Survival stuff on the cheap


With today’s declining economy – many of us are on tight budgets. Even so – this does doesn’t change the goal that many of us have – to prepare for troubling times ahead for ourselves and out family.

Visiting some websites and reading certain books – you can get the feeling that you have to have a full years supply of freeze dried food, a full military arsenal, and a mountain retreat with a full solar energy system just to be considered somewhat prepared.

Opinions vary.

There are a lot of inexpensive things that can be done to improve your preparedness level. Many of these are very basic and common sense – some not so much.


Here we go:

  • Flashlights – Flashlights are available just about everywhere and the cost for performance is dropping all the time. Now you can get a very powerful 100+ lumen flashlight at Wally World for under $25.00. LED lights are highly recommended as the batteries last much last longer. Flashlights are one of the basic building blocks in your preparedness system.
  • Batteries – Whether it be flashlights, a radio, or a portable DVD player for entertainment – batteries in a grid-down situation will be very valuable. AA alkaline and CR123A lithium batteries are what I try to standardize with – they are fairly economical if you check around. Stock up on lot’s.
  • Candles – In a grid down event – candles would be a welcome item to have and they are incredibly cheap. Many can be bought for just a few dollars at your local Dollar Tree. Just be careful – a house fire can really ruin your day.
  • Zip-Ties  – Zip ties are are very versatile. They can be used to cinch just about anything together and are very strong. Throw a few bags with multiple sizes in your cabinet.
  • Camp Stoves and Fuel – Cooking in a disaster is much easier when you have an inexpensive camp stove and some fuel. Whether it be propane or liquid fuel powered – store plenty. Camp stove are available at local department stores, many of my sponsors, as well as Amazon.
  • Inverters – Several time I have lost power and used inverters hooked to car batteries to power stuff – from refrigerators to box fans. Inverters can be expensive – but keep an eye out and you can find them on sale sometimes as well as warehouse clubs like Costco and SAM’s. I recently picked up a 750 watt model for under $20.00. Fantastic deal. Here are a few.
  • USB Chargers(auto) – So many devices nowadays have charging cords that plug into standard USB ports. I have purchased several USB adapters that can be inserted into 12 volt power ports in a car. Cell phones, hand-held game systems, tablet PC’s, Kindles, etc can all be charged this way. These USB car chargers are super cheap too. Check them out here.
  • Bike – If TSHTF and gas is unavailable – riding a bike will be much better than walking. Bikes are a highly underrated form of transportation – and can be picked up on Craigslist cheap.
  • Kerosene Heaters – In the dead of winter with no electricity – heat will become a big issue. Kerosene heater are not overly expensive and work very well. Kerosene is not cheap these days – but can be stored away.
  • Trash Bags – Large heavy weight trash bags can be used for a lot more than just storing away trash. Cut a hole for your head and two for your arms in the closed end and an expedient rain poncho can be made. Outside and you need to keep gear out of the rain – slide a trash bag over your stuff.
  • Radio – Again…..a very basic part of your supplies. Getting some news during a disaster is not just important to know what is going on but can help morale as well. I like this radio – has performed well for me.
Never enough batteries.

Of course – there are a lot of other things that can be done for very little money.

These are just a few.

Take care all –




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  1. I see the flashlights in the picture are the Stanley 95-891r clamp type. The clamp is a good idea but in a survival situation I think you need to go with a LED flashlight. Two reasons- more light & less battery consumption.

    • Hi Joe –

      I do like the Stanley flashlight in the pic – one of the reasons I have 3 of them. Best of all – they are all LED lights. Nowadays I only buy LED lights.



  2. I would also recommend a CB (Citizen’s Band) radio for two-way communication should the power grid fail and land lines, cell phones and computers become useless. Dehydrated food storage is essential as well as water.

  3. Lightsticks are another alternative to candles

    They come with the benefit of not having to worry about the risk of fires.

    Another thing that garbage bags are useful for is sleeping bags and pillows. Stuff one garbage bag into another, fill the space between them with old, crumpled up newspapers/phonebook pages, poke some holes on the inside to allow moisture to escape, do the same with another garbage bag for a pillow, and you’ve got a nice warm place to sleep for the night.

    • Robert –

      Good thoughts and idea’s.

      I love lightsticks and have many of them. I am popular in the neighborhood with the kids!


  4. Rourke – I have been thinking of doing a Zip Tie post on my site. Many Preppers over look this but you didn’t. They are VERY handy and pretty dogone cheap.


    Ps. Do you trade links? If so, sheck out my blog and make sure it meets your approval. Thanks and GOOD PREPPIN’.
    Jiske-h (Ghost)

  5. for those near a gander mountain (or i think online too) they have federal bulk 22LR ammo for $19.99 with a $5 rebate per box

    yes that is $14.99 for federal .22 550 box – that is $4 cheaper then walmart

    also they usually have a 5 box limit on the rebate but this time there is no limit – so 10 boxes (5250 rounds of .22LR) is $149

    the rebate usually comes back in under two weeks, i send mine in right away… it doesn’t spoil and lasts a long time. i shoot a lot of this and it’s a very good round from my comparisons to other manufacturers.

  6. Rourke – Thanks for the add, I will do the same.

    I have a silly flashlight question. I am LED all the way as well. Does the LED ever go bad like a lightbulb? Can they be changed? Silly question but I was just wondering…

    • Ghost –

      I have never had a working LED bulb go out. I recently bought a set of LED flashlights from SAM’s and one of them had some kind of short in it – and did not work reliably. So – LED lights are more complex – but for the most part they are far superior than regular bulbs.


  7. I sure am glad the comments told me those were flashlights. I was thinking they were some kind of clamping system. The problem I have with them are the batteries (C cells) I picked AA and D as my batteries of choice. I sell most devices that I come across that use AAA, C cells and 9 volt. I find the cr123a a bit expensive. I do have a pelican that uses them so I keep about 6 of them around. I have several gmrs/frs radios that use AAA but as I acquire more AA battery radios I will get rid of the one I have. Any one see/have the garmin rino gps/gmrs ? Lightsticks certainly have a purpose but I can’t find the off switch on them after I used them for just a few minutes.

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