If you’re like me and you spend time (maybe too much time…) shopping prepper websites, you know one thing:
There is more survival gear in the world than you could possibly ever buy!
Without even trying you can easily load your bug-out bag with 100+ pounds of widgets and doodads that all seem crucial.
But what if you had to winnow all that junk down to a list of bare essentials—the items you CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT when SHTF?
In my opinion, such a list would look something like this (in no particular order).
1. Water Filter Bottle
You knew this was coming.
Even still, it’s amazing how often people get emergency water wrong.
Instead of bringing along a bunch of plastic water bottles, we recommend a filter bottle instead. These are sturdy, long lasting, and clean hundreds of gallons of water—no boiling needed.
We also suggest stocking up on as many filter straws as you can. They’re a great backup water source and supplement if you need more water than a bottle holds.
2. Cooking Gear/Food
Much like water, this is a no brainer.
But also like water, it’s something that plenty of us get wrong.
You need a lot more than just canned and packaged foods when SHTF. You need long-lasting (in the range of 25 years), quick cooking meals that give you the calories your body demands in pressure situations.
You need dedicated emergency food.
Even with primitive cooking skills, you will need a vessel for preparing your emergency food. There are small, versatile cooking sets made just for emergencies that don’t rust easily and handle heat well. Fancy kitchenware this isn’t, but it will keep you from going hungry when you’re in a tough spot.
3. Radio – Hand Crank or Solar Powered
The Internet may break and cell service may disappear, but there’s very little that can beat a good-old radio. Radios have stood the test of time for well over 100 years—and for good reason. Radio waves are proven more reliable than electricity when SHTF.
That’s why we recommend a hand-cranked or solar radio in case emergency. Either type can be used on the go and without an outlet. From weather updates to entertainment a radio is a good addition to your SHTF stash.
4. Flashlight – Solar Powered or Hand Cranked
It’s astonishing how dark the world gets when the power goes out. Without a trusty flashlight, you’ll spend half your day blind.
Don’t mess around with batteries, though. As with the radio, make sure your flashlight is powered by solar or hand cranked energy. These should never fail you, even in the event of a total blackout. They also tend to weigh very little, being free of bulky alkaline batteries.
A good hatchet is a tool worth having. Not only can it cut and chop firewood, it can be used to drive stakes into the ground and build a shelter. If you’re really ambitious, it can even be used for wild game processing. Hunters swear by a hatchet as one of the best tools for opening a rib cage on larger game.
There’s a reason your dad, and his dad before him, carried around a multi-tool: they can do so much!
They can build a fire. They can handle detail work like trimming smaller branches and cutting line for shelter. They’re a handy first-aid tool that can remove splinters, help suture a cut, and more.
On top of all this, they’re small—the perfect size for a bugout bag.
Oh the many wonders of paracord!
They’re great for adventure, of course, but specifically designed for survival situations. As is, any paracord can be used as a rope. You can pitch a tent with it. You can hang a hammock
But what makes the paracord a next-level survival tool is what you can do when it’s unraveled. The smaller strands can be used for shoestrings, belts, or even fishing line. Make sure you have this strong, durable rope when SHTF.
And that’s it! Of course there are many, many other items you can pack, but if you have these covered you should be OK when disaster hits.
“Camp Pot” by Tom Hilton is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
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