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Do You Think Prepping Has Died?

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
Do You Think Prepping Has Died?

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Shortly after the 2016 election, I read an article by one of my blogging colleagues titled “Is Prepping Dead?”.  I felt so strongly about what she said that I shared her article throughout the social media, hoping that others would see it and continue their preparedness efforts.  Now, one month later, I can confirm that I too am seeing signs that prepping, while not dead, has certainly slowed down.  This seems odd to me since the likelihood of a disruptive event has not changed.  It is as strong now as ever.

What are those signals and why should we continue to be prepared and to proudly call ourselves “Preppers”?   Let me explain.

Do You Think Prepping Has Died | Backdoor Survival

Signs and Signals That Prepping Has Slowed Down

Every legitimate blogger I know has a sickness called “check your stats”.  And, with the exception of the fear mongers and those pitching to extreme preppers, all of us have seen a sharp decline in blog traffic since the election.  In addition, most of the sponsors I deal with have told me sales are sharply down.

Another signal that prepping mania has slowed comes from the many emails and comments I receive.  Lately, there has been a shift to homesteading and self-sufficient lifestyle questions.  Very little has come across my desk relative to a long-term disruptive event such as global economic collapse, EMP, or cyber attack.

Has prepping reached a saturation point?

To help answer this, I called my economics guru, George Ure, over at Urban Survival, to get his take on this matter.  To paraphrase, here is what he said.

Right or wrong, the stock market has soared these past six weeks.  This is in spite of fundamentals that do not make sense.  We have a national debt problem that is not going away anytime soon, automation and robots are still gobbling up manufacturing jobs, and health care for an aging population will continue to skyrocket, the repeal of Obamacare notwithstanding.

You know this as well as I do, Gaye, market down and prepping is up  Market up and no one cares.

In my opinion, there are simply too many moving pieces for all of our economic woes to go away with a snap of the fingers (that being a metaphor for “change in national leadership”).  And then there is Mother Nature.

Why Prepping is a Long-Term Lifestyle Investment

When it comes to disruptive events, the one thing we are unable to predict are the ravages of Mother Nature.  Hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, floods, wildfires and other natural disasters are going to happen.  We just don’t know and precisely where.  Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that a natural disaster is not an event that only happens to someone else.  Far from it.

There are disruptive events caused by bad people.  An EMP, cyber attack, pandemic and other catastrophic, apocalyptic events caused by man give us a strong incentive to keep on prepping.  More common scenarios are a job loss or the cost of an extended hospital stay.  And what about a nuclear accident,?  Even the best-prepared preppers will be at risk.

With so many things that can go wrong, there are those that are going to argue that the cost is too high.  They claim that prepping is expensive.  To them, I say get real, buddy.  Tap water is almost free and so are empty soda bottles.  Yes, I do own an expensive water filtering system but my garage and freezer are also filled with repurposed soda bottles filled with free tap water.

I own dozens of flashlights but many are of the variety.  Perhaps not the highest in quality but they do work and are better than being in the dark when the power goes out.  I know how to build a fire using biomass and to keep it going so I can cook food.  The space under my bed is filled with canned fruits, vegetables, and beans picked up on sale for less than a dollar a can.  Now tell me again, prepping is too expensive?

Additional Reading:  100 Budget Friendly Items for the Frugal Prepper

The bottom line is that people at all income levels can find an excuse for not prepping if they want to.  Sadly, this is a problem for the rest of us because we are the ones that will be left holding the bag, and defending what is ours if the stuff hits the fan.

It is my opinion that to get around this, we must continue to evangelize and continue to educate those that are willing to listen.  One way to do this is to tell them that prepping is an investment just like insurance.  But unlike insurance, prepping is not a use or lose proposition.  At the end the year, your preps carry forward, there for you should a disruptive event come knocking on your door sometime down the road.  Can you say that about your car insurance whose clock starts over each year?

What To Do Now to Keep the Prepping Glow Alive

The rules of engagement have not changed.  Here are a few things you can keep on doing to ensure your stats as a prepper of the highest order.

