Do You Suffer From Prepper Burnout?

Talk about burned out

These last few weeks I’ve been avoiding the news and trying to focus on other areas of interest to me.  It seems like I go through periods where I read all the doom I can get my hands on, but after awhile it just wears me down.  The other night my dad and I were camping out in my tipi and he said, “I’ve been watching this show called ‘Doomsday Preppers.’  Man, those guys run around with machine guns and are crazy.”  Ugh.  I couldn’t even bring myself to defend the movement.

When I get like this it’s time to take a break from the doom and gloom and get into other areas of prepping I enjoy:  gear reviews, wilderness stuff, gardening, basically anything that has to do with the great outdoors.

Prepping by its very nature can be depressing if you’re not doing it with the right mindset and I need an attitude adjustment. Part of it is just the stress of family life, working, and trying to write for SHTFblog and various other projects that keep me in over my head.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to bail out here… I just need to take a break from the doom for a week or two.

Things To Come

That’s why in the coming weeks you’ll see a few more gear posts and other related wilderness survival stuff than average.

I just bought a new knife – the Cold Steel SRK – and have been evaluating it. I won’t say too much about it here, but I’m thinking I’ve found a contender for my beloved Ka-Bar Campanion.  Stand by for more in that area.

Also, after reading about it I finally made the Cold Steel Bushman into a spear and spent some time throwing it around. I don’t know if I’d ever want to do any hunting with it, but it sure is fun. If I have the time I’ll make a quick video and put it out there for your viewing amusement. (I could barely hit a big old dead pine tree in back of the house with the thing!)

Another post I might get around to is about shooting bare-bow. I was (and am) a big fan of compound bows, but last summer I thought it would be interesting to start shooting bare-bow again. My dad has a couple of wood and fiberglass bows, so I borrowed one and did a little shooting with it last season. After shooting for a half hour I was surprised at how nice it felt to shoot like that.

Now, instead of me doing all the work why don’t you tell me what you’d like to see written about? I know there are new readers all the time, so what would you like to see?  A primer on making a fire? Or maybe watch Ol’ Jarhead Survivor go through the trials and tribulations of putting in his garden?  Maybe something on staying fit?

Have you ever suffered from prepper burnout?

Sound off below.

-Jarhead Survivor

37 comments… add one
  • irishdutchuncle April 6, 2012, 9:32 am

    once you’ve burned out, it seems easier to get burned out repeatedly. (maybe less severely though) some people just handle stress better than others. take frequent breaks from the gloom. (and remember, you’re much better prepared now, for anything that they can throw at you, since you became a prepper)

  • gat31 April 6, 2012, 9:34 am

    l too get burnout so l feel ya. Sometimes l think it is going to overtake me.I find sometimes l don’t want to throw anything out because l have a “project” in mind. However getting project from mind to do is impossible.I find ways to “reward” myself for getting a project done.
    Personally l miss the survival scenarios you used to post on Fridays they were my favorite. Would give me something to think about and talk about to coworkers.
    One thing l have done so far this year to help with burnout is a project l’ve been talking about and finally did and l’m estatic l got it done. At my job, we have areas that used to be landscaped but has turn to just dirt. I got permission and planted a mini garden at work in one of these desolate areas. Not only did it bring some green back to the area, but it has been awesome for community involvement. l have had several people stop and talk to me about the garden, some have brought me plants, and now the local feed store is willing to donate me some black cow if l choose to expand.
    l see random people stand by it and talking that may have not ever spoken to each other before it’s been wonderful! Do l worry about people stealing out of it? No because it was never put there for my own use it was for the community. l want kids to know what it’s like to go and eat from the yard so to speak and not just from mcdonalds. Do something different and challenge yourself!
    Happy prepping

  • johnboy April 6, 2012, 10:24 am

    I find it is a cycle myself. Ill just put down the doom and gloom for a while and pick up a few different books for a couple of Weeks . Personally I’d like to see some primers on basic fire making. I’ve never been very good or quick starting a fire with a steel,.,

  • sillyMe April 6, 2012, 10:40 am

    Not so much burnout as wait and see. I have long term and short term food and I have other supplies. I pay attention to the news and I’m ready to respond if something looks like SHTF time. I have a list (which I will only attempt to deal with if I’m ahead of the sleeping public). But otherwise I have reached that point where more food or more preps may be a total waste of money.

