I sometimes roll my eyes at lists of “must-have” preps because they’re pretty much all the same:
Paracord — check
Multitool — check
My Latest Videos
Flashlight — check
Tell me something different! Something innovative! Something creative that is useful but out of the ordinary!
Well, I took on this challenge myself and scoped out this list of 16 unusual survival preps for your bug out bag, your vehicle emergency kit, or even to stash in your home’s pile of preps. A few of these come from my friends at Survival Frog, a company I support because they offer a 6-month, no questions asked return policy. I use Amazon quite a bit but you never know who you’re really buying from since many sellers can offer the same product. With Survival Frog, I know who to contact if there’s a problem or a question.
With that said, here’s my list of unusual survival preps.
A year or two ago I chauffeured a group of high school kids to their rowing practice. Every time, both to and from, we had to cross over a 1-mile bridge, and I can’t tell you how often I had visions of my car plunging into the water and all 8 or 9 of us fighting to get out. A window-breaking tool was just the thing to give me a little peace of mind! This 6-in-1 car charger is part charger, part window breaker, part seatbelt cutter, and part flashlight! It really does have it all. In fact, it even has a battery pack to keep your phone charged once you’re out of your car.
Get this charger fully charged and then include it in your emergency kit or just keep it in the car as a backup to your usual USB charger.
I first learned about these in the book Locker 9 by Franklin Horton. You can read my review here. A college girl’s father equips a storage locker with everything possible to escape a worst case scenario and get to safety, and one thing he stocks up on are these Sports Beans loaded with vitamins, electrolytes, and caffeine. I used to give these to my kids right before their races. I can’t claim the beans alone helped them with their speed and endurance, but they were never in last place! I highly recommend adding a few packs of these to your bug out bag and store a few in the glove box as an emergency snack. I put some of these in the ultimate survival kit I made for my college daughter.
Depending on where you live and where you’re headed, you may not need to carry much water in your bug out bag. When we lived in Phoenix, getting stranded in the desert was a terrifying prospect, so I made sure we had more then enough water in our vehicle. Now that we live near multiples lakes and rivers, I know the water is there. However, for a bug out bag, these heavy-duty mylar bags filled with water are an asset. You can be confident that you have enough water to get through a day, for example, and the mylar bags themselves are very useful on their own once empty. Flimsy plastic water bottles puncture and crack easily, while these pouches are far sturdier.
It wasn’t until we had to wade through Hurricane Harvey floodwater that I realized how valuable a pair of these rubber galoshes can be. Waterproof, heavy-duty, and large enough to fit over most shoes and boots, it’s worth picking up a pair. I bought ours at a local ACE Hardware Store. To be fair, these won’t fit in a bug out bag, but if you expected to encounter high levels of water, they could be attached to the outside of your bag with a carabiner. They really are worth the money but do check for the thickest rubber galoshes you can find and close to knee-high. Some are simply fun rainboots and don’t provide the same protection. These galoshes, sometimes called overshoes, are not fashionable, but that’s not our priority here, is it?
Along with those galoshes, I have to recommend a tube of Shoe Goo. Some time ago I posted an article about taking care of your feet. In any type of emergency, without your feet in good condition, you’re a sitting duck. If you can’t walk, hike, run, or skip to safety, you’ll have to find someone to carry you! Part of taking care of your feet is taking care of your shoes. Shoe Goo is an adhesive designed to seal your shoes to make them waterproof and/or seal holes or seams in a shoe or afix the sole to the upper portion. It’s a very handy product and worth having in each emergency kit or bug out bag. If your shoes fall apart, you ain’t goin’ nowhere.
As I’m sure you know, in many parts of the country and around the world, a self-defense weapon of any kind is outlawed. Protect yourself from an attacker by using even a Swiss Army knife, and you could be the one going to jail. A multi-purpose item like this tactical pen can be used as an innocent ink pen, and a good quality one at that, but is also heavy-duty enough to use to strike an attacker. There are many videos on YouTube, like this one, that demonstrate how to put a tactical pen to use against an assailant. Every bug out bag and emergency kit needs at least 1 or 2 writing implements, so you might as well have something like this that can double as a small, silent weapon.
Siphoning gas from someone else’s car simply isn’t a subject for polite company. However, get a group of preppers together, someone brings up One Second After, and all of a sudden it seems totally appropriate to start discussing ways to siphon gas! I recommend getting one of these Safety Siphon Hoses to use for gasoline and a second one to use for water if you have it stored in large barrels or other big containers. This hose is self-siphoning! There’s no need to get the siphoning action going the old-fashioned way by sucking on a hose and ending up with a mouthful of gasoline. I saw my dad do that when I was a kid and never wanted to try it myself! With this hose, just make sure the container of liquid you are siphoning from is at a higher elevation than the container you are siphoning it to. Give the little copper pump on the end a few jiggles and the liquid will begin moving up the hose and then down into your storage container. Much, much better than the old suck-on-the-hose-and-get-a-mouthful-of-gasoline method!
