PREPS: Can You Be A Prepper and Not Be Self Sufficient?


  • By: Josh at
  • Posted on: March 16, 2014

In the world of prepping, self sufficiency is usually just a given, but are these two actually independent?  To really answer this question we need to understand each.   Here is what I believe each thing is and how they can be used together and apart.

 Prepping:  “to study or train in preparation of something”.



Self Sufficiency: “capable for providing for one’s own needs”.

Storing water


So as a prepper you see the need to get ready for something.  There are so many different things to prepare for that we could never be ready for everything.  Here is a quick list of things that I have seen people trying to prepare for (I have probably missed some):

  • Economic Collapse/ Hyperinflation
  • EMP
  • Nuclear war, winter and meltdowns
  • Natural Disaster: Floods, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Tsunamis, droughts and Earthquakes
  • Zombie apocalypse
  • Disease outbreak
  • Solar Flare
  • Massive Black Outs
  • Civil Unrest
  • Terrorist Attack
  • Climate Change

Normally as preppers we try to prepare for the scenario we feel most likely to happen.  So if our preps don’t include one of the other scenarios we may have problems.  Sometimes I feel as if some preppers are more involved in having the stuff rather than the knowledge and ability that is as or more important than the material things.

For those that are more interested in the self-sufficiency side , there is less about being prepared for the future and problems and more being able to provide for you even when things are good.  While in the world we live in it is very tough to be totally self sufficient, because of different laws and societal causes we are essentially stuck with some dependency on the economic system and others.  Things we usually think of when discussing self sufficiency is:

  • Water catch systems
  • Wells
  • Gardening
  • Raising Animals
  • DIY Projects
  • Using what you have and Jerry Rigging
  • Off Grid Living

As you can see self sufficiency is a way of living.

Can you be a Prepper and really not care about self sufficiency and vice versa?

Here are a few examples to show you that yes you can be one and not the other.  I am not putting either of these types of people down, but it shows how you can be one and not the other.

  1. Prepper Example: An apartment prepper- Like the title says they are a person that lives in an apartment and has their food storages, water storage, weapons and many of the other prepper items.  As an apartment prepper there is small opportunity for them to be truly self sufficient.  They will still be on city water and utilities and usually have very limited space.  Though they are probably more prepared than their neighbors they would have to bug out to really survive.
  2. Self Sufficient Example: An Environmentally Friendly Person- In this example the person may be on just solar power, with a very efficient home.   While not totally self sufficient they may have water catch systems for feeding their garden and watering fruit trees.  They may have chickens for eggs and other natural foods.  Their real focus is to leave a smaller footprint to preserve for future generations.  While this person may be semi self sufficient they don’t really have the prepper mentality   and may not even have any thought regarding the self defense portion of prepping or that an economic meltdown could ever happen.

 Even though these two things are not exactly the same, they have synergy when put together and are complements of each other.

I first got involved in prepping and survival because I (as a person interested in politics and the economy and having a degree in finance) felt that things in this country were going south.   The main thing I started preparing for was an economic collapse.  I originally was just on the whole prepper kick by itself having the stuff and understanding everything behind it, but what I realized was to really be prepared you need to live it.  This is when I really started being interested in self sufficiency.  What I originally thought about these people that had gardens and did all the natural stuff was that they were just greenie granolas.  Even though their reason for doing it might not be the same as mine, there are many good ideas about how to live with less and how to use less to be more efficient.  Not only did I realize that living with less is what would happen in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, but also that I can save money while doing it.  While I am by no means a health nut (I like a big mac now and then and I don’t buy organic or natural unless it is cheaper than the regular food, I don’t know if it’s natural unless I kill it or plant it myself) I started to understand that the hunting I was doing was giving me a healthy and natural meat that tastes better.

If I can convey anything through this article it is that these two go together like peanut butter and jelly.  If you are a prepper and you have the space and land to be able to be a more self sufficient person then do it.  It is great to have the food storage, but having the knowledge to provide for your family even after your preps and food storage is gone is very important in a TEOTWAWKI scenario.  Another thing to think about is that when you are being provided for (by the government or others) they really have the control over you and your liberty and freedom is hindered.

As I said in this recent post my wife Megan will be starting to write some of the articles.  I will be writing more of the articles based on current events, liberty and freedom, prepping in general and how to’s.  Megan plans to help out with more of the self sufficiency articles, some of the DIY stuff, recipes and more of the domestic areas of prepping and self sufficiency. We hope this may give a fresh perspective and add some things to the site that I as a guy never focused on and did not know about.

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Updated: March 16, 2014 — 5:12 pm

The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 20th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural Missouri, just a few miles from the Big Muddy. Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises.

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