When it comes to prepping for disasters, there seems to be no shortage of survival tools, supplies and gear that you can buy. Survival supply companies are constantly trying to reinvent the wheel by coming up with numerous new and improved survival trinkets that they say you need in an SHTF scenario.
The truth is, nothing beats tools and gear that have been put to the test time and again by experienced preppers. Listed below are examples of those tools:
Yoyo fish trap – A yoyo fish trap lets you put bait in the water and leave it unattended. If a fish takes it, the ultra-sensitive spring mechanism on the trap pulls in the line and snags the fish for you. Make sure you anchor the trap well so that you're guaranteed to have a fish waiting for you when you get back.
Camp stove – Whether or not you live somewhere cold, you should have a safe and reliable source of heat for keeping warm, cooking and boiling water. Ideally, you'd have a wood stove, but a portable propane or kerosene camping stove works great as well. Make sure the stove is safe for indoor use. Invest in a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector if in doubt.
Portable generator – Disasters like floods, earthquakes and hurricanes can cause blackouts. However, there's no telling when services will be restored in the aftermath of a disaster. So, you should consider investing in a reliable portable generator. Though not an absolute necessity for survival, generators allow you to charge your portable electronic devices, which can be crucial in an emergency.
Folding shovel – As versatile as it is, a shovel can be burdensome, especially when SHTF. Today, many survival tool companies carry folding shovels. The folding feature allows for easy storage.
Folding pruning saw – Pruning saws are ideal for cutting green wood and branches for building a fire. But like the shovel, a saw can be bulky and difficult to pack in your survival bag. Invest in a folding pruning saw instead.
Headlamp – A headlamp, as the name implies, is a lamp that you can secure onto your head with straps. It's great for when you can't hold a flashlight because you need to use both hands.
Survival blanket – Buy a heavy-duty survival blanket. Survival blankets can mean the difference between life and death when you're out in the wild during the cold winter months.
Hose bib key – A hose bib is an outdoor tap that lets you run water from the inside of your house to the outside. Most hose bibs on commercial buildings can only be opened with a special key. When SHTF, you'll need all the clean water you can get. So, buy a couple of hose bib keys. You can buy them at any retail hardware store.
Water filter – Potable water can be hard to come by in an SHTF scenario. Buy your own personal water filter. This device allows you to drink water directly from just about any source, clean or not. (Related: How to make your own homemade water filter.)
Machete – This versatile tool can be used in place of a hatchet or a saw in survival situations.
Multi-tool – Multi-tools give you virtually everything you need for survival situations. The smallest multi-tools are credit card or key-sized units.
Solar cell phone charger – Solar chargers are indispensable when SHTF, especially if you can't afford a generator.
Flashlight – Get LED flashlights for your survival bag. These are safer and brighter than candles.
Survival sleeping bag – Survival sleeping bags are extremely lightweight and easy to pack.
Survival tent – Survival tents are made of the same material as survival sleeping bags, except it's formed into a tube. Survival tents are great for keeping out the elements.
Backpacking tarp – Backpacking tarps are more lightweight than regular tarps. You can use it to make a waterproof shelter, protect the bottom of your tent or cover your equipment.
Stormproof matches – Stormproof matches light up quickly and consistently even in rain, heavy wind or falling snow.
Stormproof lighter – Like stormproof matches, this lighter is easy to work with even in rainy or windy conditions.
Flint-based fire starter – Flint-based fire starters let you start a fire in less than a minute. This device, which you can easily find in retail hardware stores, is a spring-loaded sparker that sends a shower of sparks to ignite your tinder.
Tinder cubes – Tinder cubes are designed for use in wet, windy conditions. The cubes are wrapped individually, which helps them stay "fresh" for up to five years. Each cube burns for five minutes.
Waterproof socks – If your socks get wet, you could end up with blisters and injury to your feet. Buy a pair or two of waterproof socks. These socks don't get wet even if you dunk them underwater.
Water pasteurization indicator (WAPI) – This tool was originally meant for use in third-world countries, where clean water may be hard to come by. But it can also be indispensable in an SHTF scenario. With this tool, you can heat water up to the point of pasteurization to purify it instead of boiling it completely. This saves both time and fuel.