Prepping has certainly become its own sub-culture, and with that comes its own language. This page will help you understand some of the prepper vocabulary and acronyms. Feel free to favorite it so you can reference it as needed. We try to avoid using a lot of this terminology as we’re simply trying to help people prepare for whatever it is they are concerned about.
We’re not seeking to exclude anyone or force them to have to learn lingo to prepare. I have this here, because, undoubtedly, as you explore the world of prepping, you’ll need to know what others are saying.
Prepper Vocabulary, Terminology and Acronyms
- All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment. A military style pack with no zippers that has been mostly phased out in favor of the MOLLE system.
- Alphabet Soup Agencies
- General term used to refer to all of the various federal agencies known by acronyms such as: CDC, CIA, DHS, EPA, FBI, FEMA, etc.
- Armored Personnel Carrier
- A self-contained system for growing plants that takes hydroponics and adds in fish and a circulation system so that the fish waste feeds the plants and thus, the plants clean the water for the fish.
- American Red Cross
- Attempt to Locate. Related to BOLO.
- Bug Out Bag
- Bug Out Location
- Be On the Look Out
- Bug Out Vehicle
- Another term for wilderness.
- Encompasses the skills required to live in the bush.
- Multiple: Bring Your Own Weapons, Bring Your Own Woman, Bring Your Own Water
- Food ration program introduced in 1940s, replaced by the MCI ration program in the 1950s. Because the food was so similar MCI rations were often still referred to as C-Rations.
- Centers for Disease Control
- Compressed Meals. May refer to MCWs or LRPs.
- Coronal Mass Ejection. An activity on the sun that often follows a solar flare, but not always.
- Do your own due diligence. It means to find the truth out for yourself and not simply take the speaker’s word for it. Also an attempt at deflecting liability for statements made.
- Every Day Carry. Refers to the kit that a person carries on them each day.
- Electro Magnetic Pulse
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- First in First Out. Used in food storage. Means to use what is oldest first.
- Flameless Ration Heater. Water-activated packet that heats MREs.
- Grid Down Event. May refer specifically to electrical grid, but often more widely refers to all networks.
- Genetically Modified Organism
- Get Out of Dodge
- A method of growing plants without the use of soil. Instead, they are placed in a “grow medium” and use nutrient-rich water and lights to feed the plants.
- Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejection. A coronal mass ejection that has reached Earth. Can cause radio interference as well as damage to electrical and satellite infrastructure. Also see: CME
- I’m never coming home.
- KISS or K.I.S.S.
- Keep It Simple Stupid
- Line of Sight.
- Long Range Patrol Improved. Lightweight, dehydrated rations that were eventually merged with the MCW program to form MCW/LRP.
- Meal, Combat, Individual Ration. Precursor to MREs. Program ended in 1980. Often called C-Rations even though the C-ration program ended in the 1950s and was replaced by MCIs.
- Meals, Cold-Weather rations. Dehydrated ration that can handle cold weather that MREs can’t. Merged with LRP-I to form MCW/LRP ration.
- The merged ration programs of MCW and LRP-I as they both use dehydrated ingredients.
- MOLLE System
- Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. A military style pack that replaced the ALICE packs. Designed to be lighter weight and make adding modules easier.
- Meals Ready to Eat. Military rations that were designed to be easy to eat. They are in pouches that you eat from and come with a water activated heater.
- Main Stream Media
- Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (in reference to types of warfare)
- Off the Grid Event
- Oxygen Absorbers
- Packets typically used to keep foods fresh by depleting oxygen in a closed space through a chemical reaction. It prevents spoilage from aerobic bacteria as well as oxygenation (rancidity).
- Pouch Attachment Ladder System. Used in the MOLLE system.
- A mass outbreak of infectious disease that spreads across a wide area.
- Polar Shift
- The belief that the magnetic poles of Earth will flip and cause mass destruction and unrest.
- President of the United States
- Root Cellar
- A time-tested strategy for keeping food cool by storing it in a cellar below ground where the temperature is far lower than the surface temperature of the Earth.
- Supreme Court of the United States
- Shadow Government
- A belief some have of an alternate, secret, clandestine government.
- An overused term used to demean people who aren’t preppers or aren’t as fully aware of the happenings in the world. An amalgam of the words “people” and “sheep.”
- Stuff Hits The Fan – This is a family friendly website :-). Basically, refers to the immediate moment when an event changes the world as we know it for the worse. Use: When the SHTF, I’m heading to my BOL and riding things out.
- Shelter In Place. As in, I’m going to shelter in place rather than bug out.
- Solar Cooker,
- Solar Oven
- A system for cooking food using only the energy from the sun.
- Standard Operating Procedures. A set of standards used to guide day-to-day operations.
- The Powers That Be. Usually is a general reference to all people in power from various countries and militaries, but can also refer to a shadow entity or “shadow government.”
- The End Of The World As We Know It. Not necessarily “Armageddon” but a drastic change in the average quality of life, most likely followed by unrest.
- Urban Farming
- Growing food in unorthodox and small places such as on rooftops and inside apartments.
- Vagabond Stove,
- Hobo Stove
- A cook stove made from a tin can. The can is opened and emptied, a fuel door is cut into the side of the can along with ventilation holes around the top and oxygen feeder holes along the bottom. You then light a fire and place your pan of food on top of the apparatus.
- Without Rule of Law. Refers to a time when law is largely non-existent.
- When the Stuff Hits the Fan. Longer version of SHTF. Refers to the immediate moment when an event changes the world as we know it for the worse.
- You’re on your own. Use: It’s better to join up with a group of preppers or else when the SHTF, YOYO.