The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

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The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by teotwaki » Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:17 pm

I liked this article in a guilty laugh-at-myself-way. :mrgreen:
Many denizens of other forums are quite miffed at the exposure and are attacking the author, preppers or bushcrafters instead of looking in the mirror.

BTW, ZS gets hyperlinked in the article so expect newbies to drop in!

The Prepper Obsession With Clothes
Gray men are styling for the apocalypse.
by Jennings Brown May 29, 2017, 9:32am EDT

https://www.racked.com/2017/5/29/156630 ... er-clothes

“The costuming is essential,” says Richard Mitchell, professor emeritus of sociology at Oregon State University and author of Dancing at Armageddon: Survivalism and Chaos in Modern Times. “It’s not so much about how you look in the mirror; it’s about how your friends respond to you. Sociologists call it impression management and anticipatory socialization — you dress like you imagine you’ll want to be in the future.”
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by Sun Yeti » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:00 pm

You have to sort of admire capitalism at it's finest here. Survivalism was at least in part predicated on anti-materialism; escaping the treadmill of buying the latest fashion and accessories and instead saving money for emergencies and buying practical gear. Over the last five years or so, there has been a huge upswell in tactical fashion. $200 flashlights. Accessory dress-up for your AR. Pretty much everything on this site is a fashion accessory: http://everydaycarry.com

Notice how almost none of the tools, flashlights etc on that site have any of the paint worn off. Because these people have 10 multitools in the dresser, and pick one to match their outfit. And they're buying a new one each year.

You can start with the most anti-matieralistic movement in the world. If it becomes popular enough, give it five or ten years, and people will have figured out how to target marketing to that movement. At this point it seems inevitable that someone at some point is going to tell me that my gear is 'so 2013, get with the times bro'. To be fair, some of the new gear is really quite functional. However, almost all of it is overpriced, and it people are wearing functional objects for decoration, the functionality is gradually going to fade away. Just check this out: https://www.amazon.com/Leatherman-Brace ... 018IOY0JG/
This is a leatherman bracelet. It costs $185. Yes, you can screw in some screws with it. I would argue though that function is well below half of the point of this item.

I've definitely been guilty of buying things because they were shiny before, and I probably will be again. There's a $50 titanium water bottle I would love to get because... titanium! It's not really better in any significant way for my purposes than the $15 steel water bottles I already have. The point I am making though, is that we are not really used to being pandered to as survivalists by skilled marketing, and so that makes us a vulnerable target. Don't feel bad about buying a shiny now and then, but one of the best ways to prepare for the future is a nice plump rainy day fund, and a well-managed retirement account, not a closet full of shiny.
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by teotwaki » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:12 pm

Great post Sun Yeti! Tacticool Fashion is the silly scourge of survivalism and that EDC site is a perfect example.
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by flybynight » Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:00 am

teotwaki wrote:I liked this article in a guilty laugh-at-myself-way. :mrgreen:
you dress like you imagine you’ll want to be in the future.”
So I dress for the future as I dressed in the past. Jeans ,button shirt or t shirt and work boots. Add sweater and work jacket for winter. It's as grey man as you can get for my area. I Don't even own any of That tactical clothes because..... Why?
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by TacAir » Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:53 am

LOL

"Tactical clothing" I wore that stuff for over 22 years. who knew?

Now, I dress for the weather. If folks like the look, it's a bonus for them - because I don't care. I want to be warm or dry or.... I'll wear what works to that end.
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by RonnyRonin » Thu Jun 08, 2017 1:43 am

I'm just not sure on the topic in general, certainly I have a pretty set image in my head when I think of a "grey man" prepper, and have seen plenty out and about, but I can't say the costuming is any more distinct or prevalent then any other tribe I see, from Harley riders to climbers to hackysack players to mountain bikers... dressing the part is just one more way to signal and fit in, I wonder what made the author decide to talk about preppers and clothing over any other group.
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by Dragon80 » Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:04 am

RonnyRonin wrote:I'm just not sure on the topic in general, certainly I have a pretty set image in my head when I think of a "grey man" prepper, and have seen plenty out and about, but I can't say the costuming is any more distinct or prevalent then any other tribe I see, from Harley riders to climbers to hackysack players to mountain bikers... dressing the part is just one more way to signal and fit in, I wonder what made the author decide to talk about preppers and clothing over any other group.
I agree, and in many instances the costume is functional. Now on the prepper thing, I'm not sold on his opinion of it all. Initially for me I discovered some of the more tactical clothing and got into it because I was tired of destroying clothes regularly and wanted better function and durability.

