10 Common Prepper Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction

10 Common Prepper Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction

From who preppers are to what they do and why – there are some wild and all-too-common misconceptions out there surrounding prepping. It’s time to set the record straight and separate fact from fiction. Below we’ll take a look at 10 of the most common myths about prepping and debunk them – because the real skinny on prepping looks a lot different than what a lot of negative and inaccurate prepping stereotypes paint.

Myth #1 – Preppers are Paranoid Conspiracy Theorists

Truth: Preppers aren’t paranoid, they’re proactive. Popular media (and imagination) has painted a picture of preppers as tinfoil hat wearing fringe lunatics, but this simply isn’t the case. In reality, preppers are ordinary people exercising common sense – prepping is a rational response to the unpredictable nature of life.

Myth #2 – Prepping is All About Doomsday

Truth: Preppers aren’t sitting around waiting for the end of the world, a zombie apocalypse, or a complete societal breakdown. They’re preparing for a variety of real-world situations like hurricanes, blizzards, power outages, economic downturns, and job loss.

Preppers embrace the mentality “better safe than sorry” and keep supplies on hand to see their family through tough times.

Myth # 3 – Preppers are All Armed to the Teeth 

Truth: While some – but not all – preppers do own firearms, it’s generally because they go hunting or want to be able defend themselves and family from predators if the situation arises.  Movies and TV often portray preppers as gun-toting extremists with an underground arsenal of weapons that could rival the military – but when it comes to real preppers, you’ll probably just find a shotgun or a hunting rifle.

Weapons can be a resource in an emergency, but preppers are more focused on stockpiling food and skills than munitions. 

Myth # 4 – Prepping is Too Expensive

Truth: Prepping can be done on a budget and it’s a good investment in your family’s safety. While it would be expensive if you suddenly decided you want three months’ worth of extra food and all the latest survival gear in one fell swoop, most people – preppers included – can’t afford that.

An emergency preparedness supply is built up slowly over time, and most preppers look for deals and buy items on sale and in bulk – like any savvy shopper would. The idea is to lay by as much as you can without breaking the bank.

Myth # 5 – Prepping Requires Living Off-Grid or in Remote Areas

Truth: Preppers come from all walks of life and all geographic areas. No, all preppers don’t live in Montana, and yes, some even live in the city. While many preppers do appreciate homesteading skills, the fact is, no one is immune to emergencies, and you’ll find preppers in every town, city, state, country, and location you can imagine.

Lumped in with this common misconception is that prepping means abandoning technology. The opposite is true – preppers often seek out technology, like generators and solar power banks, to help them be better prepared.

Myth # 6 – Preppers are Hoarders

Truth: Prepping isn’t about hoarding everything in sight, it’s about planning ahead and having a “rainy day fund” of resources and supplies in case you need to weather an emergency.

So the tiny grain of truth to this one is that preppers do store long-term supplies and strive to be prepared with a stockpile of essentials to survive any situation, but they’re not hoarders – they’re responsible individuals who want to make sure their families have what they need in times of crisis.

Myth # 7 Preppers are Anti-Government Nut-Jobs

Truth: Preppers value self-reliance and recognize that sometimes governments can be slow to respond in times of emergency, so they take it upon themselves to be ready with the supplies needed to keep their families safe. The media portrayal of preppers as anti-government radicals is simply untrue. In fact, some preppers work for or with the government to better prepare their communities for emergencies.

Myth # 8 – Preppers are Anti-Social

Truth: Many preppers form tight-knit networks with other preppers, are civic-minded, and actively engaged in their communities. The negative stereotype of preppers as lone wolf Unabomber types couldn’t be farther from the truth. They value family and community and like to share their knowledge with others.

Myth # 9 – Prepping is Only for Survivalists

Truth: Preppers come from a wide range of backgrounds and all walks of life. They’re simply ordinary folks who want to be prepared for a potential emergency. While some preppers do cultivate survival skills and appreciate outdoor activities, most are not Bear Grylls or bushcraft experts that are ready to go live alone in the wilderness.

Myth # 10 – Preppers HOPE Something Bad Will Happen

Truth: Prepping is about preparing for the worst, not wishing for it. Preppers would prefer that life remain safe and comfortable, but don’t want to be caught off-guard in an emergency – so they prepare for the worst while still hoping for the best.

The idea that preppers WANT something bad to happen is misguided. It’s actually a practical – and positive – mindset driven by care and the desire to preserve wellbeing and prevent a worst-case scenario.

Preparing for the Future: A Positive and Proactive Pursuit

All too often, preppers get a bad rap and are associated with negative stereotypes that are completely off base. The fact is, they’re just regular people who care about self-reliance and their family’s ability to survive a crisis – and they’re willing to work and plan for it. As such, “prepping” is a positive and proactive undertaking that should be applauded.

By debunking some of the most common myths surrounding prepping and shining a light on what the prepping lifestyle really is, we hope to give preppers an opportunity to feel proud of this important and beneficial practice.

