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A frequent topic in Preparedness and Survival circles is the subject of Bugging Out and more specifically the question of whether you plan to Bug Out or will you Hunker Down. This simple question easily elicits all manner of responses and you will rarely find consensus on which is the better option. The only good thing about this question is there are only two options and one of those has to be the correct one in someone’s eyes. A 50/50 shot of getting this right isn’t too shabby if you are looking at odds, but there will be those who maintain an absolute position on one option or the other.

To Bug out or not bug out, like most questions that we must ask ourselves as we prepare for emergencies is an individual question and there is no universal wrong or right. This question is probably only second in notoriety to “What caliber is the best defensive round”.

If you can imagine going into a big underground bunker full of Preppers who are getting ready for the next Emergency and shouting that question; you will get as many answers as you have people. In reality, there are only a few common calibers but each person will have their own reason, preference, or bias toward one and they will tell you in a very matter of fact tone, their choice and more importantly why you should take their word as the Gospel. Actually, it is probably simpler but just as much fun to pose this question in a survival forum and watch the sparks fly.

The factors that drive each person to reach their own personal decision are too numerous really to discuss in detail, but I will attempt to add my own opinionated two cents to the (already well covered, I know) argument and in doing so, completely invalidate everything I just said above. The reason is that I believe there is only one real answer to this question in almost any situation and my way is the right way. Most of the time.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, you may be asking “What the heck is he talking about?” so a quick definition is called for here. “Bugging Out” is the act of packing up your supplies and leaving home to go to another location. This may or may not coincide with the belief that you will never come back. A common example of Bugging Out is people who are forced to leave town due to a natural disaster like flooding or a Hurricane. They pack up their cars and get out of dodge. This is one of the reasons FEMA and other places recommend having a Bugout Bag or BOB with supplies that will keep you alive for 72 hours so that you can leave at a moment’s notice.

 

 

Bugging In or Hunkering Down is the complete opposite of Bugging Out. When you Bug-In you are staying put in your home with your supplies intending to ride out the storm of chaos that is coming. Thus the question is asked in preparedness circles usually in the context of political, biological, or terrorist types of chaos: “Will you Bug out or Hunker down?”

To answer this for yourself, you have to ask several questions to determine which is the better option for you in your circumstance. The questions are pretty basic and revolve around:

  • Your Situation – What pushes your button internally that says “We have to leave”?
  • Your Location – This can apply to both where you are and where you plan to go
  • Your Health – Are you physically able to leave and possibly walk the distance
  • Your Dependents – small children or old relatives. Pets?
  • The Threat – What is the threat we are planning to leave for?
  • Your Destination – Where is the place you are going to?

 

Your Situation – can greatly affect the decision to Bug-Out or not and you have to decide when you will actually make the choice to go. If you are planning for an economic collapse, what events will trigger you to leave home and head somewhere else? How bad would things need to get before you made that call? What if you are away from home? In that case, you will be more concerned with getting home. What will your family do until you arrive? Is it the middle of winter and there is 2 feet of snow on the ground? Do you have a means of defending yourself and your family?

Your Health – Are you physically able to get up and strap a backpack to your back, walk out the door and never come back? Would you be able to run if needed? Do you require medication that must be refrigerated or taken daily? In some cases you simply won’t have a choice, you will need to Bug-In and plan accordingly.

Your Dependents – Do you have smaller children who may not be able to travel long distances. Are your children still in diapers or do they have special needs? Even healthy children below the age of 10 would have a tough time coping with a Bug-Out situation if the event lasted a long time and there was no stability. Are you pregnant? Do you have pets that you would never leave in a million years or that you would not be able to transport?

Your location – Are you located in a major city or a rural area with miles around you and nothing to look at. Do you live in a place that would allow you to live if the grid came crashing down tomorrow? I am not discussing whether or not it would be difficult, but could you plant a garden, or do you live in a high-rise apartment in Chicago? Would you possibly need to walk with millions of other people out of the city? If this is the case, where would you go?

The threat – This one may be the easiest to answer but you will most likely have more than one answer given the specific threat. If we are talking about a flood or natural disaster and you have plenty of notice you may decide to leave. If we are talking about a viral outbreak or Mutant Zombie Bikers from Mars you may decide to stay. Has your city descended into chaos with riots and fires and mobs of people looting?

Your destination – Where are you heading? Do you have a place to go with a survival kit filled with supplies to last you? If the threat is a natural disaster like a hurricane and you have time, you can probably go stay with relatives for a few days. This may be one of the first things you should think of. Will you pack up the family, load down the car, and hit the highway? Where will you go? For me, I think this was the first factor I built all of my other choices off of. I do not live on a retreat in Idaho with 50 acres of land and an underground bunker complete with livestock and solar power. I do live near a large pond in a relatively small city with enough land to have a garden that would feed my family. I don’t have any retreat property (yet) so I don’t know where I would go. I would not go driving off into the sunset to try and live off the land unless I was desperate. This may be the circumstance that you are facing too and when the time comes you have to decide.

