Should You Tell Others You’re Prepping? Pros & Cons

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Today it’s all about should you tell others you’re prepping? Ever since the pandemic, more and more people have begun prepping in case of future disasters and other types of emergencies like never before. That’s because many of us have come to realize the frailty of our lives and just how quickly everything could come to a screeching halt or drastic change.

Do your family members and closest friends know that you are a prepper? You may have been on the fence about talking with them about this for a while now and not knowing what you should do. 

The picture above shows some of my fuel storage in 5-gallon buckets. I color code all of my buckets. I buy all of my 5-Gallon buckets and Gamma Lids from Pleasant Hill Grain. In case you missed this post: My Favorite Emergency Fuels To Store For Survival

Should You Tell Others You’re Prepping? Pros & Cons

Should You Tell Others You’re Prepping?

Many preppers would urge you not to tell anyone about the food and supplies you’ve gathered, or where your bug-out location is, and for good reason. Prepping is about providing for your family and keeping them protected following a disaster, not necessarily about providing a lifeline for everyone else.

However, there are a few reasons why you should tell others about what you are planning. These are the pros and cons of telling others that you are a prepper. 

Pros of Telling Others You’re Prepping 

Strength In Numbers

As much as we don’t like to think about it, there are some pretty bad people out there who may be close by. Following a disaster, they’ll be willing to do whatever it takes to stay alive for another day, including taking advantage of you and your family. 

If they see that your family is vulnerable because there are only a few of you and that you also have an abundance of food and supplies, they won’t hesitate to try and take what they want. But if you have other people bunkering down with you, they’ll be much more leary about taking a chance with you and your group.  

More Brain Power

There may come a point that you don’t have the answer to a particular problem that your family is facing. This could prove fatal if you’re in a situation where you have to act quickly. With more people in your group, it provides you with more ideas and resources that can be used to collaborate and you may be able to come up with an appropriate solution to your problem. 

They may even know several skills that could prove useful to you at some point. Yet strong-willed people with differences of opinions can also be seen as something negative as well.    

Provides You with More Options 

Think about what would happen to you and your family if your bug out location, along with all of your food and supplies were ransacked or plundered. Where would you turn and what would you have to do to survive? 

By talking about prepping with others in your group, it provides you with more places that you could turn if you were forced into a situation where you had to leave your home or bug-out location. 

Should You Tell Others You Are Prepping

Cons of Tellings Others You’re Prepping 

There’s Always the Skeptic

If you do decide to share with others about your intentions, do so cautiously, and be prepared for several different reactions. This is especially true amongst family members who have differences in opinion and are not afraid to show it. 

Some will think that your prepping is a great idea and show real interest in the matter, but there will also be people that will look at you as if you’ve completely fallen off your rocker. 

Some will come out and blatantly tell you this and you may even find yourself in an argument over the subject, while for others you may notice that you see them less often afterward. You must be aware of what you are getting yourself into by disclosing this type of information with others.

I’ve had to take the position that I really wish they understood my desire to be prepared and to help others do the same. But also, I can’t worry if they decide it’s not for them and they disagree with what I’m doing  

Not Everyone Is As They Appear to Be

While there certainly is strength in numbers and can greatly improve your family’s chances of survival, there could come a time when the decision to share your approach and let others know what you’re doing could backfire on you. What happens if you accidentally tell the wrong sort of people? 

  • There could be grave consequences in doing so. Even if you’ve spent a decent amount of time with that individual, it’s quite possible that you still don’t know who they are. 
  • That can put you and your family in great danger, especially following a devastating event that pushes that person over the edge because of their desperate situation.
  • Unfortunately, a dangerous individual is not always someone easy to spot in a crowd. 
  • There may not be any red flags or obvious indicators that point to that person being mentally ill or someone who has a violent criminal history. 
  • That’s because there are some pretty good actors out there who appear to be just like you or me. 
  • You don’t want that type of person to come knocking at your door if they’ve been in trouble in the past with aggravated assault, robbery, caught up in recent drug activity, or any sexual crimes against a woman or a minor. 
  • They could potentially steal from you or harm one of your family members.  

