Pros And Cons Of Being Member Of A Survival Community

Gun grabber rhetoric, see-sawing stock markets, and caravans of illegal immigrants heading towards the US border are making people more concerned than ever about what the future holds.

As both foreign and domestic issues continue to increase in severity, more people are considering joining a survival community. Before you even begin looking into these options, it is a good idea to know what advantages and disadvantages you will be dealing with.

Online vs. Physical Prepper Communities

More than a few preppers pay little attention to online survival communities because a time of physical need requires tangible items such as food, water, shelter, and medicine. Unfortunately, no matter how connected you may feel to someone living hundreds of miles away, it won’t do much good when it comes to gathering food or meeting other immediate needs.

As we have seen in places like Texas, Puerto Rico, and Florida, when tragedy strikes, it is the people in the area that must do what they can with the resources they have on hand. No matter how many people from the outside want to help, there is both a time and geographic bottleneck that makes it hard to achieve these goals.

That all being said, we cannot base all survival based models on natural disasters or war zones. The destruction of social fabric, riots, EMPs, and invasions are all situations that demand being as mobile as possible. In these and other situations, having a distant bug out location may be one of your most valuable resources. Online survival communities can help you link to people in places where you can go in time of need.

Depending on how you connect with others, it may even be possible to create arrangements that make it possible to create a web of stockpile caches and other resources.

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Strength in Numbers

In a time of need, those who don’t have the necessities can and will become desperate and try to steal from those that do. What happens when you are the only person in your neighborhood with electricity, food, and water? No matter how many guns and other weapons you have, it is not realistic for one person to fend off hundreds of people per day for weeks to months on end. While you may want to be as solitary as possible, or only work with your own family, these strategies will fail if you are in a town or city setting.

If you live in these areas, it may be a good idea to move now, or make sure that you can evacuate to a survival community. At the very least, if there are larger numbers of people, there is a better chance of being among people that have experience with defense perimeters and staving off small to medium sized attacks. This includes having the weapons, ammunition, and support gear required to withstand these kinds of problems.

Aside from security related issues, grouping together with other preppers increases the chance of having access to vital resources that would not be available to you as an individual. For example, if you cannot afford tractors or other kinds of farming equipment, it may be possible for a group of people to put the money together and then share the machinery.

Focus On And Develop One Key Skill

One of the hardest part of being a prepper is that you must be a jack and master of all trades. When you start making a list based on even the most common fundamentals such as providing food, water, shelter, and medicine, you will see that there are dozens of things to learn in each category.

By the time you factor in person and stockpile defense, transportation, developing skills for barter, waste management, clothing, and dealing with modern environmental pollution, it becomes impossible to learn all you need in just a few weeks or months. To add insult to injury, a good percentage of videos and how-to guides are either completely wrong and will cause failure when you try to use them, or are so confusing you cannot possibly get the right series of steps for success.

Unless you have a diverse background and experience, or dedicate yourself to this field most of the time, the odds of surviving as a solitary prepper may be much lower than you wish to believe.

On the other hand, it is entirely possible to develop your skills in one or two areas and be assured of both your skills and resources. For example, if you already know how to prepare your own meals from scratch, it is not especially difficult to expand into growing your own food sustainably, taking advantage of natural foods, and learning how to design and use solar ovens.  Someone else that has experience in first aid or works in the medical field can adapt to working with herbal medicines or alternative methods that can be used to help people in time of need.

When people with necessary skills join together to form a survival community, everyone benefits. In this case, you would simply expand your food related skills to feed two or more people, which leaves the medically inclined person to manage illness and injuries. While cross training and having some working knowledge of all key survival skills is important, focusing on one specialty is also very important for long term survival and improved chance of arriving at the best solution for each task.

Best Chance For The Next Generation

When people first find out about prepping and survival, they tend to believe that it is only about individual safety. The fact remains, however, the vast majority of us aren’t thinking just about ourselves. It is likely to be spouses, children, grandchildren, and even extended family members that we are most hoping to see survive a major disaster.

Even if you are able to convince family members to engage in prepping activities, that doesn’t mean your work is done. What happens 5 or 10 years down the road when children and grand children are looking for spouses of their own? If you are not part of a survival community and a large scale disaster occurs, the next generation will never be born unless you find another pocket of survivors.

At the very least, if you aren’t interested in joining a larger survival community, you should at least look for a group that has 10 – 15 families in it and a suitable number of people across all age groups. No matter how you look at it, surviving a major crisis is always going to be about making sure that the next generation will be strong, healthy, and able to produce yet another generation. The only way you can guarantee that is to be in a survival community or make sure that you can travel to one easily enough from an isolated bug out location.

Control Larger Amounts Of Land And Resources

In the absence of a strong central currency and established rules for trading, land is the most valuable commodity. The more land you can control and use for producing food and other necessities, the greater chance you have of surviving and thriving. Unfortunately, no matter how many acres of land you can farm by yourself, or how many things you can make, it won’t matter much if you can’t protect those assets or trade upwards in terms of value.

