Survival and Prepping Glossary of Terms

There is a lot of jargon used in the prepping or survival community.  

It is made up of acronyms, phrases, events or gear that does not come up in normal conversation and it can sometimes be difficult figuring out what is being talked about, if not downright confusing.

That is why we have gone ahead and expanded the glossary list from our Getting Started page to help people better navigate these topics. 

Survival and Prepping Acronyms 

The following is a list of commonly used acronyms found in the topic of prepping or survival. 


Get Home Bag. A bag or pack or supplies meant to get you home. 


Bug Out Bag. A bag or pack of supplies that one can grab when bugging out. Usually meant to last several days or longer. 


Bug Out Location. A preplanned secondary safe destination you will go to after bugging out. 


Bug Out Vehicle. The vehicle you will use to bug out. 


Concealed Carry Weapon. This usually refers to carrying a firearm.  


I am Never Coming Home. This is a bag or pack of supplies that are meant to serve for an indefinite amount of time. 


Meals Ready to Eat. A package of long-term food used by the military and now among civilians.


Electromagnetic Pulse. An invisible force that negatively affects electronics and is a byproduct of a nuclear explosion. Affected electronics can be completely taken out of commission. 


Coronal Mass Ejection. When a large amount of plasma is released from the Sun. Often occurs after a solar flare.   


High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse. Occurs when a nuclear explosion is detonated high in the atmosphere. 


You’re On Your Own.


Modular Lightweight Load carrying Equipment. A configuration of straps and Velcro for carrying or transporting supplies. 


Do It Yourself. Refers to completing projects or the making of supplies that can be done at home rather than purchasing goods or services. 


Estimated Time of Arrival.


Dead on Arrival.


Everyday Carry. Items that a person carries every day, often on their person, to be prepared. 


First Aid Kit 


Individual First Aid Kit. 


Get Out Of Dodge. Used to describe leaving a certain area. For example, “It is time for me to get out of dodge.” 


Nuclear Biological Chemical.


Shit Hits The Fan. Used to describe an emergency or disastrous event. For example, “When war breaks out, the shit will hit the fan.”


Shit Out of Luck. Used to describe a situation in which a person is helpless or lacking resources. 


Stands for The End Of The World As We Know It. 


Extinction Level Event. A term used to describe an event that has the potential of wiping life out. Examples would be a nuclear holocaust or a large asteroid hitting the Earth. 


Without Rule Of Law. Describes life when human laws are not being followed.  


Stop, Think, Observe, Plan.


Though many believe it stands for “save our souls” or “save our ships,” SOS is not an acronym for anything. It is an international distress signal in Morse Code used for its simplicity.


First In First Out. Describes food rotation practices. The first item bought is the first item that needs to be used. 


Genetically Modified Organism. When an organism’s genetic material has been altered in a laboratory setting to produce specific, desirable traits. 


Operational Security. Keeping critical information a secret or contained. 

Survival and Prepping Items, Events, Phrases 

The following is a list of commonly used items, events, or phrases, found in the topic of prepping or survival. 

Bug Out

A term used to describe quickly leaving one’s primary area of operations. Ex. “A wildfire is headed this way; we need to bug out.” 

Bug In

A term used to describe sheltering in place. Ex. “Because of a biohazard, we need to bug in.” 

72 Hour Bag

A bag or pack of supplies that are designed to last a minimum of three days. 

Survival Cache

A stash of supplies hidden or buried for future use. 

Grid Down

This means that the power grid is not functional. 


Usually means to live without being connected to the power grid by having no power or producing your own power. Has also been used to describe someone who does not have an electronic footprint. 

Faraday Cage

A container, often made from metal, that protects electronic equipment in the event of an EMP or CME.

Gamma Lid

A food grade bucket lid. 


A person who prepares for emergencies or disastrous times by stockpiling emergency supplies such as water, food, medical supplies, and other tools. 


A person who is knowledgeable in outdoor and survival skills, often to prepare for a breakdown of society. 


The act of practicing skills to live in nature, such as building shelters, furniture, and starting fires.  


A piece of property much like a farm where a person lives a self-sufficient lifestyle by growing their food and producing their own power needs. 


A person who lives on a homestead. 


 A term used to describe people who do not prepare for bad times and rely on others, primarily the government to take care of them. 


Can be the undead monsters from horror movies but more commonly used to described unprepared people who plan on taking supplies from others after a disaster. 

Golden Horde

Used interchangeably with the term zombies.


A prepper or person who has apocalyptic outlooks of the future.  

Spider Hole 

A hole dug into the ground and covered with debris that offers a place to hide. 


Often used as being “gray” and refers to being incognito, not standing out in a crowd, and keeping quiet about personal preparations. 

Situational Awareness

The act of being very observant of your surroundings and what is going on. 


An abbreviation for type III or 550 paracord. A popular type of cordage among preppers and outdoorsman due to its strength, versatility, and small diameter.


A slang term for camouflage. 


A food preservation method that can be done at home with the use of glass jars, lids, and a heat source. 

“Two is one, one is none”

A phrase used to describe having multiples of the same items since gear breaks down. Can also apply when having backup plans.  

Ferrocerium Rod 

A rod made from rare earth metals that produce sparks when scraped against a metal-edged tool and is used to help start a fire. Often referred to as a Ferro rod. 

Magnesium Rod

A rod made from magnesium from which shavings can be made from. These shavings burn extremely hot and are used to start a fire. Sometimes referred to as a “mag rod” or “mag bar” depending on its shape. 

Tinder Bundle

A pile of dry, sometimes fibrous material that takes a spark, ember, or flame exceptionally well. Used in the beginning process of starting a fire. 


Pocket Survival Kit. A small container of emergency items that can be carried in a pocket. Depending on the context it can also stand for “Personal Survival Kit.”


The act of surveying an area with a pair of binoculars or scope. 


Global Positioning Satellite. Pinpoints locations on Earth. 


Abbreviation for evacuation. 


A preplanned location to meet up with group members after becoming separated. 


Slang term for a generator. 

Junk Silver

Coins that are made before 1964. Most are not collectibles but have a silver content of 90%

Mylar Bags

A type of material that is both an oxygen and moisture barrier used to prolong the shelf life of food. 

Carrington Event

Occurred in 1859 and is the largest geomagnetic storm on record. Often used as a reference when talking about solar events.