Recently, there has been so much going on politically it has been easy to overlook writing on core survival/prepper subjects. To make sure our prepper followers don’t think I have forgotten about them, I wanted to note five preps that I see overlooked quite often. These preps aren’t vital like water and food or something like antibiotics that have been discussed repeatedly. These are preps that are important, but easy to forget when preparing for a long term post-SHTF world. By no means is this list all inclusive, but it does touch on some key items we take for granted. The following items should be a part of your stocked supplies and are listed in no particular order.
- Gun cleaning/maintenance supplies: I find it ironic how many people prepare for the worst by acquiring thousands of rounds of ammunition and an assortment of firearms, but fail to stock cleaning supplies. Having good cleaning supplies is even more important if you intend to use an AR style weapon system, which demands regular, detailed cleanings to operate properly. Your kit should include buying a gun cleaner/lubricant in bulk such as FIREClean®, CLP®, or RemOil®. You should also buy cotton squabs in bulk and have a large supply of cleaning patches, jags, and bore/chamber brushes. Respective of maintenance, you should have a hard copy of the manual for every firearm you own and intend to use in an emergency. It is amazing how many people have a SHTF firearm, but do not know how to properly operate, disassemble, and maintain their firearm. If you don’t have the original manual, go online and either purchase or download a PDF manual and then print it out. Further, you should have any gun specific tools such as an armorers wrench http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/rifle-tools/wrenches/ar-15-m16-armorers-wrench-prod24190.aspx for any AR. You should also have sight adjustment tools for your weapons. For example, the AK line of weapons requires a special tool to adjust their front site and would be critical if your life depended on ensuring first round hits. Considering this, if your weapon does not have iron sights, even if for backup, you probably should consider other weapons for a post-SHTF weapon. Finally, if you are serious about your SHTF go-to weapons, you will have a dedicated spare parts kit for them. The kit should include both easily lost and easily broke items such as main springs, firing pins, and spare screws/bolts.
- Tires: One could generalize this as automotive spare parts, but tires in particular seem to be an afterthought. Even in today’s world we blow tires regularly. In a post-SHTF world, your tires will be one of the first things to go. Both driving conditions and hostile marauders will quickly undermine your tires. You need tough, thick walled tires and preferably run flats. If you can’t afford a spare set of high end new tires, don’t stress. Shop around for used, matching tires that fit your vehicle(s). Most have some decent tread life left and can be bought at a bargain. Set at least one full set of spare tires aside for each vehicle you have. If you can get them mounted and balanced on rims that is great. Either way, make sure you become familiar with how to not just change a tire, but how to remove an old tire from a rim and put a new tire on it. You also need to know field expedient means to patch a tire and insert a new valve stem. This can be very difficult work if you don’t have a few simple tools like a tire mounting iron and a hammer to break the bead (examples: http://www.grainger.com/category/tire-mounting-and-demounting-tools/tire-and-wheel/fleet-and-vehicle-maintenance/ecatalog/N-k43). Also get your patch kit with plenty of plugs, valves, and valve stems. Continue to follow Last Minute Survival for an upcoming post on field expedient tire repair.
- Feminine hygiene products: Although, preppers will often have a garage full of toilet paper and paper towels, they won’t have a box of tampons or sanitary napkins. Solo female preppers usually don’t miss this prep, but men prepping for their families seem to overlook it. Can these be improvised? Yes. However, “hygiene” is the key word. Dirty, non-sterile, improvised items are asking for a nasty and potentially life endangering infection when treatment options may be limited or non-existent. Even if infection is not the result, do you really want to deal with the mess? These are easy to buy in bulk variety packs so stocking a case or two will substantially improve everyone’s living standard in a post-SHTF world.
- Maps: Even ten years ago maps would be considered a critical prep, but today with the total proliferation of mobile GPS, an entire generation has grown up topographically illiterate. GPS and other mobile electronic devices are awesome, but cannot be relied upon in a post-SHTF world. Further, contrary to what many believe and are “planning” for, you will need to travel. To do so effectively, you will benefit greatly from having an assortment of maps. I would recommend trying to get the best quality, all-weather maps you can find. At minimum, have detailed maps of a 30 mile radius around and to your bug out location. The maps most beneficial will be similar to hiking or military maps that show grid data, declination, road and trail networks, and have topographic lines.
- Louse and vermin killer: I know you are going to shower daily, clean your floors, and sleep in clean sheets post-SHTF, but the reality is without running water, electricity, and simple items like washing machines that we take for granted, people will get funky. If you have done sustained backpacking or camping in primitive conditions, you know just how important it is to stay clean and maintain your gear, but you also know how nasty you still get. Even under the best of circumstances you will be dealing with a host of issues ranging from mice to lice. Lean forward in your preps and prepare to keep these nasty pests in check. Get poison and traps for vermin and get various insecticides for fleas and lice. Rid® is one of your most popular lice treatments and should be bought in bulk. If your kids have ever come home from school with lice, you already know how tough this can be to contain and eliminate. By having the ability to wipe these critters out, you remove a host of disease vectors you cannot afford in a post-SHTF world.
These five items are just some important preps that I routinely see people overlook. Are they going to be critical for life? No. Are they going to significantly improve your life and chances of living? Yes. Are they things that we can easily deal with now, but might be close to impossible to obtain post-SHTF? Yes. Do most of them double as potential barter? Yes. Overall, I hope you see the value and importance of these preps. Like all preps, if you don’t know how to use them, they will be of limited value. As such, identify your needs, acquire your goods and equipment, and train with them. Those that fail to practice and train with what they plan to use are setting themselves up for failure. Don’t be that person.
By Guiles Hendrik
June 1, 2015