Since survival communities have a larger number of people and resources to work with, they can also effectively control larger amounts of land. In a time of major social collapse, strong groups will be able to overcome attacks more easily, and will also stand a better chance of producing leaders that are strong enough and capable of unifying larger numbers of people. No matter how many times societies restart from scratch, they must always go through the same stages. Inevitably, the more land you have to start with at the beginning of social grouping and reconstruction, the better chance you and the group has of getting ahead.

As harsh as it may seem, smaller groups with fewer resources will always be the ones targeted for destruction and winnowing out. While there may be strange turns of fate, even a very strong solitary survivor will eventually need the support and resources of a larger group of people and the assets they control. In the event of large scale or prolonged social disruption, recovery is likely to happen faster in a survival community.

Less Chance Of Complete Social Collapse Within The Group

Overall, you will find that established prepper communities don’t advertise their presence, let alone how to get into them. There are are also less well established communities that may still be looking for people with certain skills and assets. It is also still entirely possible for groups of people to buy land and organize before a major collapse occurs.

Once a community achieves self sufficiency and does not require any input or contact with outside people, there is a very good chance it and its members will not be disrupted by anything going on outside the group. For example, if a survival community is completely hardened against EMP attacks, can grow its own food, and has sufficient underground resources, even a nuclear attack will not cause the community to break apart. In fact, short of a natural disaster in the exact area or major invasion and occupation by hostile forces, a well established community should be able to go on regardless of the destruction happening elsewhere.

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Reduced Individual Freedom And Increased Risk Of Tyranny

On the surface, there are many advantages to being in a survival community. Unfortunately, there are some hidden factors that can easily make joining such a group one of the worst decisions of your life. To begin, it is important to recognize that the prepper mentality is unique. People with our mindset are inclined to be thinkers, pioneers, and firm believers in independence. While we can take orders, that doesn’t mean we want people controlling our lives, or constantly telling us that we have to give up personal aims “for the good of society”.

For most preppers, the strength of a group isn’t necessarily defined by the strongest members. Rather, like a link in a chain, the group may be seen as only being as strong as its weakest member. Needless to say, this can lead to all kinds of problems when the group leader makes a different assessment about what is most important and how to allocate resources. If a time of trouble comes to the community, a leader that has to make difficult decisions can easily become a dictator or a tyrant.

Throughout time, we have seen this problem in communities and societies of all sizes. No matter where you look, power corrupts. The more power or potential for power there is, the faster and more severe the corruption will be. Right now, a survival community may look free and independent compared to living in a city or some other area that is heavily regulated. You may even like the community leaders and find them to be “good honest people with a fine sense of humor”, etc.

This can change very quickly in extreme situations. While you and others may expect leaders to take charge, there always comes a point when someone else will want control, or the group will no longer see a need for such rigid control. A leader who is accustomed to leading, however, may have a hard time letting go and returning to a more relaxed form of leadership. Sadly, even if outside events don’t necessarily effect the community, that doesn’t mean leaders won’t look to increase their control of the group. After all, where will members who are ostracized go when there is no safe path to another location? This is just one place where power and its corruption can destroy model survival communities.

Can Be Expensive To Join And Remain In

Paying taxes, buying equipment, training, and achieving self sufficiency all take a good bit of money. In addition, established survival communities also want to choose the best people they can to join their ranks. This means they will look for people that are financially successful and can support them in a range of goals. As a result, you will find that it can be very expensive to join a survival community and remain a member.

In order to be part of some communities, you may have to invest a good bit in terms of time and assets. This may include contributing to stockpiles, going to the community for practicing various skills, and taking on other responsibilities. While all of these things are important for you and the group, that does not mean you will find it easy to fulfill your obligations to the group.

Remember, for them it may be a full time occupation; yet for you prepping may be more of a weekend project or something you are barely managing to fit into your budget. If you think that joining a prepper community will be cheaper and easier than preparing on your own, you may find it doesn’t work that way. As efficient as it may be to pool resources for expensive items, every person must still contribute in order to reach those goals. Depending on the size and demographics of the community, it may still be outside of your budget, especially if you cannot live on the land right now.

Group Leaders May Not Be Responsible Managers

Have you ever given someone an item to keep safe, only to find out they lost it, sold it off, or damaged it in some way? Unfortunately, when you put your money into a survival community, but don’t take part in the day to day operations, there is a chance you will lose your investment. Aside from outright scams, some groups may be irresponsible in terms of paying their taxes, or making sure that the land is properly zoned to enable suitable freedoms for preppers. This and other financial and legal problems can easily create a situation where the land will be unavailable for your use now as well as in a time of need.

Not so long ago, it was not especially difficult to buy food, water, and other stockpile needs without fear of being tracked by businesses or government agencies that might have an interest in these reserves. Electronic banking, credit cards, prepaid debit cards, increased reliance on facial recognition surveillance systems, and x-ray package scanners make it very hard to keep prepper communities and their stockpiles off the radar. Sadly, many community leaders and members aren’t even thinking about the digital footprint they are leaving behind, and may even consider it paranoid to consider the consequences.

