On TV: Doomsday Preppers

Prepper(s) (noun): An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of or prior to any change in normal circumstances or lifestyle without significant reliance on other persons (i.e., being self-reliant) or without substantial assistance from outside resources (govt., etc.) in order to minimize the effects of that change on their current lifestyle.

-Definition of prepper at the Stealth Survival blog

While scrolling through my satellite TV’s on-screen guide Sunday night I noticed a show called Doomsday Preppers was playing on the National Geographic Channel. From the Nat Geo Channel website:

Unique in their beliefs, motivations and strategies, explore the lives of four families preparing for the end of the world as we know it. From bunkers to fortified off-the-grid locations, these doomsday preppers will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life’s uncertainties. And with our expert’s assessment, they will find out their chances of survival if their worst fears became a reality.

The four families assessed included:

• The McClung family- Dennis and Danielle McClung and their two kids live in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. They are billed as “a typical middle class family” by National Geographic. The McClungs fear a coronal mass ejection (CME) is coming in 2012. According to the show, coronal mass ejections are “powerful eruptions on the sun that break free of the solar atmosphere. If these masses of plasma reach the earth, it could destroy our electrical grid, which touches every facet of modern life.”

• The Bedford family- Lisa Bedford, her spouse, and two children also live in a Phoenix suburb. They fear a collapse of the U.S. economy will bring on hyperinflation.

• The Kobler and Hunt families- David Kobler and Scott Hunt live with their families in rural South Carolina. Along with other families, they’ve formed a prepper community in anticipation of a global economic collapse.

• The Larson family- Peter Larson lives with his wife, children, and grandchildren in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. Fearing a nuclear strike (it looks as if Peter is describing an electromagnetic pulse attack in the show), the Larsons have constructed a Rocky Mountain retreat for twelve. For those of you who don’t know what an EMP attack is, it’s when a nuclear device is detonated in the atmosphere, where it’s theorized the resulting electromagnetic pulse generated by the blast will “fry” microchips at the heart of electronic devices, rendering them useless.


“Wood Powered Car”
National Geographic Channel Video

Watching Doomsday Preppers, one soon realizes that the use of the term “doomsday preppers” is somewhat misleading. None of these families indicated they believe the end of the word is at hand. Instead, they plan and prepare for anticipated large-scale, near-term disasters, natural (CME) and man-made (EMP strike, financial crash). This use of “doomsday” reminds me of the situation with Apocalypse PA, in which I suspected having “apocalypse” in the title was merely a marketing ploy.

And which worked, in my case.

I’ve come across a few comments on the Internet calling these preppers “nuts.” The American writer Charles Simmons once said, “ridicule is the first and last argument of a fool.” Well, that applies here. After all, we protect ourselves in the event of an accident or other nasty situation by purchasing insurance. Auto, health, dental, renter’s, home, the list goes on. Prepping is yet another form of insurance, where time and money is spent acquiring knowledge and “preps” in hopes of maintaining one’s current lifestyle should some major destabilizing event ever materialize. Now, not only is this activity completely rational (what kind of insurance do you have?), but totally admirable in that their foresight and efforts might free up scarce resources for others who are in need of assistance- and who, for one reason or another, did not undertake the same preparations- in the event of an emergency. As such, which competent government and public safety agencies wouldn’t want more of these so-called “nuts” in their communities? After all, that may mean less households to worry about in a major crisis.

Now, one might get discouraged of how far along the families in Doomsday Preppers are with their preparations. However, keep in mind these aren’t exactly your typical preppers. While National Geographic identified Dennis McClung as a web designer, they didn’t mention he also runs 2012Supplies.com. From that site:

2012Supplies.com, online since March 2007, offers survival and sustainable living information and supplies for, what many believe to be, the possible end of the world as we know it in the year 2012. 2012Supplies.com is owned and operated by the married couple Dennis and Danielle McClung.

And Lisa Bedford? Well, she’s The Survival Mom. From the National Geographic Channel web page for the show:

She has not only been preparing for the end of the world but also guides other mothers on prepping with her popular blog The Survival Mom, which she established in 2009. She now has over 60,000 readers a month at thesurivalmom.com.

And David Kobler and Scott Hunt not only have their own YouTube channels, southernprepper1 and engineer775 respectively, but are also prepping consultants, heading up Practical Preppers LLC, “Providing tactical and technical solutions for all your prepping needs.”

Like Judge Reinhold said in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, “Learn it. Know it. Live it.”

