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Homesteaders and Preppers: We Are All On the Same Team

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
Homesteaders and Preppers: We Are All On the Same Team

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I’m not sure why people so often feel the need to be smug and put down others for their self-reliance efforts. Maybe it’s because they need to feel superior. Maybe they don’t actually see the entire picture, and their opinions are based on only partial information. Maybe, giving the benefit of the doubt, they don’t realize how demoralizing their comments are to others who are doing the best they can with the resources they have.

The other day, I saw a comment that made me see red. A person said, “The more time I spend in the self-sufficiency space, the more I’m convinced that homesteading really is the grown up version of prepping.”

Why does it have to be like that? Why does one have to be considered “better” than the other? Either way, people are getting prepared for the worst, so is it really necessary to claim that your way is the only way? Homesteaders and preppers; I always thought we were on the same team.

It’s just plain divisive. There are pros and cons to both. I took to Facebook to see what the community thinks about homesteading versus prepping.

Homesteaders & Preppers: We Are On the Same Team | Backdoor Survival

Homesteaders vs. Preppers

After I saw that comment, I wanted to know if it was just me, or if others felt the same way.  (And please, if you aren’t in the Facebook community, weigh in on this topic in the comments – I really want to know what you think.)

I posted:

I went ballistic when I saw this quote: “Homesteading is the grown-up version of prepping”. WTF? As far as I am concerned, Prepping is the grown-up version of homesteading.

Am I right or wrong? Do I need to get a grip? What are your thoughts?

There was a wide range of answers and some incredible insights.  The quotes here are not edited, but appear just as they were posted on Facebook.

Many were baffled over why this was even a discussion since the two lifestyles are different roads to the same destination.

Some people agreed that there was no reason to put one type of self-reliance over another.

As someone once said to me “Every homesteader is a prepper (necessity) but not every prepper is a homesteader.” Honestly, they are so closely linked that the lines are almost non-existent.

Both mindsets are a matter of taking responsibility for yourself and those around you. Putting one over the other is unnecessary. Everyone has their own focus and needs.

Prepping leads us to homesteading, but I think they sort of go hand in hand, depending on how serious a person is willing to go and how they go about it-just my 2-cents

Both are about being more self sufficient. I think they intertwine. Lot of homesteaders prep, and lot of preppers practice some form of homesteading

I think being derogatory to either life-style or mind-set is very unproductive. They actually go hand-in-hand with each other. If a “homesteader” is not considered a “prepper” then they are doing it wrong, because homesteading means putting food, money, etc. by for a less productive season. (i.e. harvesting & canning all summer to eat all winter). Preppers just put food, money, etc., away for a lean season of life, not a season of the year.

Here on our little farm we garden all summer to get ready for winter, but we also have our “preps” for which we have had to rely lately with my husband being laid off. Our garden is also not very productive this year, thanks to very heavy rains…but on the flip side, our chickens have been paying for themselves & the other animals’ feed all summer with the sale of eggs. Being self-sufficient is a good thing, and neither shouldn’t be thought of as “exclusive”.

When you homestead, and get use to being self sufficient, with growing your own food, raising your own livestock, canning, freezing, freeze drying, smoking meats, etc; you tend to awaken to prepping as an additional necessity. Being self sufficient isn‘t enough any longer. They are compatible. I’ve even seen some folks in the cities and suburbs begin prepping, and realize they need to move. So they buy some land and begin homesteading to expand prepping. Hand and glove for both.

I don’t think homesteading is a grown up version of prepping. I think homesteading and prepping are being GROWN up and aware.

Others agreed with the concept that homesteading was superior.

Homesteaders usually tend to focus on long term sustainability and know how to do a lot more for themselves. Preppers tend to be city kids with money who want to protect what they have amassed. They are usually fond of gadgets and guns. Just an observation of what I’ve seen and experienced personally. Not trying to offend anyone. I’m happily in the middle.

Homesteading is a way of life!!! A lifestyle choice to live today in a more sustainable self-sufficient manner (no matter what tomorrow brings). Prepping is trying to stay prepared for what might happen so you can live tomorrow. I choose today.

Whoa! As someone who has homesteaded for the past 17 years and actually walked the walk, I can assure you that there is so much more to it that any prepper will ever comprehend. I hate for this to sound so self-righteous, but it is just simply true.

Let’s compare: Most preppers go click happy on squirrel away a bunch of goodies, maybe tests out some gear once a year on a camping trip and spends Saturday mornings at the shooting range. Great, I think that is fabulous and every urbanite should do that.

Now lets examine a homesteader who trudges to the barns and fields 365 days a year, hot or cold. Collects the milk, churns butter, makes cheese, keeps their tractors running, puts their animals care above their own, plows the garden(a real half acre garden, not just two tomatoes plants and a zucchini) plants dozens of rows of seeds that they collected and saved from last year, then spends 120 days hoeing weeds, pruning, picking canning, drying, freezing, saving more seeds for next year. Lets not forget about cutting wood to keep warm and quilting, and sewing clothing. If you define grown-up as more responsibilities and duties, then clearly real homesteading is more grown-up.

