A big part of getting ready for various survival scenarios is having the right gear and supplies on hand, what you might call material preparation. As all seasoned preppers know, there is a seemingly limitless amount of stuff that we should have on hand to cover our bases against the most likely contingencies.
We need shelter materials, food, water and supplies to ensure the continuity of both, tools and weapons and all sorts of things in between.
The most diligent among us will have thought out every permutation and every variable attendant to crises and disasters in whatever form they might take. Having the right tool for the job is an imperative to folks like us and with good reason!
But, despite our best efforts, we all have blind spots in our perception and our capacity for planning and theoretical modeling of responses.
This invariably leads to holes in our material acquisitions in the form of commonly overlooked, but nonetheless crucial, survival supplies and gear.
One sizable hole can easily sink an otherwise sound ship on the open ocean, and to prevent you from experiencing such an unhappy fate in prepping efforts we are bringing you a list of 12 survival items that you might have forgotten about.
Before Purchasing, Consider Your Personal Context
Before we get to the list proper, I just want to take a moment to clear the air about our recommendations.
On lists just like this one all across the internet it rarely fails that comments will crop up concerning the validity or usefulness of something on the list, or maybe all the things on the list, for a particular reader.
That’s quite alright, of course; the internet has allowed us to interact with each other, and share opinions for good or ill for a long time now.
But it illustrates in sharp relief a very important concept when it comes to preparation: context. Context is everything, and without going on a rambling screed it means that what is useful or good for someone else might not be useful or good for you.
Sure, some things are just about as ubiquitous and useful as you can find, but there will always be someone out there who has less than no need whatsoever for it. Ice cubes and Eskimos, and all that.
Accordingly, use your head when reading this list. I am presenting it because the following items are ones that I have noticed time and time again are often missing from an otherwise well-rounded and complete survival packing list.
12 Crucial Survival Items You Forgot About
Seasoned peppers are usually well-rounded individuals in a variety of survival-centric disciplines.
A good prepper knows what they know, but just as importantly they know what they don’t know, or what disciplines they are weak in. Therefore, it is a good idea to call upon reliable reference materials when you have time. A crisis is not necessarily the right time for I’ll figure it out.
And, not for nothing, even the sharpest and swiftest mind can slow down or become clouded when exhausted, frightened or under immense pressure, and as the old saying goes paper remembers what the mind forgets, or if not paper pixels on a screen!
Accordingly, no survival stash is complete without some trusty reference texts for any number of skills and disciplines pertinent to the task of survival, both long and short-term.
This could take the form of anything from a general purpose survival guide to specialized knowledge concerning hunting, trapping, self-defense, urban gardening and anything else that is relevant to your personal situation in any kind of circumstances.
But naturally, space in your store room or your pack and weight considerations besides are always of concern to smart preppers, and large, hefty books are a significant investment in both regards.
You might consider instead a compact version that is easy to take along with you or vastly increase your storage to weight ratio by utilizing a tablet that can store many gigabytes of text for any variety of subjects, so long as you can keep it powered of course!
There are all sorts of disasters and other situations that preppers strive to prepare for even though there is not much that can be done to prevent them. However, one of the most common, most dangerous and certainly most destructive events can be prevented: The house fire.
House fires reap a toll of hundreds and hundreds of lives and many millions of dollars in damage every single year in countries around the world.
However they start, be it an accident, electrical mishap or something else you have precious little chance of stifling a small accidental fire before it turns into a raging, fully involved blaze if you don’t have a fire extinguisher on hand and ready to use.
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Fire extinguishers are so simple and so affordable that there is no excuse for lacking them, and you should have several in strategic locations in and around your home and make sure that all able-bodied people in the home know where they are and how to use them.
When a fire is burning seconds count, and you’ll have to act quickly to save your home and potentially the people inside it.
Bleach is one of those mundane items that we buy month in and month out at the grocery store and usually we don’t give it a second thought unless it is laundry day or we are trying to clean up a particularly stubborn stain.
But despite its humble place in our pantry or laundry room, bleach is actually an indispensable survival commodity, especially in a long-term survival situation.
Using nothing more than common, unscented and undoctored sodium hypochlorite bleach you can sterilize your drinking water and make it safe, or at least safer, to consume by nuking any microorganisms that might be present inside it. It really is just that simple.
You’ll need to add a tiny and carefully measured amount of bleach to a prescribed amount of water, usually a liter or gallon, but this is easily done using a dropper and a small, convenient chart.
Beyond this, bleach is indispensable for sanitizing and sterilizing tools, work surfaces and even hands that have been handling biohazardous materials that are raging vectors for serious germs.
For cleaning up after using an improvised toilet or any other nasty task a strong rinse solution of bleach and water is just the ticket to prevent an outbreak of pestilence.
Just make sure that you get straight sodium hypochlorite bleach without any fragrances, thickeners, splash reducing mediums or any other assorted trickery. None of that stuff makes a difference at any time except during laundry day and is actually harmful if consumed.
