Vehicular survival basics and tools that will keep you alive when disaster strikes and you’re on the road and away from home

By Brian D

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest.

The world we live in today is unstable.  We face the possibility of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, viral outbreaks, power outages, water shortages, the list goes on and on.  Hurricane Katrina showed proved that the government cannot protect everyone in the aftermath of a large-scale disaster.  This was a wake-up call for many that in order to survive you must take your fate into your own hands.  Regardless of personal feelings about what may be coming or ending, it is growing more and more important to maintain a basic level of readiness for whatever may disrupt life and interrupt the ability to acquire a supply of water, food, and shelter.

Whether you are a hard-core, end of the world “prepper” or just take the Boy Scout motto seriously, there is no shortage of good information on prepping for disaster.  If you plan to “bug out” or “bug in” or just learn what items are best to carry every day, you can find numerous resources and opinions on what gear to buy and what skills are necessary, but one area that often fails to get enough attention in preparedness discussions is preparing and maintaining your vehicle for emergencies.

When disaster strikes, whatever the disaster may be, you might be lucky enough to already be in your safe zone, your “bug-in” site.  But what if you’re not?  What if you’re caught out and need to get home?  Many people focus on what makes up a good EDC or a bug out bag, but your vehicle is capable of handling so much more!

By all means, maintain a solid bug out bag and keep your EDC updated so you have the best tools for whatever you encounter every day, but take a good look at the vehicle that may be your best hope of getting where you need to be to survive.  Some of what is suggested here may be redundant with what you already have in your bag or on your person, but redundancy is a good thing in a survival situation.  You can recreate most of what you’d normally have in a bug out bag or a “get home bag” in your vehicle.  Every vehicle should have some basic safety/maintenance items on board.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Spare Tire/lug wrench/bottle jack
  • Tool kit
  • Can of Fix-a-Flat
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight w/ extra batteries

Now we take this list a step further and add items that will aid in various situations.  For example, inclement/winter weather, treating an injury, or just stuck for an extended period of time.  A few basic items can increase survivability and comfort in most situations.  Here are some suggested items to store in your vehicle:

  • Umbrella
  • First Aid kit
  • Tarp
  • Knife
  • Length of paracord/rope
  • Hat (ball cap and wool watch cap/beanie)
  • Glow sticks
  • Duct tape
  • Cell phone charger
  • Hand warmers
  • Ice scraper
  • Gloves (winter, work &surgical)
  • Leatherman type multi-tool
  • Bottled water
  • Lighter/fire starter
  • Granola bars/snacks
  • MRE/dehydrated meals
  • Blanket/Mylar emergency blankets
  • Rain poncho
  • Heavy duty trash bags
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Fishing rod & small fishing kit
  • Firearm and ammo
  • Extra jacket
  • Daypack/small backpack
  • Maps of the area

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather some basics to work from.  You will want to tailor your list not just to your environment/climate, but to any specific needs you may have.  Most of these items you probably already have laying around in duplicate or can pick up fairly cheap.  Several of these items are seasonal in their usefulness and can be rotated in/out according to the weather, but it’s easier to keep them all in the vehicle so you don’t forget to add them back as needed.  A few of these items are worth paying a bit more attention to.  I won’t go into great detail on many of these because there are plenty of reviews and resources out there already. Instead, I’ll touch briefly on items worth a little more thought than just something to toss into your glove box.

Your first aid kit should be stocked according to your level of first aid training and knowledge.  For example, don’t invest in a field surgery kit if you have no idea how to perform any of the functions the kit was designed for.  Rather stick to what you know how to use.  You can start with a store bought first aid kit, but you’re likely to end up with tons of band aids and little of the other items you may need.  Stock useful items like ibuprofen, anti-diarrhea meds, allergy meds, anti-bacterial ointment, and cold/flu meds.

