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Learn prepper terminology

Prepper Acronyms and Common Words

What to do after a disaster?


Outdoor survival like a pro!



You may notice some terms and acronyms here on the site that you don’t understand. This list of common prepper and survival terminology will help.

Bugging In – Also known as “sheltering in place”, bugging in means staying at home and hunkering down where you are instead of leaving your supplies behind. This is possible only in situations that aren’t volatile and where citizens don’t seem to be in danger of turning on one another, or in cases where you have extremely good defenses in place.

Bug Out – Bugging out is a term that means getting the heck out of dodge. In a situation where you are at risk of being robbed or killed if you stay, bugging out can be a better choice. Most people have a specific location set to bug out to in the event that a disaster strikes.

Bug Out Bag (BOB) – A bug out bag contains some essential items for short-term survival in the event that you must leave your home to escape a turbulent situation. This bag generally contains a 72-hour supply of food and water, along with other items such as a flint and steel for lighting a fire and fishing line. It must be light enough to carry long distances while walking.

BOL – But Out Location. This is the place you have planned to go when TSHTF.

EMP – Electromagnetic pulse. A pulse of electromagnetic energy, either natural or manmade, that can destroy electronic equipment. EMPs can come from solar radiation or from a manmade source.

Faraday Cage – A Faraday cage is a metal enclosure that protects electronic equipment from electromagnetic pulse (see EMP).

FEMA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency. The US government agency responsible for handling disaster situations and sending aid where it is needed.

FIFO – First In, First Out. In food and water storage, this refers to the practice of dating all stored preps and using the oldest first in order to keep a fresher supply on hand. You can use this in your food storage rotation plan.

GOOD – Get Out of Dodge. Same as bugging out.

HDPE – High Density Polyethylene. This is a type of plastic that is used to store milk, juice, water, and food because it provides a protective barrier against most harmful substances. Most five gallon buckets that are labeled “food grade” are made from this material.

MRE – Meals Ready to Eat. These are freeze-dried packets of food that are light, take up very little space, and area great for storing in case the SHTF. Just mix with hot water for an instant meal. Perfect for packing in bug out bags, because they are so light.

Paracord Bracelet – Also known as a survival bracelet, these bracelets are made of parachute cord and are meant to provide quick access to cord or rope for various survival situations such as escaping, starting a fire, fishing, hunting, rapping food, using as a weapon, for medical emergencies, etc.

Potable – This term refers to water that is clean enough for human consumption. Potable water is drinkable water.

Prepper – A prepper is someone who prepares for survival in the case of natural or manmade disasters such as pandemics, economic collapse, wars, terrorism, hurricanes, or other disasters.

Preps – This is a slang term that refers to the items a prepper has stored for emergencies. Refers to food, water, supplies, tools, etc.

SHTF – Sh*t hits the fan. This is worst case scenario, when the world goes crazy and it’s time to either shelter in place or bug out.

TSHTF – See also SHTF. “The sh*t hits the fan.”

WTSHTF – See also SHTF. “When the sh*t hits the fan.”

YOYO – You’re On Your Own. This is when the SHTF so badly that the government cannot offer help or is no longer available to offer help. In this case, there would be no fire department, no police department, and no utilities like electricity and water.

Zombies – No, this doesn’t literally means zombies. It means the people who fail to prepare and will become mindless hordes who will become a major threat to preppers because they will try to steal the supplies they worked hard to gather and store. Because they may have wounds and illnesses, and because they will likely be weak from hunger and thirst, they may appear to be zombie-like.

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