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Preppers tend to have a reputation for being crazy, doomsday, paranoid people who believe the world is going to end in a fiery blaze with chaos all around. While there are certainly many people who believe that type of scenario will happen soon, that’s not exactly at the heart of what preppers are about.

Most preppers aren’t worried about the ‘zombie apocalypse’ or the end of the world according to Biblical prophecy. The majority of preppers are normal, average individuals who believe in being prepared for unexpected natural disasters, war, famine, economic crashes, extended power failures, and other possible scenarios.

What does it mean to be a ‘prepper?’

When you think of preppers, you might picture people who hoard medical supplies and food, burying it by the ton in the backyard, or stashing it in their underground bunkers. There are people who hoard supplies, but preppers aren’t hoarders.

A hoarder is someone who collects and saves items of no value, like trash, old magazines, boxes, and broken items. A prepper is someone who collects useful items in order to have them when they are needed. Most of the time, preppers collect items not just for themselves, but for others around them as well.

Many preppers do stash some more obscure items, like gas masks and hazmat suits, but these items aren’t as obscure as they seem. For example, a hazmat suit would come in handy in times of war when chemical agents are used. Also, hazmat suits are ideal when entering a building full of asbestos.

Preppers believe in self-reliance

Prepping is about self-reliance first and foremost. It’s about having what you need for situations that may make it difficult or impossible to get what you need. If you’ve never been in a major situation where you were unprepared, you’re lucky. That’s not the case for many people across the world.

For example, imagine experiencing a prolonged power outage caused by a major storm and not being able to cook. You have food, but it all requires boiling or heating to eat. Imagine being stuck eating protein bars and dry cereal for a couple weeks while the power is restored.

Two doors down, your prepper neighbor is living life as normal, cooking real meals like spaghetti and mac and cheese outside on a rocket stove. Your prepper neighbor made sure they would be completely self-sufficient in this type of disaster, and their choice paid off well.

Some preppers take things too far

While prepping is about being self-reliant, there are people who take things too far. Although, in their mind, it’s not too far at all. These are the people who literally spend every waking moment preparing for a doomsday scenario, year after year, spending all their money on supplies and dropping out of society.

If you’re going to spend your entire life preparing for a doomsday scenario, you’re going to miss out on living life, so what’s the point in surviving doomsday? It doesn’t make sense, but there are people who become consumed with preparedness in this way.

Sensible prepping is simple, yet detailed

There are sensible preppers in the world, and not everyone goes overboard. Sensible prepping is about creating a stash of useful supplies for yourself, your family, and your community. However, sensible prepping is also strategic, since the items you stash matter.

For instance, it’s important to carry certain items in your car so you don’t have to suffer if you get stranded somewhere. You might not think getting stuck on the road could be such a big deal, but there have been historical snowstorms that stopped traffic for miles, leaving people stranded in the snow with no way to keep warm. Many people have frozen to death this way.

In a major snowstorm that hits unexpectedly, you won’t get rescued by a tow truck and it could be too late before any kind of help arrives. In the meantime, you’ll wish you had food, water, warmth, and medicine if you rely on prescriptions.

You don’t need to become a prepper to be prepared

It’s wise to be prepared for potential emergencies like earthquakes, storms, hurricanes, and power outages. Even if all you do is gather a few weeks’ worth of food, water, and supplies for cooking without power, that’s a good start. Ideally, stash at least a few months’ worth of food for every person in your home since you’ll most likely be sharing it with other people.

Either way, you don’t need to become a prepper to be prepared for emergency situations. Preparedness is a wise choice for everyone – prepper or not.