Now, most preppers may never acquire the same degree of knowledge or levels of preparedness the families featured on Doomsday Preppers have, but that doesn’t mean the same accomplishments aren’t worth aspiring to and working towards. The advice I encounter most often on a number of prepping sites is to work at it a little each day. And since there’s much more material on prepping out on the Internet as compared to a few years ago, there’s a good chance one won’t need to “reinvent the wheel” for many projects.

My only beef with the National Geographic Channel in Doomsday Preppers was their not identifying who their prepper “expert” was. I run across a lot of “experts” in my research, and it’s highly-debatable whether a good number of these individuals are deserving of such a title.

If you’re a prepper, I highly-recommend this show. I think you’ll find it interesting to learn about the motivations, the strategies, and the preps of other like-minded individuals. If you’re thinking about getting started in prepping, this is a good primer as to what it’s all about. Just remember to take that “doomsday” and “end of the world” stuff with a grain of salt. Unless you really believe in it, of course.

Keep an eye out for Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic Channel.

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8 Comments to On TV: Doomsday Preppers

  1. Nice article. Be sure to watch the McClung Family on TLC’s Livin’ for the Apocalypse which premieres on August 28th. Peggy Layton will also be featured.

  2. Dennis McClung on August 9th, 2011
  3. Thanks for the compliment and for sharing that info Dennis. I look forward to watching Livin’ for the Apocalypse on the 28th. Information about the show can be found on the TLC website here.

  4. Editor on August 10th, 2011
  5. More people should see this article! People need to become more aware of this and also become more prepared. Seeing as how this month is almost over and it’s no longer going to be Preparedness month, I still feel people need to be more aware. I am constantly going to informational websites to find more out about EMP. I go to EMPact Americas Radio Blog every Wednesday and listen to their show. Wednesday October 5th, a man named Fritz Ermarth is going to be talking about EMP at 12noon. If you go to their site you can read about him and what he’s done and what he’s doing, he is a widely considered to be a true hero of the Cold War. To read more and to listen to this show when it airs; here’s the site: http://empactradio.org/pvp/episode69-fritz-ermarth/

  6. AmandaK on September 29th, 2011
  7. I just watched Doomsday Preppers. David Kobler & Scott Hunt: if ya’ll want an extra hand around the compound let me know, I’m a un-certified Survivalist & a Primitive Living Skills expert. I have been out for a two weeks period with a Marine buddy of mine, i was teaching him something everyday. I noticed the “experts” on Doomsday Preppers said a human can last 1 week without water. That is IF you are just sitting around doing nothing. Survival Rule of 3 is: 3 HOURS without SHELTER, 3 DAYS without WATER, 3 WEEKS without FOOD. A human can only go 3 days without water when they are out moving. I put that to the test on my 2 week adventure. In 2010 i didn’t eat anything for 22 days, i drank 1/2 gallon of water a day but still i lost 76 pounds in that 22 days. Not eating for that long not only eats fat away but it also eats muscle away. I lost almost all of my muscle mass in my legs, and had to walk with a cane for almost 2 months. I believe i have a lot to offer. You can contact me by going to http://www.facebook.com/Decker1990

  8. David Decker on October 19th, 2011
  9. ows like Doomsday Preppers are a big part of why I’ve become so fond of National Geographic as a channel. I mean, where else are you going to find so much programmint that is both educational and fun? Which is just one of the reasons it’s such bad news for DirecTV customers right now that they’ll most likely be losing all their Fox channels on Nov 1st. Makes me glad to be an employee and subscriber of DISH Network where we have a long term contract with Fox so DISH customers don’t have to worry about that.

  10. Andrew on October 25th, 2011
  11. If Paul and Gloria Range expect earthquakes, they should very definitely securely anchor those shelves to the wall and the glass jars to the shelf with strapping tape and a shelf edge ledge to prevent the jars slipping out or they will lose most all of them. I have been through a few large earthquakes. Been there, done that. Hope they see this.

  12. K.D. on February 20th, 2012
  13. Great point. Received an e-mail saying the same thing. Will be posting about it this week.

  14. Editor on March 7th, 2012
  15. K.D., this was posted last night to alert/remind both “doomsday preppers” (a few of them read this blog) and others of properly storing their food and other supplies. Thank you for bringing this to everyone’s attention. As I told the other person who spotted this and contacted me, you probably saved the preps of a whole bunch of people down the road.

  16. Editor on March 10th, 2012

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