Be sure to have a selection of band-aids, gauze, tape, with scissors and tweezers.  Add a small mirror and a magnifying glass for those hard to get splinters. The magnifying glass can even double as an emergency fire starter. Some instant cold paks are a good idea, as well as Quick Clot for larger wounds.  Include a snake bite kit as well. Sawyer makes a good venom extractor kit for around $15.  Obviously, it’s always a good idea to expand your knowledge, so sign up for a first responder class or a rescue first aid class with your local Red Cross and add items to your kit accordingly.

When it comes to firearms obviously you’re going to spend some cash and quality items will set you back some, but this is not the kind of thing you can afford to have fail if you really need it, so select carefully.  This weapon should be in addition to your normal conceal carry weapon, so you aren’t as limited by size.  This is totally a personal choice and you can find endless discussions and arguments over what’s the best weapon to have in any given situation.  The important thing is to choose a weapon you are familiar with, practice with, and can rely on.  Of course, when it comes to carrying any weapon, be sure to check your state’s laws and act accordingly.

In addition to the basics, some other items worth investing in are a portable jump starter and a portable air compressor.  You can buy units that have both in one, like the Stanley J5C09 that is a best seller on Amazon. It has 500 Amp/1000 Peak Amp capability, a 120 psi compressor, and the ability to charge USB devices.  The unit is heavy, weighing in at around 18 pounds, but should be enough to jump start even a V8.

Another good option is the Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660, also an Amazon bestseller.  This unit is a professional grade jump starter and while missing the bells and whistles of the Stanley model, it boasts 1700 peak amps.  It also weighs in around 18 pounds.  This is a no-frills model, but might be your best bet if you’re in an area with long-term freezing temps that typically wreak havoc on vehicle batteries.  Both of these items come in between $80 and $130.  You can find a cheaper, lower amp model but if you have anything bigger than a 4 cylinder in warm weather, you may find that your unit doesn’t have enough “umph” to get you started.

As for emergency tire inflators, there are several good ones on the market.  Stick with something in the mid-priced range, somewhere between $40 and $60.  Viair, Kensun, and Q Industries are some names to look for.  Just be aware that much like the jump starters, you often get what you pay for.  If you have a big truck with big tires, you may not get much use out of a bargain mini compressor other than pumping up pool toys for the kids.

Now we’ve talked about the items to have in your vehicle, what about maintaining the vehicle itself?  After all, the real goal of the vehicle is to get from point A to point B in as efficient a manner as possible.  If the vehicle won’t go, it’s just an expensive shelter.

You know to get an oil change when the little sticker from the lube place says so, or the “Maintenance Required” light comes on.  You replace tires when someone points out the steel showing, but beyond that put little thought into vehicle maintenance until something goes wrong.  This could prove deadly in a survival situation.  You may not be a mechanic and may know little about the magic happening under the hood that makes your car go, but here are a few tips for keeping the vehicle on the road and available for use during an emergency.

At least once a month take the time to do a detailed inspection.   Start out by just cleaning up.  Get rid of the fast food wrappers, old drink cups, and bits of paper.  Go through your console and toss out anything you don’t need and reorganize the things you use the most frequently so they’re closer to hand.

In the warmer months items like ice scrapers, wool hats, hand warmers, etc., could be placed in a bag in the trunk and vice versa when the weather gets cold.  Rotate your unused snacks, MRE’s, and bottled water for fresher items.  Check to be sure you have copies of your current insurance card and vehicle registration.  Check your license plate to be sure it hasn’t expired.  These aren’t survival items, but a couple of minutes could save you a traffic stop.

Now check the head, tail, break, and reverse lights.  Check the turn signals.  Take a look at your tires and use a tire gauge to check air pressure.  Air pressure can vary with the temperature, so even if you don’t have a leak you could be a little low.  Remember that you can find the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure in your owner’s manual or on the tire placard on the vehicle door’s edge.  Check the tread wear of your tires.  A good way to test this is with a penny.  Insert the penny into your tread with Lincoln’s head facing you and upside down.  If you can see all of Lincoln’s head then you are below the recommended tread depth and should prepare to replace the tire as soon as possible.