 

 

 

One factor I really like about the Preparedness and Survival community is the wealth of knowledge and experience we have out there. Just like me, everyone has an opinion. Some are based upon experience and others have made decisions after much reflection. Regardless of the experience, one has you have to ask yourself questions when making a decision like this as it could affect everything you have and/or love. No expert can tell you what will work best for you and your family in your situation.

Taking all of the criteria above into consideration, I think for the average person with no place to go Bugging in is the best option. You will not be able to walk into the forest, killdeer, and squirrels and live like a boss. That simply isn’t happening for the “average” person. For one thing, you won’t be alone. There could be millions of others with you too.

I have thought long and hard on this question and I know that if circumstances in my life were different I would most likely have a different answer. As it stands now, my vote is for Bugging In. I have all of my supplies here and we live in a relatively rural area. I am not naïve to believe that we would be insulated from the chaos but I think we would have a better chance here with some shelter as opposed to walking in the woods sleeping under a tarp. As much as I like camping, a home is a better place to defend.

Could that change tomorrow? Sure it could. I am constantly evaluating my situation and when things change, my plans change. Who knows, I might update this site before it’s all said and done with one last message.

“So long folks! I am outta here.”

A frequent topic in Preparedness and Survival circles is the subject of Bugging Out and more specifically the question of whether you plan to Bug Out or will you Hunker

With the holidays fast approaching I know how frustrating it can be trying to get loved ones that perfect gift that is not only practical but will benefit them in ways a flashy pretty piece of jewelry or a cool video game can’t. Having first-hand experience with getting high-dollar prepping items for non-preppers who not only don’t appreciate them but also shake their head in disdain is a feeling all too familiar to me. So here I have compiled a list of 11 gifts for non-preppers under $50 that can put that loved one in a better predicament of preparedness without them even knowing it. This list is non-exclusive that will make for great prepper gift ideas for both guys and gals of all ages!

Portable Powerpack

Portable Power packs come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and capacities. I have found these not only extremely well received by non-preppers but unprecedented by most in the overall preparedness value it brings. The typical iPhone battery is about 2,000 mah of power. With power packs ranging from 2,000 mah to the 50,000 “All Powers” external power packs. The user can charge their portable electronics many times over. Not only are their uses for small electronics great but also they provide so much diversity in regards to their many colors, sizes, and applications.

15600mAh Portable External Battery Charger Power Bank with iPower and Quick Charge Technology

Giving your loved ones the ability to meet all their small electronic needs is a huge prepping multiplier! We all know inclement weather, terrorism, earthquakes, accidents, and overall disaster will happen it’s never been a matter of if but when. According to current statistics, there are over 260 million cell phone users in the United States of America! With this knowledge in mind equip your loved ones with the ability to send that text message, write that tweet, update that Facebook status, hashtag their ideas, post that controversial idea, record that memorable moment. But most importantly give them the life-saving power they need to get in contact with Emergency services and loved ones in the event something goes wrong! You will be happier and can rest assured knowing you have set them up for success.

Foldable solar panel

Small foldable solar panels are not only “hipster and progressive” (air quotes emphasized for meaning attractive to a younger audience) in many aspects but provide a wealth preparedness capabilities unparalleled in many respects. Not only do foldable solar panels provide an unlimited amount of electricity when the sun is out but are very easy to store and user-friendly to use. Requiring virtually no maintenance upkeep, they can be that lifeline you can depend on when everything around you is falling apart. They can be used and implemented anywhere at any time as long as there is light, even under bad forecast they can provide you the life-saving power you or someone you know may need in the event of a disaster.

Now couple this with an external power pack and now you have an unlimited power source that can keep you off-grid indefinitely! You will be hard-pressed to find something that brings more independence and stress-free-living than being able to personally provide for all your small electronic power needs free from the power grid!

Solar flashlight/ Lantern

Light more often than not is something that is taken for granted by the average person. Fortunately, most of us live in a world where we can flip and switch and magically we have light. While this is ideal it’s not always the case when disaster strikes. Solar Lighting not only gives the user the ability to have light where they may otherwise not have it but also allows them to have lighting abilities indefinitely because they are not susceptible to depleted disposable batteries, or oil sources like what we see with traditional flashlights and oil lanterns.

MPOWERD Luci Original – Inflatable Solar Light

Natural sunlight light can be taken advantage of during the day and can be used at night. Also, like the already mentioned items, many of them have the ability to be also used as an external power pack giving them more than one use. We don’t realize the importance of light until the light goes out and we hear that boom in the middle of the night! Remember two is one, one is none.

Cutting Tools

When you say cutting tools you are referring to a broad diverse spectrum of “sharp objects”. This was done purposely – everyone is different and requires different types of cutting tools. What I would give a college sorority girl who drives a Toyota corolla and has no preparedness inclination versus an avid hunter that drives a lifted 4×4 truck and stays off the beaten path for days at a time is going to be different in style and ergonomics, but the methodology and application will be very similar.

