Survivalism is approached by its adherents in different ways, depending on their circumstances, their mindsets, and their particular concerns for the future. The following are some examples, although many survivalists fit into more than one category or orientation:
Wilderness Survival Emphasis - Stresses being able to stay alive for indefinite periods in life threatening wilderness scenarios.
Self-Defense Driven - Individuals concerned with surviving brief encounters of violent activity. Focus is on personal protection and its legal ramifications, danger awareness, Boyd's cycle (also known as the OODA cycle - observe, orient, decide and act).
Natural Disaster, Brief - People that live in tornado, hurricane, flood, wildfire, earthquake or heavy snowfall areas and want to be prepared for the inevitable.
Natural Disaster, Years Long - Concerned about long term weather cycles of 2–10 years, unusually cold or warm periods, that have happened on and off for thousands of years, and have cause crop failures.
Natural Disaster, Indefinite - Possible scenarios include: severe global warming and the possible ensuing ice age, the greenhouse-effect-gone-wild, environmental degradation, warming/cooling of gulf stream waters, large meteor strike, shift in earth's axis or reversal of geo-magnetic filed.
Bio-Chem Scenario - Concerned with the spread of fatal diseases and terrorist use of biological agents and nerve gases. Examples: Swine flu, E.Coli 0157, Botulism, Dengue Fever, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. SARS.
Technological Mass Destruction Concerns - Concerned with unintended consequences of genetic manipulation, nano-technology, transgenic crops, psychological engineering, genome hybridized cloning, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, engineered organisms, self-replicating molecular robotic assemblers (“gray goo problem”).
Malthusian - Concerned with a soaring increase in the world's human population growth and its impacts on available fresh water, food, health-care, environment, economics, consumerism, spread of diseases and just about every other facet of life.
Monetary Disaster Investors - Believes the Federal Reserve system is fundamentally flawed. They are preparing for paper money to become worthless through hyperinflation.
Biblical Eschatologist - These individuals study End Times prophecy and believe the Saviour is going to return soon, and that the final battle with Satan on the Plains of Meggido might occur in their lifetime. Most believe that the rapture will follow a period of Tribulation, though a smaller number believe that the rapture is imminent and will precede the Tribulation. ("Pre-Trib rapture".)
Peak Oil Doomers - The Doomers are convinced that Peak Oil is a genuine threat, and take appropriate measures, usually involving relocation to a Survival retreat region that is agriculturally self-sufficient.
Medical Crisis Oriented - Has very complete medical pack in house and in car. Has taken CERT, paramedic EMT, and CPR courses, knows vital signs, stockpiles medicines, etc. Focus is on helping family, friends and community survive medical emergencies.
Aliens and Artificial Intelligence - A number of serious and semi-serious literature has emerged dealing with concepts such as how to survive and defend oneself from an alien invasion or artificial intelligence uprising.
Most ardent Survivalists aim to remain self-sufficient for the duration of the breakdown of social order, or perhaps indefinitely if the breakdown is predicted to be permanent; such as, a "Third Dark Age".
Survivalists tend toward using military acronyms such as OPSEC and SOP, and terminology common to the gun culture, but they also frequently use acronyms and terms that are fairly unique to their own lexicon. Some key survivalist terms and acronyms include: