What Kind of Prepper Are You? 3 Major Types Of Preppers

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By Bryan Lynch •  14 min read

When it comes to being prepared for emergencies, when the SHTF or even a full-on apocalypse, two topics take center stage. Skills or knowledge and gear. I think that it is safe to assume that discussions about gear are usually number one. The popularity of these two topics is certainly understandable as they are quite important to survival situations. 


However, there is one topic that is rarely brought up that I believe can have just as much of an impact on whether or not you survive. You also have to ask yourself if you want to just survive, or live. But that may a discussion for another article. 

The topic in question is what kind of prepper are you? Some may be saying, “I thought there was only one kind.” For those people, I am glad you are here because in my experience I have run into multiple kinds of preppers.

But for the sake of this article, there are primarily three I will be discussing. Before I get into the three types…

Why Should I Care?

question mark, knowledge, question

I have heard this question quite often in the past when this topic has been brought up and it is a completely normal question. I mean why should it matter? Just get supplies and be ready for that unnamed disaster to happen on some future date, right?

This last question is where I have the problem which I will get into later on. But to quickly answer this question, you should care because determining what kind of prepper you are will determine how you prepare before a disaster and what kind of person you will be during and after. 

Different Types of Preppers At a Glance

In the next section, I will be discussing 3 major types of preppers, but I thought I would quickly mention some of the different kinds of other preppers. Some of them you may have heard of, while others may be new to you.

Note that I may poke a little fun at some of these types of preppers, but it’s all in good fun, as people may poke fun at what I do. A good sense of humor is essential to getting through life, especially if SHTF.

Doomsday Prepper

apocalypse, war, disaster

Since you are reading this article, then I’m going to assume you are aware of a popular show that used to be on television called Doomsday Preppers. There were people on that show that did prepare for fairly normal things, such as a natural disaster. But many of them prepared for a “doomsday scenario” such as a world war, nuclear war, or an asteroid impact.

If you are preparing for fire and brimstone, then you could call yourself a doomsday prepper. Although, I got to say that living in a post-SHTF world where just one doomsday scenario happened would be very difficult.

Bragging Prepper

You may not have heard of a bragging prepper because it isn’t a very popular term. However, I have run into my fair share of them, so they made it onto this list. This is someone that does prepare by purchasing gear, tools, supplies, and maybe even learning new survival skills or some primitive skills.

However, much of what they do isn’t grounded in real-world experience nor a sincere desire to be prepared. For them, it’s more like playing fantasy football. They just want to let you know they have the best players on their team, even though they are a crappy coach.

Bug Out Prepper

detailed topographic maps

A bug out prepper sounds just like the name. They are only concerned with bugging out and not so much staying in their primary location when things go south. They have good knowledge of the warning signs to look for, and when disaster strikes, they enact their bug out plans. They have a bug out bag at the ready, and when the SHTF they don’t intend on staying put.

Having detailed bug out plans should be a part of every prepper’s handbook, but there are many bad scenarios where staying in your primary location is wiser and sometimes safer. Bugging out can be a tricky decision to make, so weigh you options accordingly and see what the situation calls for.

Tactical Prepper

Man I love these guys and gals because everything they do is tactical, and much of what they own has a tactical label on it.

You will know when you are talking to this type of prepper because they will be wearing night vision goggles as they show you their tactical flashlight, newest assisted opening pocketknife, and their tactical keychain tools. Pretty much everything they do is from a tactical perspective.

Gun Enthusiast Prepper

guns, weapons, shotgun

I think it’s safe to say that most preppers are interested in guns to some degree and know their value in the larger picture of being ready for a SHTF situation. Some preppers may have one or two guns for hunting and one for self-defense, but the gun enthusiast prepper takes it to a whole new level.

How many more guns does this type of prepper have? Well, the precious metals they invest in are brass and lead, and they could probably arm the local National Guard if need be, just kidding.

But they may have a stockpile of guns that would make Burt Gummer proud (you know, the guy from the movie Tremors with all the guns?)

Economist Prepper

money market

This is someone who may or may not be financially savvy, but they are preparing for modern society to go through bad times via an economic collapse.

They don’t just purchase normal prepping supplies, but they pay a lot of attention to the markets to try and predict what’s coming down the road and therefore what they should do to get ready for it.

For example, if they predict that their nation’s currency is going to be highly devalued, they might start investing in precious metals.

Self Sufficient Prepper

pumpkin, garden, raised bed

When disaster strikes, this type of prepper will probably be better off then most due to their level of self-sufficiency. They grow their own food, raise livestock, generate their own power, have their own water supply, and produce as much as they can themselves.

Also, they may look like someone pulled from the 1700’s. But rest assured that when things get really bad, they won’t need much from the rest of the world.

Fearful Prepper

man, running away, scared

I have met more than a few people in my life that fall under this category, and it’s a bit disheartening because they act or react only out of fear.

I know, the purpose of prepping is to be ready for bad times – and thinking about all those different kinds of scenarios can certainly instill fear into someone.

However, what a lot of people tend to forget is that prepping should reduce your level of fear. If you are doing your due diligence, then why would you be afraid of a food shortage if you have a stockpile of food and other backup plans? You shouldn’t, or at least not so much because you have planned ahead.