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When I was growing up, the one thing that you could always count on was that every three years, when the union contract expired that my parents were in, there was going to be a strike. The only thing we didn’t know was how long they would be out of work. We started preparing ahead of time by stocking up on non-perishable items, such as canned goods. We stocked up on cheap meat, (hamburger), and poultry, (chicken), foods that could be frozen easily. We always had a vegetable garden so we always had some fresh vegetables. We stocked up on powdered milk because it went further and was cheaper than fresh milk. My paternal grandfather was a farmer and rancher and we used to buy pork and beef from him. My maternal grandfather was a meat cutter so he would butcher the animals, taking a portion of the meat for him and grandma. The point is that we prepared for what we knew was coming as well as being prepared for an unexpected event. Emergency food and survival items have come a long way since I was a kid. I have over a years worth of food on hand and it only takes up a small corner in one room. Growing up, a years worth of food would have filled the entire room and then some. There is survival gear that is easily accessible and available that wasn’t around when I was a kid. Emergency sleeping bags and tents the size of pop cans and emergency blankets smaller than a deck of cards. The gear is lighter and more compact than it used to be. I have a good amount of gear stashed in about a half dozen totes. I have gear and food in all my vehicles. There are multiple companies selling survival food and gear. You don’t have to make a huge purchase all at once. Start small and build up your supplies. When it comes to your gear, make sure you have multiples of items. Have multiple ways to start a fire or cook food. The old adage “Two is one and one is none” isn’t far from the truth. Make sure you have enough for everyone in your household. If you’ve never had a garden before, start one. If you don’t think you have the room try container gardening. Learn to can foods. Read books about survival and learn all you can. People have called me a whacko and nuts for being prepared I am. That’s okay with me. I know that the real whackos are those that expect the government to take care of them in an emergency. Remember, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. I had to leave the Boys Scouts organization in third grade. That was many, many years ago. Their motto then, and I believe it still is, “Be prepared”. It’s a good motto and it still applies today.

Kenneth Clark

My parents were well aware that times could get tough and they always had a couple of months of food stored. When the 5 gallon bucket of flour or rice was half empty it was time to go shopping. We grew up working in the garden growing tomatoes, peppers ( bell, jalapeños, green chili), green beans, cucumbers, okra, and whatever else Mom wanted to try. When we went to the butcher to pick up the beef we took in he gave Mom as many knuckles as he had. Sometime in the next week the big stock pot was brought out and we helped Mom boil down those knuckles and turn them into pure liquid gold. We then canned the stock. The butcher was always given a couple 2 quart jars. My sisters and I learned to hunt and fish and how to clean and preserve the meat. I remember winter storms that closed the highway for days at a time. The shelves at the store were getting empty and we would have travelers filling every hotel room and several times when there was no room left we’d take in a family. The only reason we didn’t go hungry, and had extra to help anyone in need, was because we stockpiled supplies.
As someone mentioned in another comment, the audience for this thread is already working to prepare for a time of need. If you’re willing to spend a little time, set up a self reliance fair. Contact your local NWS office about having a presentation on the local weather, or get ahold of the local TV weather person. Have it at your church, have several tables set up and have different skills presented, like canning, alternative power sources, Ham radio, the choices are endless. Have a blood drive at the same time. The local Red Cross chapter always needs help. Contact the County Extension Service they will come put on a gardening lecture. Have the State Employment department come out with job openings. Use your imagination on who can help draw people to the event and provide a learning experience.
All of these events will draw people that think we’re crazy tinfoil hat wearing menace’s to society. Show them that we are just trying to protect and provide for our families.

Richard Smith

Good blog. One person above said that it’s kind of like preaching to the choir, but we can use these comments to share with others to help support our arguments. 😊

Patricia Taylor

It’s funny. 50 – 75 years ago the term “prepper” didn’t exist. The the people honing the skill sets, attitudes and basic lifestyles discussed in your post were simply known as “Farmers”. They had to be self sufficient and possess a multitude of skills, I.E. agriculture, animal husbandry, blacksmith (now welder and machinist) , plumber, painter, tool maker, food preservation and on and on. What we call prepping today back then they simply called “life”. All this and they still went to church to pray on Sunday. Thanks for pulling the curtain back on those “scary preppers” in order to show a group of folks who are prepared to help their families and community through any crisis.


This is a very nice article, but it’s kind of like the phrase “preaching to the choir”. If it is only read by people who see this blog, it does little to educate the ones who REALLY ought to be seeing it. I suspect less than 2 out of 100 people who see this are not already with at least the beginnings of the right mindset.
Some folks that ought to see it are the ones like my in-laws, who may have a few extra canned goods and a flashlight (or two), but don’t really believe in going much farther, and even go as far as mocking me for having 4 or more gas cans filled, etc.
Don’t stop writing these things tho, there ARE occasionally “newbies” who can learn from and share this and other helpful informative discussions.


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