How to be ready for whatever SHTF: The ultimate survival gear guide

The Survival Instinct is the most powerful drive known to man. Whether surrounded by MZBS (mutant zombie bikers) or caught in a fury of nature scenario such as a tornado, hurricane, earthquake, plague, flood or fire storm, you need to be ready.

When confronted with an unexpected situation, its way too late to be looking around for the survival gear that you need. The time to get emergency supplies is now, while things are relatively calm. There is nothing like the peace of mind that comes from being prepared. This site is dedicated to getting you what you need now, before the skyrocketing price of gasoline and the rapidly declining economy make shipping over long distances impractical.

This site is determined to become both a resource and a catalog. When supplies become scarce, you will know that this site has brought you the best survival gear on the planet. While those around you are caught up in terror and pure zombie panic you will be positioned to wait things out with the confidence that comes from planning ahead.

The world is a dangerous place. The action hero plans ahead. This is why he is both a survivor and a capable person.

The supplies selected for this site have been carefully selected for utility, portability, and raw utility. Some items are listed simply because they are valuable commodities when supplies run low, as they have in numerous places around the world at various times. Lessons learned by those who lived through the economic collapses of the Soviet Union and Argentina, or the constant warfare in Sarejevo and other world hotspots are applied in these equipment choices.

When times get tough whether through calamity or events as simple as a power outage, a truckers strike or other supply line interruption there are things you want to have. These are things that actually matter.

Most people are completely oblivious, since you are checking out survival gear, it is clear that you are not one of them.

When Katrina struck New Orleans, looters grabbed everything in site, completely mis-reading what was valuable. Their conditioning failed them. A 42 inch plasma TV screen is a nice and comfortable thing to have in your living room, if the power is on. It has trade value. If you are getting cable, electricity and water. If you are in the middle of an emergency, that plasma TV is worthless except for any tools you might be able to fashion from it. Its not the sort of thing you would see Survivor Man packing through the wilderness.

When it comes down to it, its all about utility. Things that have utility have value. Ultimately, things without utility are less than useless. They are a burden and of no real value. Social status becomes about what you are capable of and what is real.

THESE THINGS HAVE VALUE

  1. Tools
  2. Food
  3. Shelter
  4. Water
  5. Quality Clothing
  6. Knowledge
  7. Medicine
  8. Hygeine
  9. Heat
  10. Light
  11. Power

With these things you are prepared. With many things that once had value, such as a box of baseball cards, you simply have trash. An emergency situation can occur at any time. When it happens you are simply either ready and prepared or caught off guard.

When the Soviet Union collapsed economically, many people died simply because they were unable to handle the transition. The impact on the elderly was particularly significant. Shortages of heating fuel and food have that effect. Things of value simply were unavailable. The United States is on the brink of severe economic instability. Banks have begun to fail and the stock market is plummeting as prices of oil and food skyrocket. This happened in the 1929 as well. Historical precedent shows that those who were prepared fared far better than those who were not ready.

The time to act is today. I am taking the time to prepare a list, based on considerable amounts of research to compile a one stop resource and checklist for the things you will need.

Bivouac Sack

This is one of the most important pieces of equipment you can own. It is designed to encase a sleeping bag and make it completely waterproof. It is a standard piece of field gear for military operations.

The bivvy sack provides an extra layer of insulation and is extremely light weight. This model weighs in with a shipping weight of under one pound.

Emergency Usage
In an emergency situation, a bivvy sack can be used as a tarp, a waterproof supply container, or even as a water container. Even without a sleeping bag it provides a certain degree of protection from the elements, although a sleeping bag is highly recommended.

In a pinch other uses can be found as well, as it can be for example, knotted and turned into a makeshift line or rope. While this is not necessarily the wisest use of the item, in an emergency it is always best to keep a versatile approach to any situation.

Another potential use is to use it in the way that sheet plastic may be used to collect condensation. This is done by propping up the corners with sticks or spikes and placing a heavy object such as a rock in the middle.

Definitely a useful piece of equipment, you’ll be glad you purchased it.
Another model of bivvy sack is shown to the right. This one is lighter and contains a thermal reflective (space blanket) style lining. While not as sturdy, it is less expensive as the other model.

Regardless, the bivi sack is a piece of quality gear that is used on expeditions into rugged territory, such as that faced by mountain climbing teams. The extra layer provides a significant increase in wind chill protection and is a lightweight method of adding a few degrees of thermal insulation to a standard sleeping bag.


Fire Axe

When you need to get into or out of a building that is on fire, surrounded by mutant zombie bikers or both. There is no substitute for the powerful truckman fire axe.

This tool can smash its way through obstacles, gouge, tear, lever and cut like a true battle axe. It has over 10,000 pounds of breaking strength which makes it ideal for removing or cutting through walls, doors, windows, roofing, siding and other structural obstacles. Designed for firefighters, but available to anybody.