  • Live below your means and save what is left over for your preps
  • Get out of debt
  • Continue to store food and water to get you by during hard times
  • Develop basic skills such as cooking from scratch, building fires, and purifying water.  Beyond that, develop more advanced survival skills based on where you live and the number of people who depend on you for shelter.
  • Learn a pioneer skill that you can fall back for barter income on in the event a catastrophic event throws us back to the 19th century
  • Stockpile first aid supplies and medications.  Learn about natural remedies you can use when traditional medications are not available.
  • Learn to become a MacGyver when it comes to making household repairs.
  • Use it up, wear it out, and make do!

Additional Reading:  12 Frugal Lessons From the Great Depression

The Final Word

According to George, his crystal ball is telling him markets will reach an all-time high late in 2017 or early 2018.  Furthermore, when the market falls, there will be panic prepping.  I do agree that when and if that does happen, things will be bad for those that are living high on the hog based upon the value of their investments.  Savings and retirement accounts could vanish and we will have 2009 all over again.  Maybe worse.

For that reason, my own investments are not in the stock market but in food storage, property, and the supplies I need to be self-sufficient.  Nothing has changed in that respect.  Nothing.  Yes, I am thrilled that we have new leadership in Washington, but as a realist, I know that effecting change takes time.  In the meantime, I want to be ready so if the SHTF, I am safe, I am well-fed, and I am comfortable.

To wrap up, it is my opinion that prepping is not dead.  Prepper-mania may have waned, but for those of us that want to secure a future of self-reliance, prepping will never be optional.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

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64 Responses to “Do You Think Prepping Has Died?”

  1. Gaye, after the relief of the election, I have taken a well-earned break in intense prepping. During this time, however, I have stocked up on and been doing in-depth studying of essential oils. I do plan on renewing my normal prepping efforts in the new year (tomorrow!), as I do believe we are all in for financial hard times when our government’s wild spending spree bills come due…

  2. My extended family decided to help stock up the pantry for another family member and their family. Husband and wife are both retired military vets and of late have had some hard times financially. Due to injuries sustained in the latest two overseas deployments there has been multiple doctor visits, testing, medication and so on. They believe in and are practicing a sustained life by growing their own food as well as hunting. We knew things were very tight for them financially so we asked a parent of this family member to see what we could all do to help. After a visit to their new location it was found that staple items, paper products, food for the animals, canning items, canned goods, etc were very low and worry was setting in with winter coming on. Our extended family eased some of their worries by pitching in and purchasing literally 3 car loads of goods over a two month period. This has helped ease some of the worry and now they can concentrate on materials to build needed pens for some of the animals for the winter. We did not buy a lot of Christmas gifts this year and diverted those monies to this family. There are five growing children in this mix and we were able to help with some new clothing for winter because three of the kids took a big growth spurt since school had started. By closing up a lot of the gaps this family can now keep up with the pantry stocks to help them thru the winter. The garden is already planned for next planting season and it is determined they will need to triple what they plant. This will take care of their family and have some extra to help another retired military family get started with their pantry stocks. In the mean time some of us will gather more canning supplies to help with next years harvest and help locate a second freezer for the meat from hunting or butchering. I still found time to keep adding to my preps and rotating my staples, watching for sales on staple items, check out the second hand stores for items on my list or a family member’s.

    • Deborah,
      I am touched by your family and the generosity you have collectively shown to the extended family members that were struggling to prepare for the winter. Our vets deserve the best.

      Blessings to you this holiday season!

      Gaye

    • Thank you Gaye. This family member and his wife just turned 30 years old. The things they have been thru during 10 plus years of active duty and they still have a long life ahead of them with physical and mental obstacles from being in conflicts in other countries. I have directed them to your site for the info you have. This is the lifestyle they have chosen since retiring from the military. As a family we all help each other and we are so glad to have them back from the conflicts overseas and closer to us once again.

    • Please make sure they get in touch with the veterans of foreign wars (VFW) and get all of the VA help they can. Remember it is part of the commitment to our soldiers to care fore them.

