I practice and teach survival skills such that I might survive in a sticky situation. These are things like wild water treatment, fire lighting, etc.

A survivalist is one who makes preparation to survive disaster by storing food, etc. It's largely used in the US to mean prepper.

A bushcrafter is one who practices bushcraft.

Since survivor is reserved for those who have survived, what do we, the ones who practice survival skills so that will survive, call ourselves?


This is for the UK where survivalist means prepper

  • Is 'bushcrafter' one of those made up words like 'detectorist'? Bushcraft being something you have not something you do, as with 'roadcraft' which means knowledge and experience of roads. For the question, you already mentioned 'survivalist' which seems to be in common use. Jan 20, 2021 at 23:47
  • ... so someone who has roadcraft could be a driver, and someone with bushcraft could be a hunter or a tracker. Someone who practices survival skills could also be one of those, but without a greater purpose they might be called an Armageddonist, etc. No-one goes around saying "I am busy bushcrafting/surviving today" except maybe Edina. Jan 21, 2021 at 0:16
  • @WeatherVane Those are generally apt. However, from the question, I understand there are two types of "survivors" (let's say): one collects Swiss army knives and goes camping or hiking for the adrenaline rush; another has an apocalyptic bunker that fits 12 in their backyard. I think the OP is looking to distance himself from survivalist, which implies the second meaning (because of its association with "prepper"), and lean towards the more casual "adrenaline junkie", "adventurer", or "survival enthusiast" version of "survivor". Jan 21, 2021 at 1:24
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    I’ve heard them called survivalists and I wouldn’t call aprepper a survivalist.
    – Jim
    Jan 21, 2021 at 4:48
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    I think you can use "survivor". A survivor is 1.2 A person who copes well with difficulties in their life. It's not reserved for those who have survived (as you say in the question) but who do survive. I don't see why we need new words like "bushcrafting" for skills that have been around for a very long time. Jan 21, 2021 at 23:39

1 Answer 1


I would use survivalist.

I don't think it's generally considered a synonym for "prepper." There are numerous articles online discussing the difference, with the overall theme being that preppers stockpile supplies, while survivalists learn survival skills. Wikipedia includes both in the same article, though the article's terminology section calls "prepper" "A misconstrued synonym for survivalist... Incorrectly used interchangeably with survivalist."

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    I agree. Prepper has a rather negative connotation (at least in some circles), while survivalist is more neutral. The two also have different foci. A prepper is someone who starts by preparing for a future large-scale disaster, while a survivalist focuses on situational survival (downed plane, etc). Jan 21, 2021 at 13:56
  • In the UK, a survivalist is a prepper. In Collins dictionary: survivalist in British English (səˈvaɪvəlɪst ) NOUN US a. a person who believes in ensuring his or her personal survival of a catastrophic event by arming himself or herself and often by living in the wild b. (as modifier) survivalist weapons It's not what I am looking for. Jan 21, 2021 at 22:32
  • Even Google replaces one with the other on my searches. Jan 21, 2021 at 22:55

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