  • Leon April 6, 2012, 10:49 am

    Hang in there – too much doom is not good for you!
    Glad to hear you’re testing the Cold Steel SRK. I bought one 20 years ago, and have used it extensively. It is my “if you could only have one knife” knife. Here is my review:
    My hunting buddy flew in to the Canadian arctic on a caribu hunt last fall. Weight was at an absolute premium, and every item of gear was carefully evaluated and weighed. His knife? The SRK I gave him, because he wouldn’t let me pay my fair share of the gas money on a deer hunt.
    You will really like your SRK!

  • Timmy April 6, 2012, 11:14 am

    Just go buy a new gun and lots of ammo. Lather, rinse, repeat. That always makes me happy.

  • T.R. April 6, 2012, 12:24 pm

    Like anything else .
    #1. dont let it controle your life
    #2. Know when to walk away from it for a while until your mindset improves .
    # 3. Get a life , yes get a life , something totally unrelated to doom , gloom , negativity . This includes doing things , hanging with different people , going places , etc .
    #4 . Understand that our ” community ” is very possibly wrong about everything . This is why I always urge people that do this to think of prepping more like a Mormon would , and avoid the Doomer mentality . If you read some far fetched conspiracy article , keep in mind that its probably the mental workings of a person that sees the bogie man behind every grain of sand , few have multiple hard facts to support them , keep in mind its nothing but opinion , the writers have no high level security clearance , or access to hard documentation to back up their claims , almost none are eye witnesses to anything . Just read it for the theory or entertainment and leave it at that , like a discussion around the water cooler at break time .

  • The Duck April 6, 2012, 2:37 pm

    Life got a bit busy, business did pick up which is good, it gives me the means to do things like …pay bills.

    Yeah a little burned out, but I do not quit, just slow it down, sort of coast, last week was a slow one ordered 10 buckets and liners, and 50 lbs of dried eggs

    But once in awhile everyone needs a break

  • eric April 6, 2012, 5:31 pm

    i know when i’m getting burned out when i start asking myself “what if i’m wrong”. you know maybe everybody is right, this could never happen in America. i just spent another 200 bucks on #10 cans of food and feel like its just a waste. but then i read about the trillians of debt were in and everything comes bask to perspective. prepping is a mind game forsure

    • T.R. April 6, 2012, 11:35 pm

      True , but look at it this way , the $200 you spent on cans of food , could come in real handy to you and your family if something as common as getting laid off from your job were to happen . because you spent it now when you had the money , it would be one less thing for your family to worry about in an unforeseen situation like that .

  • Knapp April 6, 2012, 7:23 pm

    Burnout blows

    I think off all I have yet to do and what I have done is not enough. You get overwhelmed. My PT has gone to fudge and pudge ( am do for major back surgery ) and that only adds to the stress. It’s great to be a prepper that is in chronic pain knowing that if the stuff hit the fan the best you can do is stand you’re ground.

    Jarhead when I read about you’re excursions I think man that’s awesome I used to be like that. I am only 34 and got wrecked in a car accident by a 19 year old girl on a cell phone. I cannot walk or stand for longer than 10 minutes. Ex-milatary and Ex-Tactical response team, I was never the type to be not active. So Jarhead stop with the news and be outdoors doing what you love.

  • sirlancelot April 6, 2012, 8:06 pm

    went through it this winter. first it was the red invasion in the 70’s, then Y2K in the 90’s , now financial collapse in the 2000’s, etc.

    seems the world is been waiting for the end for some time now. had to get off the merry-go round for a minute to clear my head.

    it’s always good to be prepared, but to have anything dominate your life is not good.

  • Juliette of OHio April 6, 2012, 9:44 pm

    Yes, I go through burn-out phases. Usually when the government hits us with another tax, or the pump breaks, or something major breaks down. While I’m scrambling to pay for everything, I run out of money to complete my latest project which throws me into a real funk. I read too much, and while what I read is probably factual, it leads me to despair. I really crave security for my family and don’t remember worrying this much when I was young and single. A week or two of murder mysteries instead of doomer porn, and a re-work of the time/materials flow usually helps.

