Most people believe that those three words, Survivalist, Prepper and Homesteader, mean the same thing. They look at events or situations and try to think about what they need to make it through.
Preppers work to pay off their debts, because it doesn’t make sense to try to work toward self reliance and still be a slave to debt. Many homesteaders create a small scale farm that will take care of themselves and their families.
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He was described by authorities and news accounts as a “survivalist” and five days after he murdered his wife and daughter in their North Bend, WA home, authorities tracked him to a secret bunker on a mountainside just a few miles away, where he committed suicide as cops closed in. Nobody may ever figure out what made 41-year-old Peter Keller kill his wife, Lynnettee and their daughter, Kaylene on April 22. It took expert trackers, savvy detective work by the King County Sheriff’s Department, and no small amount of luck to find that hidden fortress on the north slope of Rattlesnake Ridge, which overlooks North Bend, about 30 miles east of Seattle.
Indeed it was, having been built into a steep, wooded slope well off a popular hiking trail and a power line right of way that traverses the ridge. After the bunker was located by a SWAT team that quietly moved in early on the morning of April 27 – thanks to one team leader who smelled smoke from a hand-built wood stove in Keller’s hideout – heavily-armed sheriff’s deputies and a relief team from the Seattle Police Department tried to smoke the suspect out with teargas. In all, 15 lawmen ended up suffering from dehydration, and one broke an ankle during the operation.
On the morning of April 28, deputies using explosive charges blew off part of the bunker’s roof and inside they found Keller lying in a pool of blood, a Glock pistol in his hand.
After Keller killed his wife and daughter, and the family pets, he tried to burn down their home in an attempt to cover the crime. The bunker was something of an engineering marvel, with multiple levels, electric wiring, a water system that enabled him to pump water from a nearby creek and a loft for sleeping. Now that sheriff’s detectives have removed more than 100 pieces of evidence including all firearms and ammunition, the bunker will be destroyed so that it cannot become an attractive nuisance.
Both Survivalists and Preppers like to prepare for unforeseen events, but I do believe Survivalists have a slightly more cavalier attitude about their chances for survival.
Along with the desire to live I think Preppers and Survivalists both have a positive mental attitude towards overcoming obstacles when it comes to survival. As I said above, I think these terms get used interchangeably all of the time and in certain context the meaning may be blurred. When I speak of “Survivalists” with a capital S I am referring to people who will label themselves as such.
To quote our current President, “Now, let me be clear” I love watching Bear Grylls and Les Stroud and other shows I can’t remember. Preppers on the other hand do not seem to have most of the same scenarios in mind when they are preparing for an uncertain future. Survivalists that I have run across definitely have a different way they present themselves when the subject of hypothetical grid-down scenarios are presented. I don’t think it is as black and white as I have made it out to be in the paragraphs above.
I like to identify with Preppers, but I do know that if faced with certain triggers, I might fall squarely into the Survivalist camp that I was painting with a broad brush a little earlier. I think you will find there are plenty of preppers who shy away from the community aspect, as well. Homesteaders see that, in the long run, the best way to be prepared is to be able to be self sufficient.
They work towards creating a sense of community, because it ensures their chances of survival. They believe he spent the past eight years building a split-level bunker using hand-cut logs and timbers in preparation for doomsday, and retreated there following the killings. When that didn’t work, they mounted an all-night vigil in near-freezing temperatures, leaving a couple of officers suffering from mild hypothermia. Several gasoline cans were found placed around the house. But North Bend firefighters arrived quickly on the scene and doused the flames.
In all, sheriff’s deputies recovered 13 firearms, including several that were disassembled and inoperable.