As drastic as it may sound, getting a background check on them done before you discussing anything with them about prepping, could save your family from so much heartache. 

You Could Lose Your Privacy

If there ever came a time that SHTF, there’s the possibility that everyone that you discussed your prepping with would turn to you for shelter and supplies. You may be cooped up in a very tiny living space with other people and extremely limited resources. Your family’s privacy would be compromised, at best.  

Final Word   

It’s your business whether you decide to tell others about the prepping and precautions that your family has already taken. But if you do decide to share with others about your prepping, it’s best to keep it between immediate family members, close friends, and trusted neighbors.  

Also, be careful to keep the things that should remain private, and I mean private. Don’t feel obligated to share this information with coworkers, strangers, all the way down to your 2nd and 3rd cousins. The fewer people who know, the safer your family will be, and the less likely that your possessions will be stolen right from underneath your nose. May God Bless this world, Linda 

45 thoughts on “Should You Tell Others You’re Prepping? Pros & Cons

  • October 11, 2020 at 9:17 am
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    Personally, my answer would be no. Even though there is safety in numbers, you do not know how many people will be knocking at your door. You tell a few select friends and family members and they may just bring others who haven’t thought to prep and have no supplies to share. Background checks? Might be a good idea. However, just because someone passes the check it doesn’t mean that they will not resort to desperate measures if they feel they have to.

    I’ve read Ted Koppel’s book “Lights Out” and the second half has him discussing this same issue with individuals. Some of them feel like I do, and others go the charitable route by preparing packages with some survival items to help tide them over. The problem with that is that when they go through the supplies you gave them, they will be back for more. They may even tell others where they got the “gift package”.

    Cynical? Probably.

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    • October 11, 2020 at 10:11 am
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      Hi Karl, great comment!!! I totally agree with you. I’m in a different situation, I write a blog to teach others, I wrote a book. I am truly an open book if you think about it. I really wanted people to think about talking about prepping. And whether they should be private or include others by making a team of neighbors. It’s so tough, I raised my kids to be self-reliant and I expect others to be self-reliant. The “gift package” does make you wonder if they will come back for more. I love the Ted Koppel book.
      Stay safe, Linda

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    • October 11, 2020 at 4:31 pm
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      Karl ~
      I agree with you. You are not cynical – just careful. Big difference. I do believe that if I tell someone, they might be on the same page as I am but they tell their ?? and now someone I do not know, knows about my preps.

      But, I am also in the same boat that Linda is. I have tried to educate people where I live and some just said they would come to my apartment! To that, I told them to bring: all their non-perishable foods, all their blankets and pillows, and LOTS of money. They always ask why the money – I tell them that using my resources doesn’t come cheap!! Of course, I also tell them that they just might (really would) come face to face with a gun barrel!

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    • October 15, 2020 at 8:02 am
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      I am very cautious about who I share my prepping with. You never know who else may be listening. There is a lot of time and expense doing this and one person or group can destroy your efforts in a very short time.
      Love your site. Very good content.

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      • October 15, 2020 at 8:14 am
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        Hi Doris, we all need to be cautious about who we share our prepping with. I totally understand. I decided I had to show people how to be prepared plus I was asked to write a book about prepared so I’m an open book. But someone needs to show people how to be prepared. Keep it to yourself and you will be safer. Thank you for your kind words, Linda

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  • October 11, 2020 at 9:33 am
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    Linda ~
    I fall somewhere in between tell and don’t tell.
    I have been called a fear mongerer by some when I tried to inform them of the need to be prepared. Of course, I WAS trying to instill fear in the hopes that more people would prepare for the unexpected. It didn’t matter that I related preparing with food and other necessary preps with carrying auto insurance or renter’s/house insurance. Some were just stating they would come to my house. I had some advice for them if they did that!

    I am still working on my daughter and her husband and they are slowly coming around. They have a few preps – I would say maybe 2 months worth of non-perishable foods on hand but that is a long way from being prepared for anything that disrupts the supply train for any length of time. I want them to be able to feed my grandchildren!!

