Characteristic Traits Of The Survivalist – Prepper


Traits – Characteristics – Attributes

The survivalist is not your average ‘Joe’ (sorry Joe). There are many characteristic traits of the preparedness-minded survivalist / prepper which work together to embody the overall package of who they (we) are.

It seems to me that some traits are learned while others come natural.

The following list of characteristic traits I believe to be partially or largely common among the personality and character of the survivalist prepper:


The ability to adapt to a situation is easier said than done. It is perhaps the #1 survival trait to a desired outcome under difficult circumstances. Being able to improvise not only requires practical experience and knowledge of many things and situations, it also works best with a mindset of openness – not being restricted by fear or normalcy bias.

A natural curiosity of how things work or why things are the way they are, facilitates more adaptability. Simply accepting something does not necessarily lead to knowledge, understanding, and workings of that something.

A good blend of both optimism and pessimism lends the ability to see the negative of a situation without the debilitating side-effects of negativity or excessive pessimism. Too much of one or the other upsets the balance of clear thinking.

Staying or regaining calm enables critical and clear thinking whereas high emotions may cloud judgement and good decision-making. Being able to function in a effective capacity during an adrenaline dump is not easy. Some have never experienced this – but if and when you do, you’ll understand the issue.

The ability to move on after a mistake or failure while not wasting time or getting bogged down in what is now the past. Move forward. Look to the future.

The power of intuition – ‘knowing’ without knowing why – is a powerful survivor trait. Gut instincts not only come from experience, but there’s some ‘magic’ going on too… a unique combination of our senses.

Thinking outside the box. Questioning, bending, or breaking the rules when necessary. Most people simply accept the yokes and chains which are placed upon them while a few others do not necessarily accept this under all circumstances.

It takes a strong will to survive when the going gets extremely tough. Some give up while others press on.

I will do it! The mission will be accomplished.

Most people seem to have general difficulty making decisions, especially under difficult circumstances. The ability to make decisions (especially good ones) is an attribute. Keep things moving forward.

Insight, anticipation, and foresight comes from a combination of knowledge, experience, and situational awareness.

The ability to plan ahead, stay organized and work towards a goal.

Care to add a few more?

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why

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Determination – Pushing through a difficult situation, even if it means goal-setting, to achieve a necessary end-result.

Resilience – The ability, through determination, to do as one of our own often says: “Adapt and Overcome”

Relaxed, Good Sprit;

Seems that people that are Prepared or living the Lifestyle, seem to be more relaxed with their lives; they understand if/when a SHTF event happens they are more likely to ‘weather the storm’ better and understand the consequences better. Obviously they will ‘probably’ be more defended and have better knowledge of what may/will come and the best ways to live with “Lights Out” or most any situation.

I also believe that these same people are happier with themselves and their situations. It becomes an inner joy to the point of reflecting in their attitudes and demeanor. Those that prepare seem to just have a glow or radiance about them.

Let’s face it, knowing that if sitting on the thrown and the TP holder has only 3 wraps left on it, you’re ‘got it covered’ with the 600 rolls stored up in the Deep Pantry. That, my friends, is what is known as being Prepared for a catastrophe.


Hahahah! A combination of foresight, adaptability and the ability to stay calm under stress might PREVENT NRP from waddling down to his deep pantry under those conditions!

NRP, so true about Lifestyle. Kinda like the idea that people who are most afraid of dying have a lot of unfinished business in their lives and they don’t recognize that it’s causing most of the fear. Feeling prepared truly is a cumulative reward.

As for TP, I mentioned previously that I’d just realized something important about my brand (that my kids tease me about because it doesn’t have oily additives so it’s thin): the size of the squares has now been reduced but not the price, of course. In honor of adaptability, instead of complaining, I’ll just be sure that I eventually stock 900 rolls.

Just for me. 😉

Only YOU can make laugh so hard, as I do, when reading this site ‘especially about TP’. Dh thought I had lost my marbles again..said it was all your fault.
Still,, only 600 rolls, you need to go shopping.


I think you missed the comment from NRP – close to corn fields – I have heard a little about corn crops substituting for TP but I was never of a mind to ask how.

hermit us

The corn cob an experience many of NEVER ever want to contemplate. I bought cheap wash clothes and have buckets for the sanitation.

