Apartment Prepper has readers all over the world and I have seen an increasing number of visitors from across the pond. I’ve often wondered what it might be like to prep in the UK. In this article, UK prepper, guest writer Martin Anderson offers us an interesting view into what’s it really like.
An Insight Into UK Prepping
Written by Martin Anderson
Like many a UK prepper, I often find myself on US Prepper websites looking for the latest hints and tips that will aid me in my efforts. In the last few years prepping has grown fast in the UK, and the US has, perhaps unknowingly, been a significant contributing factor to this. So, to return the favor I would like to let you know what it is like for your fellow preppers across the Atlantic.
A Crowded Island
The United States boasts a population of around 325 million and covers a gargantuan 3.8 million square miles, whereas the United Kingdom bears a more conservative 65 million people and packed into a country roughly the same size as California.
With the many towns and cities in the UK being so tightly knit, there are very few areas that are left uncharted. You’ll seldom find a region inside the United Kingdom that could really be considered ‘wilderness’, whereas the United States has hundreds of remote territories dotted around the huge country.
As a result, it’s unlikely that a UK prepper would unintentionally find themselves in a situation where they’d need to rely on wilderness survival. Wilderness techniques are still practiced in the UK, but for most preppers in the UK, to Bug Out into the wilderness is a last resort. Urban prepping techniques are more relevant for many UK preppers.
Prepping in the USA can even be an option for those who don’t fear the imminent collapse of society. With the amount of tornados, hurricanes, and other forces of nature that are regularly seen in the United States, it’s actually quite sensible to stock up on essential provisions to prepare for road blocks, supermarket closures, or power outages.
By contrast, the UK has a fairly timid climate. There’s plenty of wind and rain, and whilst this may be somewhat depressing, it hardly presents a serious threat. Even in the event where the climate damages livelihoods, aid is never more than a day away, as very few places in the UK could really be considered remote. Therefore, the majority of preppers in the UK concern themselves with making provisions for global cataclysm.
Whilst our predictable climate may not cause us a serious concern, our neighbors might. The uncertain political future of Britain in the wake of Brexit certainly gives us plenty of reasons to increase our focus on prepping — who knows what problems lie ahead?
The impact on free movement of goods and people following Britain’s departure from the European Union could spark a trade crisis. With increased import tariffs and greater restriction on migrant workers entering the country, this could result in demand for goods outweighing the amount of goods that Britain can feasibly import and produce domestically. If this were to happen, economic recession would be the least of our problems.
Brexit also potentially leaves Britain vulnerable to invasion and occupation. The European Union (in its earlier form) was established in the wake of World War 2 to prevent further conflict between European nations, with Britain being a key member of the commission. After our departure, and subsequent exit from a political treaty guaranteeing our protection by other parts of Europe, we could find ourselves isolated and open for conflict. Prepping to guarantee one’s safety in a post-invasion Britain is just one of the considerations that preppers are now left to make.
While the sale and ownership of firearms is fairly common in the USA, and is protected as a constitutional right, guns are strictly prohibited in the UK outside of licensed air rifles and hunting equipment for those who require it by occupation. I am aware that this is a particularly contentious issue in the USA, so I have no intention of further fueling the gun debate by including my own opinion. But it does however create a very different prepper environment that I think it would be useful to cover.
In the UK you will find that the Bow and Crossbow are your primary ballistic options. Whilst anyone can appreciate that this is an inferior hunting and personal protection tool, it does have some advantages. There are no preppers who are stockpiling crossbows and bolts, in the same way that people may stockpile guns and ammo. Accumulating hundreds of crossbow bolts would be a useless endeavor, should you find yourself in a hostile situation you would be lucky to fire more than 1 bolt. UK preppers are spending their resources elsewhere, and so in theory at least should be better prepared with other aspects of prepping.
There are thought to be 500,000 illegal firearms in UK, although many are expected to be “Grey Firearms”, typically ww2 antiques. Even though these numbers are low, the type of individuals that posses these firearms are clearly willing to break the law. If the SHTF to the extent that society is at risk, it will only be military, farmers and criminals that will have access to firearms. This will create an uncomfortable balance of power for the average citizen.
UK’s Hidden Preppers
In the UK, Prepping is something that’s kept quite secret. One reason may be that it is prudent to keep these activities low profile, another may be that we are naturally conservative and introvert. But it is also regrettably due to the negative stigmas associated with Prepping in the UK.
In 2012 the UK Prepper community was still in its infancy, but growing rapidly. This inevitably caught the attention of the mainstream media. The media coverage should have been a great success for the UK prepper community, instead all the main networks proceeded to round up every tin foil hat wearing paranoids to put in front of a camera and describe what it is like to be a prepper. This devastated the movement and what was the beginnings of an open movement, quickly became an underground movement. Only now is the UK Prepper Community starting to recover and this is thanks largely to its growing popularity in the US, which has been successful in broadcasting a more positive image of Preppers.
While it may not be the case that Prepping is considered socially acceptable to all in the USA. From our position across the Atlantic it certainly appears like there is a more relaxed attitude towards it. While I expect there may still be some negative stigma associated with prepping in the States, there appears to be enough support behind the movement for enthusiasts not to feel as isolated and victimized by their detractors.
Conclusion: International Community
While we have already established there are key differences in prepping, both cultures can still make use of online tips and resources to aid in their endeavors. Although different provisions must be made, there are still plenty of similarities, and it can only help us all that there is a larger international community forming to support the prepper philosophy.
About the Author
Martin Anderson is owner of Prepper Supplies the UK’s leading provider of Survival Food. An active prepper for as long as I can remember, I am also a family man. My main goal is simple, to provide my customers and the UK community with the products and advice they need to ensure preparedness. And this is something I love doing.