Are you a Community Member or a Lone Wolf Survivalist?

Claude Davis
By Claude Davis April 2, 2018 07:44

Are you a Community Member or a Lone Wolf Survivalist?

Prepping is for people with an independent streak. That’s pretty obvious; if you’re happy to depend on others to keep you safe and give you life’s necessities – and especially if you’re happy to depend on the government to do it – you probably won’t be too interested in prepping. After all, why stockpile supplies at your own expense if you think, in any crisis, friendly government employees will be along to give you everything you need?

Those of us who want to be prepared know better. We’ve seen, time after time, that the government can’t look after people properly when things go wrong; we need to be self-reliant. The question is how self-reliant we need to be. Does it make sense to join a prepper group, or are you better off relying entirely on your own skills and being a lone wolf? Both options have their supporters, but is there a clear winner? I think there is, and here’s why.

Survival societies

For preppers with a family there’s an obvious option; work together as a family group. You all know how to get along together, you’ll probably start a crisis in pretty much the same place, and you’ll want to stick together for mutual protection anyway. If you have kids you’ll need to take care of them, and maybe the same goes for elderly relatives too.

Families and others are also joining prepper groups in growing numbers. A group is just a family on a bigger, and usually looser, scale. Obviously most group members aren’t bound together by family ties, so what attracts them to the idea? In fact there are a few real strengths:

  • Safety in numbers. This old saying is very literally true in a SHTF situation. If society collapses there are going to be potentially hostile people everywhere, whether it’s starving refugees desperate to get their hands on some food or criminal gangs trying to exploit the situation. You can’t just go to bed at night and rely on waking up if a burglar breaks a window; you’re going to need security. The problem is you’re also going to need sleep. To maintain round-the-clock security takes several people – ask any Army veteran and they’ll tell you that even providing two sentries per squad gets tiring in a hurry. A group can afford to rotate people through sentry duty while others work or rest. There’s also the simple fact that a large group has a better chance of driving off looters than one man or woman on their own.
  • Collecting skills. There’s a limit to how much any one person can know, but in a group you can afford to have specialists. These might be people who already have valuable skills when they join, like doctors, farmers or combat vets. A group can also share the load of learning new skills among its members. Instead of one person trying to learn everything, one can become an expert on power generation, another a ham radio user and someone else can learn about keeping small livestock.
  • Sharing costs. Exactly the same applies to equipment. Everyone will need basic personal gear, but things like radios, agricultural equipment and medical gear can be purchased jointly – either by paying into a group fund, or each member taking responsibility for one item.
  • Mutual support. Loneliness can get to any of us. That isn’t a problem for the members of a group.

It’s not all rosy in the group garden, though. There’s also a downside – human nature. What if it turns out that, when the pressure’s on, not everyone gets along as well as you’d hoped? Groups need a clear chain of command, or people might start trying to take over. Others might decide to leave, and then what happens? Do they go with personal gear only, or can they take a share of group equipment? There’s potential for trouble here, especially if the guy who bought the radio is determined to take it with him when he hits the road.

Related: How To Tell When People Are Lying to You (in a crisis)

Rugged Individualists

Some people are worried enough about the potential risks of a group that they prefer to go it alone. The USA has a long tradition of individualism, and it’s natural that many will fall back on it as a crisis begins. There are some real plus points, too:

  • Easy decision making. There aren’t any arguments about what to do if you’re doing it all yourself, and that can be a real plus. If a group has leadership problems, too often people are so buy arguing about what to do that they don’t do anything. Plenty of prepper groups fall apart at the best of times, even without the stress of the world falling down around them – and if a group breaks up under pressure, it’s liable to get ugly. Going it alone avoids this risk.
  • Fly under the radar. If you’re willing to live out of your pack, a lone prepper can move pretty much undetected. It’s possible to move across most terrain quietly and almost invisibly – especially if you can move at night and lie up during the day.
  • Lower requirements. When you’re on your own you only need enough food and water for yourself. There’s no need to worry about creating a surplus for others who might be working on other things.

These are all good arguments for becoming a lone wolf – but they have to be weighed against some pretty serious drawbacks:

  • Lack of security. You have to sleep sometimes, and when you do you’re vulnerable. Sure, you might be able to move covertly – but if someone does pick up your trail, all they have to do is stay awake five minutes longer than you do and you’re in real trouble. There’s just no way to maintain round-the-clock security on your own.
  • No help handy. As a lone wolf you’re on your own – even if you fall and break a leg. Plenty people have died of hypothermia yards from the warmth of their home because they were injured and couldn’t reach it. As a singleton you lose the safety net of having other people who can rescue you from trouble and care for you until you recover.
  • As a lone wolf you need to do everything yourself, and that means having at least some knowledge of every skill you need. You’ll also have to get all your own equipment; there’s no group to share the cost with. The chances are that, after a pretty short time, you’ll really appreciate the benefits of specialization and cost-sharing.

Are you a Lone Wolf Survivalist or a Community Member?

