Millions of Americans believe that in the not-too-distant future, America, and possibly the entire world, could be mired in a disaster of epic, Armageddon-sized proportions. Collectively, the apocalyptic event is known as when the SHTF. It’s the ultimate challenge to mankind’s survival. Whether it comes from social upheaval, natural, act-of-God disasters, economic failure, terrorism or war, concerned individuals are preparing for the worst.
SHTF stands for Sh*t Hits the Fan. The Internet is fairly replete with information on what to expect and how to prepare for such a catastrophe. However, even governments have accepted the possibility of a rapid, overnight natural disaster, or the downfall of civilized society. Huge underground warehouses were built and are stocked with seeds from nearly every tree and plant known to man.
In addition, animal and human DNA and the most beneficial medicines are also stocked to give humanity a chance to survive any impending disaster. This even includes the Armageddon, whether it’s natural, extraterrestrial, or man-made.
SHTF Survival Items You Should Have In Your Supplies!
Whether you have a family or are an individual, there are certain things that are crucial to your survival in the event of a local, national or worldwide calamity. You will need to provide food, water, and shelter. Those are the big three you need for you and your family to survive.
Any creature comfort-related items beyond that aren’t absolutely necessary in an emergency. If you have the ability and resources to satisfy additional needs and desires, that is fine. The primary three needs are what help you survive and what deserves your focus.
The following list of basic items needs to be included in your SHTF survival kit, or bug out bag.
1. Tool For Cutting or Chopping
This item needs to be of a substantial size to accommodate cutting or chopping down trees for cooking, warmth and even shelter. A hatchet or large survival knife, complete with a honing stone and sheath or carrying case is preferred. A hatchet can double as a hammer. Some survival knives even have tools in the handle, things like a compass, string saw, light fishing tackle and a small sewing kit. When SHTF, you’ll be glad you have a chopping and cutting tool on your side.
2. Multi-Purpose Tool
A multi-purpose tool has a number of elements that go beyond simple cutting. This makes the multi-purpose tool an exceptional item to own. Things like scissors, knife, screwdriver, pliers, can opener, bottle opener, and other attached tools are not as frivolous as they may seem. In a true survival situation that impacts entire cities, regions, or countries, you may need to scavenge for foodstuffs.
Fresh foods may get contaminated. Even if they aren’t contaminated, they are not going to last for long. Canned goods, bottled water, and other liquids may be your only options. The additional tools can skin animals and construct or maintain a functional shelter.
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3. Water Purification or Filtration
Freshwater may get contaminated. If it is, it requires purifying or desalinating water to satisfy hydration needs. Humans can survive only a few days without fresh water. When SHTF, your water tap will dry up fast. You need to find a new solution. There is a variety of water filtration gear available online that you can reuse hundreds or even thousands of times. It is highly recommended that your survival kit includes several backups.
4. Fire Starter
Matches are fine, but they can get easily ruined by water or even humidity and mildew. It is best to go with what is called a permanent match, or a flint or magnesium rod. The permanent match is an enclosed “match” that stores inside a metal container and lights up when removed from the container. The flint and magnesium rods, when scraped with a steel object such as a knife blade, create sparks that ignite dry tinder and paper. In the eventuality that you do not have any tinder or paper, cotton balls soaked with petroleum jelly work exceptionally well.
5. Duct Tape
There are far too many practical, helpful uses for duct tape to list here. A few of them are fire-starting, building and repairing furniture, building and maintaining a shelter, emergency first aid care, crafting an emergency glass or bowl and repairing tools.
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There are entire websites devoted to the use of duct tape for a vast array of uses. Include as much duct tape in your survival kit as you possibly can. You will not regret having it in an SHTF scenario.
6. First Aid and Emergency Kit
Include basics like band-aids, material for tourniquets, eye pads and cloth compresses, safety pins, thermometers, compass, antibiotics, and painkillers. Place them in a waterproof container, preferably something flexible. It conforms to the inside of a backpack or duffel bag and uses less space this way. A double-zippered plastic bag is one option to consider.
7. Paracord or Rope
Paracord is the cord that keeps parachutists safely attached to their parachutes when jumping. It is also what individuals use for rock climbing. It’s super strong and durable. However, a rope is a good replacement in emergency situations because paracord can be used for shelter building, rescue, perimeter security, traversing structures and much more.
FYI – paracord doesn’t work as a suitable replacement for climbing rope, however, in an emergency situation, it’s a last resort that you can use. If you have extra room, we highly recommend adding climbing rope if you absolutely believe you’ll need it.
8. Fishing Gear
If you have enough room for a fishing rod and reel, that’s great. However, only the basics are really necessary: lures, fish eggs, and fishing line work. You can always organize and cast the fishing line using a tin can, bottle, or stick. If you can dig up worms with a flat stone, or even your ax or knife, that helps, too. Grubs, caterpillars and other bugs also make great bait. Check out the Paracord Pod Fishing Kit ultra light and like a tackle box in your pocket.
In addition to being good as rain gear, a poncho can also provide shelter and even warmth, if necessary. It can function as an over-the-shoulder bag for carrying stuff. It can also help construct a travois, or litter, to carry wood, supplies, or an injured person.
10. Flashlight and Extra Batteries
A reliable, compact LED flashlight is indispensable for the purposes discussed here. Check out our favorite solution to this: the Hybeam Micro flashlight. The ideal way to supplement a regular flashlight is to get one that recharges by turning the attached handle. The light does not last as long as a regular flashlight. They are perfect, though, for non-emergency use to save battery power in the LED flashlights.
If you do run out of batteries, a rechargeable flashlight at least provides you with some light. Remember that most batteries, after they run out, regenerate somewhat after a few weeks or longer if just left alone outside of the flashlight.
Also, if you’re storing a flashlight for days or longer, remove the batteries so they don’t slowly drain. Obviously, if you have a family to care for and protect, you should try to fit multiples of the aforementioned items. For example, water purification and filtration items, first aid supplies, fishing gear and extra batteries.
If possible, each teen and adult should put their own multi-purpose tool, poncho, flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit and fishing gear in their own backpack or bug out bag. While the chances of such a disastrous event may seem like science fiction, there are many conditions and situations that suggest the distinct potential for the worst case scenario.
These SHTF survival items are just what any regular joe, prepper, or survivalist need. Whether it’s preparing for when SHTF or simple out on an adventure, no practical survivalist should be caught without these items. Get familiar with all of them and practice using them now before the need for them arise.
Which of these SHTF survival items is yet to make it to your SHTF supply list? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 11, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.