No I had already posted before our NRP let us know about what grows next to his home. There is a company that sells TP in the 5-7 gallon buckets on jumbo rolls, sealed just for the right occasion. lol

NRP can keep the corn field, not on my bucket list….

Ken, you left our the most important attribute… Checking Modern Survival Blog every single day!

Learn Ability: It goes hand-in-hand with curiosity, but preppers are always looking to learn and are always learning, not just adding new preps but also adding new knowledge, skills. The ability to learn is not something that all people know how to do AND it involves knowing where to look and find information, ascertain if that info is accurate as well as what to do with this new found knowledge.


Don’t get sucked in by the MSM fake news – the Russians did it , the Russians did it, … in this tech world, everyone is looking for information, us, the Russians, Chinese, ….

Double check information, wait for accurate confirmation, don’t accept anonymous sources, who is crying wolf, eat the damned chicken little for dinner, …

NRP,You of all people, I’m surprised with your comment, if your sitting with only 3 wraps on the toilet paper holder and none no closer than the deep pantry, then I would say you have yourself a SHTF moment, LOL


When the river is close, NRP has the largest bidet ever. The sacred 600 rolls can not be touched until Armageddon.

@ David, retired country boy

Ahhhh yes, but please allow me to reference several of Ken’s very astute “Characteristic Traits Of The Survivalist – Prepper”

1. Adaptability; The ability to adapt the use of available materials at hand, and accomplish the job with said materials.
2. Not an Optimist or a Pessimist; Optimist says I have 3 wrappings on the roll, the Pessimist says I only have 3 wrappings on the roll.
4. Ability to stay calm; Knowing you have 3 wrappings and to complete the task at hand without panic.
5. Looking beyond mistakes; Not having a spare roll close at hand, but realizing you will learn and be more prepared next time.
6. Breaking the rules; Using the box of Kleenex sitting on the Toilet Tank right behind you.
7. Will to survive; Enough said…. HAHAHA
8. Foresight; The knowledge to ‘reload’ when ammo gets short.
9. Plan ahead; Well I did, I have 600 rolls in-stock, just the location could have been improved.

Modern Throwback’s “Determination”; I was very determined to not make a mess of things.

Kynase’s Learn Ability; boy ohhhh boy did I learn to ‘restock’ the TP holder….

Hermit us’s “Fake News”; I truly believe it was the Russians that used excessive TP when they were over last week.

Grey Work Ethic; ohhhh I was working with due diligence to make the available resources last through the entire project. LOLOL

Hermit us’s second suggestion, Have a Backup Plan; Extremely important. “Three is Two, Two is One, One is None”, in my case, 3 wraps of TP was backed up with the Kleenex, and that was backed up with the Animas River…. 3-2-1-none HAHAHA.

Lesson Learned

PS, I live rather close to few Corn Fields… :-)

THANK YOU NRP for making my day.
Never laughed so hard in awhile.


Thanks as always for your sense of humor – love it! :)

There’s a story, probably apocryphal, about early supply problems when the GIs were staging in England prior to D-Day. TP was in short supply and being rationed at the rate of 3 squares per man. When a captain was handed his ration prior to entering the latrine he said, “Look here Corporal, I’m going to need more than this.”
The Cpl. replied, “No sir you won’t. Three’s all I can issue so – one up, one down and one across.”

Work ethic, second to none.

@Ken, took me a little bit to understand your 3 percenters comment. My comment was more toward when you go, or got, to do something either alone or working with other folks you show up, do the work, move on to the next thing, no complaints/whines.


Can turn a tense, tedious, or long wait into something different
a welcoming diversion from a high-stress situation

story telling
including humor…a great morale booster

Awareness of oneself/other(s) abilities (present and possible) and limitations and respecting those unique qualities in each person

Hope… if one has hope you strive to continue on, you are hoping for something better beyond the present…

With respect to “NOT AN OPTIMIST OR A PESSIMIST”, I believe that the balance in between might be cynicism. Often times I am mistakenly labeled by others as a pessimist when, in fact, I’m simply a cynic – a notable difference.

Too much pessimism has the potential to cloud good judgment, while cynicism tends to compliment matters where discernment is beneficial.

I’m sure some other folks here can relate to this as well.

Shepherdess….so right on hope. I have see so many people in poverty for one reason or another. Those that had hope went on to achieve grat things & those with no hope continued to wallow.