SOG FastHawk

Examples for a self-defense situation I would be more inclined to give a college sorority girl a “Honeycomb Hairbrush concealed stiletto dagger” or a “Cat personal safety keychain”. They are completely concealable very fashionable that can go with any purse or outfit. These items will provide quick control for an unprecedented attack while serving primarily as an everyday use item. While for my avid hunter, Military, or EMS person I might give a “SOG FastHawk Hatchet” that can be used as a self-defense tool, extrication device, wood cutting tool, etc. As you can see cutting tools have a wide range of styles and uses, that can serve a diverse array of preparedness needs without coming across as such.

Portable water filter

Portable water filters are one of those small cheap out-of-sight-out-of-mind water applications that quite frankly will at a minimum sustain life! These make a perfect gift for all people regardless of age, gender, or lifestyle. I can say from personal experience being well-traveled around the world these have been game-changer. Being in other countries where the tap water was considered unsafe due to viruses and bacteria I never had to worry about where I got my drinking water. Especially with products like the “Sawyer mini Water Filter” that will easily screw onto any commercial water bottle I was able to fill up my bottle (from any local water source) attach the filter and keep moving without any fear of contracting any water-borne illnesses.

Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System

Most commercial portable water filters on the market today will remove over 99% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli and remove over 99% of all protozoa elements such as giardia and cryptosporidium. The “Sawyer Mini Water Filter” Claims it can filter up to 100,000 gallons and weighs only 2 ounces. According to science, the average adult human body is 50-65% water. On average the everyday American uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day. While this is taking other water usages into calculation one can still see the importance of water especially when considering that in a disaster the average person will be expending more calories and using more water. No matter where you are whether that be in a local park, traveling in another country, or in the safety of one’s home drinking clean potable water is an absolute necessity and water is unequivocally the giver of life! Make having clean and potable water a necessity!

Waterproof speakers with external charging capabilities

The waterproof speakers with external charging capabilities are what get the person from the sidelines into the action in regards to preparedness. This is a gateway preparedness gift. Regardless of whether you are an NCAA Cheerleader, Surfer, camper, Military Service member, or everyday person the ability to access to and have all their music and electronic needs met is an extremely good selling point. According to a Nielsen’s Music 360 2014 study, 93% of the U.S. population listens to music, spending more than 25 hours each week jamming out to their favorite tunes.

Anker SoundCore Sport XL Portable Bluetooth Speaker

The waterproof speakers encourage the user to take their lives off the beaten path, to push beyond the realms of their typical everyday habits. The external charging capabilities give the user an added layer of support and comfort being outside in those environments. Now add a foldable solar panel and the possibilities for adventures off the beaten path are endless. It’s much easier to engage someone in a “what if” scenario or talk about preparedness if you are already off the beaten path, outside the “safety confines” of the power grid simultaneously creating your own endless energy while listening to their favorite music. I’m just saying!

Seed Bank/Plant

Seeds and plants are one of the only preps “gifts” that will give back in dividends that will well exceed the initial cost. Being able to take a handful of seeds or a plant and create an endless life-sustaining ecosystem is truly beyond words. Permaculture does more than just provide a means by which to feed one’s self. Permaculture in many respects is one of the most rewarding pursuits we can do as human beings. Giving us the ability to create and take care of life, being independent of the corporate bureaucracy of Big Ag, and allowing one to create their own sustainable paradigm.

15,000 Non-GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Survival Garden

The lessons gained from the successes and losses of growing.  Not to mention the invaluable skill set that has been slowly taken out of our modern-day society. Living in a day and age where we have become so dependent on a system that could care less the consequences of their actions and practices should worry us all. So stay one step ahead of chaos get someone you care about a small seed variety pack or a tomato plant. If you really like them get them a moringa tree!

Multi-Tool

Multi-Tools are invaluable to anyone, they provide hundreds of functions and are more compact than a wallet or small makeup case. Yet it provides the essentials to most day-to-day maintenance. Whether we are talking about opening a bottle or performing a plumbing task using pliers and a cutting tool. The Multi-Tool is a silent hero; it can be carried as an EDC or left in the glove box of a vehicle until needed.

Leatherman – Wave Multi-Tool, Black with Molle Sheath

It’s a jack-of-all-trades but master of none. You won’t necessarily build a house with it but it can get you out of pretty much any tight situation you might find yourself in. To top it off, in modern-day 2016 Multi-Tools are no longer big bulky steel bricks carried in the same old leather or webbing straps. They come in all styles, colors, and designs. They even have the bracelet Multi-Tools!

Hand-Crank Emergency Power Source

I’ll let you choose what features are important to you but having a power source independent of another source but your will is absolute by its own definition! We don’t get to choose when disaster will strike, or how it strikes, or what is affected. What we can do is decide for ourselves how prepared we will be. Having the ability to provide an indefinite amount of light, power, and communication, etc. day and night are what preparedness is all about.