I think prepping is a step to homesteading. A homesteader is the finished product.

I’m leaning towards prepping being a paranoid version of homesteading.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Homesteaders and preppers: why does one have to be considered better than the other? ” quote=”Homesteaders and preppers: why does one have to be considered better than the other? “]

Others thought that prepping was the way to go.

I’m with you on this Gaye. I am certainly not A “homesteader” but being an apartment prepper, I am privileged to purchase items for survival and purchase food items from farmers markets to can in jars. I also purchase food from vendors in the grocery store, however I prefer fresh veggies, fruit and eggs. Saying all that to say. I put my money, earned from other sources toward the benefit of homesteaders who are privileged to earn by labor for their own prepping. I don’t even consider “grown-up” as part of the prepping vocabulary.

We all accomplish the same goal, just in different ways. I happen to like ours better. So your not wrong, for sure…and I certainly could not have done this for over two years, without your guidance!!! Thanks millions!!

Prepping is not a childish activity, first off, it is the next step beyong homesteading, or rather, an extension of it, the next logical step. If it is homesteading to put up your harvest for the winter, prepping would be putting up enough for next winter too.

Here’s what I think.

Some of the most prepared families on the planet live in cities, have jobs, and send their kids to school. They are not second class preppers because they do not homestead and produce 100% of what they consume in terms of power, food, and medicine.

Our society needs all types to survive and flourish. We need teachers, doctors, merchants, accountants, leaders, and worker-bees. Everyone is important and to set aside homesteaders as a superior class of prepper is just wrong.  You can (and should) be prepared no matter where you live.

I have written about homesteading in place and a guest author wrote a great series about homesteading when you rent. But glorifying homesteading and homesteaders over and above all others that live a preparedness lifestyle? No.

Everyone can be prepared in one way or another. It is not about always producing your own food. Sometimes your garden flops – that is real life and if it happens, you’d better be prepared to feed your family regardless.

To those that feel they are better prepped by homesteading than others who are not homesteaders, let me ask you this: who is going to rebuild society if it all goes to crap (SHTF)?

I can guarantee that it will take all types from all walks of life.  Let’s build each other up instead of tearing each other down. Let’s offer equal respect to the entire self-reliance community for the different gifts that they bring to the table.


The Final Word

This is a topic I have been mulling for a month or two.  After reading the comments on Facebook, I was able to calm down and get a grip.  At the end of the day one side is not a winner and the other is not a loser.

For those that care to set themselves apart as superior, I say get over it.  Instead of embracing our differences, let us band together in unity.

We are in this together.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Here is a list of most of the items recommended by Backdoor Survival reader, Karen Skoog, in the article Best Practices: The Every Day Carry Bag (EDC).  A great article, in case you missed it.

Rothco MOLLE Compatible Water Bottle Pouch:  I never would have considered using a water pouch as an EDC bag.  This one is a MOLLE compatible pouch so it can be easily attached to the rest of your MOLLE gear.  It features MOLLE loops around the entire pouch, two 6 inch straps on the back, and D-rings on each side. The straw hole on the top and a drain hole makes hydration simple. A perfect companion to my favorite Rothco Medium Transport Pack.  I own three of these packs – two in black and one in tan.

5.11 MOLLE Padded Pouch: When I read about the “food pouch”, I had one of those “why didn’t I think of that moments”!

Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle:  This is the bottle that Karen chose and it is one that I have recommended in the past.

GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Bottle Cup/Pot:  Nice and something that I am adding to my own shopping cart.  It is designed to slip over standard 1-litre water bottle and holds up to 18 ounces.

Military Army Trainmen Paisley Bandanas: Speaking of bandanas, be sure to check out the article How to Use a Bandana to Save the Day.

Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets:  Ultralight tablets provide fresh drinking water anywhere you go. Effective against viruses, bacteria, giardia and cryptosporidium. Fresh tasting water-no unpleasant taste. These easy-to-use tablets meet EPA purification guidelines. Purification method: Chlorine Dioxide tablets. 1 tablet treats 1 qt. of water.

Cobra Products 4-Way Sillcock Key:  This 4-way sillcock key has a 1/4″ , 9/32″, 5/16″ and 11/32″ stem to service most sillcocks in common use. It is durable, easy to use and has an attractive finish. Used to open and close sillcocks or spigots and made of durable steel construction.