Responsible community managers must also consider a wide range of needs that must be met in a self-sufficient setting. An inability to search for and cultivate useful members as well as invest in the proper tools and building structures can all spell disaster. At the same time, keeping the location of the community sufficiently off the radar can also be a complicated task. More than a few survival communities are at high risk in a time of need simply because people from diverse areas know exactly where the compound is and what kind of resources are available there. Rest assured, if desperate people will go after small caches hidden in houses, they will also join together to attack larger compounds that offer even bigger rewards. No matter how big the survival community is, it is still best to choose one that is well hidden and not well known about.

May Be A Target For FEMA And Other Agencies

At first glance you may believe that FEMA will target survival compounds only after a major disaster occurs in order to commandeer vital stockpile resources. It should be noted, however, that we are living in times where power struggles prior to social collapse are changing the way government agencies may look at survival communities. In particular, did you know that 50% of all guns held by civilians are actually owned by just 3% of the population?

If you give some thought to this statistic, you may arrive at the conclusion that some of this 3% may be larger scale survival communities. When paired with large amounts of land and other assets, this creates a situation where those who are expecting to rebuild faster after a major disaster and regain power will not want to compete with groups this large. It is, perhaps, this reason more than any other government agencies might consider dismantling large survival communities even before a major disaster occurs.

Unfortunately, it is hard to say if smaller communities will be able to slip under the radar and remain free from top to mid priority targeting.

There is no question that our government is having a difficult time dealing with both domestic and foreign adversaries. Food shortages, floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters are not making it any easier to navigate through these difficult times. No matter how many jobs our economy creates, the fact remains each person and family in our country must think seriously about what will happen when there is no one to grow food or make it other items available for purchase. As much as you may want to consider prepping as a solitary task, it may be of some use to consider survival communities and what they have to offer.

At the very least, you can think more about networking with other people online that have similar beliefs and see if there is a way to pool skills and resources for a time of need.

Written by

Carmela Tyrrell is committed to off gridding for survival and every day life. She is currently working on combining vertical container gardening with hydroponics. Tyrrell is also exploring ways to integrate magnetic and solar power generation methods. On any given day, her husband and six cats give thanks that she has not yet blown up the house. You can send Carmela a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.

Latest comments
  • I believe that “sharing” will come to zilch unless the end of the disaster appears to be “good” and not that far off. Sharing will only work if you have something to offer in exchange/barter. I expect most people will just want me to give them what I have, not expecting to pay me back.

  • To see the negative side of joining together with other preppers – just read the postings at the prepper sites on a regular basis >>>> that cross section of humanity is quite the trip – and nooooo way in hell would I want to depend on those preppers that lay to the far sides of that spectrum ….

  • I think ‘networking’ is the best way to get started and perhaps a small community will form organically. People are horrible at ‘getting along’ these days. They have no practice within their own family, their neighbors much less a larger community. Face to face communication skills are fast disappearing.

    We are surrounded by people that are literally ‘addicted’ to comfort, having someone else to blame, lots of food available at the stores, have numbnut ideas about guns, Most of my community watches main stream cable and news! Most of my community have barely achieved a high school diploma. Most of my community thinks chemtrails are normal contrails. I doubt anyone other than my hubby and myself understand chemistry in our neighborhood, much less math. I am glad to see that every other household (RR 10) has a garden/greenhouse. They know a little bit about growing their own food.

    I mean, thank goodness for the marijuana world! This marijuana stuff is MAKING gardeners! Learning to grow just this one plant has been the best way to train normal people the basics about growing food. Make no mistake, marijuana seed is GREAT barter material!! All seeds will be great barter material so bone up on how to collect and preserve seed because they most certainly have a shelf life!

    Fertilizer is a critical thing to be stock piling. If you think your own poop will work think again. The Martian, based from a book of the same name, portrayed Matt Damon using his own poop to fertilize his potatoes. NOT going to happen. Raw organic matter is not fertilizer. Decomposed human poo has a bit more nitrogen available for the plants but not so with other decomposed organic matters. Before the plants are able to use the nitrogen, the decomposers get to it first. Then that material is great to feed the soil macro and micro organisms, very very little chemistry left for plants to use to do photosynthesis. Compost is not fertilizer and it is not soil!

    Access to water is another critical necessity. Forget using ‘rain water’ to water your food gardens! Certainly we should start setting up rain water collection (did you know that collecting rain water is illegal in most states)?

    Pulling together a small community of like minded, like educated, people needs to be done judiciously! No sharing knowledge of one’s stocks to ANYONE! That will protect the members of a tiny community. The less known about one’s preparations the BETTER.

  • Most of these ideas are approaching from the wrong direction. Don’t try to assemble a bunch of “preppers” and try to make a community of them. Most of us already have a community already. The idea is to make the place you already have a better survival location. Yes, there are varying degrees of prep, survival skills and knowledge in our present communities. but it’s easier and better to move your neighbors toward co-operative community action for survival situations than it is to try to assemble a bunch of strangers who meet your criteria as preppers and then mold them into a community. My small rural community has been able to make plans and take action for emergency situations and we’re doing quite well, thank you. Not perfect, and not everyone has strong skills, but if the SHTF we’ll do better than most.

  • The real test of any community when trouble comes its way is who will stand beside you, as opposed to those that are willing to stand behind you. Know what I mean?

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