A Rant about Doomsday Preppers

Today I am on a bit of a rant.  The other day I watched Doomsday Preppers escape from New York.  They had their so-called experts on the show teaching bad information.  One of their experts was teaching that you could filter water and make it safe to drinks with a bandana and a handful of charcoal from a campfire.  He crushed the handful of charcoal up, placed it in the bandana and filtered water from a fountain through it.  They did not question his methods, but left the impression that this was a safe method.

I felt that the rest of the show was equally bad.  They showed various escape routes that people would use to leave New York in an emergency.  Three different escapes were shown.  The people were poorly equipped; ill trained and their test run was made in shirtsleeve weather.  No plans were made for bad weather; apparently, they don’t know that it snows in New York.  The only object seemed to be to get out of the city with no real options or plans beyond that.  If that young lady plans on surviving a trip through Central Park at night she needs more than Krav Maga, she needs a real weapon.

This show seems to accomplish a couple of things.  One it makes us look like nuts.  Second, it puts out bad information that could result in the death of someone who followed it.

Do not go on this show.  Do not believe what they teach.  You cannot trust the information they are putting out.  Better yet, do not watch this show.

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20 thoughts on “A Rant about Doomsday Preppers”

  1. Vetern Who Is Preparing

    Doomsday Preppers, Doomsday Bunkers, Militia Rising, and similar shows are meant not to portray preppers, survivalists, militia, etc.. in a good or even realist light. They are meant to make us all look like nut jobs waiting for doomsday to happen so we can start hunting our neighbors. They are propaganda. In Doomsday Preppers they typically show 1 or 2 real, squared away preppers and then 1 or 2 nut jobs waiting for Hail Bop, Mayan apocalypse, etc.. so that it is guilt by association. It doesn’t help that their “experts” always say that the event(s) the prepper is waiting for will never happen, that is meant to also add to the crazy survivalist image.

    We only watch them for ideas and also to pick out things that are not well thought out. I have noticed that the majority of the preppers are told to do Bug Out drills for the show. I am of the belief that you are better off Bugging In where you are. That you should only Bug Out if you are in an area where your chance of survival is severally limited.

  2. Howard and Veteran,

    I agree with both of your assessments. Like Veteran, I watch the show to find those one or two nuggets of information, or an idea, that I had never thought of. Some of the individuals survival systems are very unique, whereas most would not survive a week during a crisis.

    Being a part of several preparedness groups myself, and educating preppers in my free time, there is a realization that most “preppers” are not really prepared. While their intents are known and they are working towards being prepared, having the resources and knowledge of surviving is somewhat challenging. We could pick apart every person on that show, but likewise so could our own survival plans.

    While I think Doomsday Preppers is a joke, and how the producers orchestrate the show is ridiculous, I do think it correctly represents a good portion of preppers/survivalists. There is no script; those people are allowed to say and show whatever they like. I blame both the producers and the individuals on the show for painting a poor picture of the prepper movement. Also, I like to say, “we know only what we know.” That goes to pseudo survival instructors and weekend preppers alike.

    The challenge for depicting a positive image of preppers, is that most veteran preppers or ones with great survival plans, would never be caught dead on the show. I know several dedicated preppers that would make most if not all people on Doomsday Preppers look like amateurs. However, since there is such a negative slant on the production side (purely designed for ratings), and these individuals are ultra-secretive, they would never reveal their true identities to the public.

    I think the YouTube movement is more valuable to the preparedness movement, and I spend my time watching videos. However, I still watch Doomsday Preppers for entertainment purposes; usually learning what not to do.

    There is my rant…


    1. Gary, I personally know one of the preppers featured on the show. (Not escape from New York, but one of the earlier shows.) He revealed about ten percent of his preparedness portfolio with an eye toward operational security. I would characterize him as a real prepper with an excellent chance of surviving whatever chaos befalls civilization. FWIW.

  3. Nothing like making the investment of time, effort, and money to protect yourself and your loved ones just to compromise it all for 15 minutes of fame on a “reality show”.

  4. I kind-of like to watch, one because there is not much else on and from time to time a good nugget of info is slipped by. I do not consider myself a serious Prepper but as a retired Army (Combat Arms) individual I have several items and have thought through a few bad scenarios. Anyway this show does a bad job and maybe intentionally so…especially with the so-called “experts”. I will continue to watch but like everything on TV consider the bias.


  5. Nat Geo mm mmm and shame on them for those wanting the 5 minutes of fame.
    How much are you really into survivalism if you live in NYC anyway? The first key to not getting into situations is by not being where you can get into situations. If you dont want to be in a drunken fight on friday night then avoid the club. If you dont wanna be eaten by a shark, stay outta the ocean. If you dont wanna drown in your city then live above sea level and if you dont wanna fight 5 million for the same bridge and not be allowed to have the weapons needed then dont be in NYC.
    The same goes for those living in homeowners associations always crying bout they cant do this n that. The same goes for those living in antigun states who are always crying bout ownership. trying to have your cake and eat it too you are and you are not being real and look and act just like those depicted on NatGeo
    We can all be picked apart true enough but it shouldnt be easy if you are being real. I mean seriously how real are you being with an oversize backpack, miniskirt, nipping while carrying a saw for “Lumber”!?! Lumber?on 4th n broadway or Hobocken New Jersey if you make it across? What is “lumber” anyway? I have a small folder saw i carry for limbs and brush to hunt with and maybe to brush in my sleeping area but “lumber”?
    That is an internet sensation packer right there

  6. Good point Gary, while the show is goofy, it does have occaisonal tidbits. The recent show gave an idea to use “Bear Spray” vs conventional Mace, what a great idea for your bugout bag. Real Preppers are always learning.

