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Prepping Mindset

Thursday, 31 May 2012 04:10 Written by 

One of the first stages of prepping involves identifying your Prepper Mindset. While your mindset will evolve over time, you still need a starting point. This becomes imperative when determining if you will be a lone wolf or part of a group, how large of a group you decide to be associated with and the group's foundation, and how you will deal with confrontation. Your post disaster plan will also evolve over time, which will impact your family members and others you decide to associate with. This article discusses what I feel are the key elements of the Prepper's Mindset, and can be used to screen potential group applicants. 

Getting Started

Prepper Mindset

As I sat down and started writing this article, I immediately paused. Was it writer’s block? Not really. After sitting a few minutes with my hands on the keyboard, I came to the conclusion that this is a complex topic to discuss. To help me keep my sanity, I “Googled” several key words to see if I was off base, and realized it really depended on how I wanted to tackle this subject. So instead of generalizing, I decided to separate these areas into five different categories. These categories makes up what I call the Prepper Mindset. If you think about it, an individual does not fit into one distinct classification. So, here comes my take on the different types of preppers, and some considerations you should think about.


The mentality category identifies the overall outlook on prepping, a prepper’s core beliefs, and how an individual or group is to deal with confrontation during a disaster.

    1. Peaceful – Believes that a peaceful approach is the best. Peaceful preppers do not believe in the use of weapons as a means to conflict resolution, but may resort to violence in extreme cases. Generally, peaceful preppers may be sympathetic to individuals that did not prepare, and believe in rebuilding their local community post disaster. Peaceful preppers should be concerned with personal security, but can combat threats by fortifying their location.
    2. Rawlesian – Takes a peaceful approach unless threatened. Rawlesian preppers will resort to violence if deemed necessary, without hesitation. They believe remote retreat locations are the best, and religious values are important. Rawlesian preppers have moderate to large supplies of fuel, silver/gold, and weapons and ammunition. Rawlesian preppers believe in establishing a small community post disaster, and then expand their influence to improve conditions for others. Generally, Rawlesian preppers are Constitutionalists.
    3. Religious – Prepping originates from religious beliefs, such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Violence may be used, but this depends on each individual.
    4. Political / Extremist – Motivated by political and/or extremist views. It is impossible to identify these groups due to their differing nature.
    5. Everyday - Average citizen that preps to ensure his/her family can survive a disaster. 
    6. Fad – Let’s be honest, you watched a T.V. show, movie, or the news and you are now a “Prepper”. You will eventually fall into one of the above mentality groups, if you take prepping seriously.



The duration category identifies the time period individuals believe the disaster will last. This category reveals how an individual views the current state of affairs, and may also identify what they are preparing for.

    1. Short Term – Prepares for short term events, which can last for up to a month. The short term duration is the category most individuals will fall in, especially when getting started prepping. Short term preppers usually only prepares for isolated events, such as a storm.
    2. Intermediate – Prepares for extended events, which can last up to 6 months. Preppers that fall within the intermediate category believe the situation will eventually rebound, but want to have enough food and supplies stored for an extended period of time. Finances may have an impact on the individual, so they set the intermediate category as their primary duration.
    3. Long Term – Prepares for extended events, which can last 6 months or more, and have enough supplies on hand to sustain a total grid down event. Preppers that prepare for the long term usually have a plan to grow food and/or raise livestock, may have a retreat location, and are usually networked with other individuals.



The areas category describes where an individual has their primary residence, and the different considerations to think about. The area category generally leads into the Bug In or Bug Out plan category.