Modern medicine is nothing short of miraculous, and we have come a long, long way since the primitive techniques, methods and drugs our ancestors relied on. Probably the most pivotal medical technology developed during the 20th century was the advent of antibiotics.
Prior to the widespread, institutional use of antibiotics for treating and preventing infection, even the most mundane or common injuries and wounds could have life-altering or life-threatening consequences should they become infected by any number of bacterial pathogens.
In fact, there are many maladies and other injuries that have been reduced to a nearly trivial concern today only because of the widespread and inexpensive availability of antibiotics, and all of their many forms.
Naturally, preppers should be concerned about having antibiotics on hand and fresh should they ever be needed in a survival scenario.
Any disaster that is worth the name is likely to mean that medical attention from trained professionals will be difficult to access and rationed under the circumstances, and so in keeping with the ethos that we must become our own first responders we should obtain and learn how to administer the correct antibiotics in the correct amounts.
This might require talking to an amenable doctor about an ongoing prescription as a preventative measure or turning to other worthwhile and workable solutions like fish antibiotics, many of which are exactly the same as the ones intended for human consumption just in a different form and dosage.
Materials for Repairs
Having the right tools to take care of problems in the aftermath of a disaster or other crisis is only part of the equation for preppers.
Consider that your troubles won’t just end after some arbitrary timer goes off after a prescribed amount of time.
You’ll have to keep on living and sustaining after most major events have gone by, and this means you might need to make the best of a bad situation by fixing things that are broken.
Materials, supplies and spare parts are essential for any long-term survival plan. Consider what things you’ll depend on that are likely to be damaged or disrupted by hostile weather conditions or the actions or misadventures of man.
This means you might need plywood and various fasteners for reinforcing or patching up your home, and a variety of spare parts for your vehicle.
It is of course possible to improvise or scavenge what you need, but nothing comes close to the effectiveness and the efficiency of having the right parts and materials for the job. Consider hoarding these:
- nuts and bolts
- safety pins
- rope (Paracord)
- electrical tape
- duct tape
- … and more
Also note that simply having this stuff isn’t necessarily a game changer. You have to know what you are doing in order to properly make repairs that are dependable and safe, or at least safe enough under the circumstances.
Preppers, as a general rule, will rely on all sorts of vehicles and tools that utilize liquid fuels of various kinds, and among these two gasoline and diesel fuel are probably the most common and popular, at least in North America.
How unfortunate it is then that liquid fuels have a decidedly limited shelf life before they go bad, either failing to operate the devices they are intended to or, worse, damaging the engines that utilize them.
Gasoline in particular has an especially short shelf life these days with the preponderance of ethanol additives and blends on the market.
One can obtain pure gasoline or gasoline designed for a long shelf life, but even then you’re only looking at anywhere between 3 and 6 months as a guideline.
Diesel fuel fares better, but even it may fall prey to such maladies as infestations of allergies and other microorganisms that can ruin it.
The solution for long-term storage of liquid fuels is stabilization treatment with the appropriate additives for whatever gasoline or diesel blend you rely on.
These stabilizing additives will prevent the separation of components in your fuels, and add considerable shelf life to a long-standing supply, greatly reducing the burden of rotating it on the person who is storing it.
Lubricants or another one of those supplies that we use in great abundance day in and day out even if we don’t think of it or acknowledge it.
Automobiles, firearms, motorized tools and even some appliances rely on regular and correct lubrication with the prescribed substances in order to function effectively and remain reliable over the long term.
There is nothing for it, this seems to be one of those things that just goes right under the radar for most people.
While you might have a spare bottle or two of motor oil in your garage or a mostly empty can of gun oil in your safe or near your workbench, this isn’t adequate for insulating yourself and your objectives against the breakdown of supply lines and the attendant loss of high quality, manufacturer specified lubricants.
Sure, it is possible to scavenge, supplement or even replace entirely a specified lubricant with something else and get a modicum of performance out of a conveyance or device for a time, but this invariably leads to break down, malfunction and a gravely shortened service life.
Avoid such a calamity by stockpiling all of the needed lubricants you need for your essential vehicles and devices
Docs Package / Drive
Is a sad fact of life, modern life anyway, that bureaucracy and mountainous administrations seemingly make the world go round.
Everyone needs their papers, vital documents, bonafides, certificates, IDs and so much more to prove that they are who they say they are and they own the things that they say they own.
Lacking any such documentation, even a single piece of it, when attempting to get past one of the innumerable government gatekeepers that populate their swarming concrete termite mounds means you’ll be sent packing with your objective unmet.
It is terrible to consider that you might be dealing with such bureaucracy in the near or long-term aftermath of a major event, but you can depend on that happening.
If your house, worse yet, your town is destroyed and you lose everything will you be able to interface with agencies and institutions from elsewhere in order to prove that you are who you say you are and possess the assets that you say you possess?