    In the meantime – I wish I had more $$ to spend on preps. Even though I am prepared for 6+ months, I still don’t feel that I am where I would like to be! So, I am saving my money from a small part-time job so that I can get some sort of heat source in the event we have a major power outage. I feel that is where my biggest prepping hole is. I have the means to cook and filter water; I have food and stored water. But, staying warm without having to be buried under blankets – that is another story!

    Something that I would like to suggest everyone have in their preps, though is a hot water bottle for each family member! I started taking one with me when I went camping and it was such a blessing on cold nights. I can heat water, fill the bottle and place at the foot of my sleeping bag and stay toasty warm all night. They are not especially cheap but well worth the price. I have even seen them with cute cuddly animal covers for the kiddos.

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    • October 11, 2020 at 10:13 am
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      Hi Leanne, I wonder if it was you that suggested a hot water bottle because I bought one a year or so ago. I grew up with them but totally forgot about them. Great tip! I hear you on trying to convince people to be prepared. The next few months will be interesting. Stay well, Linda

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      • October 11, 2020 at 11:03 am
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        I probably did mention hot water bottles in the past. I have been using them while camping for a few years now.

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        • October 11, 2020 at 11:37 am
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          Hi Leanne, that’s what I’m thinking I have learned so much from you!!!! Linda

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          • October 11, 2020 at 4:27 pm
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            Linda ~ It is funny you say you have learned so much from me!! I have learned so much from you! Perhaps because we are near the same age, we just know it all!! LOL!

          • October 11, 2020 at 4:37 pm
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            Hi Leanne, I totally think we know it all, whether we do or not! LOL! Oh, we do for sure! LOL! Linda

    • October 11, 2020 at 10:42 am
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      Hi, if you do not have a genuine hot water bottle, know that you can use a real nalgene bottle and fill with even boiling water. I used to then wrap the bottle in my jacket and put it with me in my eeping bag when backpacking. Not expensive, but I would not heat the water too hot for littler ones to get burned by.

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      • October 11, 2020 at 11:05 am
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        Jan – even with hot water bottles, you shouldn’t bring the water to the boiling point. And with kids, I mentioned the ones with the animal covers for the very reason that kids cannot tolerate the hot water bottles if they are very very hot.

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  • October 11, 2020 at 9:55 am
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    Another thing to consider is that even if you trust the person you tell, they may inadvertently let the information out to others. Keeping the information secret won’t be as important to them as to you so they may not be as careful. It’s so easy to let something slip in a conversation even if they have the best of intentions, especially as it’s a topic of interest to so more people now.

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    • October 11, 2020 at 10:14 am
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      Hi Alice, I think you are so right about that, telling others. I Lindajust hope if nothing else this Pandemic has opened more eyes to being prepared. It’s about time!

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  • October 11, 2020 at 11:16 am
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    Being in the edge of the SHTF cliff as we are the next 30 days I’d tell NO ONE.
    During more normal times common sense goes a long ways

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    • October 11, 2020 at 11:38 am
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      Hi Matt, I agree, hold on everyone. Be careful, be smart, be safe, and keep our mouths shut. Linda

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    • October 11, 2020 at 1:15 pm
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      Could you please share what you can, about why specifically you are concerned about the next 30 days? Is it in regards to the elections, or something more.

      Thank you for your wisdom.

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      • October 11, 2020 at 1:30 pm
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        I’m not sure if it’s wisdom and understand I neither wish it or want it but much like the virus I’m worried and preparing for it.
        Yes the elections are a major concern. Regardless of ones political views there are multiple sides and violence is probable. I’m seeing the same things I saw in the Balkans in the 90s before we went in. That bothers me pretty bad. Maybe it’s just PTSD or whatever label they give us this week and if so that’s ok because I’m good with not using my preparations.
        Parts of the country are already experiencing vast overreach with additional lockdowns.
        Then of course we have winter as well.