    1. Urban/Suburban – Heavily populated area, consisting of cities or closely connect towns. Urban/Suburban areas are most likely to be affected during a grid down situation. Mass people equal more problems. Urbanites/Suburbanites are generally reliant on an extensive support structure, since most land is designed for residential and business use. Home gardens are not likely to support a family’s needs during a survival situation. It is nearly impossible to defend a residential area in an urban area. Depending on your outlook and financial situation, individuals that live in urban areas will usually leave their home in times of disaster.
    2. Small Town - Small towns consist of populated areas, with 20,000 individuals or less. To qualify as a small town, the town should be located a minimum of 10-15 miles from a major population center. Small towns that are not connected to larger utility networks, will usually have their own utility network. This network could remain on the grid for a short time period during a natural disaster or collapse. While people in small towns are likely to live close to other individuals, properties are generally larger when compared to urban/suburban areas. The larger properties could support a family's needs during a survival situation. If a grid down situation were to occur, individuals from larger population densities will likely travel to small towns first. This could cause over crowding and the rapid consumption of available resources. 
    3. Countryside – Located in close proximity (20 miles) of a densely populated area. Individuals that live in the countryside may have gardens and/or livestock. Individuals that reside in the countryside may have the acreage to support a family’s needs. Depending on the land distribution, individuals that live in this area may not live close to other individuals, which increase the odds of defending their property. Individuals that reside in the countryside generally plan to stay at their residence during times of disaster.
    4. Remote/Isolate – Located more than 20 miles away from a densely populated area. Generally follows the countryside, but may also allow more freedom to use their property (training, hunting, etc.).
    5. Retreat – Hopefully located in an isolated area, with the ability to sustain life in a grid down situation. The retreat location usually contains pre-positioned supplies, or a structure that is well stocked with survival items. Some individuals may already reside at their retreat location. If they do not live at their retreat, these individuals will likely flee to this location at the first sign of trouble.



The organization, or group category, identifies the support structure an individual plans on having during a grid down situation. While more people increase the chances of survival, there may also be conflicting views and objectives within a large group of people.

    1. Lone Wolf – Is an individual that decides to survive on their own, without the immediate support of others. The lone wolf can go undetected, and will be seen as less of a threat if they come in contact with other individuals. The lone wolf is susceptible to external threats due to the lack of security while sleeping.
    2. Immediate Family Group – Restricts their group size to their immediate family members (spouse, children, pets). Depending on the size and age of the immediate family members, this group may have the resources to conduct proper security procedures. If the family is small, and consists of young children or older individuals, they may be restricted in multiple areas to include security, personal defense, heavy labor, and traveling long distances on foot.
    3. Extended Family Group – Generally follows the immediate family group, but includes more individuals. Extended family may improve a group’s chance of survival, but may also limit more independent members of a group. An example of this is: Bob (age 40), has two sons (ages 17 and 18). Bob’s immediate family is able to travel great distances on foot and each family member is able to carry their own supplies. In contrast, Bob’s sister Mary has two children (ages 3 and 18 months). Mary and her children are likely to slow Bob and his boys down, if they had to rapidly leave an area on foot. While Mary’s situation is improved, Bob’s is not.
    4. Mixed Group – Consists of multiple individuals and/or families. Responsibilities can be evenly distributed amongst group members. Security is usually improved and pre-disaster planning, training, and fellowship can be conducted. Leadership may be an issue, if not properly established before a grid down situation. While you would think you can count on members of the group, you cannot rely on them 100%. Additionally the Bob/Mary example still applies. 



The plan category identifies whether an individual plans to stay at their residence or leave their residence during a survival situation. If you are part of a group, keep in mind that members of your group may not want to leave their home at the agreed upon trigger or event. This can cause consolidation of resources and security issues, as well as restricting the amount of supplies and resources your group has planned for.

    1. Bug In – An individual that plans to stay at their house. Depending on your area, this may not be a bad idea. If you live in an urban/suburban area, closely monitor the situation, and leave the area post disaster if you feel it is no longer safe. Keep in mind that you may not be able to evacuate your area in a vehicle.
    2. Bug Out – There are many Bug Out options, to include a family property, National Parks, Federal Lands, and State Lands or Parks. Keep in mind if you choose a National Park, Federal lands, or state properties, these are may be under tight control by the respected authorities, and are likely to be part of other individuals Bug Out plan. Try to find remote areas, that can be defended.
    3. Retreat – An individual or group of individuals that have a retreat location, which may have pre-positioned supplies. This location should be defendable, and in a remote/isolated area.



This is my take on the Prepper’s Mindset. Sure, there are more categories I could have listed. If you feel it needs to be modified, leave me a comment. If you are a new prepper, hopefully this article will help you identify your mindset. If you are a veteran prepper, let me know if I am off base. If you are a group leader, use this guide as a means to screen applicants. Hopefully, it can aid in selecting individuals that fit your mindset. Be Prepared. Get Connected. 

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Last modified on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 18:05
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