Look under your car where you normally park.  Are there any signs of leaked fluid?  Pop the hood.  Check your oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and antifreeze with the vehicle off and on a flat surface.  Look over your hoses and belts for any thin places, bulges, or other signs of wear that may need to be addressed.

If you’re unsure how to do this, take a few minutes to read through your owner’s manual, check out some YouTube videos, or maybe look into a basic auto repair class at your local community college. You’ll never regret having those basic skills. If you have your car maintained periodically at a lube place or dealership, odds are they will check these items and more, but verify that with your particular servicer and don’t count on a periodic oil change service as your only problem detection.

Check things out with your own eyes.  In addition, be aware of changes in the way your vehicle handles.  Listen for different sounds.  For example, squealing when you stop is a good indicator that it’s time for new brake pads.  If you aren’t a mechanic yourself, find someone you trust to handle any repairs and remember that typically the earlier you discover and address a problem, the easier (and cheaper) it may be to repair.

Your vehicle may be your lifeline in an emergency situation.  Whether it gets you out of town when the world falls apart, or just gets you home from work, you never know what you might encounter along the way.  It pays to be confident in your ability to safely get to your destination, wherever that may be, so prep your vehicle just like you would your other gear and multiply your odds of survival!

Prizes For This Round (Ends April 12, 2016) In Our Non-Fiction Writing Contest Include…

  1. First place winner will receive –   A gift certificate for $150 off of  rifle ammo at Lucky Gunner, an Urban Survival Kit a $109 value courtesy of  TEOTWAWKI supplies, a WonderMix Deluxe Kitchen Mixer a $299 value courtesy of Kodiak Health and a LifeStraw Mission Filter a $109 value courtesy of EarthEasy, for a total prize value of $667
  2. Second Place Winner will receive – 30 Day Food Storage All-in-One Pail a $119 value courtesy of Augason Farms.com and Berkey Light with 2 (9″) Berkey Earth Elements a $157 value courtesy of LPC Survival, for a total prize value of $276.
  3. Third place winner will receive –  International MRE Meals Supply a $72.00 value, a LifeStraw Portable Water Filter a $19 value, Yoder’s Fully Cooked Canned Bacon a $15 value all courtesy of CampingSurvival and one copy of each of my books “The Prepper’s Primer” and a copy of “The Prepared Prepper’s Cookbook“ for a total prize value of $137.

Comments

  1. PrepperDoc says:

    Very nice article — lots of things for me to think about. I’m a little light on “camping” type equipment — need to put a bugout bag in there.

    MY VEHICLE is past 200,000 and I do my own work half the time, so I carry a metric tool kit, including wrenches/sockets/normal hand tools. Also a Haynes/Chilton manual for the vehicle.

    One of my vehicles is nearly EMP-survivable….except for a transistorized pickup in the distributor. So now I have a small trash can with a spare distributor & whatnot in that vehicle….Faraday protected.

    • Prepper doc
      These days 200k is not a whole bunch of miles if you mantaine it.The basics like oil changes and lube and tune will keep many modern vehicles into the 300k. Theft and accidents take that off the table though.

    • My main vehicle is a 1991 Roadtrek (van camper) with well over 225,ooo miles but loads of new parts-including engine and trans so its good for lots more miles. I keep it pretty well stocked and it has beds, kitchen and bathroom so I am ready for 3 or 4 days all the time, and if we have to bug out from home it would take less than 10 minutes to load all our food rations and be gone.

    • Love my carbureted, points-fired engine! Sure, it’s a hard starter when it’s forty below, but so what? I can walk from the house to the wood pile on days like that. Sure, there’re a few hundred K miles on it, but there’s quite a few on me as well, so we get along well together.
      Then there’s the Throttle Body Injector on the old Jimmy. Almost as good as a carburetor and it still uses points, too, so it’s money ahead. And both are bullet… err, I mean EMP… proof.

