“Survivalist” Meaning and a Glossary of Other Survival Terms – Full Guide

If you belong to the category of people who are only getting introduced to outdoor life, you should know a couple of things. It even gets better when you are exploring Survivalism and prepping. Some people are entirely clueless to the word “survivalist” and other terms used to describe the activity.

This article on “survivalist” meaning and a glossary of other survival terms were put together, so you don’t feel left out if you are in this category. Surprisingly, not many platforms provide as many comprehensive details as you are about to find out; hence, you should be lucky to have one here. As you dive into this article, it would be best if you had it in mind that these terms would come in handy when you start your journey of becoming a survivalist.

Who is a Survivalist?

Before defining who a survivalist is, it is important to discuss what Survivalism means. Survivalism is a crusade or movement of a set of people who believe in preparing for possible emergencies due to political and social disruptions. This act is widely recognized internationally, as it involves the advocacy of safety.

Without further ado, a survivalist is anyone who belongs to this movement. Becoming a survivalist is not an easy journey, as it involves skills, sacrifices, and most importantly, discipline. It is easier said that a survivalist anticipates a doomsday; thus, he/she has to make survival preparations for survival.

On becoming a survivalist, you have to join a community and participate in different activities planned for the year. You will also need some provisional materials, such as books, podcasts, videos, etc., to gain more knowledge, especially from pros. Most importantly, consistent practicing makes such a person better.

What is SHTF?

Maybe during your research into Survivalism, you have stumbled across some words that seem unclear; well, you shouldn’t worry much since most of them would be discussed. One of those you will find because it is often used is SHTF.

Generally, SHTF means Survivalism; however, the acronym stands for Shit Hits The Fan – easy to describe a long-term survival situation, i.e., the Peak of Emergencies. Here, you may need a lot of resources to aid your survival. A good example of an SHTF scenario is a Global Pandemic or Natural Catastrophe like earthquakes, tsunamis, etc

Find the complete step-by-step survival guides on our website.

A Glossary of Survival Terms

Now that you understand what Survivalism means, it shouldn’t be hard to comprehend the phrases and abbreviations often used. Check out the Glossary of Survival Terms below.

Alpha Strategy

The most popular book highly recommended for new survivalists to understand Survivalism and Prepping is the Alpha Strategy. It contains the basics – mostly for hyperinflation. It is valuable, which is why you would find most pro-survivalists recommend it to the new ones joining the community.

Bugging IN/OUT

The idea of bugging in and out is paralleled. Bugging in means preparing for an emergency by stockpiling as much as you can in the home; on the contrary, Bugging out means evacuating and escaping a place to another for safety.

Bug Out Bag BOB

Whether you are bugging in or out, you need a couple of resources for survival. However, it is impossible to pack all these items – supplies and equipment without a Bug Out Bag (BOB). The bag allows you to prepare for survival by packing what could last you for about 48 to 72 hours.

Bug Out Location BOL

In the scope of understanding what Bugging Out means, BOL – Bug Out Location is also introduced. This place is where you intend to travel to during an emergency. On the other hand, it could be a reserve for food supplies, so you have something to fall back on when those you have at home get exhausted.


In different outdoor scenarios, you may have noticed they used EDC a lot. The acronym means Everyday Carry. It describes a shortlist of gears you need for survival at any time of the day. These tools come in handy both in the wilderness and in an urban area. Examples include a multi-tool knife, a flashlight, a survival watch, etc.


EMP, also called Electromagnetic Pulse, means a device used for weakening the strength and power of electronic devices for survival situations.

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Sometimes, codes are great to describe an event happening or about to happen succinctly. In survival, EOTW means End of the World, which confirms an apocalyptic event.


When everything gets less tense, you may want to start preparing to go back home. In this case, what you need isn’t a Bug Out Bag; instead, you need the opposite – a Get Home Bag.


If using Bug-Out seems complicated, Get Out of Dodge (GOOD) is an alternative.


Several times, survivalists have encountered dangerous threats; they send messages for help using the NBC code – Nuclear Biological Chemical. It is often used to describe a terrorist attack on civilians.


In this case, a Paracord isn’t an acronym, but rather a necessity for survival and prepping. If you could have a rope that would do almost anything you could imagine, then you would settle for a Paracord. It is quite versatile and has been designed into bracelets to hold items like a multi-tool knife.


During your training program on becoming a survivalist, you are taught SERE – Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape. In SHTF, the SERE concept often comes in handy; thus, it is a preparatory program against intense survival situations.


WROL – Without Rule of Law is total dependence on instincts and morals for survival when a system (government) fails.

Other useful terms are

  • YOYO
  • INCH
  • Off-Grid
  • First Aid Kit (FAK)
  • E&E (Escape & Evasion), and many more.

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“survivalist” Meaning and a Glossary of Other Survival TermsConclusion

As time goes by, you will understand many more terms in Survivalism and how they are used. For now, this article on “Survivalist” meaning and a glossary of other survival items has only been able to provide the basics you need to know to get started.

If you have any questions let us know.


  • Kyle Lee was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and he always had an interest since childhood in wildlife. Due to his awareness that the USA and other countries had tension with one another, he studied methods to prepare himself if any type of disaster happened. He learned about how to prep if a natural or human-made disaster occurred. That became his passion, which led him to establish Survival Straps, and Kyle is the chief editor. He works as a manager at a camping and outdoor store, lives by himself with his cats, and enjoys watching war documentaries.