    • Hey Laura:
      The one exception to that is if you have enough money then you can provide food and water plus whatever other necessities you could ever need for a lifetime…
      I used to belong to a blog where this guy was a prepper, homesteader, had his own security business, was part of a,special forces group, etc…
      Anyway, he would get hired by people with money to come in and set up there homes, bug-out locations, etc… for them.
      He would build whatever they wanted and what he thought they needed, take care of all security measures, set up sustainable food and water sources, stock prepper items for how long they wanted or could afford, helped them pick out the proper weapons to protect their families with, taught weapons training to all family members who were old enough, etc… I believe that I’ve painted a good picture for you…
      He would also post these places and ones that someone else had done for the owners who wanted to sell for whatever reason…
      Some of these places just blew my mind, he always did a walk-thru video to show you everything that you would be getting.
      Anyway…
      One of the places that he was showing for sale came with a 30yrs supply of food and water for four people, that does not include the sustainable food and water sources that were established on the property too…
      So…
      Like everything else in our world, it all comes down to having money…
      Have a great one…!

    • Hi Deborah:
      What an amazing thing to do for families in need…!
      There always seems to be family members who are in need one way or another and I believe that doing something like this is the way it should be…
      Instead of blowing all kinds of money on toys for the kids that many will just end up sitting and collecting dust before six months have passed, use that money to help change someone’s life for the better…!
      Even if all of your family is set and not in need, please still do something like this…!
      There are too many people out there whose lives could be changed from your generosity and believe me, it won’t be forgotten…
      Also, do not forget about the joy you will feel in your heart knowing that you’ve helped change someone’s life…!
      May your family be blessed for your kindness…

    • Thank you Troy for your kind words! Family comes first but also include others. At times we all have or do need just that little assistance to upright life to manageable and we can carry on from there.

  3. I have tended to be quieter about my prepping lately. I’m constantly on the look out for water receptacles, bargains on shelf stable foods, tools and other useful BOB items. We have been at this all our lives in this house, so it’s common place and everyday thinking for us.
    We have noticed family and friends downsizing and getting basic in their lives too, so we must be a good influence in our immediate circle.
    Remember, $5 will get you five things at the dollar store.

  4. Hello:
    I don’t know how much of what you’re seeing is so much a slow down in people living a Prepper lifestyle as it is a lack of new and fresh information being made available to them…
    There are a “Gazillion” Prepper/Survival sites and blogs out there and so many of them contain information on the same topics.
    How many times and different ways can someone tell you what an EMP event is, what the side effects of one will most likely be, and how you can attempt to minimize an EMP’S effects on you and your equipment…?
    The same holds true with Natural Disasters, a broken Economy, Marshal Law, and a Nuclear Attack on our own soil just to name a few…
    Then you have all of the information on how to be prepared for any of these events and once the basics are covered, such as, shelter, water, food, and protection the rest is just icing on the cake…
    I believe that as “New” Preppers start seeking out information and as new information becomes available for us “Seasoned” Preppers, Prepping sites and blogs will notice an increase in traffic again…
    I enjoy your posts and information, especially on Homesteading…!
    Thank you and have a great day…!

  5. Gaye, thank you for this insightful article. It caught me off guard. I got a feeling in my stomach like you feel in a horror movie when the characters go down in the basement of the haunted house. Yikes.

    The truth is I have stopped prepping. I have not finished replenishing my water from when my filter broke and I drank stored water. I still have lots of food but feel revolted by the notion of living on beans and grains. I have a lot of equipment but have yet to organize and cache it.

    The good news is that I am prepping my truck. Just got a cap for it and bed rug with headliner. The truck will have butaine cooking, all the water I can fit, stable food and the bucket toilet setup.

    I bought a used truck to start enjoying life now. I plan to live in it for long periods.

    If something horrible happens to the nation, I can pull the truck into a wooded area and continue living in it.

    This is NOT intended as a great survival solution. It’s about doing what I have always wanted to do.

    Thanks to prepping, I’ll be carrying seeds, first aid, and bugout gear. Things I never would have thought about before. I’ll be using the entire back seat of the cab for storage. All my 7-pound plastic jars of beans and grains can go back there. I’ll be able to boil and store water, chop firewood and all the necessary bugout skills.

    I have not met anyone online who is combining the nomadic life with the prepping and survival life, but I believe it can be done.

    I think the most important thing is knowing where to hide off road because gas won’t be available. Think of the truck as a large metal tent.

