Got Gloves? 5 Must-Have Gloves NOT to do Without!

I truly feel that a wide assortment of gloves are a very necessary prep to include for your at-home supplies as well as in your bug out bags, get home bags (if you have one), and vehicle kits. Not only do gloves protect your hands from simple things like callouses but from very bad things like communicable diseases or harsh chemicals… they really are an essential part of your gear. And, besides, desk jockeys like me who aren’t accustomed to hard physical work each day will welcome the protection that gloves offer. Without further ado, here’s several types of gloves I recommend you have:

Leather-Palmed Gloves

leather-glovesIt’s hard to beat a good set of leather-palmed work gloves as they find use in so many situations, from the use of hand tools like shoves and axes to gardening. Like I said at the start, for those who aren’t accustomed to daily physical labor then your hands will surely appreciate these gloves since their main purpose is to guard against abrasion and minor cuts.

While you can purchase the one-size-fits-all cowhide gloves (and you certainly should as loaners) I much prefer you purchase a good pair of form-fitted leather-palmed work gloves. You might also want a pair of rubber-coated gloves for serious gripping power.

Though you can purchase these online the best place to purchase these gloves is at your local hardware store so that you can try them on. There are many different styles, sizes, and feels that you really need to try them on first. I suggest each adult have at leat one good pair of form-fitted gloves at home, a few loaner one-size-fits-all, and probably one good pair of form-fitted gloves in their bug out bag and vehicle kits. Of course, gloves don’t last forever so it wouldn’t hurt to purchase more than one pair if you can afford them.

Disposable Exam Gloves

latex-free-glovesThere are actually a few types of disposable gloves to consider but for most purposes the ones you want are simple disposable latex-free exam gloves.

By and large the purpose of these gloves is to protect both you and patient from transmitting communicable diseases to and from each other. There are other uses such as to keep your hands clean while cleaning, using bleach, oiling stuff, or for whatever reason you might find use so long as you’re not dealing with harsh chemicals that would require better protection. Remember, these are for minimial protection only.

Fortunately, you can purchase these in bulk so it’s not a huge drain on the wallet. And understand that you want latex-free gloves because some people are allergic to latex. I like to keep a few to several pairs of these gloves readily available in our bug out bags and vehicle kits as well as plenty at home.

Winter Gloves

winter-glovesAs with the leather gloves mentioned above, there are so many manufacturers, styles, sizes and materials of winter gloves that you really need to try them on before buying. In this case, visit your local sporting goods stores and spend some time there. Again, my recommendation is that each adult have one good pair at home and in your bug out bag and/or vehicle kits. If you want to save some money buy two pair and place one in your bug out bag and one in your vehicle kit.

Mittens are another option and, in some cases (such as with children), a better one. I prefer gloves but don’t discount snow mittens for adults too.

Though hardly a substitute, you might also find that a simple set of cotton-lined gloves underneath are a great addition to any winter gloves or mittens you choose.

Chemical Gloves

chemical-glovesThis is where it can get overwhelming. There are a variety of chemical gloves that you can and should have, including PVC-coated, nitrile, and neoprene to name the most important, in my opinion. There are others and if you want a nice chart that discusses the different types of gloves, their use, and chemical-by-chemical how each type of glove fares, reference this Glove Selection Guideline.

While I wouldn’t expect you to need this type of gloves while out and about, at least one or two pairs of each types of gloves is a good start to keep at home. You might also consider full-arm length gloves if you expect to be working with serious chemicals. And, of course, any additional protection required such as eye protection, aprons, etc.

For less serious chemicals–such as for basic cleaning jobs–consider reusable rubber gloves. I mentioned above that you could use simple disposable gloves for this purpose but rubber gloves might be the better option.

High Heat Gloves

fireplace-glovesThough I have a few of the basic pairs of fireplace gloves, if I ever fined any “extra” money I’m going to upgrade to a nice pair of form-fitted heat-resistant gloves. After all, they just look cool. 😉

While meant for dealing with fireplace and BBQ grill heats, you could use them as oven gloves too, including handling dutch ovens and more. If you don’t have a fireplace or BBQ grill but still need heat protection then you could always buy something like an ove-glove.

There are also a number of other specialized gloves that you could purchase, inculding basic gardening gloves, welding gloves, chainsaw gloves, and more… I’m sure that if you’re into that stuff then you already know what you need.

So, what did I miss? Let me know!

Three Inexpensive But Essential Storage Tools


Please note: This article is written by ‘Above Average Joe’ and was originally seen on

In one of my past jobs, I worked in a warehouse that created and shipped dozens of different products. I even got the chance to help develop several of these.