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        • October 11, 2020 at 2:09 pm
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          Hi Matt, thank you, I always respect your thoughts, but you know that. Stay safe, Linda

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        • October 11, 2020 at 4:38 pm
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          Matt ~
          We don’t even need to wait for the election to become history. The political “weather” has caused so many divisive, angry people. Some of my own family are being very angry with me – they think that I am voting a certain way when in reality they do not know nor do I tell them how or for whom I am voting. With the political war combined with a pandemic (whether one believes it IS a pandemic or not) as well as the protests and riots going on in the USA, I do fear for our lives, livelihoods and our sanity. Frightening times for sure. But that being said – I have sent in my ballot – right or wrong/good or bad. I am done with the election until they make the announcements!!

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          • October 11, 2020 at 4:51 pm
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            Meh family lol they are always mad bout something I do and didn’t do. They don’t tell me anymore cause I stomp a mud hole in them and I’m not a hard man to figure out. I’m not mad at them for voting differently I’m mad at them for trying to force me to live a lifestyle or participate in one. You do you and I’ll do me and we can get along just fine. That’s what’s gone though. It’s either their way or I’m an XYZ.
            Y’all stay safe

  • October 11, 2020 at 12:58 pm
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    I have mixed feelings about this. When Y2K was supposed to be the end of life as we knew it. I took comfort when my nieces told me they knew if anything happened Aunt Chris would be the go to person, especially since they had lost both their parents. Major snow storms and blizzards showed us how to be there for friends and neighbors. Now, we live in a new neighborhood, and I don’t know anyone well enough to say anything. I do know our daughter and her husband are somewhat prepared. My Daughter-in-law came around to the pantry preparedness about a year ago, and has repeatedly shared the secure feeling she has with me.
    I use to want to be there for everyone, anytime in anyway we could. I have learned during this pandemic, that I have to make our home and children and grandchildren the priority. Sad but true.

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    • October 11, 2020 at 1:59 pm
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      Yeah I did Y2K too. I was in a unique situation of being an officer in a new state of the art electronic corrections facility.
      We were on standby and I hung out with many other branches of law enforcement that night. We had a non drinking party as we prepared for the worst. It turned out good for all of us. I’m thankful.
      Even my 20 in the Army I was the guy who always had too much stuff or did too much in preparation but it’s better that way than the other.
      I’m taking this seriously. Come mid November if everything is cool then awesome. If not my family will be much better off. Just like you preparing your home for yours, which is great, so do I. Fortunately for me I’ve got a small team including some of my family that prepare and even train quarterly though we’ve bumped it up to monthly of recent.
      Do I think this is CW2? I hope not. Will there be, at a minimum, pockets of violence? Absolutely.
      It’s like the old saying Prepare for the worst, Pray for the best.
      So I built are denial tools like hedgehogs and caltrops and bought barbed wire, put up more rice and spices like Worcester sauce powder etc.
      You look at me in a month and say “he’s nuts” and I was wrong I can live with it better than the options.

      Reply
      • October 11, 2020 at 4:29 pm
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        The hardest part is those we love are in Law Enforcement, and we can’t show our support openly. Mainstream media is making martyrs out of criminals and drug addicts and people who should be able to think things thru logically aren’t. The loses from first this pandemic, then the trillions lost to the rioters, and now the hurricanes will take decades to recover. Our congressional representatives fools, specifically Cuomo and Newsom talk to us like preschoolers who should get in line quietly. The more I see going on “out there” the more I find peace and safety at home.

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        • October 11, 2020 at 4:40 pm
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          Hi Chris, this is so true. We need a clean sweep of those congressional fools, start over with the ones that want to follow our Constitution with less pay for government workers. My 2 cents. Linda

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          • October 13, 2020 at 11:52 am
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            I appreciate it.
            Use a search engine like Google and try
            “hedgehog barricade“.
            It’s going to be “over the top” for most folks thinking but they are easy to make with welded scrap pipe.

        • October 11, 2020 at 4:43 pm
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          The pendulum will swing again the other way eventually. I retire from law enforcement in March. Yeah the climate isn’t great but it comes n goes. It’s the hardest swing I’ve ever seen for sure.
          Stay the course. Hold your beliefs.

