One of the very first things I did when I adopted what I like to call the “Prepping Lifestyle” is do a walk around inventory. Although I had not consciously considered myself a prepper – and at the time I barely knew what that meant anyway – I discovered that I had a lot of stuff, but that it was woefully disorganized and lacking in many key areas.
I had lots of canned goods, supplemental lighting, off-grid cooking devices, tools and more. But I was sorely lacking in water and first aid items. Go figure.
Over the past couple of years, I have learned a lot, shared a lot and made a number of prepping mistakes. Taking them all in stride – well, not quite, but I try – I can now look back with relief that I have come as far as I have. But as I often say, prepping is a way of life and there is always something new to learn, tasks to do and gear to purchase.
Today I am going to share with you a list of things that you may not have thought of when planning for an emergency, a short-term disaster or a SHTF situation where you will be on your own and totally off-grid.
1. Aluminum Foil
A few rolls of aluminum foil will serve you well in an emergency situation. You can use foil to fashion cooking utensils, or to line your pots and pans before cooking so that you do not have to waste precious water cleaning up. If you do cook on you pans directly, a crumpled up piece of foil can be used as a handy scrubber to remove the crusties. You can even use foil to create an impromptu Faraday cage.
There are a lot more uses for this handy stuff such as wrapping stones in foil, heating them by the campfire, then using them to heat up your blanket or sleeping bag before going to bed. Once you put your mind to it, you will wonder why you had not thought of including aluminum foil in your survival kit before now.
2. Disposable Eating Utensils
Unless you live near a lake or stream, chances are that water is going to be precious. Even a 55-gallon water barrel or two will only go so far, and you will want to reserve that water for drinking and cooking. Paper plates and disposable utensils (forks, knives and spoons) are the answer and will only set you back a few dollars.
3. Laundry Equipment and Supplies
You are going to need to have tools and supplies for hand washing and drying your clothes. Sure, you can wear a shirt and pants for a few days without worry but hopefully the undies and other unmentionables will be clean. And who wants to wear dirty socks?
You are going to need a tub and plunger (don’t discount using a plumber’s helper if that is what you have) or better yet, an old-fashioned washboard. You can fashion a clothes line out of paracord or purchase a dryer rack. But have you thought about clothes pins?
And for washing, how about a bar of Fels Naphtha washing soap? It is lightweight, portable, and does not take up a lot of space. As good as my DIY laundry soap works in a machine, when you are the machine, nothing beats a bar of soap for rubbing, scrunching and stain removal.
4. Cooking Grate
Depending on your facilities and the number of mouths to feed, cooking over an open fire may be a real possibility. Even if you are using a rocket stove – either home made, an Ecozoom, Solo Stove or other type – an open fire may still be needed for grilling freshly caught fish or game or for long-term simmering for stews and chilis made with your stored food items.
5. Sanitation supplies
Funny how people forget about the basics. In addition to a supply of TP, how about some old tee-shirts cut up into squares to use “there” when nothing else is available? In addition, you will need some feminine supplies for ladies and diapers for the little ones. And, if the sewer or septic system in inoperable, you are going to need a bucket and some large heavy-duty plastic bags to use as a liner so you have someplace to do your business.
The Final Word
As you look over this list, it may occur to you that many of these items are already available in your pantry, closet or basement storage area. And if not, none are overly expensive. Even the cooking grate can be improvised from an oven rack, or you can purchase one at a second-hand store.
The moral of today’s article is that when and if the time comes, it will be comforting to have the basics covered so that you can spend time worrying about the important things such as your safety, security and the health of your loved ones.
For the next few days, why not walk around your home or apartment and seek out items that will be useful in an unconventional manner in an emergency. Add them to this list and, of course, share your ideas below in the comments.
Read other articles by Gaye Levy here.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At BackdoorSurvival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.
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