  2. I’m happy to say, I had the entire list and then some!

    Thanks, good info there.

    • A friend of mine is not a prepper but he still has baby wipes in his car. His kids are in there 20`s though babywipes clean your hands pretty good . Also I think solar battery charger is also a good idea. That way if your car has some other problem you can keep the battery topped up.Also keep an eye on the license plate frame bulbs. People usally don`t check them and I have been pulled over twice over the years.Once was on new years eve so that gives the cop a reason to pull you over and do a dui check. I was totally sober that night since I was the designated driver.The cop praised me for that but, I still got pulled over.ymmv on that situation may vary on that one though.

      • I got pulled over for the same thing on New Years Eve; license plate light. LOL. Cop was spinning tires & tossing dirt everywhere trying to get turned around in the median fast enough, it was like I robbed a bank or was on a multi-county killing spree or something. How the Hell he saw my license plate lite when he was traveling in the opposite direction is beyond me! Got a warning and he let me get on home. Harassment I tell ya!

  3. My ’01 Ford Ranger has over 200,000 as well, runs very,very well still. The single most important thing you can do is make sure you change the oil on time., along well as other suggested maintenance in your owners manual your vehicle should last a long time.

    We keep our vehicles well stocked, some of the items are transfered from vehicle to vehicle for trips but most of the listed items are included and some that aren’t.

  4. mom of three says:

    Yup, I only need a rope, and duct tape, I also buy granola bar’s, and rotate, water too.

  5. You ought to see how I pack when we travel. We have Winter conditions 6-8 months of the year (not continuous, but it can catch you), so we look like we are moving when we travel, especially out of state. Right now, not counting our GHB’s there are 4 smaller duffle bags and 2 cases that go in the van.

  6. Ray Walters says:

    You forget To mention “Tooth Brush and tooth paste”.

    • You can make lists for the rest of your life but the premise of the article was sound. For instance the fix a flat is an excellent idea. IN my day s when I had my powerwagon 3 or 4 cans may be a better idea. I had 35 inch tall tires and 1 can may not be enough. Also you should use some type of jack and jack up the vehicle with it before using the fix a flat. Fix a flat is not a jack in a can and a fully loaded car or truck may overwhelm the can of faf.I akso carry a plug kit and the fix a flat can pump up a tire after being plugged depending on circumstances.Also faf is great for fixing slow leaks that you don`t want to plug or can`t find at the time.

      • MsBlindSpot says:

        Just be forewarned: many tire places now will not fix a flat that has had FAF used in it. Ran into that myself.

        • MS Blind spot.
          It has been that way for years . You need to remember and run it out a few times that way the majority will be gone

      • Axelsteve I was going to recommend the plug kit also, but hadn’t thought of jacking up the car for fix a flat. Used it only once without lifting the car. Worked, but didn’t inflate completely. Maybe if I lifted the car. Thanks

  7. I didn’t see mention of good walking shoes and socks for all regular passengers.

    In the summer especially, many will be caught wearing sandals or flip-flops. People who have to dress up for work also will run into this problem wearing dress shoes. Not so good if one has to leave the vehicle and hike.

    • Really good point, Sandbagger. We keep those and plenty of moleskin in our GHBs. And socks, of course.

      We also prefer brimmed hats to baseball caps. They are a lot better at keeping sun off the face and ears.

      Sunscreen and mosquito repellent are also something to think about, especially with dengue fever now here in Hawaii (over 200 cases on the Big Island) and Zika starting to show up on the Mainland.

    • Very important point. DW and I always keep our trail shoes in the car with a change of hiking socks. Easy for us as we hike a lot so we just leave them in back.

