Haven’t had much time to write lately. Went through some life crises but all is well now so hear I am. Anyway, a Bushcrafter, a Survivalist, and a Prepper walk into a bar. The bar tender looks up and says “Are you guys identical triplets?” I know it’s lame. If you’re reading this blog you already know what a bushcrafter is, but what’s the difference between a survivalist and a prepper? It’s something I wonder about and it seems to be a pretty common question. Last week at my monthly prepper group someone asked and for the first time I heard an answer that was simple and made sense.
The guy who runs our group is who gave the answer. He describes himself as a former survivalist who’s now more of a prepper (when I use those terms, it’s without some of the connotations the media likes to ascribe to them). His answer was short and sweet:
They both prepare. A survivalist prepares to do without. A prepper prepares so he doesn’t have to do without.
If you think about it, it makes sense. Take knives for example. A survivalist will want to know how to make his own. After all, ancient people did so why not? Find a suitable rock, figure out how to put a sharp edge on it, find a stick, figure out a way to attach the “blade” to the “handle” and viola! A knife. A prepper just goes out and buys a couple (or a couple dozen) knives.
Same with fire. A survivalist will know a half dozen ways to make a fire using nothing they can’t find in the wilderness. A prepper will have a couple ferro rods, several types of matches, a few butane lighters, and maybe a flame thrower.
I could go on, but that should be enough to understand the idea. A survivalist hopes to really mostly or entirely on skills. A prepper relies a lot (some say too much) on gear. Both have some valid points to support their views. A survivalist will say you can have all the gear in the world, but if you don’t know how to use it, or it gets lost or stolen, you’re still dead. A prepper will point out that sometimes you need gear know matter how much skill you have. For example, the world’s best skydiver falling out of an airplane without a parachute…
So what about the Backyardsman?
Where does this leave the Backyardsman? Is he (or she) a prepper or a survivalist? I think both. I tend to the prepper side. What can I say? I’m a gear junky. At the same time, I know my gear won’t do me or my family any good if I don’t know how to use it. I also know I need to provide even if I lose my gear. I know I don’t spend enough time learning skills.
What it comes down to for me is balance. If you’re just doing it for fun then do what is fun. If you’re concerned with the way things are going though, and want to “prepare” for bad times, keep it balanced. If you’re strong on skills but light on gear, look to see if there is at least some gear that can fill in on areas where skill might not be enough. If you’re heavy on gear but lacking skills, hide the credit card, get out in your back yard, and learn some skills.
See? Simple, short, and sweet. Peace out,