A big debate within the preparation community is what type of Prepper a person should be. The age old belief is that you keep your preparedness to yourself (OPSEC) and if the SHTF you bug out to your secret location in the woods and live off the land and your cache that you have there. With the popularity of preparedness on the rise a new approach as surfaced, and that is one of community. You should be prepared yourself, and get others to prepare with you so if SHTF, you and a group are ready to ride out the storm together.
There are many advantages to both, but also many disadvantages so which do you choose? Like many of the articles on this site I’m not going to give you the answer, because there really is no right answer that fits everyone’s beliefs or situation. What I will layout is the arguments for and against both options and you can weigh the options and decide. People are the central topic around both of these philosophies. The Lone Wolf believes the more people the more likely things can get sideways. The Community minded believe that people will/can help you survive the ordeal in question.
Less people are better – The Lone Wolf way of thinking says that the more people you have the more trouble you will have. In a way they are correct and the issues can manifest in many different ways. More people mean……
- You have more mouths to feed – In a post SHTF situation food may not be something that everyone has. What if someone isn’t as prepared as others. Do they starve, can they work for it, or do they get kicked out when their personal food runs dry?
- You have more water to haul – The average person will need about a gallon of water a day. A gallon of water is heavy and the more people that need it the more effort is needed to purify it. This is also only for drinking, this doesn’t take into account other uses.
- You have more sanitation to worry about – In a post disaster situation studies have shown that sanitation is the biggest cause of illness. The more people you have the bigger the sanitation problems will be.
- You have more opinions and beliefs – Let’s face it. Everyone has an opinion and many are not afraid to share it. With a group of people you will need to be organized and as the saying goes……you can have too many Chiefs and not enough Indians. Constant arguing about how to proceed will slow you down and stress you out.
- You could have more Illness – If a simple cold springs up in a person it is likely that in a small group of people everyone will get it. Of course a cold is nothing, there is more dangerous illness that spread in groups to worry about.
More people are better – The community minded prepper believes that having a group of people involved has benefits that outweigh the possible disadvantages. Like the Lone Wolf they are correct in their way of thinking. The advantages of having more people can occur in many different ways. Having more people available means…..
- Guard duties are easier – In a post SHTF situation it may be needed to protect yourself against looters or worse. Having only a few people to guard your location can be difficult. People will be more tired than normal and need more sleep. More people means short shifts on guard duty for more alert guards.
- More people provides more knowledge – A few people can’t know everything, and having a group of people to draw information from can be an asset. You don’t know medicine, that’s fine if you have a doctor in the group.
- More people means more workers – Most of us are not used to lots of manual labor on a daily basis and a disaster situation will mean lots of manual labor. People will be sore, broken, and tired. A group can do more work than a single person so the work could get done faster or in shifts so people don’t over exert themselves and become useless within the first few days of a disaster.
- More people could mean more protection – Guards are a look out, but what if push comes to shove and you have to defend your place. If a group of people intend to claim what’s yours for themselves it’s better to have your own group to oppose them.
- More people mean you can pool resources – In a group you don’t have to take this approach, but with more people it could allow you to pool all of the resources for the group. As an example, John has lots and lots of ammunition, but not very much food. Mary has lots and lots of food, but didn’t buy much ammunition for her gun. Pooling resources together solves their problems.
Most lone wolf preppers live out in the country or have a BOL out in the country, with the hopes that no one will bother them way out there. Their primary defense is location. People will have to walk or drive all the way out there and since most lone wolves don’t get property along a major highway the people would have to deliberately take roads out into the countryside. They plan on hunting the land if needed and growing or foraging for vegetables. If they live there they will likely know the neighbors around them and be a part of the larger community for assistance.
Most community preppers live in a suburb or metro area and their primary means of defense are the walls of their home and themselves. They plan on living off of their preps and possibly trapping some of the scavenger animals that live in the area; if available they may have a garden. There is an alternate community prepper that has a prearranged location out in the country for everyone to meet at. In this situation they have the location defense of the Lone Wolf and the numbers of the community. The draw back here is if someone in the group told others that are not part of the group where the location is. In both situations though unwelcome and unknown guests could be a problem.
Survival in the situation is the goal of both people, but they have different methods how to go about it. I’m not going to tell you that one is right and one is wrong, but there are people that will. There are many stories you can find from people that have survived in war torn countries for example that will tell you that lone wolves won’t survive. Desperate people will venture into the countryside and they will find the lone wolves and they will take everything they want. For these survivors, that have lived to tell their stories, there is no question that a community of preppers is the only way to go. Of course most of these countries are small and very populated so there isn’t much “open” space to hide in. In the United States there is still plenty of space to hide in…..possibly.
Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.