We’ve all seen the TV shows, the YouTube videos and all the online articles talking about “doomsday”, the end of the world and a “post-apocalyptic” reality. Some of this stuff seems a bit outlandish and over-hyped but I admit that there is something in our human nature that causes us to contemplate the possibility of massive catastrophe. As human beings we are always seeking meaning to things in life. This causes us to ask questions about God, Heaven and Hell, angels, governments, religions, terrorism, natural disasters, droughts, plaques and world-wide catastrophes. I think it’s pretty normal for us to think about these things and suppose it’s a defensive mechanism that is built into our DNA so that we have already “planned out” what we may do in any of these types of events.
Having spent the past couple of months talking with preppers, elite special forces personnel and various Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) staff, I have compiled a very straight forward and intelligent list of 8 essential items that every person should have just in case the worst case scenario does take place. If nothing else, you can use all of these things in daily life, to camp, explore nature, or just to have fun with some friends. I will link to as many of these items as possible so you can see what they look like. Here’s that list.
8 Essential Prepper Supplies
1. Portable water purifier – access to water is the human being’s #1 priority. You have zero chance of survival if you are unable to locate clean water. A portable water purifier is your sure-fire guarantee that you can have drinking water from anyplace. A mud hole, a filthy pond, a horse trough, a swimming pool…anywhere you can find water, it can be purified into drinking water in mere seconds using a quality portable water purifier. You need it to be portable in case you have to relocate to find other supplies like shelter, food or maybe to meet up with your family. In any event, having drinking water available to you will ensure your survival and that goes for a weekend camping with friends just as well as it pertains to an “end of the world” type scenario. I’m linking to 3 awesome variations that each have their own specific type of use within the text of this article.
Pro Tip: 50,000 gallons is the magic number! You should ensure that you have a good enough portable water purifier that can purify at least 50,000 gallons of water over its lifetime. This could mean having extra filters on hand when old ones go bad or it could mean having a couple different kinds of water filter to use in different situations. Or that could mean carrying bottles of bleach around to put drops into water you find and risk killing yourself if you drink too much of it. Either way, here’s the math: If you need 1.5 gallons of water per day that is 10.5 gallons per week and 546 gallons per year. If you were to live to the ripe old age of 80 in a post-apocalyptic world (hey be positive about it), that would require about 43,680 gallons of water. If you factor in drinking, cooking, bathing and possibly purifying water for friends or animals that number could grow considerably, so don’t even think about undertaking any prepper process unless you are preparing to process at least 50,000 gallons of water.
2. All weather fire starter – fire is considered the second most important supply for someone who is out on there own because it can warm you, protect you, keep you dry, boil dirty water to drink and it can cook food. One could say that nutrition (food) is more important than fire and that is possibly true, but you can go without food for quite some time as long as you have water. But being cold, tired and vulnerable is a terrible state to be in when trying to locate food. So if you are going to feed yourself by finding food that isn’t already nearby, you need to be dry, warm and rested and nothing is going to help you achieve this state more than clean water and quickly accessible fire. I’ve linked to two awesome fire starting kits in this paragraph.
Pro Tip: Stock-up on candles, cotton balls and steel wool. All of these items can help you make fire quickly when dry kindling to start your fire is scarce.
3. Essential sharp objects – hatchets, knives and saws are some of the best and most useful tools you can have to quickly gather materials for shelter, to protect yourself when necessary and to fashion things into shape as you need them to be. Whether you are fighting off a wild dog or cutting a piece of tarp to suit your purpose, a great knife and hatchet will serve you well. And once you have clean water and fire, dry shelter will be the next major item on your list and therefore, a quality folding saw will give you the ability to cut trees and limbs to craft a primitive shelter. Have plenty of sharp metal tools around and know how to use them properly. It will also help to have a large supply of high strength paracord to tie anything that may need to be secured, hung-up or tied-off. And remember, nothing will ruin your chances of surviving the apocalypse like falling on your own knife so learn how to use sharp objects responsibly.
Pro Tip: Learn how to sharpen, store and care for metal tools to ensure their longevity. This is easily done via YouTube and Google searches.
