My view, and it's just an opinion, is that the difference between a prepper and a survivalist is one of scale.
The prepper is mainly preparing for a temporary (or less severe) societal breakdown, while the survivalist is preparing for an all-out Mad Max world that is permanent-- at least for a generation or more.
Thus, I think survivalists focus more on weapons and less on maintaining the niceties of civilization. Depending on the circumstances, that could be exactly the right move.
A person can be both. In fact, you probably should.
At the same time you're stockpiling, plan for what to do once the stockpiles run out. What can you scavenge? What can you make yourself? And how would you deal with roving gangs of thieves and attackers?
I think the chance to have to be a survivalist is less likely than the chance of enjoying the benefits of prepping, but I don't think it is impossible.
So, go do some militia training. Get the most effective weapons you can. Figure out how to make your home into a fortress, including testing and planning some things you simply can't (and shouldn't) do unless society collapses, but that you can study and learn about today. Things like a booby-trapped perimeter. Have a plan, and understand your plan will need to change to fit the situation, so have backup plans.
And never stop prepping.
If you focus only on guns and ammo, you are not prepared. If you focus only on stockpiling food, you are not prepared. If your focus is too narrow on anything, you are not prepared.
Prepping means you are trying to be ready for whatever comes. You don't know if it will be a xombie apocalypse or just a supply chain collapse. You have to be ready for either one-- and both at the same time. You have to be ready for a failure of anything you need for survival, without regard to "why"-- just that it is happening.
You can't foresee everything that might cause there to be no food available to buy, but you can do things to make sure you'll be OK. You can't predict what might cause hordes of predatory creatures to swarm your property, but you can be ready to defend against them, whoever and whyever they are there. You can't know for sure why there's no electricity in the grid, but you can make sure it's not a problem for you.
Prepping is the responsible thing to do. If you are prepared you ...
You don't have to outrun the bear; you only have to outrun your hiking companion.
Yeah, that's a cynical way to look at it, but there's truth in it.
With prepping (in the event of TEOTWAWKI), you may not have to survive on your preps until you are 90 years old, just outlast those who didn't prep. Once they die off, survival may get easier.
I know-- it would be great if you were able to keep everyone alive into the distant future. But that's just not going to be possible, is it?
Once the marauders and beggars have Darwinized themselves out of the population, it will be easier to grow your own food. You'll only have to worry about deer and raccoons, not Naked Apes (which is a really good book by Desmond Morris, by the way).
So, while it would be nice to have preps to last until you die of old age, and be self-sufficiently growing your own food, making your own soap and cloth (or buckskin), realistically, at least have enough to outlast those who would be the biggest threat to your ...
I've been doing something non-prepping this past week. Maybe even anti-prepping, as in it may be a step backward.
I rescued a kitten who found me along my morning walk. He was about 5 weeks old, sick and starving, and was barely able to come toward me. I couldn't ignore his cries for help.
So I've been spending money I don't have to spare-- and just about all my spare time and energy-- bringing him back.
And it's working.
He's still got a respiratory infection and eye infections, but I've got him on antibiotics and he's improving. He's eating and playing really well. No longer is he skin and bones; I can pet him without feeling every vertebra and rib.
Sometimes you've got to do the right thing even if it's not smart.
If anyone wants to chip in for kitten medicines and food, you can find ways on the side bar of my main blog: https://blog.kentforliberty.com/2021/08/kitten-update-2.html