The NRA estimates that Americans own more than 8 million AR-15s. A quick Google search will reveal that this military-grade firearm is possibly the most common gun in the country. As you might know, it is not a purchase people make with the intention of going deer hunting. According to prepper lore, it is a “tool of personal defense against tyranny” that tends to be purchased in bulk by the reported 4 – 16% of American who consider themselves preppers. Since the 2016 election of Donald Trump, this population has grown to include approximately half of the billionaires in Silicon Valley.
Rifles are well and fine in the event of a pseudo-cold-war post-apocalyptic future, but you can’t rebuild society with bullets. Here are items you might want to look into if you are considering putting together a “bug out bag.”
Most Obvious: Guns
Preppers debate this to no end. You basically want something mobile for a majority of situations, so it comes down to how badly you expect law to break down. Are you hunting rabbits for the bulk of your meals here? Shotguns tend to be easy to clean and maintain even with improvised materials.
The most important tool in your bug out bag. These are much more than forms of protection, they are necessary tools you will need for manipulating the world around you. You will want to consider the size and breakability. The preferred size is 6 – 12 inches.
A companion of some sort is a prime survival recommendation of homeless people. Your canine company will wake you up in emergencies, sniff out trouble, divert aggressors, and very importantly, give you love and loyalty. Studies show that people with pets have higher subjective well-being. This doesn’t suddenly stop being important because crisis strikes.
Least Obvious: Fake blood
Nobody wants to mess with the guy/gal who already looks like they’ve been through a shredder.
Health & Nutrition
Most Obvious: Non-perishable Food
Survival blogs will tell you to stock up on trail mix and granola. That is probably a good idea, but you may want to consider instead a lightweight medieval staple: oatmeal. It is much less expensive than any alternative and can be mixed with honey and water for quick consumption … it is also edible dry, although it will be pretty much tasteless and dry your mouth badly.
You will want disinfectants. Fever medicine is a must. Many medicines take a long time to go bad and could potentially be traded for apocalypse commodities like food or transportation in a pinch.
Vitamins and Supplements
There are 32 vitamins and minerals that a human body needs. These will not all be immediately accessible, and calorie-intense foods like oatmeal and granola won’t cut it when you get sick from malnourishment. You might want to stock up on simple multi vitamins to start with.
Feminine hygiene products
To soak up blood.
Least Obvious: Lifestraw
These allow you to drink directly from most natural freshwater sources. Iodine Potassium tablets are a crowd favorite among the prepper crowd.
Most Obvious: Good backpack
The importance of containers is not something you probably think about in your day-to-day, but they are as universal a phenomenon as light, a fact which will quickly become apparent when the zombies come knocking. You will want to have trash bags, ziplocks, and some kind of insulated jug or cooler as well as just the backpack.
Map & Compass
Google Earth is seeking to map the entire planet. Your future survivor-self will thank you if you take advantage of this while you can…
Night is dark. As anybody who has ever gone camping without a flashlight can tell you, we humans are utterly helpless without on-demand light. The problem with a lot of flashlights on the market is that they dim over time or break and can’t be fixed easily. Walmart brand might not cut it. Reliable tactical flashlights can make the difference between life and death. Maglite repair, for example, is as simple as one two three.
They don’t require a lot of gas and are built for endurance. Transportation is key. You will want some kind of hardy vehicle, why not a super fun one as well? Buy spare tires.
Cheap Bic Lighters
A good rule of thumb: If you’d find it useful in an emergency, you’ll be able to find someone who will trade for it in an emergency.”
There is a book out there on every humanly conceivable subject. Preppers write books too. It would not be a terrible idea to get yourself a survival guide and a few DIY manuals. There’s a lot of learning possibilities in a world overrun by zombies or nuclear mutants. Your stash of books can also serve as currency in many kinds of critical emergencies.
Good luck and godspeed out there. You’re gonna need it.