The 10 Best Prepper Conventions and Survival Expos

by Tommy Grant

Prepper conventions and survival expos have seen a shift over the last several years. You won’t find many that follow the same framework as the enduring gun and knife shows. This is probably due to profit, as we’ve seen many in the convention-center expo format disappear over the years. Lately, the successful preparedness gatherings are either community-driven, operate similarly to a survival school- or both!

If you’ve been meaning to go get out in the prepper community, learn more with hands-on classes about specific topics, or just want to get out and about- these are the most popular events slated for this coming year.

Contents (Jump to a Section)

Why go to a Survival Expo?

There are unlimited reasons to go to a convention or expo, but one of the biggest is the people.

Plenty of preppers make new friends and enjoy learning new skills from masters in their craft. Others catch up with old buddies and learn new ideas.

While prepping is growing larger and more mainstream than ever, prepping conventions reflect this change with people-centric activities, practical preparedness, and celebrations of community.

Below, we list out the top 10 prepper gatherings in order of popularity, and when we’ve traveled to more in the future we’ll add some editor’s picks.

10. Minnesota Prepper Expo

Little Falls, Minnesota

June 28-30, 2024

Previous rank = N/A

A good blend of general preparedness gear puts Prep Boxes on the map and on our list.

Held at the Morrison County Fairgrounds each year, this family-friendly event covers an enormous range of topics, including zombie survival as their logo hints at.

It’s not all fun and games though- practical preparedness is everywhere. They even have Jim Cobb on tap as a speaker, best known for his survival guides and being the editor-in-chief for several top survival magazines.

9. READY Long Beach

Long Beach, California

September 2024

Previous rank = N/A

When Emergency Management agencies do it right, you get a great blend of entertainment and information.

The Long Beach Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) puts on this expo each year, and kudos to them since CERT teams stay busy even when they aren’t planning expos. While we’re talking about CERT, if you are unfamiliar with it- you should at least know what it is. Beyond that, consider joining your local CERT chapter to give back to your community.

It’s one of the longer-running expos on our list, showing the strength of the community. Their focus on household preparedness and practical prepping benefits a huge audience each year and is entertaining to boot.

8. Homesteading & Prepping Summit

Elkton, Florida

April 27-28, 2024

Previous rank = N/A

A modest group of speakers give this summit a personal touch on a wide range of homesteading topics.

With classes ranging from CBRN planning and defense to Korean Natural Farming (KNF), this is one of the most varied expos you can find.

Fittingly, it’s based in Florida where you can find pretty much any idea coming to life. While it’s not the biggest expo (yet), it definitely is one of the most interesting with a huge variety of topics.

7. Bushcraft, Homestead & Survival Expo

Hindman, Kentucky

March 15-17, 2024

Previous rank = N/A

The Knott County Sportsplex is the home of reconnecting with nature, self-reliance, and thriving off-grid.

Run by a well-known gun/knife show outfit in Hindman, this expo focuses on wilderness survival and does a pretty good job at it.

Kentucky has plenty of gun & knife shows, so it’s nice that you can swing by this one locally for something a bit different.

6. Homesteading & Preparedness Festival

Bowling Green, Kentucky

TBD 2024

Previous rank = N/A

An annual festival in Western Kentucky that celebrates agricultural preparedness and more!

Workshops and exhibits are the name of the game at this festival, with plenty to learn at all levels. These include niche topics like:

  • Hydroponics
  • Fruit tree permaculture
  • Soil health with biochar
  • Grazing management
  • Homestead medicine

Homesteaders will definitely want to check this festival out, and any prepper can stand to learn a few things as well.

5. Be Prepared Expo

Farmington, Utah

TBD 2024

Previous rank = N/A

Prepping is front and center at this Expo covers everything from disaster prepping to zombie response vehicles.

No expo leans into prepping quite like the Be Prepared Expo out in Utah. They jam the Legacy Event Center full of everything remotely related to prepping and make it an experience.

They have some great giveaways, always have a full roster of speakers and classes, and relevant vendors showing off the latest gear.

