Out of curiosity, I joined some groups online for people who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Doomsday Preppers. I’m not really an active member, though, just a lurker. I’ve learned quite a bit about what people, actual people and not those who are maybe talking it up for a tv camera, are planning on doing when the SHTF. That’s a prepper acronym for “shit hits the fan” if you didn’t know. (I didn’t know.)

What’s going to end the world?

Firstly, I wanted to know what people thought was going to cause the end of civilisation. The theories are varied. Many seem to agree that terrorism and war will be the clincher- as a result, I’ve seen an awful lot of anti-Islamic rhetoric in such groups. In fact, that seems to be the entire purpose of some groups, which is disappointing because if you’ve read one load of anti-Islamic crap you’ve read them all, you know? I don’t know if there are any Muslim preppers but if there are, I doubt think they’d feel at all welcome or comfortable in these circles.

The other prominent fear is economic collapse due to shady governmental conspiracies. These tie in with the belief that there are special secret bunkers, fully stocked and ready to go, for “the elite” to take refuge in, when the time comes. I haven’t really been able to decipher what the conspiracy is, except that Obama is involved. And probably others. But no one is hugely clear on what the situation is. These are just a few of the more common theories. A few people have said they are prepping for the zombie apocalypse. Seriously. Zombies. Some of the less seasoned members have questioned that, but the responses I’ve seen are always a “not those kinds of zombies!” and being a lurker, I’ve never had the courage to ask what kind they mean. I didn’t even know there was a kind that wasn’t fictional. It could be just a joke. I’m really not sure.


Prepping for disaster.

Lots of people are simply preparing for natural disaster as well. Many preppers, particularly American members, have actually experienced things like hurricanes and devastating earthquakes, so it doesn’t take much to understand their interest in survival gear and freeze-dried foods. It’s easy to understand how living through something like, or living in a place where disasters are a distinct possibility, that could make you want to go all Bear Grylls.


When the talk turns to solar flares, comets and the certainty that the government knows these things are coming and prepping their elite bunkers while not telling the public, I struggle to understand. Sure, it’s possible, but the scale of such conspiracies, the number of people who would need to be involved… Yeah, nah. I can’t buy into that.

You will need…

Preppers talk a lot about the contents of one’s BOB. This is not a benevolent uncle, but rather another prepper acronym for the essential “bug out bag”. Basically, when the SHTF you grab your BOB and leave or “bug out” to your chosen bug out location (preferably somewhere off the grid and defensible because when the SHTF it seems everyone will be attacking one another). Your BOB should contain all the stuff you’ll need for immediate survival, like food, water, shelter, tools and of course, weapons. Lots of weapons. That’s another hot topic in prepper circles. International groups have a high number of American members and the gun discussions get pretty heated. I’m given to understand that the .22 calibre rifle is a good all-rounder but since I’m Australian and kind of horrified at the idea of owning a gun, I just read along in amazement. We might be avid consumers of American television and movies and foods and even politics- but the gun culture is no where near as prevalent here as it is there and I’m thankful for that. However, Australian preppers are no slouches in the weapons department. Did you know that there is a special titanium pen you can get that can also be used as a lethal weapon? Plus the rest; knives, bows and spear guns- oh my! Plenty of Aussie preppers seem to have guns, as well- legally and licensed, but still. There’s a consensus in all the groups I’ve seen though- that weapons training is a must. There are people out there training with weapons for hours and hours every week to be ready for the day the world collapses.


Some preppers be like…

Meal Prepping.

Food and water are also big prepper topics. Discussion of filters, storage, canning, seeds, foraging- it’s actually pretty interesting. Lots of people into prepping are also into ‘homesteading‘, which seems to be living somewhere and trying to be completely self sufficient in every way possible.  I’d be hopeless at growing stuff because I’m really good at neglecting plants. I might get better at it if my life literally depended on it. I like canning, as well. But my style is more filling pretty mason jars with jams I make in my Thermomix. I haven’t seen thermies mentioned at all among preppers. Can’t think why.


