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The 18 Types of Preppers You Will Run Into

When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are. ― Donald Miller

It’s interesting to analyze such a big community to look at the different personality types. Each type has their own particular beliefs, inner conflicts, OUTER conflicts and so on. I’ve always been fascinated by human behavior and today I want to do something special.

Just this once I want to take a break from prepping advice and analyze the actual people that are prepping. I’m gonna try to be objective (wish me luck with that!) and observe both their good qualities and their defects. Ok, so I may get on some people’s nerves but – hey – you can’t get everyone to like you, right?

OK, let’s look at some of the common personality types of preppers out there:

sheeple a derogatory term for people

#1. The Sheeple

It’s not that I think sheeple are preppers but they are, for all intents and purposes, at level zero. We’ve all been at this level, right? The funny thing is, if you ask them, they actually think they’re prepared simply because, in their minds, nothing bad will ever happen.

Pros of being a sheeple:

  • you’re less worried because you don’t know what’s about to come or don’t believe it will happen
  • you get to spend your money on other things such as women and booze rather than food, gear and survival courses

Cons:

  • when the brown stuff hits the fan, you’re pretty much done

hoarder of canned food

#2. The Hoarder

I really don’t want to get into the old debate on whether preppers are hoarders. In my opinion they are not and to me, a “prepper hoarder” is a guy who stockpiles a lot of stuff and neglects everything else.

Pros:

  • he’s got food and water to last him 5 years, and typically lots of ammo too
  • he’s very good at finding amazing deals

Cons:

  • he has to maintain and rotate his increasing stockpile
  • he has to eat a lot more survival food than the average prepper (unless he’s willing to throw it away when it expires)
  • he has a narrow view of how things will turn out, he believes he’ll be able to bug in no matter what type of disaster strikes
  • he’s often overweight, which could be an issue when bugging out. He may have trouble adapting in a post-SHTF world where he’ll have to work hard everyday to survive

#3. The Accidental Prepper

Have you ever talked with a prepper who was doing this even before they coined the term? They’re not advanced, they don’t have any bushcraft skills but they’re prepared for short-term emergencies. These people started prepping on their own either because they are born organized or because they felt instinctively something was wrong; they didn’t have to read about it online.

Pros:

  • they use their head (they must be good at it since they figured it out all by themselves)
  • they’re good, out of the box thinkers
  • they’re handy in at least one aspect of survival (maybe it’s woodworking, maybe they’re good mechanics etc.)

Cons:

  • They’re not prepared for a wide variety of short-term and long term disasters, only on the ones that they think will happen. If the crisis lasts more than a week, they probably won’t make it even if they have to bug in ( due to lack of water, food, etc.)

man and children making fire camping

#4. The Average Prepper

Most preppers fall into this category. They have their food stockpile, their bug out bag, and so on. They even moved to the suburbs to be able to quickly run to their bug out location when IT happens. They’re not looking to have a 2 or 3 year stockpile or 3-4 guns in their home, but they do have food and water for anywhere from 1 to 12 months and at least a firearm.

Pros:

Cons:

  • they sometimes lack essential skills, such as survival medicine or bushcraft skills (which they haven’t gotten around to learning yet)

#5. The Survivalist

If you read 10 articles on the difference between a survivalist and a prepper, you’re going to get 10 different opinions. My own belief is that a survivalist is a prepper with bushcraft skills, who likes to be off grid as much as possible. Most in this group also flip the finger to modern society and it’s rules, although they still are generally law abiding citizens.

Pros of being a survivalist:

  • they will have no problem surviving in the woods, under harsh conditions because you have all these skills
  • they know which plants are poisonous
  • they know basic survival medicine
  • their skills and experience have them covered from every angle, nothing can take them by surprise

Cons:

  • survivalists are often lonely and isolated by their own will (not that this is a bad thing necessarily, just something to keep in mind)
  • they put themselves at risk when it comes to medical emergencies by having limited access to a doctor

Truth be told, the terms prepper and survivalist often overlap, meaning you don’t have to be one or the other. You can be a father, a husband, a protector, and a patriot and forget these stereotypes.