Featuring a 16.5″ handle with a savage 9 1/2″ head made of high carbon steel. The design is also features a special head designed with gas shut off capabilities in mind. Compact, powerful and efficient. Weighing in at an amazingly lightweight 3.8 lbs due to the specialized materials it is constructed from, this tool will get you out of a jam when you need it to perform.


Magnesium Strip (fire starter)

An absolutely essential piece of equipment. Magnesium burns hot. It will start a fire. The strip lasts a long time, is portable. While magnesium is highly combustible when shaved from the strip, as a bulk solid it is stable and safe as long as reasonable caution is applied. It will require a spark to ignite, but once burning it will catch even wet wood on fire.

Whether camping, lighting a signal fire or turning into makeshift pyrotechnics, this beautiful and lightweight tool will get the job done. It is lightweight and can easily fit onto a belt-loop, long narrow pocket or even a keychain. Remember, this is a combustable metal so consider what you are storing it with and where you are placing it.

This is also a great piece for any mobile kit.


Poncho

The most basic utility clothing

Lightweight and waterproof. It is very important to stay as dry as possible when faced with inclement elements.

Like all pieces of equipment they come in different classes.

Emergency Poncho

At the minimum you should have an emergency poncho. Extremely cheap, if not entirely durable. This type of poncho has the advantage of being very compact, since its made of only thin plastic.

Having one might get you through a jam and maybe last a few days if you are careful with it. Regardless, minimizing the effects of even one rainstorm makes it worth having.

Like all sheet plastic, it can be used to harvest water if necessary. Another use for this is to throw it in your glovebox. It can keep your suit dry in case you get caught without a coat or an umbrella.

NRA Poncho

The NRA poncho is a good pick for a poncho. At 8 ounces its lightweight and yet reasonably strong. It has a sealed interior pocket and comes in your choice of three colors (red, blue and high visibility orange). The design is versatile enough for a variety of physical activities.

This is a solid utility poncho, and a reasonable mid cost option.

Ghillie

If you have a large pack, and feel the need to be able to conceal yourself while remaining dry and comfortable, then the Ghillie poncho has its uses. Weighs 7.5 lbs, but capable of blending in perfectly with almost any environment due to its flexible design.

This suit is perfect for maintaining surveillance or observing for ravaging zombies while minimizing the risks of being spotted. This poncho has the added advantage of being particularly useful while hunting, although with the low visibility factors you should not use this if you are in an area where high visibility is required.

Sea to Summit

If you want to spend a few bucks and get a killer poncho which weighs in at 10 ounces and can double as a tarp, when hiking without a tent then this is what you need. If you need to hunker down, but keep moving, this is a great piece of gear.

The Sea to Summit poncho. Compact, comes with a drawstring bag and good for moving in the fog.


Poncho Liner

The poncho liner is an extremely versatile piece of equipment.

It can be worn by itself or secured to a poncho by use of grommets.

If you are on the move and don’t have a sleeping bag, this will give you a measure of protection against the elements.

The government issue poncho liner has a nylon shell and comes with ties. This is one of the most important pieces of equipment you can have. Lightweight and rugged, and usable for an emergency shelter if you have a bit of rope or vine handy.

If you find yourself in need of a sudden move, and need a key piece of gear. This liner is the one you want.


Sleeping Bag

The sleeping bag is a simple piece of survival gear. It is also critical. It should be at the top of your list if you don’t have one yet.

The sleeping bag provides insulation which can literally mean the difference between life and death in a wilderness situation.

It is strongly recommended that you augment this piece of equipment with a bivvy sack, for additional insulation and waterproofing. A good backpack has a place to strap a sleeping bag, so that the container space may be used for other supplies.

Aside from significantly increasing the comfort of your sleep by keeping a layer between you and the ground, the sleeping bag is also useful for auxilliary storage of food items (presuming you don’t intend to sleep in the bag)… you don’t want your sleeping bag to smell like a tasty snack.

You should have a sleeping bag for each member of your family. The type you want depends heavily on the climate in which you live in or are traveling through.

When in doubt, opt for a heavier bag as it is much better to be a bit too warm, which can be adjusted for by zipping down the bag, than to be too cold and risk hypothermia. Weight is a consideration, but ultimately a bag which utilizes high quality materials can provide a great amount of insulation while also being waterproof and lightweight.

The sleeping bag is not a piece of equipment you should skimp on. This may ultimately be the most important piece of survival gear that you can acquire.

The Teton Sports model shown on the right is large enough to hold two adults, although the tradeoff is in significantly more weight. This is a good choice for some situations, but in general I recommend a lighter weight bag.

In less demanding situations, and even in non-emergency situations, a sleeping bag is a useful item. It can be unzipped and used as an extra blanket on a cold night, or for handling an unanticipated guest.