I tore up a pair of LAPG pants in a carbine class and then a pair of 5.11 pants in a pistol class... So like everything else I started looking into better alternatives and never really touched the surplus market and of all the preppers I know, they didn't either. Now you will find me mostly wearing $22 Wrangler stretch denim jeans (Basically a flexible denim, not some kind of skinny jean!), hiking pants by Kuhl/Mammut/Marmot, or shorts.

If I'm doing something particular, I dress for the occasion, as well as the weather. Wearing my Mammut soft shell pants is better in inclement weather than my denim or my Kuhl Radikl pants. Wearing my North Face shorts is better in hot, humid weather than any of the above unless I'm going to be in brush or doing some kind of work. I view this entire thing as I stated above, dress for the occasion. If SHTF, my clothing choices will change as needed, but I've only seen a very select few sporting milsurp gear in their day to day lives.
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viewtopic.php?f=14&t=114606

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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by Asymetryczna » Thu Jun 08, 2017 6:21 am

Interesting article. Thanks. "Anthropological observations" indeed, but certainly nothing new (Eccl 1:9).

Clothing, head and foot wear, jewelry, etc., have long been part of identifying with groups/communities/tribes. An 8-year old once overheard me complaining about a 'biker' in traffic and asked me, "Which kind?" Curious too now, I asked her what she meant and she explained that there were 2 types of bikers: leather and lycra.

Although one is not encouraged to "stereotype" (from Greek: to develop firm impression) or "profile" (4th Amendment protections) these days, the human brain is wired to class, group, rank...categorize.
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by Sun Yeti » Thu Jun 08, 2017 10:58 am

We're no worse than any other subculture, but also no better. There's real hypocrisy in the prepper who brags about not buying into all that consumerist fashion crap the kids are wasting their money on these days, then turns around and shows off their new $800 safe queen firearm and $200 tactical pants.
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by woodsghost » Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:02 pm

I have seen this. I think bushcrafters and preppers are all guilty of it. I think it is more of a "people with money" thing. It is also a "new guy who reads too many blogs and forum posts" thing.

I remember a conversation around a camp fire. I argued that people need to practice with their weapons. A guy piped up "well some of us are not made of money" and looked hard at me. He then went on to say that going and getting professional instruction one or two times a year was, in his estimation, the best use of his training time and money. That was the only time he got his pistol out; when he attended professional training classes.

I looked at him in his $150 jacket, his $100 pants, his $100 chest bag, his $250 boots, his $250 knife.

I looked at my $20 pants, my $60 boots, my $45 jacket, my $50 knife.

I mentioned I am also not made of money and really liked dry fire practice and have found it rather inexpensive.

I think once there are "cool kids" in a hobby, everybody has to look like the cool kids. This guy was caught up with getting everything the cool kids have and listening to them talk about which brands are best and what gear you really need. I have watched those vids, but being in a different tax bracket, I have to pass on most of that and make the hand-me-down gear I got work. I do splurge. That $50 knife was not necessary, but it is very fun.

In my experience, we all spend money. Even the "very frugal" of us. But *where* we spend that money is different for each of us.


ADDITION:

Ok, so clothing is important. It is the primary means of shelter in the elements. I have always had less expensive gear, but recently sprang for a $100 jacket and WOW that makes a difference!!!! I just got a fleece jacket from Duluth Trading, but it beats the pants off my M65 jacket in every category, hands down! Well, not in "fire resistance." So I'm learning that quality and technology can make a difference. I liked my wool and mil-surp, but a decent wicking shirt and good fleece outer are amazing!!!
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by Sun Yeti » Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:16 pm

Agreed woodsghost. And again, I am not against spending money on something when it gets me a real practical performance boost. But I think there's a lot of stuff these days, the primary function of which is to look high performance, not to be high performance.

And yes, even the most frugal among us is guilty of splurging from time to time. Fine. But let's not let good marketing turn us into another flavor of fashionista.
The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” -Isaac Asimov

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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by the_alias » Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:28 pm

What a silly article.

Most of it could be applied to UL hikers right down to what they call the stereotypical prepper garb of

"Feature Kreep in a typical outdoors or bugout ensemble: nylon pants, windshirt over baselayer, trail runners"

:gonk:
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by Hokicake » Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:40 pm

I love the ripstop material for rough activity wear. I have a lot of shirts and pants like that and I kept my military uniforms for stuff like that like when I work on a car or something where I'm laying and dragging myself on the ground and getting oil all over me and stuff. When I go hiking I'll usually wear columbia brand or north face brand clothes with moisture wicking unders

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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by teotwaki » Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:20 pm

the_alias wrote:What a silly article.

