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Survivalism Explained: Everything You Need to Know


Survivalism is a social movement focused on preparing for emergencies, ranging from personal crises to major disasters. Here’s a quick answer to define survivalism:

  • Survivalism: Preparing in advance for emergencies or disruptions to social order.
  • Survivalist: Someone actively involved in survivalism.
  • Prepping: The act of gathering resources and skills for survival.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Being ready for unexpected events.

Survivalism emphasizes self-reliance, stockpiling supplies, and gaining essential skills to cope with emergencies. Survivalists, also known as preppers, prepare for scenarios that might disrupt daily life, from natural disasters to global catastrophes.

Infographic defining survivalism and its key components - define survivalism infographic pillar-5-steps

What is Survivalism?

Survivalism is a movement where individuals or groups prepare for emergencies and disruptions to social order. This preparation can range from short-term scenarios like natural disasters to long-term global catastrophes.

The Theory of Survivalism

At its core, survivalism is about self-reliance. It emphasizes:

  • Stockpiling Supplies: Gathering essential items like food, water, and medical supplies to last through emergencies.
  • Survival Knowledge: Learning critical information to stay safe, such as understanding weather patterns or identifying edible plants.
  • Survival Skills: Developing practical skills like first aid, self-defense, and shelter building.

Imagine having a bug-out bag ready with essentials to survive for a few days if you need to evacuate quickly. This is a simple example of survivalism in action.

Survivalism isn’t just about hoarding supplies; it’s a philosophy of being prepared and resilient. It’s about having the knowledge and skills to protect yourself and your loved ones in any situation.

Types of Survivalists

Survivalists come in many forms, each with different focuses:

  • Preppers: These are individuals who actively prepare for various emergencies by gathering supplies and learning survival skills. They might stockpile food, water, and medical supplies to last through disruptions.
  • Urban Survivalists: These survivalists focus on surviving in city environments. They prepare for urban-specific challenges like power outages, civil unrest, or natural disasters that impact city infrastructure.
  • Wilderness Survivalists: These individuals are ready to survive in the wild. They learn how to find water, hunt or forage for food, and build shelters in nature. They might practice skills like making fire without matches or navigating using natural landmarks.

Case Study: Bradley Garrett, a former professor, became a prepper after realizing the limitations of modern infrastructure during emergencies. He practices “bugging out” by test-running escape routes from his home in case of disasters like wildfires. This proactive approach is a hallmark of survivalism.

Survivalism is a broad spectrum. Some people prepare for everyday emergencies like job loss or storms, while others get ready for more extreme scenarios like economic collapse or global pandemics.

In summary, whether you’re a prepper, urban survivalist, or wilderness expert, the goal is the same: to be prepared, self-reliant, and resilient in the face of any challenge.

Key Components of Survivalism

Stockpiling Supplies

Emergency preparedness starts with having the right supplies. Stockpiling ensures you have what you need when disaster strikes.

Food storage is crucial. Non-perishable items like canned goods, dried foods, and MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) are popular. These items have long shelf lives and don’t need refrigeration.

canned goods - define survivalism

Water storage is just as important. Using durable water containers, both hard bottles and collapsible ones, ensures versatility and space-saving. Water purification tools like filters or tablets are essential for making sure your water is safe to drink.

Medical supplies are another must-have. Stock a first aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptics, and prescription medications. These can be lifesaving when healthcare access is limited.

Weapons and tools are often part of a survivalist’s kit. Firearms, knives, and multi-tools can help with self-defense and everyday tasks. Tools like shovels, axes, and fire starters are also essential for building shelters and other survival needs.

Survival kits and bug-out bags (BOBs) are ready-to-go packs that contain basic necessities. These can range from small kits with first aid supplies to large backpacks with everything needed for a few days of survival.

Gaining Survival Skills

Outdoor skills are vital for survivalists. Knowing how to build a fire, find food, and create shelter can mean the difference between life and death.

First aid training is another key skill. Being able to treat injuries and manage medical emergencies is crucial, especially when professional help is not available.

Self-defense skills, whether through martial arts or firearm training, can protect you from threats. Knowing how to defend yourself and your loved ones is a core part of survivalism.

Navigation skills are also important. Using a map and compass, or even celestial navigation, can help you find your way if you get lost.

Shelter-building skills can keep you safe from the elements. Knowing how to construct a basic shelter from natural materials or set up a tent quickly can provide much-needed protection.

In short, stockpiling supplies and gaining survival skills are the foundation of survivalism. Whether you’re preparing for a short-term emergency or a long-term crisis, these components are essential for being ready and resilient.

The Evolution of Survivalism

Survivalism in the 21st Century

Survivalism has come a long way since its early days. To understand modern survivalism, we need to look at its history, current trends, and how it has adapted to new technologies and media.

History of Survivalism

Survivalism first gained attention during the Cold War in the 1950s when people feared nuclear attacks. The movement saw another surge in the 1970s due to economic troubles and concerns about energy shortages. Books like James Wesley Rawles’ Patriots and Rawles on Retreats and Relocation became influential, showing people how to create fortified retreats and stockpile supplies.

