Just because preparedness gear has the potential to be lifesaving doesn’t mean that gear has to carry a high price tag. Sometimes, the simplest and cheapest piece of gear is the right tool for the job. Check out these ten preps that are available for less than $5 each.
1. Duct Tape
For just a few bucks, you can get a roll of this magical tape. It mends, it seals, and it even burns as a fire starter when you crumple it into a ball and light it with an open flame.
2. Iodine Tincture
At $2 or $3 per bottle, you could afford to have several bottles stashed throughout your gear. Sure, it burns like fire when you disinfect a cut or scratch, but this miracle fluid can disinfect both wounds and water. Drip 5 to 10 drops of tincture of iodine 2%, in one quart of water. Shake well. Turn the bottle upside down and unscrew the lid slightly to flush the threads. Wipe down the bottle with the water that leaked, and allow the bottle to sit in the shade for 1 hour before drinking. Use 5 drops tincture of iodine for clear warm water, and up to 10 drops for cold or cloudy water.
3. Bic Lighter
If I only had one survival tool (well, depending on the scenario), I’d probably want it to be a lighter. The inexpensive and ubiquitous Bic butane lighter is a trusty source of flame, and you only need one working thumb to operate it. This fire starter works better than matches or spark rods, and it’s capable of lighting hundreds of fires. Not bad for gear that costs $1 a piece.
Besides keeping your teeth clean, floss can make a high strength cord and improvised fishing line. Leave the floss in its case for easy cutting and dispensing, or break it free so that the spool packs down tighter in your low-cost survival kit.
5. Food Bars
Granola bars, Power bars, New Millennium energy bars and even your favorite non-melting candy bars make great food rations for most emergency situations. Even a few of these can have a major moral boosting effect, and offer some needed calories in a pinch. With a 5 year shelf life, the New Millennium bars will last the longest.
6. Bottle of Bleach
The pint and a half sized bottle of Clorox can be found for $2 in most grocery stores, and that small bottle can disinfect hundreds of gallons of drinking water. It can also make a disinfecting wash to clean out hydration bladders, water filters and even kill viruses on contaminated surfaces. For drinking water, add 2-4 drops of plain 5.25% Clorox per quart of water (2 drops if clear, 4 drops if cold or muddy). And BTW, if you have the new 8% Clorox, drop your higher dose to 3 drops per quart.
7. Super Glue
This super sticky, super adhesive can mend all kinds of objects, and even small wounds. If you select Krazy Glue brand, you can even use it to close up small cuts (Krazy Glue is the closest match to the Dermabond formula). Just put a drop of super glue (or a row of drops) at the surface of the wound to keep it closed. Just make sure you don’t glue the “clamping” fingers to the wound, as you’ll tear the wound open trying to free your glued hand.
8. Bottled Water
A factory sealed bottle of water can give you two vital things in an emergency – a vessel of safe clean water and a container to hold more water. Select bottles that hold 1 quart or 1 liter, so that water purification tablets do not have to be divided into smaller pieces. Get a clear plastic bottle with a smooth rounded shoulder, and it can also be used as a magnifying lens for fire starting on sunny days.
9. Toilet Paper
It sure is handy. TP can also make a torch when wrapped around a stick and soaked with oil. It would also make a great trade item during tough times. Allow one roll per person per week when stocking up.
10. Permanent Marker
These are great for signaling and trail blazing. You can even light the felt tip on fire and use it as a very short lived candle (but this ruins it for writing again).
Tell us what kind of inexpensive gear you stock, and why, by leaving us a comment.