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      • October 13, 2020 at 9:32 am
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        Matt, I enjoy and am grateful for your comments and input as much as I enjoy and appreciate Linda’s articles, blog and book. Thank you for your service in the military and putting your life on the line every day in your chosen field. I am “old school” and was raised to respect and fear the authority of police officers and other authority figures. I can’t believe how much that has changed everywhere. I have looked up caltrops and understand what they are but I cannot figure out what a “hedgehog” is. Can you please clarify? Thank you.

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        • October 13, 2020 at 10:36 am
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          Hi Marina, I have so much respect for Matt, I will ask him questions as well. He will answer this when he sees it. Great question. Linda

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          • October 13, 2020 at 12:13 pm
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            Thank you Linda. I learn so much from this group.

          • October 13, 2020 at 1:11 pm
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            Hi Marina, thank you for your kind words. I try really hard to teach others and I still learn from my readers! Linda

    • October 11, 2020 at 2:06 pm
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      Hi Chris, I remember the Y2K scenario. I had my mortgage company and business dropped off quickly. People thought for sure the world was ending. I didn’t feel that way, then. At the time I thought our government had a handle on things, I quickly learned through research that was not the case. Since then I have done my own research and read Lights Out by Ted Koppel, I have learned a lot from Matt in Oklahoma. I have also been talking with a National Cyberspace specialist for months now, maybe a year. Our country is not prepared for a grid down. I mean not at all prepared. If and when we are targeted our country will not be able to recover for many years. That’s my concern, I have tried to teach people all over the state of Utah, and most should be prepared but less than 10% are ready for any emergency. I know because church leaders in the LDS (Mormon Faith) have been contacting me to see how to light the fire under their members. I’m being told most don’t even have water or food for 3 days in their home. They were taught years ago to have food storage but not so much the last 20 years. They did bring it up on their October Conference Meeting. The problem is it’s a little too late for some people to get prepared in the next 30-90 days. God helps those who help themselves. We must pray for those who knew but did nothing to be prepared. We must take care of ourselves. Is that selfish, maybe maybe not. They have been taught. May God bless this world, we will need it. Linda

      Reply
  • October 11, 2020 at 2:07 pm
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    I agree with Karl, Matt and Chris I do not feel we should tell anyone what we are doing. Ted Koppel was right in his book. Better safe than sorry.

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  • October 11, 2020 at 4:19 pm
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    I tell people, “there are some real hard times coming. There isn’t much time. For God’s sake and the sake of your family and your animal’s at least put in some beans, rice, powdered milk, wheat berries, a grinder for the wheat berries, a little bit of flour, some vegetable shortening and do it quick”. “We have so little time.” If I am asked if I have put away some food, I tell them, “yes I have”. But, don’t come to my house if things go bad because I don’t have room for you”. “Put in your own food.” I again say: “DON’T come to my house if things get bad because I did warn you.”. “If you won’t listen to me, well then it’s your problem to deal with”. “NOT mine”. I also say: “anyone who comes to steal what I have had better be prepared because I will shoot to kill”. May God forgive me for this but I honestly think things will get this bad.
    I usually get a very strange look, but I mean what I say. If at all possible, don’t say anything to anyone what you have, where you have it, why you are doing this and what you would do if someone does come looking for whatever you have. You will get a reaction and it might not be what you think.
    I hope everyone can put in a lot of food, animal feed, water and a safe place to store all of it.

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    • October 11, 2020 at 4:36 pm
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      Hi Mae, oh man did you nail it! You took the words right out of my mouth! I read the statement “shoot to kill” to my husband. I bought a weapon, he did not want me to buy it. But I did because it’s the right thing to do. I sure hope people understand we must take care of ourselves. The drive-throughs will be closed and so will the grocery stores. What you have in your home RIGHT NOW maybe the food you have for the next six months. God takes care of those who take care of themselves. The government will not deliver water or food to your door. So take there you have it. We know what we’re talking about. Linda