Where does hope come from and what makes it grow? Why do some people in a bad situation have hope while others don’t? In the concentration camps some people had hope and it helped them survive. Some people say, “I can’t go on.” Some people don’t have hope but they just keep putting one foot in front of the other and move forward. Very perplexing.

Paired with resolve should be perseverance. We may resolve to prepare but it takes perseverance to continue year after year.

Stay frosty.

I hope this is in line with the topic enough

But do you remember movie Castaway with Tom Hanks

who went from FedEx higher up, to castaway on an island
great survival story…

What did he call that volleyball that he made into his friend?

I am thinking of watching that movie again…


I just rented it to watch later…

Even though I saw it the theater when it came out, I read some of the reviews and his friend’s name was mentioned….

Wilson!!!!! (now I remember!)

Good movie, folks…

Yep – it was Wilson – the brand name of the volleyball :)

Correct “WILSON”

“Wilson” I think.

Today’s unsolvable catastrophe is tomorrow’s faint memory.

Wow! What a surprise for me to learn that I have the qualities of a survivalist even though I’ve never called myself one and my friends call me quirky 😊

Lots of great characteristics listed by Ken and all of you (including the all-important sense of humor our own NRP regularly demonstrates ;) ). So, I will add just one very basic characteristic that seems to be in short supply around us these days- common sense.

The prepared person has enough common sense to recognize we live in an imperfect world, that things beyond our control will happen to us and around us, therefore, preparation is valuable and possibly life-saving. Common sense helps us identify those events most likely to affect us personally, and find ways to mitigate those risks. Common sense helps the prepper find a balance between being prepared and aware and still enjoying life.

Common sense keeps all of us coming back to MSB because Ken and all of you who participate share excellent info that a person with common sense will make good use of.

Ya think?🙁

My prepper mind set was always with me. See my dad was a USMC Gunnery sergeant who survived the Pacific with the 5th Marines. There was no I can’t, I’m afraid or the task is to big in his house. I don’t remember a time that we didn’t fix our own house, car,truck and everything else in sight. I loved being under a car with my dad handing him tool and shagging stuff he needed. Rest of the time I was under a Cat working with my grandfather or with a carpenter’s belt with one of my uncle’s. We learn the value of a dollar and to set a little bit back for hard times food and money. I will never forget the sad look in my father’s eyes when he remembered his father going to work hungry, so his boy’s could go to school with something in there belly. Adapt, overcome, make it so.


What happened to those type of people? I hope there are many like that on this blog site but I won’t bet you a plug nickle for many of the others that I have met or seen. I had a runt bunny with more stamina than most of the kids of today.

My goodness, we sound like pretty great people! Perhaps I will put them in a list from strongest to weakest for myself. I suggested perseverance, but some may call it determined or even stubborn.

I guess that is my strongest.

If it isn’t, I shall persevere until it is! (Ha, ha). Just in case you didn’t ‘t know I was trying to be funny.

@ Pieface

I got it. But I’m not stubborn, I’m just hard headed as a rock.


I am strong.
I will win.
Attitude Baby!

Ha! I thought I was dead today while side, I was going to clean the men’s biffy in the woods when a jet fighter came out of the dead quiet, too fast for sound to reach me until it was about overhead, 200 feet above the trees with such thundering hellish noise I thought it was a nuke missile from North Korea, then a jet going to crash on top of me, then another comes right after it and then I am in awe, those are our boys!

I must be a true prepper, ready to accept what I couldn’t change in a disastrous outcome and held it all in. Curiosity held me after I wasn’t killed, and then I was calm and happy.

Funny, my first instinct was to duck the nuke. What good would that do? Then I was concerned if it was going to crash and burn, but I wanted to help the pilots if I wasn’t killed in it. The third thought came when the second noise screaming in my ears and I heard his buddy pass over, boy am I proud our military can scare the crap out of anyone, especially our enemies.

When the jets disappeared into the north, I opened the door to the men’s outhouse in surprise. I see the jets must come often like this in the area because I found crap all over the toilet, the walls, the floors, even the TP, and must have scared a man right out of his blue jeans because they were laying on the floor covered all over in his bile….. He was not a prepper.

@Stardust, what an experience! (the jets, not the biffy condition…) Grew up by a SAC base loved to hear sonic booms from the jets.


Thanks for the heads up about your back up plan for the Animas River. I will make sure to avoid that area in an emergency situation 😊

All part of situational awareness. :) And ability to stay calm

actually when tp runs out you have to have a plan and not be freaked out by it.use leaves,sponge on a stick,your left hand and a washcloth,newspaper,cut up some of your wife’s fabric,my wife has a ton,etc. you may have other suggestions.