Keller allegedly built the shelter to survive a doomsday scenario, and apparently he planned to go it alone. Regardless of what I think though these two terms are interchangeably used to describe a wide swath of people. Survivalists may give more weight to learning how to forage in the woods and eat grubs while their Prepper cousins might be more comfortable storing food to last as long as possible or creating a garden with heirloom seeds.
They both hold a belief that with the right training, mental outlook and circumstances, no situation is ever more than they can bear. They faced starvation, disease, death on a daily basis and still managed to carve a country out of the wilderness with zero government assistance, WIC vouchers, National Healthcare, MRE’s, GPS, Bug Out vehicles or smart phones. For instance, there are a lot of websites that have Survival in the name that I look up to and respect greatly.
I think Survivalists lean more toward the ideal that Bear Grylls and Les Stroud have promoted with their respective TV shows showing how they both can survive in the wilderness on all manner of strange tricks and skills that the normal person would never be in a place to use. Those shows do pass along knowledge that you can use and this applies just as much to the suburban prepper as it does to the Survivalist.
Preppers typically have one or more situations they view as inevitable and they make plans to mitigate the bad effects you could be faced with in that situation.
Preppers like to form groups and communities and try to get others involved, engaged and on-board when it is prudent to do so.
I do get the sense that in some cases, they seem to have a “let them go to hell” mentality and I don’t think that is what Preppers would agree with on the surface. Eating more Organic food, living healthier lives, becoming more self-sufficient are common themes and this transcends any natural disaster. I certainly think that if the SHTF we would all be in for a huge reality check and there is no telling how we each might act. I don’t belong to what I would call a community either but am trying to build that out through family right now.
The ideas expressed on this site are solely the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions of anyone else. They are three very different and distinct groups of people, with different skill sets and outlooks.
While many survivalists like to go out on their own, most understand the need for having a group of like minded people around them. For instance, they will learn how to go into the woods and survive with as little as they possibly can. At this point they begin to tell friends and family what they have learned and what they are doing to make sure they are ready.
After the bodies were discovered, detectives investigating the double homicide found images on the hard drive of Keller’s computer that led them to the location of the hidden bunker, about 1,300 feet up the side of Rattlesnake Ridge, and in direct line uphill from North Bend’s popular Outlet Mall.
Various descriptions of the shelter said that despite its elaborate construction, it had been designed for a single occupant.
These people all have different motivations and philosophies on what they are doing and why. I have spoken to a lot of people who seem to want to shut down in the face of adversity or impending doom. They offer a ton of useful information on Survival, and I have linked to several of them on our resources page. I think some Survivalists see themselves as being deserted in a jungle somewhere with only a rusty coke can and a bandana to survive. For example, if a Prepper lived in Tornado alley, they would rightfully be concerned and their preps would almost certainly start with safety should a Tornado strike. I know there are survivalist groups as well, but they still seem to be more likely to want to be away from people before there is any actual need to. Now, I will freely admit that I haven’t met everyone, don’t know what is in anyone’s heart but mine and I could be very guilt of gross stereotyping here. Who knows what type of situations we may be faced with and what will be necessary in order to live and keep our families safe.
Many around here feel it would be painting a huge target on their backs to join a group, online or real world.
The author may or may not have a financial interest in any company or advertiser referenced. They learn how to defend themselves in bad situations and gather as many skill sets as possible.


Various images showed the progress Keller made on his hideout over the course of several years. Their response to my questions about prepping are usually something like “well we are all gonna die anyway, so what’s the point?” and this is 180 degrees from how I think we as humans should be. We come from those same people who braved the elements, sailed across seas for months and landed in a foreign land with not much more than the clothes on their backs.
I am not referring to the word Survival here because I think we all want to survive something.
They could go one past that and plan for survival after the tornado with food, water and shelter options that could help them and their neighbors in the days and weeks after any type of natural disaster like that.
We might all end up being in the same boat, bashing each other over the head with the last broken oar. I figure that if the SHTF, I’ll have a lesser impact from culture shock than most others would. Any action taken as a result of information, analysis, or advertisement on this site is ultimately the responsibility of the reader. Many survivalists have military experience, meaning they learned some survival skills already.
This usually results in massive studying and searching the internet trying to understand what they are feeling. One sheriff’s deputy expressed a concern that Keller might have been able to fire shots from the bunker down toward the mall. Labels like this though can pigeon-hole people into thinking they need to act a certain way or it can cause assumptions from others based upon their own perceptions of what these words mean. You will find tenacity in both Preppers and Survivalists to try to see the options they have before them. Absolutely, but to base your entire understanding of the possibilities of what this life can throw at you on a couple of reality shows seems to miss the point to me.
Besides, living off-grid and against the grain is way more fun than the popular modern lifestyle.
In the podcast I will take recorded questions or emails from the listeners as well as interviews from some of the leading minds in the preparedness and survival community.We hope to make this one of the best podcasts available today.
If you give up easily or become defeated too quickly you probably don’t deserve to call yourself a member of either team just yet. Who needs all those fancy i-gadgets when I can build a zeer or go dig up some delicious ramps (local wild onion)? There are quite a few great podcasts out there, but this is a challenge we are willing to take on. By Dale Leave a CommentLisa and I recently had the pleasure of being on the Dr.Prepper CPR talk show and had a wonderful conversation with James Stevens, better known as Dr. They look around and realize that they are suddenly a minority, a small group of people that know and are getting prepared for the inevitability of a true SHTF scenario. Prepper you can listen to the show we were guests on along with other episodes of the CPR talk show here. They begin to test themselves with scenarios, and explore and check their stores to make sure they are as close to being self reliant as possible. James has a great sense of humor, is very intelligent and has a great way of making you feel comfortable with his down to earth personality, any of you who have listened to his show probably already know this. The definition of a prepper is "An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances, without substantial resources from outside sources" Like the Government, police etc. I don't believe that the end of the world will be the "end of the world" I believe it will be the end of the world as we know it now. You can also find me on Google Plus and TwitterLeave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *CommentName * Email * Website CAPTCHA Code * Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
You can also find me on Google Plus and TwitterComments Tom Holland saysDecember 7, 2013 at 7:15 PM I really like your podcast.
If not they will car jack your car and the traffic will be massive.Reply Becca saysDecember 22, 2015 at 8:47 AM Thank you for posting this!



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