Sure, the survival gear that gets the most attention are the flashy items like knives and fire starters. But the simple everyday items, like zip ties, tarps, and even steel wool are going to be more useful in the long run. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up, these are the items you should look to order online. Doing so will save you some cash, but it could also save your life.
With plenty of flavors to choose, there will be an Altoids product for every palate. Once the candy is gone, then you’ll have the real treasure—that metal tin. Empty Altoids tins have been used to make excellent char cloth boxes for flint and steel fire making. They also make great survival kits and first-aid boxes. We can even turn them into a “survival stove” by filling them with cardboard strips and melted wax. Just leave a little piece of cardboard sticking up above the wax level and you’ll be able to light the stove with an open flame. If there’s still fuel left when your cooking is done, close the lid and snuff out the flames (just let the molten wax cool down for a few minutes before you put the tin back in your pocket).
14. Water Key
Urban bug out kits are not complete without this simple water procurement tool. To prevent unauthorized water use, most outdoor taps don’t have a traditional knob on the valve. They’ll have a little stub that is not easily turned without the appropriate key. This four way “water key” can allow you to access most of the outdoor spigots you’ll encounter in the city and suburbs. Get the key, and then you can get the water (when no one is looking).
13. Zip Ties
Need to bundle up your gear or repair something? Need to restrain that hysterical relative who has run out of meds after a crisis? An assortment of various sized zip ties can offer a quick yet strong solution. Also known as cable ties, these ingenious restraints were invented about 60 years ago as a quick way to bundle aircraft wiring together. Since then, they’ve been used in many other creative ways and are a great addition to toolboxes and bug out bags.
12. Colloidal Silver
If you believe everything in a health food store is hokum and snake oil, try opening your mind a little. Colloidal silver is a very interesting liquid solution that is often ignored by modern medical professionals, though it is well known in alternative medicine circles. Applied topically or consumed in small amounts, this metallic tasting water can help a variety of complaints. Do your research on this one. Look at the good and bad information. This remedy dates back to the Middle Ages, and it has the potential to kill hundreds of disease-causing bacteria and viruses, but it’s gotten a bad reputation in recent times, as contaminated product can turn your skin permanently blue. Don’t worry, clean product doesn’t have this side effect.
11. Dried Fruit
I have actually grown to like a good fruit cake, but I’m not going to tote a basket full around when the apocalypse arrives. Raisins and dates are my favorite dried fruit, and I’d be happy to get them for any occasion. Prunes can also be handy, whether you like the taste or not. They are a natural laxative, so could bring welcomed relief for holiday constipation or during a crisis situation (especially when water is being rationed). Your gift choices abound, as you can give dried fruits in small amounts of specific types or huge samplers of every kind.
Just as you have different tools for various jobs, there are different gloves suited to specific needs. Work gloves aren’t necessarily good in the cold, and cold-weather gloves may not be tough enough to tackle rough work. Pick out the right size for the right need, and your glove gift will be much appreciated.
9. Buckets with Gamma Lids
Yes, this can get expensive (since the lids usually cost more than the buckets), but when it comes to bulk food storage, this set-up is hard to beat. Gamma lids and the buckets they fit are available in many different colors, so it’s possible to color code your supplies for easy retrieval. And these buckets and lids don’t just have to be for food. You could store medical supplies in a red or blue bucket set, and keep electronics dry and safe in another color.
Related: Best Storage Bins
8. Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers
Large Mylar bags and oxygen absorber packs are the natural sidekicks to the buckets and lids we’ve mentioned. You’ll want 1,500 to 2,000 cc’s of absorbers per bucket, and the Mylar bags should be large enough to fill the entire bucket and have plenty left over for heat sealing. These storage supplies will allow someone to take their favorite dry goods and package them for storage in a way that can last for decades.
7. Steel Wool
Got a maker or builder on your shopping list? Steel wool comes in a variety of grades, which vary by filament thickness. This product can be used a bit like sand paper when smoothing wooden surfaces. It’s even better at cleaning the rust and corrosion away from metal objects. And for the prepper who likes fire building, touching a bit of fine steel wool to the positive and negative terminals of a battery over 3 volts will cause the carbon in the steel to start burning.
6. Fire Extinguisher
This may go over about as well as the time I gave my wife a set of cookbooks for Christmas (along with the suggestion she “try them out”). But that doesn’t mean this practical gift shouldn’t be given. On the contrary, it could be a true life saver and it’s OK to have more than one. Who knows, it might make all the difference when stopping a fire while it’s still containable.
It might be easier to list the things you couldn’t do with a tarp. These multipurpose membranes can be used for all kinds of tasks, from survival and camping to household work and lawn chores. Tarps can be found in all kinds of sizes, colors, and thickness. Like gloves, you can never have too many of them.
4. Triangle Bandages
While most of us know triangle bandages as those large fabric pieces used for an arm sling, that isn’t the only thing this cloth can do. Triangle bandages made from cotton will burn as an emergency fire starter. Pouring water through the bandage will clean up the appearance of the water and remove some of the sediment. You can use it to breathe easier in dusty or smoky situations by wearing the bandage as a mask. You can even turn it into cordage, using the entire bandage twisted up as one short fat cord or cutting it into strips for pieces of makeshift string. The triangle bandage can be turned into a tourniquet as well.
Anyone can learn to make their own traps from wire, but this isn’t the best way to get a set of snares. You’ll get much better results with factory-made braided steel cable snares that are intended for trapping. Thicker cables may last for several uses, but thinner ones are usually single use traps, as the animals often bend and kink the wire making it vulnerable to future breakage. Either way, trapping is a numbers game and you’ll want to set out many traps to increase your odds of success. For this reason, snares are often sold in dozens, not as individual traps.
2. Bear Spray
For those in bear country (or anywhere, really), bear spray is a potent repellent for troublemakers of all kinds. Just make sure you get the real spray, and not a “knock-off” product. Real bear spray will specifically say “Bear” spray (regular pepper sprays are weaker). The product should be EPA registered (this guarantees quality and potency). The spray should shoot at least 25 feet and come with a holster for your belt. This product is proven to repel charging bears and break off bear attacks, but doesn’t help anyone who isn’t carrying it.
1. Water BOB
This strange bag is a brilliant creation, allowing us to store clean water and keep it clean, even in the filthiest of bathtubs. Some BOBs have a pump to dispense the water effectively. Keep one of these in each bathroom and fill them up before ice storms, hurricanes or other predictable events that could disrupt normal water supply.