The Psychology Behind Prepping: Why Some People Feel the Need to Prepare for the Worst

Chances are, you’ve heard the term ‘prepper,’ and the word ‘sane’ isn’t the first word to come to mind. They aren’t synonymous; TV shows are dedicated to these so-called ‘doomsday preppers.’ Every day civilians like and want to get a glimpse into that life.

Most preppers are not crazy; they are prepared for disasters or the world’s end. However, some preppers take prepping too far. Those preppers are labeled as ‘crazy.’ The truth is, prepping for the end of the world is understandable.

Like any group, preppers have a few crazies. However, after 2020, it’s understandable that preppers are going to any lengths to prepare for life’s uncertainties. Most people never saw the pandemic coming. Who was the most prepared? Preppers.

What Is a Normal Prepper?

Preppers like to be secure and prepared for any of life’s uncertainties. They operate under a branch of survivalism and actively prepare for emergencies. This includes things like the apocalypse. It might be a good idea to know a couple of preppers after 2020.

A prepper emphasizes self-reliance, stockpiling supplies, and gaining survival knowledge and skills. Sometimes, preppers make it a point to be taught self-defense. Others go far as to build underground shelters to help them survive an apocalypse.

We all saw how fast supplies flew off the shelves during the 2020 pandemic – not to mention toilet paper. We will feel the effects of the pandemic for a long time. The economy will take years to recover, and some people never will. But the preppers were always prepared.

Preppers That Are ‘Crazy’

The term ‘crazy’ is subjective. But are peppered crazy? The short answer is that some go overboard and can be considered crazy. But most preppers do it for understandable reasons. Honestly, it’s better to do some prepping than none.

When imagining a ‘crazy’ prepper, you might think of someone who lives off the grid entirely or spends their entire life preparing for a catastrophe that may not happen. They dedicate their lives to entirely ‘what-if’ scenarios. Of course, some preppers go beyond a simple emergency kit.

 Everyone has heard of ‘doomsday preppers’ on TV. These people sometimes build underground bunkers that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for the worst-case scenarios that may not even happen. There are backyard food production systems, jungle survival skills, collecting seeds, prepping for a missile, and much more.

How Far Is Too Far?

Some preppers take it too far. It’s an excellent general rule to do things in moderation. To not step over the line of being a crazy prepper, you must keep your reality in check. A sign of over-prepping is overspending, over-stockpiling, or missing out on life.

An example of taking prepping too far is this guy named Dr. Perez, who has spent over $2 million for doomsday. That is the vast majority of his family’s wealth. He has not worked a day in 12 years because he is too busy preparing for a terrorist attack.

The part that takes it too far is using all your income to prep and not having any form of payment. You need to be able to sustain yourself now as well as after some disaster.

Another man named Michael is preparing for an overpopulated world. He lives off the land, off the grid, and developed his alarm system. He bought some bird feeders and used the birds as alarms. He spent over two decades learning different bird calls for this purpose.

These calls could give the family 5 minutes to avoid any danger. Rather than stock up on firearms like some preppers, Michael doesn’t want to rely on them. Instead, he plugs into the landscape and sees what it can offer. Was he totally over the top? Not really, but he’s thinking a little too “out of the box” for me.

Online Prepper Info

Of course, you can always find prepping info here at Ready Lifestyle, but we’re certainly not the only source.


There is a subreddit called r/PandemicPreps that has about 21,000 members in it. They give constant, helpful tips and answer questions as thoughtfully as possible. Here are a few general ways they suggest to prep well without going overboard:

  • Keep your finances as healthy as possible
  • Work on your physical health
  • Check your security and weapons
  • Brush up on trauma and first aid
  • Complete vehicle repairs
  • Learn skills essential in a collapse situation (baking, growing food, making herbal medicines, carpentry, hunting, brewing alcohol, planting a garden that will be useful for winter)
  • Brush up on languages common in your area
  • Write a will

There are separate plans for people with asthma, diabetes, or other underlying health conditions. They even have plans to prep for pets. They gave proper YouTube channels to follow to enhance their knowledge.

Commenters love to share their knowledge. For example, one Redditor bought a deep freezer from Home Depot, while others are learning to can their produce or raise chickens.

American Preppers Network (ANTS.)

What doesn’t this website have? ANTS is regarded as a fantastic network to get into prepping. Open to anyone from a beginner prepper to a veteran survivalist. The information on their website might be intimidating since it’s overflowing, but it’s clear these people know what they are talking about.

People there document their experiences with sleeping outside in hammocks. They give survival tips for every disaster imaginable. There are recommended items to buy, where to shop, and where to avoid. There are various recommended items for different types of disasters.

Here are a few examples:

Disasters Recommended Gear
Natural A light source, cordage & tarps, Shemagh, repellents & sunscreen
Economic Items to trade, potent adult beverages, cigarettes & cigars, whatever you can make
Regional Batteries, firearms, canned foods, bottled water

Preppers During the 2020 Pandemic

Some people laughed at preppers because they thought they were crazy. At least they laughed before the pandemic struck. In general, it’s a good idea to be prepared for life’s uncertainties. The most prepared people during the pandemic were undoubtedly preppers.

Some people prep for unknown disasters for years. Many preppers reviewed their supplies and bought masks before the pandemic got bad. There are ‘bug-out bags,’ meaning there are necessary supplies to survive in one bag. Some preppers could grab their bug-out bags and leave without any problems.

During the pandemic, many preppers stuck to stocking up on normal food. They picked shelf-stable foods and didn’t go overboard and buy toilet paper that would last them years. The important thing when prepping is to focus on yourself and your loved ones first.

Another thing preppers did to prepare for the pandemic was emergency medical training. Others learned firearm training so they could defend themselves. The biggest thing to focus on when prepping is becoming self-sufficient. Consider starting with something you’re interested in and is helpful even without a worldwide emergency, such as creating a vegetable garden or raising chickens for eggs or meat.

It’s A Good Idea To Be Prepared

Despite what you might have seen on TV, you can’t deny that preppers were more prepared than anyone for the pandemic. While some preppers are casual, others might be considered ‘crazy,’ take things too far and go completely overboard.

A gradual approach should be taken. Don’t be overwhelmed by all the information out there. Start small and, over time, become adequately prepared for life’s uncertainties. Building an underground bunker isn’t for everyone, but being a little prepared is.