  6. Some of the slowdown was surely because folks had prepped intensely during the ramp up to the election since both advocates of both parties had reasons to be scared. That and with the Christmas buying season upon us, spending gravitates towards non-prepping items (mostly…I managed to slip in quite a few prepping items into my gift giving. 😉

    The rise of nationalistic fervor is ratcheting up international tensions, and fake news stories are just making things that much worse. Everyone heard about the Pakistani PM kerfuffle, yes? //www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/26/pakistan-minister-issues-nuclear-warning-israel-tricked-fake/

    And then we have our PE tweeting all sorts of things that are doing nothing to settle down international tensions and have my anxiety level heading for the stratosphere. I really hope he asks for confirmation on information before doing anything precipitous, at least militarily speaking, but the tone of his public communications shows he doesn’t trust the intelligence agencies which scares the #!@$ out of me… I know I’m better prepared than most folks around me, but just thinking about nuclear war is enough to give me nightmares…

  7. I haven’t stopped but have slowed down because of Christmas and my job. No didn’t go overboard for Christmas but we host Christmas for the family so I had to plan for the little extras one does at Christmas time. My job has been very difficult this past 6 months, doing 3 others jobs as well as my own due to staffing cuts, people leaving, etc.I come home exhausted, I fall asleep about a hour after dinner Da hubs has to wake me up to go to bed LOL but that changes this Thursday. I will be officially retired !! Yippee!! Now I can concentrate on re-organizing our “stuff”, getting rid of clothing I will no longer need, making room for the preps. YEAH NO more work suits or dresses. I will be paring down the wardrobe.Most of it will go to a local group that helps women out when they re-enter the work force by supplying appropriate clothing for interviews and work that they can keep.

    • Thank you I can’t wait AND one of my sons got me a Life Straw for Christmas. So I think I’m starting to rub off on the kids. At least I hope so. Hope you have a Safe and Prosperous New Year.

  8. Hi Gaye, I think there are a number of trends pulling in different directions.

    The US has spent the last decade and more arming like it is 1775, both with guns and ammunition. The incoming administration isn’t seen as a major threat to gun rights -although several state governments are- so we may well see a slow down in that aspect of prepping.

    Modern guns of decent quality, especially stainless steel, should be perfectly usable way past functional obsolescence. Centuries, with just minimal care. I can see a major slow down there as people decide they actually have enough.

    Food: as people realize that even with the best intentions, government simply cannot respond to many disasters, natural or human, in a few days. We need to stock food sufficient to get us through those disasters, and as ever more people realize that, the long term food storage area should prosper. That should happen no matter what people’s politics may be.

    Everyday canned food needs to be renewed/rotated, but long term storage food like LDS ingredients will likely outlast the rest of our lives. Unless we decide we want more, we are done buying in that area.

    I have three liberal adult nieces in the Cascadia Sunduction Zone, and they started waking up to the danger when the major New Yorker magazine article came out a while back. They haven’t started prepping, but they are now thinking about it seriously.

    As one wrote me last week: “I spent three days without power last week due to an ice storm, and if I didn’t have family here I would have needed some of these things. You don’t really realize how different life is without utilities. I have some old camping supplies but it’d be worthwhile getting a fresh stock.”

    These are people who have the means to make meaningful preps for the likeliest disaster in their area. Will they? I don’t know, but if they do, that will be a new market. Not for guns, as they are anti-gun, but for everything else needed for getting by for at least several weeks “without utilities.” Water, food, medical supplies, and so one.

    Inflation, solar storms, EMP, hurricanes, terrorists striking critical infrastructure: all those possibilities are still out there, whether one’s evaluation of the dangers and probabilities have changed or not.

    Some people will definitely fall by the wayside, just as the NRA will almost certainly see a non-trivial level of non-renewals of annual memberships. That’s standard when a Repunlican takes the White House.

    I think it will be the same with prepping. People who decide they are already decently prepared by now won’t stop being preppers, but may become relatively invisible in the marketplace as they need do little beyond maintainence.

    People who wake up to the possibilities of serious disasters may jump in in a big way, or small. My guess is that some of the panic prepping of the last year will fall off,but maintain at a more relaxed level. That’s probably a healthy thing.

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