It was a fun job while it lasted, but there were a few very specific tools that I used on a daily basis that I could not have done my job without. These three inexpensive tools increased my efficiency and saved my hands from a lot of unneeded wear and tear. These tools can serve an even bigger purpose from anyone living a self reliant lifestyle. These are so simple and yet I never see anyone talk about them.

These tools are:

Bucket Opener

So many people stock their items in 5 gallon buckets, and I know just how hard it can be to open one of them after they have sat for a while.  I have cut and blistered every one of my fingers trying to pry one open with my bare hands. Now before you resort to  using a screwdriver to pry the lid open, you could save yourself some time, effort, and a perfectly good bucket ( odds are you will damage the bucket or the lid when you try to open it) and use one of these simple tools that are actually made specifically for opening a pail.

Bung Wrench

Many people store their water in 55 gallon drums, and in order to properly open or close a drum you need a bung wrench.  Now I won’t lie, I have used a pair of pliers, vice grips, and even a hammer and chisel to open one of these, but its not worth it.  These tools are designed to open multiple sizes and shapes of bung nuts and are a necessity to keep on hand.

32-oz. Rubber Mallet

You need to be able to open your pails to get to your item, but the most important thing is to make sure that you can properly close and seal it. If you can’t get a proper seal on your storage items you might as well just store them out in the open. having a rubber mallet on hand will allow you to hammer away at your pails to make sure that they are completely closed without causing the damage that a regular metal hammer would.

These three tools may be simple and cheap, but they are an absolute necessity for all of your food storage supplies. Save yoruself the time and effort, make sure that you have them before you need them.

Ive put them together on one list on amazon, you can check it out here: 3 Essential Survival Tools

But be sure to check around locally, you may be able to find a better deal!

Can you think of any other “common sense” tools that most people overlook?

Author Bio

The ‘Above Average’ Joe is a guy with an exceptional passion for learning. He has always had an interest in finding uncommon uses for everyday items and believes that if you can’t find at least three uses for a single item it isn’t worth having. Joe started down the path of survival and preparedness several years ago and treats every day as a learning experience.

Joe is excited to share the things he learns from his own personal experiences and research with the Survival Life community, and strives to ensure that every “average Joe” has all of the information they need to be confidently prepared in this unsteady world that we live in.

Survival Life is more than just one man. It is a growing and living community of individuals with the desire to be prepared to survive and thrive, no matter what this world throws at us. You can follow Joe by subscribing to his newsletter on the homepage, or by following him on Facebook.

The Razor Scooter – Alternative Transportation Genius?

razor-scooterThe other day I was looking at my kid’s Razor Scooter that sits idle in the garage–where it has been for many months now–and wondered if it could be re-purposed to further my overall preparedness. It was, after all, one of those toys that my child just HAD TO HAVE, DAD! So, we bought it for him about two Christmas’ ago… he used it for maybe a week or two straight and it now barely sees the light of day anymore.

So, I got to thinking to myself, why not reclaim and repurpose his Razor Scooter into a potential alternative mode of transportation, especially for a bug out situation? I had seen this recommended by others in the past and thought I should reconsider the idea.

Obviously, I would prefer to take a vehicle and pack all of my stuff in a bug out situation and, failing that, I would then prefer to ride a bicycle if I could, but that’s not where this idea flourishes. Instead, what would you do if your vehicle runs out of gas, breaks down, or maybe you just get stuck in a mess of cars that are going nowhere fast?

Sure, you would hoof it on foot but why not give yourself one last wheeled option? In my opinion, the Razor Scooter might be the “perfect” solution here.

For one, it’s fairly lightweight. Second, it can fold up a fit into a relatively small space. In fact, you could probably strap it to your bug out bag if you really wanted, but that would defeat it’s entire purpose. If you simply toss it in the trunk of your car you probably wouldn’t notice much inconvenience. After all, if you’re like me and with all of the other vehicle gear you probably have in there a Razor Scooter will take up little more room.

You might wonder how difficult they are to ride and, in my limited experience, they’re not that hard whatsoever. Granted, I’ve never tried riding one with a 30+ pound bag strapped to my back but I’m sure I would get the hang of it pretty quick…. hopefully.

Understand that this idea is really only useful on city streets and sidewalks as the wheels are pretty small and would not be viable for any sort of off-roading adventure. So, including a Razor Scooter in your vehicle preps could give you one more option but it WILL certainly limit you to traversing the same well-beaten paths that everyone else is expected to be using, so keep this in mind.

Oh, and the cheap ones don’t come with any brakes so it could actually be dangerous going downhill if you’re not ready for it. And, of course, you’re almost better off walking up hill. That said, most roads are fairly level in and around cities so a Razor Scooter could prove quite useful. With this in mind, a Razor Scooter has both upside potential and some downside risks to realize.