Ron of Atlas Survival Shelters often makes appearances here, and has plenty to say about his experience:

4. Great Lakes Emergency Preparedness Expo

Imlay City, Michigan

TBD 2024

Previous rank = N/A

This expo straddles the line of Emergency Management and individual survival skills to make and entertaining show.

A true expo held at the state fairgrounds, the Great Lakes Emergency Preparedness Expo incorporates plenty of prepping but also has emergency vehicles out in full force. They show off the rescue choppers, the US Coast Guard vehicles, fire engines (great for the kids), and more! Down the lane, you’ll see tiny homes, solar, and amateur radio set up.

With a broad spectrum of preparedness, ranging from preparedness agencies to individual wilderness survival skill courses, this expo can meet many people’s interests.

Kaz has an old, but still relevant review:

3. Self-Reliance Festival

Camden, Tennessee

April 6-7 and October 5-6 2024

Previous rank = N/A

This festival has been steadily growing every year with a huge host of speakers and a wide range of topics.

Learn and discuss everything from blacksmithing to defense dogs to family cows at this large-scale festival that is doubling up with events in the spring and fall each year.

Special Operations Equipment is gracious enough to host and sponsor the event at/around their factory site, so they have plenty of room and great accommodations.

2. The Bushcraft Show

Lutterworth, UK

May 25-27 2024

Previous rank = N/A

Across the pond in England, they throw one hell of a bushcraft bash each year.

Related to the UK-exclusive Bushcraft Magazine, their show caters to their readers’ love of the outdoors and resourcefulness. It still has an international attendance, drawing in plenty of Scandinavians who are known to adore bushcraft and survival.

Bjorn (from Norway) shows off his experience at the Brit show:

1. Prepper Camp

Saluda, North Carolina

TBD 2024

Previous rank = N/A

Celebrating their 11-year anniversary, Prepper Camp has proven to be able to endure the test of time.

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Saluda is a small town of less than a thousand in North Carolina. It’s one of those towns that’s actually getting smaller as decades go by, but Prepper Camp brings some hope.

The organizers over at Prepper Camp are overdue for their props. It is a well-oiled machine at this point, with events running smoothly, big-name speakers, and attendees from all over the US and world.

We might be partial since Saluda is only three hours away (and almost all of us are from North Carolina)- but the rankings don’t lie: Prepper Camp is now the most-recognized convention, expo, festival, or camp dealing with preparedness, homesteading, or survival.

This dad and his family show some great aerial views and log their journey from several years back:

Honorable Mention Conventions & Expos

These survival expos and prepper conventions didn’t quite make the top 10 or are no longer having events. Still, they are worth getting down to let people know we considered them in the ranking and to see what happened to an old favorite.

These expos and conferences are solid, but just didn’t have the recognition to hit our top 10. Don’t let that deter you from checking one out if you live close:

Shows, conventions, expos, and festivals don’t last forever. Here are a few you may recognize that are no longer being scheduled:

  • Dallas Preparedness Expo – Since 2016, this expo has been missing. There are plenty of county and regional preparedness fairs in Texas, but nothing quite this big.
  • Prepper Festival – This festival out of New Castle, Virginia ran for 4 years before evaporating in 2017.
  • National Preppers & Survivalists Expo – Since 2017, we haven’t seen this return to Jacksonville, Florida.
  • PrepperCon – After a massive show in 2018, it evaporated. If anyone has the story on why the biggest prepper convention mysteriously vanished, we’re all ears.
  • The Survival, Gun, and Outdoor Show – Run by a big gun show conglomerate, this show that used to appear in Rock Island, Illinois has been defunct since 2019.
  • Greater Chicagoland Survival and Green Living Expo – Chicago has been missing since 2019. It was held by RK Shows, who still travel around and run gun shows.
  • Self-Reliance Expo – There used to be a show in Texas and Knoxville each year, but the last ones held were sadly in 2022.

The Final Word

There are plenty of prepping expos and survival shows to get out and explore, even if a few are in the history books. We’re all for the changing look with a focus on skills, community, and discussion rather than just ‘tactical stuff’.

Here are some other guides our subscribers have found helpful:

If you have any favorite gatherings that we may have missed or chose not to rank, weigh in below in the comment section. We’ll take the time to review it before our next roundup and see where it stacks up.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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