The Fallacy of the Sensible Prepper Mindset 

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Last Updated on April 27, 2021

From the fanatical doomsday prepper to people who are just trying to be more self-sufficient and everyone in between, each type of prepper has its strengths and weaknesses. Increasingly often though I keep hearing from self-described “Sensible preppers.” On the surface, the phrase is understandable, but I am starting to think that those who describe themselves as a sensible prepper could be leaving themselves open to problems at best. At worst, it could be minimizing the importance of prepping overall.

When I refer to “sensible preppers” I specifically mean, self-identified preppers who view anything more than very cursory preparations as symptoms of lunacy and panic. I’ll give you an example. I was reading a social media thread a few days ago and a topic was brought up by a Sensible Prepper who quickly pointed out that they just have some food and water stored up for local power outages – I believe they even said protestors in their town asked people to honk.

The impression that this sensible prepper was trying to give is that where they live is not dangerous at all and they are not prone to any natural disasters so prepping in great depth is foolish from their viewpoint anyway. Why prep if you are extremely unlikely to ever need anything you are stocking up for?

What is wrong with sensible preppers?

Prepping has come a very long way since I started prepping and what motivates each person to become more prepared can be influenced by a myriad of factors. Regardless of your motivation to become prepared, the act of gathering supplies and learning skills to be ready to survive a wide range of threats is a good thing.  Actually, I think we are on the brink of a new phase of our lives that will make prepping much more important and crucial.

You and I may have two completely different scenarios we think are likely and have made our own provisions to deal with what we each individually think is probable. Our methods could be different, and our prepping priorities would be as well. Maybe I am planning for a societal collapse while you are planning for hurricanes. What we do and how we prepare necessarily diverges at some point although there is a lot we have in common. Our shared end goal is to be able to survive some catastrophic event.

YouTube’s – Sensible Prepper is NOT who I am referring to with this article

The sensible prepper in this scenario does not believe that anything bad will happen, or that the risk is so low, it is foolish to worry and plan about anything beyond their realm of possibility. I wonder why this type of person feels affiliated to preppers in the first place. If it were only this “sensible” person that was affected, I would not worry about it, but when the dialog begins to shift in the prepping communityit caught my attention. 

Sensible preppers may even say words to the effect of ”that’s fine if you want to prepare for doomsday” but it is a subtle dig anyway. It is the virtue signaling of the prepping world where some preppers appear to be saying that it’s crazy to prep for anything more than what they personally deem rational and that somehow in comparison, the sensible ones are wiser than the people who are more extreme in their preps. 

Sensible can be used in diverse ways 

Many of you who have been reading the Prepper Journal since we started back in 2013 have heard me make the argument that prepping is common sense. Prepping is sensible when you think about it. For me, preparing for unexpected events is logical, rational, and wise. 

sensible prepper is just code for I'm not crazy

I was recently interviewed on Bunker Basics and was asked for my thoughts on the state of prepping. Part of my response was related to how much I view the topic and practice of prepping as sensible, much more so considering the events of this past year 

In that interview, which you can read here, I said COVID has practically given preppers a Good Housekeeping Seal of approval. So much of what we had been preaching was suddenly realized in just a few weeks. A global pandemic, food, and supply shortages, forced shelter in place orders, travel restrictions, ammo and firearms shortages, job losses, economic problems, and on and on. I think the world just finally caught up to what we have been saying all along. With the riots and protests this [past]year, it is not a stretch of one’s imagination to see worldwide chaos potentially, so people are getting prepared.” 

So, prepping should absolutely be considered a sensible act where people fully grasp the inherent value as something that could save them from bad circumstances. The term sensible prepper I am referring to is being used to downplay the importance of prepping though in some circles – maybe it’s just where I have been looking and the people who hang out in those circles, but it is important to me at least, to make this distinction. 

It is not what you prepare for, but how prepared you are that is sensible 

Prepping on its own is sensible. The number of things you prep for or your personal reasoning for why you are prepping is a highly individual choice. Any labels on my view of what preps are sensible and those which are too much are subjective and do not add anything to the conversation but some form of superiority complex 

When any one person tries to say that what they are doing is sensible, but you, doing the same thing for a different reason is extreme, that is when problems start. Look at the recent censorship of people on social media. You can find any number of examples of language or threats on the other side of anyone censored that seem to be simply fine to the other side.  

When it becomes “what I do is good, what you do is bad”. That is not the type of game we should be playing in the world of prepping. Everyone is coming to this with different realities, resources, and circumstances. We should applaud anyone willing to get more prepared. If someone wants to build a bunker, have at it, and more power to you! Just because I cannot or might not consider that a wise choice, I am not going to say what I do is more sensible than what you are doing. 

Let’s start lifting more people up instead of tearing down those on our team. 


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Freedom-loving American doing what I can to help prepare and inform others. Editor and creator of The Prepper Journal 2013-2017, 2020 -

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To prep is to get ready for some catastrophe that may never happen. I began prepping in my fifties. Now in my late seventies, I still prep for a problem that may last a week or three months. Unfortunately my wife and I now taken life giving drugs. If the catastrophe is great and long, we will not survive, but if it last 3-4 months, we will make it. Therefore I have compiled a fair amount of “stuff” that I feel would keep and benefit us.

Bill Masen

Any sort of prepping is better than none, i have come across these ” sensible” preppers, I call em ” Testing the water” preppers. They are more cautious than normal often because of budgetry constraints and lack of information on threats in their own areas. They usually gradually become more immersed in prepping as time goes by and they become better informed and more comfortable within our community as they develop.


Loved the video! I have 10 acres of forest/farmland. I notice that,because we are not there all the time,(recreational property) more people visit the property than animals. Dogs,coyotes,cows, shots ringing out. And we are really in the middle of almost nowhere! No real problems with neighbors but, if this is your bug out retreat the locals probably know more about you and what you have than you think!
God Bless and stay safe…


Generally speaking I think that overall “preppers” tend to be sensible but that some people do take things too far not because they’re bad or stupid or something but because they become blind to certain things. I actually know a guy who drops $2000/month on ammo month in and month out, putting $1500/month into his stocks. His entire McMansion basement is shelf after shelf of bullets. There’s nothing wrong with that except that half his smoke detectors and his CO detector have dead batteries and you cannot convince him to spend $10 to replace them and he’ll put money into… Read more »

Illini Warrior

I was poo-poohed no more than a month before the whole Covid crap hit >> ballyhooed because of my prepper belief of being pandemic prepared – not kidding …

the newbie question was the regularly posted “What do you prepare for? ….

still hooted at because I believe you should PROPERLY prepare for a pandemic with a legit respirator and a TYCHEM protection suit – and a slight extension to be ready for radiation exposure as well ….

sad situation that the public thinks that Covid is as bad as it gets

Joe Thomas

Plan for the worst, hope for the best, handle what comes. I do not prep for cosmic events of a large scale. Cosmic EMP, CME, gamma ray burst are just too big to be totally prepared for. Anything other than that can happen. To paraphrase the spec ops community, two is one, one is none and none is dead. Preparing is just insurance.


Interesting stuff. March – June 2020 should have either validated your approach or refuted your methods. I’ve never put much credence in what people thought of me or what I do. I’ve gotta do what I think I’ve gotta do, and they can mind their own business. I guess I haven’t seen much on sensibility/sensitivity lately. The number of sites I visit on the subject has shrunk over time. Too many got preachy for me. I stopped hearing the sermon a while ago. Almost all of it carries one slant or another. Whether its a philosophy on prepping, religion, or… Read more »

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