‘Preppers’ a word, which can be heard more and more in the media and basically, all around us. A word that is no longer part of the extraordinary and that is often used to define an increasing category of people. A generation of people that will do anything possible to survive and thrive in various societies and devastating situations.
Although the word preppers can be used to describe us in a more generic way, the reality is that not all preppers are alike. There are different types of preppers and you can’t put them all under the same roof.
I wanted to write this article because someone recently asked me: ‘what type of prepper are you?” and after thinking about it, I thought it’s better to look at how preppers can be classified. Every one of us has a certain calling and although you can have many good skills, you can’t learn them all.
We are not perfect human beings and that’s the reality. You can’t be a great football player and a rocket scientist at the same time, and although we can improve ourselves and learn something new each day, we must stick with what we are good at.
Many people will get themselves ready and learn new skills or improve the ones they have, before collecting all the necessary resources for survival. Anyone can collect and store stuff, but not everyone can develop a certain mindset and outsmart others when it comes to survival skills. There are many different kinds of preppers and here are the main categories.
Main types of preppers
Types of preppers – Off-grid preppers
These are the types of preppers that learned how to live in an environment that is in constant contradiction with the comfort provided by our modern times. They know how to grow their own food and have a reserve property somewhere “safe”. These types of preppers managed to provide energy for their home through non-traditional methods such as solar or wind power.
They are used to live with restrictions and they learned how to exploit the environment in their favor. These are the types of preppers that can last for a long time without outside help. They don’t need to interact with the on-grid people. These preppers can become totally self-sufficient and will provide the starting social layer for a changing world. They can even be called “the modern pioneers” of our times.
Related article: Off-grid limitations that no one tells you about
Types of preppers – Bug-out preppers
At some point, depending on the disaster scenario that threatens our survival, we could all turn into bug-out preppers. These are survivalists that have a “safe haven”. A living space that one can get to in the event of a disaster. They have a shelter built on an alternative property and plenty of survival materials stocked at such property, to last them for a long time. They even have a plan and are organized to transport many supplies during their evacuation.
There are some differences between these types of peppers and the off-grid types. Since they do not live at their bug out location, that place is far from being self-sufficient. They do not have the same skills and they will accumulate survival knowledge by trial and errors. They will have a hard time adjusting to the off-grid lifestyle and chances are many of them will fail, without having an idea of what to expect.
Types of preppers – Bug-in preppers
These survivalists truly believe that their home is the only fort they can depend on. Bug-in preppers will do anything humanly possible to protect it. They do not have a bug out location, they can’t travel and their only chance for survival is to hunker down and wait for everything to be over.
It might sound harsh, but these types of preppers are the people that don’t have anything to lose. Staying in is their only option and they have to make it last. Single people, the elderly, the disabled or urban dwellers are usually those who will bug-in.
For them, hunkering down in a familiar environment increases the chances of survival. Heading out for the woods is no option and they will do anything humanly possible to survive at home. Although many agree that bugging-in is not ideal, there is still hope for those who decide to do so. With a good amount of supplies, the right survival knowledge, and improvisation skills, survival is possible. Bugging-in is not easy and it takes a lot of work to make sure you have the basics when supplies run out.
Suggested reading: How to bug-in and survive
Types of preppers – Wilderness preppers
These types of preppers have all sort of skills that will help them survive in the wilderness. The wilderness preppers don’t need much to make it out there. They have a mindset trained for camping and can prepare all sort of camping materials from what the land has to offer.
A wilderness prepper knows how to build a shelter, knows how to hunt and fish. Using traps in hunting and knowing how to prepare the food after it has been caught is one of their strongest skill. Foraging is another skill mastered by many of these survivalists. They are able to identify and use plants for various purposes. Using plants for food or as medicine is a lost art and you can’t master it if you don’t practice.
Reading information online or from books doesn’t help if you can’t find your way in the woods. I consider these types of preppers as being hardcore since they are used to live with many restrictions. Achieving self-sufficiency for them is a survival task itself. Although they are able to provide food and shelter, the comfort of modern society has no place in their world. Their strongest advantage is that they can thrive in any environment, even with the most basic tools.
