Guest writer for Wake Up World
A myth that continues to propagate among newbie preppers is that you need a lot of money to get started. Not true, and the culprit for that misconception is that everyone is so focused on tools, gear and a stockpile. Sure, knives, multi-tools, even the smallest lighter comes at a price.
But what if I told you that some of the items that go into your survival bags (whether it’s bug-out bag, INCH bag, get-home bag and even your everyday carry) are completely FREE? OK, so I’m playing a little dirty — you already have some of these things at home — but who cares, right? The main thing is that you include them in your survival bags…
A bug out bag shouldn’t have more than half a gallon of water. Around one liter (or .3 gallons) will suffice, otherwise you’re going to break your back carrying it for miles on end if you plan to bug out on foot.
OK, so water isn’t completely free. Your bill will increase by half a cent but, if you really really want to, you can find free, drinkable clean water. Wells and springs are good sources or you could just fill the bottle the next time you go to your local gym.
The point of having clothes in your bug-out bag is to prepare yourself for extreme temperatures and avoid hypothermia. If you get wet (maybe you’re forced to cross a body of water), you’re going to need a spare change of clothes. Consider:
- A bandana (useful to protect your head from the sun and filter water)
- T-shirts (just in case you need to bug out in hot weather)
- Plus a jacket or a top, though you probably don’t want to keep it inside your BOB due to its volume
If you go through your old stuff in your attic or garage, you’ll surely find things you’d never thought you’d’ wear. Recondition those garments so you don’t have to spend extra money on extra clothes.
#3. Wet Wipes
You don’t need to purchase wet wipes. Meals that you order in such as chicken usually have wet wipes included so, if you’re willing to wash your hands, you can salvage them and include them in your survival kit.
Speaking of which, you can also hunt for napkins, toothpicks, cardboard boxes and even bars of soap. You’ll periodically run into opportunities like these, you just have to remember to take them with you.
There’s a trick to saving meds for your bug out bag, but you have to talk to your physician about it. I’m not a doctor by any means so my advice is not professional advice. The trick is to simply skip medication every once in a while, and put the rest in your BOB.
There’s an awful trend going on… people eat medicine like candy every time they’re a little bit sick, and this increases their resistance to them over time. Just today I read an article saying that antibiotics will soon stop working for humans because of how much we abuse them. So, if your physician agrees and if you’re OK with a slower recovery, you could take less medication and save the rest for your first aid kit.
Tinder is a category of highly-flammable substances that are used to start fires. Dryer lint is the stuff you get after washing your clothes and is 100% free.
#6. Survival Apps and eBooks
Your phone is one of the most important items in your everyday carry, though many don’t realize it. You may also want to keep PDF copies of your car’s owner’s manual as well as install the Pocket app so you can save blog articles such as this one for offline use. You may also want to download a Maps app that allows you to download the maps of your area for offline use. The satellites that provide GPS guidance are independent from the phone lines and work even when the lines are down.
#7. Paper and a Pen or Pencil
Everyone has them around the house. You won’t need to write novels during an emergency, just essential information that will help you survive. Make sure you put the paper in a waterproof zipper bag.
#8. Fire Starting Devices
These aren’t free but surely you have plenty of them inside the house. Put them inside a zipper bag to keep them waterproof.
#9. A Sheet of Paper with Personal Information
It’s easy to write and print if you have your own printer. If not, maybe you have a friend who can help. You will need to include things such as your name and address, your blood type, medical condition, your phone number and emergency contacts. Fold the paper and put it in your bag in what else but a zipper bag.
Is cash free? In this case, you bet! Just take some from your wallet and put it inside a zipper bag in your BOB. It’s still yours, and you’ll be glad you have it in a SHTF situation. (If you have 15 minutes to spare, why not check all your clothes’ pockets to see if you have any money you have forgotten? That’s found money!)
#11. Paper Clips
Everybody has paper clips lying around somewhere. You can use them as hooks, as key rings and even as compasses to find north.
#12. Print Maps of Your Area
As long as you have a printer and an Internet connection, you can go to Google Maps, zoom in to your location and start printing. You never know in which cardinal direction you’ll be heading when the big one hits.
A Final Word
As you can see, there’re plenty of things you can do that are free or almost free. Plus, there are plenty of items that cost less than $5 that can save your life, but let’s leave them for another article. You can assemble a large portion of your bug out bag and EDC on a very tight budget… the key is to be creative.
Stay safe and don’t throw money away on useless preps!
About the author:
Dan Sullivan is by no means an expert survivalist. He didn’t spend most of his life in the woods and cannot survive with just one knife in the Amazonian rainforest. He’s your average prepper and he can relate to other preppers like no one else. His sensitive advice comes from thorough research as well as experience. He’s the proud owner of SurvivalSullivan.com but you can also reach him on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.