#6. The Homesteader

Needless to say, the homesteader typically intends to bug in when disaster strikes. He knows everything there is to know about growing his own food, he’s at least partially gone off grid, and has the skills to make anything from soap to his own clothing. He has his own ecosystem and could probably live on his own indefinitely if need be.

Pros:

  • homesteading skills (obviously)
  • they can make their bug out locations feel like home 🙂
  • they know how to save money

Cons:

  • a lot of homesteaders aren’t really prepping, they just want to be off grid, save money, and conserve the tradition of doing things the old way, the way their grandparents used to;
  • tending the garden and fixing and improving their homes is hard work
  • a lot of them aren’t really preppers even though they think they are, meaning they sometimes have serious holes in their preps
  • they’re too much in love with their homes to bug out if need be

man at the gym

#7. The Self-Defense & Fitness Prepper

We’re gonna talk about gun enthusiasts in a moment but the self-defense prepper is different. He knows martial arts and he’s in very good shape. Thus, it’s very hard to beat him in one on one combat. His main concerns are daily SHTF events such as riots, rapes, violent gangs, and so on.

Pro:

  • he knows how to protect himself (obviously)
  • he’s in good shape (crucial for bugging out)

Cons:

  • they lack a solid stockpile, tools, and a lot of preps for TEOTWAWKI scenarios
  • his skills are no match for firearms

#8. The Minimalist Prepper

The minimalist prepper prefers to keep their stockpile to a minimum and focus on the skills. She believes that knowledge and practice is way more important than a stockpile.

Pros:

  • they spend less money on preps
  • they have good skills
  • they know what to do in the event of bugging out; they will be light and fast
  • they have lighter BOBs because they believe they don’t need that much gear as long as they have the knowledge

Cons:

  • should they need to bug in for a longer period of time, lack of food and water stockpile could be fatal
  • they might spend more money on learning all kinds of skills such as gardening, bushcraft, self-defense, etc.

#9. The Know-It-All Prepper

This type of prepper knows so much about prepping he could make even the most respected survivalists envious. The only problem he has is that he’s not doing much to prepare. He knows at an intellectual level that skills are what matter most, but he’s so much in his comfort zone that he just doesn’t find the energy to actually put the knowledge into practice.

You can find him reading forums and giving these long, well-researched replies to people.

Pros:

  • good knowledge
  • can help other people even though he himself hasn’t done it
  • he can come up with all these SHTF scenarios and situations no one has ever though of (because he’s a thinker)

Cons:

  • he is unprepared
  • his lack of real-world experience might be harmful to those who take his advice, particularly when it comes to bushcraft and survival medicine

#10. The Economist

This type of prepper is usually focused on stockpiling precious metals. He’s always up to date with the currencies and the dynamics of World economy. The almost 20 trillion dollar debt of the U.S., is a huge motivator for the economist prepper, as they believe an economic collapse is very likely.

bunker

#11. The Doomsday Prepper

Although the Doomsday Prepper perspective has some validity, I believe those who speak all day long about how the world is about to collapse, and we’re all going to be ruled by militia in a world without modern conveniences, need to actually take action and start to prepare.

Pros:

  • very dedicated to their cause
  • they are prepped to the teeth

Cons:

  • Sometimes they get too fixated on one Doomsday scenario and they ignore the others. They only listen to arguments which confirm what they already believe and tend to ignore the other warning signs.
  • They end up spending too much money on preps and their spouse and kids might get upset (unless they are also on board with this)

organized tactical attack

#12. The Tactical Prepper

The tactical prepper is usually a veteran who sees the entire world from a tactical perspective. In a way, he sees prepping as an “us versus them” war, one that needs to be planned carefully if you want to win it.

Pros:

  • they have detailed topographic maps of their current as well as their bug-out location
  • guns and ammo
  • they know everything about staying low
  • they have very good OPSEC

Man with Bible

#13. The Religious Prepper

Some preppers are religious, others are not. I respect both beliefs as it’s not my place to judge anyone, other than maybe just to highlight a few of the things that make us different.

