Preppers usually get caught up in the world of food storage, water storage and guns and ammo but if you plan on bugging in or pre-positioning your preps at a retreat location here are ten things you should consider making some room for that you probably overlooked.
Clean Empty Fuel/Water Containers
In the event of a large scale disaster people near urban areas may find themselves a long way from home in a gridlocked street system and all those engines running out of gas as they sit idle. Gas cans or any container that is visible from the road that may be suitable to carry gasoline will get snatched up very quickly making them very difficult to find. If you have prepped gasoline for yourself the benefit of being able to transport fuel will become painfully obvious if you find yourself in a situation where you forgot to stockpile a few. This will also be true for any container that could be used to carry water. The ability to transport water and keep it in a sealed container to protect it from spilling or contamination could mean the difference between life and death. Even if you have a large water storage prepared, be sure to have several transportable water cans that can be securely sealed.
Jerry cans are pretty affordable right now and come in both metal and plastic. They can be stacked, are rugged and provide a convenient solution to an otherwise difficult problem to solve if you didn’t prepare some other method to carry your water and fuel. Containers like these will become very valuable so having a few extra on hand wouldn’t be a bad idea . Just remember that if you are going to use a can of this type for water, be sure that the can is clean and has never been used for anything else.
It is safe to say that in the event of a large scale disaster or a grid down event, electricity for your power tools will be difficult to come by. Even if you are prepared with a large solar array or wind power, the draw that power tools have on a battery system could significantly shorten the life of your battery bank or simply not be enough to run the tool at all. Generators will require precious fuel that will eventually run out or go bad. Practically every power tool as a non-electric predecessor, be familiar with its use and maintenance. Have a set of these tools in good repair with extra blades, oil and sharpening equipment like files, stones and guides so that you can be productive with building and repairing all the inevitable things you would need at your retreat or bugout location.
Nails, screws, bolts, zip ties, wire
Because a bugout location is never complete, you probably have a few ideas of what you would still like to do but haven’t gotten around to it yet because of time, or cost, or you just have other projects that are a priority. With that in mind consider having more than your junk drawer full of various nuts and bolts and odds and ends to survive off of if you find yourself in a situation where going to the hardware store may no longer be an option. Keep some stock of common widely used coated decking screws, bolts and nails. Also look into stocking up in various sizes of zip ties. Highly versatile, having them available when things get tight will make you happy you had the foresight. Lastly spools of wire of various gauges will be handy for fence repair, perimeter alarms, electrical repair, makeshift tie downs, etc.
Wood Glue and other adhesives
Wood glue can be easily found in bulk quantities and is known to be significantly stronger than other kinds of fasteners like nails and screws and when completely dry can be stronger than the wood it is adhered to. New, unopened containers of wood glue can last a long time in a cool, dark and dry location. Other adhesives like epoxy, gorilla glue and the like will be sorely missed when they run out. Stock up on a little extra, and you will be glad you did. Of course you can never stock up on too much duct tape.
Ziploc style bags
I recommend you get the high quality freezer bags of both gallon and quart as a minimum. These will allow you to reuse the bags multiple times as long as you take care and gently wash them. These things are so handy to have around the homestead that I could write a separate post about all the uses they have if you find yourself in an off grid situation or just at a bugout location.
If you have the space for it I highly recommend looking into stocking up on Pex tubing and/or flexible vinyl tubing. It could be anything from rigging up a water catchment system, graywater drainage, gardening… having tubing at the ready can turn a difficult survival situation at a retreat or bugout location into an easy fix. An inexpensive purchase, it is easy to have a lot of this in storage. This is the kind of material that if you don’t have access to it and you need it, you would kick yourself for not spending an extra ten bucks here or there just to have it on hand.
Notebook paper and pencils
For journaling, making notes, communication or just a means to pass the time and distract yourself, having plenty of notebook paper and pencils are a vital and inexpensive prep everyone should have. In this age of texting and email, it is surprising how many households don’t have ANY notebook paper. The few sheets of copy paper in your printer won’t last you very long and the mostly used notebooks in your kids backpack won’t be of much use.
Should the power go out, your kindle won’t last long. Be sure to take the time to go over all those pdf documents you have been hording away and actually get them printed out so you have a hard copy that you can reference. Building up a library of useful books will be invaluable if you don’t have committed to memory things like gardening schedules, farmer’s almanac, common medical procedures, lists of edible flora and fauna and how to prepare them, etc. Without the internet or YouTube, if you need instruction on something, the only way to keep it on hand is to have a hard copy.
When asked what they would save from a burning building if they could only save one object after everyone else was safe, the most common answer used to be the photos. Now days the most common answer is the phone. After all that’s where all your photos are anyway… that and the “Cloud.”
Consider this: People take more photos now than ever before in history since everyone is literally carrying a camera with them everywhere they go. However, practically no one prints them. Instead they live in their iCloud or their Instagram account or their Facebook profile. Imagine if there was an EMP or solar flare or some kind of damage to the physical internet infrastructure… within the blink of an eye all your photos you have taken for the last ten or fifteen years that you never got around to printing are lost forever. Baby’s first steps, all your selfies, the last photos you took of your loved ones before they passed away… all those photos… gone.
Plenty of printing services out there… stop what you are doing right now and go order some prints before they are lost forever. Photos won’t necessarily keep you alive in a survival situation, but they can keep up your morale, remind you of your will to live and keep you going when you want to quit.
Children’s toys, games, puzzles
If you have a kid in your retreat or bugout location, the activity and stress in the air will make things very scary for them. Having something familiar to calm them down and a way to keep them occupied is something many preppers don’t consider and could help significantly in the overall morale and attitude of your family or group. Could also be a welcome distraction for adults too, so be sure to throw in a deck of cards or coloring books or a board game you enjoy. Of course this also means that depending on their age, you may need to introduce your children to games that don’t involve a phone or console. Many kids today are adept at using a mobile device to entertain themselves and have never even touched a board game. If it is a TEOTWAWKI situation, may I recommend packing a game of Trivial Pursuit to enjoy the added irony?
When you consider just how quickly you go through toilet paper, how much do you have on hand right now? How long will it last you? It is often taken for granted as just a way to clean yourself after using the bathroom… consider the added importance of cleanliness and hygiene in an emergency situation. You might be afraid of roving hordes of starving people knocking down your door in search of food, but you are far more likely to die a much slower, painful and agonizing death because of Cholera, Dysentery, Cyclosporiasis, Campylobacteriosis, or E. coli just to name a few. The humble toilet paper roll along with hand washing supplies and a proper method of disposing of human waste will protect you more than all the ammunition you can carry. You should also research what your plan is once the toilet paper runs out. In the past people would use corn cobs, store catalogs or bits of rag or washable cloth wipes. What are you comfortable with?
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