Doomsday Preppers series on NatGeo

Posted on: February 17, 2012

Some time ago, I was approached by a casting agency about appearing on a new show about preppers. After a lengthy discussion where I was assured the show was going to be a legit attempt at educating the masses about disaster readiness, I declined once I learned they wanted to bring a TV crew to my home and have me give the entire country a guided tour of my own preps.

Flash forward several months and Doomsday Preppers premiers on NatGeo. They are a couple episodes in at this point. Last night, my wife and I sat down to watch the first episode via our cable provider’s On Demand feature. Because watching the show in this way excludes commercials, the actual running time was about 48 minutes or so. It took us well over an hour to get through it because both of us kept pausing the show to rant about this or that statement made by one of the preppers on the show.

Overall, color me seriously underwhelmed by the show. There are so many things they could have done with this show to make it truly worth the watch. But, as I would have predicted, they concentrated on the goofiest whack jobs they could find. Or at least portrayed them that way.

First up, we have the Range couple who live in a home built out of several shipping containers. They have about 50,000 lbs of food set aside, enough such that they feel they can feed their group of 22 or so people for fifteen years. According to the show, their primary concern is a pole shift, which they feel would cause major earthquakes and other disasters, resulting in a total societal collapse. They stressed this earthquake angle several times during their segment.

Ok, so they’re worried about major quakes. Yet throughout their food storage are hundreds of GLASS JARS sitting precariously on makeshift shelves. No straps or other securing devices were evident. Earth shakes –> glass jars hit the floor –> there goes your 50,000 lbs of food storage.

Further to that, I personally don’t ever want to live quite that, well, white trash looking. While I’m all for prepping, I believe there is a balance to be met where you live your life in a modicum of comfort and enjoyment while still working towards being prepared for disasters. They appear to love their lifestyle, more power to them. I just don’t think living in a shipping container is going to everyone’s cup of tea. I have to wonder how many people watched the show because they were interested in learning more about prepping, saw this ramshackle structure, and had thoughts like, If THIS is what prepping is all about, count me OUT!

They also have a bug out plan whereby they will use converted school buses to move their people and supplies to a secondary location, something like 12 hours from their home/retreat. It is always a good idea to have backup plans, so no argument there. But, they showed them doing an evacuation drill with the goal of moving a fair amount of their supplies into the buses and hitting the road in an hour. I just can’t wrap my head around what they figure could happen that would be bad enough to cause them to abandon their home, yet would still give them a solid hour to get ready to go?

Next up we have Christopher Nyegres. He has learned extensive skills in living off the land in his home area of Los Angeles County. His “pet apocalypse” is a major quake hitting California. His plan, as described on the show, is to live a nomadic lifestyle, subsisting on what he can hunt and forage. He has his survival bag with the usual assortment of gear and that’s about it. Kudos to him for learning these skills. But I shudder to think what chemicals he’s ingesting by eating the weeds growing alongside freeways and such in Los Angeles.

Also, if your main fear is a major quake hitting California, wouldn’t the most prudent thing to do be moving away from California? I understand, there are threats no matter where you go. I totally get that. But, let’s say my biggest fear was that I am convinced an asteroid is going to hit Dallas, Texas, sometime in the next five years. I’ve done the math and somehow I am utterly convinced this is going to happen. Would it seem wise for me to live in Dallas then? Seems to me the intelligent thing for me to do is move as far away from Dallas as I could, as soon as possible.

Oh, and he plans to use some stone arrowheads for trading to the homeless people he meets after the quake. I’d love to see how that pans out for him.

Finally, we have Megan Hurwitt. Her, my wife and I both wanted to slap. Her attitude, her mindset, just everything about her was exceptionally aggravating. They stated during her segment that she “works out” four hours a day, six days a week. Ok look, I’m not exactly in Olympic competition shape myself but there is no way this young woman worked out that much, unless she had just started that workout schedule a week before the show was taped.

Her main fear is an oil crash. That a Middle Eastern country would cut the US off or something and riots and other unpleasantness would result. Her plan, such as it is, is to hole up in her tiny apartment for a few weeks, then bug out on foot to a vehicle she has stashed somewhere about 6 hours walk from her apartment. (By the way, she had planned on that walk taking three hours but once she actually gave it a shot, found it took her double that amount of time.) There, she’ll take the car to Mexico.

She’s assuming:

1) She’d have anywhere near enough supplies to live, undetected, in her apartment for several weeks.

2) That she’d survive her trek from her apartment to her car, admittedly going through some pretty rough parts of the city.