  8. MsBlindSpot says:

    Excellent article…very helpful. And I was pleased to see that I’m pretty well-equipped using this list. Can always improve though, and the bigger-bucks items are on a list. Something I would add: a good set of walkie-talkies/portable ham radio, and a weather radio. I keep a Kaito muti-power (wind-up, battery, plug-in, solar) one in my vehicle. Could break down and not be able to use the vehicle radio. Of course, these things may be part of a GHB, but it wouldn’t hurt to have them just in the vehicle. Also, driving is a great way to test the walkie talkies, when in a “convoy” with others. Perhaps redundant to cell phones, but a good thing to have in their own right. Cell could go out.

    Thanks…good article.

  9. Really good article. Thanks, Brian D.

    You mentioned both tweezers and a magnifier: I like a combo set which has the magnifier attached to the tweezers as it can be used with one hand. That’s really useful when taking a splinter out of a finger. Amazon keywords “magnifying tweezers” which will get you plenty, including some with built in lights. I’m inclined to stick with the KISS principle and keep the light separate, but each to his/her own.

    I also like to have multiple flashlights, because light is so critical in the dark. One in my pants pocket, another in the glove compartment, a 3D cell MagLight between the seats where I can get it quickly, another small one in the 1st aid kit, and another in the GBH. Oh, yeah, another in my shoulder bag, which stays in the truck, too. Well, actually two in the bag, a little one which runs on a single AA and a 1000 lumen Duracell which runs on 4 C cells. Maybe seven are too many, but I plead guilty to being slightly obsessive about light.

    Emergency food: Nothing wrong with MREs, but we keep lifeboat rations in our vehicles. The ones we like are very similar to sugar cookies, heavy on calories, light on salt so they don’t make you thirsty, and last about 5 years in very hot and very cold environments. They are actually pretty tasty. Either as stand alone food or as supplements to MREs, they are good stuff. Amazon keywords: “lifeboat rations”

    • We have the lifeboat rations in our vehicles for the same reasons you mention in your article. Added benefit when they are close to outdating we eat them. Nothing goes to waste.

  10. riverrider says:

    i always have a wire coat hanger or two in mine. heavy duty wire for tieing up the muffler or what ev. came in handy many times, unlocking doors is another use. they are getting harder to find these days though.

  11. I’m going to disagree with carrying a bigger weapon and ammo for it in your vehicle. If your EDC weapon isn’t sufficient, why are you carrying it? Carrying extra ammo for it (mags, speed-loaders, etc.) makes sense, but in any other scenario, short of WROL, you probably won’t need your battle rifle or tactical shotgun and all the extra ammo for them.
    If you had to leave your vehicle due to an engine breakdown, traffic jam, blizzard, flooding, etc., you would have to choose between leaving your expensive rifle behind for possible looters, or carrying it publicly and drawing lots of unwanted attention to yourself.
    Your EDC/CCW should be adequate to get you to your rifle. If not, maybe you need to re-evaluate your weapon choice.

    Now, about the vehicle itself, I personally don’t/won’t own one newer than a 1985. My car will turn 50 next year (it’s a 1967 Mercury Cougar). My wife drives a 1982 F-100, and I’m restoring her 1980 El Camino.
    In the spirit of self-sufficiency, I do all of our maintenance and mechanical work, including tire changing.
    Older vehicles (1985 and older) are easy for just about anyone to work on, and don’t require special diagnostic equipment. They can also be easily converted to run after an EMP by changing out the HEI distributor to a points type distributor.

    The throw away economy hates people like me! LOL!

    Regardless of the year or make of vehicle, everyone should know how to do basic maintenance and repairs like changing belts and hoses. Learn to do it. Then, keep the old ones in the trunk as spares. Don’t just get new ones to carry; you know the old ones fit before, so they will go back on in an emergency.

    Carry extra water/pre-mix for the radiator.
    Carry extra oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, etc., and know how to check them and add more when needed.

    If you don’t know how to put your spare tire on, learn! It isn’t that hard. (Your Fix-A-Flat may not be sufficient.)

    Carry tools! Even if you don’t know how to do all the work, someone else may know how to get you going again with the right tools. (You should still try to learn to do as much as possible to keep your own vehicle going though.)

    Carry a small shovel/entrenching tool in case you need to use it to dig out an area to fit your jack under the vehicle, or get it unstuck.

    Carry a tow strap in case you get stuck off the side of the road and need someone to pull you out.

    And, in a non-disaster emergency situation, a good towing service/auto club is worth the cost.
    I personally use Paragon Motor Club (not affiliated with them, just a satisfied customer for years). I have their Advantage plan for less than $100/year.
    I personally think AAA sucks (from my experiences), and they are much more expensive.

    Just my 2¢, and I probably forgot stuff, but you get the point. The self-sufficiency mentality that we have as survivalists/preppers should extend to our vehicles.

  12. swabbie Robbie says:

    Just yesterday I was talking with a good friend on this subject. He had said he had not thought much about bug out bags for his immediate family because he already lives where he would bug out to. However, he realized if he was away from home when something happened he and whomever was with him would need to get home and if his auto was out of commission they would be on foot. So he has become serious about the get home bag.

    He and his wife are north of 65 years old and in good shape, but he realized his wife has foot and ankle problems and would not be walking far. He is checking out bikes for them both. He mentioned mountain bikes but I pointed out they would not be riding off road much considering the steep hills around here. So instead of a true mountain bike I thought he should check out touring bikes. They can be out fitted with fairly knobby tires for riding the back roads. They don’t need to be expensive bikes since their purpose is getting home. Expensive bikes are theft targets as well. But they need to fit each rider well to be comfortable. If space is limited in their vehicle, they could look into folding bikes as well.

    Even traveling quite slowly they would be moving faster than walking. If fitted out with a rack over the back tire and maybe a set of panniers they could move their bags off their backs.

    The main thing about using a bike is that you should practice riding, riding with you packs, and on the expected back roads, just as you should practice walking with a loaded bug out bag.

    • Good advice. A crossbike or tourbike is the way to go. Crossbikes are for all terrains. We have two mountain bikes, two road bikes plus an indoor cycle even though our road bikes are in the living room with the rear tire engaged in a trainer. Lol. Wife is training for a half ironman.

      The “fitting well” part you mentioned is so very important. So many casual riders ride oh so wrong. Usually the main issue that is easily corrected is the seat is set too low. The most efficient seat setting is when on the saddle each leg should be almost straight when either foot is on the peddle while the pedal is at the bottom of the revolution (almost).

      Another issue is the right size bike for one’s stature, weight and flexibiflity. A proper fitting is always nice but not always practical when buying off craigslist or buying from a party that is not a bike shop.

  13. Very good article. It’s as important for the vehicle to be Ready to Rock when called upon. I walk around my vehicle every day just giving it the “once over”. Might find a nail or screw in the tire or low pressure or that wet spot under it.
    Fourteen years ago I lived in west Texas. I learned the importance of keeping your vehicle well maintained. It’s oh so true to be able to drive 200 or more miles without coming across a town or seeing another motorist. With that, not only did I keep the basics,(first list) but I have many of the other items from the 2nd list. BTW, don’t forget the toilet paper. I keep all of this in my F150 now living in Maine.
    Never knowing what could give out at any time, I also keep extras of the fluids the truck needs, Anti freeze/coolant… oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid. Radiator stop leak is in there too. I keep extra wire and fuses too. When I change the wipers, I keep the old set till the next replacing.
    The truck bed tool box holds a lot of stuff and the back seat is where the seasonal items store and get switched out to. Drinking water is a carry in and out during the winter. You’d find it frozen solid in the morning.
    I keep a BOB in the truck minus the firearm. I don’t risk the chance of someone breaking in and stealing it. I live in a good neighborhood but there’s been some break ins / thefts by people from outskirting cities / towns.
    I keep the truck on a maintenance schedule and it’s ready to rock. And with all I keep in it, I can still seat 4 comfortably but it’s just the dog and I so we’ve got room.

