Friday, January 3, 2014

Prepping Basics - What's in YOUR survival supplies?

The snow flies like ash
Death of water and fire
The sky's white remains
I'm always amazed, when there is a report of a snowstorm, hurricane etc, how the stores all run out of basic supplies, because people decide only then to have extras on hand.

I've got food for six months for a family, or a year for the dog and I. It might be boring food but it will supply amino acids and protein.  It's portable, because if there were a major disaster, I would likely not be holing up near the big city.

That being said, there are things that everyone should think about having on hand, for use, for bartering when things are bad for all. Face it, you may know someone  that has a safe harbor for you if there's a natural disaster bearing down on your neck of the woods,  but if you just show up with only an extra mouth or two  to feed, you're not likely to met with open arms unless it's family (who like you).
I have purposely not included firearms and ammo. That's not something most of you need to be reminded of.

How many of these items do YOU have in your preparedness stores (usable, in good condition and easy to get at in one central location) in addition to food and grains and water for several weeks or more and a well stocked first aid kit:

Ace bandages (extra from ones in first aid kit) with Velcro closure.  Elastic thigh strap (from here)  which can be used as a bandage tie or
Aluminum Foil  - many uses, not just barter and making that hat your neighbor thinks you wear
Antibiotics - medication isn't something you can easily or legally stock up on but there are are sources for antibiotics you can take advantage of now and have on hand, you know, for your animals
Antibacterial Wipes - will save water, if you have a little one, ad baby wipes as well
Bag it!  Garbage bags, and smaller zip lock type bags.And don't forget tie wraps, lots of them. Preferably don't throw in the cart with a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, or folks will talk.
Backpack/Duffel Bags - use to store items, but also useful..  If it's the Apocalypse no one is going to laugh at your Hello Kitty Book Bag.
Batteries - lots of them, and like the matches, keep them dry,  don't forget solar batteries, and chargers.  Pick the furthest out sell by date you can find, even if it costs a bit more.
Bicycle - tire, tubes, pump, chain
Body Armor - don't laugh, if there is a societal collapse or major riot or you have to flee a high crime area, this might be a life saver with bullets from both friendly and unfriendly fire ricocheting off things.  Once you realize you need some Kevlar there won't be any available. Besides the vests make a great substitute for a sports bra if you're not built like a waif.
Candles - those four little scented things around your tub are going to last you about a day after the lights go out.  Try and find some good beeswax candles. Not only do they produce the brightest flame of any candle, they burn about 3 times longer than paraffin candles and do not give off smoke or soot like paraffin. Pure beeswas candles also give off negative ions that attach themselves to pullutants in the air, that then become heavy and fall to the ground, keeping the air cleaner. Beeswax is available in sheets, the family, kids included can make the candles, you simply cut, add a wick, roll the beeswax up and it's ready to use or you can purchase them online (see link under toiletries for beeswax products that I use in my home).
Can Opener - the hand kind.  You're going to feel pretty silly with that electric one, there in the dark. Also throw in a whisk, a ladle, spatula, etc.
Candy (hard), liquor, cigarettes,  tea, coffee.  And don't forget the Vodka  In addition to consumption, check out all of these other uses for Vodka.
Carbon Monoxide Alarm - battery powered
Care for a little fire scarecrow? - be prepared to build one, lighters, matches , have it, keep it dry.
Cast Iron Cookware and a Dutch Oven.
Chargers -  Yes, that Dodge one with the Hemi would be nice, but I was thinking battery powered for cell phone and other electronics
Clothes Pins/Lines/Hangars
Coleman's Pump Repair Kit

Condiments and Spices - Garlic, Old Bay, , Italian seasoning blend, salt and various peppers, balsamic and plain vinegars, and even an MRE is better with hot sauce
Condoms -unless you and your neighbor who barters want to name the next baby after the hurricane
Cookstove - propane, Coleman and kerosene
Disposable Razors and razor blades.
Drink Mix - makes the water less boring, and helps with any bleach taste from rough purification.
Electrical tape

