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Unexpected Items You Can Use for Survival

Anyone who’s serious about preparing for a catastrophe is going to have a long-term plan of action in place. They’ll likely have a stock of survival items carefully stowed away and ready to bring out in confidence when disaster strikes.

However, for all of the tools and supplies you might have stored away in your shed, garage, or basement, it’s a good idea to consider how the unusual or technologically dependent things that you own can also continue to be useful in the initial stages after something goes wrong.

Unexpectedly Useful Survival Items

While you’re still going to want to have those well-laid plans and fully-stocked shelters in preparation for the future, here are a few other extraneous items that you’ll want to keep in mind in the minutes, hours, and days after doomsday strikes.


It’s tempting to roll your eyes at the idea of a smartphone being of any use during an apocalyptic event. However, the important thing to remember here is the “smart” part of the deal. Yes, the ability to make calls, send texts, and access the internet may disappear pretty quickly, but that still leaves a ton of other uses that your phone is good for.

For instance, if you take the time to stock your phone with useful apps beforehand, it can help you keep track of time, access a compass, and have a flashlight always on hand. It can also be useful to download things like the Wild Edibles App, which helps identify edible plants by region, as well as the SAS Survival Guide, an app that is filled with a variety of helpful doomsday advice.

If you do plan on utilizing a smartphone in the early moments of an apocalypse, make sure to find a model that is tough and durable. In addition, opting for a satellite phone may keep you in communication a little bit longer than a traditional smartphone would.

Power Banks

Of course, if you’re going to depend on your phone, you’re going to need it to hold more than a ten-hour charge. Another item that can be helpful in those early days of survival is a power bank or two. Just make sure that you get a reputable device that will hold a charge, and then keep it charged. It may also serve you well to get a solar charger, as the use of electricity may be out in these times.

Smart Security

Smart homes may seem useless in an end-of-the-world scenario, but the truth is, in the moments during which a disaster is actively unfolding, they actually can be quite practical. Smart security, in particular, has finally become a reality, rather than a mere real-world extension of science fiction. The ability to have your home instantaneously lock itself down is an extremely comforting notion. In addition, as long as that electricity is still running, you can keep those security cameras and alarms going, too.

Heavy Curtains

Smart home capabilities or not, the addition of thick, dark-colored curtains to your home can make a huge difference in your post-apocalyptic privacy. This can help you stay hidden from prying eyes and can make extra visits from unsavory guests less likely. Heavy curtains can also help you regulate the temperature in your house when using an excessive amount of electricity to cool everything down isn’t an option.


This one sounds silly, but it can be a game-changer. Make sure to have your plumbing up to date, as you don’t know when or where the water is going to give out. If you’re on city water, you’re at the mercy of the greater hydro-powers that be. However, if you live near a well, it may be worth getting a hand-pump installed in order to keep that precious H2O flowing no matter what happens.

In addition to a hand-pump, if you have a well and a generator (which is a survival 101 item), then you can use it to keep a well pump running water to your house regardless. If that’s the case, another unassuming item that actually can be worth its weight in gold is a good working toilet … and a bidet. This ensures clean sanitation and doesn’t require a massive stock of toilet paper, which can be hard to get during a disaster.

A Metal Detector

When doomsday has stricken and you are left to survive and live off the land, a metal detector can be a surprisingly useful tool. With the right tools and accessories, a metal detector can help you forage for useful items and metal scraps that you can melt down and turn into needed items for survival. Here’s another case where a solar charger will come in handy in the case that electricity is unavailable. 

Being Resourceful During a Catastrophe

There are plenty of items that are rudimentary survivalist tools. A pocket knife, pliers, flashlights, water purification tablets, and duct tape are just a few of the classics. But the truth is, if you’re not willing to adapt during a disaster, you’re going to be in a world of trouble no matter how prepared you think you are.

That’s why it’s not only helpful but critical to see the survival value in the items that surround you on a daily basis. This can come in the form of something as simple as decorating with slightly thicker curtains, charging up a handful of power banks, or downloading another survival app. Whatever the odd item or tool, it’s always good to look for the survival value in everything you own.

About the Author:

Adrian Johansen loves to write, teach, and create. She believes in that a combination self-sufficiency and teamwork can help anyone live an intentional, meaningful life. Check out more of her writing on twitter!

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