The Friendly Swede Magnesium Alloy Emergency Easy Grip Fire Starter (2 Pack):  Firestarters are an essential piece of any survival/outdoor kit – waterproof, durable and easy to use as follows:

1. Scrape off black protective coating from firestarter rod
2. Prepare your tinder
3. Hold the striker at a 45° angle to the firestarter. Scrape striker hard and fast down the firestarter
4. Allow sparks to fall onto tinder

Dorcy Waterproof LED Flashlight with Carabineer Clip:  This is a floating waterproof flashlight that provides 55-lumens of light output and a 31-meter beam distance. I am a big fan of Dorcy products so this one is definitely going in my shopping cart as well.  Not that I need more flashlights!  Wait – you can never have too many!!

MTECH USA MT-378 Tactical Folding Knife 4.5 Closed: This folding knife features a 3 inch black finished 440 stainless steel tanto style blade with a quick opening thumb stud. The comfortably contoured black steel handle features a brushed metal finish, a heavy duty pivot pin and the liner lock blade locking design. It has a closed length of 4 1/2 inches and comes with a durable pocket clip.


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33 Responses to “Homesteaders and Preppers: We Are All On the Same Team”

  1. what silly argument. whether you’re a prepper or a homesteader depends on your physical and mental capabilities and your lifestyle (chosen or otherwise). whether or not you need to compete with “the other side” just depends on your maturity level and how emotionally secure you are; the facts have nothing to do with it.

  2. IMHO, prepping and homesteading are two approaches to the same ultimate goal. I started out as a prepper, but now aim to be a homesteader. I think the difference is that homesteaders live the type of life that preppers would like to live or expect to have to live. I guess it all depends on your mindframe and level of preparedness. But it’s foolish to namecall, or berate one or the other, because ultimately, we all want the same thing, to not be dependent on anyone else if we can help it. I agree, the two go hand in hand. And you can homestead in the city, and you can prep in the country, and vice versa. You do what you can with what you have available to you. THAT’S what matters. So label yourself whatever you want. I proudly claim both, how’s that?

  3. We are all Americans and will be striving for survival. IT will take the village to keep ourselves strong. It will take a give and take between those with vast skills in one department or another.

    Sure there are some that will separate themselves from the rest. BUT at the end of the day they will have to come up for air and I hope the others choose to help them even though they did not run with the rest.

  4. It seems, as with most things, that it’s wise to be both, to whatever degree one chooses to make possible and prioritize in his or her life. One thing to consider — and Gaye has brought this up in the past, too — is the importance of community. We live in Amish country, and though we’re not Amish, our city still retains some of that sense of community. It’s certainly not everyone, but we are an official “Transition Town,” which means that we do have a core group of people working towards community preparedness. Many people are building outdoor ovens, permaculture food forests, community gardens, front yard gardens and raising chickens, but these often get implemented through groups working together.

    The problem with being completely self-reliant is that if you isolate yourself and something goes wrong with you or your spouse or your homestead, then it’s entirely your issue to fix. If you live with some community mindedness, then it’s more like the Amish — your barn burns down, and all your neighbors gather to rebuild it next weekend. Working towards community preparedness helps to create safety nets and also allows for people to specialize in the things they have better aptitude or land for. Someone with a huge forest of black walnuts will probably not have the best garden, but they’ll have nuts and good, solid wood to trade, if they have people to trade with. Basic preparedness and as much self-reliance as possible seems wise and is what I’m working towards. Redundancy, flexibility and community are others.

  5. I do believe there are differences but definitely not one better than the other. I have 10 acres and 25 chickens. We purchased this 10 years ago and it had always been my dream to homestead…more my dream than my husbands…so dream cut short….not fulfilled.

    To me homesteading is living off the land in all facets of life, and prepping is preparing foods and storing foods that I either grow or (more than likely purchased on sale from a grocery store) for an emergency situation. Since I’m getting much older now and don’t have the energy to do more homesteading acts, I am now in full swing of prepping and putting up food for when the world comes crashing down around us.

    • Your comments reminded of something. Twenty years ago, there was great concern about the youth moving to the urban areas while the old seasoned farmers and ranchers stayed on the land. Many were concerned about who would be doing the farming/ranching in the future. It is because of you, Missy, and others like you that have returned to the land which will be the connections to the youth. So you don’t have the wherewithall to do what you wished. Make connections and teach what you have learned. Many are bringing young people from schools to teach about the land. Depending on what events happen, it may be to you that these young people come when disaster happens. You will have those extra hands to help so keep learning so you can share and teach. This will be needed.

  6. As I read both the blog and the comments, I couldn’t help seeing this like sibling rivalry. In the same family but bickering and arguing to get more attention. There may be more to it but as with most families, when the rubber meets the road, and disaster threatens, they work together to pull through it all. Everyone has different views, strengths and ways of accomplishing what has priority for them. The key is not just to survive but to thrive AFTER whatever happens. The need for community will be what makes the diff because like it or not, humans are social animals and need each other. Better to learn together than be divided and picked off one at a time. 😉

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