Modern Survivalism

Today, survivalism is more mainstream. Events like the 2008 Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted a wider range of people to prepare for emergencies. Gerald Celente coined the term “neo-survivalism” to describe this new wave of survivalists, who are more community-focused and practical in their approach. Celente noted, “You’re seeing average people taking smart moves and moving in intelligent directions to prepare for the worst.”

Survivalism Trends

Recent years have seen a diversification in the survivalist community. According to a Reuters report, the number of preppers has doubled to about 20 million since 2017. This growth includes minorities and people from various political backgrounds. The trend is no longer dominated by the far-right but includes a broad spectrum of society.

Survivalism in Media

Survivalism has also made its way into popular culture. TV shows like Doomsday Preppers have brought the concept into the mainstream, tapping into what the LA Times called “today’s zeitgeist of fear of a world-changing event.” These shows often highlight extreme scenarios but have also sparked interest in practical preparedness.

Technology in Survivalism

Technology has transformed how people approach survivalism. Online resources, forums, and blogs provide a wealth of information on everything from survival vehicles to retreat locations. Websites like Survival Titan offer guides and reviews on survival gear, making it easier for people to prepare.

Online Communities

The internet has created a sense of community among survivalists. Online forums and social media groups allow people to share tips, ask questions, and support each other. This communal spirit is a core value of neo-survivalism, emphasizing the importance of working together.

Survivalism Events

Events like the “Survival & Prepper Show” in Colorado draw diverse crowds, from traditional preppers to young families and professionals. These events offer workshops, gear displays, and networking opportunities, helping people learn and connect.

Survivalism Education

Education is a key component of modern survivalism. Many online platforms and local organizations offer courses on first aid, self-defense, and wilderness survival. These educational resources empower individuals to be more self-reliant and prepared for various emergencies.

Survivalism has evolved from a fringe movement to a practical and inclusive approach to emergency preparedness. Whether through technology, community, or education, today’s survivalists are better equipped to handle whatever comes their way.

Frequently Asked Questions about Survivalism

What is the meaning of survivalism?

Survivalism is the practice of preparing for emergencies, disasters, or other unexpected events by being self-reliant. This often involves stockpiling supplies like food, water, and medical kits, as well as learning essential survival skills. The goal is to ensure that you and your loved ones can survive independently if regular services and infrastructure fail.

What is the theory of survivalism?

The theory of survivalism is rooted in self-reliance and preparedness. It emphasizes the importance of being ready for any situation that could disrupt normal life. Here are some key elements:

  • Stockpiling Supplies: Gathering long-lasting food, clean water, medical supplies, and other essentials.
  • Survival Knowledge: Understanding how to purify water, build a fire, and navigate without a GPS.
  • Survival Skills: Learning practical skills like first aid, self-defense, and shelter building.

These principles help survivalists feel more in control and prepared for various scenarios, from natural disasters to economic downturns.

What is a survivalist?

A survivalist is someone who actively prepares for emergencies and disasters. They often engage in activities like:

  • Stockpiling: Collecting non-perishable food, water, and other essential items.
  • Skill Building: Learning how to survive in different environments, whether urban or wilderness.
  • Community Involvement: Participating in survivalist groups or attending events like the “Survival & Prepper Show” to share knowledge and resources.

Survivalists can range from casual preppers who keep a basic emergency kit to those who build fully self-sufficient bunkers.

Survivalism has diversified in recent years, attracting people from various backgrounds and political beliefs. This shift has made the practice more inclusive and widespread.

Next, we’ll explore the best survival books to further enhance your preparation and knowledge.


At Survival Titan, we believe in the power of community, education, and empowerment when it comes to preparedness. Our mission is to provide resources and knowledge to help you navigate through any emergency, whether it’s a natural disaster, economic crisis, or personal adversity.


We foster a vibrant community where survivalists of all skill levels can share insights, and experiences, and support each other. By participating in our events and discussions, you not only gain valuable knowledge but also build a network of like-minded individuals who are committed to being prepared.


Knowledge is just as important as having the right gear. That’s why we offer detailed guides, how-to articles, and real-life case studies to help you understand the complexities of prepping. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced prepper, our educational resources are designed to enhance your skills and confidence.


Preparation is about more than just individual survival; it’s about ensuring the safety and resilience of our entire community. We empower you with the tools and knowledge needed to face any challenge with confidence. Our goal is to help you regain your sense of control and match your actions to your fears.


From stockpiling supplies to gaining essential survival skills, being prepared is a comprehensive endeavor. At Survival Titan, we guide you through every step of the journey. Whether you’re preparing for a short-term emergency or a long-term catastrophe, our resources are here to support you.

Join us at Survival Titan and become part of a community dedicated to preparedness and resilience. Together, we can face any challenge with confidence and readiness.

Join the Survival Titan tribe and unlock the secrets to mastering the wild! Subscribe now for exclusive tips, thrilling adventures, and gear guides that will turn you into a survival legend!

We don’t spam or share your information.