Prepping Definitions

| by trevor | filed in: Blog, Survival Info

Hi everybody! It’s that time again, so grab some popcorn and settle in – this week’s SignalSurvival blog post is comin’ at ya, hot and fresh off the presses. Actually, before we get into the meat and potatoes of this week’s entry, here’s a little secret for you all: While researching and writing these things is a lot of fun – that’s right, this is the part where the nerdy tendencies of your humble author shine through for all to see! – it can sometimes be easy to forget or overlook the basics. After all, it seems like there’s some new invention or story related to survivalist / prepper culture and / or self-sufficiency every day, let alone every week, but what good is that if you can’t even understand what the label says? Like most other movements, cultural phenomenons, groups, cliques, and so forth, this community we inhabit has its own lingo and way of doing things, and if you aren’t clued into it, it won’t matter how good the information you get is, because you won’t be able to use it! That would be a real shame, not only because knowledge for knowledge’s sake is a wonderful thing, but because in this case, it could mean your life or the life of someone you hold dear. That’s why the goal of this week’s blog is to give you guys a rundown of some of the most common survivalist terms and jargon in use today.

One quick note beforehand: This is a post about language, and while most of this stuff is pretty uniformly accepted and understood, some words and phrases might vary from region to region and even from person to person. Don’t take this list as concrete or as license to disengage your brain – use it as a starting point and a nudge in the right direction.

Now then, let’s get to the good stuff!

Bug Out Bag
Bug out bags are small, relatively simple bags or small packs full of the supplies, food, equipment, and so on necessary to survive the first three days (72 hrs.) after a disaster. Man-portable, they get their name from Korea / Vietnam war slang, where “to bug out” meant a rapid evacuation in the face of an oncoming and overwhelming threat. On a related note, a bug-out location is a predetermined safe spot you can flee to in the event of a bug-out, while a bug-out vehicle is what you use to get there (this is almost always separate from your regular vehicle).
EMP
EMP is the acronym for electromagnetic pulse. It is one of the most common TEOTWAWKI situations, which makes sense when you consider that, beyond the fact that a large-scale pulse would instantly kill anything with a computer chip – in other words, technology would be set back to about the 1850s – any EMP worth worrying about can only be generated by truly catastrophic events – a record-smashing solar storm or the detonation of a nuclear weapon, for instance.
Malthusian
This one doesn’t get bandied about much outside of philosophical debates, but it’s important. Malthusianism is the belief that the population, for any number of reasons, is on track to outstrip the finite supply of global resources (like food and oil and such), and that it’s our responsibility to do something about it, even if that ‘something’ may not be altogether moral or pleasant. While Malthusianism is a marginal doctrine in modern times, there are those who still adhere to it. In any case, its relation to survivalism should be self-evident.
TEOTWAWKI
Thanks to its inclusion in a lot of “Survivalism 101″ type material (and a couple of hit songs), most everyone knows what this is. For those who don’t, it’s an acronym that spells out “The End of the World As We Know It”. It means just what you’d think, and as such, is only used literally when speaking of truly cataclysmic events (nuclear strikes, pandemics, global food or other resource shortages, and so forth) which imperil the very existence of humanity.
WTSHTF
A synonym of the previous entry, this is another classic survivalist’s acronym, meaning “When the ahem “Stuff” Hits the Fan”. Think of it as the survivalism event horizon.
Everyday Carry (EDC)
This term is used to denote the tools/weapons that is carried everyday. As such, when the term is used, it’s usually connected to the weapon(s) carried on an individual’s person as a matter of preference (and sometimes occupational necessity). One’s EDC is their weapon of choice, in other words.
Peak Oil
You’ll hear this term a lot even if you’re not connected with survivalism. Why? Because it’s a political buzzword, and as such, is trotted out on a semi-regular basis. Peak oil is that point in time at which oil extraction and/or production reaches its zenith. Once peak oil is reached, we – humankind – enter the downward leg of the parabola, and, according to some, a grim, hardscrabble race for resources in general and petroleum analogues / replacements in particular. As with Malthusianism (to which peak oil is somewhat connected), peak oil’s impact upon and relationship with the survivalism ethos isn’t (or shouldn’t be!) too hard to pin down.
The Horde
Also known as “The Golden Horde”, “Zombies”, and so on, this is a term used by those who are prepared for a disaster of the sort we’re speaking of here to refer to those who aren’t, whatever the reason. As the name implies, their lack of readiness will lead these people to form large, roaming mobs of unpredictable mental and/or moral frameworks; these groups are seen as dangerous drains on the time, energy, and supplies of prepper / survivalist individuals / communities.

Closing Thoughts

While this is by no means an exhaustive or immutable list of survivalist terminology (if you like, you can check out these historically influential authors for something approaching that), it should give anyone who might be interested a decent base from which to start more proper, thorough research. Speaking of which, while this blog certainly has a regular readership, it’s ok if you’re new! If you happen to have stumbled upon this article by chance and you find that you enjoyed it, why not check out SignalSurvival.com? We’re an active, growing survivalism / prepper community, and we’re always looking for more cool people to interact with! You can learn more about us and our founder by clicking here.

Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

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