20 FAQs about Preppers | Plus Q&A in the Comments

by Tommy Grant

Preppers and prepping can look weird from an outsider’s perspective. There are plenty of misconceptions out there, but there are also some observations that are spot-on. The most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about preppers from online platforms like Google and Quora show that people stay curious about prepping. We rounded up the top question and answered them to the best of our ability.

If you don’t see the answer to your prepping or survival question in the FAQ, just leave your question in the comment section at the bottom of the page and we’ll be glad to chime in.

What is a prepper?

A prepper is someone who prepares in advance for emergencies, disasters, and other hardships in life. Preppers typically develop emergency plans, store extra resources like food and water, and develop useful skills that are even more valuable during emergencies. Preppers are everyday people who just happen to have taken an interest in having a more prepared future.

What are preppers preparing for?

Most preppers are not preparing for a specific event, but are instead preparing for any sort of calamity, whether it is personal or widespread. Preppers learn about specific disaster events so they are not caught off guard, but prepare in more general terms.

The full list of possible scenarios is endless, but here at TruePrepper, we’ve compiled a list of some of the highest risks in our prepper risk assessment.

Are preppers crazy? (or insane? or paranoid?)

No. Are some preppers crazy? Yes. There are subsets of preppers, such as doomsday preppers, that would be classified as overly paranoid to the point where their prepping activities are damaging to their lives, relationships, and sanity. Although these types of preppers are rare, they definitely have the spotlight thanks to media focus.

Most preppers are rational people just like you who keep a few extra supplies to weather emergencies and disasters. History and statistics, on the other hand, have shown us that it is crazy to not prepare for potential hardships in life.

Are preppers hoarders?

Some are, but the majority are not. According to the ADAA, “Hoarding is the persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value.” Hoarding would be a separate condition and does not describe most preppers. Hoarding is counter-productive to most prepping activities. Rodents and insects attracted from hoarding are very bad for food storage.

Most preppers are very organized, which is extremely difficult for a hoarder. Preppers may have more stuff than the average non-prepper, but they do not have difficulty getting rid of it- whether they use it, barter it, or discard it.

What is a doomsday prepper?

Doomsday preppers are hardcore fringe preppers who believe in specific doomsday events as a motivation for their prepping. The term was coined before the show, but Doomsday Preppers was a TV hit and spread the term to the mainstream.
While it made for great TV, it featured prepping as a niche hobby where people are fascinated with dubious doomsday events. Doomsday preppers, as a TV show and group, have damaged the public’s perception of prepping.

What do preppers never talk about?

Many preppers never talk about prepping. “Preppers don’t talk about prepping” may be a saying you have heard related to the idea of operational security. “The first rule of prepping… don’t talk about prepping” is another saying you can often hear and nod to the movie Fight Club. 

Many preppers choose not to share their preparedness levels outside of close circles, so they do not attract attention. There is some potential risk when you advertise that you are prepared for emergencies and disasters: it could profile you as a target for opportunists and even looters.

Why do preppers prep?

The biggest reason preppers prep is control. By preparing for emergencies and disasters, you maintain a greater level of control for your survival. The motivation for a ‘potential prepper’ to realize they want more control during bad times may include:
– Prior difficulty during disasters/emergencies
– A sense of responsibility for family and/or friends
– Compensating for personal limitations and risks
– Peace of mind for a complicated world
You can read about my own prepping motivation in my backstory.

Do preppers want the world to end?

People’s motivations and the road to start prepping can vary quite a bit. There are definitely preppers who embrace the idea of a world-changing event that would validate their preparedness, but they do not represent the majority of preppers.

The idea has always been to “prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” Most preppers are rational, quiet, risk-averse, and definitely do not wish for the world to end. Still, every family has that crazy uncle.

What do preppers stock up on?

Preppers create survival plans and kits that include food, water, and tools. The tools range from home security items to wilderness survival gear. It also includes common items like cleaning supplies and first aid supplies, as well as other things useful in an emergency, like batteries.