Without all of those documents that probably got obliterated in the event, the chances are against you or at the very best you’ll be facing a momentously difficult uphill battle.
This is another unhappy outcome that is easily enough avoided if you pack up a complete package of all of your vital documentation, deeds, certificates and so forth in a weatherproof folder or electronically on an encrypted flash drive and keep it as part of your survival kit.
Care must be taken to ensure that this information does not fall into the wrong hands because it is quite literally the keys to your kingdom, but attempting to reestablish yourself and gain support without it is grueling.
Vehicle Escape Tool
Innumerable accidents great and small occur on the highways and interstates every year around our country. While most are relatively minor, some are serious and more than enough are positively dreadful.
Although it is endemic to any automobile crash, it is threatening enough on its own to consider it as an event or sub event worth preparing for, and that is the likelihood of being trapped in a vehicle that is immobilized, sinking, on fire or facing some other follow-on hazard.
Seat belts get jammed. Doors won’t open. Windows stop working. If you and your loved ones or any other passenger are stuck in such a vehicle, how are you going to get yourselves out?
There are many answers, but most of them suck when compared to a purpose-built tool for the task. Vehicle escape tools are typically combination seat belt cutters and window breakers, often relying on a recessed and safe but razor sharp blade along with a fixed or spring loaded carbide spike that will effortlessly slash off seatbelt straps, and bust side window glass with very little effort.
Furthermore, these tools are usually designed in such a way that they will either attach to seat belt harnesses or a fix securely somewhere inside the cabin of the vehicle where it can be easily reached by either passenger.
I highly recommend keeping one on either side of the vehicle to ease and speed up the extrication process.
Self-defense skills and tools are one facet of preparation that most preppers have well enough in hand that they don’t worry about it, or at least that’s what they convince themselves of.
You’ll rarely have to twist the arm of red-blooded, hard charging preppers to purchase guns and knives, attend various training classes and outfit themselves, their homes and their vehicles with things that will make the task of staying safe from human predators a little bit easier.
After all, this is usually the cool stuff, the toys that people are eager to buy.
However, time and time again I have seen great shooters and expert martial artists alike neglect a peerless tool in the self-defense arsenal the can solve the vast majority of self-defense problems.
This little tool doesn’t require to lay hands on the adversary or fill them with lead and, in the bargain, helps keep you out of a courtroom, and make you look like a good citizen in the event that you do wind up there.
I’m talking about pepper spray…
Pepper spray is one of the only ranged, less lethal tools this is both highly effective while offering follow-up shot capability. In use, pepper spray will quickly drain the will to fight out of most attackers, and 99 times out of 100 will leave no permanent or lasting injury to the assailant.
Anytime you’re in a situation where you definitely don’t want someone coming any closer where you might have to deal with them hand to hand but going to a lethal weapon is the wrong answer, pepper spray is likely your problem solver.
Sandbags are a ubiquitous item that will serve preppers equally well in several short and long term scenarios.
Although highly laborious to fill, sandbags are one of the few items that can provide any meaningful protection from flood waters, and this makes them indispensable for people who live in flood prone areas that are not willing to see their home or property destroyed by rising or rushing water.
Sandbags are also used for constructing defensive emplacements capable of shielding their occupants from gunfire, even rifle fire, as well as reinforcing or propping up damaged structures.
Speaking of structures, you can even use sandbags as a primary building component with or without the addition of concrete to create sturdy, weatherproof shelters or bunkers.
Sandbags are dirt cheap and you can get them almost anywhere, but know that there is a trick to using them correctly.
You generally don’t want to fill them all the way up to make sure they are malleable enough to create a watertight gap and stacking them correctly with the correct proportions is essential for durability and stability.
These skills are easy to learn, though, and so there is no excuse for you going without sandbags as part of your survival stash.
A hand operated pump is an invaluable addition to a prepper’s toolkit. For siphoning gasoline or other fluids out of vehicles or extracting water from difficult to reach or awkward places, a hand pump can make an otherwise impossible and aggravating job quick and easy.
There are many types on the market and each has advantages and disadvantages, a thorough desertion on the topic being too long for this article.
Suffice it to say, however, you should never, ever utilize a pump that has drawn hazardous chemicals for the drawing of water, and vice versa, unless you want the latter to be strictly used for chemical or fuel duty forever after.
Much safer than attempting to siphon by mouth and sure and more reliable than depending upon electric powered pumps, a hand pump is compact, lightweight and portable, a perfect addition to any prepper toolkit.
Start Stockpiling Now!
Most preppers who have been working on their own culture of personal readiness for a while likely have shelves and crates piled high with gear and every imaginable provision.
But, despite their zeal in preparation there is likely to be something that flew under the radar, something important that might make the difference.
The list above contains 12 such items that are regularly overlooked even by competent and enthusiastic preppers, so take the time to review it, consult your own packing lists and make sure you have all of your bases covered.
Tom Marlowe grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, He has the experience in helping civilian shooters figure out what firearms work best for them.