Stuff that you probably forgot…

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by Robert

Since high school I have been in the survivalist mode. Eight years in the Army opened my eyes to a whole new set of factors to consider when looking at living off the land or surviving in an urban area both short-term and long-term. What was needed was basic hand tools.

A quality fixed blade knife, pliers, an adjustable wrench, pliers and screw drivers (#2 phillips most common and a flat tip).

With these basic items it was possible to fix many minor items on a vehicle and other equipment, scavenge (very overlooked) needed parts and many tools double as weapons, bludgeons or stabbing.

Depending on your own set up, take the time to see what you have that will need to be maintained and then verify you have the means to do the work. Ideally, the proper size wrench or socket will be on hand due to your preparedness but tool sets are heavy and if you just have a bug out bag pack the essentials.

Does your safe haven have electrical power? Do you have insulated tools (safety first) to work on it in the event of a an animal chewing through a wire or accident? Spark plug wrench or spark plug socket, not the same as a deep well socket. Is it a standard or metric device(s)?

If you are running off gas (liquid or compressed) what is needed to work safely on that system needs to be addressed.

Other tools with multiple purposes whether by design or intentional that are good to have:

Fencing pliers insulated handles, hammer, wire cutters, small pliers, fence staple remover, ability to twist wires or crimp connectors. hammer or spike end great for defense

Hand saw-precision cuts mean better repairs and fairly quiet to operate. Can be swung against adversary teeth first

Vise Grips-pretty much any shape can be gripped. Two pair would be good, great for pipes, lighter and easier to carry than pipe wrenches. good bludgeon

Axe and machetes-self explanatory

11-1 screwdrivers-not some cheap-o, spend the money on an electrician grade tool. newer models also include some Torx bits and shafts from 1/4 to 3/8ths for a driver depending on model. Stab or blunt attack

Screwdrivers wear out, have a few spares, good trade fodder too.

Pry bars-lift heavy items, pop open doors, break locks, move hot objects. Good club, thrusting, parrying or smashing adversary

If you have firearms, what specialty tools are required to work on them to replace firing pin, extractor, ejector or broken butt stock? Your reloading set up may need maintained as well.

On a guess food plots are part of surviving, shovels, hoe, rake and other implements need to be staged or the gardens won’t be very productive. Are specific tools needed for harvest, IE potatoes spade. Tools with long handles give great stand-off for defense. The basic bayonet rifle drills work well also.

Often overlooked is a means to sew heavier items such as foot gear or heavy clothing/tent, an awl or leather working tools.

Most importantly take care of your tools. Take time to clean them, wipe them down with a light coat of oil. Wood handles need care as well, generally a light sanding/steel wool and linseed oil. Keep edges on tools sharp with a file. Remove dings from shovel blade and hoe or they will get worse and render it fairly useless.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list nor does it fit everyone’s preparing scenario. It is simply a tool to help you plan by making you think about what tools you may need to fix things that will eventually break and to think of them as weapons as well. Look at each item around you and ask “how can this defend me” versus “what does this do?” Some examples: Flashlights are great to see in the dark, can temporarily blind attacker, great club. Writing instruments make great impromptu stabbing items. A full gallon of water (8lbs of kinetic energy) swung at someone is like hitting them with a large hammer.

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

First Prize) Winner will receive a Stealth Body Armor Level II vest courtesy of SafeGuard ARMOR™ LLC and a $150 gift certificate for Wolf Ammo courtesy of   A total prize value of over $600.

Second Prize) Winner will receive a Wise Essentials Kit courtesy of LPC Survival and an EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves.. A value of over $300.

Third Prize) Winner will receive copies of both of my books “31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness” and “Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man’s Solution”  and a Katadyn Siphon Water Filter courtesy of Mayflower Trading Company.  A total prize value of $107.

Contest ends on June 5 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. 1. Everything’s a hammer, except a screwdriver, that’s a chisel! 2. You can never have to many tools. Just spread them out. A good set at home, retreat, cars, and stashes.

  2. JP in MT says:

    Most people now don’t fix anything themselves. I am trying to fix more and more things myself to gain the knowledge and acquire the proper tools while I can.

    • Anonymous says:

      When I bought my first house – I also got a all -in -one home fix it book from home depot – (My work is computer networks) – when my dryer went out, I salvaged the motor, the electrical and control panal – got a different dryer and rewired it (felt like Tim the toolman) …..the electrical was 220 but my house hade a different electrical plug – the rewiring to just put a different type of power cord on it (made me feel all manly) …impressed my lady too

      just sayin….