#14. The Gun Enthusiast

As you may have already guessed, the gun enthusiast has at least 3 guns plus several alternative survival weapons. He knows all about the gun grab and how all the guns can get confiscated in case of Martial Law. His mantra is that as long as he has a gun by his side, he’s covered.

Pros:

  • they’re very good with guns, obviously, as they’re typically doing regular target practice
  • they know where to get the cheapest ammo and have lots of it stashed away

Cons:

  • they tend to ignore all their other skills because they think they can get anything they need as long as they have a gun, which may not be the case
  • they spend too much time debating which gun is better when they could be doing something else to prepare (I know guns are also a hobby, I’m not trying to bash gun owners in any way)

family bugging out

#15. The Bug-Out Prepper

He believes, as the name suggests, that no matter what, he’s going to have to leave his primary home in the face of danger. He usually has a bug out location 50 to 100 miles of where he lives and at least one bug-out vehicle.

When disaster strikes, he’s not going to stick around. He’s going to run, and run fast rather than put his life in danger.

#16. The Bug-In Prepper

The bug in prepper is, obviously, the opposite of the bug out prepper. He believes in defending his turf and has taken the necessary steps to stay inside no matter what type of disaster.

Pros:

  • he has a pretty good stockpile
  • he has enough guns and ammo to withstand a home invasion

Cons:

  • he may not have a bug out location (well, some do, of course)
  • bugging out is his weak point

#17. The Fearful Prepper

Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be this type of prepper. While it’s good to always be on alert should something happen, this type of prepper allows his emotions to control him. He’s waking up every single day expecting something bad to happen and, although I know it’s possible, we all need to get a life and then enjoy it.

conspiracy theory eye pyramid

#18. The Conspiracy Theorist

This type of prepper is focused on the rich and the corporations who are keeping the rest of us in check with their laws and their money.

Each of the descriptions above is an extreme version. Do you recognize yourself in any of these descriptions? Are you a homesteader or a Doomsday prepper? If so, use it as a way to moderate your prepping behavior. Make sure you have a bug out plan or make sure you actually taking action and not just talking about what’s coming. Reflect carefully on the list of cons and take steps now to make sure you’ve adjusted for those circumstances.

So, which type are you? Let me know in a comment below.

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About Dan F. Sullivan

My dad was military. My grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But I don't like taking orders. I'm taking matters into my own hands so I'm not just preparing, I'm going to a friggin' war to provide you the best of the best survival and preparedness content out there.

14 comments

  1. Combination of
    4. The Average Prepper,
    5. The Survivalist, can be at home in woods if need be
    6. The Homesteader, also helps with fitness & conditioning
    7. The Self-Defense & Fitness Prepper
    9. The Know-It-All Prepper, know and practice MOST things, don’t know everything
    12. The Tactical Prepper
    15. The Bug-Out Prepper
    16. The Bug-In Prepper

    I make prepping part of my daily life, so it doesn’t really feel like prepping. But it helps me know I can provide for my family and take care of them. Above all we have fun whilst doing it. No fear, no paranoia, no stress.

  2. I’m #16 with a Bug Out location if we can get to it.

  3. I am a atheist introvert minimalist doomsday bugout survivalist prepper.b.o to Montana from wv when tshtf.headed to the mountains. With my colt 45 and my knives.backpack, first aid kit and some small dollar store items.all I need.

  4. I’m a “Doing it the best I can single mom prepper!” I don’t feel I fit into any of those categories.

    • I know the feeling. I am a 66 year old widow living with my son. I keep saying I don’t know what I am doing. I only hope when the time comes, that I got something right.

  5. I am a 68 y/o inform frightened woman who doesn’t want to believe but is more afraid of ALKIDA and terrorism but I don’t know what I’m doing I do a lot of canning and have some food and meds stocked and I have one asset I am a nurse with a lot of practical and ER experience.

