The 20 Best Prepper Quotes – Survival Motivation

This post has been updated from our original Best Prepper Quotes post that was first published in 2016. We keep our content updated as the world around us changes, as we learn new skills and techniques, and (of course) when we find more inspirational survival quotes.

Sometimes it is hard to stay motivated in the face of adversity. Adversity for preppers comes in the form of complacency, cynicism, and excuses. Beating this adversity and staying motivated is just as important now as when SHTF (See the last quote below). Motivation can be just as important as a tool or a skill. We have all seen motivational posters that are supposed to inspire us to achieve our ‘potential’.

Many cynics doubt their effectiveness, and from this cynicism, a whole slew of pretty funny “demotivational” posters have sprung up. Whether or not you are the type to typically find inspiration in a few words and a picture, we challenge you to take a look at the ten best prepper quotes we could find and not take something away.


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1. Theodore Roosevelt

Good old Teddy has a ton of quotes attributed to him. The 26th president of the United States was a man of many words and big actions. This example is not one of his more known quotes but hits a chord with preppers since he is bluntly advocating the importance of being prepared.

Make preparations in advance. You never have trouble if you are prepared for it. - Theodore Roosevelt

2. Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan was an American astronomer with a ton of quotable sayings. His love of discovery and learning was infectious. He dazzled a whole generation with his book and series Cosmos about the vastness and wonder of space. This quote is an example of how fragile and rare life is in our universe. As preppers, one of our goals is to sustain it as best we can on our tiny little blue ball of a planet.

Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception. - Carl Sagan

3. Alexander Graham Bell

A Scottish-born scientist, engineer, and inventor is most known for his invention that nobody can peel their eyes from these days, it seems. This quote is not one of his more known since he has a large catalog of quotes attributed to him. Bell had many other inventions besides the telephone, including a wireless version called the photophone, the metal detector, and hydrofoils.

Before anything else, preparation is the key to success. - Alexander Graham Bell

4. Abraham Lincoln

Of course, another president made the list! Abraham Lincoln has a storied history with axes, starting to use them at a young age to build cabins. He used one not a week before he was assassinated as well – demonstrating to young soldiers how to split wood. Truthfully, if I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I would get the chainsaw and have a little over seven hours to enjoy a cold beverage afterward. The quote does show the importance of preparing though, which we can all appreciate.

If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax. - Abraham Lincoln

5. Stephen King

The great horror author writes for a living, so there are sure to be some good quotes. This is one of the more popular prepper quotes that help ‘clear the air’ for many preppers. Some that do not understand the importance of being prepared for emergencies try to say that preppers look forward to SHTF and wish it would happen. This quote helps us beat that twisted logic and shows that being prepared for the worst is not the same as hoping for the worst.

There's no harm in hoping for the best as long as you're prepared for the worst. - Stephen King

6. Louis Pasteur

This renowned French chemist and microbiologist kept busy by discovering fermentation, the principles of vaccination, and inventing pasteurization. A great runner-up quote for Pasteur would be “My strength lies solely in my tenacity.” As far as prepper quotes go, this one is hard to beat.

Fortune favors the prepared mind. - Louis Pasteur

7. Gen. George S. Patton

The general was an Olympian in his early years, and busting up Nazis in his later years. This quote highlights the importance of looking at past events to see how others have coped. Learning from our past is an important step to not repeating the same mistakes and not being caught off guard multiple times.

Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable. - Gen. George S. Patton

8. Benjamin Franklin

If Benjamin Franklin has his way, the turkey would be the United States bird instead of the bald eagle. We expect Thanksgiving would have looked much different. This quote is a favorite among preppers and is fairly straightforward in how it presents the alternative to prepping in black and white.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. - Benjamin Franklin

9. Ezra Taft Benson

Benson was a farmer, government official, and president of the LDS church. He has written many books on the government and Mormonism, providing a large amount of quotable material. This quote is concise and catchy, showing Benson’s wit and eye for writing.

It is easier to prepare and prevent, than to repair and repent. - Ezra Taft Benson

10. John F. Kennedy

Another US president with a great analogy. Prep before the SHTF- do not wait until disasters and emergencies are on your doorstep.

The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. - John F. Kennedy

11. Vince Lombardi

He never had a losing season and knew how to motivate any group to achieve more than the sum of their parts. With a Super Bowl trophy named after him, Mr. Lombardi is considered one of the best – if not the best – coaches in American sports.

It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up. - Vince Lombardi

12. Howard Ruff

Howard Ruff was a long-time advocate of preparedness. He was more than just a proponent of bullion and numismatic coins, as he gave us this solid quote that leans on his LDS beliefs.

It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark. - Howard Ruff

13. Henry Ford

When you work towards a goal, the journey itself can be rewarding too. Henry Ford laid down this knowledge nugget in this great quote that applies to prepping figuratively and survival literally.

Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice. - Henry Ford

14. Bear Grylls

Survival quotes don’t get much better than the master survivalist himself, Bear Grylls. He’s still all over the TV with tons of survival shows. He’s also pretty entrepreneurial, with a Gerber partnership with plenty of Bear Grylls branded survival gear. He is a pretty consistent target for survival memes though since he drank his own urine on one of his TV shows to demonstrate how it can partially rehydrate you in an emergency and embodies his quote below.

The line between life or death is determined by what we are willing to do. - Bear Grylls

15. Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee may be known by most as a martial arts movie star, but he took studying and practicing to the next level. Repetition and training is especially important when you are creating a survival plan. Don’t worry about every possible situation; stick to the basics to be the best prepared.

Fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. - Bruce Lee

16. Marcus Aurelius

The Roman emperor was well-versed in Stoicism and provided plenty of prepper quotes that focus on the importance of preparedness to lead a ‘good life’. One of our favorites likens life to a wrestling match than a performance stage- typical Romans!

The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, in so far as it stands ready against the accidental and the unforeseen and is not apt to fall. - Marcus Aurelius

17. The Bible

Psalms gives us plenty of inspirational hymns, and Proverbs give us some great… well.. proverbs! There are plenty to choose from on the topic of preparedness, but this one is straightforward and to the point.

A prudent person takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. - Proverbs 27:12

18. Bob Knight

The legendary Indiana coach was a memorable character with a very successful NCAA career. He didn’t handle squandered opportunities well with some mild anger management issues, but that highlighted his passion for the game.

I don't believe in luck; I believe in preparation. - Bob Knight

19. Sun Tzu

The writer of The Art of War has plenty to say on tactical advantages, but preparation and planning are themes he constantly stresses. It usually does end up being much easier to plan than to react, and you get much better results.

Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small. - Sun Tzu

20. Charles Darwin

Adaptation has always been key to Darwinism, and he buttons up this belief in this quote. Luckily, as humans, we have the resourcefulness to help us quickly adapt as long as we plan, prepare, and understand the threat.

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not  the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change. - Charles Darwin

The Final Word

We hope you saw some new prepper quotes from this updated list that maybe you haven’t seen before. There is a mountain of prepping quotes out there, so reply with any that you think we left out that stir you to tackle that next project.

Also, feel free to share, print, or pin any of these quotes or images to motivate yourself or people you are close to. If you’re just getting started with prepping, we got you covered. If you want to learn more- we can tell you all about it:

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.


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The 20 Best Prepper Quotes for Survival Motivation

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer by day, but a prepper 24/7. I am an Air Force veteran that developed emergency and disaster plans as an emergency manager and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters worldwide. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

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