator. We make all our preparations and then we hope we never need them.
Think about it this way: You have insurance on your house, so if it burns down you’ll get the money you need to replace all your belongings. Does that mean you want your house to burn down?
No, of course it doesn’t. Prepping is an insurance policy on the future. We’re not crazy Doomsday extremists who want to watch the world burn – just people who bought a different kind of insurance.