Emergency Radio & Portable Phone Charger (3 in 1) Solar, Hand Crank Dynamo and USB Power

How many times have we looked down at our cell phone and realized we have a minimum battery life, now throw a wrench in your charging plan? That’s where these devices swoop in to save the day. Many Hand-Crank Emergency Power Sources charge at the same rate as plugging it into a wall outlet. So in a few minutes, you can bring a phone back from the dead regardless of the time, emergency, or situation you find yourself in!

Emergency Car Kit

Do you know a loved one with a vehicle? Do they have an Emergency Kit in their vehicle? If they don’t they are wrong and so are you! In the United States alone, approximately 7 tire punctures occur every second, resulting in 220 million flat tires per year. Approximately 50% of Americans don’t know how to change a tire (That’s just reported). I could talk to you for days on this subject but at the end of the day, one must ask him or herself some simple questions. In an emergency situation will you depend on technology (AAA), the kindness of a stranger, or empower yourself and loved ones to be self-sufficient?  I can’t tell you how many people I have helped that have found themselves broke down on the side of the road. It breaks my heart because I know somewhere down the line they were failed! Don’t fail yourself or your loved ones. Give them and yourself the tools for success and most importantly train them to do the basics!

Candles/Fire-Starter

Last but certainly not least we have candles and fire starters. I put these two in the same category because they go together very interchangeably. For the record, U.S. retail sales of candles are estimated at approximately $3.2 billion annually, excluding sales of candle accessories (Source: Mintel, 2015). Candles are used in 7 out of 10 U.S. households and are seen as an acceptable gift by both men and women. Not to mention Candles come in an endless variety of shapes, sizes, and uses. We see this from votives to floating candles to those that are used in religious and ritual-like settings. Regardless of why or how you use candles the ability to hold a flame is paramount in a disaster situation! So if holding a flame is paramount starting a flame is essential. Now I’m not advocating going out and getting everyone a Ferrocerium rod bushcraft kit with char cloth all included. Nor am I saying go out and get your 19-year-old college sorority daughter a pack of cheap plastic bic lighters either. The great thing about fire starters nowadays is that they come in all styles and colors. You have the Colibri Scepter lighter that looks like a tube of lipstick for the ladies to the custom Harley Davidson zippo for the seasoned veteran biker. In my humble opinion, I would say that candles and fire starters are not only the easiest, and least expensive gifts to give but will arguably be, the first thing one reaches for in the event of a disaster. The ability to have a lite candle not only helps our physical needs in regards to light and heat. But the psychological ones are just as important if not more. The flame’s soft illumination reaches the soul; it can deliver hope and instill a calming relief.  This coupled with the aromatherapy of a scented candle can literally make all the difference in a disaster setting!

This completes my Top 11 gifts for your non-prepper friends and family. While the old slogan “it’s the thought that counts” may resonate with a lot of people it’s important to realize that your feelings and thoughts won’t be the deciding factor in who lives and who dies. Their ability to react logically and swiftly with the right tools will be the deciding factor. While you may not be able to control one’s actions you can equip them with the right tools and get the brain working in the preparedness mindset without them even realizing it and that is the purpose of this article. I can tell you from personal experience when I realized this reality. I was there when the May 3rd Tornado hit the Midwest in 1999. Not only do I remember the destruction that it left in its wake in my small Cleveland County, Oklahoma town. I remember my mother reaching under the bathroom sink to grab three candles so she could provide just a little light to her 3 confused and frightened boys. I remember her lighting these candles she had received as a gift. I don’t remember who gave them to her, but I can tell you I will never forget the smell of that first apple cider candle she lit, nor will I forget the impact of what a simple candle can do for a small frightened family in a ravaged home. I don’t personally think that individual who gave us those candles envisioned the scenario that they would be used for. Nor do I believe they knew the impact that such a small gift would have on someone’s life. But what I can say unequivocally was that small flame ignited hope, determination, and most importantly an unquenching desire to seek knowledge on all that is preparedness and to teach others everything I can. So wherever you may be, wherever life might I have taken you I want to say from the bottom of my heart; Thank You.

With the holidays fast approaching I know how frustrating it can be trying to get loved ones that perfect gift that is not only practical but will benefit them in

Get a few preppers together, and you can pretty much guarantee that at some point bug out bags and bartering will come up. My personal take is that it’s a little bit foolish to stock something solely to barter – especially stuff that relates to addictions because people with addictions can be a little bit crazy about their vices. Stocking things that can get used by the household means there’s little regret about expenditures in 2-10 years, whether a disaster occurs or not.

There have been other bartering articles on FP, and they’re totally worth looking at. I have zero arguments with the gear, meds, candles, batteries, foods, and feel-goods that show up on those lists and are so very common when it comes up on forums. Still, there are some things that are very, very useful, readily affordable, readily portable in a bag or loaded into a game cart to take to Bartertown, and that I see very few people talk about – period, but almost never in the “barter” conversations and posts.

So those are where I’m focusing today.

In many cases, they’re not going to be the first things to run off shelves. Know your area and know what disappears – and when seasonally it tends to disappear even without a disaster. I tend to focus my own efforts on those things I don’t expect to find 3-9 months after a major crisis. I’m also cognizant that some things are never in much bulk – or enough bulk – and that even beyond looters and municipal groups that stand up to try to save their communities and go salvaging, there’s the risk of fires spreading and taking out stores.