In all my years of being The Survival Mom, I have never once pretended to be anything other than what I am — a very typical suburban mom who just happens to be smart enough to prep! And, as such, I don’t particularly like stinky things. In the apocalypse, I have no doubt the entire world will stink, probably forever, so I’ve stocked up on air fresheners. I am not kidding. My very favorite brand is Pure Citrus Orange Air Freshener, but those cans are a little too big for a bug out bag. Buy a few for your home, though. What works in my backpack is the 1.5 ounce room fresheners from Bath and Body Works. I don’t like all the scents, though, so I have to try them out at one of their stores before buying and stocking up. Essential oils could do the same thing in a DIY spritzer — mix 1 cup water with 10-12 drops of one or more essential oils.
Now here is something different and a product that could mean the end to that irritating pile of band-aid wrappers — Beeswax Bandage! This is a very heavy cream that can be applied to cuts, scrapes, and smaller puncture wounds. It literally fills the scrape or hole and is heavy enough that the blood doesn’t seep through. The cream doesn’t sting, is waterproof, and works well for people with thin skin that bruises or bleeds easily. This container holds 4 ounces, so for a bug out bag size, just buy small screw-top jars and fill them yourself for a travel size container. If you’re looking for other ideas to equip a medical kit, take a look at this list.
I reviewed these in an earlier post but have to mention them again. It doesn’t take a worst case scenario for regular hot baths and showers to become scarce. Even camping and hunting trips can mean infrequent showers and smelly conditions — note my recommendation for air fresheners above! Epic Wipes are enormous wet wipes that smell fresh and are large enough to thoroughly wipe down any adult size body for a super-quick cleansing. Put 2 or 3 of these in each bug out bag and a couple in the glove box or vehicle emergency kit to help ensure cleanliness in spite of your circumstances. Cleanliness is no small thing and regular bathing isn’t for sissies. Maintaining a healthy level of hygiene can make the difference between contracting illnesses and warding off skin rashes and other conditions. Epic Wipes aren’t particularly cheap, they run about $2.40 each in a case of 10, so for smaller people and especially children, cut the wipes in half. That should be plenty for most people to still get that just-showered feeling.
First of all, love at first sight. This pretty little solar light knocked my socks off the first time I used it.
I’m a big fan of anything that uses solar power to stay charged, and this little lantern not only uses the sun but then also turns that power into the energy you can use to charge anything with a USB outlet. Here’s how this handy lantern works:
There are 3 light settings — low, high, and then flashing to use as a signal. The little USB port allows you to charge this light from a regular electric outlet or you can set it out in the sun, solar panel up, to get charged that way. Anything that is multi-purpose belongs in your bug out bag, and this Solar Pocket Light fills the bill.
Have you ever noticed small water spigots on the outside of buildings and wondered what they were for or how people access the water? Very often these spigots do not have a handle and sometimes they are almost flush against the wall. Well, in an extreme emergency, that water source may be your only option, but how on earth do you access that water? One way is with a sillcock key. This is a little something you might want to add to at least one bug out bag. The sillcock key has 4 different sizes of socket heads, and to use them with a faucet, find the socket head that best matches the size of the faucet. The key then becomes the handle needed to turn the faucet on. Even if the water has been turned off in that building, there will likely still be water in the pipe system. If the water has been there a while, run it through a water filter like a Sawyer Mini.
Back in the day when my 8th-grade teacher taught our class first aid, the traditional wisdom at that time was to never, ever use a tourniquet because it could very likely lead to the loss of a limb. Medical knowledge and training have changed, and now tourniquets are not only in every well-equipped medical bag. They are also much improved and this compression bandage can be used to staunch blood loss and, if the injury is extreme enough, used as a tourniquet too and hopefully save a life.
I despise mosquitoes with every ounce in me, and for some reason, those buggers seem to be extra large this season! Can you imagine survival after a worst case scenario with no air conditioning, it’s too hot to stay in the house, and going outside means non-stop mosquito attacks? You just might decide that survival isn’t all it’s cracked up to be! Well, how about buying a few low-cost mosquito nets and be ready to drape them over some tent poles or paracord or staple them around the sides of a patio? You could cut them into smaller sections to cover windows and allow for some airflow while being protected for those nasty skeeters. Stocking up on bug spray wouldn’t hurt, either, although some mosquito nets are infused with insect repellent.
Well, for sure this is an item that won’t fit in your bug out bag, but what it will do is compress just about anything else into a small and flat enough waterproof package so you can cram more and more into that bag! Remove the cardboard center from a roll of toilet paper, put the roll in a Food Saver bag, seal, and it’s the perfect size for any emergency kit. Sort your bug out bag’s contents in categories (hygiene, medical, first aid, lighting, etc.) and then put like items together in one Food Saver bag, and seal. Get more ideas for using a vacuum sealer here.
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