  • BillyB April 6, 2012, 9:55 pm


    Jarhead said, “It seems like I go through periods where I read all the doom I can get my hands on, but after awhile it just wears me down. ”

    I go through the same thing. For me, it seems to cycle about one month out of every 3 to 4 months or so.

    I’m relatively new to the whole “prepper” thing, and what has pushed me into the “movement” has been largely political (rather than the more natural disasters). So, my fervor for prepping seems to wax & wane based on the news of the day. However, regardless of the news, about 3 times a year (I’ve began stocking food about 4 years ago) I’ll just start thinking that I’m being silly and paranoid for buying and storing a bunch of stuff that I may never use.

    It never gets so bad that I ever think of getting rid of what I have, or giving up prepping completely; but, for several weeks I will forego any further prepping and I just won’t think of anything related to it. Additionally, I stop paying attention to news and just live life as if the country were the same permanent, stable, normal place I thought it was when I was a kid. In short, I behave just like all the non-preppers do.

    Still, I always come back to the feeling that things are not as they once were (and the knowledge that they never were quite as “peachy keen” as I had imagined when I was younger). Inevitably, the complacency wears off, and I find myself wandering stores looking at things I’ve never needed or wanted before and wondering if they might be useful, or even crucial should the S H the F.

  • KC April 6, 2012, 10:14 pm


    It is baffling to me that with everything going on right now, why anyone would be going through burn-out, if anything quite the opposite would be true, being in a state of hyper-vigilance and on a hair-trigger, lest napping catches us unawares. For example, just since I didn’t have to go to the day-job today, instead I was able to do the following: cached twenty gallons of diesel-fuel, finished the rabbit hutch, built two nesting boxes for my pea-hens, paid an employee, bought a boat-load of food storage down at the county Costco, built a really cool utility cart and made the dumb gander calm the hell down. The best part was that I was able to take a nap from 2 until 3 p.m. as well, so I feel that I was productive and made a good sized dent into preparations while getting ready for Easter at the same time. Unfortunately I don’t have time to get burnt-out, the day-job does that all by itself.

  • Lumberjok April 6, 2012, 10:46 pm

    Near where I live we recently had a fire that took out a block of 100 plus year old commercial buildings with 7 apartments and 11 tenants overhead. The progress of the fire was extremely rapid, an alert citizen reported wisps of smoke shortly after midnight, 25 minutes later the flames were leaping 100 feet into the air. Despite the valiant efforts of 9 fire departments all they could do was wet down adjacent buildngs and try to contain the spread of the fire. Thanks to the heroics of the police department everyone got out unharmed even Stormy the ancient toothless cat turned up safe two days later.
    I know one of the people involved and he told me he wound up out on the sidewalk in a tee shirt, boxer shorts and flip flops with one arm around the baby and the other arm around his wife. He lost EVERYTHING. Five more minutes and he and his family would have starred in the next day’s obits.

    This got me thinking about prep storage. If you have everything under one roof what happens in the event of a fire ? Whether it be zombies or something much more innocent…suppose uncle Zeke has one too many Pabst Blue Ribbons and knocks over a candle…or suppose that while you are out in the yard chopping wood your IQ challenged Labrador Retriever hears a friendly bark and begins his rotor tail wagging and knocks over an oil lamp. If you are bugged in it’s because essential services have ceased to function….or if you are at your cabin in the boonies…forget it…remote cabins by definitition are out of range of fire departments.

    So….my point is this….I would like to see a post about how other preppers spread out their preps to avoid such a catastrophe.

    Oh….and by the way…if you ever need a post on portable sawmills, welding or radio communications…I can do that.

