At its most basic level, you either believe in prepping or you don’t. It’s black and white – a person can’t be half prepper and half not.
Preppers are always ready to go through life and come out in the best possible shape even after SHTF. But when it comes to prepping, there will always be differences in methodologies, values and capabilities, among other things.
The following are the different levels of preppers and the usual extent of their preparations.
Most people who get into prepping don’t even realize they’ve taken the first steps. They buy a few boxes of candles and get a proper first aid kit for their house. In their minds, they’re just taking a few common-sense precautions. But they’re preppers – they just don’t know it yet.
Preppers at this level will have enough stable food that can last two or three days. Level 1 preppers are ready to overcome disruptions in day-to-day life, such as power outages, injuries and storms.
Level 1 preppers are expected to have a small kit of equipment with lights, batteries, matches and a few tools. They will be able to come up with tarps, cordage, some assorted meds and other rudimentary supplies for a short period of time.
Once you’ve taken the first step and accepted that it’s up to you to deal with life’s challenges, it’s easy to upgrade your preparations to handle things that are a bit more serious. (Related: Prepping 101: Prep before SHTF, then improvise when you have to.)
Stepping up to level 2 is when you go beyond being ready for things that are probably going to happen and prepare for things that may happen.
Level 2 preppers have tools to fix common car problems. They also have an emergency kit in the trunk in case they have to spend a night in the car.
If someone in your home breaks a leg or suffers a bad cut, it’s best to get professional help. But level 2 preppers normally have the skills and supplies to take care of that scenario. Level 2 preppers also have at least a few barrels of water stored for emergency use.
Preppers at this level have usually been through an event before and they believe in the practical and ethical merits of prepping.
Level 3 preppers are ready to overcome changes in daily lives. At this level, preppers start to maintain stockpiles of food, fuel and other essentials. Bad winter weather can leave you cut off for weeks. It can take a while for roads to reopen. If you have enough food and fuel to keep you going until life returns to normal, you’re at level 3.
While level 1 and 2 preppers can cope for a few hours without power, a level 3 prepper can ride out an outage lasting days or weeks. They may have a generator and fuel supply or kerosene lanterns and a wood stove. Either way, they’re really prepared.
Preppers at this level have considered all potential major threats and have committed to dedicated action in defense against them. Continual improvement, assessment and stress-testing are the hallmarks of level 3 preppers.
Things can get much worse than a bad blizzard. Level 4 preppers are ready to abandon their home or are independent enough from the grid to carry on with life after a major disaster.
They have cash reserves to keep going and skills and supplies to grow their own food. Preppers may have naturally arrived at this level after years or most of a lifetime spent in pursuit of personal preparedness. They have months of food, water, fuel, medicine, clothes, tools, batteries and weapons with several cases of ammo and maintenance supplies.
Level 4 preppers are also likely to have a customized bug-out vehicle. They have plans and equipment to deal with anything short of a direct hit from a nuke or EF5 tornado, and they know all the ways into and out of an area, including rural, unmarked and overland routes.
If confronted with a curveball, level 4 preppers can shift gears smoothly without any glitches.
Life after SHTF is the ultimate challenge. Level 5 preppers are prepared enough to not just survive a catastrophe, but also to carry on and start a rebuild. They have the skills and supplies to make them self-sufficient. Level 5 preppers are ready for anything.
Preppers at the highest level will literally do nothing else but prepare for potential disaster in increasingly intricate detail. Whether from extraordinary wealth or total commitment to their cause and lifestyle, these people live, eat sleep and breathe prepping. (Related: Prepping tips: What you can learn from the rich on preparing for SHTF events.)
Level 5 preppers have years of food and water, stockades of ammo, medicine, weapons and every imaginable consumable and comestible, multiple vehicles including perhaps aircraft, enormous tracts of land (often with tapped wells and aquifers), multiple secondary and even tertiary fallback locations at undisclosed places.
More likely than not, level 5 preppers have assembled around them a group of likeminded people, family and friends who they plan to survive with the days after SHTF.
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