With that in mind, here’s my list of 8 barter items that end up ignored as barter items and that aren’t without merit as backups for our own stockpiles.

Canning Jars – Especially Lids

canning-jar-lids-tattler-header

Tattler Reusable Canning Lids & Rubber Rings

It’s pretty rare to find stores with nothing but canning jars on the aisles these days. In most cases, a store at its max display capacity has fewer jars than a single family would need to can only a veggie supplement for 6-9 months, and sometimes even fewer spare lids.

That makes lids and jars pretty much number one on my stock-up list, both for home use and to trade with neighbors and locals.

You’re not going to stick more than a box or two of spare lids in a bag, so this is one of the cases where if you’re on foot, you might want to go ahead and stick with some of those things like batteries, candles, an airgun and pellets, meds, and other lightweight items that will go pretty quick and that people 5 days, 50 days, 5 months and maybe even 50 months into a disaster will still be interested in taking off your hands.

Sevin Dust

sevin-dust-mixed

If you’re big on health, go with dish soap, vinegar, and water as a spray, and just skip on down to the next one. I’m pretty much required to turn in my greenie card for promoting Sevin Dust.

But, see, Sevin is pretty darn handy. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, my father used to coat pretty much anything alive in the stuff – ducks, horses, goats, veggies, trees, wasp houses. He used it as flea and tick control as well as on garden pests.

We now have health concerns and concerns about wiping out beneficial bugs and microbes, but if your garden’s getting eaten by eight different things, if you absolutely have to have it to have anything but beans and wheat – or if your beans are being eaten by three different things – you’re going to be willing to think seriously about pretty much anything on the table to get your hands on easy-to-apply dust that will kill almost any of them, something you can spot-treat by hand or hook up to a backpack blower.

I specify the dust because it’s more compact, stores easily, and comes in both big bulk bags and small-container three packs that make it a viable option to cart to the church or community potluck, market, or specific neighbors. It also has some of the shortest interval-to-harvest periods of a commercial pesticide.

Liquid Sevin doesn’t store as long, but it does kill extra things and it’s easier to get on the underside of leaves than powder.

Diatomaceous Earth

de_group

First, an apology to our Canadians. I have gathered the impression that this stuff can be tough for you guys to get ahold of, especially in bulk, and it’s not especially cheap there. Here we can just swing by on a whim and get it in packaging from the size of a deck of cards, by the gallon, or even by the 55-gal barrel.

There aren’t as many uses for Diatomaceous Earth as there are for baking soda and Epsom salt, but, man, it’s pretty handy.

It’s the active ingredient in SMITE for poultry, it clears up everything from bed bugs to livestock and pet ear mites, ants to roaches. It can form protective barriers around plants or be spread over them as a powdered insecticide. It’s natural, physical as opposed to chemical, has a nearly endless shelf life because it’s really just ancient plankton shells, can help protect stored foods – especially those we’re harvesting and our next-year seeds – and it has at least a dozen health and beauty uses.

The more uses something has, the less variety we have to store and the better the chances that when somebody has a problem, we have a valuable solution. DE checks those boxes in a big way.

Baking Soda & Baking Powder

baking-soda-baking-powder
It’s hard to bake without the leavening of some sort, and baking soda has about a million uses outside baking – and about a million more totally outside the kitchen. Both have long expirations and easily extend beyond their best-by dates even at room temperature and with fluctuations from 60 to 80 degrees. They’re sensitive to moisture in their smallest packaging forms, but it’s easy to get several or a whole handful in a gallon bag to keep in buckets and pull out as needed.

I don’t expect them to simply run off the shelves as soon as a disaster is announced, but they’re inexpensive, cheaper yet to buy in bulk bags, and it’s worth having some baking soda stocked because it’s one of those that when you want it, there’s not a lot of substitution.

Epsom Salts

epsom

First, sorry, Australian readers (and maybe Brits). I know this stuff is expensive and controlled to a ridiculous degree for you guys. It’s cheap and plentiful in the U.S.

Epsom Salts is what I consider an absolute, 100%, no-arguments prepper must-have. If there’s not already a reminder of how awesome Epsom salt is on an annual basis, there should be. Epsom salt is another one like baking soda, with fifty million uses for human health and hygiene, cleaning, livestock, and gardens. There are so many uses, it truly deserves its own article just as a primer on how useful Epsom salt is.

I’ll take just a moment here to point out that Epsom salt is far, far different from table salts. Epsom is magnesium sulfate, not sodium chloride.

When you want to burn it down and salt the earth so nothing grows (or clean a cutting board and preserve food), use table salt, kosher salt, and sea salt.

When you want to encourage flowers, reduce soil deficiencies so plants can uptake their macronutrients properly and produce healthy, bountiful yields, fix an ear infection, reduce swelling, pamper your feet and skin, create barriers for certain types of pests in the home and garden, clean a wound, clear up skin conditions in humans, poultry and hoofstock, that’s what Epsom salt does.

