5 Things You May Not Have Thought of When Planning for an Emergency

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One of the very first things I did when I adopted what I like to call the “Prepping Lifestyle” is do a walk around inventory.  Although I had not consciously considered myself a prepper – and at the time I barely knew what that meant anyway – I discovered that I had a lot of stuff, but that it was woefully disorganized and lacking in many key areas.

I had lots of canned goods, supplemental lighting, off-grid cooking devices, tools and more.  But I was sorely lacking in water and first aid items.  Go figure.

Over the past couple of years, I have learned a lot, shared a lot and made a number of prepping mistakes.  Taking them all in stride – well, not quite, but I try – I can now look back with relief that I have come as far as I have.  But as I often say, prepping is a way of life and there is always something new to learn, tasks to do and gear to purchase.

Today I am going to share with you a list of things that you may not have thought of when planning for an emergency, a short term disaster or a SHTF situation where you will be on your own and totally off grid.

5 Things That Will Be Useful if the SHTF

1.  Aluminum Foil

Aluminum-FoilA few rolls of aluminum foil will serve you well in an emergency situation.  You can use foil to fashion cooking utensils or to line your pots and pans before cooking so that you do not have to waste precious water cleaning up. If you do cook on you pans directly, a crumpled up piece of foil can be used as a handy scrubber to remove the crusties. You can even use foil to create an impromptu Faraday cage.

There are a lot more uses for this handy stuff such as wrapping stones in foil, heating them by the campfire, then using them to heat up your blanket or sleeping bag before going to bed.  Once you put a mind to it, you will wonder why you had not thought of including aluminum foil in your survival kit before now.

2.  Disposable Eating Utensils

Unless you live near a lake or stream, chances are that water is going to be precious.  Even a 55 gallon water barrel or two will only go so far and you will want to reserve that water for drinking and cooking.  Paper plates and disposable utensils (forks, knives and spoons) are the answer and will only set you back a few dollars.

3.  Laundry Equipment and Supplies

You are going to need to have tools and supplies for hand washing and drying your clothes.  Sure, you can wear a shirt and pants for a few days without worry but hopefully the undies and other unmentionables will be clean.  And who wants to wear dirty socks?

You are going to need a tub and plunger (don’t discount using a plumber’s helper if that is what you have) or better yet, an old-fashioned washboard.  You can fashion a clothes line out of paracord or purchase a dryer rack.  But have you thought about clothes pins?

And for washing, how about a bar of Fels Naphtha washing soap?  It is light weight, portable, and does not take up a lot of space.  As good as my DIY laundry soap works in a machine, when you are the machine, nothing beats a bar of soap for rubbing, scrunching and stain removal.

4.  Cooking Grate

Depending on your facilities and the number of mouths to feed, cooking over an open fire may be a real possibility.  Even if you are using a rocket stove – either home made, an Ecozoom, Solo Stove or other type – an open fire may still be needed for grilling freshly caught fish or game or for long term simmering if stews and chili’s made with your stored food items.

5.  Sanitation supplies

Funny how people forget about the basics.  In addition to a supply of TP, how about some old tee-shirts cut up into squares to use “there” when nothing else is available?  In addition, you will need some feminine supplies for ladies and diapers for the little ones.  And, if the sewer or septic system in inoperable, you are going to need a buckets and some large heavy duty plastic bags to use as a liner so you have someplace to do your business.

The Final Word

As you look over this list, it may occur to you that many of these items are already available in your pantry, closet or basement storage area.  And if not, none are overly expensive.  Even the cooking grate can be improvised from an oven rack or you can purchase one at a second hand store.

The moral of today’s article is that when and if the time comes, it will be comforting to have the basics covered so that you can spend time worrying about the important things such as your safety, security and the health of your loved ones.

For the next few days, why not walk around your home or apartment and seek out items that will be useful in an unconventional manner in an emergency.  Add them to this list and of course, share your ideas below in the comments.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Bargain Bin: Thinking abut what might be missing in terms of survival gear?  I offer the following for your consideration.

waterBOB Emergency Drinking Water Storage:  If you know a storm is headed your way, the $30 waterBob can be used to store up to 100 gallons of fresh water for up to four weeks.

Laundry Drying Rack: I own a laundry drying rack which I keep on my deck. And when the weather is nice, I use it.

Columbus Pail Size Washboard:  For about $20 and some elbow grease, this old fashioned washboard will get you by if no machine – or electricity – is available.

Wood Clothespins The No Mess No Fuss Method of Making DIY Laundry Detergent Backdoor Survival: Cheap as all get out ($8 for 100 wooden clothespins) and imminently useful for lots of things, including handing laundry on a paracord clothes line.

Rothco Type III Commercial Paracord: You can get 100 feet of  Survival Gear Checklist 15 Items to Get You StartedParacord for about $8. This is a real bargain but be aware that price can vary substantially depending on the color.

EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove: Burning twigs and pinecones, this stove will cook a big pot of rice in under 20 minutes. The stove is solidly built and will burn charcoal as well. There is also a version that only burns biomass for slightly less money. Survival Basics: Preparing for a Grid Down Power Outage Backdoor Survival Survival Basics: Preparing for a Grid Down Power Outage Backdoor Survival

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Emergency Essentials carries a wide variety of equipment and supplies – all at competitive prices.

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5 Things You May Not Have Thought of When Planning for an Emergency — 23 Comments

  1. Using your site I order the book Get out of Dodge. You should go to this page. After ordeering it wount let me out, and gave a lone list of other sales and it still was going on & on when I clicked off. Take a look and see what you think. By by Bill

    • I always order these things myself so I know what my readers will face. This must be something new. I still think the report is a good value for $7 compared to some of the others out there.

      Clicking off – as you did – was the right thing to do.

  2. Some comments from my experience:
    Aluminum foil: most of the space it takes up is the inner core, buying the 200 foot rolls gives you more for the space it occupies, a 25 foot roll is very close to the same size. Foil makes a mess if you try to roll it differently, but wax paper is easy, and can be rolled up tightly and put inside the foil core to use the space efficiently.
    Paper plates: Most plates have plastics in them, which is not good if you plan on burning or composting them after use. Check for just paper. Historically on the frontier, each person had their own set of fork, spoon and eating knife, and kept it with them. Might cut down on the dishes.
    Laundry: I keep a mop bucket with wringer for getting excess water out of clothes. (Which is also useful for clean up after flooding or fire.) If you are buying cheap clothespins from big box stores, look close at them, there are two sizes, 3.25 inches and 3 inches. The bigger ones are made with a bit thicker wood and a lot stronger springs than the small ones, and are a lot better at holding laundry on the line, especially if it’s wetter because it’s not been spun out, or heavy clothes. A good supply of hangers helps to have too, most things can be put on a hanger to dry and they can hang from a lot of places where you can’t run lines. Metal hangers are also good thick wire for repairing odd things.
    Sanitation Supplies: Diapers for babies is a given, cloth ones wash well. If you have someone who is injured badly, you may need adult sized diapering of some sort also. At minimum, extra towels and trash bags to lay under someone who is sick and can’t get up quickly to make it to the bucket. A bedpan might be worth it to you to have, depending on your situation. A lidded chamberpot is very useful also (coffee can with lid is a good easy one) urine can be dumped outside easily if it’s kept separate from solids. A trash bag full of mixed solids and liquids is NOT easy to carry out. And you don’t want a bag like that to break. Think on that. I have a heavy canvas bucket liner (made for carrying tools) that I’m hoping will make plastic liner bags easier to move around. Might be worth sewing one or two out of washable denim or upholstery cloth.
    Other things: Brooms and mops for clean up after flooding or fire. A heavy duty push broom, a heavy duty straight broom and a good string mop, bucket and wringer might all be worth having around. Most of us have things like Swiffers, which wouldn’t be too useful on a serious mess. Restaurant supply stores have good ones.

  3. I hitchhiked for 4 years, and i do say few preppers have done just that.

    i would like to state that for one, dirty clothes, will be the least of your worries in every single emergency scenario save for a biological attack, in which case a few pairs of clothes is sufficient. In all likelyhood, less than 3% of all preppers would survive a biological attack, sooner or later you will die of starvation, lack of supplies, or disease. ive watched alot of doomsay preppers episodes, of people spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on supplies, and even they have less than 13 months of survival time. and 13 months is not enough for a biological attack,and it never will be. it is estimated 3 years of surival time at 100% safety is adequate for survival time, to be safe from any and all biological threats (USAF).

    I would like to add that in addition to being a hitchhiker for 4 years, i also spent 4 years in the united states airforce, and only the absolute idiot would believe that a year is adequate to survive a biological attack.

    biological attacks aside,

    a few change of clothes is sufficient.

    ive gone months wearing the same pair of clothes, and only an adequately trained mind will be worried about germs and shit like that.

    germs are the least of your worries.

    if you dont want to have to worry about clean dishes and what not, its logical and simple, eat with your fucking hands like the cavemen did. cup your hands for a bowl, food dont have to be hot to eat.

    when your starving the last thing your worried about is warm food or clean dishes, you want food and anything will suffice.

    foil is only good for covering your ID in, to escape scanners.

    if you heat rocks, be a fucking man, and pick em up with your hand, covering them in foil is a waste of money, as i have had to use heated rocks, and the last things on my mind was wether or not they were covered in foil.

    if you need to take a shit, dig a fucking hole, with your hands, if not, then just poop man! the last thing your gonna be worrying about is environment when you are on the trail fighting for your life and you gotta take a leak.

    alot of these doomsday preppers still hang on to basic civilized principles, and im telling you from 4 years of homelessness in the backwoods,

    your not gonna give a fuck about civilized and whats the right way to do things and not, when your starving or fighting for your life out there.

    your just gonna do it. like a caveman if you have to.