Remember that, first and foremost, sleeping bags are survival equipment and should be purchased with that in mind. It is important that zippers on bags should be kept in good condition and the bag should be repaired or replaced if the zipper becomes damaged.

What is inconsequential one day, may mean the difference in surviving on the next. At any rate, should you go camping, you want to make sure you have one available and in good condition.

It is suggested that you purchase sleeping bags in matched sets. The advantage of having two of the same model bag is that they can usually be zipped together which can be advantageous when huddling together for warmth.

This is definitely something couples should consider when purchasing. Most mummy bags (a style designed for a single sleeper) are not inter-lockable. The trade-off for this style of bag is that they tend to retain heat better as there is not as much airspace available.

Hypothermia

In dealing with hypothermia, such as that caused by exposure to the elements (typically falling in a body of water or caught in a rainstorm) the best method of keeping the other party both warm and alive is to dry them off and place them in a sleeping bag with another person.

This should be done with clothes off, for both parties. The reason is to maximize heat transfer and can mean the difference between life and death when medical care is not immediately available. This is, yet another advantage of having a slightly large bag or interlocking set. In a mild emergency, it can work simply as an excuse to become a little bit closer.

Here are a couple of very high end sleeping bags. These are expensive and generally geared towards the serious outdoorsman or mountaineer.

For people with a lower budget, I would suggest one of the other bags due simply to the fact that a considerable amount of equipment could be purchased for the price difference. Both of these bags are lightweight, goose down lined bags which can handle sub-zero temperatures.

However for a person that can afford one of these models and wants the best equipment available, I am presenting these options. Pound for pound, these are serious pieces of gear.

This presents a fairly wide range of alternatives, depending on your needs. Every bag shown is selected for insulation first. With the exception of the extra-large bag mentioned previously, each is lightweight and can compact considerably.

While there are less expensive models available, those generally suffer from issues with construction quality, durability or are simply too light weight to be practical in all but the warmest climates.

Most regions of the earth get cold at night, and it is always possible that you could end up in a region outside of your normal territory. It is a good idea to keep a sleeping bag attached to a pack and another in your vehicle. If you are traveling and have mechanical issues in a remote area such as the mountains or the desert, or just somewhere off the well-traveled road in the middle of winter you will be thankful that you had the common sense to think ahead. At the minimum you should carry a blanket in your car, but a sleeping bag is a superior solution and doesn’t take up much space in your trunk.


Tarp

If you’ve ever been camping, you know how useful a tarp can be.

This is truly a multi-use piece of survival equipment.

Two models of tarp are shown here. The first is a very high quality tarp which comes in a convenient carrying case. The second is a smaller tarp, suitable for placing in a backpack or other compact space.

Tarps are used for several purposes. They can be used as a makeshift shelter, or to augment a shelter such as a lean-to. If you have access to better equipment, it can be used to simply keep rain off of your tent. Additionally tarps are useful for giving supplies some protection against the elements. When the rain comes down, you are going to be extremely pleased at your foresight in picking up this simple item.

Other uses for tarps include usage as a condensation collector, the process for which is explained in the bivvy sack section. A tarp can also be used to reduce visibility or as a temporary replacement for a window or damaged wall if you are inside a structure. Naturally, a tarp is useful when securing a transported load, as well.

In an emergency event that involves certain biological or chemical hazards, such as during a terrorist attack or disease outbreak, it can fulfill the practical functions of plastic sheeting. Plastic sheeting is a low cost alternative to tarps, although it will cover more area and is adapatable for many of the same purpouses, it tends to be bulkier and therefore less portable. Plastic sheeting also tends to tear much easier, although it is useful if you have a large area to cover or are taping the interior of a structure.

This is definitely a piece of survival gear that you should have in your arsenal. The tarps shown here do not have fancy carrying cases, but are quite suitable to packing with a tent or in a backpack in situations where emergency mobility is needed.

In a wilderness situation, tarps and plastic sheeting are also useful for such situations as reducing the number of insects on game animals that have been hunted, and for creating a dry layer between the ground and where you are sleeping or storing food.

In an emergency medical situation or when carrying game, tarps can be improvised into makeshift sleds by tying the metal loops to poles. This allows reasonably large loads to be dragged over many types of terrain.


Tents

A tent is the ultimate in portable shelter.

It is lightweight, can be carried by one person along with other gear and can house several people. It can be used in any outdoor environment where other shelter may not be practical. It does not require fuel to move, can be set up almost anywhere and is fairly easy to camouflage.

When acquiring a tent it is important to consider the conditions you will be likely to face and how many people that are likely to be housed there. For that reason I am providing links to several varieties of tents, suitable for different purposes.

The first of these tents is a Taurus model. A good solid tent suitable for four people. Relatively compact at a little over 9 lbs. This one is tall enough to stand up in, which is an advantage for some people. There is a fair amount of space if you have a smaller group that you are traveling with.

