The end of the world is inevitable; but what the end of the world feels like will be different for everyone, depending on where you live, and, of course, how much money you have. Those who Have It All will likely ride into the flames/tsunami/earthquake/combo of all three in style, carrying this prepper backpack from Oprah’s Favorite Things 2019 list. At nearly $400, it’s a backpack that won’t necessarily stop the apocalypse, but it might make the whole thing slightly more pleasant. “If a natural disaster strikes, you shouldn’t have to waste time grabbing spare batteries and a toothbrush,” reads Oprah’s recommendation. “I like this Preppi backpack because it’s already good to go with essentials…” Cogent point, Oprah Winfrey. But what, to a billionaire, qualifies as an “essential?”
I don’t know what “rich people” are “into,” per se, but reading the item description for this backpack gives me vertigo. The Prepster Backpack comes loaded with plenty of practical stuff, like 10 servings of drinking water, a whistle, a “deluxe” first-aid kit, a respirator mask, and a three-day supply of shortbread food bars, which, according to a parenthetical on the product page, “actually taste great!” This sounds normal and fine; these are items that would be useful when dealing with the first 24 hours of a mild to apocalyptic disaster. But, to justify the nearly $400 price tag, the backpack also contains some “luxe comforts,” including: a toiletry bag from Malin+Goetz; an $8 Mast Brothers chocolate bar; $14 Marvis toothpaste that’s literally sold in museum gift shops; and one of those twee-ass Field Notes notebooks that are made for Wes Anderson fans and people who are always “getting into journaling.”
Preppi claims its doomsday products are “considered by many to be the best earthquake kits for Californians.” How many? Which Californians? Hard to imagine a family that lacks earthquake insurance forking over 400 big ones (multiplied by the number of people in said family) for a prep pack stuffed with items swiped from a luxury hotel. Let’s just call this what it is… A Doomsday kit for the one-percent.
Oprah’s Favorite Things™ are designed to be a gift guide. If a rich person who makes jokes about dropping by the bank to deposit a quick two mill’ just for fun loves these items, then they have to be absolutely killer, just the best gifts. If it didn’t make me want to vomit, it would be almost quaint to imagine the megarich exchanging these backpacks at their upcoming holiday parties, holding their pinkies up and having a giggle about how the world is going to end soon. To extrapolate some virtue from the $400 doomsday pack’s existence, I suppose it’s nice to realize that the scene at the end of the world will be as cliquey as the high school cafeteria; the rich will be rubbing Malin+Goetz moisturizer over their melting faces, while the rest of us trade Twinkies for canned soup. The only truly good thing about Oprah’s favorite doomsday backpack is that, with its tastefully minimal design, it’s pretty easy to spot among the typically neoprene aesthetic of survivalism. If you have an apocalyptic hankering for some fancy shortbread, simply look for this monogrammed backpack to locate the rich person you’ll have to overpower in order to get it.
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