  • Charles April 7, 2012, 11:05 am

    The truth that you bring us is refreshing, the post’s are from those who know the angst and have found respite, to know is the beginning of the correction. Do you know that you have your 3’s, three sources of water, then put that to bed, stay current on it, maintain what is required but the comfort is having that “OFF” your back, then food, etc. whatever your priority list is…. I relish the garden to relieve my angst, the steady stages of growth, knowing frutition is coming, that which I have no control over becomes harder as it roll’s and roll’s about in the cranium, so perhap’s posts on aquiring the 3’s, or as my current situation, I am alone, wife, retarded brother in my care, but no family members or friends will get onboard, essentially alone until TSHTF, then I’ll have the unprepared termites show, so do I get bitter or prep with them in mind as well? Or place an add in the paper, defenders wanted, small working farm in need of labor, will work for food, lol….I am thankful all your are here, tho I know not a one, the words from your hearts keep me mindful I am on the right track, with thanks to all, “C”

  • ArmageddonProof April 7, 2012, 8:31 pm

    I have been getting into ‘prepping’ a lot more lately. I too have days where I try to eat up all I can. Then there are days where I just want nothing to do with any of it. I listen to about 9 hours of Patriot125 on satellite radio a day, and sometimes it is just too overwhelming. I usually revert to the saying, ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ The answer is, ‘One bite at a time’. That’s all you can really do though. Don’t spend your last dollar on some ‘prepper’ toilet paper, just so you can get to some goal number you have set aside. Learn to live for today, while preparing for uncertain times.

    • gat31 April 8, 2012, 7:02 am

      the best way to eat an elephant? Give everyone in the tribe a bite. Maybe getting the family involved on different projects will help revive the positive side and moral.

    • BillyB April 8, 2012, 10:34 pm

      The best way to eat an elephant?

      Trunk first.

      Why? Imagine the alternative.

  • Carolyn April 7, 2012, 10:40 pm

    I’m getting interested in ham radio, do you have any knowledge on that you can share? I can’t be the only one out here interested in it.
    You hang in there, we all look forward to your posts.
    As for reviews of gear, I’d like to see reviews on fire making stuff, sleeping bags, small, inexpensive and portable water filtration systems, cordage and the like.

  • Jason April 8, 2012, 4:39 pm

    I have contended from my beginning of being on these survivalist blogs that nothing will happen like the authors seem to speculate. I argued my point so much on Creekmore’s site that it got me kicked of malcontent. How ironic that he creates so much discontent & is evident by the lemmings that comment.

    People so driven to believe the our nation was going to fold like a cheap tent a week from Tuesday that when I point the impossibility of it & the such incredible negative mindsets of the followers, they actually got upset. It seemed prepping for a total collapse gave their lives a purpose. Then as each plugs along, the authors need to keep stoking the fire or their popularity & silly purpose will diminish. “What did you prep this week” has been going on for nearly 100 weeks – what a joke.

    Here’s the main problem & I’ll use MD Creekmore as an example – marginally educated people with lower self esteem or confidence have figured out a way to become popular. Speculating & using evangelists like Gerald Celente & Michael Ruppert to support their particular bend – The End Of The World As We Know It. He sites whatever skirmish happens in the world & says – see it’s happening, run for the hills!

    This is a prime example of why I coined the phrase “believing is seeing”. First you BELIEVE then you SEE.

    He really has zero clue as to how global economics works, the function & role of the Federal Reserve & the World Bank and who really leads the charge – people infinitely smarter than us all & so far ahead of the curve that what we see today was orchestrated nearly 10 years ago. Yet, he has it figured out. You have to be incredibly stupid or arrogant to assume that role.

    Creekmore doesn’t understand the simple concept that – he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. At best, he possesses 1/100 of 1% of the world’s knowledge & uses that to point out how the remaining 99.99% are missing what he deems as obvious. How can one possibly conclude the world ending with such limited information?

    In order for a total collapse of an economy like the US, there would have to be an enormous upside (profit) in it, which there isn’t. People like to use the Fall of Rome, The Great Depression et al as reasoning behind it but we are in a whole new age – technology can change things in a few mouse clicks. Secondly, a total collapse is outrageously difficult – at best.

    In the early 70’s NYC was on the verge of bankruptcy – this is a fact that can be verified. The Federal Reserve analyzed the problem & concluded that bailing them out was a good thing to avoid anarchy. A significant portion of the population was on government subsidy & cutting that off would prove to economically devastating to Wall Street because of the riots that would occur. It was a losing proposition to allow that to happen so, bail them out. Take away food & shelter, people riot – pure & simple.

    Burn out is a function of too much energy expended – first the body quits then the mind. So one preps & preps & preps & preps, then figures out other possibilities like getting a Carrington Event or a asteroid hitting the Earth or bio-terrorism then preps some more. Nothing happens.