Prepping for Health.

This topic gets almost as heated as gun debates. Some refuse all modern medicine, others are more moderate. Some think you should get all the vaccines but others… With an over-arching disclaimer of #notallpreppers here… Others are the most virulently (pardon the pun) anti-vaccine people I have ever encountered. And in the decade I’ve been looking into and discussing vaccines online, I have encountered quite a few. I guess it makes sense in that many preppers are also conspiracy theorists and the anti-vaccine movement is one of the loudest groups of conspiracy theorists around.


Should we all be Preppers?

Look, the idea isn’t without merit. Seriously. The television show, Doomsday Preppers, tended to focus on the most extreme and those kinds of preppers are out there, for sure. But there is a lot to be said for the resourcefulness and knowledge to be found in prepper communities online. For example, I never knew that you could use drier lint as a fire starter- apparently lots of people save it in cardboard tubes for that purpose. The growing your own food and foraging stuff is really cool as well. The conspiracies and weapons stuff isn’t for me. But I have been stockpiling long-life milk… But everyone does that, right?…Right?


#IBOT @ Essentially Jess.

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  • Oh my goodness. Well I just learned something. It might be time to dig out my basement …

  • LydiaCLee

    Dryer lint is the cause of a lot of house fires – that’s why you need to get rid of it after each dryer use….

  • Oh wow. I’ve watched Doomsday peppers on Discovery a few times, it’s crazy what some people do.

  • i think it’s good to be resourceful and to know how to survive on little, but to live your life in fear of the world ending? The fear is a thief to the life God has called us to live. The only way to be prepared when the world ends is to know Jesus and understand that while this earth is declining and will continue to do so, God has another place waiting for us. But it’s our choice to accept it. In the meantime there are so many more causes that could use our focus to eradicate but fear often causes us to think inwardly and how we can help ourselves. I bet you’ve learned a lot, but don’t let the fear get a hold of you. Thank you for the interesting read.

    • Funnily enough, many Preppers are extremely religious. I’m not willing to live in fear like them,mthough. They are missing all the great stuff in life by living in fear and paranoia!

  • I think basic prepper stuff is a responsibility that everyone has, actually. I don’t mean the doomsday stuff – I saw one episode of that show and thought the people on it were pretty stupid (I think someone had a car they were going to live in but no fuel or something, so I wrote it off as typical reality nonsense).
    I do have a bug out bag, it’s a waterproof bag that my local council provided and I put the basics for a few days in it, and it’s in my linen cupboard next to some bottled water and a small camp stove. Just the basics. (Which reminds me, I was going to photograph and blog it.) My philosophy is that you should know what natural disasters happen in your area, likely impacts and if you can, be able to be self sufficient for the few days it can take until help arrives/water is restored/whatever.

  • The things you do for research Amy!! I’m not sure how you sat back and lurked in those groups to be honest, were your fingers not just itching to refute, rebut, CORRECT????? These loony tunes take paranoia to a whole new level.

    • I saw what happened to those before me who tried to rebutt some of the more outlandish stuff. My fragile ego couldn’t stand it!

  • Natalie @ Our Parallel Connect

    Now I am depressed that everything is going to end. Time to head out and go shopping I think. lol. Yes I will use any excuse.

    • Buy some canning jars, a tent, weapons, long life milk… 😂

  • Remember the Millenium Bug scare of 1999? Everyone thought the world was going to shut down at midnight on 31 December? A lot of people stockpiled food and water, just in case. While it’s good to be prepared for a natural disaster, the way some of these groups embrace conspiracy theories and weapons stockpiling is a little concerning to me.

    • I do! A friend had a big supply of baked beans. That stuck in my memory LOL!

  • jess

    Nope nope nope, my plan is to curl up in a ball sobbing and wait for someone to save me.

