Preppers: Individuals Prepared for Any Type of Catastrophe

The lifestyle of a prepper consists of always being prepared for what may happen. whether that's an earthquake, a meteorite, social unrest, or a pandemic. These people are part of a group that has known for decades how to act in every circumstance.
Preppers: Individuals Prepared for Any Type of Catastrophe
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

What would you do if your city erupted in violent social action? Would you know how to act in the face of a nuclear disaster? How would you react if a solar storm came and the entire electrical system, even technology, collapsed? Undoubtedly, these issues would catch most people off-guard and completely unprepared. However, they don’t pose a problem for a very specific group in society: preppers.

We dare to say that most people aren’t truly aware of the existing publications on how to survive different disasters. On Amazon, for example, you can find up to 300 books about the most incredible catastrophes and how to face them. Food, bunker construction, psychological preparation. These topics are on the rise as of now, but they’ve been of great interest for plenty of years.

Let’s see this with an example. In 2012, National Geographic made a successful documentary about preppers (individuals or groups of people who prepare daily for the arrival of a catastrophe). Back then, everyone could see that human beings are constantly scared of the arrival of a great disaster. The peculiar thing here is that some people make this reality their way of life, while others simply don’t worry about it.

The arrival of a pandemic caused many people to become an overnight prepper. Behind them, there’s a whole culture and a social movement worthy of analysis. Let’s see.

Are you prepared for what may happen?

The preppers phenomenon isn’t new by any means. Consider, for example, the anguish experienced worldwide between 1947 and 1991 with the Cold War. The end of the fear of a possible nuclear disaster would give way in the new millennium to other concerns. We could say that this transition from the wake of the Cold War to the era of modernity came with the effect of the year 2000 or Y2K. At that moment, another much more sophisticated collective started to emerge.

For a while now, preppers have been growing in number and have begun using different technologies, forums, and Internet groups to exchange information. Throughout this time, multiple events have taken place which, as a result, has encouraged even more people to become part of this group. For example, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, fear of climate change, and, without a doubt, the most shocking of all: the current pandemic.

Now, living life oriented towards the idea that many more disasters can happen at any moment can make you think that life is nothing but constant anguish. That isn’t the case, though. Honestly, the simple fact of knowing how to act in the most adverse situations gives them peace of mind and a feeling of security.

A meteorite headed to hit the Earth.

Preppers: what are they like?

Preppers seem to lead a normal life; they study, work, have families, and hobbies. However, many of them have something in common: having gone through a complex experience that changed their way of being.

Having suffered a natural disaster or having lived through an electrical blackout that has lasted for hours or days makes them wonder how they could be more prepared if that were to happen again, and that’s when they go online and discover the term preppers and everything behind it. It’s like starting a new religion, a survival master’s degree, a new way of seeing and understanding the world. Let’s delve deeper.

Preppers: rational people and far removed from conspiracy theories

You may think of those oriented to prepare for a catastrophe as the classic conspiracy-loving loner. Quite the opposite, though.

  • Preppers are men and women between the ages of 25 and 45 who enjoy culture, social events, and who live in urban areas.
  • They don’t believe in conspiracy theories.
  • In preppers’ groups and forums, it’s forbidden to talk about politics.
  • They’re aware of the shortcomings of the system to prepare for any catastrophe, whether it’s health or environmental related (or any other kind, for that matter).

Bradley Garrett, a social geographer at University College Dublin and author of the book Bunker: Building for the End Times estimates that there are about 20 million preppers worldwide. And the number continues to grow.

The desire for security in an era marked by uncertainty

This group is very aware of the fact that nobody knows 100% how to act in the face of a catastrophe. Of course, we don’t know what kind of events climate change can bring, nor do we know if the future will bring another type of virus, or if the disappearance of bees will lead, as many say, to a huge disaster.

Now, in order to reduce uncertainty and anxiety, preppers seek to prepare in the most varied ways for any event. Although they don’t know what may happen in the upcoming years, developing basic action strategies can be of great help.

For example, this group of people already had adequate masks to protect themselves against a viral agent in a possible pandemic.

A bunker at the beach made by a group of preppers.

How do preppers prepare?

Some do have bunkers. However, a large part of them, as previously mentioned, live in urban areas where it’s not easy to carry out a construction of such proportions. Generally speaking, this is how they prepare:

  • They report their preparation in forums under the following tag: ready for four to six weeks. This designation indicates the amount of food stored and its duration.
  • They know which foods to choose to meet all basic nutritional needs.
  • Many grow their own vegetables.
  • They exchange information constantly.
  • A good part of them are people with studies: medicine, engineering, physics, etc.
  • They prepare themselves psychologically to face adversity.
  • They learn new skills. Water purification techniques, preparing electrical devices without access to the electrical network, basic medical care, etc.

In brief, although this topic may be striking to some, there’s a fact you can’t overlook. Disasters are part of our closest reality. Being prepared isn’t crazy – it’s actually normal. The problem, of course, making that restlessness a way of life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Bradley Garrett (2020) Bunker: Building for the End Times. SCRIBNER BOOKS
  • Luther, Daisy (2020) The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital. Ulysses Press
  • Luther Daisy (2019) Prepper’s Pantry: Build a Nutritious Stockpile to Survive Blizzards, Blackouts, Hurricanes, Pandemics, Economic Collapse, or Any Other D: Build a … Economic Collapse, or Any Other Disasters. RACEHORSE

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.