    Japan melts down & the jet stream is going to end all life in the western half of the US so, order the iodine pills, gas mask & rubber suits …. then nothing happens.

    Some individuals have been prepping since the 60’s – that’s 50 years, and nothing has happened. Just think of all those decades of world ending thoughts & worries wasted on hallucinations.

    This is what happens when you mainstream anything – excessive exposure, input & a zillion opinions. Everybody is in a wait & see mode but nothing happens. Meanwhile the mind continues to process that focus until it burns out.

    Unplug the Internet, TV, Newspapers & any other media source & see if the world falls apart. You’ll live much happier & enjoy the simpler pleasures life & guarantee, you’ll never burn out.

    • irishdutchuncle April 8, 2012, 7:15 pm


      you can’t save us from ourselves, this is something we need to do. mentally we’re better off than if we were merely “hoarders”. preparedness gives purpose to what might otherwise be a pathology. this is something we each must work out for ourselves. maybe then we will get to the place where you are. in the mean time we are each, more or less, “self insured”. our preparations are the “deductable”.

      • Jason April 8, 2012, 7:48 pm

        Just a perspective my friend. Two + years ago I never knew such a sect (survivalists) existed. I was shocked that people actually believed the way they do.

        There was a woman (a regular contributor) who commented on Creekmore’s site that talked – seriously – about practicing self defense using escrima sticks (about 24″ long) in her front yard. Her reasoning? The hoards she was expecting to invade her rural house trying to get her food stash. First off, the paranoia involved with that thought is creepy, secondly she’d last about 3 hits until she got taken out permanently.

        In my lifetime have seen super high interest rates come & go, oil embargo’s, the Cuban missile crisis, Y2K, the housing crash that lasted 8 years, the Savings & Loan being blown off the face of the Earth, severe race riots & more yet, not much has really changed.

        Aside from the housing crash, if you took anyone of the above & applied it to this group today, it would be unbridled chaos.

        Point being is perspective & purpose of prepping. I often here reference Mormons & they simple do it without any fanfare or the paranoia of Greece, Iceland, Portugal or Argentina collapsing & then trying to connect those dominos to the US.

        In my view, 95% of survival & preparation for that matter is mindset, the rest is simply logistics. I’d trade no preps for a steadfast mental state any day.

  • irishdutchuncle April 8, 2012, 8:45 pm

    i wish i had your optimism.

    preparedness isn’t really my main “hobby”. there are just some things which need to be taken care of first…

    as a baby i lived through the ice storm of ’58, (which i don’t remember) and the bugout ahead of hurricane Donna, (which i can remember). then came the cuban missile crisis. when there’s trouble, you often are on your own. family and neighbors may be worse off than you. the Mormons may be on to something…
    they are expected to be ready to live for a year on their own. (they were outcasts, as many preppers seem to feel we are also)

    a few “logistics” are nice to have. and yes, i am paranoid, but it’s only because they’re all out to get me.

    • Jason April 9, 2012, 12:41 pm

      Optimism is just a mindset & requires substantially less energy than its counterpart.

      • irishdutchuncle April 10, 2012, 4:08 pm

        what i’m trying to say is that my Dad is a brilliant, very resourceful guy. i’ll never be half the man he is. during the ice storm of “58 even he was running a little short of options.

        there are no substitutes for shelter, water, rescue, food or family. sometimes it’s just yourself and the Deity.
        (and Thou shall not put the Lord, thy GOD to the Test, so YOYO) You need to do, or to get these things for yourself.

        preparedness is not theory in my household. i won’t let the next crisis catch me as un-prepared as the last one did.

        • Jason April 10, 2012, 8:49 pm

          A lot has changed & evolved in 54 years. I think the early warning signals have improved radically.