3 Major Types of Preppers

As I hinted earlier in the article, there several different types of preppers. However, my main focus is on the three personality types that I have seen most often, and the general population seems to fall into one of these three categories.

Those three types are the “Lone Wolf,” “Community Prepper,” and the “Hyper-Focused Prepper.” These three types are just like they sound, but it is worth trying to understand them a little bit more.

I am going to go ahead and work through these three personality types, starting with the lone wolf. 

Lone Wolf

no modern conveniences

A person who takes on the lone wolf role – they may also be referred to as a “survivalist”- believes that they can do it all. They do not need anyone else, and they only depend on themselves for their survival.

Now, there is an important difference that needs to be made here:

The lone wolf is different from someone being stranded in a survival situation. One person is being forced to survive on their own, while the other is choosing to survive on their own. 

Generally speaking, this approach shuts out the rest of the world. They gather their supplies, get prepared, and when the SHTF, they close the hatches and do their best to stay away from other groups. The end goal for this type of prepper is their survival and that is that.

An interesting side note to remember is that a wolf is a pack animal.



Community Prepper

community preparedness is great for shtf and typical natural diasters

This approach is the complete opposite of the loner or survivalist mentality. Someone who takes on this role is more interested in recognizing the problems brought on by a disaster, finding solutions, and rebuilding after an event rather than shutting the world out.

This means that someone who preps like this is willing to share supplies, skills, knowledge, and time. They reach out to family, friends, and community members to develop a network of like-minded people who will come together when disaster strikes. However, this does not mean they are willing to be a full-fledged charity with open doors. 

In a lot of ways, preparing as a community is just common sense because their are a lot of people and resources around to help everyone get through a bad time.

Is your first aid kit out of supplies? I’m sure Kelly down the street can trade you some supplies.

Running low on food? Go help farmer John for a few hours with chores in exchange for a meal.

Did the SHTF and civil unrest is headed your way? Get the community together to help protect the area.

Sometimes, your survival won’t matter based on just your survival skills; it will take the skills of others. Perhaps the skills of other preppers, or the skills of a survivalist, or the skills of the friendly grandma down the street who just knows better than everyone else.

Check out my article on how to find preppers in your area if you are of the community prepper mindset.



Hyper-Focused Prepper

typical prepper practicing survival skills and bushcraft skills, survivalist in the woods

The person who takes on this role lives to be a prepper and not much else. They are one hundred percent focused on gear, supplies, and preparations.

They are very aware of what is going on in the world by constantly watching the news, mainstream media, stock markets, weather patterns, space events, and all other information that is pertinent. 

They most likely have a healthy stockpile of necessities, a lot of knowledge, and skills.



My Experience as a Prepper

prepper, outdoor, hike

I thought I would briefly share my experience, as I have personally gone through all three of these stages.

Maybe it’s a youth thing or an empowering train of thought to think that you can take care of everything all of the time, but I started with the mindset of both the lone wolf and the hyper-focused prepper. Actually, let me back up a bit. 

I briefly started out with the community mindset. At the time, my major roadblock was getting others on board. Back then, it was more common to run into people that thought talking about preparedness in this form was…silly.

I allowed my frustrations with the lack of progress to take over, and I quickly became the lone wolf and hyper-focused prepper. This worked out for a while and allowed me to be become better prepared, seeing as all I was doing was prepping. What’s the matter with that?

The problem, as I stated earlier, was that this route can take away from other aspects of life and skew your perceptions of others or even with what is going on locally around you. This can happen without you even realizing it, and that is a bad thing.

It wasn’t until I was fortunate enough to meet other like-minded people that I realized the community approach was truly the way to go. Some of these people were what you would call a prepper, while others just had the common sense and knowledge that good times don’t last forever.

These were level-headed, skillful people that were not interested in the fantasy fad of prepping, and it had gotten to the point that even the word “prepper” was becoming a bad thing. Probably because a lot of people put preppers and conspiracy theories in the same box.

Instead, they wanted to share knowledge because they knew that systems could fail, and the responsibility of survival is but our own. 

Final Thought

Please realize that I am not telling you how to be or that even the prepper titles I discussed in this article are absolute. You don’t have to be this kind of prepper or align with that group of preppers.

The only thing you have to do is be true to yourself so that your prepping is worthwhile when the SHTF.

The attitudes surrounding emergency preparedness/prepping has become such an odd thing from those that don’t do it. From the outside, everyone that is into prepping must be some hardcore survivalist ready to take on anyone that disagrees with them.

And what is even more interesting is how people view someone who has extra supplies in their home. As though having a three week stockpile of food (that’s not really a stockpile in the eyes of many preppers) is bizarre or wrong or considered hoarding. Preppers today are how most people used to live in terms of storing food and other supplies for hard times. In my opinion, to not be prepping is what is atypical.

I am simply sharing my thoughts on my life and my experiences as it relates to preparing for bad times and the prepper world. If there is one takeaway from this article, I hope that it is this: There is not much meaning in spending an entire life merely surviving, one must remember to live

What kind of prepper are you? Leave a comment below.

Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021.