When you are ready to prepare for any SHTF situation, there are particular items that are absolutely vital. These items often fall into a few categories. The four pillars of survival are food, water, fire, and shelter. These are four priorities that must be secured to survive in any situation. In addition, other priorities might be first aid, self-defense, land navigation, and signaling for help. If you can cover these categories, you can survive just about any scenario.
In addition to covering these categories, you want to be as efficient as possible. This means that items covering more than one need are especially valuable. It also means you want your survival items to be small, lightweight, and inexpensive. One of the other priorities in prepping is redundancy. You never want to have to rely one just one item for fire, or just one item for purifying water. You want several layers of protection to ensure that your needs are covered. Here are the items I suggest for your prepping kit:
- Full Tang Knife: One of the most valuable items you can have is a quality knife. It is one of the items that is most difficult to recreate with only natural materials. A full tang knife means that the blade extends all the way to the end of the handle. This ensures that is will not break when put to the test. I prefer a heavy, long blade if it is the only blade I bring.
- Folding Saw: When processing wood, there are several products you can use. A large knife will work, but a good saw is better. A small, flexible folding saw is ideal for cutting logs and branches up to about six inches thick. It is lightweight, safe, and effective.
- Hatchet: Having a second way to process wood is a good idea, and a hatchet gives you another option. Hatchets are ideal for splitting firewood once you have it cut down.
- Ferro Rod: This small fire starter is waterproof, windproof, and never needs additional fuel. It is the most reliable fire starting tool you can have.
- Zippo lighter: The Zippo is windproof and can stay lit without having to hold down a button. It can also be refilled with several different flammable liquids. This makes it ideal for long term use.
- Bic lighters: These disposable lighters are reliable and very inexpensive. You can easily afford to have several lying around.
- Wetfire cubes: These waxy cubes are great for quickly starting a fire in adverse conditions. You shave some of the wax off of the corner and light the pile with just a few sparks. Then you can put the rest of the cube on top and it will stay lit for several minutes.
- Firesticks: These fire assistance products are very helpful in windy and wet conditions. They can be doused in water and still will stay lit in strong winds for around 20 minutes. This product can allow you to skip over tinder and move straight to your kindling and larger wood.
- 550 Paracord: Cordage is vital in a SHTF scenario. 550 paracord is strong enough to hold a grown man, but also has several strong interior strands. You can remove these strands and use each one separately.
- Emergency Blanket: Not only can these reflective blankets be used to wrap up and stay warm, but they can also be used for a quick shelter. The reflective surface sends 90% of your body heat back to you, and the thicker tarp-style blankets will not rip and have grommets at the corners for cordage.
- Filter Bottle: If you have a bottle with a water filter built into the lid, then you can purify water on the go. Just dip it in a stream and keep going.
- Straw Style Filter: This filter takes up little space and allows you to dip down and take a drink whenever you need.
- Iodine Tablets: These take up almost no space and allow you to chemically purify water. The only downside is that they take around 30 minutes to work.
- Fire Lens: If you have a sunny day, a fire lens works well to get a fire started. It is waterproof, windproof, and requires no fuel. All you need is direct sunlight.
- Char Cloth: This substance will catch a spark or the heat from a lens and hold an ember for several minutes. You can buy char cloth or you can make your own by poking a small hole in an Altoids tin. Just add some small strips of cotton cloth and throw the tin in the fire for 20 minutes.
- Flashlights and headlamps: Having light at night is vital in a SHTF scenario. Having a good LED tactical flashlight and a headlamp to keep your hands free should be a top priority.
- Butane Stove: The stoves can be large enough for several pans or small enough to fit in your pocket. They allow you to quickly cook food or boil water without building a fire.
- Lantern: To light a room or campsite you will need a device that emits light in every direction. You can buy a gas lantern or an electric lamp. Another good idea is the strikelight, which can be also used as an anti-theft device.
- Batteries: Having a supply of batteries for your electrical devices is very important. I suggest a variety of sizes.
- Water Storage: Having ways to purify water is important, but having large amounts of water on hand is important as well. Be careful about the containers you use as some can affect the taste or quality of the water.
- Wool Blankets: Wool is the only substance that can keep you warm even when wet.
- Fishing Tackle: Having a rod and reel can be a great way to provide more food for your family.
- Gill Net: Another way to catch fish, but you can set it up and forget about it until you collect your catch.
- Various Animal Traps: Trapping is another way to collect food without having to actively hunt. Having snares and other traps gives you a huge advantage versus building primitive traps.
- Shotguns: These weapons are great for hunting birds, small game, and large game at close range. They can also be used for close quarters combat.
- Rifles: These are primarily for longer shots on big or small game. They are also ideal for long range shots to defend your home.
- Handguns: Pistols are easy to conceal and may be the best option for defending yourself or your home.
- Compound Bow and Crossbow: These weapons are silent ad good for hunting or self-defense. You can also make more arrows if you run out.
- Copper Wire: This material is great for several projects and is ideal for homemade snare traps.
- Zip Ties: These can replace cordage if you want a quick and simple solution. They are also good to secure the hands of captives if needed.
- Duct Tape: There are dozens of different uses for this strong and sticky substance.
- Candles: These are great for both light and heat if you want to conserve electricity.
- Fire Extinguishers: Controlling a fire without access to a fire department can be difficult. Having supplies on hand is vital.
- Smoke Detectors: This will alert you if your home catches fire.
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors: If you plan to have open flames in your house for cooking or heat, you will need to ensure that this toxic gas does not build up.
- Solar Battery Packs: These can be recharged with the power of the sun to charge various devices.
- PVC Pipe: Having various sizes of this plastic piping will help with plumbing and other projects.
- Seed Bank: You will want to have seeds for gardening stored up in advance so you can plant when the time is right.
- Ammunition Bank: Firearms are great, but they are worthless without ammo. Stock up on your most needed rounds.
- Lumber: Two by fours, four by fours, and plywood are all good to have around for various projects including boarding up windows and doors.
- Hand Crank Radio: This will allow you to hear what is going on in other areas.
- Hardtack: These dry biscuits are easy to make in advance and can be stored for years.
- Jerky and Pemmican: Both of these foods can be made from almost any kind of meat and will last a long time when kept dry.
- Canned and Dry Goods: This type of food will give you some variety in your diet.
- First Aid Kit: You will likely have to perform your own medical care, so having a thorough kit with some first aid knowledge is a good idea.
- Sewing Kit: There will be plenty of ripped clothing to mend when you cannot buy more.
- Toiletries: Hygiene will greatly affect health in SHTF scenarios. Having soap, toothpaste, and toilet paper will go a long way.
- Generator: Having electricity for specific needs is important, and a cheap gas generator is a smart buy.
- Map and Compass: Having a way to navigate is important, especially if you need to bug out.
- Signal Mirror and Whistle: These come in handy if you need to get somebody’s attention for rescue.
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