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Claude Davis
By Claude Davis April 2, 2018 07:44
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83 Comments

  1. Labienus April 2, 10:32

    You neglected to mention the risks of a community based survival plan.
    The risk of someone betraying you for personal gain or out of revenge drastically increases.
    There’s the risk of allowing sexual predators around your wife and children.

    I stick to my small group of six. Me, my wife, my daughter, our two dogs and my niece. I will not work with anyone else unless I trust them with my life, and my family’s lives, and they agree with me for our lives will literally be in each other’s hands.

    That’s my opinion on this matter.

    Reply to this comment
    • GNP April 2, 16:16

      I love that you included your two dogs in the group count. They are absolutely family. And can actually be helpful when it comes to security. But also a liability when you’re trying to stay quiet. I hope we never need to face these kinds of choices in our lifetimes. But it’s nice to know that people are increasingly becoming more prepared.

      Reply to this comment
      • Labienus April 12, 01:10

        Luckily they are rather quiet in general unless someone tries to break in. They are very loud and unpleasant then. But it’s no matter to me. All plans must be flexible enough to handle things not going well. If we need quiet above all else, we hit our alternate bugout shelter. Nothing insulates sound as well as a few yards of soil.
        I never abandon family, pets too. They’re family to me and have more than earned that.

        Reply to this comment
  2. Hoosier Homesteader April 2, 12:03

    The most important thing to take away from this, is REALLY know the people in your group. How about your neighbor you’ve known for years? Sure, you know them, but do you REALLY know them? Can you trust them with your life?
    Immediate family is always the best way to go, provided all’s well in your family and it’s a good solid unit. It isn’t a perfect world; especially the people that occupy it.
    Choose carefully. Your life, and those with you, could be on the line.
    Going it alone might make sense it you’re trained professionally, but the average Joe needs a hand. Even if it’s just to watch the house while you take care of some chores.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Bill April 2, 13:57

    Claude’s piece really resonates. I live in a small town and wrote a book on moving to small towns. I find myself doing individual prepping AND connecting to the community at large via NextDoor.com, which I brought here. It’s like a big neighborhood chatroom. Many residents complain about the inadequacy of local government, such as our local water purveyor and limited health intervention services, but yet are greatly dependent on them. We have a volunteer group called C.E.R.T. but am not aware of anything they’ve done to protect us–though a firestorm might be different. I guess I prefer the middle ground–keeping my options open depending on the event. Most here are committed to helping each other but they may be naive about their ability to respond to a real crisis, such as an EMP.

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis Author April 2, 20:43

      I think a community like that offers the best chance. You’re right that many of your neighbors might be naive about how capable and prepared they are, but in a real crisis they’re likely to turn to the ones who ARE obviously prepared. At that point they’ll be willing to listen and, most likely, help out in exchange for advice and leadership.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Wannabe April 2, 14:18

    Trust and a good understanding on what is expected of everybody. Maybe even a signed document everyone votes and agrees on might be a good idea. Nothing that is two thousand pages of course, but just a few paragraphs and when it is violated then it can be addressed. But trust is key. Ever see the 1984 Red Dawn movie? One of their friends that fought along side them betrayed them and led the enemy to them. I know it is just a movie but illustrates the necessity of complete trust. Know those in your group. Get too big and it becomes increasingly a problem. Stay small and close, and love one another.

    Reply to this comment
    • Boberto April 2, 18:03

      I remember “Red Dawn”. Helluva movie. I was empathetic to the poor guy they had to eject. What would any of us do if we were forced by circumstances? As far as a written agreement, no way is that going to mean much.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Old & Gray April 2, 14:36

    Forgot to mention the “BOTH” option. Integrating the group and lone wolf methods based on operational and security necessity. At least one member needs to be 80% lone wolf. Affords for a larger perimeter security zone, better intel gathering and flexibility of a dimensional defensive zone. BUT you have to have the experience, tools and skills. So more for an advanced person or group, but something to strive for. Good Luck!

    Reply to this comment
    • GNP April 2, 16:19

      Good call. Even SEVERAL lone wolves. Four. One goes in each direction each day to do their own thing, find supplies, take note of any unusual activity nearby, etc.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Jake the Pup. April 2, 16:00

    I’m the guy working alone and will continue to do so. The only people I would even consider trusting are my adult kids. Consider this; If push comes to shove who do you think your neighbor, best friend, brother-in law or prepper group will choose, You or their wife and kids? Perhaps it’s just me but trusting someone else with your life is always a crap shoot.

    Reply to this comment
    • PopUp April 2, 16:51

      Very true and well put Jake! I guess that’s why the Army doesn’t want soldiers to take their families to a war zone or training exercises. That’s why the lone wolf at least has to be a tangent at a minimum and any other team members have to be UNQUESTIONABLY loyal and trustworthy – facets that are difficult to find outside the blood pool. I think you have this one right!

      Reply to this comment
  7. MJB April 2, 16:24

    Some of us don’t have a choice. Having recently moved to a different state where we don’t know anyone it’s up to our family unit of four people. The level of trust I need to include others in our prepping would take years to build up.