As for cost, some scooters can certainly get expensive (at over $100 each) but there are still plenty for under $40 and I’m willing to bet you can get them dirt cheap at a local garage sale… precisely where ours was heading. If you can find them at a garage sale then consider purchasing more than one, toss them in your car, and hope nobody notices you zipping by them during the next zombie apocalypse. 😉

Now if I could just figure out how to strap a small lawnmower engine to one…

35 Uses for a Bandana In A Crisis


Please note: This article is written by ‘Above Average Joe’ and was originally seen on

A bandana sits right at the top of my list of often overlooked survival gear. It is another one of those items that has hundreds of improvised uses but only if you have the right mindset for it..

Bandana’s weigh a fraction of an ounce, they are dirt cheap, and are also a must have in your survival gear.

I’ve come up with my own ideas (and pulled some from a few different sources online) that showcase just how useful this piece of cotton can be.

Here is just a short list of possible uses for a bandana:

1. Signal (Brightly colored works best)

2. Neck Gaiter for cold weather

3. Tourniquet

4. Pot Holder

5. Collecting Wild Edibles

6. Sun protection for your neck

7. Sling (First-aid)

8. Sling (Weapon)

9. Friend/foe identification ( Gangs use them all the time to identify each other)

10. Cordage (cut into strips or used as is)

11. Washcloth/Towel

12. Sweatband

13. Waist pack/pouch

14. Hobo Pack

15. Padding a hotspot to keep from blistering

16. Cleaning Patches for Firearm

17. Gun Wipe Cloth (with oil)

18. Protection from foul odors ( add a few drops of essential oil)

19. Toilet Paper

20. Trail Marker

21. Dish Rag

22. Napkin

23. Water Filter (takes out large contaminants)

24. Clean Glasses and other lens

25. Ear Muffs

26. Bind a stone and toss a line over a limb

27. Dust Mask or smoke mask depending on the situation

28. Wet and wear in hot weather to keep you cool

29. Sneezing

30. Improvised Bandage

31. Noise Reducer (wrap your gear to keep it from rattling in your pack)

32. Improvised Eye Patch 34. Cloth Diaper for a child

34. As a net to catch minnows and other bait

35. Camp markers (tear into four pieces and mark trees surrounding your camp site)

It is always a good idea to carry a bandana with you, they take up no weight and have a lot of uses (provided you are creative enough to figure them out)

…Can you think of any other uses I may have missed?

Author Bio

The ‘Above Average’ Joe is a guy with an exceptional passion for learning. He has always had an interest in finding uncommon uses for everyday items and believes that if you can’t find at least three uses for a single item it isn’t worth having. Joe started down the path of survival and preparedness several years ago and treats every day as a learning experience.

Joe is excited to share the things he learns from his own personal experiences and research with the Survival Life community, and strives to ensure that every “average Joe” has all of the information they need to be confidently prepared in this unsteady world that we live in.

Survival Life is more than just one man. It is a growing and living community of individuals with the desire to be prepared to survive and thrive, no matter what this world throws at us. You can follow Joe by subscribing to his newsletter on the homepage, or by following him on Facebook.

80 Uses for Paracord: What Did I Miss?


Please note: This article is written by ‘Above Average Joe’ and was originally seen on

Last week a friend of mine saw the paracord lanyard that I keep on my keychain and asked what it was for.

I explained a little history of paracord and told him and many of the different ways that it could be used.

I told him (jokingly) that there were over 100 different uses for paracord.

He laughed at me and said that if I could list off 100 uses he would take me out to my favorite steak joint and buy me dinner.

What he failed to say was that I couldn’t have help getting the list together.

I’ve come up with a list of 80 things so far and I need your help to find the other 20 (or more!)

Here is what I have so far:

1: Tie tarp to trees
2: Lanyard to hold items (knife, keys etc)
3: Emergency para cord wrist band,
4: emergency snare (from one of the strands inside)
5: Fishing line (from inner strands)
6: Boot laces
7: Floss with the inner strands
8: Dog lead
9: Emergency suture ( from inner strands)
10:Wrap knife handle
11: Bow drill
12: Clothes line
13: Improvise a seat by lashing a long log horizontally to 2 trees
14: Emergency repair for sail while sailing/canoeing
15: Belt for your trousers
16: Hang kettle/cooking pot over a fire
17: Emergency sewing thread (from inner strands)
18: Make a fishing net from inner strands
19: Make into a net hammock
20: Improvise a sling
21: Hobble your horse
22: Perimeter trip wires (attach to tin cans or anything to make noise)
23: Watch strap
24: Rig up a quick bow stringer when you’ve forgotten yours…
26: Carry gear on your back when you don’t have a rucksack
27: A platypus hose cleaner(by tying granny knots in it and pulling it through.
28: Tie house keys to forgetful children.
29: Emergency tow rope – admittedly you need several strands but it is surprising what a few together will hold!
30: A pulley line for dragging big bits of wood up the side of a hill
31: A standby strop…. for polishing a razor
32: A skipping rope for kids (needs a heavy knot in middle)
33: Hang mesh frames for propagating plants in greenhouse.
35: Rudimentary swing for the kids as and when they become bored.
37: Abseil down a cliff edge
38: Headband/ hair tie
39: Bundling around firewood for easy carry
40: Tie on to a sled so you can drag it during the heavy snow.
41: Hang a light over the designated latrine for night times
42: Replace a snapped pull string on older lights.
43: improvise a fuse
44: hanging mirror or other large objects.
45: Use as strap wrench or Spanish windlass
47: Improvised bore snake for cleaning a firearm
48: Make a tire swing
49: Hanging your hammock
50: Hang an emergency whistle round your neck
51: Pull cord for chain saw
52: Pull cord for boat engine
53: Pull cord for lawn mower/ weed eater
54: Emergency Tourniquet
55: Tying down & Securing the straps & belts of rucksacks when travelling
56: Replacing a drawstring cord in a rucksack or on gaiters
57: Tent guy lines.
58: Tying your rucksack to something solid with sophisticated bushcraft knots outside a shop.
59: To tie down a rucksack lid should one or both buckles break.
60: To make an improvised stretcher by lashing poles together and making a net.
61: To lash poles together to make a shelter
62: To lash a blade to a long pole in order to use as a spear(for emergency hunting).
63: To wrap a mini maglite handle for grip
64: For lowering equipment/packs down cliff edges.
65 :Creating a snare
66: Entertainment during stressful times ( tying and untying knots can take your mind off of your current situation)
67: Replacing a broken handle on a knife or machete
68: Create a bow string for a bow and arrow
69: Hanging a kill or your rucksack out of reach of animals at night
70: Mooring your boat to a dock
71: Replace a broken water ski rope
72:teaching yourself to tie lifesaving knots
73:use it to collect water ( tie a knot and place inside a plastic bottle, hang from a rock or damp surface area and the water will collect on the cord and drip into the bottle)
74: Help climb a tree, place around the tree to add more grip
75: Use it to make improvised snow shoes
76: make a sling for killing small animals
77: create a bullwhip for defense or entertainment
78: create trot lines for fishing
79: create a gill net for fishing
80: lash together multiple pieces for a stronger cord

That’s all I can come up with, so far…

Can you help me enjoy a steak dinner?

Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Need more suggestions? Here’s another 50 uses for paracord that you may not know to get you started.

Author Bio

The ‘Above Average’ Joe is a guy with an exceptional passion for learning. He has always had an interest in finding uncommon uses for everyday items and believes that if you can’t find at least three uses for a single item it isn’t worth having. Joe started down the path of survival and preparedness several years ago and treats every day as a learning experience.

Joe is excited to share the things he learns from his own personal experiences and research with the Survival Life community, and strives to ensure that every “average Joe” has all of the information they need to be confidently prepared in this unsteady world that we live in.

Survival Life is more than just one man. It is a growing and living community of individuals with the desire to be prepared to survive and thrive, no matter what this world throws at us. You can follow Joe by subscribing to his newsletter on the homepage, or by following him on Facebook.

Add This Wristwatch to Your EDC Preps (or something very similar)

A month or so ago I posted a video by Wranglerstar that discussed finding north using a wristwatch. For some reason I recently watched the video again and began to take note of what he said about the important characteristics that a watch should exhibit, including:

  • Analog (not digital) – It’s impossible to use a digital wristwatch to find your direction so that made sense.
  • Automatic (not quartz) – Meaning the watch winds itself with movement rather than needing a battery to keep correct time. Since every watch I’ve ever owned has needed a battery–and special watch batteries at that–I figured a watch that doesn’t need a battery sounded like solid logic, especially for long term SHTF preps.
  • Zulu style band – Basically this is a better way to secure the band to the watch to ensure you don’t lose the watch part accidentally. Ok, I like not losing my preps.
  • Sapphire glass – This is supposedly more durable than plastic or glass. Sounds good.