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      • October 11, 2020 at 8:10 pm
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        I re-read what I wrote and stand behind it, and I read what you wrote back. I have tears in my eyes because I know what’s coming. I get sick to my stomach because I know the violence that will happen when people are starving and have families to feed. I just want to cry. And there is nothing I can do about it because people just will not listen. I have been told I am stark raving nuts. Or that I am making mountains out of molehills because there is plenty of food and nothing is going to happen. I have also been told to “just shut up”. My own roommate/landlady is “sick and tired” of me preaching food storage and prepping. Oh yes, I’ve heard the excuses and I have endured the ridicule. I have said many times, I hope I am wrong. I pray I am wrong. But, I know I’m not and back to the first thing I said: put in food for yourself, your family and friend’s and if you can your neighbor. But, you are NOT coming to my house for SHTF. I then get the real mean and shocked looks. But, it still stands. How I wish I were wrong.
        Storing food, and prepping for whatever may come is serious business everyone. Please, for yourself, your family, your animal’s, your neighbor’s and our country, STOCK UP ON EVERYTHING. Prep hard. Good luck and God bless all of you in your endeavor’s.

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        • October 12, 2020 at 6:55 am
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          Hi Mae, great comment. Here’s the deal, I’m so sorry you have been ridiculed and told to just shut up. This is outright mean. This breaks my heart because YOU are doing what you should be doing. Keep it up and do not let them get you down. I must confess I get down in the dumps when I see that people are not doing what they should be doing. You and I both know we need water, food, and fuel and emergency preps. It’s a fact, but people have to make choices. And we have no control over the choices of others. I live in Utah where about 50% of the state give or take are in a religion that has taught for 50 years or more to be prepared. They are not. I get emails from church leaders to ask how to “light the fire” under their members. Less than 10% of the people in Utah are prepared. Well, I hope they realize they have been taught and did nothing. No excuses, no excuses in my book. I grew up poor and I learned to be self-reliant. We MUST prepare, my husband always reminds me when I get frustrated with those who are unprepared in our neighborhood. I CANNOT take care of the neighborhood. We all have choices and YOU and I have chosen to take care of ourselves. Whatever others may think, you and I can sleep at night knowing we have done EVERYTHING we could to be prepared. We can do this, my friend. Hang in there. We must be prepared. The government or churches will not deliver food and water to our doors. NOPE, it’s not going to happen. You are doing what you need to do. Good job, my friend, Linda

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        • October 12, 2020 at 6:58 am
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          Hi Mae, P.S. you are not stark raving nuts. Hugs from Utah. Linda

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  • October 14, 2020 at 8:22 am
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    I’m in a similar boat to Linda in that I’ve written a book about prepping and been on TV. So, I’m outted when it comes to being a prepper. But lone wolves never fare well–that’s why they run in packs.

    I think a Mutual Assistance Group (MAG) is essential. I’m not a doctor or dentist or an ace mechanic. I’m a retired builder who knows how to grow food, hunt and fish. I’ve developed some Prepper skills like canning, dehydrating, and the like, but if TSHTF…let’s just say there’s strength in numbers and leave it at that.

    The hard part is deciding who to include in your MAG. They must either be Preppers or at least open to the concept. Doctors, nurses and engineers will have skills you need and are worth including, even if they aren’t Preppers per se. Personally, I look for veterans like myself, as they may have a better idea of what’s coming than most, as well as the skillset to deal with chaos. Another good place to start, if you can’t trust your family, is your local church. Finding trustworthy people of good character is more important than finding folks with specific skills.

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    • October 14, 2020 at 9:15 am
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      HI Ray, yes indeed you and I are in the same boat. I like your ideas today, thank you. This will help others understand they must have a plan before things go south. It’s critical. My problem is finding people that think I do. So many people think food and water will just magically appear at their doorsteps or local city and county building. They better think again. It’s hard to get people to understand they MUST be self-reliant. May God bless this world, we need it. Linda

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  • October 16, 2020 at 12:56 pm
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    I was just searching “hedgehog” and coming up empty. Adding “barricade” cleared things up. Thank you for clarifying Matt. Looking at some pictures of the examples given I was thinking maybe other objects would serve a similar purpose – junk cars or snow plow blades that are not presently in use could be outfitted/welded with additional hardware to deter uninvited guests as well. Just a possibility. Thank you for giving us a starting point to work with.

    Reply

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