There’s quite a lot of jargon and slang that the prepping/survivalist community uses and sometimes it can be a bit confusing for the newcomer to the scene. Here’s a little guide that I hope will be helpful.
BIL – Bug In Location – the place where you plan to stay in an emergency, aka “home”. Along with this goes “bugging in“, meaning you’re not leaving home.
Bivvy – sometimes spelled bivi or bivvi – bivouac, a temporary shelter for rough camping, either constructed from local materials such as branches and leaves, or a commercial waterproof sleeping-bag cover used as a lightweight alternative to a tent.
BOHICA – Bend Over Here It Comes Again – derived from army slang and meaning you better prepare to endure something bad because you can’t do anything about it.
BOB – Bug Out Bag – usually a bag containing 72 hours’ of clothes, food, shelter, cooking gear, etc.Sometimes also known as a GOOD bag – Get Out Of Dodge.
BOL – Bug Out Location – emergency fallback position where you can preposition stores and escape to if you can’t stay at home during an emergency. This doesn’t have to be a remote camping ground in the forest – it could be a local motel where you take refuge because the ceiling fell in at home. Along with this goes “bugging out“, meaning you’re leaving your normal home and retreating to your BOL.
BOR – Bug Out Route – ideally one of several you’ve scouted ahead of time so you can avoid gridlock and traffic jams if you have to evacuate in an emergency. Usually connects your BIL and BOL.
BOV – Bug Out Vehicle – whatever vehicle you use when you’re bugging out. For most people, that means your normal transport, stuffed with whatever you’re taking along. For some, a dedicated off road capable 4×4 kept permanently stuffed with INCH gear in a hidden location, possibly also fitted with CB or ham radio set.
Charlie-Foxtrot, CF – a clusterfluck – when lots of things go wrong together, making bad worse. May also be referred to as a SNAFU – situation normal, all fouled up or as FUBAR – Fouled Up Beyond All Repair (or recognition). (The F word is generally not “fouled” in adult company but there may be innocents stumbling over this page).
EDC – Every Day Carry – the things you always keep on your person in everyday life.
FAK – First Aid Kit.
Foraging – An interesting one. In prepping terminology it can mean seeking wild plants to supplement your diet – or it might mean searching for useful supplies/equipment in deserted properties. Exactly where the line is drawn between “foraging” and “looting” is one for the lawyers.
GHB – Get Home Bag – a pack containing what you think you may need to get from where you are to where you want to be in the event of an emergency.
Grey or grey man – blending in, looking inconspicuous. Walking around wearing a camo-pattern rucksack with an axe on the back when in the middle of a city, for example, would not be grey. Walking around with the same sort of bag that everyone else has is grey, provided you don’t let anyone see the contents.
INCH – I’m Never Coming Home – this is a collection of items that you take with you when forced to leave your home forever, for whatever reason. In size, it can range from a big rucksack to a trailer.
MAG or MSG – Mutual Assistance Group or Mutual Support Group – a bunch of friends who’ve put plans together to help each other out WTSHTF.
MZB – Mutant Zombie Bikers (or sometimes Mutant Zombie Badgers) – a concept based on post-apocalyptic fiction where in the absence of law, gangs of crazed bikers roam the countryside looting, raping and generally misbehaving. Now used as a slang term for any large group of unfriendly/hostile people who may threaten your security after Sit-X.
Need to Know – a security concept which helps avoid ridicule, hungry neighbours raiding your pantry or other embarressments. If someone doesn’t need to know something, don’t tell them.
OPSEC – Operational Security, not letting out more information than necessary to achieve your aim. Also known as being “grey” or “need to know” and something politicians and small children are notoriously bad at.
PAW – Post Apocalyptic World
PPPPPP – Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance – self-explanatory. Often has another word beginning with P inserted to describe the poor performance.
PSK – Personal Survival Kit, also known as survival tin. Usually a small watertight tin containing a few small items to survive in a last-ditch desperate situation, usually based on military escape and evasion survival kits.
ROL – Rule of Law – normal operation of society where breaking laws gets you in trouble with the police/courts. Along with it goes WROL – Without Rule of Law, meaning the normal law enforcement processes are absent and you have to look out for yourself. WROL may be permanent (as would happen after TEOTWAWKI) or temporary (during riots, for example).
RV – rendezvous – often a prearranged location where members of an MSG will meet up WTSHTF or it may be a social gathering (usually in a pub).
SHTF – Shit Hits The Fan – fairly self-explanatory. It’s used as a shorthand for any situation where you have to take emergency action and could be anything from locking your keys in the car to aliens invading or WW III. It can also be referred to as WTSHTF, with the addition of “when the” at the beginning. Often coyly rephrased as “the brown stuff hits the whirly thing” and other similar phrases.
SIP – Shelter In Place – another term for bugging in, staying home, for the duration of the event.
Sit-X – Situation X – this seems to be a UK expression, shorthand for “any unknown situation that may occur in the future”. Similarly, “post sit-X” would be after this has happened.
SOP – Standard Operating Procedure
TEOTWAWKI – The End Of The World As We Know It – total collapse of civilisation requiring a reset to a new way of living.
Tin Foil – not merely the stuff that comes in useful for wrapping roasting joints. There used to be a strange idea amongst the paranoid that you could evade mind-controlling secret weapons by wrapping tin foil around your head. As a result, ‘tin-foiler‘ has become short-hand for ‘paranoid delusional conspiracy theorist’. Everyone does have tin-foily moments, of course, but we get over them and back to real life.
TPTB – The Powers That Be – government.
TU – sometimes Tango Uniform – as in “it’s all gone TU” – it’s all gone wrong, pear-shaped or Pete Tong.
WROL – see ROL
WTSHTF – see SHTF