33 Brilliant Non-Traditional Preps

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
33 Brilliant Non-Traditional Preps

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Pick up any preparedness book or visit any preparedness website and you are bound to be inundated with ideas for getting yourself ready for an unexpected disruptive event.  After awhile, the eyes begin to glaze over as you realize that you are reading the same thing over and over again.

The good news is that if so many people are talking about something, it must be true, right?  For obvious reasons, I am going to leave that one alone for now.  Instead, I want to focus on the real life preps from regular folks who are walking the preppers walk.  By that I mean ordinary citizens, not authors, not bloggers, and not individuals that are out to make a name for themselves.

33 Brilliant Non Traditional Preps

I am referring to Backdoor Survival readers.

As those of you that have been following this website know, to enter most giveaways there is a giveaway question designed to make you think.  Recently, the question asked was:

What is your favorite non-traditional prep? Be specific.

Some of the answers were indeed, great ideas and quite non-traditional. Others, while more commonplace, were preps that are often overlooked and worthy of repeating.  With that in mind, today I share some of the very best non-traditional preps from Backdoor Survival readers.

The Best Non-Traditional Preps from Backdoor Survival Readers

1.  Marbles!  I use them in my wrist-rocket slingshot. They make great ammo, cost little, and are seen as a toy for children, so they are not as likely to be stolen or confiscated. In addition they are of a uniform size and weight.

2.  I used sandbags to create a root cellar in my crawlspace. I could have used wood but didn’t want to attract bugs.  Since it’s above ground, I added a vent off our AC unit in order to cool it. It took nearly 6 months for the ground temp to come down but its very reasonable now in the summer!

3.  My prep that is not in the norm is my daughter’s blankets. I think that if something really happens, a little piece of home will be good for her. She has this specific type of blanket she likes.

4.  A whiteboard and markers. My autistic son will need this to understand a change in his schedule.

5.  Books on herb craft. I love using essential oils but if the SHTF then I would not have access to the oils after a while. So, I am growing herbs and learning how to use them fresh or dry.

6.  Dr. Bonners Castile soap. Because it is one of those items that has multiple uses, you clean everything from yourself (hair, teeth & skin) to your house and laundry. Multi use items are my favorite things to store.

7.  I have a couple of wind-up watches that don’t need batteries and a wind up alarm clock. When batteries run out and cell phones don’t work, there might be some comfort in still being able to tell time.  A solar-powered watch would also work.

8.  Journaling supplies. They will help me vent should the SHFT.

9.  A kindle or iPad for storing prepping info.  It would be impossible to store that many paper/hardback in a  limited space.

10.  Fabric in several types (flannel, cotton, wool etc.) plus patterns, scissors, needles, and thread! I also have a treadle sewing machine and yarn to knit/crochet sweaters and mittens and hats and socks.

11.  Over the years I have purchased many bags of feed for my critters. I save all the bags (they are heavy duty) to use as “dirt bags” to fill with dirt to line the insides of the walls in my home. A bullet will go through a normal wall very easily. A wall of dirt that is from 1 1/2 feet thick to 4 feet thick, depending on how you place them, will make an excellent protector.

12.  Plastic yogurt cups. They don’t have a top but I have saved them any way. They can be used to start seeds, as drinking cups, as candle holders, and many other things.

13.  I have a treadle sewing machine and quilting supplies so that I have something to work on and that can be used.

14. I am the family historian. So if/when you see a safe box in my home, the treasures it holds are my family history (some of which I have written) and family pictures going back many generations. I have hard copies, copies on flash drives and CDs stored in different places and of course in my BOB. Knowing the stories of my ancestors will keep others occupied during those crises times when calm is needed. We do have heroes in our own families. They may not be superheroes, but heroes nonetheless.

15.  My non-traditional prep is an extensive collection of games and kite making materials. Kids will take it fairly hard if something should happen.

16.  My grandmother’s cookbooks. There are a lot of “from scratch” recipes and ways of doing things, right down to how to prepare a chicken from the coop to the table.

17.  Carving tools.

18. My non-traditional item would be my essential oils kit. I know I can use these as alternatives for first-aid, hygiene, and stress relief.

19.  Books on foraging and how to use herbs and essential oils.

20.  My non traditional prep would be getting Lasik eye surgery done. In really bad conditions, eye glasses and definitely contact lenses will be non existent.

21.  I have printed almost every “from scratch” recipe I could find. If SHTF I want to be able to make bread, biscuits and as many other comfort foods as I can.

22.  Fire extinguishers.

23.  Free samples of diapers, incontinence products, saw blades – anything that I can get. I figure that when SHTF, I can find non-traditional uses for these things. Plus, every penny saved can go towards the traditional preps.

24.  Although you should not store drinking water in old milk bottles, I store water in them to refill the toilet tank for at least 3 days-till other arrangements can be set up.

25.  My only non-traditional is the WonderBag that I made for cooking. I got the idea off of the internet and it looked intriguing. I’ve only cooked in it a couple of times but it works great.

26.  I have been collecting board games & card games.  Thrift stores have had a LOT in like new condition with all the pieces & instructions. Also jigsaw puzzles. When the “apps” go out along with the lights, we’ll need some R&R to recover from all the “new” hard work we’ll be doing.

27.  I began collecting crossword and word search puzzles. I also buy pencils at the dollar store every time  go.

28. One of my non-traditional preps has got to be the cloth diapers and accompanying accessories. We have several young adult children (still having kids) in my family and having learned when I was younger to have cloth diapers on hand will be a boon to the young mothers when they can’t get “plastic” diapers.

29.  A French press for making coffee.

30. My non-traditional prep would have to be my walker. I can use a cane as well but my walker would allow me to go further and a bit faster plus it gives me a place to sit and rest when needed and it has a small basket for some additional gear.

