It isn’t surprising that prepping is going mainstream and Americans are becoming more self-reliant. Consider the following…
Natural disasters seem to be more extreme…
Power outages in the United States are up 60% since 2000…
Supply chain shortages are still a problem. They aren’t spoken about in the media, but we experience them whenever we go to make a purchase.
Emergency situations are becoming more frequent and unpredictable. So what exactly is prepping, and why is it becoming so popular? In this article, we’ll explore the rise of prepping in recent years, the mentality of preppers, and what influences them.
When did prepping become popular?
Prepping has been around for decades. Many people will tell you that it was really how we lived before 1900. As the 1900s rolled and life became easier, the skills and thinking of our grandparents became less of a necessity. We began to live differently…
We became reliant upon an increasingly interconnected world to deliver our basic necessities.
During the Cold War, there was a strain of “preppers” who were ready for war. Our own government encouraged us to build bomb shelters, and many preppers followed that advice.
Then, in the early 2000s “prepping” began to re-emerge and gain mainstream attention. In fact, Y2K was a real concern for many Americans as there was a question as to whether or not computers would fail and the whole system would come to a screeching halt. The 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were also pivotal events that caused many Americans to re-evaluate their preparedness for emergencies.
In those two events we saw war come to our shores and we saw our government fail at emergency management. Doomsday prepping got jumpstarted…
Since then, prepping has steadily grown in popularity, with an increasing number of people seeking to be self-reliant and ready for any situation. It’s no longer a “fringe obsession” like it had been long stereotyped. And with access to information, training, and resources it’s no longer a luxury that only the ultra-wealthy can afford.
You’ll find that your local public utility promotes being prepared. In the Southwest, many water utilities offer discount programs on water harvesting systems if you take a course. Often times your local government or community college has classes you can take.
What percentage of Americans are preppers?
It’s difficult to say exactly how many Americans are preppers, as there is no official registry or organization for preppers. However, data published by Finder in 2021 suggests that 45.29 percent of Americans have started prepping in the last couple of years. That kind of percentage shows that prepping is a long way away from being a fringe obsession; that’s “mainstream” territory!
As you might assume, COVID-19 played a big role in prepping going mainstream in 2021. In fact, 25.20 percent of Americans stated that they’re building up their food storage, toilet paper, and other emergency supplies like stored water and medical kits.
The second leading motivator in the growing popularity of the prepper movement is “political events”. Americans are becoming less and less confident in the direction of the government and its competency when it comes to emergency management. Fully 9.43 percent state this is why they’ve joined the movement in the last year or two.
Another 10.66 percent list political events and natural disasters as the reason why they feel the need to improve their self-reliance.
We’re not done yet… 27.07% of Americans replied that they were already in the mode of keeping emergency supplies on hand. All totaled, you’re looking at 72.36 percent of the American public who are worried about SHTF; not exactly a fringe obsession is it?
If you’re thinking it’s time to start prepping, you aren’t alone.
Why do people become preppers?
There are many reasons why people become preppers. Some are motivated by fear of natural disasters or other emergency situations, while others are simply looking to be more self-reliant and independent. Some people are drawn to prepping as a way to connect with others and build a sense of community, while others see it as a way to protect themselves and their families in uncertain times.
As you just read in the previous section pandemics and politics are the two leading factors. A second layer under politics is the ongoing supply chain problems. We are facing a shortage of both truck drivers and airline pilots. When you consider that components in the average American dinner travel 1,500 miles to get to your table each night, this is a serious issue.
According to KPMG, disruptions in the supply chain will continue in 2023 for a variety of reasons. According to their survey, over “60 percent of global organizations expect that geopolitical instability may have a detrimental effect on their supply chains in the next 3 years.”
What world events are influencing preppers?
Over the last four decades, the world evolved to a just-in-time inventory system. That system is showing to be fragile in the face of these problems:
Countries are more skeptical about cooperating
Because of geopolitical problems countries are more unsure about sharing resources with others who are aligned with their world view. They’re pulling manufacturing back and are less willing to do business with those who are far away just in case war or regional conflict causes problems with long supply chains.
Increased hacking by cybercriminals
Hackers and Cybercriminals are showing up in our new feeds more often and for larger crimes. In the last year alone we saw the air traffic control systems in three countries taken over by hackers. This poses several problems and erodes confidence in governments to keep people safe in everyday life.
Limited access to raw materials
There are a few problems that may compound here. Manufacturers are just looking at increased problems with gaining access to raw materials, they’re also concerned about their ability to get spare parts for their machinery in time. Manufacturers are also looking at wild price swings in commodities due to countries not cooperating with each other or the ever-increasing environmental regulations.
What is the mentality of a prepper?
Preppers tend to have a mindset focused on self-reliance, independence, and community. You’ll hear many speak of American Individualism. You’ll hear the very smart preppers talk about the importance of community as well.
Preppers tend to assume that the government either won’t help them or will be incapable of helping them if and when things go bad. For these two reasons, the vast majority feel that they and their family members will be on their own when disaster strikes.
That said, they’re positive and helpful people. They work with other preppers to help them learn how to grow their own food supply and build up their skills. They establish communication networks and have plans on how they will move forward in the face of great difficulties.
They believe that it’s important to be prepared for any situation, and they often take a DIY approach to prepping, learning skills like gardening, canning, and first aid. Preppers also tend to be very resourceful, using everything at their disposal to ensure their survival. They’re often willing to make sacrifices in order to be better prepared for emergencies.
What are the benefits of prepping?
The benefits of prepping are numerous. Preppers are better equipped to handle emergencies and disasters, which can save lives and reduce the impact of these events.
Prepping promotes self-reliance and independence, which can lead to a greater sense of confidence and peace of mind. Additionally, prepping can be a great way to build community and connect with others who share similar values.
Having a plan is important but it isn’t the end-all-be-all. The reality is that the most important things are knowing what your resources are, how to use them, and how to find or grow more. Plans are useless, planning is indispensable.
What should I start prepping?
If you’re new to prepping, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Break your plan down into manageable milestones…
First, think about what it would take to make sure you would last a week without making a phone call for resources. Assemble those supplies.
Then build a plan to get yourself to a position where you could last two weeks, and assemble those resources.
From there, stretch out to a month and then two months, and so on. At this point, you’ll be considering purchasing survival food and learning to garden and harvest rainwater.
At each step, evaluate your emergency supplies like food and water, first aid kits, and a means of communication like a radio. It’s also important to have a plan in place for evacuation (“bug out” as they say in the community) or sheltering in place and to have a well-stocked pantry of non-perishable food items.
As you work to make your resources last longer, you’ll discover skills you need to develop. Take classes and practice these skills.
Ultimately, the key to successful prepping is to take a comprehensive and proactive approach, being prepared for any situation that may arise. You won’t know exactly how SHTF is going to happen, but you’ll be better prepared for it if you consider the things we’ve discussed here.