Most of it could be applied to UL hikers right down to what they call the stereotypical prepper garb of

"Feature Kreep in a typical outdoors or bugout ensemble: nylon pants, windshirt over baselayer, trail runners"

:gonk:

I honestly don't think it is silly. It has sparked good discussion here. It showed me Feature Kreep's blog (http://featurekreep.blogspot.com/) which has lots of gear obsession in evidence. He also has a bachelor's degree in apparel design at Oregon State University so I would not regard him as a source of silliness.

Survivalism is a sort of fringe movement as the article states. I have relatives that will admit they could and should prepare but they do nothing. Except for say they will come to my door when a disaster occurs. :shock:
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by the_alias » Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:56 pm

teotwaki wrote:
the_alias wrote:What a silly article.

Most of it could be applied to UL hikers right down to what they call the stereotypical prepper garb of

"Feature Kreep in a typical outdoors or bugout ensemble: nylon pants, windshirt over baselayer, trail runners"

:gonk:

I honestly don't think it is silly. It has sparked good discussion here. It showed me Feature Kreep's blog (http://featurekreep.blogspot.com/) which has lots of gear obsession in evidence. He also has a bachelor's degree in apparel design at Oregon State University so I would not regard him as a source of silliness.

Survivalism is a sort of fringe movement as the article states. I have relatives that will admit they could and should prepare but they do nothing. Except for say they will come to my door when a disaster occurs. :shock:
Article is just a bit silly to me but Feature Kreep isn't...lets not confuse what I said.

The truth is though that I've spent far more time looking at gear reviews and information from the UL community than I have from any prepper.

The reason is lets face it, those UL guys are on the go testing stuff constantly under rigorous conditions. Most preppers aren't out there doing stuff to anywhere near the same degree.
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by teotwaki » Thu Jun 08, 2017 6:02 pm

the_alias wrote:Article is just a bit silly to me but Feature Kreep isn't...lets not confuse what I said.
No confusion on my part. The article gave Feature Kreep star billing; 17% of the article.

Reading the article before dismissing it is a good first step.

Feature Kreep (who asked we refer to him by the name he uses for his blog and on prepper forums) says that reading The Postman at an early age instilled in him an appreciation for all things apocalyptic — zombies, robot takeover, economic collapse, nuclear war. But considering the prominent role that clothing plays in the book, it also seems to have inspired his professional career.
Since earning a bachelor's degree in apparel design at Oregon State University, Feature Kreep has been working in the outdoor apparel industry. When he’s not testing backpacks on hikes or helping wilderness enthusiasts pick out supplies, he’s answering questions on survivalist subreddits and studying the different subgroups of prepperdom.

One thing he’s noticed in his anthropological observations is that preppers love clothes. “There’s a bit of a fetish there,” Feature Kreep says. “In hunting there’s a fashion-show element, because everyone’s got to have cooler camo than the other guy — the latest computer-generated camo. Backpackers are more obsessed with absolute performance and they don’t care what it looks like. They can wear some pretty goofy-looking stuff. But preppers tend to focus on the appearance of clothing because they’re more aware of what their clothes signal about them, and they’re trying to manage that signal.”

“Bushcrafters tend to make a lot of decisions based on historical fantasy and aesthetic rather than actual scientific rigor,” says Feature Kreep. “They can be very smug, because they have so many skills. They’ll make some claim like, it makes more sense to carry a two-pound axe and spend five hours building a shelter than it does to carry a two-pound tent and walk five more hours. They’ll come up with outlandish reasons for why they need to be wearing wax canvas and wool when it doesn’t make any sense.”
But everyone in the survivalist community seems to have one thing in common. “Between the groups, I can’t say which is more obsessed with clothes,” he says. “They all talk about it a heck of a lot.”
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by ZombieGranny » Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:58 pm

I wonder if it's because HE is so interested in clothing that it comes across that way...I've had very few discussions through the decades with preppers about clothes.
My interest is mainly feeding people and would have said preppers talk a lot about food.
Growing it, preserving it, affording it, cooking it; the list goes on.
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by teotwaki » Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:58 pm

ZombieGranny wrote:I wonder if it's because HE is so interested in clothing that it comes across that way...I've had very few discussions through the decades with preppers about clothes.
My interest is mainly feeding people and would have said preppers talk a lot about food.
Growing it, preserving it, affording it, cooking it; the list goes on.
I think that could be a good insight. There was an article that spoke of ultralight backpackers who packed based on their fears. An example might be a fear of cold so maybe pack a slightly "heavy" sleeping bag so as to avoid being cold at night. Maybe the author secretly wants to be a prepper and wear tacticool clothes :mrgreen: but he fears ridicule so he wrote an article to convince himself not to dress "that way".
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by Stercutus » Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:28 am

Why didn't that dude just jump across the water?

