This has been an ongoing subject in the prepper and survival community for a long time. If SHTF should you go it alone, or should you be a member of an organized prepper group? Or some version of both?
People who are trying to be prepared for serious issues whether it be a local SHTF situation, or all the way to TEOTWAWKI, come from all walks of life, age groups, and economic status. They also come from different social setting. Some are single, some are small families, and some rather large families. Some have formed formal prepper groups who intend to band together for survival. When it all goes South, which group of people stand a better chance of survival and why? First, lets define our terms. These are my definitions, and certainly by no means are they a standard in the prepper community.
Lone Wolf Prepper
This is the prepper who for a number of reasons, has planned their preps around going it alone. They may be single, divorced, widowed, or for whatever reasons, have planned on surviving any crisis by themselves either by circumstances or choice.
I think this is the status of most serious preppers. I define the family group as 0f between 2 and perhaps 8 members of the same immediate close family. They have been prepping together with a eye on banding together to survive as a family group. A similar concept would be small groups of like minded and intimate friends and neighbors who share a common desire to prep.
These are folks who have either formed or joined an organized prepper group composed of any number of people who are probably not all related to each other. The idea is that strength is in numbers and the number of vital skill sets will increase the chances for survival.
So, which category are you in, and more importantly which category do you PLAN on being in if and when SHTF all the way up TEOTWAWKI? Lets take a look at the pros and cons of each group. These concepts can be adapted to either bugging in or bugging out.
The Lone Wolf
Pros: The Lone Wolf has much more freedom of action, travel, and decision making. He is only responsible for one person, himself. He can move more quietly that a group. He doesn’t have to consider any one else’s needs, wants, likes, dislikes, physical condition, medical condition or personality when he makes critical decisions. He can make those critical decisions faster because he doesn’t have to consult anyone either for approval, or to explain the situation. It is easier for one person to slide through a situation perhaps than a group, and it is much easier for one person to hide out, if necessary than a group. He only requires finding enough food, water, and shelter for one person in an extended situation.
Cons: The Lone Wolf has to sleep sometime. He has to eat, take care of natural body functions, and wash. These are the times when he is extremely vulnerable. There is one possible exception. If he has a well trained dog, who is capable of foraging on it’s own, then Lone Wolf can mitigate some of these weaknesses. The dog becomes a “Force Multiplier”.For more in depth info on dogs, please read The Dog as Defensive Weapon and Alarm. If forced to travel on foot, he can only have what he can carry by himself. There is no one else to share the burden. As the situation gets drawn out over an extended period of time such as TEOTWAWKI, Lone Wolf is going to either have make contact with other humans out of necessity or learn to live a stone age existence. Ammunition will run out. Knife blades break. Medical supplies are depleted just about the time he has a serious infection from an animal bite. That doesn’t mean that long term individual survival isn’t possible. It just means you had better be one tough, trained SOB to make it happen. And you had better have planned your preps down to a T. Early Mountain Men in North America survived for long periods of time alone, but eventually had to make contact with other people to buy gunpowder. Japanese Lt. Hiro Onoda held out, survived and even conducted limited guerilla war for over 20 years after the end of WW2 in 1945 and didn’t give up until 1974. His survival story is truly amazing.
The Family Prepper
Pros: The small family group will know each other fairly intimately. Each person’s strengths and weakness should be well known, and everyone is more likely to pitch in when needed out of family loyalty as well as necessity. If they have been prepping for some time, each person will have learned critical survival skills that the group will depend on. In dangerous areas, some can guard while others sleep. Chores such as hunting, foraging, cooking, cleaning. etc. can be shared. If traveling by foot, they can distribute important items amongst the group. They can move more rapidly than larger organized groups.
Cons: The small family group is just that, small. They will be louder moving, especially with small children, and be at a disadvantage if challenged by larger armed groups. If homesteading or in a prepper retreat, they will have a difficult time defending it against armed gangs and marauders.
The Survival Groupers
Pros: There truly is strength in numbers, and the well trained prepper group has a better chance of warding off criminals and gangs. The large group means that some can rest while others work and guard. A well thought out group will have people who have mastered a variety of survival and life skills essential to not only basic survival, but having some sort of decent lifestyle in the process, assuming a very long term situation. A group with a Doctor or Nurse, farmer, ex military veterans, mechanic, school teacher etc. can specialize and organize and train others for critical essential tasks and missions. If they already have a bug out retreat staked out and planned, they can actually form a small thriving community.
Cons: Many people feel that a large organized prepper group is indeed the answer. But before you run out and join one, you need to consider it’s very worst Con: human nature. How well do you really know any of these people? Are you willing to risk your life with people you really do not intimately know? What about the leadership? If it gets to TEOTWAWKI and WROL (Without Rule of Law) will the leadership turn into petty warlords and dictators? What is the groups real agenda (sorry, but some have a semi hidden one only really known to a select group of insiders). What are the organized rules that would become the only law in TEOTWAWKI? What control will the group have over your freedom of action and your supplies and equipment? How will rules be enforced? Remember that you really do not know another person until you have shared adversity or danger with them. That’s why combat veterans build such close bonds. Many prepper groups fall apart in good times, what are the odds of yours holding together in life and death scenarios? Remember, your life could hinge op the actions of the group’s weakest link. I am not totally against organized prepper groups, but I am saying you should have satisfactory answers to all the above and a lot more before you commit yourself, your family and your supplies to a group of people that you do not know well or for a long time.
Nothing is cut and dried and none of us have a crystal ball to see the future. And the above group settings will have a tendency to overlap a bit. Often, we tend to think in the worst case: The starving neighbor who wants to take your food, or the organized armed gangs. But history teaches us that in extreme adversity, good people will band together, even if they start out as strangers. And I think it is important for each prepper to consider their situation, and how they are prepping, especially for the worst case scenarios.
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