So, I went looking through the video description and comments trying to figure out what make and model of watch it was that he was using. I was able to gather that it’s made by Marathon but couldn’t nail down an exact model. I figured, no problem, just search Amazon and I’ll find it. Well, my search stopped rather abruptly when I began to look at the prices of Marathon watches… OMG! I almost had a heart attack on the spot; apparently Marathon watches are VERY good or they’re just really proud of them since most cost at least a few hundred to several hundred dollars and up. Heck I don’t like spending more than $20 on a new wristwatch. Either way, I wasn’t spending that kind of money on a watch. Go ahead, search Amazon for “Marathon Watch,” I dare you!

Anyway, I wanted a better wristwatch but not that badly. After all, I did have a digital watch I occasionally used but it met none of the above criteria. What was I going to do?

Well, I settled on ensuring that the watch is analog and automatic for sure. A sapphire front would have been nice but that feature seems to drive up the cost way too much so I’ll just have to take my chances with something less durable. The only other major criteria was the zulu style strap which doesn’t seem to be too cost-prohibitive. Additionally, I would have preferred the watch be relatively water resistant and not really a dress watch… something more sporty. Last, I didn’t want to spend more than $100 if I could avoid it.

As you might suspect there were a plethora of options with respect to digital watches, opting for analog narrowed it down a bit. Likewise, an automatic watch was a bit more difficult to find and narrowed the search more. Even then there were too many choices. I finally searched for watches under $100 with a high reviewer rating and still had plenty to choose from.

I settled on the Seiko Men’s SNK809 “Seiko 5” Automatic Watch with Black Canvas Strap because the price was right (at about $60 shipped) and offered everything I wanted in an analog wristwatch.

The only two drawbacks I noticed from reviews was that a few people didn’t like the smaller width of the wristband (which doesn’t bother me but it may not be right for you) and the water resistance rating to 30 meters (99 feet) is apparently akin to the distance ratings for two-way radios. In other words, don’t bet your watch on that rating and don’t wear it swimming. This, in fact, was the only major concern I had with the watch as I wanted something that could survive a downpour–of which I have yet to experience with the watch–so only time will tell there.

Like I said above, there were a ton of choices. And, if you’re willing to spend more you could certainly find a better watch that might have been more rugged and likely more waterproof, but for the price I would say this one is hard to beat. Perhaps you watch afficionados have a better suggestion? I would appreciate any input here. Remember, however, that only an analog watch can be used for orienting your direction and only an automatic watch winds by your movement and doesn’t require a battery. Of course, they do also make watches that you can wind manually too.

Now, scroll back up and watch the video on finding north with a wristwatch so you didn’t just waste $60. 😉

The Strap Wrench – An Unexpected Tool to Include in Your Preps

I’ve had a pair of strap wrenches for a long time. Here’s what one looks like if you’re unaware (it’s not what I own but probably better):


They are, in fact, something I believe my dad gave me as a gift years ago… and to this day I’m still thankful he gave me these wonderful tools. The funny thing is that I actually haven’t had occasion to use them until recently when I met my match: the lid to a new cup my son received:


Try as I might, I could NOT get the lid off! I twisted and twisted but to no avail. But I couldn’t show weakness, I’m a guy, darn it! Eventually I gave up and started for a large slip wrench but thought I might crack the plastic when it dawned on me, get a strap wrench. And so I did. You wouldn’t believe how easily the lid came off with a simple twist of the appropriate tool. I was almost ashamed…

…until I turned that into a teaching moment about torque and angular momentum and what not–I’m pretty sure I made up half of it–and besides, my kid zoned out about five seconds in regardless.

Anyway, the point here was that the strap wrench saved the day yet again. This isn’t the only time. I’ve used it to remove all sorts of things I can’t much remember anymore, from stubborn PVC to water filter housings to assorted plumbing. And the best part about them is that they won’t scratch finished surfaces!

For me, I feel a simple strap wrench is a nice addition to any prepper’s toolbox. In fact, i keep one in my “bug out toolbox” and have considered placing one in my vehicle but haven’t quite done so yet.

So, what types of unexpected tools can you think of? I would appreciate hearing about them.

When’s The Last Time You Actually Checked and Replaced Critical Batteries?

replace-batteryBatteries are important to so many things we rely on as preppers, from flashlights to headlamps, weather radios, two-way radios, and even portable heaters, fans, and more. They’re even more critical for bug out bags and vehicle kits for the simple fact that these are the only batteries (and resources) you have to rely upon when you need them the most.

Of course, the only way to actually know if batteries are good or not is to check them regularly. While I do have my lists, I can’t say I’m perfect about checking them and can let things go too long. And, sadly, there’s Murphy’s law that says it things can go wrong they will. In fact, not long ago I went to grab a flashlight from my bug out bag that I keep in our vehicles and found that a battery had leaked and ruined my flashlight. I wasn’t happy at all because I LIKED that flashlight! And, worse, I couldn’t salvage it… in the trash it went.