And more.

As with everything else mentioned here, it can be purchased in bulk, or it’s available in small, moisture-resistant containers that make it very viable for trade when somebody’s struggling with any of a multitude of issues.

Rat Traps

rattrap

Rat traps have a ton of uses, but number one is their actual pest-control job. Eventually, I think the rat population will level out one way or another, but between death and waste-removal shutdowns, I think they’ll boom for a while first. There have also been some historic accounts from Rome, London, and other sites of major fires, where rats flee the cities and end up a plague on outlying areas in waves – and I anticipate fires since they happen daily even now.

Rat traps also have applications as squirrel and songbird traps for feeding families and pets, protecting gardens from small raiders, and combining with fishing line and various magnetic strip alarms or things like chem lights to create visual and audio alerts for home and property alarms. They can also be rigged with bells on a line to alert a barrier run of pigs that something has tripped the wire, and with some training, the pigs will rush in to remove threats to chickens and gardens.

They’re small, light, and typically pretty cheap.

For smaller rodent controls, there are several ways (at least) to turn cans and buckets or rubber bands and 2L bottles into pretty effective rodent traps, and some additional ways to use PVC for squirrels and rats. They’re reusable and potentially can be made out of scavenged refuse or scrap, so it’s worth looking up those, too.

After all, sometimes know-how is as valuable a barter object as a physical item.

Water Catchment Faucets, Spigots, & Overflow Fittings

catchment-bucket-spigot

We’re almost guaranteed to see increased attempts to catch and store rain if a disaster ever occurs. Drought and periodic no-boil orders already make water a valuable – and expensive – resource right here in North America.

Having extra fittings for turning our emptied and scavenged buckets, totes, barrels, and tubs into more effective catchment systems has the potential to make not only our lives easier but convince somebody to share a tool or pasture they’d rather not, or sweeten a deal over somebody else’s offer.

I doubt hardware stores will empty of plumbing fittings super early, but there’s always a chance since few areas have enough in to truly impact catchment for every farmer and rooftop in the area. There’s also the risk of fire.

The washers and faucets for making the simplest conversions are lightweight, and at most should cost a few bucks. They have the potential of appeal to a much larger community than just smokers, drinkers and tokers, and will appeal to those as well. That makes them a pretty easy item to keep in even an INCH bag and definitely worth throwing in a cargo pocket when we patrol or go to a neighbor – you never know when the opportunity for new boots, tampons, or better bullets will appear.

Various silicone tubes and thread tape have value even outside the rain barrel creations. Some of our local stores and contractors are pretty happy to let us have odds and ends of PVC from jobs for free. The faucets or spigots valves and washers are the more pocketable pieces, but some short runs of PVC and small tubes of aquarium repair silicone can sweeten a deal, even more, when suggesting or building a system for somebody.

Portable Solar Chargers

solarcharger

Small, portable battery and device solar chargers abound on the market today, from $5-50. The battery chargers are useless without fresh batteries to charge, but having access to downloaded music, movies, games, and pictures may mean a great deal to some folks.

They’re small enough even for folks who aren’t ready for $100-3,000 systems to keep phones, iPods, walkies, and headlamps going, and their value will go up further in protracted crises or a situation with regular brownouts. They’re already something you see folks gouge prices on and hit the streets with during “normal” natural disasters.

I wouldn’t fill up buckets with this one, but having a few for us, a few as backups, and a few I’m willing to part with for the little pocket versions and maybe a couple of the larger laptop-tablet or C-9V or combo chargers and rechargeable batteries for them is worth it to me. I also keep Nokeros and some of the little flat flashlights in my windows, though (and use them nearly daily instead of a bedside lamp or regular flashlight).

Backups and Bartering Alternatives

As I said, I tend to think folks should focus on things they’ll use in a disaster or daily life over something they never have and plan to never want. I also really like the items that can sit on a shelf for years even before best-by dates expire, especially the ones that don’t need additional packaging.

I have no problem with the lists of the common items like meds, batteries, and knife sharpeners. There are always going to be others, from things like clip-on books and cap lights to the ammo that leads to so much back-and-forth and conditional settings. This is just a list of options that I rarely see discussed as storage items, and almost never see on the bartering lists – even though they can be had compactly and they offer so much in so many ways, for the most part, that really don’t have replacements or are rare to find on shelves even now.

Get a few preppers together, and you can pretty much guarantee that at some point bug out bags and bartering will come up. My personal take is that it’s a

Most of us are already acquainted with Listerine’s distinctive taste. The intense tingle of Listerine is a common part of our everyday routine, whether it’s in the morning or before bedtime.
But did you know that besides a mouthwash, Listerine still has many other uses? The unique antiseptic properties of Listerine can lend to many other applications, particularly in circumstances of survival.

