What Are Preppers Afraid Of?

Prepper Fear: Natural Disasters

Preppers, to those on the outside, may seem like a bunch of odd ducks. We stockpile things like food and water to the point some people wonder, “What are preppers so afraid of?”. 

At their core, preppers are afraid of two things. The first is not being able to take care of themselves and their family. That includes not being able to provide both basic necessities and protection. The second is being placed in a situation where they have no control over their own well-being or that of their loved ones.

The first part of this article will look at the specific events that preppers are afraid of. The second part will talk about whether these fears are valid. 

Events Preppers Are Afraid Of

Preppers are driven by the fear of not being able to take care of themselves or their loved ones. As a result, preppers usually focus their energy on preparing for the events that they feel are the most likely to cause that to happen.

What events a prepper believes could happen are based on things such as where they live or even by situations they have been placed in before. Below are the specific events that preppers are afraid of. 

Prepper Fear: Natural Disasters

Natural Disasters

One of the most common things that preppers are afraid of is natural disasters. This is most common among preppers that live in disaster-prone areas. Common natural disasters that many preppers are concerned about include:

  • Hurricanes
  • Blizzards
  • Floods
  • Wildfires
  • Earthquakes

The problem with natural disasters is that there is virtually no way to prevent them. Also, once they begin, you are typically at their mercy until they stop.

Some natural disasters, such as tornadoes will only affect small areas. Even though they may cut through many miles, help will still be quick to arrive from surrounding areas that were untouched. 

Other disasters, such as hurricanes and wildfires, can affect much larger areas. Entire cities or large portions of a state can be devastated by them. In situations like these help may take longer to arrive. 

Larger scale natural disasters strain aid resources. Manpower, equipment, and supplies must be spread out over a larger area. In addition, any available food and water must be shared among larger numbers of people.

As a result, there is a greater chance that you could be on your own for a longer period of time. Even once help arrives, the amount of food and water individuals receive will likely be far less than what they were hoping for.

Preppers get ready for natural disasters by storing items that will help them through periods of time where utilities such as water and electricity may not be available. These items include food, water, and fuel among others.

Related: What Every Prepper Needs to Know About Hurricanes

Prepper Fear: Economic Collapse

Economic Downturns or Collapse

Another thing that preppers are afraid of is economic downturns or a complete economic collapse. Events such as these can affect more than just the stock market and people’s retirement accounts.

The most obvious effect of an economic downturn or collapse would be an increased likelihood of job loss. A job loss in a bad economy would be especially difficult to recover from. Finding a job is more difficult when many companies are being forced to lay off employees.

A job loss of any duration would be a severe hardship for most families. You couple this with the fact that most people have very little savings and the situation becomes even worse. 

Another effect of an economic downturn or collapse would be that certain goods could become difficult to find. When people think that they won’t be able to get something in the near future, they tend to buy up whatever they do find. This leads to scarcity and some people not getting what they need.

Economic downturns or collapse can also make goods prohibitively expensive to purchase. The economic crisis in Venezuela made their currency virtually worthless. Several years’ worth of savings would barely pay for one trip to the grocery store.

Is an Economic Crisis Likely?

Economic downturns happen with surprising regularity. Economic health is sort of like ocean tides. Sometimes they are high and sometimes they are low. For example, 2008-2009 were very rough years for the economy. Then, the next decade experienced steady growth until a pandemic devastated it.

Economic collapses on the other hand are more rare. They tend to be the result of a country’s government becoming destabilized or due to poor management on the part of the government. For example, Greece’s economic collapse was largely due to lost tax revenue due to people not paying their taxes.

Preppers who are concerned about the possibility of an economic downturn or collapse are usually very frugal. In addition to storing food and water, they probably focus strongly on their own financial health. 

Doing things like developing good spending habits and eliminating debt would help insulate them from the effects of an economic crisis. It also puts them in a better position to allocate larger portions of their cash flow to preps and savings. 

Prepper Fear: Riots and Social Unrest

Riots/Social Unrest

Another thing that preppers are afraid of is riots or social unrest. These can be the result of a social injustice or a preceding disaster that causes widespread panic and lawlessness. 

Riots, regardless of the cause, typically result in extensive property damage. They also create environments that are unsafe for the general population.

The 1977 New York blackout sparked riots that resulted in over 1,000 fires and resulted in 3,776 arrests. The cost of the damage was around 1.29 billion dollars. This is impressive considering the blackout only lasted around 25 hours.

Most instances of riots or social unrest happen in major cities. However, smaller cities and towns can experience them as well. This was the case in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

Preppers that are concerned about riots are typically worried about their home or business being destroyed as a result of unrest. They are also likely to be worried about their own safety and that of their loved ones.

As a result, preppers like this tend to put a heavier emphasis on defense. This will enable them to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their property. They are also likely to have a well thought-out bug out plan that would enable them to escape from affected areas.

Related: Prepper Home Security

Prepper Fear: Pandemics


Another situation that preppers are afraid of is pandemics. Pandemics happen fairly often, with influenza pandemics happening roughly every 30 to 35 years.

Pandemics occur when a disease spreads between countries and continents. They involve a bacteria or virus that spreads easily from person to person. How deadly a pandemic is depends on the exact bacteria or virus involved.