  • Winston Smith April 9, 2012, 3:28 am

    I am burning out more from reading what the government is doing and putting in place than from prepping. Disasters I can deal with but a state that could potentially turn on the people I can’t. I am afraid of the massive power grabs that both major parties have participated in and that there may be very little time left to affect the political process for the positive before the upcoming election. If I have my constitutional freedoms intact then I can recover from any disaster. However, if the government takes away my ability to deal with the circumstances of my life then I am really and truly screwed. What to do though? Most people seem to be oblivious to the need for liberty and restrictions on the government and are instead focused on the pleasures and needs of the moment. How do you awaken 300+million people to the threat to their way of life when the news media are all part of the conspiracy to hide the truth? This keeps me up at night as I can’t find a solution. I fear the future will indeed be a boot standing on a man’s face-forever.

    • Jason April 9, 2012, 11:39 am

      1. You want to wake up 300 million people? Have another 9/11 – it got us into Iraq with the vengeance of the US population.

      2. You want to sleep at night? Understand you cannot do a darn thing about it as an individual. Effective & individuals gifted with leadership abilities will rise up & take on the MSM through effective Internet messaging. Because of the massive advancements in technology, MSM TV is losing audience share slowly but surely.

      3. People aren’t oblivious, they are distracted to the point that it seems all seems like mush.

      Most everybody knows life in America today has become contrived in many degrees but that doesn’t mean the core values which founded this country are dead. The only thing we can do as individuals is first – live those core values & do not compromise them, be the example. So many want massive change now & think that miracle resides outside of themselves. It’s your life, your world so start living it.

      Second – support the leadership that truly embraces that value. They have the gift to lead so let them do it. JFK, RFK, Martin Luther King, Ron Paul, Justin Bieber (kidding, just seeing if you were paying attention) they all opened doors & broke the through the glass ceilings.

      Lastly, do not live your life in fear of your image of the future – it is a complete waste of time. This is one of the biggest reasons for burnout.

  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. April 9, 2012, 8:03 am

    Glad to hear of going ‘old school’ archery. Have you considered crossbows as well ? My brother bought an old Whammo crossbow (70’s vintage) that shoots bolts VERY well, as in 3″ – 4″ 4 shot groups at 25 yards. ZERO archery previous experience (well, not zero but very little). And very quiet to boot.

    Yup, some archery articles would be welcome – thanks for asking.

    • KC April 9, 2012, 10:00 am


      Here, Here in addition to the articles on “old-school” archery, articles on manufacture of arrows/bolts, especially fletching from re-cycled materials and the mounting of the vanes to the shaft, using field expedient adhesives, would be greatly appreciated. Additionally a primer on low-light/inclement-weather archery, would especially be valued, by myself and neighbors, since we have natural predators (i.e. coyote & mountain-lion) and the laws against discharging a firearm, where we live are harsh. Thanks for the inspiration J.R.

  • Jason April 9, 2012, 12:56 pm

    PS & for what it’s worth Jarhead, you are on the right track & may be a bit ahead of the curve. The survivalism movement probably hasn’t quite peaked yet but people in general are getting burned out living like taffy being pulled every which way.

    Humans in general, when stressed by massive & continual blasting of stimuli to the point of overload, always retreat back to core values & long for that simplicity of life. There is a limit to the stresses that is out of ones control that a person can take before they mentally retreat.

    There is a reason why both you and Ranger gravitated back to the outdoor adventures & quite frankly in my opinion, there are more survivalist lessons in those adventures than learning how to buy a case of Top Ramen or learning how to seal a 5 gallon bucket of wheat.

  • izzy April 12, 2012, 2:04 am

    I think there’d be something wrong if you never got burned out on survivalism – living in tense awareness, hoarding your cache, never stopping to wonder “Why? What kind of world would you want to persevere in if your worst scenarios would (or have) come true? What kind of life will you have had if they never come to pass?”
    I figure it’s a good time to rediscover the positive reasons for doing the same things: Keeping food = abundance, especially when shared with people you love. Learning skills = passing knowledge on to the next generation. Blasting holes in things = being your own action-adventure hero.

  • 101st Airborne April 16, 2012, 10:01 am

    I am past burned out. Numb would be a better description. The national fiscal numbers are skewed. The International #’s are inaccurate. Fed just keeps printing $$$. A rosey picture is being painted about a recovery and I am afraid that this current regime will be reelected. If this country reelects this guy, deevolution will have begun and my flag will fly upside down for the duration.

  • Glen Tate April 24, 2012, 10:58 pm

    Totally, Jarhead. I can completely relate.


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