Motorola MH230R 23-Mile Range 2-Way Radio
(image – Amazon)
This awesome list of “why didn’t I think of that” items will get you thinking out-of-the-box about simple survival situations. Note here that we have focused on being prepared for things that are likely to happen as opposed to things that are one-in-a-million shots. Survivalism means not only surviving the unlikely, but surviving the everyday. It’s also worth noting that simple mishaps of life can easily turn into more dangerous situations if you are not prepared. Get the basics down first.
1) Credit Card With Zero Balance.
VITAL piece of survival gear! Now how many people thought of putting a credit card in their survival kit? I bet not many! This is an absolute essential. A controversial choice to be sure – but I would go so far as to call it the single most important survival item you could possibly have. Think about it: With a credit card, driver’s license and passport you can pretty much bounce to anywhere in the world, with nothing other than the clothes on your back – and obtain anything else you need. With a valid credit card you can walk into any store and grab any item you require. You can rent a vehicle. You can catch a flight. You can get food, water, clothing, medical care… pretty much anything.
Now of course, having and keeping one of these means having a decent credit score…. how many other survivalists will tell you that sorting out your credit is a vital aspect of preparedness? It is. Get a good card and don’t use it. Leave it for emergencies only.
2) Emergency Cash Supply.
This too is ultra-important. Even though we love to fantasize about a sudden monetary crash where your dollars become worthless overnight, it’s not all that likely that it will happen that way. Remember: The powers that be don’t actually want the monetary system to break down because then they would lose, too. They have a vested interest in keeping things going just the way they are, with you chained to their wheel… like a good productive servant. We like to imagine that they would crush us if they get the chance, but they would much rather we stay toiling away, making them rich while we struggle to get by…
For a good emergency money supply I would recommend two things:
a) Cash. Keep it VERY well hidden and ideally, don’t advertise the fact that you have money. Best that no-one knows because people talk, and if the fact that you have money gets into the wrong hands, it puts you in danger. Also keep a “dummy cash stash” so that if forced to reveal the whereabouts of your dough, you can let them have one stash while keeping the other for yourself.
b) Silver and/or gold. These are very likely to hold their value, no matter what happens to the dollar. In fact, the more problems the dollar has, the better your gold and silver will fare. Again, keep it supremely well hidden and keep it absolutely secret.
3) Emergency Communications.
Many people have a food stash, off-grid power and some basic home defenses. However – it’s surprising how many don’t have a backup com system. We’ve all read the stories of how certain countries, in times of insurrection, cut off their internet and phone systems. If you have two-way radio you have a serious advantage. Two-way radio also comes into its own on wilderness adventures. Lose your companions or need to advise them as to conditions or maneuvers? No problem. Get a system and train your family/friends in how to use it. Two-way radio can also be lots of fun and make every day feel like you are on special ops… you can’t lose! Here’s a classic Motorola MH230R 23-Mile Range set, under 50 bucks and gets rave reviews.
4) In-Car Survival Kit.
I want everyone in the world to do this. Please, just start putting one together. Get some kind of sturdy crate and secure it into the trunk. In go basic survival supplies, plus vital things that can get you back on the road – from a can of fixa-flat through to a roll of wire (if you get in a fender bender for example you can wire the fender back on that is hanging off). Depending on how far you tend to travel from civilization, your kit should be as extensive as appropriate. Here’s a more detailed list: 30+ Essential Things You Should Keep in Your Car.
Cannot overemphasize. Keep a spare blankie in your car and have a blanket stash ready in your main survival stash. Bonus points for keeping them in some kind of sealed plastic bag so that they can be kept waterproof/dust proof / insect proof etc until needed. Blankets provide warmth, protection and also a feeling of well-being that will be extremely welcome in a survival situation.
6) Backup Power.
There are a wide variety of these around nowadays. The typical device contains a battery, inverter and an array of sockets so that you can power up your devices. If the power goes down, you will at the very least want to be able to keep your computer going, your phone charged and have a little light to see by. More serious UPS systems set out to power your entire house, running everything from the fridge to the lights. Of course, these are great but you’ll be expected to pay serious money. A great start is to get a small backup power bank and then scale up according to resources. Here are a few examples we have picked out (Amazon):
Solar Charger, Portable Solar Power Bank 10000mAh – This super-cool little portable device has a built in solar panel and a battery, so you can get USB power for your phone, iPad and other devices when you are away from grid power. Problem solved.
Portable Solar Power Bank 10000mAh
Goal Zero 23000 Yeti 400 Solar Generator – this is an amazingly versatile larger portable power box which features USB, 12v and AC power outlets, with a pure sine wave inverter built in. It’s also designed to connect to solar panels or be charged from a vehicle, making it a superb “off-grid starter pack” as well as an uninterruptible power supply for electronics and portable power. Clearly a lot of clever design has gone into this power box:
Goal Zero 23000 Yeti 400 Uninterruptible Power Supply
Goal Zero also makes the larger Goal Zero 31901 Yeti 1250… this beast will run “lights, tools, refrigerators, freezers and health care equipment” but at over 100 pounds in weight it’s pretty hefty. A rolling cart is included; it’s clearly intended for either home or more serious expeditions.
One very good survivalist advised to keep your emergency water supply – or at least some of it – in plastic bottles. Now I am not a particular fan of plastic containers for food or beverages due to the leaching of chemicals – however if there is an earthquake, your plastic water bottle stash will survive and glass will be destroyed. 1-2 gallons per person per day is typically advised, depending on whether you will need it just for drinking or for washing also. It’s also advisable to rotate your water supply so that the water in your stash is fresh. If you don’t want to drink your way through the older water, use it to water the garden and refill your containers from fresh.
The outdoor types and tradespersons among you already have this covered, but a proper toolkit is a survival essential. Not only that but your tools should be prepped, packed and ready for action when you need them at a moment’s notice. Check out our Top 10 Most Kickass Tools For Survival Situations Of All Kinds. The right set of tools will also enable you to make other tools as you need them.
Just like the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy recommends – a towel is a must when you find yourself light years (or even just a few miles) from home. So often forgotten. Keep at least one in a ziploc bag in your survival kit.
A good hat can save your life in cold conditions. We lose much heat through the head and your hat will protect against this of course. In summer too a hat can be an essential; In the desert, a hat can protect against heatstroke and sunburn. It can also offer a measure of protection against injury. A hat can also double as a makeshift carrying pouch and even a place to hide things – perhaps even potentially containing a small secret compartment! For the survival strategist – get a hat that won’t fall off if you need to move fast.