It is a good idea to practice pitching your tent and re-assembling it so that you can set it up quickly if needed due to incoming weather or sudden nightfall. The first couple of times you pitch (set up) a tent it seems fairly complicated and you will probably need to follow instructions. After you do it a few times it will become second nature and you will be able to assemble it very quickly.

The next tent is the Eureka Assault Outfitter tent. This is a good all environment tent, whether in the mountains, forest, sand or snow. The green color makes it easier to blend in to forest or jungle environments. The design for this tent has military origins.
It is also a good idea to place a piece of sheeted plastic or a tarp underneath a tent, this will help in the event that the ground gets wet. You should look for a place that is sheltered by trees, if possible. In siting your tent you should look for a reasonably soft piece of ground and remove any rocks or other uncomfortable ground cover if possible. The most important thing is to make sure that it is not situated in a place where water will collect if it happens to rain.

A tent can be improvised using a tarp and rope or poles, however it is generally considered to be more comfortable to have an actual tent.

There are several varieties of tents available. This one is a Polaris mountaineering tent, suitable for two people in rugged conditions. This is a high end tent, but is lightweight at a little over two kilos and is designed to exacting specifications. This tent is high visibility yellow, which can be an advantage if you are in a remote area and desire to be spotted by aircraft. The polaris is a good choice for a tent to keep in your personal vehicle while you travel through areas such as mountain passes or the desert. It is designed to be resistant to wind shear and has rugged construction suitable for mountaineering or other similarly harsh environs. It can be snapped together in seconds, due to its engineering level and can be put almost anywhere. This tent is the sort of thing you take when mountain climbing, which means its good anywhere and everyhwere

If you are moving through the wilderness alone and need a lightweight tent that will help you maintain a very low profile, then this tent is a good solution. Designed with camouflage and creating a minimal silhouette in mind, this bivouac shelter will do the job. When the hills are crawling with mutant zombies and you have a lot of ground to cover then this is the perfect choice.

This last tent is truly a monster and the sort of thing you want if you have a ton of gear or a huge clan you are traveling with. Suitable for eight people (there are other even larger tents, but most of them have problems with wind shear or water accumulation). This is a good choice for a large expedition or if you have a large family.

Each of these models has advantages and disadvantages. Selection of a tent is highly situation dependent. It is always a good idea to pick up some extra tent stakes and rope to keep with your kit. It is definitely important to secure your tent properly. High winds can wreak havoc on a poorly secured tent. You should be careful to examine your setup and anticipate any place where water may pool either on top of or near your tent. You do not want to be caught in a sudden downpour and wake up in the middle of a lake with all of your clothing and supplies wet.

Regardless of which model you feel is best for you and your family, a tent is a must have piece of gear. When times are good, its nice to get out and enjoy the wilderness and re-attune to nature. It is an amazing mental reset and can bring a great deal of perspective to your life. If you are fortunate to live in an area where you can camp away from crowded campgrounds, even better. It is an enjoyable experience. When times are tough, those skills gained while camping will pay off.

If you are unfortunate enough to ever become caught up in a mega scale disaster and don’t want to find yourself in a refugee camp, or housed in a stadium with thousands of crazed people, you will be extremely pleased at this purchase.

A camping tent is an essential part of any contingency program. Think like a boy scout. Be prepared. Remember it is always better to be ready than to be caught flat footed and unprepared.


Water Filter

Water is more important than food. Without a clean and reliable water source you are not going to make it very far in the wilderness. You can live for an extended period of time without food, your life expectancy without water is only a few days.

It is strongly advised that one of the first things you acquire is a manually powered system to filter water, such as this one (sponsored link) Hyperflow Microsystem. The utility of this item exceeds almost any other item you can own.

Your body needs an intake of almost a half gallon of water a day to maintain maximum efficiency. Most people are accustomed to getting their intake from drinks such as coffee, milk and orange juice. In a survival situation you may have only the choice of a river, lake, pond, swamps or even mud-puddles to drink from. Many areas have extremely limited water sources.

In an urban environment, where there has been a general collapse, availability of water may be extremely limited. Large scale projects such as urban sewage and water distribution systems are likely to become non-functioning within a short period of time, following any significant catastrophe.

About the water purifier

Like all useful items, this has a very high TRADE VALUE. It can literally make the difference in life or death. It is capable of providing a gallon of potable drinking water from almost any source in a little over a minute. The filters are usable for 265 gallons. Thats enough water to supply one person for about 16 months. Additional filters can be used to supply more people or provide backups. This particular filter has many quality features and has won awards. It is capable of fitting directly on water bottles from the same supplier, or can be used to pour purified water into any container.

It is a compact 7.4 ounces so it is well worth the carrying weight.