Most people believe that those three words, Survivalist, Prepper and Homesteader, mean the same thing. I believe they are not the same, but do overlap in places. They are three very different and distinct groups of people, with different skill sets and outlooks. I also believe that every one of us have all three of these archetypes.
This is the first thing most people think of when when someone talks about preparedness. A survivalist is someone that has decided to learn how to take care of themselves. While many survivalists like to go out on their own, most understand the need for having a group of like minded people around them. After all, there is safety in numbers. Many survivalists have military experience, meaning they learned some survival skills already.
In general, survivalists believe something can and will happen at any time. They learn skills that are vital to surviving in different situations and environments. For instance, they will learn how to go into the woods and survive with as little as they possibly can. They learn how to defend themselves in bad situations and gather as many skill sets as possible.
They look at events or situations and try to think about what they need to make it through. Many times they work on the assumption that “there is no help coming,” because, in many of the situations they see, help will arrive too late.
Survivalist skill sets include:
- Map reading/ way finding
- Compass reading
- Fire crafting
- Self defense
- Shelter making
- Water procurement and sterilization
Preppers come from every walk of life. They have awaken to the fact that something is wrong. Many times, this starts as feelings of uneasiness that they can’t put their finger on. This is akin to the “fight or flight” reaction that animals experience in times of stress. This usually results in massive studying and searching the internet trying to understand what they are feeling. Many begin to buy “stuff”, usually in large quantities, and stockpile it. Over time, or with the help of other preppers, they begin to learn and fine tune their approach to “getting ready”. They learn more about what is bothering them. They look around and realize that they are suddenly a minority, a small group of people that know and are getting prepared for the inevitability of a true SHTF scenario. They begin to test themselves with scenarios, and explore and check their stores to make sure they are as close to being self reliant as possible.
Preppers work to pay off their debts, because it doesn’t make sense to try to work toward self reliance and still be a slave to debt. Many look at every day items and try to work out other uses for them. At this point they begin to tell friends and family what they have learned and what they are doing to make sure they are ready.
Useful skill sets for preppers include:
- Water sanitation
- Storage skills (yes, this is a skill. Trust me.)
- Mechanical repair
- Electrical systems troubleshooting/ repair
- Herb craft/ wild craft
The homesteader is kind of an advanced level prepper. Homesteaders see that, in the long run, the best way to be prepared is to be able to be self sufficient. They get a place where they want to settle down and work towards that goal.
Many homesteaders create a small scale farm that will take care of themselves and their families. They work towards creating a sense of community, because it ensures their chances of survival. They learn skills that will make their life more self sustaining.
It isn’t out of place to find any of the following on a homestead: chickens, rabbits, hogs, a garden and/ or a green house.
Skill sets for the homesteader:
- Bee keeping
- Food preservation
- Permaculture concepts
- Beer making
This is just a small list of the differences and similarities between the three groups. There are plenty more.