  14. Crazy Joe in South Jersey says:

    Hello Article Writer !

    Several items I would never consider and others I do have . A phone charger is useless to me as I do not have a cell phone . Spare clothes , for example , I do carry in my truck and are rotated out depending on the season . Low cut Day hikers get switched out in late fall for hiking boots .

    You wrote ” In the warmer months items like ice scrapers, wool hats, hand warmers, etc., could be placed in a bag in the trunk ” . NO ……… get them out and into the garage or shed . The more space the better . An extra 5 gallon gas can filled is better .

    In my survival article on ” BOVS ” I explain my BOV is my every day pick up truck and it is my BOB as well . Space is limited behind the seat so depending on what someone is driving they can adjust accordingly . But not all that STUFF may not get carried if it comes to having to walk .

    One thing I listed was a siphon . The hand squeezing type most use for kerosene heaters . On this I got crazy feedback , as recently as 2 years ago , stating they are not to be found anymore or they are no longer made . I got a new one yesterday at Lowes – 12 Feb 2016 . Also some of the folks out there say it is impossible to put a tube down into the gas tank of more modern vehicles , geez …. civilians . Getting a 1/2 inch pliable clear plastic tube is not hard to find and attach it to a hand siphon . I see the battery type as silly and a waste of extra weight .

    To make extra room in my truck I removed the passenger side air bag and made an extra glove box. This is only illegal if I fail to state it in writing if and when I sell the vehicle . I cut cardboard for the bottom , sides and back and used duct tape on the seams .

    If CREEKMORE posted my BOV Article then perhaps it is archived here . Or It may have gone to Squirrels Survial Site . I forget .

  15. Sideliner 1950 says:

    Good stuff, Brian D., and excellent follow-on comments, everyone…thanks to all.

    My suggestion — the “Chit Kit” — may sound trivial, but our memories are not getting any better…so here’s a “gouge” to help us keep our stores fully topped off:

    Regardless how extensive your own list of preps or EDC items may be, give yourself permission to “pilfer” from your own preps or EDC gear if/when necessary; after all, that’s what they’re for, right? Now, the “pilfering” by itself is not necessarily a bad thing…but forgetting to replace or replenish those “pilfered” items could become a very bad thing; and speaking for myself, it’s all too easy to forget to do that.

    To help you remember what “pilfered” items need replacing or replenishing, make one or more “Chit Kits” consisting of a sharpie and a stack of about a dozen post-it notes in a Zip Lock bag. Place one “Chit Kit” in each of your stores locations — preps locker, INCH-bag, bug-out-bag, get-home-bag, EDC bag, time capsule, altoids tin, etc…and in each vehicle that carries your EDC gear.

    When you are forced to “pilfer” from your own stores, use the “Chit Kit” in this way: simply WRITE DOWN THE DATE, AND LIST EVERY ITEM YOU REMOVED FROM THAT STORE. Make a copy (a total of two sheets, each listing every items you “pilfered” from your own stores, along with the date). Leave one copy inside the “Chit Kit”, and take the other one with you to add to your shopping list. ONLY once you have physically replaced all the “pilfered” items on the list, remove the sheet from the “Chit Kit” …that way the “Chit Kit” will retain a contemporaneous, accurate record of what’s still missing…no chit = no shortages.

    Works great for me and my aging memory.

  16. I appreciate all the feedback on my article. One thing I’ve learned about prepping is that it is a dynamic process, constantly evolving as I learn about new ideas, new equipment, and new skills. Thanks to sites like this and folks like all of you who take the time to share their skills and experience, I get a little better prepared every day to face whatever comes.

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