    Reply to this comment
    • Alex April 2, 19:51

      My attempts to create a same-minded prep.group in Metropolitan NY has failed miserably – there are no takers. Even with a remote location provided. Though, absolutely everyone is concerned with the future. They will be eager to join-in when TSHTF, but those “reluctant”, unprepared financially/mentally/physically and materially Johnny-come-lately pardners are way more trouble then help – unreliable free-riders. Will have to stay alone, unfortunately.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Miss Kitty April 2, 17:08

    I’ve been burned too many times by people I’ve trusted to be entirely happy having to depend on a group, but there are definitely plusses to having others to share the burdens of life. A compromise might be the medieval-type settlement I mentioned in another post. A group lives independently within the walls of a small fortified town, working together on community projects and alone on personal ones. It worked for centuries.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Boberto April 2, 17:53

    I only wish that the government could step in and make everything “OK”. Wishful thinking I suggest.. My wife and I would go it alone until such time as we attract “like minded” folks with the same desire and understanding the concept of being self sufficient. Safety in numbers is the clue to survival; be careful, however, as to whom you invite to your table. They may turn on you and yours.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Arizona Dad April 2, 18:11

    I agree with Old & Gray that at least one member of the group needs to be 80% lone wolf. Someone has to think like a survivor but also be capable of leading the other group members in the things they all need to do to survive.
    Having said that, I feel it’s better to be a part of a small community – just choose your community members carefully! Everyone must be able to contribute what they can materially (equipment, etc.) and with their time and abilities. Some will tend to gardening or livestock, some with be sentry/security, etc.
    Everyone must realize this is NOT a vacation and all are expected to work every day as necessary for survival and protection. And everyone should be proficient with a firearm and willing to carry and use it.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Donna April 2, 18:25

    Always remember: Anyone is capable of anything. When your back is against the wall or if your in dire situation you can and will do anything to survive. Keep that in mind when you are putting people together as a group. Tough decisions to be made.

    Reply to this comment
  12. peewee April 2, 18:38

    Even family can be a problem. What do you do when you have anti-gun members that would turn you in a heart beat. Democrat Know-it-all;s are the worse kind

    Reply to this comment
    • Arizona Dad April 2, 22:02

      There’s a few people in my extended family that the rest of us know would not be “invited to the party” and know nothing about our plans or where to find us. And that’s just how it has to be.

      Reply to this comment
    • Jake the Pup April 3, 01:11

      I know how negative my comments may sound to some and I believe everyone needs to do what they are comfortable with. However, think about a real desperate scenario, then mentally go through your list of friends and family considering who you could trust when food and water are near gone. Consider that you may have to turn family and friends away because they can contribute nothing. There is strength in numbers but………………………..

      Reply to this comment
      • pbpossum April 3, 23:10

        I agree there, Pup, it’s a very narrow line you have to walk and make a hard decision at the worst time…my personal preference–a small, tight group where everybody knows each others strengths & weaknesses, but respects them just the same & you learn to adapt and cover each other. I don’t think there is a ‘right’ & ‘wrong’ to a lot of stuff–you just have to go on your gut, intuition, and say a prayer….

        Reply to this comment
    • Labienus April 12, 01:17

      You are delusional. The government will never try taking your guns away. It’s ineffective, costly and not safe. Use your head!

      Reply to this comment
  13. vidyaguy April 2, 19:13

    You did not mention the most treacherous factor: politics. The majority of individuals in a “community” will be relatively young and – most probably – politically correct. There will be significant elements of the “community” that – regardless of their real talent – will see themselves as “symbols in the search for equality.” They will be experienced at manipulating the decision-making mechanics of the community. The community’s self-image will probably be exemplary, but its effectiveness when facing actual adversity when decisions are critical will be sorely compromised. And you may find yourself in a position of co-dependency: having to repeatedly bail them out under conditions of constant non-compliance and second-guessing, but unable to leave lest they fall apart.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Wolveriner April 2, 19:57

    I would not want anyone in my group that was not capable of being a lone wolf. And I would not want to be in a group where everyone was not capable of being a lone wolf.

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis Author April 3, 12:29

      I think that’s too hard a line to draw. I’d happily have an elderly group member who could never be a lone wolf but knew everything there was to know about food preservation. Their knowledge would be a massive asset. That’s the good thing about groups, whether it’s a family one or not – they can, collectively, have more skills than any individual ever could. And that maximizes your chance of survival.

      Reply to this comment
  15. Just some guy April 2, 19:59

    A buddy and I penned on some paper what it would take to run a (hooefully) successful operation in times like these. Security is the first we rattled off. 4 stationary sentry posts can give 360 degrees of security. However, in order to be able to do that realistically and effectively for 24 hours a day, you would need 2 – 3 shifts and a roving sentry to make sure your static guys are okay. Security would need comms, something central like a dispatch or HQ to maintain organized flow of Intel. If something does go down, sentries under fire would need backup that doesnt include any of your static post guys, QRF, in order to keep 360 perimeter even during an attack. As far as recon and scavaging, sending out patrols was our go-to, and having a listening/observation post (LP/OP) beyond your perimeter is never a bad idea. Now, this is in as best keeping with current military FOB/base organization. Problem is… I don’t even think we know that many people, let alone trust. This doesnt include other essential jobs like cook, hunter/gatherers, someone to chop wood (probably most of the day), laundry, and water collection if you don’t have a well or body of water nearby (which you may have to protect as well).