My FIL got me a nice Dickies cost the other day from the flea market for $3. It was too big so the intended wearer never wore it. Dickies last a good long time.

I don't have a "prepper wardrobe". I have a bunch of clothes that my various employers have given me over the years that wear well and work well in an unfriendly environment where I might be very active. These are also useful for professional training.

I also have durable clothes that I use to work around my place when I am not working or posting overlong slow witted commentary.
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by teotwaki » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:06 am

Stercutus wrote:I also have durable clothes that I use to work around my place when I am not working or posting sly commentary.

Fixed it for you..... :clap:


Part of me says the article is motivated by elitist disdain ("...frontier lust with its apocalyptic anxiety") but I also feel there is some secret longing on the author's part to wear tacticool clothes and strut about with a rifle. Perfect mall ninja. :mrgreen:
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by Asymetryczna » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:04 pm

ZombieGranny wrote: My interest is mainly feeding people and would have said preppers talk a lot about food.
Probably the best sentence I have read this week, here or anywhere. Add fighting stomach disorders in a second sentence and I would award you five gold stars and a :D
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by RonnyRonin » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:14 pm

I think it is safe to say that any assumptions made in the article are better attributed to the author then the interviewees, I think I saw in a reddit discussion that one of the interviewees at least didn't accept the overarching premise. A competent author can string quotes together to support nearly any conclusion.

If I were to pin a fetish on preppers in broad sweeping generalities, I would think backpacks, knives, guns or 4x4s would be an easier premise to support. I think it is safe to say that the hunters, bushcrafters and backpackers mentioned discuss clothing more then any prepper I've talked to. Enough preppers are stationary by nature (Bug-in proponents, homesteader types) that clothing discussion barely goes past which thrift store has the best deals. If you lump in militia/3per types with preppers the average might come up just from camo and uniform discussions, but even those are pretty minor compared to everything else they like to talk about (guns, comms, guns, current events, guns, rations, guns, etc).
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by Stercutus » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:47 pm

Here we have 500K posts about guns vs next closest topic of "all other gear" at 175K and CP&P at 121K. Take out the Chat thread and Guns is 1/3 the site.

Guns are more a hobby for most of us, in many cases required professional equipment.
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
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Re: The Prepper Obsession With Clothes

Post by teotwaki » Fri Jun 09, 2017 5:02 pm

Stercutus wrote:Here we have 500K posts about guns vs next closest topic of "all other gear" at 175K and CP&P at 121K. Take out the Chat thread and Guns is 1/3 the site.

Guns are more a hobby for most of us, in many cases required professional equipment.
RonnyRonin wrote:I think it is safe to say that any assumptions made in the article are better attributed to the author then the interviewees, I think I saw in a reddit discussion that one of the interviewees at least didn't accept the overarching premise. A competent author can string quotes together to support nearly any conclusion.

If I were to pin a fetish on preppers in broad sweeping generalities, I would think backpacks, knives, guns or 4x4s would be an easier premise to support. I think it is safe to say that the hunters, bushcrafters and backpackers mentioned discuss clothing more then any prepper I've talked to. Enough preppers are stationary by nature (Bug-in proponents, homesteader types) that clothing discussion barely goes past which thrift store has the best deals. If you lump in militia/3per types with preppers the average might come up just from camo and uniform discussions, but even those are pretty minor compared to everything else they like to talk about (guns, comms, guns, current events, guns, rations, guns, etc).
I am surprised that no one has commented on the web site that the article is hosted at. Other stellar topics featured there are in the vein of:

Halal Nail Polish Finally Became a Thing This Week

Because of this article's claims I too looked over the numerous ZS threads and was hard pressed to find any special fascination with "prepper fashion". If anything a member has to be wary of being labeled a Mall Ninja. The article did note that "Some clothing companies, like Fortress Clothing and Beyond Clothing, specifically target preppers". I had never heard of them and with their pricing it is not likely I will buy from them. At Beyond Clothing they do have the "gray man" angle woven into some product descriptions such as this one:

"The A3 Lochi Jacket is designed for active use in cold environments, and is reversible for low-profile use in urban environments."
https://beyondclothing.com/collections/ ... 4163898637
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