Why doomsday preppers are DOING IT WRONG

There’s a big trend on the Glowing Tube of not just (a) reality shows, but (b) reality shows involving extreme people. And it doesn’t get  more extreme than people devoting all their time and monies to preparing for the apocalypse.

This is fun stuff that actually poses interesting questions. It also lets us watch people prepare for doomsday by shooting their thumb off.

Some questions:

1) Are you ready for doomsday?

2) What version of the apocalypse is your favorite?

  • Zombie infestation
  • Mad Max nuclear wasteland
  • Global economic collapse
  • Invasion of the Snooki clones

3) Are the doomsday preppers (a) admirable, self-reliant people with useful doomsday skills or (b) whackadoodles spending insane amounts of money on bomb shelters that will never get used?

Now, I believe these folks have good intentions and are doing a mix of smart things and insane things.

Being prepared is smart. Having a Bug-Out Bag in your car or bedroom is good for any kind of emergency, whether it’s a massive earthquake, a zombie invasion or getting a flat tire 60 miles west of Nowhere, Alaska.

However, let’s talk about three big prepping mistakes.

1) Fancy bomb shelters are nancypants

Spending tons of money on bomb shelters and whatnot, is WOMBAT – a Waste Of Money, Brains And Time.

These things cost as much as a house, with generators and enough fuel and water to keep things going, as if nothing happened, for six months. Pop quiz: once six months is over, what are you gonna do? No more water, food or  fuel for the generator. You’ve got to leave the bomb shelter and run around the wasteland, looking for food, water and shelter after sitting around for six months. No.

If you’re serious, you don’t spend all your dough on bomb shelters and stockpiles of food and water. You build something sustainable, like a cabin in the mountains next to a stream (water!) with fish (food!).

Now, these guys are kinda crazy, building a giant ark and all, but a ship isn’t a bad idea. You can sail away from danger and toward safe places with food.

2) Six months of supplies is nuts

As these shows prove, stockpiling six months worth of food, water and fuel is a massive amount of work. Don’t do it. It only sets you up for failure when the six months is up anyway.

Focus on sustainability instead.

Spend $20 on a fishing pole and water purifying bottles and such. Instead of blowing $3,500 on a lifetime supply of .30-06 ammo, get a bunch of compound bows and learn how to make your own arrows. Even if you think the nuclear wasteland is coming and you can’t grow a vegetable, then learn how to grow mushrooms in your Mad Max cave.

3) Don’t prep for the wrong doomsday

A worldwide nuclear war is pretty dang unlikely. During the Cold War, sure, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. were close to wiping out the planet. Today, not so much. Everybody is too dependent on international trade.

So what is a more likely doomsday?

Zombies are my favorite — and complete science fiction.

Global economic collapse, maybe after the world runs out of oil? Maybe.

A robot apocalypse, now, has the added advantages of being crazy fun AND crazy plausible. Watch and learn:


This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, Gear, guns and such, Zombie apocalypse

11 responses to “Why doomsday preppers are DOING IT WRONG

  1. Pingback: You’re doing it wrong: FIGHTING | The Red Pen of Doom

  2. Paul

    Bingo. The US Scouts always were and are the ultimate preppers. You should have food for a few weeks, but that’s it.

    Like someone else wrote in a post somewhere else…you need to change your life style, not try to keep your current one (which most preppers are trying to do…in a way anyway).

    What the classical prepper forgets is that in case something happens his shelter(s) might be occupied when (s)he gets there. His/Her weapon cache might get robbed or his/her stash of food discovered.

    Some preppers also don’t think too much about expiration dates. I think they should change that mentality.

    Also his (classical prepper) resources make him a target.
    There are already people who think about hitting preppers when things go bad. Of course preppers say…”we’re ready for you” or “we’ll see you from a mile away” or “those who know preppers” claim that they “will see them from a mile away”. Right.

    What some preppers do is actually get materials to make IEDs…yes, home made bombs, improvised bombs…name them whatever you want it. They are illegal. No wonder 150 cops came in at a prepper when something happened.

    Some get too many weapons (and even some high maintenance ones). They should get body armour first…a bullletproof vest.


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  6. I knew taking up archery was a good idea!! Thanks for a very informative post! :D


  7. Pingback: How To Survive a Robot Uprising (aka Robopocalypse) « Reality Check

  8. I watched part of one of those shows – all it did was make me depressed and determined to die first if an apocalypse did happen – which I don’t believe anyway.


  9. juliabarrett

    I actually thought you said Doomsday Peppers and I was wondering if an even hotter chili had been discovered. Ah well. I can’t worry about doomsday. I’d rather eat chilies. Maybe it’s one and the same.


  10. My favorite apocalypse is the one from the film Idiocracy: an apocalypse of stupid. I’m not sure if there’s any preparing for that; maybe band smart people together to create a niche society and sustain knowledge.

    Be right back. Now I have to write a new apocalypse short story. ;)


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