5 Reasons Why Being a Lone Wolf is a Horrible Survival Plan

lone wolf

It seems like every day I see a post somewhere discussing “lone wolf” survival plans. If you’re unaware of this term it simply means that you’re planning ride out a disaster scenario completely alone, without any sort of support or community to help you. Many proponents of this plan seem to think that their “survival skills” (typically comprised mainly of primitive or bushcrafting skills) will be more than sufficient to effect survival not only in a short term disaster, but for extended or long-term disaster scenarios as well.


Being a lone wolf in a disaster is a horrible idea for many reasons. Today we’re going to discuss 5 key points for why this plan makes disaster survival much more difficult and why in some scenarios it can even get you killed.


You only have 2 hands and 2 eyes


A lot of lone wolf survivalists seem to forget that modern conveniences have taken a lot of the work out of day to day life. If we ever find ourselves in a true SHTF, long-term grid down scenario, day to day living is going to require a lot more work. Think about the last time you went camping without electricity. Even cooking a meal takes quite a bit of effort and work. Maintaining a fire, procuring food (if you’re not eating out of your preps) preparing that food, getting water to use in cooking and drinking, cleaning up…all that just to get a bite to eat for breakfast. Yes you can do these things by yourself, but how much time out of the day is it really going to take?


From a security standpoint being a lone wolf also makes no sense. You have to sleep sometime. If we’re in a true, long-term post disaster scenario, security is going to be a huge concern. I would much rather be taking security shifts with at least 1 or 2 other people to not only make sure I get some sleep, but that someone is watching my back while I do.



Despite what most lone wolves say, they’re going to want to recover and rebuild just as much as anyone else.


It doesn’t matter if you’re the next coming of Rambo, Les Stroud and Dave Canterbury combined, surviving on your own sucks. Yes it’s completely doable and yes millions of people survived just fine without modern conveniences and carved out their place in the wilderness, but remembver….there is a reason why people created towns and cities. Humans require interaction with other humans to thrive. You’re highly unlikely to survive by yourself in the wilderness during a SHTF disaster anyway and being holed up in your house, alone, likely scared and without any modern conveniences is going to be a nightmare. At some point the lone wolf, “I don’t need anyone” attitude is going to fade and you’re going to want this disaster to end just as much as everyone else so you can get back to some semblance of normalcy.


Disasters have a way of building very strong loyalties among survivors. They also have a habit of making survivors extremely territorial and untrusting of new people. If you decide to tackle a long-term disaster as a lone wolf, you may want to keep in mind that when the rebuilding process starts, people are going to remember who was there helping during the disaster and who wasn’t. Even if you decide that you now want to be a part of a group, you may not be welcomed into one.



There’s always someone tougher than you are


So many of these lone wolf survivors talk about how tough they are, how much military training they have and how they can not only defend what they have, but are likely to go out taking from others by force. Not only do I think this is appalling just from an ethical standpoint and gives preppers in general a bad name, but I also think it’s absolutely ridiculous. I don’t care who you are, there is someone out there tougher than you are. There’s someone who’s a better shot, has more experience, and has less of a moral compass. In essence, you’re not the baddest fish in the pond and you never will be.


Think about this logically. In a true SHTF scenario, the world is going to be likely turned upside down. You’ll likely be without communication to loved ones, and the common comforts of our modern world will be gone. Why in the world would you immediately add an insane amount of security risks on top of all that by trying to take from others when it’s so much easier and efficient to just work together with other people?


What happens when you get injured?


In all of the posts I’ve seen from people advocating the lone wolf survival plan, I’ve never once seen any of them address what would happen in the case of injury. You can have all the ammo, MRE’s and tactical training in the world but a broken hand or foot is going to take you down a few pegs real quick. Before you so flippantly throw your nose up at community survival, you may want to remember that you very well may need those people to save your life if you get injured. It’s probably a good idea to be on good terms with them in the first place so you can not only help avoid injuries to begin with, but that if you do get injured, you have those people to help you while you recover.


This isn’t a war game


I think there’s a bad habit in the preparedness community as a whole with people who love to fantasize and debate about topics like this but fail to put any real thought into it. It’s a game to them, something to debate about on Facebook  I think it’s important to keep in mind that while a real, long-term SHTF disaster is unlikely to happen any time soon, if you’re going to make a plan for something like this, be realistic. There is strength in numbers and your “survival skills” are only going to keep you alive for so long.

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  1. MorrisB

    This writer is certainly right. Just as a “small” example, I was hiking recently in one of the country’s large state parks and I came across three empty camps-tent set up, clothes hung up and gear strewn around. The folks there were likely out sightseeing.
    No big deal now, but in a survival situation, how can a loner leave his camp and expect it to still be there while he’s out looking for food?

  2. lonewolf

    absolute rubbish! there are security measures to take and anyway anyone who thinks they will survive out in the open will be dead come the first cold winter. I will survive alone but I wont be doing it out in the open where anyone can trip over my camp.