  6. I am a mix of many of them. Prepping is a way of life, but I have been through all the stages. Your article reads like the 16 stages of prepping, like there is a 8 stages of grief. I think that we all start out as Sheeple and work our way through the others until we find our niche. When I was younger, I was a number 5, but I have morphed into many of the others, I went through the fear stage, the conspiracy theory stage, the homesteader stage, the Bug in stage, the Bug out stage and the Doomsday stage. Now I just figure, I am where I am and it’s going to have to do. I have a radio show that tries to share this stuff with others, and I have slowed my prepping down to maintenance. It’s time to help others get ready for whatever stage they deem necessary.

  7. I am a little of everyone . I am just waiting for something to happen . But if it don’t thats cool to .SOMETHING has to give ,good or bad , anything .There are to many takers in the US , 54% on some kind of governorment dole . That leaves 46% paying for them .Can’t stay like that for to long . The US has been kicking the can down the road for to long . People in every RACE hating each other . GOD said, he would not flood the earth again ,so what is it ? is it a E M P , Is it war to end all wars. I know TRUMPS NOT GOD BUT HE LOVES AMERICA ,OBAMA WILL BE OUT ,SO WE ALL HOPE and PRAY. Just remember we are at DEFCON LEVEL FIVE . GOD BLESS AMERICA .

  8. I’m wore out,just plain tired of try to do all of them so I want miss or screw up and forget sonething and it hurts my family that I didn’t do something right ,but will keep going. For all the new peppers and Americans to keep our history and country on top

  9. I am the living in the wilderness resting on my American comforts type thank you for the wake up call

  10. I am the type of prepper that will make sure my children survive even if i do not

  11. A BIT OF #4 AND #16 AND BITS OF PIECES OF OTHERS. HAVE BEEN TRYING TO PREP FOR 2 YRS. LIVE IN A RETIREMENT COMMUNITY, AND FINDING STORAGE IS A PROBLEM. BUT I BELIEVE WE CAN HANDLE IT. STILL HAVE A FEW THINGS TO GET. I PRINT MOST OF YOUR ARTICLES UP SO I CAN REFER TO THEM WHEN TTRYING TO SHOP. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

  12. The type of disaster is the trickiest thing to be prepared for and greatly dictates the type of prep. Of course, there are the basics: food, water, medical, shelter, defense. All these should be on hand for the 3-30 day “get by” survival. But much beyond that varies greatly.

    Look at hurricane Harvey. As I write this, it is 8 days in and local infrastructure has only begun to resume. I am 200 miles from that disaster on the 4th of July weekend and there are lines at the pumps (that even have gas) with gas prices rising by the minute. The stores have no fuel containers or plastic bins. Looks like bottled water will be next. I know this is for the short term and I am thankful for being outside the disaster zone, but this is clearly a ‘wake up call.”

    Back to the type of disaster – what about…
    Fukushima radiation? (slow-moving and potentially apocalyptic)
    Yellowstone eruption? (big bang then possibly also apocalyptic)
    North Korea or ISIS EMP (immediate chaos leading to the next two on the list)
    Economic Collapse (like the EMP, but slower moving)
    Civil Unrest (recent events suggest this could actually happen; possible war zone)
    Pandemic (a completely different type of disaster)
    War on US soil (a classic crisis never seen on the US mainland, but still a possibility)
    Niburu? (seriously? sounds like the EOTW some expected in Dec 2012, but people were freaked out anyway) Honestly, that is when I started prepping because even if the END did not come, people might get crazy anyway.

    All of these have different preps. Do you have sustainable electric power? Iodine tablets? Hazmat suits? Ammunition? Perishable medications?

    I look at it all, even the doomsday theories. The first step is knowledge and awareness. I feel that should help direct the next steps to personal prepping. And yes, community is also crucial. Know who to trust. Be safe.

  13. I am with Texan56, “The type of disaster is the trickiest thing to be prepared for and greatly dictates the type of prep. there are basics: food, water, medical, shelter, defense. All these should be on hand for the 3-30 day “get by” survival. But much beyond that varies greatly.” At the present moment, I identify as a Christian, but I am laid back, so I cautiously use #13-The Religious Prepper, I mean I am reading the article… but I mainly identify as a #6 – The Homesteader, I am looking at avenues to help make my home more sustainable, since we had such a harsh winter.

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