Pandemics are also a concern because they can cause devastation far beyond the illness and death caused by the disease itself. Pandemics, as we learned in 2020, can ruin thriving economies and even contribute to social unrest.

The U.S. economy had experienced a bull run for around a decade before large-scale shutdowns closed businesses. As a result, many people lost their jobs. The Dow Jones also fell around 10,000 points over the course of a month.

Many areas experienced protests against restrictions placed by the government. People were angry over losing jobs and businesses as well as personal freedoms.

Preppers who are concerned with a pandemic are likely to place more emphasis on medical and hygiene supplies. Like other preppers, the are likely to have at least a few month’s worth of food and water storage. This will limit how often they need to expose themselves.

Spring of 2020 was a perfect illustration of how shelves can be full one day and completely ransacked the next. Going through the toilet paper aisle at Walmart felt like watching the dodo birds from Ice Age fight over the last watermelon.

Related: Prepper Lessons Learned from Contagion


Another thing that preppers are afraid of is the threat of war. In the United States, we tend to take peace for granted, and why not? We haven’t had a full-scale war on our soil since the 1800s. Also, the threat of nuclear war is far less than it was before the Soviet Union fell.

The first type of war that preppers are worried about is one with a foreign power. The most likely culprits would likely be China or Russia. At this point in time, they are really the only two countries with the capability to harm the U.S.

Other countries, such as North Korea, may have the ability to strike our soil but they wouldn’t be able to fight long-term. They simply lack the resources and logistics to sustain anything other than a guerilla-style war for very long. Any pre-emptive strike that they make would almost certainly result in their downfall.

China and Russia, however, could cause the U.S. and its allies significant problems. Russia, for example, doesn’t spend as much at the U.S. does on conventional military forces. However, it has been focusing a lot of resources towards developing new types of nuclear weapons.

Many of the nuclear weapons that they are developing are designed specifically to defeat missile defense systems. This means that they would be able to reach targeted cities and military assets without being destroyed en route.

Another type of war that preppers are concerned about would be a civil war. This would likely be the result of prolonged political division or an economic collapse. Although this type of conflict isn’t likely to see nuclear weapons being used, it would still be devastating.

Prepper Fear: TEOTWAWKI:


Another event that preppers are afraid of is TEOTWAWKI, which is short for “The End of the World as We Know It”. If you are not a prepper, then this is probably what you think most preppers are getting ready for.

TEOTWAWKI could take many forms. In fact, it could be caused by several of the other events listed above. For example, a deadly and highly infectious virus could cause a large portion of the population to die out. History Channel’s After Armageddon does an excellent job illustrating a situation like this. You can find it by clicking here.

TEOTWAWKI could also be caused by war or the decline of world powers. The fall of the Roman Empire would have seemed like the end of the world to those who lived through it. And, in a sense, it was. It took Europe hundreds of years to recover. There are very good reasons why the time between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance is known as the Dark Ages.

What Would TEOTWAWKI Look Like?

In modern times, the effects of a TEOTWAWKI situation would be far-reaching. Every aspect of our modern lives would be completely changed. Trips to the grocery store or gas station would be a thing of the past. As would turning on the tap to get water and flipping a switch to turn on lights.

The beginning stages of a TEOTWAWKI situation would be characterized by chaos and lawlessness. However, order would likely return eventually. We would probably see the return of city-state-style governments that have control over smaller areas. 

A prepper who is worried about a TEOTWAWKI situation is likely to focus their energy on becoming completely self-sufficient. Their home will likely be completely off-the-grid. This means that they will provide their own power and water.

Preppers such as this are also likely to have the means to produce their own food. A large garden as well as livestock would be essential to their preps.

Another area that preppers who are concerned about a TEOTWAWKI situation with focus on is wilderness survival. They want to make sure that they have basic survival skills in case they need to live off the land without modern technology.

Are Preppers’ Fears Valid?

The first part of this article looked at the specific types of events preppers are worried about. The rest of it will cover why preppers are justified in feeling a need to be prepared.

Many Preppers Have Experienced Trauma

One thing common among many preppers is that they have experienced traumatic events that have led to them becoming preppers. This could mean that they survived any number of things, including natural disasters or even a violent crime.

It is very hard to tell someone that has experienced pain and loss that they shouldn’t try to prevent it from happening again. Many preppers who have experienced trauma want to take steps to avoid becoming a victim in the future.

History Is Full of Disasters

Think back to the history classes that you had to take as a child and young adult. What events did you read about the most?

Wars, famines, and plagues fill the pages of our history books. It is a sad fact that many of the moments that have defined human history involve misery and loss of life. 

This gives preppers historical precedent for their concerns. Events such as these are still happening and will continue to do so. Just last week, the southern United States suffered its worst winter storm in decades. I didn’t even expect it to get as bad as it did.

Government Assistance is Limited

Another reason why preppers’ fears are valid is that government assistance for disasters will always be limited. Many people within the government would genuinely want to help those affected by disaster. 

However, funding, manpower, and resources will always be the deciding factors for the amount of aid that can be given. Because of this, many governments actually encourage preparedness, at least to an extent.

Governments, due to challenges in managing past disasters, recognize that they are limited in their ability to manage a large-scale crisis. While this doesn’t mean that they approve of all preppers, they do see value in having a more prepared populace.

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