Having lived in the woods, and houseless, for quite a few years before I had offspring, I know what you DO need and what you DON’T need to live happily in an off-grid, houseless situation. This would apply to a homeless situation, too. If you find yourself living out of your car, these supplies are priceless. (More tips for living in your car here.)
Here is what you NEED for living in a homeless situation:
- Bandanas — Use as a washcloth, napkin, snot rag, TP, easy bag for berries or herbs, a quick shirt (two knotted together), loincloth, head cover, mask, to tie things together, slingshot. Here’s a longer list of bandana uses and a link to some of the cheapest ones I’ve found online, about a buck a piece.
- Paracord /rope — Because there is never a lack of use for either one. Paracord has multiple uses and can actually be split with a knife, carefully, down the side and allow you to use the individual, inner strands for different uses. This is a product I recommend and you get a lot of paracord for your money.
- Mid-Sized pocket knife — This one can be used for food prep, splinter removal, fishing , making fishing lures (from twigs) balance, boredom relief.
- Tarp — This will come in handy as a blanket, shelter, cover, rug, backpack (roll up all your gear in it), and for water collection. A heavy-duty tarp can be used for all this and more and will last a long time.
- Wide mouth metal water bottle/cup/bowl (Preferably w/ sealable top) – You’ll obviously use this for water but also for herb/fruit gathering, holding bait, transporting small animals, food prep. Be sure to get stainless steel and military quality.
- Sewing kit — Clothing, tent, tarp, or even human repair. A few pieces of duct tape wrapped around the case can come in handy as well.
- Magnesium carbide fire starter — With this and your pocket knife, you will always have a fire source. A very simple set is really all you need.
- 6 Carabiners — The real ones not the pocket ones. These are invaluable and will handle rough usage, air cacheing, dog leashing, shelter construction. You could do with 5, but 6 is better. They also can be used for fishing (to hold the line) and creating a hanging bed from tarp and rope/cord.
- Tea Tree Oil — Stinks to high heaven, but it keeps critters away. Mosquitoes, parasites, disinfects, etc. Edens Garden is a reasonably priced brand.
- A sturdy hand-sized candle — Because you never know when you will need to go answer nature’s call in the middle of the night.
- A pouch of tobacco — You would be amazed by how much a person is willing to trade for a cigarette. Even if you don’t smoke, this is valuable.
- A salt shaker/bottle of hot sauce — You never know what your gonna have to eat, but be prepared for it. It’s also of great barter value. Here are instructions for making your own hot sauce.