Camping & Survival

Quick Prepper Tip: How to Talk Like a Prepper

Cheaper Than Dirt Quick Prepper TipPreppers seem to speak their own unique jargon and have an acronym or term for a variety of items or different phrases. Getting started as a prepper is not too difficult. All you need to do is start planning what you might need if the unexpected happens. However, learning how to speak the language of an in-the-know prepper can be a bit more challenging, especially when you do not know some of the lingo. Here is a quick translation of the some of the most commonly used prepper language.

  • PREPPER—one who is preparing for a variety of different scenarios
  • TEOTWAWKI—The End Of The World As We Know It
  • SHTF—Sh%# Hits The Fan
  • FEP—Family Emergency Plan
  • PEP—Personal Emergency Plan
  • WEP—Workplace Emergency Plan
  • Bug Out—To get out of a safe location immediately
  • Bug In—To take refuge or hunker down in your own residence
  • BOB—Bug Out Bag (a bag with only essential items you need)
  • BOV—Bug Out Vehicle
  • BOL—Bug Out Location (predetermined safe place to hide or meet up)
  • GOOD—Get Out Of Dodge
  • GHB—Get Home Bag
  • FAK—First Aid Kit
  • EDC—Everyday carry (can refer to either everyday items you need to carry or your personal firearm)
  • MRE—Meal Ready to Eat
  • WROL—Without Rules of Law
  • NBC—Nuclear Biological Chemical
  • ANTS—Americans Networking To Survive
  • COMMS—term for way to communicate using devices such as walkie-talkies
  • FUBAR—Fouled Up Beyond Any Repair

This is a list of the most commonly used words or acronym’s preppers regularly use. Share your favorite prepper terms (keep it G-rated, please) in the comment section.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (17)

  1. Lancet:
    I never liked acronyms. Some people say you save time by not having to write a bunch of words, and it may be great for texting. Kids love it, but it’s ruining our written communication. It excludes people who aren’t in on the abbreviated language.

    We had a whole abbreviated lingo in the Marine Corps. C O D was close order drill, R H I P meant Rank Has It’s Privileges, WTF?! You get the idea. There were many others. I had a squad leader who could talk all day and never utter a coherent sentence. “Bug out” in the Marine Corps meant not doing something you knew you were supposed to do or having to evacuate an area ASAP!

    Thanks to the glossary linked to this article, my understanding of the term “Bug out,” in prepper speak is: “HAVING to leave an area.” It further implies taking everything with you that you’ll need to survive. Hence, the term, “bug out bag;” it carries your necessities. Depending on whether you’re prepared, or not, your immediate circumstances and where you are, I think that might be the last thing you’d want to do. But it never hurts to be prepared.

  2. Lets not forget… “Charlie-Foxtrot.” Also known as a C-F. A condition of a more extreme FUBAR and SNAFU.

    This is known to be a major “Cluster F*ck”.

  3. @ IamsetGot30dayFemaSupply: Bug Out and hence the Bug Out Bag (BOB) are coined from the common slang that has been in use for decades known as “bugging out”. It was used under various contexts to mean anything from going crazy, tripping out, acting angry, or rapidly leaving to another place – like bugs do when the light is turned on.

    The term was popular amongst hippies in the ‘60s and ‘70s to say upon a pot party raid, “I’m bugging out man, the cops are here”.

    However, in this particular vernacular where prepping is concerned, it means to leave in a hurry. So in order to be prepared for a quick emergency departure one would hopefully have an emergency bag packed for such an occasion. And since the person is “bugging out”, they will take with them their “bug out bag” or BOB for short.

    Now if there is instead an emergency requiring a person to remain in place, like their home, we call that “bugging in”. No bag is required because it is assumed a good prepper will have the appropriate supplies stashed around their home already.

  4. Can somebody explain this definition of “bug out”. Why am I leaving a “safe” place? Don’t I want to “bug out” to a safe place from an unsafe place?

  5. I actually really like this article and appreciate knowing some of these terms. The most interesting one I learned today is FUBAR.

    I’m on the CTD website and blogs because I like guns and ammo. I have ignored the prepper articles for the most part, but have been thinking about taking prepping more seriously, because I believe that being in greater Phoenix, especially in the summer (although I love the heat), is probably the WORST place to be if SHTF. Yes you gotta buy all the supplies, but you also have to Get Out Of Dodge, and that would be a nightmare in Phoenix in the summer. Sometimes I think about relocating.

    BTW Lobo1117….nice joke….LOL!

    1. I know acronyms change over time or mean many things to many different professional cultures; but from my military experience FUBAR stands for: F*cked Up Beyond All Recognition. And is usually meant to be applied to a casualty that went out in a pretty bad way.

    2. Agreed on the translation of FUBAR. I find it amusing how some acronyms make it into everyday discussion when people don’t know what they really mean. For example, the term SNAFU has lost its all-caps acronym status and now seems to mean something like a little bump in the road. I heard the term used on a conference call by a project manager and when I explained (after the call, of course) that SNAFU means “Situation Normal: All F*cked Up” she was more than a little embarrassed.

    3. @ Obfusc8: Hilarious story… should tell her next time to just stick with “we’ve run into a bit of a snag”, and leave the military jargon to the soldiers.

  6. While I agree that paracord items are innocent and serve many purposes and can serve as an identifier and conversation starter I have to play devils advocate here.
    At this stage of events,do you really want to be sounding out/approaching strangers or casual aquantainces as long term “Buddies”?Especially since you,being(probably),well on your way to being equipped?
    If you have a good prospect for a long term ” Shield Upon The Left”,there just seems(to me,Im not trying to be prickish here)to be better ways to approach such a person than”Hey,got any spare Mylar bags laying around; and what about that new idea of using a paracord key-ring as a torniquet”?
    Many listening ears out there and any casual conversation with a prospect(the ghist of this article) will probably include the meet being public.This IS a new guy, remember?
    We are well past the 11th hr for this and every move at this point requires deep thinking.
    Hot Jets everyone.

  7. TEOtWAWKI — Good name for my new dog. Spell check can’t deal with it I understand the need to prep and am working on it. But being a product of the California schools I am lucky to be fluent in one language.I will study and pray we never have the final test.

  8. I have to ask….Who WANTS to talk like a prepper…I dont talk TO preppers so why talk LIKE one?… preppers dont advertise their hobby… JMO

    1. Slipping jargon into conversation can identify fellow preppers who you may want to include in your (necessary) network and/or team. If you live or work around a mixture of commies and freedom lovers, this can be important. I find that paracord bracelets or similar apparatuses are often used as a “code” to others that they are aware of the need to prep.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.

Discover more from The Shooter's Log

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading