Red, 23, is prepping for nuclear war and the collapse of society
Red, 23, is prepping for nuclear war and the collapse of society

Preppers’ crazy survival kits

STORE rooms full of knives, firearms and ammunition, padlocked boxes of non-perishable food, gas masks and medical supplies to trade in a dystopian future.

These are the staples of some members of Australia's prepper community.

The first study of Australian survivalists, by Sydney-based academic Simon Henry, has found that the movement has thousands of followers, prepped and ready for anything from nuclear war to a viral pandemic.

The study, conducted over three years through Macquarie University, found that the movement attracted people from all walks of life, from entire families through to professionals such as doctors, lawyers and academics.

Contrary to the gun-toting swamp people we're used to seeing on shows like Doomsday Preppers, Dr Henry says Aussie survivalists are normal people with an interest in preparedness.

"There's no evidence at all to suggest that this community are right wing, raving, armageddon embracing fringe dwellers," Dr Henry says.

"It's an easy sell to demonise and dehumanise people who are different but these are people who are reacting to a perceived threat, whether that's human made or naturally occurring."

Dr Henry says the potential for bad things happening is real, and the Australian survivalist community - whose members are now reaching into the thousands - "just want to be ready".

THE NUCLEAR WAR PREPPER

Red, 23, is prepping for nuclear war and the collapse of society. Here, he is pictured in his survival outfit with a makeshift spear.
Red, 23, is prepping for nuclear war and the collapse of society. Here, he is pictured in his survival outfit with a makeshift spear.

Within minutes of a warning from authorities in the event of a nuclear catastrophe, "Red" from western Sydney already has his escape route planned.

"I will head to a large underground structure, very close to where I live, with enough supplies for a few days to wait until the radiation dies down," Red says.

"I have an NBC (nuclear biological and chemical) suit which will come in handy for decontamination and preventing contact with irradiated particles and a respirator which does the same."

The 23-year-old precision machinist says he would eventually work his way north, "avoiding marauders", until he found a forested area to set up camp.

"With the help of my native plants guide, I will hopefully be able to seek out an existence for myself," he says.

His survival set up is complex and even features potassium iodine "for protecting your thyroid in the event of a nuclear disaster".

But the most important parts of his pack are his food rations, his knives, his shelter and water.

Red has about a fortnight's worth of food kept at home at all times, just in case.

He carries a "bug out bag" which include long life biscuits, a water purifier capable of turning sewage water into drinking water, a stove and windproof matches.

"The key parts of my bug out bag are the super high quality water filter and the soviet shelter I carry which is essential for concealment in the bush," he said.

"I love having quality equipment that will work regardless of the conditions so I will be prepared and comfortable for anything".

Red's “bug out” bag includes everything to keep him alive for several days after the breakout of nuclear war
Red's “bug out” bag includes everything to keep him alive for several days after the breakout of nuclear war

 

Red is ready to go in the event of civil unrest or nuclear war
Red is ready to go in the event of civil unrest or nuclear war

His kits are impressive, with pieces collected from across the globe.

From a radiation meter to night vision goggles, Red says he wants equipment that is hardy and can work under any circumstances.

"I have a folding bow but I haven't used it much because I don't want to wig out the neighbours by practising in the backyard," he said.

He has a gas mask originally designed for snipers and a British Clansman PRC-320 radio transceiver which picks up television signals from Korea or south East Asia.

Red's survival gear includes a folding bow, quiver for holding arrows, gas mask, PRC-320 radio transceiver, night vision infra-red goggles and a highly sensitive radiation meter.
Red's survival gear includes a folding bow, quiver for holding arrows, gas mask, PRC-320 radio transceiver, night vision infra-red goggles and a highly sensitive radiation meter.

THE NATURAL DISASTER PREPPER

 

Mathew Ramadan keeps various kit bags around his home in case of natural disasters or any other events that require his family to evacuate at short notice. Picture David Geraghty
Mathew Ramadan keeps various kit bags around his home in case of natural disasters or any other events that require his family to evacuate at short notice. Picture David Geraghty

Mathew Ramadan, 32, from Victoria, has been a survivalist since 2014 and actively preps with his young family for potential natural disasters around his regional hometown.

Growing up in the bush, Mr Ramadan has always taken a pragmatic approach to disaster readiness.

He has several kit bags placed around his home that are ready to grab at a moments notice, such as one that would keep him and his family alive and fed for the first 72-hours of any disaster.

"I also have enough food storage for maybe two months like rice, beans and lentils," he says.

"I've always had a curiosity about weaponry and blades so when I discovered I could buy them in shops, I sort of built it as a cornerstone of my kit."

He writes a blog in which he chronicles his adventures in the bush and lessons he has learned about practical bush survival and preparedness.

Mathew also records bush survival tutorials on his YouTube channel

Mathew Ramadan's 72 hour pack which includes everything he and his family would need to survive for 72 hours or more in the wilderness
Mathew Ramadan's 72 hour pack which includes everything he and his family would need to survive for 72 hours or more in the wilderness

Mr Ramadan says Australian preppers tend to be more logical in their thinking and are less likely to prepare for things like a zombie apocalypse.

"We tend to be a lot more measured and logical and a lot more grounded," he says.

"That being said, if you do prepare for those large events, then the smallest event is just a blip on your radar."

He said it's all about being ready for anything.

"If something like a terrorist attack or bombing were to happen in Melbourne, I live one hour out of the city and we would be seeing the effects of mass migration into the country," he said. "So I want to be prepared for that".

Mathew’s Cold Steel Black Bear Bowie which “cuts like an absolute dream”
Mathew’s Cold Steel Black Bear Bowie which “cuts like an absolute dream”
Mathew Ramadan's GHB (Get Home Bag) which includes a steel water bottle, a tarp, emergency poncho, a small hatchet, pieces of cloth and first aid kit.
Mathew Ramadan's GHB (Get Home Bag) which includes a steel water bottle, a tarp, emergency poncho, a small hatchet, pieces of cloth and first aid kit.
Left to Right: The Muela Outback, Schrade Old Timer, Mora Light My Fire blades. Picture: Facebook
Left to Right: The Muela Outback, Schrade Old Timer, Mora Light My Fire blades. Picture: Facebook
Mathew’s 'EDC' or everyday carry bag, containing basic survival tools needed for any situation
Mathew’s 'EDC' or everyday carry bag, containing basic survival tools needed for any situation

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