Friday, June 11, 2010

10 Ways to Identify a Closet Prepper

Prep-dar n. Informal 1. The keen observation skills and attention to detail which allow you to identify other people who are aware of, and covertly preparing for, peak oil. 2. A shortened version of "prepper radar".

Although an increasing number of people are adapting to the realities of more expensive and declining energy, and a permanently depressed economy, many are still... shall we say, circumspect, about their activities. They may have been driven underground after encountering ridicule or denial from friends and family, or perhaps are just are leery about random people showing up at their door when crunch time arrives.

So how do we find these fellow prep enthusiasts, so we can join forces, help each other, and make our communities stronger? You could check out your local Transition initiative, or search online for a peak oil meet-up in your area. However, some of these undercover peak-oil-preparers may be people you already know.... friends, acquaintances, work buddies, even family - you just have to figure out who they are. To help you find them, here are the top ten clues that should set your Prep-dar buzzing. You might know a closet prepper if he or she:

10. Gives you a Bo-Go flashlight, first-aid kit, or copy of Just In Case: How to be self-sufficient when the unexpected happens for Christmas.

9. Knows the difference between the IEA and the EIA; and/or calls the EIA "the most incompetent bungling liars in the government."

8. Is overheard exclaiming "But Sharon Astyk/Richard Heinberg/James Howard Kunstler/Dmitry Orlov/Matt Simmons/Gail the Actuary says ____________!"

7. Sends you articles published by The Oil Drum, Energy Bulletin, or Life After the Oil Crash , "FYI."

6. Stores any type of food in a bucket.

5. Is fired after a happy hour at which she tells the boss he'll be doing hard labor when "TSHTF."

4. Privately admits to cashing out their entire 401(K) to purchase gold, ammunition, and prime farmland.

3. Complains of marital discord arising from arguments about the number of chickens that might fit on a quarter-acre lot, or the excessive amount of lawn which has been converted to okra production.

2. Tends to use terms like Cantarell, TEOTWAWKI or Hirsch Report after a few glasses of wine.

and finally.....

1. Offers to share seeds, teach you to can tomatoes, help you compost, build a raised garden bed, plant a fruit tree for you, car-pool, chop firewood, give you fresh eggs, set up a rain barrel, or show you how to use a solar cooker.

In that case, who cares if they know about peak oil - you want to be their friend!


Chile said...

I was amazed to find a fellow prepper, who knew exactly who Sharon was when I mentioned "there might be a blog you'd like...", that lived only half a mile from my previous rental house. Unfortunately, I found her - after 6 years of my living in that neighborhood and her even longer - right before we found our new place mile away.

Oh well. I still see her weekly and we talk prep stuff. Her new garden is awesome and her chickens make great manure.

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

I've found a whole group of people this way. It's pretty amazing, when you start to look, you start to find...

Sharlene T. said...

I know. It's crazy. Why are they hiding?...this, I don't's like they're into voodoo, or something, rather than becoming aware of excessive fuel use...but, once they're found, it's wonderful...

Anonymous said...

YES! Thank you for posting this. I've been following your blog for quite some time now, and I'm a fellow prepper -- in fact, I'm a closet prepper. In fact, my wife just thinks my new, extreme interest in serious food gardening is just to support her run-of-the-mill gardening interest. Everything you listed describes me, even down to several 25-pound bags of organic dried pinto and black beans I just ordered from my local co-op to store "in a bucket"!

As far as being "leery about random people showing up at their door when crunch time arrives," that's what the pump action 12-gauge I just bought is for. (Hope that violence reference doesn't prevent this comment from being posted. It's purely for defense, I swear! And those of us who are preparing now *will* need such things, unfortunately.)

Steve in Maine

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

Steve - I hope you find some fellow preppers. Maybe they will recognize you now ;).

Mia @ agoodhuman said...

He he ...Thanks for this. Just the sort of post I needed to read today. I haven't found any closet preppers this way yet, but you've described me exactly :)

Shamba said...

I'm a little leery of telling anyone too much about "why" my great interest in learning to cook, using solar ovens and having a small herb container garden. I don't think its like me at all!

But fewer and fewer people think that doing what I'm doing and any other kinds of prepping makes you a nutjob. Being prepared for a lot of things is being looked at as smart wise or forward thinking the more things in the big world are going these days.

peace to all us preppers,

Wendy said...

Steve - Maine is a big State, but we should chat :).

~ Wendy, not-so-closet-prepper-in-Maine (whose family thinks she's a bit crazy ;)

P.S. And the answer to how many chickens fit on a quarter acre is "It depends" on if they're for egg production or meat production. In our case, we have both and the answer is thirty chickens fit on a quarter acre (along with four ducks, nine rabbits, two dogs, eight humans ... and 10,000 bees ;)

Jen said...


Thank you, this publicly outed closet prepper needed that.

Lisa said...

I'm not much of a closet prepper but for everyone who is prepping, we need to become more vocal to bring awareness to those who haven't clued in yet. I don't know about you guys but I want to know who's near me that shares the same ideas and what skill we all have so when the time comes we can help each other.

On that note, I just wanted to mention that Michael Ruppert's new website has launched. He already has almost a thousand members in 41 countries and it hasn't been live a week yet! So for anyone who is interested please check it out!

Sue said...

Love it! Especially number 1. I casually mention peak oil/economic crisis/climate change often when people asking me questions about my food gardening. It cracks me up how politely people ignore what I've just said 98 percent of the time. Laugh or cry, what to do...

Anonymous said...

My biggest fan of my being a "Closet Prepper" is my Mother. Since she grew up during the Great Depression [the best years of her life she says], she taught me to be a prepper as I grew up. My younger sister just played the piano, lol. Not a worry or concern about the future.

Anyway, Mom constantly tells me that the survival skill set prevalent in the 1930s has disappeared from most people in our society. "Life is too easy."

Through a friend, I met someone from Appalachia, who lives on a $400 monthly Social Security payment. He forages for food, trades the excess, hunts animals, can build anything without electric tools [I personally witnessed his work], and fixes engines. I told him that he is indeed the richest person that I know; he laughed in agreement.

I just have my Peak Oil blogs, Peak Oil garden, don't drive, and minimize my expenses.

My motto is "work hard and sleep well."

There are a few preppers in my neighborhood, but others do not want to hear the bad news around the corner. This is sad.

Christine, thanks for your blog; you have helped many people.


Kyddyl said...

I just found you and have been laughing myself to tears! This article is something my kids would write about me and they're going to get a copy.

I'm not at all a closet prepper. I live in Utah so there's lots of prepping company. Prepping is highly encouraged here. (I wish they planted trees like they prep here.) I do however send out way too many dire warnings to my kids and invoke the afore mentioned writers with great regularity. I'll be hanging out here more often. Keep up the good work!

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

Kyddyl - Thanks and glad to have you as a reader!