The Case For The Lifestyle Prepper

As a rural boy living in the big city, I truly do not understand the lack of preparedness of my friends and neighbors.

 These are the blogs related to the one you are about to read:

Doomsday Preppers are Socially Selfish (posted 11/29)

Doomsday Preppers vs Disaster Preppers (posted 12/2)

Doomsday Preppers: Mea Culpa (posted 12/4)

OK, I get it. Preppers Are Not Selfish. I was wrong.  I apologize.  (posted 12/6)

Merging Preppers with Emergency Management (posted 12/11)

A Short Note From A New Prepper (posted 12/13)


NOTE: Last week, I wrote a blog about Doomsday Preppers that resulting in an overwhelming number of unfavorable – and ultimately instructive – comments. I apologized and then offered space for preppers to respond.  The first one was from the prepper who’d help me alter my opinions about what I had written.  Here follows another, this one from a prepper with a rural, farming background.


Over the past several days I have been watching your series of blogs and reader responses on the subject of prepping.

I am NOT an obsessed prepper. I have no bunker excavated in my backyard and I do not have six months of food stashed away in a shipping container 100 miles from home.

I am NOT a dedicated prepper. I have no training or specialized education that would be suitable for community support during a genuine disaster.

I consider myself a “lifestyle prepper,” for lack of any other definition. I was trained as a child to be ready for unforeseen circumstances simply by living my young life.

I was raised in rural Iowa during the 60s Cold War era.  I remember “Duck and Cover.” I remember fallout shelters and Civil Defense bunkers in public buildings throughout my community.  As a child, living within a 10 mile radius of a nuclear power plant meant annual drills by the community for an emergency evacuation.

I remember the approach of winter meant topping off the fuel oil and bringing in wood. Winter meant doubling the pantry in case you were snowed in. Winter meant preparing a kit for the car to dig yourself out or hunker down and await help. You knew how to thaw snow on the engine of a car and make fire from the spark of two battery cables.

Spring meant preparing for floods and having sandbags at the ready as the rivers always threatened to flood. Spring also meant preparing for tornadoes. To have a prepared corner in the basement with food, water, light, heat, sanitation & a radio was a standing consideration.

After a lifetime of conversation with friends and family who remain in my home state of Iowa as well as friends and family in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Nebraska, I am pleased to know the rural lifestyle remains largely unchanged since I left 25 years ago.  For every annual disaster this population endures, they will recover.

A former rural boy, I am now a big city man in my 50s living far and away from my childhood home. I have a pantry stocked with about 6 weeks worth of food which costs less per unit since I buy much in bulk. I do this because it is economical, not because the world is coming to an end . I can  live off the land if necessary, not because I could create a fortress in the woods but because I enjoy camping and have a practical understanding of how to do it.

I do not expect my big city friends and neighbors to comprehend the depth of what it is to survive a disaster in the absence of ever experiencing it. I do not expect my big city friends and neighbors to help in the emergency birth of a child if they have never witnessed the birth of a calf. I would not expect my big city friends and neighbors to even consider draining their home water lines after a city boil water order. In virtually any disaster, lifestyle preppers are the ones the unprepared ask the question "what do I do now.”

The preppers I see on television who make the news are, in my opinion, frightened urbanites scrounging for a sense of security in an unsecure world.  In the absence of life experiences, they are sheltered from the practicalities of life and, as a result, are not capable of considering emergency situations absent a support structure.  They prepare contingencies (big guns against looters, hoard & defend) against what they see as a threat because of their urban living.  In an “end-of-the-world” disaster, the commercial preppers are merely a line of defense for lifestyle preppers who know how to live within nature's circle of life.

Life is a risk in its mere existence. Personally, I just do not understand how people move through life without an awareness of their environments and risks and a plan to overcome adversity.