@ old okie

As I mentioned, an excellent backup, Corn Cobs, now before anyone rolls their eyes, Ken, just think on the problem of running out of TP & Preperation-H. Simple solution to both concerns… :-) :-)


Now back to your normal brodcasting channels :-)

old okie
If you wife finds out about you getting into her sewing stash,,you are in deep


old okie
If your wife finds out about you getting into her sewing stash,,you are in deep


old okie

You’re not “planning ahead”. The fabric that is stored up is not for TP or clothes, but for adult diapers. We all get old and may need them. Okay, you don’t want to hear that – sorry. Even NRP may not have anticipated this eventuality.

How about cheap…For the youngsters that’s oldspeak for “frugal”

Adult education demonstration time – you want pictures submitted? :)

Ken, you have to get into a better time zone – its still light out here and you guys have all gone to bed. Idaho beckons.

@ Ken J

“25 percent comments so far – about TP?”

HAHAHA, I can just hear the ‘Sponsors’ now “What the heck is Jorgustin doing over there on MSB? Has he lost his marbles?” LOLOL

Gata keep em guessing ya know?

FYI; I see ya hit another 100K on the Hit-O-Meter, good job Old Man.

‘special’ classroom candidate

The ability to resist temptations.

The reason why I’m presently stocking up on food and going on evening hikes instead of sitting in front of the TV drinking beer.

NRP, well old boy I guess you do have it covered, I’ve used corn cobs in my past life when I was a lot younger, also had to pump water out of a well with an old picture pump to fill a wash pot and build a fire under pot to heat the water for my mother to wash clothes in, also had to take a bath in a #2 wash tub every Saturday, but since I was the oldest of 4 kids I got to go first, and I could go on and on about what life was like in my early years. I’m 73 now and would really hate to go back to all that, I’m sure there are a lot more than me that grew up this way, but with the way things are unraveling in this country we may have to adapt and overcome and do it all over again in order to survive, and survive we will, at least a small percentage of us. Just hang loose and do whatever you have to, above all, keep your blade sharp and powder dry

We watched the first 2/3 of Castaway movie last night, will finish watching tonight hopefully…

Couple things that really stood out besides Tom Hanks great acting…

Willingness and perseverance to make things he needed to survive
Finding objects and re-purposing them in ways you would never expect, learning to do many things he never did before, even if the process was painful, not giving up…I think because he had a PURPOSE he believed in, his PURPOSE gave him HOPE…

What is also fascinating is process of transformation in his character, amazing….

Peace and Strength to all~


Just to stay on the 25% topic; you can adapt to circumstances and do without TP but maybe your friends like Wilson are most important in some situations.

Thanks Ken,

A very comprehensive list that I must say we all aspire to embody the attributes listed above. I tried to think of something to add butt I found it difficult.

At my age, I urge younger people to look at the big picture rather than focusing on “getting the job done at all costs”. Make decisions based upon life and/or career longevity rather than short term goals being met every day. this applies to resource allocation, avoidance of death or debilitating injury at the workplace and in the home. Take the time to make good decisions now rather than pay later for bad decisions in blood, sweat or tears.

A few examples: Donning safety glasses before using power tools and firearms. Tying your hair back before using a cutting torch or arc welder, Checking fuel and topping off the tank prior to travel in the Outback/primitive areas of the world INCLUDING within the CONUS. Donning gloves prior to a medical procedure and setting up a sterile field prior to debridement and application of steri-strips or field-expedient sutures.

It is one thing to do a job today or working at something for a week. When the job is over, you want to be healthy enough to go to the next job and you do not want reminders of past jobs like a bad back, missing eye, partial use of your hands or missing toes or knee injury. ( these days, add PTSD and anxiety disorders to the list of occupational injuries.)

I think it can be summed up by the phrase to “work smart, not hard.” To that I would add that at times, you must grab the garbage bag and clean up during and at the end of your shift. I am a floor staff within my hospital with a professional license. Some think I should not be cleaning bedpans or assisting with patient transfers. to which I answer: Somebody has to do “the job that needs to be done.” If you are not willing to do it, how can you order another person to do this job? Do not be afraid of doing the dirty work.

Do not hurt yourself on the job.