And it’s not like I didn’t know better. I know batteries can and will leak in extreme heat and I usually keep batteries out of most of my equipment but my thinking was that if I needed a flashlight then I certainly did not want to be fussing around with inserting batteries and so choose to keep the batteries installed in this particular flashlight and without any trouble until recently. And, as luck would have it, these happened to be the only batteries in my bug out bag that leaked. 🙁

Obviously, I couldn’t have this problem again so I replaced the damaged flashlight and choose to keep the batteries OUT of the flashlight this time, but what to do about being able to insert them when I needed them? Well, I had two options: (1) get a dummy-proof flashlight where the batteries only go in one way or (2) include a very temporary light solution so that I can see well enough to insert the batteries. I choose option two because I happened to like the new flashlight I added to my bug out bag. The idea is to include a cyalume light stick or two with your flashlight and batteries so that you have enough light to see to insert the batteries properly. I opted to tape them all together so that I didn’t have to fumble with finding anything in the dark. That said, it’s equally possible the light sticks might not work when I need them to or that the batteries will leak even being out of my flashlight but these are the chances I’ll have to take.

But, this problem got me to thinking that batteries really do wear out especially when subject to extremes like those in my car, which sits outside in the sweltering Midwest heat and freezing winters… neither of which are very good for batteries. So, I thought to myself, “self, maybe I really need a more rigorous approach to replacing critical batteries?” This is something more than just replacing them if they wear out or by their expiration date. I’m thinking that maybe I need to replace such batteries like it or not each or or perhaps twice a year? After all, it’s not like I have hundreds of batteries in my bug out bags so I could probably afford to do this without too much trouble. And, besides, any batteries that I find still useful could certainly be put to use inside the home, in remotes and my kids’ toys.

I should say that there’s more to this than just common alkaline batteries too. There are certainly proprietary batteries that might be found in equipment like two-way radios, funny watch style batteries for things like headlamps, and larger batteries such as deep cycle batteries. None of these will last forever. So, the question is what schedule are you keeping to ensure these batteries will be there when you really need them?

8 Things That Are Darn Hard to Make Post-SHTF

number eightWhen I think about preparing for a SHTF event I think about many things, from security protocols and group dynamics to gardening and livestock (even though I don’t know a thing about animal husbandry). I also think about those many, many supplies that we’ve come to rely upon that would be darn hard for the average Joe like me to make on my own.

That said, I do understand that there is plenty of information on the Net that will show you how to do and make darn near anything if you’re so inclined. Heck, I’ve got several hundred or more links in the “How to” Knowledge Base dedicated to it and, of course, there’s YouTube. But, to be honest, I probably will never attempt 95% of what I have listed… not because I’m lazy but because I don’t have to!

More importantly, I’m probably better off not trying to make most things myself. After all, should I really try to make my own aspirin if I can simply purchase plenty of what I might use for years on end right now? That’s not to say I should never learn how or that I shouldn’t bother to understand which herbs, essential oils, or foods can be used as a replacement for aspirin, I certainly should.

Regardless, I’m of the opinion that if I need an aspirin then I NEED an aspirin and I don’t want to be messing around with grinding up an herb concoction if I don’t have to. Again, I’m not saying we shouldn’t bother with learning a wide assortment of skills that could come in handy post SHTF+1. I am saying that there are plenty of supplies we should have on-hand that, for the average person like me, would be darn hard to make. With this in mind, here’s my list:

1. Medications (both OTC and especially Rx) – Like I mentioned above, I know there are plenty of alternatives to modern day medications–perhaps even better options in some cases–but I wouldn’t want to rely on most of them if I don’t have to. This is especially true for those who rely on life-sustaining medications. The obvious problem is that you simply cannot purchase years worth of many prescription medications. You can, however, slowly build up a stockpile and even talk your doctor into your way of thinking so that you can purchase more medications you rely upon. Work both of these angles and you’re at least on your way to being better prepared for SHTF. Over-the-Counter medications, on the other hand, can be readily had and purchased at dirt-cheap costs relative to their usefulness in a post-SHTF world. I suggest you get plenty… and then buy more. And if you store them in foodsaver bags or mylar bags they will last that much longer.
2. Glasses, contacts, hearing aids, etc – Our senses are something most of us take for granted, at least until they no longer work properly and then then become absolutely precious. More importantly, the ability to see and hear, for example, are critical for emergency situations and just trying to stay alive in a SHTF situation. This is so true that I’ve even contemplated purchasing an assortment of inexpensive prescription glasses for SHTF even though I don’t currently wear any… who knows what my situation might be like twenty years down the road. If you do already rely on glasses, contacts, hearing aids, or dentures then it behooves you to ensure you have backups for backups and whatever supplies you need to keep these things in good working order.
3. Clothes and shoes – Yeah, I know there were cobblers and seamstresses once upon a time, but I would say these are becoming lost skills… I know I couldn’t sew a shirt properly to save my life. 😉 Besides, it’s not like the fabric that you need to make clothes comes out of thin air either… that has to be gathered and processed too and I don’t have a clue how to do that. Likewise, shoes are a big deal too. I’d imagine they’re a bit easier to piece together than actual clothing but I really have never tried. That said, I could probably makeshift sandals relatively easily but good quality boots are another story altogether. And let’s not forget those of us who have growing kids, do you have enough clothing and shoes for them to grow into for years to come? I don’t.
4. Ammunition – I know it’s quite possible to reload ammo but that sounds like tedious work to me and, of course, you’re going to need all the equipment and supplies to do it. Eventually this is something I will want to get into but not right now. In my opinion, it’s best to have plenty of what you could expect to use already on-hand since ammunition can last a lifetime if kept dry. While I’m at it, you may as well include firearms in the “darn hard to make” category too. How much? You’ll have to decide that. Besides, can you really have too much?
5. Gasoline, diesel, propane, kerosene – I know people will learn to utilize alternative fuel sources and there is such a thing as biodiesel and even a wood gasifier but I don’t honestly see me successfully utilizing any of those without some serious help from somebody who knows what they’re actually doing. To be honest, I see reliance on most anything that uses any form of fuel for the long term to be difficult for the simple fact that these fuels will either run out, be cost-prohibitive, or perhaps both. That’s not to say you shouldn’t rely on an wide assortment of equipment that runs on fuels in the short term, I certainly do, but if your entire life is built around their existence (like most of our lives currently are) then you and I are going to be in for a world of hurt when they’re gone. For the short term you can stockpile quite a bit of fuel to see you through and be better off than 99% of those who failed to stockpile any.
6. Batteries (of all kinds) – Do you know how to make a battery? One that is honestly useful, that is? Again, I don’t. If you expect to be able to run a mini-fridge to keep your home-brewed beer cool or even to run a few LED lights so you feel slightly normal when times are tough then you’re going to need some serious battery power, most likely in the form of deep cycle batteries. Sure, solar panels and wind turbines are necessary too but it’s the batteries that smooth everything out. Have plenty for your needs.
7. Tarps and plastic sheeting – I don’t think one could have enough tarps or thick plastic sheeting as they seem to come in handy so often, from creating makeshift shelters to temporary home repairs, blackout shades, and even as part of solar projects. They can be turned into makeshift awnings or be used to cover your garden during potential frosts and protect firewood. Tarps are a good thing and ever so versatile.
8. Hand tools – Tools like quality hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, axes, and plenty more are always needed and will last a lifetime if treated properly. And the best part is they’re the right “tool” for the job. For example, I could eventually hammer a nail with a rock but why cause myself such grief when I can simply have a few hammers around to do the job right? Or what about removing a basic bolt without a wrench, a screw without a screwdriver, and so on? The same could be said for any other typical hand tool as well. Look at local garage sales I’m sure you’ll find plenty to choose from if you don’t already own what you need.

Obviously, the above list isn’t exhaustive but should be considered more of a good start to get yourself thinking in the right direction about what things we often rely upon that not only make a job soooooo much easier but are just darn hard to make post-SHTF.

What items would you include?

290+ Ways to Use Four Basic Supplies for a Healthier Life

4-basic-suppliesThe more I’m exposed to prepping the more I feel like it’s about re-learning how to live a healthier lifestyle every bit as much as being prepared for emergencies.

These days, we’re programmed to go to the store and purchase whatever products are prominently displayed on the store shelves without giving it a second thought. Granted, more and more people are opting for organic alternatives, but the funny thing is that we’ve had the most “organic” products available all along, we just needed to see that they can be used to create what are probably the healthiest options for us.

While there are many basic supplies we could mention, I’ll focus on four: vinegar, baking soda, borax, and epsom salts. With these four basic base supplies one would be hard-pressed not to be able to replace nearly anthing we currently purchase for household use. Obviously, there are additional ingredients that may be needed to complete some recipes but you really can’t make most things without these four basic supplies… you had best stock up.


Vinegar is a non-toxic substance that many people use for a variety of tasks. In fact, I was shocked at how many uses vingear actually has. According to, it has more than 1000 uses! Ok, they don’t have that many uses listed (I counted just short of 200) but it’s a lot for sure.