Everyone is bored - card games,cribbage and other board games,  puzzle and other books to read including how-to books on skills you may need to hone
Eyeglass repair kit
Fire Extinguisher - plus a coffee can of  baking soda for the cook area.
Fishing Supplies (if you don't fish, a nice barter item)
First Aid extras (pain  and menstrual cramp relievers, cold/flu medicines, ointments, calamine lotion, etc).
Fuel - for anything you might be using and that includes seasoned firewood, books written by politicians and propane for small appliances ( and extra containers for your fuels.)
Garden Seeds  with garden tools and supplies including a good shovel
Generator(s) - you have to weigh the benefit versus fuel use and the draw of attention to where you are hunkered down, but get the best one you can for your  money if you make that choice
Gloves - for warmth and protection, including lightweight disposable types that come many to a box
Gortex -  and other warm clothes are your friend, especially those wool socks that I bet you only have two pairs of. Water resistant and water proof jackets and overcoats, boots, well made hiking shoes, and waterproofing chemicals and sprays to go with them. Don't just have them, know how to repair them.
Grain Grinder - non electric
Hand Warmers
Hand Sanitizer

Insect Repellent, and sprays for flying insect kills (and medication for bites for those with bad aim)
Insulated Ice Chest - to help preserve and store food
Knitting and crochet needles and yarn
Lantern Hangers
Let there be Light - flashlights, one is NOT enough. Lamp oil,  lamps, lanterns, wicks and lighters
Laundry Detergent
Long Shelf Life Food  (extra from grain, milk, bean and protein stores)- it won't take long for the locals to thin out Bambi.
Mantles - Aladdin, Coleman, long term light use more difficult without these
Mini Heater Head - (Propane) needed to heat a room
Matches - preferably "strike anywhere", the boxed wooden ones will be the first to go
Mousetraps, Rat Traps, and Roach Motels - it's about disease, folks
Mylar Blankets and tents
Paraffin Wax

Pet Food and Medications - extra newspaper and bags for waste and/or kitty litter  if stuck indoors
Plastic Containers - from small for leftovers to a couple garbage pails.
Plastic sheeting 
Plates/Cups/Utensils (include as much paper as you have room for as water may be at a premium).
Pointy! - knives, fixed blades, kitchen type, box cutters and Bandage scissors (the blunt-tipped kind that can cut through a dime or a fruitcake)
Portable Toilet  
Propane Cylinder Handle Holder - (small canister use without this is dangerous)
Reading glasses
Salt  - Prior to household refrigerators and freezers, salt was one of the main preservatives of meats, you can also make that circle of it if you forget the insect stuff and have to deal with Beelzebug.
Sewing and mending supplies, including extra safety pins, buttons, fasteners and good quality scissors and a pair of tweezers
Sharpening Tools  - file, stone, steel
Sleeping Bags and Blankets, Pillows, Mats
Spray and Squirt Bottles  (empty)
Super Glue
Thigh Bandage  - can also be used as tourniquet .  This is in addition to  what is in first aid kit.
Tools - the basics can save a life, bowsaw, axes, hatches, bolt cutters, vice grips, hammer, pliers, boards and nails, screws and bolts,  wedges, honing oil.
Toiletries, toothpaste, dental floss, SOAP, bleach, shampoo and sanitary supplies for the women and diapers for babies, anti fungal foot cream and powder (wet itchy feet would make this experience even more miserable)., fingernail clippers.  One of my favorite multi-purpose products for soap (for hair and skin) and thick beeswax cream to protect and heal and provide SFF15 protection from the beeswax is Morningsong Gardens.  Their products are antibacterial, and antifungal and are available in  small AND larger containers that will last many months. Clean is important, a bacterial infection in some circumstances could kill you instead of giving you an upset tummy.

Toilet Paper and other paper products like paper towels, but make sure you also have chemicals that cause human waste to quickly biodegrade if your bathroom is out of commission.
Vegetable Oil - for cooking without burning your precious food supplies
Vitamins - including  dried herbs that heal
Washboard, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
Water purification supplies, including  non scented bleach.  Even having some some simple water filters like LifeStraw or gravity fed systems like the PointONE could be very useful.
Water Containers - small clear food grade plastic only
Work boots - waterproof or a means to make them so
WD 40, Hoppes No. 9 and Lip Gloss - sorry, I can't live without them.
Writing paper, pencils, pens, journals, solar calculator

And lastly - Bacon  - It's the end of the world  (OK, maybe just snowcalypse) but a good club sandwich might perk you up.


