Homesteaders and Preppers: We Are All On the Same Team

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

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.

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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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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.

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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:

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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!!

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

  1. I’m not sure prepping or homesteading has anything to do with why anyone belittles another efforts. I think you are talking about pure psychology. Some personality types have a demonstrated need to be right. Classically they are some mix of Choleric and Melancholy personality styles. They have a need to criticize or tear down in order to build themselves up. others have a political agenda, and still others might have a competitive business agenda.
    IMO most variants of preparing or disaster preparedness have something to offer and learn from. After all we all have to “roll our own” for our personal situations.
    Atheists complain about people who God or some do .. which is silly .. If he isn’t there why complain about people who believe in nothing.
    I’m not arguing for or against… just implying that some people have a need to complain about anyone that is not like themselves or believes like they do.

  2. I wasn’t even aware of this division among some preppers and some homesteaders. I saw a video online once about how a pencil is made (I-Pencil) it showed how no one single person really knows how a simple pencil is made. It seems that some homesteaders are saying they alone know how to make a pencil and it is due to their reliance in staying in one place and having this or that thing.
    During the Dust Bowl years many homesteaders were forced off their land because they couldn’t pay the taxes or the mortgage on the land, etc… and their reliance on the land and equipment became a huge liability, it seemed as if they were less likely to adapt and overcome – and less ready – than were others who were not so reliant on trying to make a pencil all by themselves, as Cass’ comment above outlines.
    Therefore, it’s not what people are doing or what they have that makes the division, rather, it’s the mind-set. So perhaps the negative attitude towards each other is due to a ridged or narrow perspective on how is the best way to approach life and the hurdles thrown at them?

    For example, in another thread someone asked, ‘what would you do if you knew you only had a week to prepare?’ my thought was, how would someone know this? Because knowing that, means knowing what exactly to prepare for. I.e. a tidal wave washing over the state of Florida is easy-ish enough for someone who lives there to prepare for if you somehow knew with certainty it was approaching: move.
    Some homesteaders seem to have the mind-set they know exactly what they are preparing for, but what if they have a week to shuck all their best stuff in a truck and have to hit the road because they were wrong? Would it be far easier for a prepper who does not homestead full tilt to become a homesteader, or for a homesteader to become a mobile and adaptable prepper?

    Perhaps the best mind-set is to be able to become either a prepper or a homesteader and to realize one can’t do it all, and the superior position is only evident in hindsight, not foresight? May the odds, be forever in your favor.

    Also, this division reminds me of the attitude of and between renters and homeowers as described often in the comments section at TheHousingBubbleBlog. But that’s another story, albeit, one with the same theme.

  3. Wow, we have more important things to worry about in this day and age besides dividing us by a few chosen words. Whatever skill you have, along with determination will help you prepare in the way you are comfortable.
    We all have many avenues to draw from in this time period, Gaye’s site has helped many of us close loopholes where we might not of otherwise been aware.
    There is strength in numbers, foster a goodwill attitude in your community as I have, I couldn’t possibly do it alone if things go to hell in a handbasket.
    Good luck to preppers and homesteaders alike, we need each other in times of crisis.

  4. Why would we even discuss what lifestyle is better? Being able to take care of yourself and your family is a valiant goal. Who are we to judge one person’s efforts/lifestyle over another’s. Be greatful that we have people with different skills, interests and abilities because we need them all. No one prepper, homesteader, survivalist, whatever, could make it without others in the community over the long haul. We need each other. To judge, for me, ruins what I feel is a great movement in our country, growing stronger as time goes by. To do what you can to take care of yourself and your family will help each and every one of us if there is a huge disaster. I guess I would like to believe that we would pull together, those of us who are trying to take care of ourselves.

  5. Words and their definitions are created and change so frequently these days that I, frankly, can’t keep up. I’m a Survivalist because that’s what they called it back in the 80’s so that’s what I still am. I grow as much of my food as I can, I preserve it as best I can, I grow and harvest what medicines I can, I try out new things and old that I read about online and in books from the 1700-1900’s, I listen to my Grandma who is still with us about what worked for her family and what failed, etc. I also buy things I need from the store when I can. I, for one, don’t find harvesting sugar from sugar beets to be the best way to go out about obtaining sugar. I have the skill to do it in an emergency, but until then C+H all the way.