1: Topical antiseptic

Listerine does such a fantastic job of helping to clean the mouth, it should come as no surprise that it also works well to disinfect minor cuts and wounds. This is due to the high alcohol level of Listerine.Listerine may not work as well as dedicated antiseptics, nor be as easy to use (alcohol can really sting!), but it definitely works in a pinch to kill bacteria, minimize chances of infection and speed up healing times.

2: Astringent

Because Listerine is high in alcohol, it can be used as an astringent to your skin. The alcohol can help contract the skin, which is useful to treat acne or mild irritations of the skin, including small cuts or bug bites. Listerine is especially effective at reducing itchy pain when treating bug bites.

3: Hand sanitizer

Will the sanitizer gel run out of hand? Pour a little Listerine into your mouth, then rub them in. Due of its watery consistency, listerine may not be as easy to use as normal hand sanitizer, but it is successful when there are no standard hand sanitizer or hand-washing facilities available.

4: Treat dandruff

And maybe dandruff isn’t the highest priority in circumstances of survival, except for those that are especially vain. Yet dandruff is also followed by an irritated, itchy scalp. To help relieve this discomfort, wash your hair as normal, but use four parts of water with one part of Listerine for a final rinse, take extra care to make sure that the Listerine reaches your scalp.

5: Alleviate toenail fungus

toenail-listerineA toenail fungus infection often doesn’t become painful until the infection is severe. However, by soaking your feet in a Listerine bath for at least 30 minutes per day, you can help fight off the infection early. If vinegar is available, combine it with the Listerine in equal parts for a more efficient treatment.

 

6: Help a sore throat

Depending on the cause of the sore throat, gargling with Listerine probably won’t cure the ailment. However, using Listerine can provide temporary relief from the discomfort. Alternatively, proactively gargling with Listerine can help prevent a sore throat and/or cold.

37: Cookware cleaning agent

Most cooking and eating utensils and implements can be easily cleaned with soap and water. However, some specialized cookware, such as cast iron, should not be cleaned this way as the soap will ruin the seasoning. Use Listerine instead.

8: Treat skin rashes

Apply Listerine gently to irritated and scratchy skin to soothe the burning and/or itching sensation. Listerine is especially effective for poison oak and poison ivy exposure.

9: Insect repellent

Put some Listerine in a spray bottle and spray plants, skin or other areas where you want to keep away bugs.

10: Protecting blisters

You can keep a blister from getting infected by dabbing a cotton swab soaked in Listerine several times a day on the blister. Listerine’s antiseptic properties will help prevent infection.

11: Flea killer

Clean a pet with Listerine helps to prevent a flea infestation.Start by bathing your pet in a traditional water and shampoo bath for the most effective treatment. Speed up the usual bath by mixing in a spray bottle equal parts water and Listerine. Sprinkle your pet liberally all over your body, but be particularly careful around their ears, as the Listerine will sting their eyes. Have the spray application set for about five minutes, then use a fine brush, comb the fur of your pet to remove the dead fleas.

Depending on the severity of the infestation, it may be appropriate to do this treatment once a day for several days to eliminate all the fleas completely.

 

12: Remove ticks

Listerine is particularly despised by ticks and for good reason: within seconds it will kill them. If a tick that has bitten you and taken hold of you, you should soak a rag or paper towel in Listerine and smother the tick with it for at least five seconds. If, by then, the Listerine application has not killed the tick, it will at least make the tick let go.

13: Deodorant

listerine-deodorantIt’s a bit unconventional to use a minty tasting or smelling liquid as deodorant, but it works. Just pour some Listerine on a towel or cloth and dab your armpits or other areas a few times. The alcohol in the Listerine will kill the odor-causing bacteria.

14: Odor removal

Mix Listerine with equal parts vinegar and apply to smelly areas. The alcohol in the Listerine and acid in the vinegar will help remove odors by breaking down the compounds and bacteria causing the foul smell.

15: Temporary toothache relief

When you are getting toothache, you will probably need some serious dental treatment. However, to buy some extra time before proper treatment can be obtained, spray your mouth with Listerine as intended. The Listerine can help calm the painful tooth and offer a mild relief from the pain.

 

16: Laundry detergent deodorizer

Adding Listerine to your normal laundry cleaning routine will make your clothes fresher by killing odor-causing bacteria.

17: Stop the growth of mold and mildew

Start by diluting the Listerine with two parts water and one part Listerine, then placing in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture anywhere you need to prevent and/or slow the growth of mold and mildew.

Most of us are already acquainted with Listerine’s distinctive taste. The intense tingle of Listerine is a common part of our everyday routine, whether it’s in the morning or before

It can become costly to plan for an emergency or large-scale catastrophe, but it doesn’t need to be. Although investing in high-quality equipment is important, some preparation items are consumable or are less important in terms of cost. For these consumable prep pieces, your local dollar store can be a gold mine.

Zip Ties

Not only are zip ties useful for strapping together cables and hoses, but they have a very wide range of other uses. Many dollar stores have a range of zip ties of varying sizes and will also have bags of a range of different sizes and colors.

Batteries

Batteries from the Dollar store are cheaper and do not last as long as their name brand counterparts. Stocking up on dollar store batteries has one benefit, which is that they are perfect for barter and trade.

