The Prepper Dictionary

If you are ready to start your family preparedness program, join all the clubs, and generally turn into a prepping nerd, you better know the lingo. Here’s your chance to learn what all those “preppy” people are talking about (and what all those acronyms mean), so you can be a prepper too.

1. #10 Can: A very specific size of can. It’s about 7 inches tall by 6.25 inches wide. Their uniform size and large capacity make them a favorite among preppers. A properly sealed can of freeze-dried food with an oxygen absorbing packet inside can last 25 years or more.

2. Bug Out: “Bugging out” means getting out of the current location and into safety, when a disaster or other potential danger is threatening. Others may choose to “bug in” at home with their supplies.

3. Bug Out Bag: This bag should contain life-sustaining supplies and other essentials that are quick to grab and easy to take with you. Your bug out bag should have at least a 72-hour supply of necessities per person.

4. BOV: Bug out vehicle. Could be your family minivan or another specified vehicle equipped with supplies ready to go.

5. Buddy Burner: This is a light, portable burner with fuel source for outdoor or “vagabond” cooking. They are often made with paraffin wax, poured into a tuna can full of rolled cardboard. Want to make one? Google knows how.

6. Cache: A stash of supplies either on site or off.

7. DEEP: Disaster & emergency preparedness.

8. Dutch Oven: A heavy, cast iron pot that’s perfect for outdoor cooking, either on charcoal or right on the fire. You can make just about anything in a Dutch oven. Once properly seasoned, clean it by simply wiping it out with some plain hot water. Just be sure to dry it thoroughly or it will rust.

9. EMP or Electro-Magnetic Pulse: An EMP is a powerful pulse of electromagnetic radiation, potentially generated by a nuclear explosion high above the earth. An EMP would would disrupt power, satellites, and radio transmissions, causing massive power outages. Any electrical equipment or device could be rendered useless after an EMP.

10. FAK: Acronym for first-aid kit

11. Faraday Box: This is a special shielding device, meant to protect electronic equipment from an EMP. There are many simple ways to make your own Faraday box for storing things like radios, flashlights, even the batteries that power them.

12. Food Insurance: This is not an actual insurance policy, but basically a prepper’s term for food storage. Storing food is like having an insurance policy against hunger and potentially starving to death in a disaster or other hardship.

13. Food Grade Buckets: These buckets are specifically made to be safe for food long-term food storage, up to 25 years or more if kept dry and somewhat cool. Sealed by pounding the lid with a rubber mallet, requiring a special wrench to open. For this reason, many preppers buy “gamma seal” lids. They offer the same protection for food, but they simply spin open and closed without extra tools.

14. Genny: Short for generator.

15. Get Home Bag: Similar to a bug-out bag, but includes essentials to help you sustain yourself and get back to your home after being stranded somewhere. Great to keep in your car.

16. Ghee: Ghee is clarified butter, meaning it has had the solids removed. This is not only perfectly suited for long-term storage in cans, but also eliminates the LDL “bad” cholesterol. Ghee works great for high-temperature cooking and frying as well.

17. GOOD: Get out of “dodge” or bug out now.

18. Ham Radio: Slang term referring to amateur radio. In the event of an interruption in telephone or cell tower service, this could come in handy. Google for more information about getting started.

19. Hordes: People leaving the cities in search of supplies in a disaster.

20. Living “Off the Grid”: Since the “grid” refers to municipal power, water, sewer, or gas supplies, living off the grid means to be totally detached from these services. Living off-grid is is seen by many preppers or survivalists as the ultimate in self-sufficiency.

21. MRE: MRE stands for meals ready-to-eat. Originally formulated for military camps and placements, MRE meals can be eaten right out of the package, warmed on a burner, or heated with an included chemical packet.

22. Multi-tool: Combination tool usually including a survival knife, saw, wire cutters, can opener, pliers, etc.

23. Mylar Bag: Mylar bags are made out of food grade mylar material, providing protection from sun, moisture, and even insects. They may be purchased individually or in food grade “super pails” for storage of 25+ years.

24. Paracord: Paracord is a strong, durable, lightweight nylon rope. Paracord is now being woven into bracelets, belts, and more. Wearing one or keeping some in your car or 72-hour kit can be helpful in an emergency for building shelter, starting a fire, trapping food, and more.

25. Paraffin Wax: This wax is actually a preservative that keeps moisture in (or out) and helps food last longer. It is often used for canning and is even edible. It is flammable at high temperatures, which is why it’s often used in buddy burners. Also called bakers wax or canning wax.

26. Oxygen Absorbers: Used with proper packaging, these little packets absorb oxygen, extending the life and flavor of food or pharmaceuticals.

27. SHTF: “Stuff [or, you know] hits the fan.” Meaning the strike of a major disaster of natural or man-made origin.

28. SIP: Shelter in place or “bug in.”

29. Solar Oven: Solar ovens or cookers use the sun’s energy to bake, roast, or heat foods. Aluminum reflectors focus the heat into a dark-colored oven and/or pot. Also useful for sterilizing water.

30. WROL: Without rule of law, or a state of “every man for himself.”

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