There are some things you keep to stock just in case things go south like stored foods, mountains of ammunition, and other big bulky heavy items that you’ll need to survive long term. However, there should also be a few things that you keep with you just in case you can’t immediately run back to your retreat/home the moment a disaster occurs. These are only the top 5, the most important, but even just having these could be sufficient to help you get through a dangerous situation.
1. A Quality Multitool or a Knife
Rather than stating one or the other, I left it up to you to determine which would be more versatile and acceptable in your own situation. A quality multitool can give you access to a smaller knife, pliers, screwdriver, and scissors all in one convenient package. It also doesn’t carry the stigmata of “weapon” that a knife does, meaning that if you live and work in a “No weapons permitted” area, you have a better chance of justifying the multitool than the knife. A knife can obviously be used to cut, either in self-defense or to create pieces of rope, cloth, or other material as needed. Having at least one of these at all times ensures that you have a cutting tool and potentially a means of defending yourself in an emergency.
2. Prepackaged, Nutritious Food
Obviously you don’t need to start lugging around a crockpot full of chicken noodle soup, but having a few energy bars stashed in your pockets could give you something to munch on for a day or two while you make a trek back to your home or bugout bag. Look for something with some decent calories, some protein, but minimal sugar if possible. Unless you’re using them for a quick energy buzz sugar is just going to give you a sugar crash after it’s been consumed, which is no good when you’re lacking other food sources.
3. A Compass
We’ve discussed how to use one previously, so you’ll know how important a compass is to proper navigation. If you can include a map of the local area with that too, great. If not, the compass alone at least allows you to know which direction you’re heading and to take directions from other people you may meet. Tiny button compasses are less ideal than the larger ones, so if you can squeeze it in somewhere try to get a quality compass that takes up a bit more space. If not, use the little guy but understand that it is much more limited.
4. A Packet of Medications
Obviously if you work in an area where getting mugged for your prescriptions is likely this doesn’t apply, but generally speaking keeping a few pills in a plastic bag is a good idea even if you don’t have meds you normally take. Obviously having a day or two’s worth of your everyday medications will be good for avoiding withdrawal, but having a couple ibuprofen or other OTC medication might also help in the event that you are injured or sick after the disaster. I would recommend having some kind of proof in that bag if you do take prescriptions if only because of the potential for accusations by police or concerned citizens if you go without.
5. Cash in small bills
It has often been said that money makes the world go ’round, and having some cash on hand could get you a hot meal, a comfortable car ride, or even a place to stay for the night. They could also be used to empty soda machines of bottled water even if credit cards were no longer accepted. Generally speaking, I wouldn’t want to carry any more than $100 in cash with me at a time even in the safest neighborhood, and the key is to keep it in the smallest convenient bills possible. If you fish out a few bills and it all comes out 1′s and 5′s, even a fat wallet doesn’t look like great pickings for a bribed guard or a thief when compared to the guy flashing 20′s from his inch thick stack of bills.
Of course there are many other items that you might carry depending on where you are or what you do on a daily basis, but these 5 are almost certainly going to be useful regardless of the situation you are in.
What would you add to this list? Are these a good pick for the top 5? Let us know in the comments below!
This article first appeared at Prepared For That: Top 5 Items You Should Always Have With You For SHTF