31. I would have to say that our non-traditional prepping item would our distiller for water and making alcohol (for barter, of course!).

32. Travel books with lots of pictures, so you can travel in your armchair since there won’t be any more ways to travel.  Also, a world map.

33. My faith and Bible!! Also theology books.

The Final Word

When I am asked where my ideas and knowledge comes from, I typically respond with “anywhere and everywhere”.  Seriously, my knowledge and inspiration comes from a variety of sources: first hand experience, books, online forums and of course, Backdoor Survival readers.

The bottom line is not that I am smarter or more clever than everyone else.  On the other hand, I have taken my passion for preparedness and made it an active part of my life.  There is life on the other side and I want to be there to live it with gusto.

A special thank you to all of the readers that made this article possible.  As always, make every day a prep day!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for me daily at Top Prepper Websites!  In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

 Below you will find  the items related to today’s article.

Marbles in a Tin Box, 160-Piece: What a great idea!  I actually have a sling shot but have not used it much for practice because of the cost of the ammo.  I need to start practicing with marbles.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap:  This is the real thing and it works well for cleaning, hygiene, and a bunch of other uses.  For the budget minded, consider making your own.  See DIY Liquid Castile Soap “Wonderful”.

Citizen EcoDrive Watch : Both Shelly and I have EcoDrive watches that require no batteries.  They just run and run and run.  Highly recommended.

Kindle, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display: Kindles and other eBook readers have become so inexpensive that I don’t know why everyone does on have one. BTW, eBook readers charge up quickly using an inexpensive solar charger.

SterlingPro French Press:  I have had a French press for over a year and have yet to learn how to use it.  That said, also think about a percolator.  I have this one and it makes superb coffee.  Who would have thought it?  Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator.

Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression: If you don’t know about Clara, be sure to read Depression Cooking: A Visit to Clara’s Kitchen.

Essential Oils Desk Reference 6th Edition: This is the ultimate reference guide for essential oil users.  I thought long and hard before purchasing this book myself, but once I did, I was so grateful I took the leap.  The information is cross referenced in many ways making it easy to find what you are looking for.  When searching for a particular remedy, you may see multiple oils listed and any will work but they are presented in order of typical efficacy.  The nice thing is that if you do not have #1 on hand, you can move down the list.  I have found the recommendations to be spot on.

Ticket to Ride:  When it comes to board games, this is my favorite.  (It helps that I usually win.)  This is fun for the entire family.  Warning, you will become addicted and will often ask the question:  Want to play train aka “ticket to ride”?

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27 Responses to “33 Brilliant Non-Traditional Preps”

  1. Converted gas stove from natural gas to propane with 200 gal tank; enough gas to cook with for up to 2 years now. Already practicing no or low electric use with extra benefit of having under $15. power bill for the last 6 months! Upgraded/refurnished old pickup truck that uses no fuses or modern gadgets, just gas and oil, in case of EMP…it will still run fine. Cleaned out chest freezer, canned everything, now using it for canned storage and seeds. Bought sunflower seeds, can plant them or use oil extractor to get fuel or cooking oil. Built an indoor rocket stove with bench, can cook on it and use for slow cooking if need be. Built several outdoor types of cooking methods: keystone oven, pit cooking, and got colonial style cast iron fire irons to use and practice using them. Got many wicks and used oil lamps that can burn sunflower oil. Bought many sizes of tin carrying buckets for water and veggies, etc. Getting ready to put in a handpump shallow well.

  2. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. I pray you and your family will be well and safe in any event forthcoming.

  3. I originally suggested the travel books. The reason is even in Little House on the Prairie they had time for fun. Different people like different things for fun. People who like to travel will not be able to so they can look at books. Pictures are beautiful & take your mind off dire circumstances.

  4. A whet stone and the skill to sharpen your knives. Skills may be more important than things. I like the idea that my fabric stash and my yarn stash are now known as preps! Learn to sew and learn to knit. We will always need to repair clothes, even if we don’t make new ones. What will you do if you don’t have any socks? I’m knitting ours. Learn new skills as you age. It keeps your brain working.

  5. A small pencil sharpener in a fire kit makes for easy tinder. Small repair kit with wire, duct tape, silicone, zip-ties, superglue, and JB-weld can fix most small repair needs.

  6. I make sure mine and my families dental work in up to date also make sure everyone is current on a Tetnus shot. Don’t put off getting that filling they have been telling you that you need.

  7. The person had better have a concrete pad floor In the house expecting to bear the weight of earth filled bags for bullet proofing the inside the home…

  8. Good ideas, all of them. My “non-traditional prep” is to store water in empty detergent bottles of all kinds. There is enough soap left in the “empty” bottle to do many things with the water. I am thinking of using one bottle of laundry detergent water for washing hand laundry. Using an bottle of dish soap as a squirt bottle to wet hands too soiled for alcohol hand sanitizer, rubbing hands together to get soil off and rinse them in a bucket of water. When the rinse bucket gets to soapy to get the soap off, I will use that bucket of water to water plants or add it to the laundry bucket to wash dark clothing in.

    I LOVE the idea of taking advantage of all the free samples out there to put away for barter in the future.

    For family’s with young children who get all those darn Fast Food toys….put them away, unopened, for future trade/fun for children who won’t touch them for more than 2 seconds now, but will be looking for entertainment when the lights go out.

    Baby food for families with elderly parents in them. The baby food will help with swallowing pills without water and get more calories in them than just plain water, too boot. (Acutally this is a good idea at any time, just be sure to get fruit sauce baby foods, cuz who wants to take pills with green beans? LOL)

  9. dental floss! the stuff is strong as the dickens and can be used for lots of things, even sewing. and it takes up almost no space in my edc.

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