Why are preppers so paranoid?

Preppers seem paranoid for the same reason non-preppers seem normal. Complacency and societal reliance have shifted public view over the years. Keeping emergency supplies on hand used to be much more commonplace, and now what used to be common emergency preparedness has been pigeonholed as a prepping ‘niche’.
The scope of emergency preparedness has shifted, and not in the direction that makes humanity more prepared to survive emergencies and disasters.

Why do preppers hoard nickels?

Nickels have tangible weight and value, but not enough value to make them worth hoarding. Preppers who are hoarding coins for their metal value are following an older trend found on prepping forums from the early 2000s.

This subset of preppers believes that even if the money loses value, the underlying metal value will make the barterable. Keeping a ‘rainy day fund’ jar of coins is pretty commonplace, but trading money for bulk coins is not a good financial or preparedness strategy.

Why are preppers fat?

While many survival activities are very active (hunting, bushcraft, trapping, etc..), prepping itself is not. Prepping is an intellectual activity that doesn’t require much strength or stamina on its own. That said, many preppers understand the importance of being lean and in shape during an emergency or disaster. Some preppers incorporate fitness into their daily lifestyles and are in excellent physical health.

Preppers are normal, everyday people and the unfortunate truth is that normal, everyday people are overweight. Nearly 70% of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, so preppers are just a slice of the American demographic.

Are all preppers Republicans?

Definitely not. The prepping population is a diverse group from many backgrounds. For starters, prepping is a worldwide practice and not just present in the US. Preppers in America are liberal, conservative, and even apolitical.

What does every prepper need?

Everyone on the planet has needs that must be fulfilled to survive. Preppers use resources and skills to meet these needs during times of disaster or emergency. Developing a food storage plan and water storage plan is a solid common-sense goal.

What should I buy for prepping?

Essential items include:
– Water storage
– Food storage
– Shelter equipment
You can see the full list of suggested items in our survival kit guide, designed for both the beginning prepper and the expert.

What are prepper foods?

Preppers stockpile a wide range of foods including:
– Canned goods (store-bought or homemade)
– Dehydrated foods
– Freeze-dried foods
– Bulk dried food (beans, rice, lentils, etc)
– MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat)
– Food bars or rations for survival kits
You can see even more in our prepper pantry stockpile list.

What is the first rule of prepping?

The first rule of prepping is that you do not talk about prepping.

Of course, that’s a reference to the movie Fight Club and is meant to reinforce the concept of OPSEC (Operational Security), where you keep tight-lipped about your preparedness to prevent others from taking your stuff.
This is an older philosophy though, many modern preppers prefer preparedness groups, increasing their community preparedness, and approaching prepping casually.

What is the preppers rule of 3?

The prepper’s rule of 3 is similar to the survival rule of 3 but with even more rules in typical prepper fashion.
Preppers sometimes add a redundancy component to the rules, piggybacking off of the ‘two is one, one is none‘ adage with the idea that you should have 3 items in your survival kits to address each of your survival rule needs.

How many Americans are preppers?

20 million Americans are estimated to be self-identified preppers.

The number of Americans self-identifying as preppers is seeing massive growth lately according to several polls and the latest FEMA data on ‘prepared households’. The pandemic, global feeds of wars, and dystopian TV series have all increased awareness of potential risks. Since an estimated 3 million self-identified preppers in 2003, the number is closer to 20 million present day.

What is the first thing a prepper should do?

The first thing a prepper should do is completely free: make a plan.
When you create a basic emergency plan, you assess your risks and address the high-impact situations first (usually house fires, home intrusion, etc.) We guide you through the process so preparedness can be easy.

Many of the FAQ questions on preppers point to assumptions made by the public about the group as a whole. It is important to remember that preppers are a wide range of everyday people who have just taken an interest in having a more prepared future.

If you have a question that you feel belongs here, drop it in the comments below so we can address it. If you have a specific question for us or are just looking to pick our brains, contact us directly.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.


, reading, and welcome to the club.

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