    It is a large operation (theoretically), I know, but having to perform double, triple and more duties is very tiring. When you overwork, it’s only a matter of time before someone makes a fatal mistake.

    Reply to this comment
    • Just some guy April 2, 20:01

      Btw, I think our final tally was something like 64 personnel to effectively run his cabin as our “post”

      Reply to this comment
      • Miss Kitty April 2, 21:00

        If you add in family and “infrastructure” I figure the number to be closer to 300 minimum. 64 I’m assuming is just for security and defensive purposes, but you’re going to need extra people for support services and people will want their kids and other relatives with them.

        Reply to this comment
        • Doreen April 3, 00:40

          “…and other relatives…” and therein is the major problem. At which point do you draw the line? Your daughter-in-law wants HER parents and siblings to be included; those siblings want THEIR in-laws included. Frankly, our son has turned into a liberal like his wife; don’t think we could trust either of them.

          Reply to this comment
    • Alex April 3, 06:34

      Unsustainable and, out of para- or military setting, impossible. Solution – cameras & microphones with NV (IR is un-affordable, but obviously the best). Create a central OP/LP with an alarm signal transmitted to the “duty” person working nearby. This will cost a lot, but is the ONLY way, as I see it. Trip-lines – they are detectable and noisy – lost element of surprise and shall rush the assault in.

      Reply to this comment
  16. Rod April 2, 20:31

    I have to favor knowing how to do both. Circumstances change, and can do so rapidly. When moving from place to place the lone wolf skill set is necessary. After finding an established community then teamwork is necessary. Should that community be disbanded for any reason you will need to rely on the lone wolf skillset again. Both should be understood and prepared for.

    Reply to this comment
  17. pbpossum April 2, 22:39

    This is all very interesting reading, I agree with a lot of it. Alex, you mention Metropolitan NY—I am in central NJ and I can’t find anyone either! Everyone seems to think everything’s fine & dandy!! I find myself in the lone wolf category, but I don’t really want to be. I would prefer a small 8-10 group, that could assemble in northeast Pa. preferably, but the trust factor seems to be broken with a lot of people. Plus you want people that you actually like to be around. Too many hot heads and your done before you even begin…

    Reply to this comment
    • Miss Kitty April 2, 22:50

      Possum, you and Alex might want to join forces. NJ and NYC aren’t too far apart.

      Reply to this comment
      • pbpossum April 2, 23:03

        You know, after I posted that comment, I was thinking the same thing………Alex??

        Reply to this comment
        • Old & Gray April 2, 23:14

          Sometimes you have to join forces with a group that is near your secret location versus the likes of the very left leaning (the gov’t will save me) pool that seems to be pretty darn thick in those locales. This way your lone wolf skills and movement can be used to get you there and your group ready when you arrive. Just something to think about.

          Reply to this comment
        • Alex April 3, 06:10

          See below.

          Reply to this comment
    • Alex April 3, 05:25

      I’ll be passing through NJ (Rt. 78W to Rt.81W) in about 3-4 weeks on my way to the farm. Looking for a man with a kid or two – ready to work, fight and die for. Though, you’ll have to carry your own financial burden, which is significant, to have all the things to survive. Including food for a year for each member of your family, shelter (a furnished cargo container), meds, clothing, ammo, etc., etc., etc. cesalex1@msn.com

      Reply to this comment
      • Alex April 3, 06:55

        NY, NJ, CT, MA, DE, ME & 1/2 PA & VA – are TSHTF death traps. North is too far, too expensive and too cold. Plus, one has to go through megalopolises to get there. NW – too far – requires a complete relocation to be developed/sustained. Only SW for us. Though, with VERY few suitable locations.

        Reply to this comment
        • SHEEPHERDER April 3, 07:16

          Alex, my brother: NW is too far but the SW isn’t? What am I missing here? I happen to be in the SW, a plethora of areas. Talk to me, your giving up, it aint over yet.

          Reply to this comment
          • a April 3, 07:48

            When I mentioned NW – it was about NW Redoubt of James Wesley, Rawles (see https://survivalblog.com/). That is as far as a few thousand miles from NYC. TN, on the other hand, is “only” 800 miles, about 14 hrs.non-stop with a trailer and 2 stops for diesel. Most of it is through farmlands by Rt. 81 and Rt. 40 with plenty of smaller parallel roads. Just as soon as one clears NY, NJ and some of PA – about 75-100 miles = 3 hrs. from NYC – you are relatively safe. So, the main objective is to watch that proverbial balloon going up and scoot immediately. Remember Ebola starting in TX-then JetBlue to Chicago and back – and finally in NYC, but only 1 case; if there were 2-3 more – I was ready to go before the bridges/tunnels closure. BTW, tells you a lot about criminally incompetent Gov. bureaucrats. Too late for me to give up. Totally committed in $$, land and effort.