    1. B.O.B. There are some good ideas, like the bear spray, but what concerns me is what about the guy who believes you can get good drinking water with bandana and a handful of charcoal.

      1. Could you give me some insight into what’s wrong with the charcoal filter? Filtering water with store-bought filters doesn’t seem like good ‘self-reliance’ so I was going to pursue some charcoal bandanas until I saw your message. Do you have a suggestion for DIY water purification? So far all I’ve found is a clay bowl off of “Instructables” that I like.

        1. A bandanna filled with powdered charcoal from a campfire is just inadequate. Not enough charcoal or really the right type and the bandanna would wick water around the charcoal.
          Do a search on this blog under SODIS for a simple method. Boiling and distilling are both methods that work. Check the category water purification on the right side of the blog and you will find a bunch of articles on this subject.

        2. Matt in Oklahoma

          Be very careful of “experts” and their methods as there are many pretenders in this realm. Do not trust anything UNTIL you have done it yourself.
          A simple thought process shows you that the water does not ALL go into the charcoal and can bypass it thru the bandanna therefore contaminated water is coming out the other side.
          Manufactures look for the cheapest methods out there that they can safely produce a product. Show me one that uses a bandanna and charcoal from a firepit. Just like packing food, show me one that uses hand warmers instead of food grade oxy absorbers. This is your life and the lives of those you love so use only the best and test them to the point of fail. Nat Geo has set many a person up for failure with this show of “experts” and hopefully they will pay the price soon before someone gets sick, hurt or dies.

          Knowledge is Power, Practiced Knowledge is Strength, Tested Knowledge is Confidence

  7. I do watch the show on NatGeo, and I do pick up a few helpful hints here and there. I was born into prepping, being a son of a dairy farm, we spent all summer preparing for winter and weather permitting spent the winter prepping for summer. The one thing that I see missing is co-oping, friends and neighbors, we had a small farm and was unable to buy all the machinery to do all our farming, so we loaned and we borrowed, we also traded labor during the summer. No ONE prepper will has all the skills needed to survive, and let’s face it, we will need help from others from time to time. I remember mom canning, and again this was somewhat a joint effort, sharing caners, and when all the green beans are ready, labor intensive, so all of us was involved, picking snapping and washing, ect. Now as a young boy, I really did not appreciate all this, but time has made me appreciate it. I remember watching mom can everything, so years we had a great crop, some years when it was dry, not so much, but we would enjoy food canned maybe two or three years earlier. So being a natural born prepper, I wish the show would show more things like that. I remember one show, where this guy had all this fancy stuff in his house, they did a exercise, while (killing) the intruders, he fled in his two wheel suv,,, what was with that?? All his food and supplies abandoned!!!! That was stupid if you ask me, I would rather die protecting my family and property, than to have a slow death of starvation. Just sayin’ some bad advice again, if he had friends, numbers, he would live longer.

    1. Guess you missed the most common phrase in prepping: “Trust in God but have a deep larder”. Preppers are some of the most religious people you can find.

      My question for you is, if you think preppers are crazy then why are you even looking at a prepping website?

      Don’t fall for the propaganda that is spread by shows like Doomsday Preppers.

    2. I appreciate your prayers, we’ll need them, and no we are not crazy, just following past practices. Cities and towns, even Biblical cities stored up foods and water for times they were under attack from their foes. Were just preparing as they did.

  8. I’ve personally talked to some of the producers of that show and I can tell you that the only thing they are interested in doing is exploiting the people who appear on the show. They called me before the show ever started filming and after a couple minutes of talking to them I heard everything I needed to know.

    They have no interest in providing accurate information, the sole purpose of the show is to make those who appear on it look crazy. They want people who can be exploited, people who don’t mind playing a Caricature of themselves and people who have some sort of “problems” that they can exploit.

    Why anyone who claims to be a prepper would go on a reality T.V. show and compromise themselves speaks volumes about what the show actually is. Even those that may have had good intentions come out looking like idiots.

  9. Shame on NATGEO. National Georgaphic was the zenith of documentary reporting at one time. It has sold its soul to the slime of the earth for nothng but the sake of money.

  10. Solar disinfection has great potential, but you need to educate yourself on its limitations, particularly if the source water to be treated is turbid or may have chemical contamination. A good reference is https://www.cdc.gov/safewater/publications_pages/options-sodis.pdf

    SODIS is most appropriate in areas where there is availability of bottles and
    community motivation and adequate training for users on how to correctly and consistently
    use SODIS for treating household drinking water.

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