    Growing up I lived in a very storm-heavy area and we always kept the pantry stocked, the water containers full, the candles and hurricane lamps handy, the firewood split, the house in good condition, etc. This was because when the trees came down in the winter storms and took out the power lines, you couldn’t get to the store without sawing through a couple dozen or waiting for the road crews to do so. Even if you got to the store, it hardly would matter as they were in the same boat as everyone else. Add on to that, the wells obviously don’t run without power, the toilets don’t flush without water, and the huge city hours away always got first priority for work crews. So, every winter storm our little piece of the backwoods would be without water and power for 2-5 days. Did we call it prepping? No. Did we call it homesteading? No. We didn’t call it anything. It was just living and a bit of common sense.

    I didn’t have a name for what we just did until I saw a movie by the name of Tremors. I was young and impressionable and there was an older couple in the movie by the name of Burt and Heather Gummer. They were hilarious, no-nonsense, and prepared for absolutely everything (or so they thought). I asked my Mom, “they’re kind of like us, but more, what are they?” And she said, “they’re Survivalists.” And I thought to myself, that’s what I want to be when I grow up. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m getting there.

    Long rambling story short; what do I think of the difference between Preppers and Homesteaders and Survivalists and all the rest? I think they’re a whole lot of words. I think if the words give you strength and you pull something from them, great! Fantastic! But if you’re using them to do nothing but divide people, or put people down, or imply people aren’t good enough because they don’t do X… well, please remember: they’re just a bunch of words. Nothing more than vibrations of the throat on an exhalation of air.

  6. Preppers and homesteaders are different based on the motivation and purpose of the individual or group for being prepared. No one should care about what someone else thinks of your prep skills, purpose or motivation. You are what you are and you are at where you are at. There are plenty of skills and ideas that can be shared here where we all can benefit.
    Further complicating this division, when the general public hears the word prepper they automatically think of doomsday preppers, militia types, anti government types, and conspiracy types when in fact there are a lot of moderate type preppers who simply like being aware of the possible things that can go wrong in life and they want to be ready to deal with these problems when they present themselves. I came to this website, in particular, because I thought it presented a moderate approach.

  7. I think that prepping is a part of homesteading, and everyone’s goal should be to attempt to become more self-sufficient. However, I also think that homesteading is not an option we all have the luxury of making. We have a family to support and my husband’s job is such that we have to be in a city. Without his job, we can’t support our family. We try to be as prepared as we can be given our circumstances, but it isn’t possible for us to relocate and unplug from modern life completely. My hat is off to those that have the ability to do so, but it isn’t a possibility for everyone. Either way, they are both just two sides of the same coin, and we should all be supporting everyone’s effort to be more prepared- even if they are just taking baby steps! We are all in this together.

  8. For us, my wife and I in any emergency we will shelter in place if that is viable up to 90 days. Should evacuation be needed we can and will car camp and are experienced car campers. The bulk of supplies and extra gasoline and water means we need a small trailer to last 90 days camping without resupply. We will have a 800 mile range if roads are clear. And if not and reduced to backpack and two small carts with supplies maybe a couple of weeks. Really survival will depend on the emergency and the behavior of other people.

  9. I agree with mary,Gaye. I CAN NOT farm due to health issues with both my husband and I. I would dearly love to be rural and raise my own animals, food, etc.but just can’t. To say that I am playing at this is an insult not only toward me and other preppers but to the homesteaders themselves. Yes I agree there are those out there that are a bit, (how do I put this politely), a little off-kilter but on whole we are a pretty normal bunch of people, doing what we can WHERE we are at. Yes I have been on a farm working, milking cows by hand, tilling the ground, etc. I no longer can do that physically but I have skills I can bring to the table, DaHubs has skills too, so we “homestead” in a town instead of on acreage. Sorry Gaye, but I get so cranky when some, not all, have what I call a snotty attitude towards those that aren’t doing the exact same thing as they are. THAT is what’s wrong in the world today IMO, NO ONE sees differences as an asset but something to fear and denegrate.

  10. As I read all the comments I was amazed. When I was in high school my family moved from an urban area to our own homestead. We grew our food in a large garden, raised pigs, rabbits, chickens and goats. Made maple syrup in the spring. We didn’t have electricity, and didn’t need it. I must say I learned how to do many things, but mostly I learned that I needed to be self reliant. That was in the 70’s.
    Today I live in a small rural town. If, or when the SHTF the thought of being in an urban area would make me uncomfortable.
    We are all working at being prepared. Each of us maybe with different priorities. We are however, all on the same side. That is true. Self reliance is going to set us all apart from those that believe someone will be there to catch them when things turn to crap.

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