            Reply to this comment
      • pbpossum April 3, 22:26

        Sorry Alex, I am the wrong gender and I don’t have any kids, at least not human ones!!

        Reply to this comment
        • Alex April 4, 04:00

          My bad, did not explain myself clearly. Being an old-school cotton-pickin chauvinist, I automatically assumed that you are a man. Furthermore, when I describe a possible candidate for the group, I meant a family/married man. Statistically we are older, calmer, more experienced, responsible and cautious – hav a lot to loose.

          With that cleared: I already have a remote place in the mountains further SW. The work on its total self-sustainability is progressing, but slowly – I’m sitting on two chairs – NY and my farm. While trying to spend as much time and money as possible on the prep, I still forced to go back to NY to my son and business; which means I did not move permanently. Though, dreaming to.

          Reply to this comment
    • SHEEPHERDER April 3, 07:27

      PBPOSSUM: understand your situation, the N.E. is a death sentence! When the SHTF you are more than welcome to come to the SW. We have our patriots and could use a few more.

      Reply to this comment
      • pbpossum April 3, 22:23

        Thank you for the offer, but unfortunately I do animal rescue and I just can not, will not leave them behind. It’s hard when it’s just “you” For the record, although I live in central NJ, I do have a small cabin/ house in a rural area, on a dead end, dirt rd, with only 2 close neighbors—hence why I bought it in the first place,— but I am having trouble trying to get the solar panels needed to be off grid. I am having a hand pump installed right in the kitchen sink,& trying to take other precautions as much as I can. I ‘m making sure that I also am at least 75 miles away from any nuclear sites(whole bunch in NY/NJ/PA).. It’s not easy, there’s so much to think about. Reading and stashing away as many books and odds & ends as I can…

        Reply to this comment
        • Miss Kitty April 3, 22:35

          Possum, we need more good people like you! Kudos to you for your commitment to the furbabies! In a shtf situation do you have facilities for the animals in your care? Extra help might be necessary to safely move/ look after them.

          Reply to this comment
          • pbpossum April 3, 22:50

            well, yes & no…I’m trying as best as I can. I ‘m almost tempted to put in a ad for ‘nearly free’ rent in exchange for help with animals and house repairs. It figures “Miss Kitty” & pbPOSSUM would be looking out for the critters….:)

            Reply to this comment
  18. SHEEPHERDER April 2, 23:32

    I prefer both options. Bad example but, Darryl on The Walking Dead series.

    Reply to this comment
    • Miss Kitty April 3, 02:55

      He survived a few more seasons didn’t he? (I quit watching after season 2.) Any way, survival is the key point: he had the right mentality so good example.

      Reply to this comment
      • SHEEPHERDER April 3, 06:26

        Miss Kitty: the best plans are immediately compromised after the first shot is fired. Love your posts. I am humbled by your response.

        Reply to this comment
      • SHEEPHERDER April 3, 07:33

        Thank you. Watched, up to now, the seventh season. Liked the dynamics of the group, reforming and forming again. I would recommend to watch the Jericho Series, only two seasons, good group dynamics. Again, love your posts!

        Reply to this comment
        • Miss Kitty April 3, 23:05

          If you haven’t read it I would recommend The Stand by Steven King. Be sure you get the unabridged edition. It’s long (about 1000 pages in paperback) but it’s an excellent shtf set story. Escaping from post-pandemic NYC scenes creepy as anything!

          Reply to this comment
  19. PopUp April 2, 23:38

    If you’re ever concerned about the loyalty of your group members to the correct value set, trustworthiness and/or being a turncoat, also prep for using internal security and protection plans that ONLY you control. If you are going to do this though, you will have to be the lone wolf or the best lone wolf of the group and share this with no one in the group. It entails having total control to maybe the secret location of the water source or defensive weapons/ammo that you have hidden. Whatever crucial supply or element it is, it must be something to keep them from killing you and allow you to continue to move about freely (so as you can continue to provide it to them.. If they want to interrogate or waterboard you, they’d just be sending themselves to an early grave. I personally control the water purification process and highly needed medical stuff. Both are small key components that are necessary, yet my personal stash is very safe from prying eyes and separate from the group’s stuff I control. Stab me in the back, you’ve just stabbed yourself. I’ve toyed with the concept and it works. Just don’t get a big head, instead be very calm, cool and direct and only when you need to.

    Reply to this comment
    • Jake the Pup April 3, 01:27

      Interesting idea PopUp. It is certainly one I will toss around.
      It reminds me of an old episode of a show that I think was called “Survivor”. People were left on an island and were eliminated through voting or challenges if I remember right. Anyway there was only one guy in the group capable of diving to spear fish thereby supplying food. They were afraid to vote him off the island for that reason. He eventually won as the last survivor.

