Have you ever watched Doomsday Preppers? They paint quite a vivid (and not realistic) picture of preparedness. It’s kinda like this meme.
Everyone sees us in different ways. Have you ever considered that there are different types of preppers and that perhaps the type of prepper that you AREN’T could hold the key to your success and survival?
As I’ve been thinking through preparedness lately, and while there are many different types of preppers, they mostly fall into two distinct categories: Homesteaders and Survivalists. Each of these two groups has wonderful aspects to how they fit within the prepper community. No matter which group we tend to fall into, the other group has some amazing lessons for us to learn.
Let’s start with Survivalists.
When I think of survivalists, my mind often travels to a show that I used to watch on Netflix. It’s no longer there, but it’s called Dual Survival. The two seasons that I saw had Dave Canterbury and Cody Lundin dropped off in a different type of location each week with no or minimal equipment and they had to not only survive the dangers of the environment but also find their way back to civilization. Man, Woman, Wild is another show that used to be on Netflix where Mykel Hawke and his wife Ruth had to survive some rugged terrains and find their way out and back to people.
The shows definitely fascinated me, and I learned a lot about survival if I had to face some of those circumstances. Unless you’re a Navy Seal or a Green Beret, neither you nor I will face a steady stream of dangerous environments and terrains that we have to survive – at least not yet.
Before I jump into the things that survivalists are good at that the rest of us can learn from, the items that I list are not going to be true of every survivalist. You may know some survivalists, and some of these may very much be true whereas other points may not be true. This is meant more for a 30,000-foot view than a microscopic one.
So what kinds of things can those of us who are NOT in the survivalist camp (yep, I’m not there myself) learn from them?
Most survivalists know how to handle guns. I own a gun and I’ve practiced using a gun, but I’ve never taken my gun apart. And unfortunately, it’s been years since I practiced using my gun. Yea. Survivalists, like my brother though, know how to use their gun. They know how to clean their guns and how to do routine maintenance on their firearm. They are skilled in using their weapons.
Focused on blending in
Survivalists have a mind toward protection. They want to blend into their surroundings and know how to keep themselves from being spotted better than many people do.
Knowledge of the area
Survivalists know the immediate area around them and how to get out inconspicuously. They also know the terrain around their favorite hunting spots. They likely know where good hiding places are and how to camouflage their spot.
Know how to track
Survivalists tend to know where the game will tend to be found. This could be because they understand animal habits around various types of water and vegetation. It could also be because they recognize animal tracks and can follow animal (or human) tracks.
Know how to hunt and fish
Like I said earlier, survivalists tend to know how to use their firearms. Oftentimes because they are hunters. Survivalists know how to hunt and field dress an animal. They know the best places on various animals to take them down with the least amount of damage to the meat of an animal. Survivalists oftentimes also know how to fish, clean the fish, and cook it.
Tend to be adaptable
Survivalists tend to be adaptable. If plan A falls through, they oftentimes are better at thinking on their feet and can adapt plans on short notice to still accomplish their goals.
What are homesteaders? According to Wikipedia:
Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of food, and may also involve the small-scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.
I would also add to that definition that homesteading usually also includes livestock to varying degree.
So when I think of homesteaders, I think of the show Alaska, The Last Frontier. Again, it USED to be on Amazon, but now you have to buy it if you want to watch it. In the show, you had 3 different households of one extended family. One was the Mom and Dad family. The other two households were two of their sons and their wives. The show was about how they homesteaded in Alaska of all places! What was life like? How could you homestead with temperatures as low as it gets and with such limited sunshine as you get in Alaska in the wintertimes? It was a fascinating show and definitely worth checking out.
Focused on Self-Sufficiency
Homesteaders will either try to live completely self-sufficiently, or they will learn each aspect of self-sufficiency even if they don’t live it 24/7. They don’t want to be dependent on other people around them because other people can let them down. Knowing how to take care of themselves and their family no matter what life throws at them is why homesteaders focus on self-sufficiency.
Focus on Skills
While homesteaders focus on self-sufficiency, in order for them to be self-sufficient, they have to be focused on skills not ONLY on stuff. Survivalists need to rely on their tools. It’s hard to hunt if you don’t have a gun or bow. Homesteaders focus on the skills – oftentimes with minimal very basic equipment.
Gardening and Canning
Homesteaders learn how to garden. They have heard the word permaculture and probably know at least a bit about it. Gardening and canning provide the homesteading family with a good deal of their food for the next year.
Because livestock – no matter the form – whether chickens, pigs, or cattle are the way that they eat, homesteaders oftentimes learn about how to take care of animals.
Many homesteaders make their own compost. They know that this is a wonderful way to provide FREE – Yes, that’s F-R-E-E nutrients for their garden. They feed their garden and their garden feeds their family. It’s a skill that makes sense to most homesteaders.
It’s a lifestyle
Homesteading isn’t about the “what if’s.” What I love about homesteading is that you are living your life the way that you chose to. Homesteading is being prepared because you already have a fireplace and wood stove and you USE them regularly. Homesteading is having a way to hang your clothes outside, not just in case the SHTF, but because you use it at least 1/2 of your year! It isn’t canning food because it’s fun, but because you have a sense of satisfaction knowing that you have food for the wintertime.
What Can You Learn?
So what can you learn from all of this?
If you are a survivalist, what do homesteaders do that you don’t? Do you focus on hunting but you don’t know how to grow a garden? You think that you can’t grow a garden because it’ll be stolen from? Check this article out on a camouflage garden. Do you only know how to butcher for animals, but not know how to care for them and keep them alive and healthy (though both skills are VERY important)? What can you take away from a homesteader’s view on life?
And if you’re a homesteader, what can you learn from survivalists? Can you handle a firearm with ease and skill? Do you know how to track animals in case you need to depend on hunting to survive? Do you know the area around your home well so that you can hide some of your goods or even your family if need be?
What About You?
Can you find one specific thing on which you need to work because you’ve been looking at preparedness from a certain point of view instead of looking at it from multiple aspects? I’d love to hear what you’ve decided that you need to focus on. Share it with us below in the comments.
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