Survival Essentials When SHTF

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Written by Brandon Smith

Being prepared when things go wrong is a must. Preppers will be ready for when things like a pandemic comes knocking (like COVID-19), having food stores and water supplies, but what happens when the Sh*t Hits The Fan?

Every second the clock is ticking, which means you need to be prepared for the moment you find out. One major step to increase your chance of survival when the next natural or artificial disaster strikes is by having the right survival tools.

 1. Bug out bag

You need a good pack in case you have to evacuate your home, so don’t be afraid to spend a little. It should be durable and adjustable to your body because most of the weight will need to rest on your hips, not on your shoulders.

Go with at least a 50-liter pack. This will give you enough room to store food, clothes, water and other items for a few days.

2. Food and water

It’s going to be impossible to carry all the food and water you will need to survive. So, use the place where you live now or your bug-out location to store at least a month’s supply of food and water.

Canned and dried food have the best shelf life and are not easily spoiled. Ensure you have a range of different beans, meats, fruits, vegetables, energy bars, biscuits and snacks.

Without water, humans cannot survive, so as well as having an adequate supply away from other chemicals or other contaminants, buy a water purifier. This will ensure you don’t run out of freshwater for your family wherever you end up.

3. Protective clothing

As well as having waterproof gear to protect you from the elements for venturing outside, it’s crucial to think about a survival belt to hold handheld tools, body armor, and some tactical clothing.

Having a cap or hat will help protect your head from the elements and shades will protect your eyes from the glare of the sun.

Investing in a pair of sturdy boots is also a good idea.

4. Tools for cutting & chopping

A hatchet, large survival knife or a multi-tool can be carried in your pack. You’ll need something to help chop down trees and cut up wood. The hatchet can also double as a hammer if you need one while you’re out, and lots of survival knives have a compass or fishing tackle in the handle.

Cordless power tools are great when you can recharge them, but if you don’t have a charging pack that can connect to a motor vehicle, then forget about using them if society falls apart.

 5. Fire starting

The ability to cook a hot meal or have a warm drink many take for granted. To make a fire, matches are ok, but if they get wet, then they won’t work. A permanent match that lives in a metal container is a better solution. Once you remove it, it lights up, and you can use it to start a fire.

Other alternatives are carrying an inexpensive lighter or flint with a magnesium rod: when you strike it with any type of steel object, it sparks. This will help you start a fire with some kindling and other fire-starting material.

Get started now with your fire creating skills. Simply buy a few items and go into the back yard to build a small fire. But, make sure to have a can of water on hand should you need to extinguish it quick.

 6. First aid kit

This is a critical piece. In a SHTF situation, you are going to be on your own for the most part, so any medications you need should be in this kit as well as some bandages, band-aids, and other over the counter medicines for diarrhea, pain relief and fever.

 7. Duct tape

There are many practical things you can use duct tape for. Building and repairing, emergency first aid care, repairing tools, and using it as an adhesive as you would with screws, nails or glue.

It’s versatile and can be used around the home and on most objects.

8. Paracord & wire

Paracord doesn’t seem like much on its own but used with other materials it can be used to build and secure a shelter because it’s strong and durable.

Wire can be used as a fishing line, snare or trap. It can also be used as a tripwire as part of a warning system, so you know an individual or animal wants to enter your camp area.

 9. Flashlight & batteries

It’s important to have a regular flashlight to hand as well as a portable one that can be recharged through solar power or hand crank. Both are considered essential gear for preppers.

Regular flashlights will last longer and be brighter than the long-term alternatives, but it’s important to have both. Each person in your family should have at least one flashlight.

Remember that lots of items around the home run off batteries, so keep a supply of them in your home.

 10. Cash or items to exchange

Lots of scenarios will result in cash being useless, but not all. Have some extra money on hand (in smaller bills) to pay for things.

If you are more of a doomsday prepper, then think about items you could store that might be used to exchange for other items, such as rice, alcohol, precious metals, medicines, fuel and your professional expertise.


When the sh*t hits the fan, you want to be prepared and ready for any eventuality. If that means purifying your water or constructing something to make survival easier, then that is what you should do. Having all the right tools you need for a comfier existence is important.

About the Author

Brandon Smith is an Editor at – a woodworking & DIY resource for everything from comparing the best table saws and miter saws, down to home and garden projects.



We are an affiliate of, which means we received a small commission if you click through one of our Amazon links when you shop, at totally no cost to you. This helps keep the lights on at the blog. Thanks!

Image by Andrea Wilkinson from Pixabay

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