    • I’ll be right there with you. You can share my long life milk 🙂

  • I have a friend who is constantly thinking about this, I know she was even seriously considering building a bunker in her back yard. Me? If anything happens, I hope I am smack bang in the middle of it, then I won’t have to worry about it.

    • I hear you! The aftermath would be awful considering how I’ll prepped I am!

  • Wow, fascinating stuff! I don’t even have a fully equipped earthquake kit so I’d be pretty hopeless as a prepper, mind you I do have all my camping gear loaded in the shed which is quite substantial!

  • And here I thought “preppers” was something to do with starting prep this year LOL. I’ve come across a few doomsday preppers in my time. When I was 13, my 18 y.o. stepbrother was convinced the world would end soon – due to a comet or something. I was quite scared at the time – now I just think all the weed he was smoking addled his brain. Some relatives got involved in a cult and also were convinced that we should stockpile food and water and shift to higher ground with them, but we declined their kind invitation!

    Visiting from #teamIBOT x

    • Oh that’s actually quite sad, did he get past it! And a doomsday cult-fascinating but probably very concerning to your family!

      • No idea – his dad and my mum divorced when I was about 16 and I haven’t seen him since. Did try looking him up on FB but nada.

  • TeganMC

    After the cyclone hit last year I discovered just how woefully unprepared I would be if the end of the world came. I could not live without electricity or internet or all of those nice modern niceties. Conspiracy theorists interest me, I always wonder what pushes them to believe something that really seems so far fetched.

    • Me too. Why are they so willing to accept the things that would turn Occam’s razor on its head!

  • Ok well I now feel the need to store dryer lint. If only to take camping, because that would be handy.
    While I see the merit in preparation, I also think it’s highly depressing to live your life waiting for the world to end. If the worse happens, I’ll deal with it. But until then I’m just going to hope for the best.

    • Very handy, I’m lead to believe. I agree though, it’s no way to live.

  • For some reason I was expecting to be reading about prep as in school prep but wow I have learnt a lot. I too am interested in ‘preppers’ just because they are so radical and committed to this event that may (or will never) happen. They do have some good ideas though.

    • Haha, I didn’t even consider the other kind of prep!

      • Maybe it was due to my excitement that my kids were going back to school. haha

  • Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    I have watched Doomsday Preppers previously, in complete fascination. These people are certainly committed to their cause. Meanwhile I always have a dozen long life milks on hand as it’s cheaper to buy milk that way. Not because I’m fearing the apocalypse. But I’m all sorted if that happens…

    • It is fascinating, truly. But also kind of sad because people devote so much time to an event they may never see in their lives.

  • Have you read World War Z? Because you need to read that book. It’s awesome. The zombie that is REAL I tells ya.

    • I think I bought that for my step son! Must borrow!

  • I have watched Doomsday Preppers in amazement – especially the one where the guy was sinking loads of old school buses and turning them into bunkers. I remember one non-violent hippy sort of couple getting “marked down” on their Prep Score for being anti-weapons, that they would be soft targets once SHTF and everyone comes to take all their stuff. I can’t imagine living my life ruled by fear. Sure, after a bushfire came pretty close last year, I started thinking about a BOB (being a Bug Out Box of important papers, computer back up drive and my daughter’s memory box) but I think that’s as far as I’d want to take it.

    • I think something like your BOB sounds very sensible. The weapons nuts are pretty scary!

  • Same. Meal planners are my secret idols.

  • I once lived in an old house in the upper North Shore of Sydney that came complete with an underground bunker, that dated back to the war, and was still stocked with rusting old cans of food. Fascinating stuff. Though I would have taken my chances with annihilation rather than being locked up in a small airless steel can with a bunch of baked beans… I mean, can you imagine? But while I do understand that people feel a need to be prepared, it’s a little sad that some people devote so much time to something that may never happen they forget to actually live in the moment and enjoy life. In saying that, I confess that I’m stock piling cans of spam and long life milk in preparation for the zombie apocalypse… 😉