  1. A good list. I have garlic and coriander and chili powder and old bay in Ziploc bags, that has turned a boring meal into a... well, a slightly spicier boring meal. Rabbit and pheasant without garlic are- well- uncivilized.

  2. And a horse and cart to haul it all out of town in.

  3. This is a well thought out kit. I have most of these items as part of my hunting pack. We hunt from a jeep in southern Idaho. Long views long walks (9 hrs from some places)if the jeep breaks.Yes we have done it. 2.5 hr drive on the main dirt road to cell service. I do carry a hand held aircraft radio. 121.5 can be you friend. We can stay out about a week in the snow and be ok. That doesn't include the deer or elk we might need to utilize.


  4. You made me laugh again, I was just saying to myself "She didn't mention bacon" and there it was. In an emergency cook the bacon and eat it while you think of what to do next.
    I have a lot of those things but I would have to eat more bacon to figure out where I put them. Seriously this kind of thing is on my mind as we have had 2 derechos hit and I was cooking outdoors (lucky it was july instead of now) and we made out fine with no power. I really did cook bacon, no lie before it went bad, it provided grease for other things to be cooked in.

  5. Hmmm...we are doing pretty good on that list. I see you mention vodka, but not any other type of spirits. We have a fair amount of 'good stuff', but I also have pint bottles of cheap, cheap rotgut...whisky, rum, and vodka(some 100 proof for tinctures).

    We also have lots and lots of candles and matches...I'll admit that some of it, and the alcohol, was laid in with possible bartering in mind, should things head that direction.

    I will need to look at the alternative medicine/antibiotics. One of the things that always makes me jealous while reading older books is how the characters can lay in a good supply of antibiotics, and pain killers, by just talking to their doctors.

  6. Hmm...we are well covered on your list, though the First Aid Bathtub needs some minor restocking.

    Brigid, are you sure you want to feed Barkley beans 'n rice long term? ;)

    And for folks not familiar with them, the "Israeli Bandage" is a great invention--a pressure bandage in various sizes, that can also be used as a tourniquet if need be.

  7. Og - garlic is a must and I agree on the Old Bay.

    Ed - yes, if we had to leave, it would fit in the vehicle, but we'd have to leave the horse behind :-)

    diesel smoke - sounds like you are well prepared.

    Sunnybrook Farm - well you have to have bacon!

    greg - vodka I wouldn't drink (not a fan) but it's useful, there would definitely be a bottle or two of good single malt in there.

    Monkeywrangler - I have pet food on the storage list (and his meds for fleas and ticks). He wouldn't be getting people food. Thanks for the heads up on the Israeli Bandage - good to know!

  8. Comfort food.....chocolate (chips, powder), dried fruit, cake and brownie mixes.


  9. Happy New Years To Lady Brigid The Red!

    HIGH QUALITY toilet paper- more than we would think humanly possible to ever use.

    Every Nat Geo and Mother Earth News ever published.

    A complete set of The Harvard Classics.

    Cases and cases of Dr Pepper.

  10. Excellent suggestions! Speaking of prepping - although I don't go on duty til midnight tomorrow night, I'm leaving in a couple hours for the crash pad. Tomorrow's drive would be through up to a foot of snow, 30+ mph winds and temps down around minus 17 (that's not including wind chill). Not a safe day for a long drive (and I can hardly wait to go work in it). So I will talk to you all tonight, when I get settled in and the place warmed up. Barkley staying home at the Range with Partner where he will be safe and dry.

  11. We have most of the things on your list, but not all of them in sufficient quantities. Thank you for the reminder.

    Beelzebug ... LOL.

  12. For fire starting a case of wooden box matches is good but a case of bic lighters might be better, along with one or a dozen of those metal matches.

  13. Speaking of Dutch Ovens, did you ever get one? I've been waiting for you to cook my recipe of Camper's Delight for ages now!

  14. I'm a fan of the hand-crank radios, some of which also have solar cells for charging. The new ones can also charge cell phones and other usb devices and that could be worth it's weight in .22lr ammo if the power's out for a few days and you need help.

