On most nights I read in bed for a while before going to sleep. My wife usually falls asleep first so to be considerate, I turn off the lamp and use a book light. It occurred to me that I’ll be using this book light a lot if the power goes out. Then I thought, “If the power goes out, we only have one book light. What if someone else wants to read, too?” I decided to stock up on several book lights. Then I started brainstorming for other unusual survival gear that most people might not have thought of. Here’s what I came up with:
Aluminum Foil – The best thing about foil is you can wrap meat and veggies in it, throw it in a fire, and a few minutes later have a hot meal. It can also be molded into a bowl, cup, funnel, or a pot for boiling water. In addition, it can be used to enhance an antenna, to sharpen scissors, to make sun boxes for small plants, to collect dew from trees, and in the summer it can be put in windows to keep the heat out. But the most important usage: Tin foil hats!
Baseball Bats – You might plan on carrying a gun for self-protection if the SHTF, but if you’re caught off guard, nothing’s better than a good baseball bat.
Bicycle and Pump, Extra Tubes, etc. – Remember, if things get ugly, gas will likely be unavailable or unaffordable. If you need to travel long distance for supplies, you’ll need a good bike. Make sure to get a mountain bike and not a skinny-tired ten speed.
Candy – This is mainly for children, but can also be a great comfort food for adults. Just don’t go overboard with it as too much sugar can weaken your immune system.
Cash or Traveler’s Checks – If you can afford to, start setting aside a little cash. In most emergency scenarios, people will still accept cash.
Contractor Bags – Unlike ordinary trash bags, contractor bags are very thick and sturdy. You can stuff them with sharp branches and debris or use them to drag heavy objects. They can also be used as a poncho or a temporary patch for leaky roofs.
Duct Tape – MacGyver is right, duct tape is awesome!
Floss – Even if you don’t floss, this stuff is great to stock up on as it can be used for fishing lines, repairing tents or clothing lines, and suture material.
Games – In modern societies, people are so used to having constant entertainment and distractions that they’re likely to become very bored if the power is out. But nothing cures boredom like a good board game. This is especially important if you have children.
Glasses, Glasses Repair Kit – Most people only have one pair of glasses, but what if your glasses break and all the stores are closed? It’s good to have at least one backup pair and a glasses repair kit. Check out ZenniOptical.com or 39DollarGlasses.com for some great deals.
Glow Bracelets/Sticks – When the electricity is out, glow bracelets can come in handy. You can use them to mark the location of important objects like doorknobs, flashlights and radios. The sticks make a good substitute for candles, and they’re fun for kids.
Hatchet – This might seem like an obvious one, but I know of several people who haven’t bothered to get one yet (especially those living in apartments). Even if you don’t bug out to some location in the woods, you’ll still want to get a good hatchet in case you need to split wood or chop through the bone of an animal. It also makes a good weapon.
Important Documents – Bank account and credit card records, birth certificates, prescriptions, property deeds, registration papers, titles, and any other important papers. You should make photocopies of all ID’s and credit cards. Put everything inside Ziploc bags and keep them in a safe if you have one. You might also want to include cherished photographs.
Map of Local Area – Nowadays people are used to using Google or Yahoo maps and many don’t even have a physical map anymore. In this article I talk about the importance of having a good map and identifying potentially dangerous areas. It can also be used for identifying the shortest, safest route to a friend or relative’s home, a place with supplies, etc.
Paper, Pencil, Pencil Sharpener – For playing games, making notes, or keeping a journal (you’re living in interesting times; write about it).
Paper Plates, Cups and Plastic Utensils – In most survival situations, you’ll want to use no more water than is necessary. This is why I think you should go to a place like Costco or Sam’s Club and get LOTS of these.
Plastic Sheeting – Not just for keeping germs out. This can be used to repair leaks, collect water, or build a makeshift shelter.
Sewing Kit – Another one of those things that has become less and less common in modern society. You should get a decent kit and learn how to sew buttons and patch/mend clothes because new shirts and pants might be hard to come by.
Shut-Off Wrench – This is in case gas lines break during an emergency. Get a gas shut-off wrench and learn to use it.
Signal Flare – Essential in case you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere for some reason. However, don’t use them if you find yourself in a Mad-Max type scenario as the people who see them might be dangerous.
Snow Shoes – In a disaster, you might be too busy or tired to shovel the driveway so got a pair of snow shoes. You could also use the back of a chair or tennis rackets.
Tarps – There are many uses for tarps: covering firewood, holding debris, privacy screens, shade, tablecloths, tents, etc.
Whistle – Emergency whistles are invaluable for people who are lost or in danger.
Wire saw – These take up little space and can be used to cut through bone, metal, plastic, and wood with ease. Browse through them on amazon.com.
What to read next: 50 Survival Items You Forgot To Buy