Generally speaking, preppers put a lot of focus on gear and supplies. Not only is it easy to see the utility of these items, but they’re also much more fun to acquire than even rudimentary skills most times. However, this can result in “special-itis”, where preppers end up buying specific gear for very specific situations and ignore other tools that tend to work better in a wide variety of cases. Why buy the all-around bland hatchet when you can have the Wicked Jungle Hackmaster, right? Today, we’re going to take a look at those general tools to help you get a good look at what you really need so that you can focus on being prepared for every situation instead of just one or two.
General use items for everyday carry:
- A quality pocket knife or multitool. If you’re on a budget a $5 Wal-Mart buck knife or Swiss Army contraption might be all you can afford, but if possible try to find tools that are sturdy and made of solid materials. Knives and other small tools are invaluable in almost every situation. There is rarely a time where it wouldn’t be useful to cut, slice, saw, or otherwise manipulate something with your knife/multitool. Furthermore, these can be used as last-ditch weapons in a pinch!
- A few pens or pencils. I’m a fan of pens largely because they don’t break their points on me, but whichever is more useful to you is what you should carry. You never know when you’ll need to write a note, record valuable information, or just mark a sign or symbol for others to see. Like the knife, they can also be used as weapons of last resort.
- A durable flashlight with extra batteries. Without constant access to fixed electric lights or lamps, a flashlight with a couple AA batteries in it could be a lifesaver. Even in daylight there are shadowed areas, abandoned houses etc that might need to be explored, so keep that flashlight with ya. Make sure you have one that can take a hit from being dropped or splashed with water since you probably won’t be able to get another during a disaster.
- A handkerchief or bandana. You can use it for a tourniquet, to protect your head from the sun, and for a wide variety of other purposes. Again, get something nice and durable so you aren’t left with a shredded rag after a few weeks of hard use.
- High-quality comfortable gloves. These should be intended for use in doing anything aside from handling caustic or chemically laced substances. Whether you’re splitting logs for hours or ripping weeds out of the garden, you’ll want to protect your hands from harm by having gloves to take the brunt of the punishment.
Wilderness/outdoor survival items:
- A high-quality hatchet. Cutting limbs for a variety of purposes can be done much, much more easily with a strong, durable hatchet to assist you.
- A firemaking kit. This could include a variety of different items, but really it depends on your skills and what you personally could use to make a fire. Hand me a fire bow already made and I might make a fire, or I might spin a stick for a few hours to no avail because I’ve yet to use one. Hand me some vaseline-soaked cotton balls and a lighter though, and I’ll have a nice fire going rather quickly! Typically you will want to include at least 2 different means of making fire in your kit just in case one method isn’t practical.
- A compass. Invaluable for finding your way around and for noting important landmarks.
- A claw hammer and pry bar. With these two tools you can pull just about anything apart that needs to come apart and nail anything together that needs to stay together. When wind tears things loose or a falling limb damages a shed, your trusty hammer can help seal it back up while you use the pry bar to tear off anything too damage to be salvaged. Buy quality and you’ll be passing these down to your grandkids.
- A big tub of nails. Sizes and types are going to depend on what jobs you’ll feel comfortable tackling, but having access to a large number of nails will enable you to keep things tacked down nice and tight. If you have a means to use screws without electrical power (or at least with only solar power if that’s in your plans) by all means use those, but otherwise you may be forced to stick with only nails.
- Disposable gloves for use with chemicals and the like. If possible you may want to go with the non-allergenic kind, though if you’re not allergic to latex it’s up to you. These can be used to protect your hands when you need to handle nasty, diseased, or otherwise harmful things that you don’t want touching your day-to-day gloves. Quality matters somewhat here but isn’t the end-all be-all so long as they’re rated to handle whatever you’re going to put on them. There are some gloves that look just like the high quality ones that are not intended for chemicals, so check the labels before buying!
This list is very small and simple, covering the most basic and essential tools that could be needed. Look and see which ones you have available, and consider which specialized tools you truly need in the light of the versatility of the tools listed above.
Are there other general tools that we should include? Let us know in the comments below!
This article first appeared at Prepared For That: The Essential Survival Toolkit: What You’ll Need to Survive in Various Situations