  15. I should have known! As I clicked, I wondered if you would mention the "other" uses for vodka...

  16. You got a plane to go with that Hangar? Seriously, good list. We have most of that stuff already, but a few of the items we did not even think of. We found Seal a Meal bags with zip lock tops. Also have dehydrated lots of potatoes and made homemade jerky and vacuum sealed them. Thanks

  17. Not to be spooky, but a couple of things have me stocking up a little more seriously lately. Lost track for a bit, like with exercise... it happens. As for lists? Too much of that, none of that, a little shy on this... hoping the neighbors... well... are as off, just on different things! :)

    Urhm, you don't know where to find .22 ammunition, do you? Ugh.

  18. Although not a prepper, I was gratified to see how much of that I have already. The uses of vodka was also an eye opening link. My most needed prep, I think, is a way to pump water out of my well if the power goes. With that, and a better supply of canned goods, I ought to be in good shape for TEOTWAWKI.

  19. Hoppes Nr. 9. Yes!! I never would have thought to include it without this, Brigid. If only for the memories it's inimitable aroma summons forth with even the faintest trace. Plus, a copy of this post, sealed in a waterproof container!

  20. Have most of it and well more than 2 pairs of wool socks. I have three or four decent wool coat and overalls The Filson stuff is fantastic. Don't have any garden seeds on hand though.
    We just are coming out of a major snowstorm and power is out and expected to remain out now for a few days. Managing quite nicely except for terrible case of labyrinthitis that was probably caused by a respiratory infection.

    It doesn't hurt to be prepared and when the time comes to put the survival/ prep skills to use it may be when you are sick so good mindset is needed.
    Great and timely for here post Brigid.


  21. It's a worthy list of staples. Add a tomahawk and I'm down for the lot.

  22. Although I have given thought to what needs to be in the cars and what needs to be in a bag to grab, you have made me think. AGAIN!

  23. Add: large bags of rice. Long shelf life. Purpose is to feed to relatives and neighbors while you are eating the good stuff. Thus your conscience is satisfied and the everyone doesn't rise up against your foresight


  24. I was just making a list on Saturday and thinking that I need to attack the laundry room to create more room for supplies.

    Vinegar, apple cider and white, works well on fungal infections like athlete's foot.

    Sanitary napkins and newborn disposable diapers also are good for first aid kits due to their absorption capabilities.

  25. Erin - I didn't camp this year, and at home do pretty much low sodium, but I'm going to make that for Big Bro, he'd really like it!

    Dann - Ditto on the wool socks, I'm wearing a pair now.

    LL - tomahawk - good choice

    Professor Hale - I listed food at the top as a general item as otherwise the list would have been too long, but excellent suggestion! And white rice does keep longer than brown, if you need real long term storage.

    ProudHillbilly - Vinegar (smacks forehead) Yes, that would be a great thing to have.

  26. Brigid,
    My personal opinion is that folks under-plan. You should first decide how long of an interval that you're planning for: 72 hours? a week? a month? over a winter?

    Second, you should plan a menu and make sure that you have stored adequate food with the right nutritional balance for your planning period. Plan a week worth of meals and then scale up as necessary. If your plan includes foraging/hunting for food, have you the experience to ensure that your plan is rational and sustainable?

    Third, you need to small home/get a handle on how much fuel you will require. Heating a cabin with wood will require 3-5 cords of wood for a northern US winter. A 100lb propane cylinder will run a modest winterized camper trailer for about two weeks in the winter. In the summer, a 20 lb tank will make two weeks. How many gallons of fuel will your generator(s) require during this period? Don't forget to add StaBil to all liquid fuel.

    My point is that all the other stuff on the shopping list is relatively useless if you haven't ensured that you have enough food, clothing, shelter, water and fire.

  27. My two cents - that's why at the header of the list was the words "In addition to" food, water, etc for several weeks or more". But you're spot on, people often forget the essentials stocking up on the "maybe". You've got some excellent ideas and I appreciate you sharing.

  28. What an awesome list and excellent reminder. I'm pretty impressed I can check off most of it already being in our survival kits. Now, I need to go refresh and add to them. And I have to say that bacon should be up there with the guns / should be something that does not need to be mentioned but assumed ;)

  29. Parboiled brown rice has more nutrients than white rice and stores just as long. Check this:


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