Types of preppers – Hoarding preppers
These are the types of preppers that will gather anything they can get their hand on. Some of them know how to recycle and reuse the things we consider trash. Although hoarding can become a mental illness and people will no longer be able to realize what stuff is useful and what is not, we can’t label all hoarders as crazy. Many of these preppers will manage to survive with what they’ve stored. If they won’t use it for themselves, they will trade it for something they need.
They can obtain goods and services in return for the stuff they’ve accumulated during their lifetime. Nowadays, some of them make good money by selling their stuff to antique collectors. The main advantage of these preppers is that they will know how to scavenge, where to scavenge, what to scavenge for and how to use the scavenged items in a post-apocalyptic world.
Suggested reading: How to scavenge abandoned cars for survival items
Types of preppers – Economist preppers
These are the preppers that can easily fall under the “hoarding” category. However, these are people that invest in precious metals and raw goods on the commodity market. They believe that everything they stockpile will actually worth something in the event of an economic meltdown.
When traditional money will become toilet paper, all the gold and silver they stockpiled will be traded for survival supplies. These types of preppers do not invest time in developing survival skills and would rather invest hard earned money in items useful for bartering.
I do not think that these types of preppers can last for long. Supplies run out eventually and they will have to find other ways to survive. Knowledge lasts longer than supplies and it can keep you alive when bartering is no longer an option.
Types of preppers – Rich/wealthy preppers
I had the opportunity to see some of these preppers first hand. A client I’ve worked for can be classified under this category. These are the people that invest a lot of money in supplies and self-sufficiency methods. For them, the sky’s the limit and they won’t hold back. I had the rare chance to visit the property of a millionaire prepper and I was baffled by what I saw there.
Beside the huge off-grid property, the owner had a large bunker equipped with everything needed for survival, including an armory (that I wasn’t allowed to see). He had a food-growing chamber containing an aquaponic system. His bunker could accommodate 15 people and he had enough food to last for 50 years (mostly high-brand, dehydrated stuff).
Even with all the money spent I couldn’t help but notice a few flaws in his plan. First of all, he had no idea how to use all the equipment he bought and had no survival skills at all. When asked about how he plans to maintain everything working, he told me that he “hired” some of his relatives to learn how to maintain it all in good working condition. He was even going to “buy a doctor” as he said, meaning he will provide food and shelter for a doctor and his wife when the s*** hits the fan.
These are extreme cases and although some may think that these preppers will survive for a long time, there is always the unknown factor that will affect your life. If you don’t get your hands dirty and learn a thing or two, even with all your money, you will still depend on others to survive. You’re not in control, they are.
Types of preppers – ‘False’ preppers
Here, there are actually two categories of people: we have the wishful prepper and we have the nut job. There are many of those who want to get into prepping and they will eventually go through a lot of trouble to learn and/or buy the stuff needed for survival, but that’s everything they will ever do. They have an “I’ll do it tomorrow” mentality and will never actually test what they’ve learned or what they bought. They think that somehow, they will have the time to test everything out when disaster strikes.
This is why these people will never survive and you can at most, call them “wishful” preppers. If they would try to be practical preppers, they will realize how much work it all implies and will probably give up. And then we have the nut job, the gun enthusiast preppers that have dozens of guns and a ton of ammo.
Suggested article: Emergency bunker – what you need to know?
Those who think that they will be able to take everything they need by force, from the unprepared or the weaker preppers. I’ve seen a few testimonials online from these so-called preppers and I fail to see the logic in that.
First of all, they fail to realize that they will not be the only ones with guns and that “Rambo” is just a movie. Going against people armed for the sole purpose of defending their lives and protecting their supplies will be no picnic. It is a matter of odds and luck in the end, and you can’t always win. And second, let’s say that somehow you do manage to outgun the people you encounter.
What then? How many times do you think this will work? And what will you do when there’s no more stuff to be taken? These people are a joke in my opinion and they will not live for long because there’s always a bigger dog.
Based on my knowledge and life experience, I can tell you that these are the types of preppers you can encounter in a post-SHTF world. Each category has its strong and weak points and we can’t really judge them without knowing their story.
Now, the question remains: what type of prepper are you?
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6 thoughts on “Types Of Preppers – Which One Are You?”