4. Medical treatment – a doctor might not be available but you have to be able to care for yourself or others in the event of injury. You can already boil water to keep things clean because you have fire, but you’ll need clean bandages and tape and other kinds of basic triage essentials in order to treat wounds properly. Investing in a well appointed medical kit is worth your while whether your walking the Ozarks after a nuclear bomb blew everyone else up or whether you’re on a long road trip from San Francisco to Seattle. You never know when you might need to treat an injury and being prepared could make all the difference in the world.
Pro Tip: make sure you put things like a quality pair of scissors, razor blades, peroxide, rubbing alcohol and Vaseline in your medical kit.
5. Beans and rice – yea these two foods can keep a person alive for a very long time. They are both packed with high quality carbohydrates and beans have enough protein to fuel your muscles and keep your energized. Together they are considered a complete protein so you have all the building blocks your body needs to make the proteins necessary to sustain life. You can get beans and rice in large sealed buckets that can last for decades so it cannot hurt to have a bucket or two lying around just in case you’re ever in need of them. And, if you’re like me, and you eat a lot of these two foods, you can always break one open and work your way through it and replace it somewhere along the way. Food is essential in a survival situation and while you may not need to eat every single day, eventually you will require substantial nourishment to go on about your daily tasks.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget about lentils, quinoa, kamut, amaranth and teff – all have plenty of protein and are easy to prepare with boiling water.
6. Navigation tools – a map, a compass and a nice pair of binoculars (with night vision) should do the trick. Knowing exactly where you need to go and how to get there will save you time and energy. It will also give you peace of mind knowing that you are on your desired path instead of constantly looking for the place you’re trying to get to. Have a detailed map of your local area within 50 miles so that you can see specific streets, streams and parks. These landmarks will help you navigate your local area and find resources that are needed to help you get through the day. Having an atlas will be helpful should you need to venture off to find friends or family in other areas of the state or country. Remember that there will probably be running vehicles with gasoline for quite some time so getting from place-to-place may not be as difficult as we may imagine. Be ready to travel a considerable distance but don’t rely on a GPS navigator to get you there. Have updated maps at your disposal and learn how to read them.
Pro Tip: Begin paying close attention to navigation in your daily life. Learn whether places you commonly go are north, south, east, or west of your home. Also, learn to judge distances so set your car’s distance tracker when you go places to see how far they are just in case you ever need to know.
7. Protection from the Elements – clothing is a key aspect to survival so having the right clothing available to you could be the difference between life and death. Moisture wicking materials that dry quickly, a high quality sleeping bag and coat, a rain poncho, quality walking and hiking shoes and plenty of moisture wicking socks will all make life a lot better for the well prepared person. Remember that when it’s hot you can seek cover and shed clothing. But when it’s cold, you need warmth or you could die. Make sure you have the right types of warming gear there when you need it.
Pro Tip: Start purchasing these items now and use them in your daily life. Today, even the most rugged shoes are fashionable so get used to wearing this type of clothing and using this type of gear so you won’t be out of sorts if and when you have no other choice.
8. 9mm handgun with ammunition – when you are left completely on your own and you have no other form of support, a quality handgun will serve you well. 9mm handgun ammunition tends to be rather common so this is an ideal handgun to have in a worst case survival situation. Aside from being an obvious source of protection from someone or something trying to harm you, it can also provide you with food and the peace of mind knowing you can protect yourself if needed. With any luck you would never need to make the choice to use the gun, but having it can be valuable. At some point you may even find yourself so hungry that you could trade the gun for a large supply of food from a willing person you meet along the way. In the end, it’s a vital supply that can contribute to your preservation and well being during hard times. It is also a good idea to have either a quality hunting rifle or a shotgun as a second option for both hunting and personal protection.
Pro Tip: Even if you do not like guns, consider learning to handle one, shoot one and clean one as a simple exercise in knowing more than you do right now. You never know when those skills may prove useful.
So there you have it! 8 essential survival supplies for a prepper in the making. Acquire and learn to use these supplies and you’ll be confident in your ability to stay safe, warm, fed, hydrated and comfortable no matter what comes your way.
Essential Gear Listed in this Article
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