Practical Prepper

Survivalist vs. Prepper: Key Differences



Survivalist vs. Prepper: Key Differences

When comparing a survivalist vs prepper, what is really the difference? Both terms are used synonymously sometimes, but it will be good for you to know that they are indeed different.

Survivalist vs Prepper: What Makes Them Different?

To the average person, Preppers and Survivalists may sound like the same kind of person: someone preparing to make it through a SHTF situation. But for those familiar with the nuances, the two are very different.

Survivalists are minimalists. They are well-trained and have honed their skills to be able to survive no matter where they find themselves.

Preppers take a stockpiling approach, preparing for the unknown by gathering and hoarding everything they could need until society reemerges or they have established a homestead.

Many survivalists prepare to live a simple but challenging life. Preppers are more intent on preserving their current way of life.


Survivalists | Survivalist vs. Prepper: Key Differences

A survivalist will, in general, have more skills and knowledge than a Prepper. They will know how to hunt, trap, and kill different animals, and have knowledge of edible plants.

A survivalist will have a few meaningful tools with them, many that have more than one use. The majority of their belongings will be able to fit in a pack on their back.

For Preppers, a Bug Out Bag or Get Home Bag is a means to an end – it is intended for use over only a few days until they reach home, or their Bug Out location.

For Survivalists, their backpack full of similar items is meant to give them everything they need for the future. Both will carry items like firearms, knives, firestarters, and water filters, but the survivalist will plan to rely on these items exclusively going forward.

A survivalist will not bother with creature comforts or items that boost morale; their focus will be solely on maintaining food, water, and shelter at the most basic level.


Preppers | Survivalist vs. Prepper: Key Differences

Preppers are less likely to be living a simple life off the land when SHTF. Instead, they will be relying on a heavily stocked pantry, bartering with items they’ve stored specifically for that purpose, harvesting a garden on land they live on permanently, and potentially raising livestock.

Preppers will not be striving for a transient life. Instead, they will be developing their land into a sustainable homestead while they make their way through everything they’ve stored until they reach self-sufficiency.

Because Preppers have so many of the items that other people will want, self-defense is a much bigger concern for Preppers than it is for Survivalists. They will often store more firearms and ammunition than survivalists.

Biggest Differences

Survivalists and Preppers are both determined and well-trained individuals who don’t require outside help to survive a major disaster. However, the differences between them are significant:

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  • A survivalist can live off the land.
  • A Prepper lives off their stockpile and homestead.
  • A survivalist does not require creature comforts.
  • A Prepper appreciates creature comforts and has planned for how to maintain them post-SHTF.

A survivalist is typically a singular person, responsible only for themselves. Anyone with them must be prepared to handle themselves, as well.

Preppers are often stockpiling for their entire family, which they plan to keep together – sometimes even pets.

Is One Superior?

Is One Superior? | Survivalist vs. Prepper: Key Differences

Ideally, you will be able to fend for yourself when needed, while still maintaining the comforts that make life enjoyable for you.

A blend of Survivalist and Prepper mentalities will mean that you know how to use the gear you’ve collected, but you will also benefit from the preparations you’ve made at your home or bug out location. There is no right answer on which is better, just which one suits you better.

What about you, are you a survivalist, prepper, or both? Let us know in the comments section!

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  1. Tim

    January 4, 2022 at 3:38 AM

    Respectfully disagree that survivalists have more skills than preppers. Canning, gardening, & construction require great skill developed over many years. Survivalists, by necessity, tend to imagine themselves living as lone wolves, without any dependents, which is precisely why I am not one.

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