We preppers are well aware that the world is not a perfect place. A whole lot can happen in a very short amount of time: like how a hurricane can gut an entire city overnight. An earthquake can topple bridges and large buildings in minutes, and even a solar flare can send society tumbling into anarchy within days.
But let’s not forget about how we can also be caught off guard, away from our preps and gear. You’ve probably played this scenario in your mind a few times already…
The ScenarioYou leave for the weekend to visit the in-laws without your gear, thinking, “There’s no way something crazy is going to happen while we’re gone.” And then, the unthinkable happens.
You’re suddenly in a crisis scenario …possibly miles from your stash of survival goodies and just no way to get to them.
So, what are you going to do?
I’ve always said that a prepper is someone who gathers knowledge and supplies to survive a crisis. A survivalist is someone knowledgeable who prepares to have no supplies when the crisis unfolds.
No ‘survival supplies’? Oh contraire, my friends. I can already think of 4 that would certainly be stored at the in-laws' place.
Cotton Balls & Petroleum JellyWant to know a cheap, easy way of starting a fire –even if you left your trioxane tablets back at home?
Go to the upstairs bathroom and open the linen closet or mirror cabinet. Grab the Vaseline, about 15 cotton balls and a prescription pill container.
All you need to do is take a cotton ball, dip it in the petroleum jelly, and shove it into the pill container. Then, repeat until the container is completely full.
When you need to start a fire, simply hit that puppy with one of the in-laws' 5,000 matches (because his mom loves her candles), and it will burn consistently for a good 3-5 minutes. At that point, starting a fire is idiot-proof.
Oh, and don’t wipe the stickiness off your hands. You can also use the Vaseline that was inevitably left on your fingers for lip balm. Waste not; want not!
Duct TapeLet’s face it, this one’s a given. Here’s just a short list of all the things you can do with the wonderful loveliness of duct tape.
- Repair nylons and plastics from tents to patio furniture covers, which can also act as a water resistant bag.
- Rip it into strips and create a synthetic rope (which is surprisingly strong)
- Rip it into very thin strips and create yet another fire starter, which will burn for up to 15 minutes.
- Temporarily patch clothing
- Secure dressings on a wound with a cotton bandana or ripped-off swaths of the living room drapes
- Burn the duct tape to use as signaling, if there’s snow on the ground. It will burn with a smelly, dark black smoke that will contrast against the white landscape.
NewspaperThis one is often overlooked, but there are some fantastic uses for the New York Times. And yes, even the one that’s been lying on your in-law’s front porch since last autumn.
For instance, newspaper can provide excellent insulation for cold evenings. Simply crumple up the lose papers and stuff the loose wads under your clothing. You’d be surprised as to just how warm this can keep you.
Just make sure to have a layer under the crumpled wads, because that gets itchy quickly.
Also, if you’ve got a whole ton of newspaper and other junk mail just lying about the house, then you can actually purchase a device that will turn it into logs for burning.
It’s basically nothing more than a compressor that uses water to break down the fibers in the paper. Once you’ve got full compression, you can remove the wet log and let it dry.
If the in-laws have a chimney, then you’re in luck. If they don’t…
Who cares if your neighborhood doesn’t allow bonfires, use the backyard anyway. It’s not like you’re going to get reprimanded by the homeowners association.
Alicia grew up in Alaska where she earned her hunter and wilderness safety license at age 13. She now works as a content coordinator for a tech company in Pennsylvania and blogs in her free time at Homey Improvements.