Batteries are going to be almost a form of currency when the lights go out, and when the chips are down, you don’t want to trade away high-quality batteries when you could instead barter with dollar store batteries.

Cordage

You will find a fairly varied variety of cordage at your local dollar store, from garden twine to chain. You may also find objects such as baling wire, brass wire, or image wire that can be useful for trapping or repairs for emergency survival.

Stationary

At a dollar store, you will also find pens, pencils, paper, sharpies, notebooks, etc. for a fraction of the cost of going to a big box or stationery store. Another thing I almost exclusively get from my local dollar store is stationary.

Duct Tape

23 Prepping Items that You Can Find at Dollar Store

The dollar store does not sell duct tapes with high-quality brand names, but what they sell will be more than enough.

Dollar store duct tape will do the job with most applications, and as with many things on this list, dollar store duct tape is perfect with exchange and bartering.

First-aid Supplies

From band-aids to gauze and even some over the counter medications, it is possible to outfit a basic first aid kit from your local dollar store.

Toiletries

My go-to for buying toiletry products for camping, hunting, disaster, or travel toiletry kits is the dollar store. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, deodorant: all available at the dollar store in travel sizes.

Tarps

These are inexpensive and thin poly tarps and will not stand up to a great deal of violence. In case I need to cover a broken window, pit, dirt pile, etc, I like to have these on hand. These tarps I consider to be one-time use and disposable.

Flashlights

23 Prepping Items that You Can Find at Dollar Store

This is another perfect barter item, because after a large-scale disaster, dollar store flashlights are so cheap and flashlights will be in short supply.

The flashlight with the batteries included would always be cheaper than buying the batteries alone.

Disposable Lighters

You can get all manner of disposable lighters at the local dollar store, including windproof outdoors lighters. These are also great for barter and trade.

Canned Goods

Dollar stores are full of inexpensive canned goods that are typically products that are generic. Sometimes, they would also have dry products such as pasta, rice, sugar, salt, cereal, etc. While these items are not of the same quality as their brand-name counterparts, they are definitely good enough for the apocalypse.

Cleaning Supplies

The world ending is no excuse to stop cleaning up after yourself.

The dollar store is where I buy 90% of my cleaning supplies and I like to keep a good stockpile for disasters as well.

Hand Sanitizer

23 Prepping Items that You Can Find at Dollar Store

Usually, here you’ll also find the small travel-sized bottles of hand sanitizer at a dollar store.

These are great for adding into first aid or hygiene kits.

Toys and Games

Most of the toys you will find in a dollar store are of very poor quality, although some playing cards or travel-sized board games can be found. These are perfect for a bug out bag or camping/survival pack to fit into.

Sewing Supplies

These are not sewing needles or threads of skilled quality, but they can do the work in a pinch. I’ve made a few sewing kits from supplies I purchased from my local dollar store, and these little DIY kits can’t be beaten for daily rips, tears, or missing buttons.

Candles

 Prepping Items that You Can Find at Dollar Store

You can never have too many candles and like a lot of items on this list, they make outstanding barter items.

You can also find them in a lot of different sizes and types.

Candies

Without some sweet, sweet candy, no good emergency kit is complete. The dollar store is a perfect place to pick up a wide range of not just candies, but also chocolates. Not only will these give you a post-apocalyptic moral boost, but they will also be another great item of trade.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is not only a disinfectant but can also be burned in certain alcohol stoves.

Travel-sized Containers

23 Prepping Items that You Can Find at Dollar Store

There are also occasions where we need small containers to store liquids while we are assembling emergency kits.

The tiny travel-sized containers in the dollar store that you will find are also ideal for the job.

Bungee Cords

In a survival scenario, bungee cords have a myriad of uses and are also susceptible to wearing out, so getting a lot of them is often a good idea. The dollar store variety may not have the durability of brand names, but for light-duty applications, they are fine.

Water

23 Prepping Items that You Can Find at Dollar Store

In different sized containers at your local dollar store, you will also find bottled water. The purchasing of bottled water in greater amounts elsewhere is less costly.

Nonetheless, if you want to fit a car kit, Get Home Bag, Bug Out Bag, or your EDC bag, then the dollar store is a great place to buy smaller amounts of bottled water.

Trash Bags

In survival scenarios, trash bags have a vast amount of applications, but what you would most likely use for post-disaster use is for their intended use. I like getting several boxes filled in my emergency kits, in several different sizes.

Battery Banks

Our devices are like an extension of our bodies and it is very important to make sure they remain charged. Sometimes, the dollar store would have either battery banks or emergency chargers for sale until used. These are excellent not only for keeping our smartphones at 100%, but also as a barter piece.

These 23 items are by no means the end of all the preparation items that can be offered by your local dollar store. The products listed here are those that I have personally purchased and used for myself and my family to create different kits.

It can become costly to plan for an emergency or large-scale catastrophe, but it doesn’t need to be. Although investing in high-quality equipment is important, some preparation items are consumable