    1. PJ

      @ Lonewolf…

      You gotta sleep sometime. Good luck.

      1. lonewolf

        yeah I know, but we aint all “social animals” and if I cant or don’t trust other people i’d rather be on my own and take my chances, than be with a group and get a knife between my ribs in the middle of the night.

  3. Charles

    Outstanding view! I myself am a 22 year retired vet. I have no thought of going solo, there is strength in numbers. As I have said before, everyone can bring something different to the table. This is a great article that needs to be read, and for people to take notice.

    1. Ready4ItAll

      Thanks for the feedback Charles!!

  4. Jim

    While I agree that companionship and help in doing things is nice, is it worth the cost of being subject to the dictates of others, for (make no mistake about it) you will be subject to the decisions and dictates of the group. Group dynamics is an extremely fragile thing during a crisis when decisions have to be made quickly and accurately. Yes, for all the mentioned reasons it is good to be part of a small group, but it is also true that being part of a group has it’s bad points, too. It is increasingly difficult to find even one level headed person with good judgement let alone a group of such individuals. An individual is much better off alone than as part of the wrong group.

    1. lonewolf

      absolutely Jim, too many people think that a group is the absolute be all and end all of it, being in the “wrong” group is infinitely worse that going it alone. I would rather go my own way on my own than be dictated to by someone who thinks they have a “right” to lead just cos they were this or that before the collapse.

  5. Dave

    I dunno…I can think of quite a few people I’ve had experience with who would be more of a determent in a SHTF situation. I’m pretty confident of my 38+ years as an outfitter/guide in Alaska that I’d spend more time riding herd over them and worrying about what problems they’d “create” more so than what I’d be gaining from their presence. No offense but I’ll have to disagree on this, not all are capable of surviving alone but a there are some that can without issue.

  6. Mike

    Being a ‘lone wolf’ does not necessarily mean ‘going it alone.’ The simple fact is that some of us just don’t integrate easily with others. Call it trust issues or a severe retardation of social graces. But those of us who DO practice this sort of lifestyle understand the difficulties and have work-arounds for most of them.

    In a civilization ending scenario, trusting the wrong person or group could get you killed a lot faster than a broken bone, a flu bug, bad weather, or even overwhelming opposition forces. I spent 10 years in the military as a combat medic and ER nurse, so I’m not too concerned about taking care of myself… nor would I be stupid enough to try and treat something on my own that I know would be impossible.

    I have, perhaps, 2 or 3 friends – and many acquaintances. I just can’t handle being around people all of the time. I’m sure there are many like me. It is not like we are going to SHUN others, and I’m sure that our experience and ability will prove valuable to nearby groups as a scout, an early warning system, a font of knowledge, and perhaps even a bolt-hole in case the group is over-run.

    No, being a lone wolf is NOT for everyone. Most people are social animals and that’s just fine and dandy. But some of us are cut out for the deep woods, the high hills, or even a one-man yacht. We’ll be fine.

  7. Sheila

    True, in a short-term, disaster situation, being all alone is a rough way to go. But teaming up with the wrong person can be even worse.

    In our situation, we are in our “survival location” for the long haul, not waiting for the S to HTF, but as a lifestyle choice. We are looking for people who would like to join us as well, to live the off-grid, self-sufficient, natural life.


  8. Major Dad

    One issue that I never hear discussed among the lone wolves (and I am sort of a lone wolf myself), is what happens when the lone wolf gets sick? Everyone does catch a flu bug, gets a touch of bad food or something similar every now and then. It does not matter how healthy one is, because it happens to everyone sooner or later.

    Now, it is a great thing to have the skills and experience like that of an Alaskan guide (BTW- I am a retired Marine, live in Alaska and have bush experience myself). Having skills and experience are great – especially when you are feeling well. But when – not if – one gets sick, then dehydration caused by nausea, diarrhea or other such effects on the body can really set one back and quickly become life threatening if you are alone. Today we have the ability and options to cancel a hunt, or postpone a trip to the bush because of sickness, however expensive and inconvenient that may be. But in a real world, grid down situation – it could be deadly because there would be no medical ‘back up’ flights, doctor’s offices or emergency rooms to fall back on. In those situations – the lone wolf will die – alone and unnoticed in the wilderness. I know some would say they prefer this – but dead is still dead.

    I agree that not everyone is cut out to live in a large group. Plus many survivalist groups (at least in my experience in reading on-line and meeting with real people) are dominated by “My way or the Highway” type personalities. My military training teaches that sometimes strong leadership is necessary to accomplish the mission, but it will always be the small well trained team that will outlast the lone wolf.

    I would appeal to those who believe that the lone wolf way is the only way, and reject the companionship of others, that they reconsider and try to find at least one or two others who are like minded in lifestyle and learn to work as part of a team in mutual respect even if not always in mutual agreement.

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