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photo courtesy lukaszdykla, 9/30/2014. Photo was taken from: https://pixabay.com/en/users/lukaszdylka-347100/

As the band R.E.M. sang, “It’s the end of the world as we know it.” Well, okay, not really, but what if a lot of bad things really did happen? What if there was a natural disaster that occurred in your area that knocked out power and water? What if, in your neck of the woods anyway, it really did feel like the end of the world? Would you know what to do?

A lot of people use the term prepper (including the preppers themselves) to indicate a person who is preparing for some sort of big disaster, either natural or man-made, to befall their area, if not the country. And truth be told, there are some scenarios that could happen that would make us think of that R.E.M. song, but mostly it would be a localized disaster that you would be prepping for. And really, if you think about it, tent campers are preppers too, though certainly not as hard-core as some preppers take things.

What Is A Prepper?

Okay, let’s define what a prepper is. As I mentioned above, preppers are typically people that are preparing for a doomsday-style event, like a nuclear war, an EMP, collapse of the country, etc. They have stored food and water, other provisions for security and survival, and they regularly practice skills to help them survive. Some preppers do things to secure themselves in their own homes, and other preppers have a separate property out in the country that they hope to escape to when things go down. Many, if not most of them, would call what they do “smart”, and you can’t really argue with the logic. If you lost power for a couple of days, how would you cook food? What would you do for entertainment? If you were a prepper, you would have ready answers for these and many other questions.

Tent Camper As Prepper

So, perhaps its time for us to look at our tent camping gear in the light of being a prepper. We have at least 1 portable shelter (a tent), bedding for our comfort while sleeping (sleeping bag), lighting equipment (lantern, headlamp), cooking equipment (camp stove), heating devices (portable propane heater) and several other items that could make an outsider question our sanity! But we wrap it all up in the ever-nice sounding “tent camper” moniker. And really, that’s the primary reason that we have all of the gear that we do, but have you ever considered that, in an emergency, your tent camping gear could actually provide a way to save your life?

Not only do you have all of the gear to make you a beginner prepper, but you also practice your craft several times each year. You make reservations at a campground, travel to the destination fully self-sufficient, and utilize your gear by making camp: setting up your tent and sleeping gear, practice cooking food over a camp stove and/or campfire, gather firewood, maintain your gear, and perhaps even fish. Preppers do the same thing, practicing their craft in the same way, making sure that they aren’t missing something vital in their equipment setup. They learn new skills and share experiences with fellow preppers, just like tent campers do.

photo courtesy Kokil Sharma, 12/23/2014. Photo was taken from: https://www.pexels.com/@kokilsh

The Proverbial Bug-Out Bag

If you’ve spent any time around preppers, or reading about them, you’ve probably encountered a phrase that sounds weird at first: the bug-out bag. They call it that because when things go down, you need to get out fast, or to “bug out” of your current location. But you don’t want to leave empty handed and not have any supplies. So they’ve developed the bug-out bag which is often times literally a bag or backpack that has various supplies that they’ve deemed necessary to help sustain them until they can get to their more permanent location for safety. They will have things in their bug-out bag such as extra clothes, some dehydrated food (because of the long shelf life), perhaps some cash to buy or trade with, and several other things. Basically, it’s like a portable supply kit that is specific for their needs and purposes.

Tent campers should have the same approach to much of their camping gear. By having your gear all lined up with the things you need for a camping excursion, you can reduce the time you spend packing up, sometimes dramatically. Think about the very basic things that you need when you go tent camping. This will be the start of your camping “bug-out” bag or tote. You probably will have cooking and eating utensils, perhaps some bug spray, matches or a lighter, and a few other things. Put these all in special containers that are reserved just for camping, as this will allow you to pack for camping much faster. As you continue to use these kits, you will find that you will refine what you have in them, which will only add to the speed and comprehensive coverage of the things that you use on your regular outings. Not only that, but it makes it much easier to make a spur of the moment decision to go camping for a weekend or a few days, as you won’t spend much time collecting your gear to pack up.

So Are We Really Talking The Day After Tomorrow?

So often telling someone that you are a prepper means that, in their eyes, you are a bit of a nut an are thinking the end of the world is really upon us. “Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria!”, as Bill Murray famously said in the movie “Ghostbusters”, but this really isn’t the case. What we are really talking about is being prepared for events that are likely to happen in your location. We regularly hear about power outages from snow storms, tornadoes and even earth quakes. Flooding is a real threat in many places, so be prepared for that. Extreme cold can cause the water pipes in your house to freeze, what would you do in that case? Prepping for likely bad events doesn’t make you weird, it makes you smart. So don’t think Hollywood movie type disasters, but the real-world events that could happen where you live. We probably can all recall images of empty store shelves when a large snowstorm is predicted, and you don’t want to be the one caught without food for 3 or 4 days when it hits. Having a small emergency preparedness kit will go a long way to making sure you can ride out these events without issue, and pulling in your camping gear as needed will just add to the comfort you have during these events.

photo courtesy Jens Mahnke, 7/22/2017. Photo was taken from: https://www.pexels.com/@atomlaborblog

Wrap Up

I don’t know about you, but I look at my tent camping gear differently now than I did before I started thinking about it as a survival gear set. Sure, the odds that we’ll need to use our gear in a true survival situation is small, but it’s great to know that we have it and are more prepared than the average person. Talk with your camping friends about this as well, as they probably haven’t looked at their gear in the same manner. It’s all about being prepared and helping your friends and neighbors when things go bad. Review your gear, keep it up-to-date, and sleep well knowing that you’re prepared.

Got some feedback on this topic? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, send me an email or share it on social media! Happy Tent Camping!

Featured Image photo courtesy ayoubZineLaarab, 11/7/2016.  Photo was taken from: https://pixabay.com/en/users/ayoubzinelaarab-3283294/

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