      Reply to this comment
  20. Ivy Mike April 3, 01:13

    I’m too danged old to get under a heavy pack and go lone wolfing off into the wilds, I choose community and aim to die defending my pillow top mattress to the end. I live in a rural community of about 150 modest homes, mostly younger working class families and a few of us old farts. Everybody has chickens, goats, a couple of steers, lots of gardens around, just about every trade represented by one or more of us. Since this is Texas on weekend mornings there is a rousing chorus of gunfire, pistols, shotguns, semi auto long guns. When the wind is right you can hear the shooting range 2 miles down the road, gets to sounding like a war zone at times.
    I feel good about our potential to work together in a bad time.
    In 1930 Americans living on the Great Plains suffered a shtf with the Great Depression and the environmental collapse called the Dust Bowl. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan tells the story of how our ancestors dealt with it, great book to read just to get an idea of what it’s like when it all goes wrong.

    Reply to this comment
  21. Chris F. April 3, 01:47

    There are many, many thoughtful comments on here that are worthy of a lot more elaboration, and I have plenty to say from experience as well… however, it’s tax time so my time is limited (ugh). What’s missing is the third major category: community member, then lone wolf alone, and then the *appropriate* livestock guardian dog breed escort option.

    An appropriate breed of guardian dog is more than capable of doing the same patrol and protection duties of at least four professionally trained humans. They routinely protect flocks of livestock from coyote packs and even large predators (from mountain lions to wolves to bears) and will fight to the death if necessary, and they will definitely follow and protect their assigned human(s) in the very same way. They are NOT dogs that will attack on command, or instantly obey any command at all (at least not in my experience), since they are bred to be alone and think things through for themselves without any supervision. In fact, they are pretty laid back (think of sleepy Polar bears laying in the middle of the front yard during the day, with chickens and ducks pecking around their heads at any dead things that might have fallen off their beards). They won’t eat the UPS man or electric meter maid.

    The biggest problem with being a lone wolf (whether by choice or circumstance against your will) is having to sleep sometime, and not having anyone there to watch your back. The right breed of guardian dog will automatically take all those worries away while also being very quiet and sneaky when assessing a possible threat, or just plain terrifying when driving off an obvious problem. On the downside they eat huge amounts of food (work of four large men average = food for four large men required)… although they’ll also pitch in with hunting for themselves when small game is available, or stealing larger carcasses from coyote packs.

    I have to get back to my spreadsheets but can say that over the last six years of dealing with an elderly ~115 pound Great Pyrenees female guardian dog have blown me away. She doesn’t know how to respond to a single command (other than “DINNER!!!”) but has chased countless predators away from our sheep, rabbits, and poultry flocks. Her nickname is “Ghost” since we can hike for miles through the forest, never see hear her for hours, but then turn around and suddenly there she is only a few feet away.

    Our “puppy” finally turned three years old last month, he’s a ~125 pound Great Pyr / Akbash 50/50 mix and in fact way too much dog for even a 200 acre property. He stays close for the most part, but runs to meet the coyotes and wild hogs when he hears them miles away. He sometimes comes home covered with blood, sometimes injured, but seems impervious to pain. We’ve seen him hide behind trees only to pounce out at one of the cats or other dogs (he doesn’t hurt them, just clearly laughs at his own private “ambush jokes”).

    So that’s a third option to the Community or Lone Wolf question here in my opinion: having the right breed of proven guardian dogs along in some kind of a desperate life-or-death survival situation. They are not pets, they eat a lot, they can be shot dead like any other living being… but are still so observant, independent, intelligent, and sneaky that I’d choose two large guardian dogs over four or even six armed men.

    Even so, I’d also choose the Community option every time whenever possible. The right guardian dogs are excellent, but they will simply eat the deck of cards when you really want to play a game of Gin Rummy… tend to slobber and shake ticks all over you when sharing a tent… and will eat your dinner for you in a split-second if you turn away to sneeze. People are much better company every time.

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  22. Woodsman April 3, 02:05

    Many things to consider and being capable of being a lone wolf and also being able to be compatible with a group. What I have also found is people get home sick in a short time and some may wander off leaving a groups site vulnerable should that / those persons be captured and interrogated. They must be allowed to leave but only when a group is preparing to move to another area so as not to have knowledge of the group that stays together.

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  23. Randyman April 3, 02:13

    Adopt and survive, need to be prepared to do both. Split up your food stocks, people may know you prep but probably don’t know how much. Keep your mouth shut and have things in places even your family don’t know. Lone wolf may work for a young highly skilled individual, but lonely life. I’m too old so probably community is best play. Protect my pillow top bed, I like that strategy.

    Reply to this comment
    • Miss Kitty April 3, 03:01

      With all due respect I think most of us fall into the “too old” category. Community is really the only practical solution for a bunch of reasons – someone to help you if you get injured is just one of many. Too bad we can’t get together a group for a trial run before tshtf.