Typically, when we talk about vinegar as a basic supply to stock we mean distilled white vinegar, though, there are many other types. In fact, you can even make your own vinegar if you like… just search for it. The question here is what can you do with vinegar? Well, according to the above website, it can be used in the garden, as a cleaner, in the laundry, for your health, some automotive uses, for your pets, and even as a cooking aid.

Specifically, vinegar may be used kill weeds, deter ants, wash vegetables, as a general cleaner, window cleaner, remove lime deposits, polish brass, copper, and chrome, remove odors, as a toilet bowl cleaner, remove clothing stains, as a laundry rinse, reduce itches from insect stings, whiten teeth, bathe pets, kill fleas, and so much more. It’s probably the most versatile of the four base supplies listed here. Note that oftentimes a vinegar solution should be diluted appropriately for many of the aforementioned uses so be sure you follow recipes closely.

Visit the complete site: for plenty more information and recipes.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is probably second on my list of must-have basic supplies of the four listed here. Specifically, baking soda seems to be found in recipes that require more abrasive cleanings, from bathroom and microwave cleaners to hygiene needs like toothpaste. It can also be used as a deodorizer in laundry and certainly in the refrigerator… is there a fridge in American that doesn’t have a box sitting in the back? It can also be used for first aid to soothe insect bites, reduce heartburn and soothe tired feet… I know I’ve tried a few of these ideas with some success. Here’s a snippet from the article referenced below:

“Ancient Egyptians were the first people known to use a rudimentary version of baking soda called Natron.

Over the last few hundred years, Natron has been purified and synthesized down to the familiar baking soda we know today.

Since it’s discovery the name may have changed but it’s uses have not. it has been used for thousands of years as a cleaning product for both the home and body.

Blended with oil, it was a very early form of soap. It softens water while removing oil and grease. It was used a cleanser for the teeth and an early mouthwash. It was also an ancient household insecticide, was used for making leather and as a bleach for clothing.”

There’s plenty more uses (53 in total) to consider…

Read the full article: Pharaohs Secret: 50+ Ways to Use Baking Soda.


Borax is an abrasive cleaner very similar to baking soda. It can be used in a variety of cleaners and as a deodorizer, similar to baking soda, but also finds use as a bug killer (ants, fleas, bed bugs) and also as a remedy for weeds and other garden troubles. It can also be used for various laundry and dishwashing tasks as well. Here’s a snippet:

“Sometimes I’m shocked at how expensive typical household cleaners have become. Recently my wife and I decided to do some spring cleaning. We went to the store with a rather long list of cleaning supplies: tile cleaner, drain opener, bleach spray, air freshener, mouse traps, bug spray, floor cleaner, dish soap, spot remover… You get the idea. When I realized just how expensive all this was going to be, I decided to look for alternatives.

It wasn’t long before I discovered the many household uses for borax. The beauty of borax is it’s so affordable that you can stock up on it right now and have plenty after the next disaster or (God forbid) economic collapse. During disasters and long-term depressions, sanitation and hygiene can become a serious problem. Here, then, are 20 uses for borax.”

The article goes on to list 20 uses but I’m sure there are plenty more if you only choose to search them out.

Read the full article: 20 Uses for Borax.

Epsom Salts

Epsom salts also have a variety of applications, from in the garden deterring pests like raccoons and slugs to home cleaning tasks as well. In addition, Epsom salts have found their way back into the health market in a variety of ways, including as a face mask, foot bath, for stress relief and even as a laxative. Here’s the first part of the article:

“Although its not actually salt (the name is from its chemical structure and the location of its discovery) Magnesium Sulfate, aka Epsom Salt, is one of the worlds hidden wonders!

“Epsom salt is made up of magnesium and sulfate, which can help improve health in numerous ways. A lack of magnesium—which helps regulate the activity of more than 300 enzymes in the body—can contribute to high blood pressure, hyperactivity, heart problems and other health issues, doctors warn. Sulfate is essential for many biological processes, helping to flush toxins and helping form proteins in joints, brain tissue and mucin proteins.” Epsom Salt Council

Think its just for bath salts and in-grown toe nails – think again! This is little sprinkle of natural goodness is as versatile as MacGyver.”

Read the full article: 25 Uses for Epsom Salts.

Again, obviously these aren’t the ONLY ingredients you’ll need but they are basic four that get it all started. And the best part is that they can be stored for years on end without trouble. In the case of borax, baking soda, and Epsom salts, you’ll want to avoid moisture so pack them in mylar or vacuum sealed bags (with desiccant if you like) and you’ll have little to worry about. The vinegar will probably be ok in the plastic bottles they typically come in but it can’t hurt to at least keep them out of the sunlight and away from extreme heat.

Last, be sure to visit each website listed about and print out the recipes for later use. Enjoy!