Prepper Lingo: Terms, Slang, and Acronyms from A-Z

Prepper Lingo: Terms, Slang, and Acronyms from A-Z

Do you speak prepper? If you're new to the prepping world or just beginning to explore the topic, you may quickly find that preppers have their own unique vocabulary. From BOB (Bug-Out Bag) to TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It), preppers have a range of slang terms, useful phrases, and acronyms that can seem like a foreign language to the uninitiated.

However, understanding prepper lingo can be helpful for identifying potential emergency situations and communicating effectively with other preppers. In fact, prepping acronyms can be useful shorthand when time is of the essence in an emergency. In this post, we'll go through prepping terms, slangs, and acronyms from A to Z so that you can become fluent in prepper vocab.

Prepper’s Pocket Dictionary:

2A – The second amendment.

550 CordParacord type III, a type of nylon cordage, with a tensile strength of 550 pounds.

72-hr kit – A pre-packed collection of essential gear and food built to help you survive for 3 days.

ATV – All-terrain vehicle.

Bugging In – Staying put and hunkering down inside your home during a potential threat or emergency.

Bugging Out – Leaving or evacuating in a hurry and heading to safer ground when there’s a survival threat in your current location.

Bug Out Bag (BOB) – A packed and ready-to-go bag filled with essential survival items that you can quickly grab in case you need to evacuate or get out of dodge in a hurry.

Bug Out Location (BOL) – A place where a prepper plans to go, such as a rural cabin or other secure location, that they’ve stocked with supplies in case of an emergency or threat to their primary residence.

Bug Out Vehicle (BOV) – A means of transportation, be it your daily ride or a rigged out 4x4 truck, that’s prepped with supplies and ready for you to quickly evacuate to a safer location during a disaster or emergency.

Bushcraft – The art of learning and using skills to survive in the wild. Some examples include fire building, shelter building, foraging for wild edibles, knot-tying, water sourcing and purification, navigation, hunting and trapping, and camp cooking.

Cache – A prepper’s stash or stockpile of food and other survival items.

CBRN – Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear: Refers to types of toxic hazards and events that preppers may need to protect themselves against in a disaster scenario.

CME – Coronal Mass Ejection: A massive burst of solar wind and magnetic fields that can cause widespread disruption to electronic systems and infrastructure. (see: EMP below).

Doomsday Prepper – A prepper who believes the end of world is fast-approaching.

EDC – Everyday Carry: Refers to the items a prepper carries with them on a daily basis, like a pocketknife, flashlight, and lighter, that could get them out of a jam and be useful in a survival situation.

ELE – Extinction Level Event. The worst of the worst survival threats that spell disaster for the whole planet. Think: asteroid impact, super volcano eruption, massive solar flares, or all out nuclear war.

EMPElectromagnetic Pulse: A burst of electromagnetic radiation that could potentially damage and disable any and all electronic devices and infrastructure. Largescale threats include natural occurrences, like solar flares, and man-made weapons, like a nuclear bomb detonated high in the atmosphere.

Faraday Cage/ Bag – A shielding device made of aluminum foil, copper wire mesh, or other conductive materials that blocks out electromagnetic radiation and protects the electronics inside from EMP damage.

FIFO – First in First Out: The practice of rotating the food you have stored, using items in order of their expiration dates, and replacing them as needed.

Food Insurance – The long-term food stores your family has set aside.

Genny – Nickname for a generator.

GHB – Get Home Bag: Similar to a bug out bag but designed to help someone get home in case an emergency or disaster strikes while they’re at work or on the road.

Go Bag – Another name for bug out bag.

– Get Out of Dodge: To leave a dangerous environment or situation as quickly as possible.

Golden Horde – A mob of people who were unprepared and now they’re hungry and they’re coming for your stuff! (see: Zombies below)

Grid – Nickname for the electrical grid.

Grid Down – A loss of power. It can be something simple, like a storm induced blackout, or something severe, like catastrophic damage to the power grid from an EMP.

Ham – A type of amateur radio that allows users to send and receive messages over long distances using a range of frequencies. They can provide a critical means of communication during disasters and emergency situations because they do not rely on cell towers or the power grid. The term can also refer to a ham radio operator.

IFAK – Individual First Aid Kit: A compact first aid kit designed for individual use, often carried by preppers, outdoors enthusiasts, and survivalists.

INCH – I'm Never Coming Home: A term used to describe a bug out plan in which the prepper plans to leave their home and never return.

JIC – Just in Case.

MAG – Mutual Aid/ Assistance Group: A group of likeminded preppers who have each other’s backs.

MOLLE (pronounced “Molly”) – Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment: A tactical backpack and gear attachment system that is commonly used by military, law enforcement, and civilians for outdoor activities and survival situations. This system of webbing and loops it uses lets you customize your backpack and gear by attaching pouches, pockets, and accessories that can fit your needs.

MRE – Meals Ready to Eat: Originally used as pre-cooked military field rations, the term now more broadly refers to vacuum-sealed foods with a long shelf life that are ready to eat right out of the pouch.

Off-Grid – Refers to tools, vehicles, and a lifestyle that’s not tied to the electrical grid or traditional infrastructure or public utilities.

OPSEC – Operational Security: Another term borrowed from the military, but in the prepper community it’s the practice of maintaining secrecy and protecting critical info like your bug out location and where your emergency food is stored.

Pollyanna – According to the Dictionary, a Pollyanna is an excessively (or blindly) optimistic person. To preppers, they’re people who don’t believe a crisis can hit and don’t prepare for any worst-case scenarios.

PrepperA person who values emergency preparedness and actively plans ahead for disasters and SHTF situations by stockpiling skills and supplies like food, water, and gear.

Preps – Your prepping supplies.

PSK – Personal Survival Kit: Similar to a BOB and EDC above, a PSK is a collection of tools and supplies designed to help you survive during an emergency or in harsh conditions.

Rule of 3 – A survival guideline that you can generally go: 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. Prioritize accordingly.

Sheeple – People who blindly follow the government and mainstream media like sheep following a shepherd. They believe the government will step in and Preppersave them if disaster strikes.

SHTF – Sh*t Hits the Fan: A phrase used to describe a scenario in which a disaster or emergency occurs, leading to chaos and breakdown of societal norms.

Survivalist – A person similar to a prepper, but with a deeper focus on preparing by learning and practicing survival skills vs. stocking supplies.

TEOTWAWKI – The End of The World as We Know It: An acronym used to describe a catastrophic event that could lead to the collapse of society.

Two is One, One is None – Prepping and survival advice that emphasizes the importance of having back up gear and plans. If a critical survival tool should break or fail on you and you only have one, you have none. Expect and plan for something to go wrong and have contingency plans and redundant gear.

WROL – Without Rule of Law: A situation in which law and order have broken down, leading to a state of anarchy.

YOYO – You’re on your own. A bad message to receive. For instance, you could’ve been late to a rendezvous point with your prepping group and now have to make your way to your BOL on your own. It’s a much better when your MAG has your back.

Zombie – Refers to people who were unprepared before disaster struck but survived the situation and have now turned into a desperate mob willing to attack for your food and supplies. Sometimes also called “the Golden Horde.”

Now You’re All Stocked up on Prepping Vocab

That’s it – now you're in on the secret language of preppers. By taking the time to learn these terms, you'll be better equipped to communicate with other preppers, understand their advice, and navigate any emergency situations that might come your way. We hope this post has been helpful in demystifying the world of prepper slang.

One thing is clear: when all is said and done (and no matter how you say it), prepping is important. And don’t be shy – join the conversation and share your favorite prepping jargon and any vocab we may have missed in the comments below.

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