  3. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Just a note on hacksaw blades – get GOOD ones ! I’ve lost count of how many cheap ‘hardware blades’ I’ve used that broke within several minutes of cutting, even when I’m being careful. Grrrr! I even took to having several hacksaws on hand at the same time, so I wouldn’t have to go stomping off to find and install another and delay me. When I was a kid (60’s – 70’s), hacksaw blades lasted quite a while.

    I would also mention use old school techniques to use tools. Instead of buying a fancy chisel with fancy vibration insulator, just push an ordinary chisel through a child’s rubber ball – that takes care of situation just fine. For pocket tool kit, ignition pliers (about 5″ overall length) are VERY handy. Slipjoint design that opens to allow a 1/2″ across bolt flats – gets many jobs done.

    And of course – gain tools that don’t require electricity to work them. Might be slower but then again, might not if you factor in time to find power cord, untangle it, find the right bit, yada yada yada. Or just get a screwdriver and screw the dang thing right in (so much for time saver,right ?)

    JP in MT, I second that. Most people don’t bother attempting to fix what breaks. Many times though , the item isn’t worth replacing – they are made to break down so the consumer buys another, a product of our ‘throw it away’ society.

    Sorry for rant – you have a good day.

  4. Kelekona says:

    It seems that if you do-it-yourself anything, you naturally gather a lot of the tools you need, and tons of multiples if you aren’t well-organized.

    Of course, there are the “what ifs” and duplicates of power-tools. Not everyone is going to naturally have or need a miter box.

    I realize the irony of saying this as I called maintenance last month to come and change a light bulb for me.

  5. TomFish says:

    Can you imagine…my worst case scenario after a tornado…need to cut my way out of a tuff situation and I have hand tools in TWO separate locations that would do the job….but NONE where I happen to be stuck.

  6. tommy2rs says:

    Brace and bit and a hand drill come in handy when the powers gone. The brace needs special bits due to the taper in the chuck but the hand drills use regular bits and drivers. Yankee screwdrivers work well to replace their electric counterparts.

    Pretty much every power tool available today has a manual replacement.

    • Harold says:

      tommy, as a kid I used all of the hand tools before we even had electricity. The fanciest we ever got was when dad bought a used ratcheting brace which made drilling in close quarters a lot easier. We had to put our barn back up after a tornado scattered it across several acres and several of the beams had to be refabricated. They were mortise and tenon and then pegged together fwith wooden pegs. Boring those holes through seasoned oak took a lot of effort.

    • Mactex says:

      What is a ‘yankee screwdriver’? I’ve heard of a ‘yankee dime’ but never a yankee screwdriver…

      • Prudent says:

        A “Yankee Screwdriver”….. think of it as a vertical ‘worm drive’. you set the bit then pump the handle up and down to drill the hole. Found a very nice one ala garage sale, takes up to a 1/2” bit. Not the tool to use in close spaces though.

      • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

        I think thats the screwdriver that works like a push drill, the shaft having a winding pattern that when handle is pushed towards the screw, the shaft rotates. The user just pushes – pulls.

        • Mactex says:

          Thanks, gentlemen, I actually have one of those that I got from my father but had never heard it called by that name. I
          try to learn something new each day…

  7. Just wanted to drive the point home about having tools in multiple places. I’ve kept a small tool bag in my car for years with essentials and some extras. To my surprise, I have ended up using those things as often as my “real tools” at home. These have bailed me out at work, camping and even on a recent visit to my parents. Two of my must haves are Klein stainless steel electrician scissors and zip ties.

    Just start buildig a small bag over time, keep it in your car and you will find out just how useful it is.

    • Prudent says:

      Scout: I use those “Klien” canvas zipper bags for the car tools. don’t need much to do so much. Ty-raps and Iron wire are nice to have around. Those Klein scissors are the toughest damn things.

  8. Good article thanks. I invested in a large tool box and placed it near my BOB for easy bug out grab! I may suggest also a box (mine was a pre-used medicine box with dividers) of assorted nuts, bolts and washers, screws (wood screws and metal screws) and concrete nails (separate from a bottle of assorted sized nails in WD40 solution). Also a big roll of galvanised wire which can be used in tying just about anything using a set of pliers. There is also three sizes of sanding paper both for wood and metal, a sheath metal scissors and a pipe wrench. I have also a crowbar and a small pry bar. you may also want to add a set of hex screw, and those rubber hose fitting with screw. must haves also are loctite and a can of WD40! Thanks just MFCW.

  9. arkieready says:

    Funny how when i’ve done repairs on minor stuff for friends they are all impressed at what i think is so so work. Lady’s patio screen popped out in the corner (thank you kitty) no tool available so i used a butter knive. They would have bought a new screen. ????? My OLD drill cord, broken & dry rotted–i was told to throw it away. i bought a new cord & replaced it. good 20 year old sears drill. tools are good. ladies, please, have a few tools at least, you wont be sorry.

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