Spot the Difference: Survivalist or Prepper?
Many survivalists think preppers are abnormal or societal “freaks,” conspiracy theorists,

or fundamentally different from one another.

But are they really more similar than dissimilar?

What Are We Talking About?
Spot the Difference: Survivalist or Prepper?

A survivalist is someone who is generally very comfortable in the wild, and may encompass a wide range of individual types. For example, survivalists may be hunters who live off the land, or farmers who own a small-scale family farm.

Preppers are people who are often thought of as “doomsday people.” They may be concerned with the end of society as we know it, preparing for the the worst possible cataclysmic event. Maybe it’s an earthquake to end all earthquakes. Maybe it’s the next terrorist attack that ends in a nuclear fallout, destroying all of the nation’s power grid system.

Maybe it’s a financial collapse that brings on social unrest. Whatever the cause of disaster, preppers want to prepare for it. They live their mantra, “2 is 1 and 1 is none.”


“At their core, both preppers

and survivalists have a

desire to survive, to live.”


How Are They The Same?
Spot the Difference: Survivalist or Prepper?

At their core, both preppers and survivalists have a desire to survive, to live. They want to beat the odds and they beat on their craft hours a day, or multiple times a week to drill themselves “just in case.”

For many, it’s a way of life. They have a kind of tenacity that’s rare in most individuals. Both survivalist and preppers like to prepare for what they believe are unforeseen events. Survivalists favor living off the land and hunting, while preppers favor stockpiling food and water storage.

Spot the Difference: Survivalist or Prepper?

But, both survivalists and preppers are concerned with getting the right training so that they can outlive a disaster scenario. They also have a firm belief that there is no situation that is more than they can bear.

They have the spirit of the colonists who first settled America, who came to this country without government assistance, social welfare benefits, cell phones, MREs, or or GPS. Those pioneers had no choice but to die or find a way to survive. It’s this attitude that appeals to the prepper and survivalist community.


“In some ways, both preppers

and survivalists are the same.

In other ways, they’re

very different.”


How Are They Different?

Spot the Difference: Survivalist or Prepper?

With all of the similarities, both preppers and survivalists must get along like 2 peas in a pod, right? Wrong.

In some ways, both preppers and survivalists are the same. In other ways, they’re very different. For example, a survivalist might think of himself or herself as someone who could be plopped down in the middle of a desert or forest and live off the land.

They wouldn’t need much in the way of tools. In fact, they probably know how to make a fire by rubbing two sticks together. They also look at survival as an adventure.

A prepper, on the other hand, thinks of survival as a necessary evil. If you stuck a prepper in the middle of a forest, he or she might not know how to live off the land. But, in an urban environment, post-natural disaster, that person might outlive a survivalist because he or she is focused on plan-making and disaster control.

Spot the Difference: Survivalist or Prepper?

Preppers love the idea of food-stocks and community. They don’t rely only on themselves. They make plans with others, have multiple “bug in” and “bug out” plans. They will have plans for obtaining fresh water, food, and shelter.

They’re primarily concerned with outliving a disaster, either man-made or natural. They would be the type that would be prepared to live in a bunker during a nuclear strike. In many ways, this makes them advance-plan-makers (hence the name “prepper”) as opposed to someone who can survive off the land.

Instead of thinking “how can I mold nature to my needs?” they think, “What if nature or my community is seriously altered and I can’t live a normal life. How do I live under that scenario? How do I survive?”

Which Camp Do You Fall Into?
Spot the Difference: Survivalist or Prepper?

While it’s not always an either-or proposition, most people who enter the broader community tend to fall to one side, either as a survivalist or a prepper.

There is no right or wrong side here, either. If society does collapse, we may all be in for a huge surprise. Preppers try to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Survivalists figure that they will live with what they can get their hands on, and let the chips fall where they may.

Regardless of how you view survival in a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies or maybe just a nuclear winter, one thing is clear: both groups of people are some of the most interesting people you will ever meet, even if you decide this kind of lifestyle just isn’t for you.

About the author:

Jeremiah Allen is a co-founder of Fat Prepper, an emergency preparedness and survival blog that aims to provide useful information for people who work to be prepared for any situation.


How have you and you family prepared for an emergency?

Do you consider yourself a survivalist, prepper or other?

Share your thoughts and comments with us.


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