(TECH.FORTUNE.CNN) — More and more Americans are spending money to get ready for an uncertain future -- gathering food, water, tools, and skills to help them weather anything from a hurricane to a pandemic. Contrary to images of deluded or gun-obsessed "lone wolves," many preppers are average consumers reacting to concrete worries, and their way of thinking is spreading, fueling an emerging lifestyle trend. That lifestyle is generating demand for a broad spectrum of products offering survival -- or even comfort -- when large-scale systems go down.
An array of preparedness expos and conferences have cropped up around the country to serve this emerging and fast-changing market. To get a closer look, I visited Life Changes, Be Ready!, or LCBR, a new expo that held its second event on the weekend of November 2nd and 3rd, in Lakeland, Fla.
LCBR gave an immediate sense of one big way that the preparedness crowd isn't marginal at all -- economically. The show floor was packed with a dizzying array of small businesses and products that defied stereotypical "prepper" classification -- not just ammunition and crossbows and camping gear, but also seed banks, beehives, financial planning, and acupressure.
Advertisement - story continues below