3) That her car would still be at the hidden location, undamaged and ready to go.

4) That Mexico would somehow be anywhere near an ideal place to go.

The follow up portion of her segment mentions that Megan has recently enlisted in the military. One would hope they are somehow able to pound into her head some degree of common sense and reality. What she managed to show on her segment was nothing short of planning to fail.

In hopes of avoiding a heart attack brought on by a rapid increase in blood pressure, I’ll probably avoid watching future segments of Doomsday Preppers. I had high hopes for this show and was sorely disappointed.

7 thoughts on “Doomsday Preppers series on NatGeo

  1. i am new too the whole world of prep and the like but i can say this i am planning too invest in fruit tree’s in the coming future and some nut tree’s i hope we can all pull together and live in peace and yes i live in a world that is only getting more and more violent and i’m learning too use a varied array of fire arm’s see ya bye the moment we we survive is the moment we can rebuild see ya bye and yes i am fully grounded in reality bye and i promise well known’s preper’s i will not shoot my pet’s see ya

  2. Since I have a dual residence, one in Houston and my retreat about 100 miles north of the city on a major reservior, I tried to contact Ms. Hurwitt several times without success. I too, was appalled at her sassy attitude. I nearly had an epileptic fit when she did her little “victory dance.”

    I can tell you categorically she will NEVER get out of Houston on foot or by car in an emergency. When hurricane Rita was poised to his Houston in 2005 (this was right after Katrina) there was the larget urban evacuation in history. The average speed was 8mph. Many people headed to Dallas and San Antonio. I went to my retreat. Unluckily, Rita made a last minute turn and the eyewall was 10 miles from my retreat.

    The lake sustained winds of 120mph. My retreat is surrounded by pine trees which acted as a wind break. The highest winds I recorded was 65mph. Afterward, we were without power for 2 weeks and landlocked due to all the felled trees.

    I have 3 genset and plenty of fuel. The thing that was in highest demand was ICE!!! I had a small under the counter freezer and filled ziplock bags with water, froze them, and handed them out. Being a doctor and having ample medical supplies on hand I was able to treat those who were insulin dependent or other common chronic disease.

    The temperatures got up to 105 and many people began to suffer from hyperthermia. That is where the ice came in. You place it under the armpits to bring the persons core temp. down.

    That was the best real life exercise I have had to date. Not something I would want to repeat however.

  3. I can tell you from personal experience that the producers not only put words in your mouth but they also carefully edit what you say. I was in their pilot for the series. I did my due diligence, so I thought, and decided beforehand what I/we were willing to show. I’d been interviewed before and was always treated and portrayed very fairly, so I didn’t expect all the “creative editing”.

  4. It is just so frustrating to me because they could have done so much more with this show, it could have been so much better and more worthwhile. But as many of us predicted, they took the easy route and just showcased the goofs. I guess if nothing else the segments can be used as lessons in what NOT to do when you’re having conversations with family and friends.

  5. Oh yeah, when she mentioned that about killing the cats, I wanted to reach through the TV screen and just throttle her! I don’t know if she was trying to come off as being a hard ass or something but if that’s the case, she failed miserably.

    I’m glad you’re able to glean some good learning from the show. I *might* give it another go but I’ll probably have to have a sedative first, LOL.

  6. We watched it with a different perspective- we learned something new from every episode! Sure, everyone preps differently for different scenarios in different areas, NatGeo picked the most sensational they could of course!

    You forgot to mention how Megan noted her fiance would kill the cats in the event of a real emergency- that really pissed us off. I had hoped the show would give common sense tips, that the stats would point out the reality of a quake hitting certain geographic areas, looks like they were more interested in guns & knives though. I am extremely disappointed but we’ll continue to watch & use it as an educational tool to start conversations about what could happen in our area. We’ve already interested friends who watched the show in our 72 hour emergency list for general issues like power outages, etc. It’s a start!!

  7. Did you really think that any liberal-controlled television show was going to tell the real story about prepping? The government’s “Get Ready” campaign, and the rising interest in survival, has yet again been seen as a money-making proposition, resulting in NatGeo jumping on the bandwagon. Unfortunately it’s also an excellent opportunity to sneer at the common folks, depicting preppers as paranoid, delusional and less-than-intelligent weirdos.

    What’s even more disturbing to me is that these supposedly smart people…wait maybe the reason so many of those “preppers” participating in the program appear to be paranoid, delusional arm-chair prepping weirdos, is that no actual common sense been-there-done-that preppers would do the show.

    That’s probably closer to the truth. You didn’t do the show which says a lot about you.

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