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Stockpiling is pretty much the beginning and ending of prepping. I say that because it is generally the first thing that any of us do. We often start out stockpiling even before deciding that we’re going to become preppers. At the same time, most of us are still adding to our stockpiles long after we finish all our other prepping projects. It seems like we never truly finish the process of stockpiling.
Part of this is because stockpiling is rather expensive, especially if you want to stockpile enough supplies to last a full year. While there is no guarantee that any of us will need a year’s worth of supplies or that a year’s worth will be enough, that’s become somewhat of a goal for many of us. Having a year’s worth of supplies has somehow become like reaching level 10 as a prepper.
The other thing that keeps us working on our prepping stockpiles is that we keep finding more and more things that we need. How many of us realized just how many masks we needed to have in our stockpile before COVID struck? How many things have we added since the pandemic started?
I’m always looking for things that I need to add to my stockpile. Some of them might not seem all that normal to most people, or even seem like survival gear. But when a survival situation comes, you’re going to wish you’d stockpiled these things too.
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1. Rat Traps
One of the things that tends to happen in the wake of any disaster is a rise in the rat population. This is mostly due to increases in food supplies for the rats. But rats can carry disease, as well as getting into our own food supplies.
So even though we might find ourselves in the position of eating those rats, we are really better off getting rid of them. But getting rid of them either means having a cat that’s good at catching rats or having a good supply of rat traps. So if you don’t have the cat, better buy the traps.
2. Repair Parts
Pretty much anything mankind can make, can break. That’s just as true of our survival gear as it is of anything else we use. In a true survival situation, all that gear’s going to get some heavy use; so it only makes sense to be ready to repair it. For example, if you have one of the old Coleman lanterns that burn gasoline, you’d better have a rebuild kit for the pump as that’s a critical part that can fail with heavy use.
Another area that we all need repair parts for is our homes. Natural disasters provide plenty of chances for our homes to become damaged, such as by a tree branch falling on the house’s roof. If you don’t have supplies for emergency repairs, that damaged roof will leak, making it impossible to use that part of the house and causing further damage to your home.
3. Sanitary Napkins
Besides of their obvious use, sanitary napkins can be extremely useful in a survival situation. Those napkins are sanitary and designed to soak up a lot of blood. This makes them perfect for use as bandages, especially in the case of larger injures which might bleed a lot. Most of us don’t have many large bandages in our first-aid kits, and sanitary napkins are an inexpensive way of adding them.
4. Gasoline Extender
Gasoline generally has a shelf-life of six months. Yet it is probably the most important fuel we have available to us today; not only for our cars, but also for power tools, like chainsaws. Chances are pretty good that there will always be some gasoline available, whether siphoned out of cars, pumped out of underground tanks at gas stations, or hoarded in someone’s garage.
But if that gasoline is getting old, it won’t work as well. Adding gasoline life extender to that gas will rejuvenate it, adding back in some of the more volatile hydrocarbons that have evaporated away and making that gasoline usable again.
It’s common for people to talk about adding candles to their survival stockpiles, but not candle or lamp wicking. Granted, it’s unlikely that any of us are going to find a stash of paraffin that we can use to make candles, and few of us have bees. So why stock candle wicking? Because it can be used to make an oil lamp, providing light when the batteries go dead and all the candles are gone.
There are many flammable substances that can be used in an oil lamp and many different things that can be used to make an improvised lamp. The key component is the wick. Oil lamp wicking is the best, as it is generally wider than candle wicking; but the wider versions of candle wicking will work too.
Basically, the wider the wick, the larger the flame, resulting in more light being produced. But at the same time, the faster the lamp will burn the oil. So there’s a tradeoff there.
I’ve seen a lot of people talk about making primitive weapons at one time or another. I have nothing against that, but if you’re going to make primitive weapons, you’re going to need the right materials to work with. If you look at those primitive weapons and how they used to be made, rawhide lashings were a critical component. While we can use paracord, it won’t work as well.
There are two key characteristics of rawhide that make it such a good lashing material for things that have to be tied together permanently. The first is that it stretches when wet. Then, as it dries, it shrinks. That tightens up the joint, making it stronger. The other characteristic is that once it dries, it’s hard, making it hold things together even better. Rawhide basically can’t loosen up over time, like twine or paracord can.
The spokeshave is probably one of the most useful tools there is for making primitive tools such as clubs, spears and bows. It is a two-handed tool, with a small blade much like a hand plane has.
Originally used for making wood spokes for wheels, the spokeshave is the perfect tool for turning a sapling into a bow because it allows you to very selectively cut material off that sapling. While it might be possible to make a bow using other methods, such as whittling, no other method works as well.
Speaking of making a bow, I would stock some arrowheads, regardless of how much ammunition you have in your stockpile. While there are a number of different ways of making arrowheads, they aren’t all that easy. Knapping flint arrowhead is especially difficult.
I’m not necessarily talking about broadhead arrowheads here; the kind that are used for big game hunting. You’re more likely to end up hunting for small game with your bow. So even if you do stockpile a few broadheads, I’d really recommend having what are known as field points.
These are not only a whole lot less expensive, but they are just about ideal for small game, as they won’t make as big a wound cavity, while still being enough to bring down those smaller animals.
I don’t know why people think that having two fishhooks is enough for a survival fishing kit. I can’t hardly ever go fishing without losing a whole lot more than two hooks. Yet when I look at most people’s survival fishing kit, two hooks is all I see. For me, I’d go with 100 or so. For that matter, I’d up the ante on bobbers and other critical fishing tackle.
Of all the various types of food that can be harvested from nature, fish are the most plentiful. Long after the big game is gone, there will still be fish in our rivers and lakes. Somehow, fish manage to live and thrive in some of the most unlikely bodies of water. But that just helps ensure that they will be there when we need them. Just make sure you have plenty of fishhooks.
10. Plastic Bags
Plastic bags, whether Ziploc bags or grocery bags, are one of those items with a million uses. From storing seeds to lining a bucket toilet to collect human waste, we’re going to find a lot of places where plastic bags are useful in any survival situation. Stockpile a variety of sizes, so that you have plenty of options to choose from.
Speaking of a bucket toilet, one of the most forgotten items for preppers to stockpile is lime. No, I’m not talking about the fruit; I’m talking about a calcium-containing mineral compound, specifically calcium-hydroxide.
Today, lime is commonly used as a building material, such as being included in concrete mix. But it is also used extensively for wastewater treatment. In our case, it is useful for putting in outhouses and other latrines to reduce odor, as well as reducing flies.
Another commonly forgotten item in most people’s survival stockpiles is salt. I’m not talking about a pound of salt for seasoning your food. I’m talking about large quantities of salt for preserving food.
Salt is the common ingredient in many types of food preservation, because it is a natural preservative. We need it for canning, dehydrating and smoking, as well as variants of those such as making jerky and salt fish. If you don’t have 100 pounds or more of salt in your stockpile, you probably don’t have enough.
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