      Reply to this comment
      • SHEEPHERDER April 3, 06:58

        Miss Kitty: too old= wisdom. I agree with the community aspect of what you are saying… but wouldn’t that put a BIG target on what we are trying to preserve? Who remembers the Cuban missile crisis, or the sonic boom tests of the sixties, or the John Birch Society or even sputnik? Would love for you to be in my community but, we would have to keep it so quite. I could count on one hand the people I could count on and even they don’t know I am a prepper. They are great people but, when it comes to crunch time, will they understand the group comes before the needs of the individual? Hence, I feel every group needs a dedicated ” Lone Wolf”. I know this sounds like an oxymoron but, it works. I’ve been through three SHTF scenarios and we need fools like me. Look at Jeb Stuart, until he screwed up at Gettysburg. Independent but, commited to the group.

        Reply to this comment
        • Miss Kitty April 3, 22:53

          Thanks for the thought but I’m not able to relocate, so … lone wolf by necessity. Maybe my math is sketchy as far as numbers go – you’re right though about more people =bigger target. Let’s not forget that arial recon in the form of drones is (relatively) cheap and available to the public now . Ghillie net can only cover so much.

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  24. woodsman April 3, 03:29

    There is a lot of food for thought with the information posted here
    I would also like to addthis:
    Survival also requires diciplin. So we all including myself need to do our best to maintain and manage our health and strenght both mentally and physically. Replacing an hour of tv a day with physical workouts according to our own abilities will increase our chances of survival. The biggest obsticle there is actually doing it. It is not a temporary thing, it is a change of thinking from “Ihave to do it” to “I choose to do it”. After a short time, that tv , video game or computer won’t seem so important.
    Best of luck to you all . action = success

    Reply to this comment
    • Alex April 3, 05:50

      Just working on the self-sustainability of the redoubt/farm at an “old-fart” speed and endurance, should keep one in shape and more-or-less healthy. No TV. Internet mostly for security. Small library. Growing collection of DVD’s and Videotapes. Old National Geographic. Specialty books. After a day of farm/shop labor, if not exhausted enough, an evening’s 1.5-2.0 mile trek (fully LRP loaded) – puts one asleep in no time.

      Reply to this comment
  25. Lonejack April 3, 03:39

    I am 77, just moved into a retirement community.
    A few months ago the community had an electrical outage that almost took the life of a member, due to lack of electricity for an oxygen system. Woke up a lot of the community; some are still swimming up denile. Let’s say I just joined a group of preppers.
    I am still a lone wolf up to a point. I have joined the community and have been giving my when asked.
    I am still doing lone wolf prepping. Outfitting our van as a bug-out vehicle, more a place to store some supplies.One might question how effective someone like me can be. Well, as a follower of Christ, I want to include as many people as possible. Yes, even those who at first scoffed when I mentioned being prepared for possibilities.
    My main focus is collecting WRITTEN knowledge so others may be able to use it when they need it; and storing it in a secure location.

    I was a missionary to Haiti for 15 years+. I witnessed what occurs when disaster strikes first hand; 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Mathew, 2016. And the 2017 hurricanes from a distance.
    Even a poor nation like Haiti has citizens who behaved fairly civil, at first; then some began to go rogue once they realized that help was not forthcoming. But others stepped in and took care of things.
    It is my experience that people just want help, and are very wiling to join and work when they are convinced that their survival depends upon it. For example, a politically correct neighbor who has to commute some distance to work. Enter SHFT – You take care of his wife and kids. Let me ask You how loyal he will be if he is able to join u with his family? Or the mother, after You help her kids and her?
    I will say one thing, no matter lone wolf or not. You now the stuff and others WILL look to You to lead them.
    Don’t worry about loyalty, if SHFT, Your community will form.

    Reply to this comment
    • Not named April 3, 04:13

      Amen, I agree completely. The people who you meet downrange are never the ones who come back home to TV-land, and those who may live in TV-land today are not necessarily those who they will be post-SHTF either. In addition to your van project, have you thought about securing a temperature-controlled storage unit within driving distance as well? Gee whiz, you are right about planned loyalties vs. actual post-SHTF communities, that’s what I see now as well after living just three short months in Afghanistan not so long ago. God Bless.

      Reply to this comment
    • SHEEPHERDER April 3, 07:05

      You know I agree with you 100%! I’ve seen the worst of humanity at the same time the best of humanity was coming out. The worst usually is eliminated, but not always… at first. God will give us an equilibrium.

      Reply to this comment
  26. Fasteneight April 3, 13:07

    I plan on staying out of sight, out of mind, bunkered down. Maybe a year. Let those up top kill each other, eat each other, and starve. Then, the ones that are left will be ready to work together. I do have to come out sometime. Concentrating on finding a woman now. Might have to get one last minute. “Hey, I have a safe place, let’s go”. I’m sure that will work when it all falls apart. Just depends on how desperate things are. I’m rural, foothills of Ozark mountains. But, I wish I had the help now. Bunkers are a lot of work. Especially undetectable ones.