    • You are 100% right! I’m not worried about keeping my current lifestyle when the shit hits the fan! I’m worried about surviving! I know how to dig a hole for a latrine if I have to. I’ve gone primitive camping enough not to worry about the frills. I’m not worried about the frills. I’m just gathering basics!

    • Don’t appreciate the disgusting use of language…save it for the construction site. We can all be concerned and offer comments without the language and attitude.

  4. wooden utensils (spoon, fork) and wooden plates/bowls/goblets are durable and have antiseptic properties, so they do not require washing (also, they can be replaced relatively cheaply & easily, since wood is plentiful in nature). much better than paper/plastic any day! silverware likewise, however that may be more sensitive to theft/looting, hence a silver knife may well be the extent of silverware used.

    • Um, sorry, wood is the most porous of materials for utensils and bowls. They do not have antiseptic properties. You need to wash them with hot water and soap or a bleach solution. Metal is better. What a waste of water to wash wood. Sorry, I do not believe anything but metal will do. They even give it to the boy scouts for ease of cleaning. Do most people not already have metal utensils? Why buy something new?

      • Heidi;
        It is plain to see you have been educated beyond your intelligence. Wood does indeed have antiseptic properties. Metal is heavy especially stainless steel or cast iron. You make it sound like you are going to be in one place shut off from all the rest of the world. That would be great in a perfect world but if you are not prepared to kill to keep your food and supplies you might just as well stay at home and don’t waste the effort of running away. I do wish you luck.

  5. I read your instructions on the “Solar Still”, In the Quartzsite news paper, great!

    Have you published any other info articles like that? which may be posted on your web site or in one of your books?

    Also I have a book writen by John Wiseman SAS “Survival Book”, have not read it yet. Would you know of it? and Is it any good?

  6. We know how to survive a castasrophe. How do we survive idiots with a limited vocabulary and have to publicly express their thoughts with 4-letter words that are inapppropriate? Trashy mouths don’t make them better preppers! Site comments need to be monitored so that it is acceptable to ALL preppers, please.

    • I do moderate and delete any comment with profanity, I do not know what comment you are referring to since there is nothing here in this thread that appears offensive. (If you subscribe to comments you may be getting a comment before I have a chance to delete it.)

      The other thing is that comments are filtered and many get through without moderation. I still get a copy and can moderate after the fact.

    • Every thing written on this blog you can hear anytime of any day just walking down the street. That is unless you live in Mayberry RFD

  7. I think the ladies are referring to “Luke’s” comments-he made some good points albeit quite crudely-but what do you expect from someone who endured “4 years of homelessness in the backwoods”, not to mention the 4 years in the Air Force??

  8. Awe….Lukes’ 4 letter words are common language. His point was, Don’t be so uppity about surviving, It’s a waste of time, Geez…wrapping rocks in foil is silly and a waste of foil. If anyone thinks their clean (sanitized) life will continue they are clueless.

  9. i apologize for my french. but yes ive spent 8 years out of my 26 having to rough it. when i read about these yuppies trying to make everything so civilizedly perfect….it makes me want to wretch. when it comes to true survival nothing about it is pretty, neat, or clean. seriously…….

    • Luke I too have spent my time all be it semi civilized living off the grid for about 3 years then I have been a rebel for many years before and after. A Bath or Shower and clean clothes don’t factor into anything at all. Most nights you don’t even undress, you just lay down and go to sleep. IF by change you have blankets or a sleeping bag you are in 7th heaven. Praying that sometime soon you get to have a cup of coffee and maybe some breakfast but for now you make do with what ever you have. I do for a fact know exactly where I will be spending time when the SHTF.

      • correct. i cant count the countless nights i found a place in some ditch or under some bushes or behind a dumpster, laid down in the dirt and mud, got rained on all night, or woke up half frozen to the ground, ate a cold can of beans or nothing at all, and went to sleep, just so i could walk another 30 miles with a 150lb pack on my back in the blistering 103 degree sunlight when i woke up just so i could lay down and do it again the next night. yea i saw alot of awesome places and met some cool ass people, but i also met the retards who judged me by the cover, mistook my cursing as a lack of intelligence. mistookmy earthy sweaty smell as a sign of laziness, and most of those mfs who pushed the issue walked away wishing they hadnt.

  10. and on a side note, to those who are disgusted by my use of french: when shit really does hit the fan, and u lose ur house, watch people get raped pillaged and shot down for supplies, when the government and economy and relief efforts fail, and ur trying to find a safe place for the night but u cant bc all u have to see by is a flashlight thats half dead, and u hear the big tanks and the big guns, and if u can read the news all u will hear about is the end of the world…….your gonna be shooting ur mouth off too so dont try and act all uppity goody goody on me.

    • You do make some valid points however you also describe yourself as the do anything to survive type of person that one may need to guard against. If you are out roaming the land then you don’t any of the stored necessities required for long term survival. This would make you a potential threat in my opinion.

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