There are also combinations of those listed, such as a “Bug in prepper” is also likely to be a “hoarder prepper”, and can also be a “wilderness prepper” if the situation requires it. Many “bug out preppers” are not off-grid or wilderness savy, and just think they will be able to “run for the woods” to be safe. It’s all about the intelligence and experience of the individual. A true prepper has planned for SHTF but also has contingencies (Plan B or C when Plan A fails).
I share many characteristics with most of them. I’m not off-grid, but very rural with a few solar panels for small things. I can/ do grow food and I know how to preserve it all long-term. My family and I would DEFINITELY prefer to bug-in if we had a choice. I also have enough supplies to be considered a “hoarder”, but I also know how to to use them or live without them. I would be considered a bit of the economist because I do have the knowledge/supplies to barter. I also have wilderness skills (for my area). I know what I can catch/forage and how to process it safely. I know more than just basic first-aid and have tools and medicines (traditional AND nontraditional) for almost every need. I have “weapons” and my husband, kids and I all know how to use them. I have backup plans for my backup plans. Even with all of that I know I can’t be “prepared” for everything, but that is why I am always seeking more knowledge from preppers like you. What category am I in? I don’t know, I don’t like labels, anyway 😉
The problem with the “bug in” preppers is that many of them can’t leave populated areas because they are the only places where they can receive medical care and medications that they may need. The problem with that is, in the event of a breakdown of society, medical personnel will be urgently needed to care for emergencies. Taking care of people with long term conditions for which there is no permanent cure is going to take a back seat. Taking care of people who don’t actually produce anything and are entirely dependent on the state is also going to take a back seat to caring for those who are able to work to keep society from collapsing completely. Transportation is also going to be an issue in a Doomsday scenario. Do you think all those wonderful miracle drugs that treat your diabetes, hypertension, and whatever other illness you may have were transported to the store by a magical fairy? Availability of necessary medications is going to spotty at best. Some medications also require refrigeration or they spoil, so if the power grid goes down, even sporadically, your medications could become toxic. Those people who are shut ins during an emergency are going to die and that’s the simple truth of the matter. The elderly, the disabled, those with chronic medical conditions, none of them will survive in the long term.
The problem with the “bug out” prepper is that most of them think they’ll just run for the woods and they’ll be OK. Not so fast. Don’t you think the government knows that millions of people will have the idea to run for the woods? Don’t you think that they will have a sniper at the top of every tree to prevent that from happening? You won’t get within 10 paces of a forest before they cut you down. Even in the event that the government doesn’t do that, how long do you think you will survive when millions of people have the same idea that you do? You might have guns, but so will they and millions of people will eventually strip the woods bare of every resource in their struggle to survive and then what?
Even the “off grid” prepper is going to have problems. He may be self sufficient, but how long does he realistically think he is going to be able to maintain control of his land? If the government doesn’t evict or kill him, a hungry mob will. You might kill a few but they will keep coming until you are overwhelmed.
And “economic preppers”, the ones who hoard gold and silver bars in the event of an emergency, they won’t have those gold and silver bars for very long once someone finds out about them. They will be robbed or the Treasury Department will send agents to confiscate them. All gold and silver sales over a certain limit are tracked. The seller is required by federal law to report them. You’re not getting away with anything by converting all your assets to precious metals.
“Hoarders” won’t survive, either. Just like the economic preppers, once someone finds out about your hoarding activities, you’ll have to fight for your life to keep what you have and if the government shows up at your door, you can be sure they will have a court order allowing them to take your stash and redistribute it to make sure more people have a chance to survive. If you resist, you die, and they take your stuff anyway.
So basically, there is no truly effective way to prep for a breakdown of the government and the social order. Sooner or later an irresistible force will turn up at your door, you’ll be dead, and your stuff will be taken.
No matter what type of prepper you are, you first need to learn the skills that you will need. Growing up on a cattle ranch in Montana I learned wilderness survival and hunting, trapping skills at a young age later in the Marines I learned other survival skills and that you need a plan so I have a plan A and a plan B and a back up plan to my back up plan. Keep learning you can never learn to much
What a great article! Thank you, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it is very well thought out!
Combination of Off–grid, bug in, wilderness and hoarding