    Reply to this comment
  27. Lehua Lady April 3, 17:03

    I’m a single lady,.nearly 80,.still working full time and of necessity, am a lone wolf. I can’t find anyone within walking distance of my little home who is: 1 – trustworthy 2 – interested in prepping. I would love to be a part of a community, but unless I move, that’s not an option. I already know my immediate neighbors (both sides and across the dirt road) will turn icky and demanding in a bad situation. My daughter lives on the East coast, my son in AZ, and I’m in the Pacific NW….so not much hope of a family group there. I’m seriously thinking of moving, but hate to give up my job. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Reply to this comment
    • Arizona Dad April 3, 23:33

      Lehua Lady, that’s a tough one. You may not have any other choice but to “fish or cut bait”. That is, keep living and working in the Pacific NW and take your chances in a SHTF situation (not recommended… sorry ma’am), or see if your son in AZ would let you come live with (or near) him. The East Coast is just too densely populated and has too many targets too close together that folks who would love to see our nation destroyed may go after. Best wishes to you.

      Reply to this comment
    • woodsman101 April 4, 00:42

      Lehua Lady,
      While it is good to be prepared it is also good to live life one day at a time and enjoy life for tomorrow is promissed to no one. It depends on your relationships with your family in Arizona or anywhere for that matter on wether or not to move. Once you have a reasonable prep done, maintain it by refreshing it and live your life to its fullest . A SHTF may not happen in your particular area and it may be a limited area that is affected. No one knows, but don’t stop enjoying your life wherever you live. Starting over somewhere else can be a rough way to go as well. It is one thing to know someone somewhat but a total different thing to live with someone . Making true friends will take time and depend on where you look. If it is in a bar or simular place may not be the first place you want to look. You don’t really know what type of person someone is ultil you spend time getting to know them. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy a drink now and then but thats at home or only with close friendships that exist, and I never get drunk. Best wishes, but remember God is still in charge.

      Reply to this comment
      • Lehua Lady April 6, 15:57

        Oh, Woodsman, you are so Right On! God is in charge and He has been very good to me. I love where I live, I love my little house and garden, and I’m blessed in many ways.

        Reply to this comment
    • Miss Kitty April 4, 02:57

      Is your job something that you could do from home? I know the west coast is expensive, so a move to a cheaper part of the country might help on all fronts. But moving anywhere is a major hassle and physically/emotionally/financially draining and it’s easy to forget how much so if you haven’t done it for a while. You might want to investigate the costs of living in a couple different locations – if living near relatives is too much togetherness maybe you have friends in an area of interest who can give you the dirt on what its really like to live there. There are lots of other sources of info too, including HGTV. House Hunters is a good way to get an idea of how much property costs and what the area has for amenities – just to get ideas on areas you might not normally consider. Good luck to you. P.S. – the northeast is almost as expensive as the west coast and the weather stinks unless you like snow. Summers have been really hot the last few years and we’re overdue for another hurricane. Spring and fall are nice though and we don’t often have earthquakes. When we do they’re generally bitty ones☺

      Reply to this comment
    • Labienus April 5, 02:45

      Try to form contacts within an hours drive of your town. Meet up with them in public, like a diner or a mall. Talk with them a few times, get to know each other. It will at least give you a baseline of information about their integrity.

      Reply to this comment
      • Lehua Lady April 13, 19:55

        Good ideas, everyone. Right now, I’m a full time (in-house) substitute teacher at the local high school. This is a GREAT job for me since the kiddos all call me Grandma and are very nice to me! The winters are mild as are the summers, so I don’t want to move. I think Labienus’s idea of forming a few contacts is a great idea. I’m going to do that! I’ll limit myself to those “across the big bridge”…that’s only 15 miles away but in a different world from my little place!

        Reply to this comment
  28. TheSouthernNationalist April 4, 19:12

    Years ago I had the lone wolf mentality but now I have family members that depend on me. They are on board with prepping which is a big help and we have two neighbors that we have formed a mutual aid agreement with as well.

    Each member of our little group purchased equipment such as radios that are same type and brand so we can communicate with each other. We all have our own gardens and share food among each other as well.

    We have our road mapped out and can shut it down if needed to keep out vehicles. We all have water sources as well that are protected.
    So I have gone from one to seven.

    Reply to this comment
  29. Lone Wolf April 6, 16:17

    Lone Wolf.

    Case in point look at the picture of the patrolling
    group.

    Notice anything?

    That’s right they are all dead.

    Why?

    I saw them three mile off.

    How?

    The bozo wearing a powder puff t-shirt.

    Reply to this comment
  30. vocalpatriot April 9, 03:35

    Being we are Americans,
    it should be plain to see:
    We are community members.
    Think about that.

    Reply to this comment
    • Labienus April 12, 02:42

      Nationality doesn’t impress me. I was born here, but patriotism doesn’t protect my family, feed their bellies or dress their wounds. Base sentimentality is dangerous.

      Reply to this comment
  31. Labienus April 12, 01:22

    On here I have been called foolish or harsh, but I mean what I say. My family unit is my survival group. Nobody gets in without my approval, and I won’t just hand that out. I don’t care if you are a 50 year old structural engineer, or a 20 year old pregnant woman. That won’t change anything. I need people I can trust that have skills I need. I will not join another group. It’s too dangerous. If some large bandit groups comes to wipe out a settlement, and they offer to leave you all alone for good if they just have someone’s daughter, I bet many of you will do it. I would leave my families lives to the whims of others.

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