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Sunday, August 22, 2010


A lot of space on too many blogs is devoted to creating exhaustive lists of absolutely necessary (according to the author of same) gear that you must obtain to have even a slim hope of survival. While it might be nice to be a well-to-do ├╝ber-prepper sitting in your fortified retreat atop your mountain of supplies, it isn’t going to happen for the vast majority of us. Not ever.

In fact, I’ve come to believe that many of these lists and the survival sites promulgating them have a negative effect on those people that are tentatively finding their way into the world of survival and preparedness. Many people are simply overwhelmed with the items and quantities they are supposed to obtain, and are defeated before they are fairly begun.

What follows is yet another shopping list. The difference is that this one is short, inexpensive to obtain for the most part, and fits in a backpack. It doesn’t guarantee that you’ll survive, but it will shift the odds in your favour.

3 large contractor grade garbage bags (one clear plastic) - you can make everything from shelters to sleeping bags with these. The clear bag is for obtaining water by transpiration.

100’ parachute cord (or – 50’ cord/50’ nylon rope) - for tying stuff up or together…like a shelter.

Emergency space blanket - Get the heavier reusable version if you can.

Metal cup for cooking - Or a small aluminum pot, whatever works for you, plus utensils.

Water bottle(s) - a place to keep water you’ve treated.

Lighter + matches and fire starter/ tinder - multiple lighters, matches in a waterproof case.

2 candles - couple of tea lights, or some pink ladies.

Knife (fixed blade) - a good, sturdy, multipurpose blade. Avoid Rambo knives.

Whistle - a signaling device

Compass and Map - generally only useful if you’ve actually practiced using them.

Flashlight (or Headlamp) - I like the shake & charge flashlights or wind & charge types.

Med kit - Don’t forget your personal meds.

Disposable poncho - generally cheap and one use, but if you can’t afford better, get several. It’s easier to stay dry than to get dry.

Sunglasses - Surprisingly necessary in all seasons.

Sunscreen & insect repellent - Makes life merely miserable instead of unbearable in sunny & buggy locales.

Sewing kit - Take twice what you think you’ll require. You’ll wind up needing it.

Paper money and coins - Surprisingly useful in obtaining necessary goods, even in a crisis. Not infallible.

Multi-tool or Swiss army knife - Both if you can afford the money and weight, but one at least.

Can opener - Get a P-38 style one, nothing simpler or lighter out there.

Snare wire - Essential force multiplier

Flexible / collapsible saw - I like the collapsible saw option. Better all round, but more expensive.

Energy bars / dehydrated food - As much as you can afford and stuff into your pack. Look for high nutritional value and low weight.

Water / Water treatment - lots of options, from filters to chemicals - and you always have boiling as an option. Always carry or store as much water as practical.

There you go. If you’ve got that much in a back pack, and a back pack for each person, you’re likely miles ahead of the neighbours. You can add to it as you see fit, and expand your prepping as you are able to do so and see a need for. Do what you can afford, and don’t let the ‘professional’ preppers intimidate you and keep you from doing what you should do to be a bit more prepared.

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