This post is a result of the recent sur­vey that I just took based on one of the com­ments that was left… I thought it might be an inter­est­ing one to start with, since for new­bies, it might help them to use what they have imme­di­ate­ly if they had to…

Sce­nario.  You live in the city or sub­ur­bia.  So, you’ve just start­ed think­ing about prep­ping…   You’ve done a lit­tle research online and decid­ed you’re going to buy some “sur­vival stuff,” and start buy­ing a lit­tle more at the gro­cery store…  Then the unthink­able hap­pens…  Some dis­as­ter is com­ing, and com­ing fast.  It’s going to be a BAD one.  The warn­ing is not unlike Hur­ri­cane Kat­ri­na where peo­ple were warned to evac­u­ate.  You know that you need to get out quick before every­one else gets on the road.  You pan­ic in your mind for a moment, about all the things you have to get togeth­er before you Bug Out.  You feel over­whelmed and com­plete­ly unpre­pared for the news that just came your way because you don’t have a Bug Out Bag and you don’t real­ly have any­where to bug out to yet?  You get a shiv­er on the back of your neck because this is exact­ly what you are try­ing to avoid, and it’s hap­pen­ing now.  A mil­lion thoughts run through your head.  “I don’t have any wilder­ness train­ing yet.”  “We only go camp­ing once or twice a year.” “I don’t have any long term food stor­age.” “Where are we going to go for three days.”

First things first. You have time.  Not much, but you have some time.  You need to get ready and get in the car and go.  What to do first.

  1. STOP.  By STOP I mean the fol­low­ing.
    1. SIT
    2. THINK
    3. OBSERVE
    4. PLAN

For instance by STOP­ing, you can slow down the process of pan­ic, and make a more ratio­nal deci­sion about what needs to be done.  You quick­ly real­ize that there are prob­a­bly a mul­ti­tude of items around the apart­ment or house that you can use and throw in a bag or five gal­lon buck­et and Bug Out with.   There are essen­tials that every­one needs to sur­vive and it is not hard to put togeth­er an impromp­tu Bug Out sys­tem in a “pinch.” if you need­ed to.

So what are the essen­tials to keep you alive and where can you find them in your home if you absolute­ly need­ed to, to gath­er and bug out.

In an order that I feel is impor­tant, I am going to go through what I feel you can “throw in a sack” and in the car to bug out with.  In the event you are on foot or on a bicy­cle, I will try to keep the load as light as pos­si­ble for you.  I will doc­u­ment in my own apart­ment what I would take with me in the event of a SHTF sce­nario IF I did not have a Bug Out Bag wait­ing in a clos­et for me.  I will take pic­tures of every­thing and where I have it stored in my home, and how I would car­ry it.

Remem­ber, this is a com­plete­ly “unpre­pared” new­bie prep­per sce­nario.


Rule num­ber one.  You can­not live with­out water very long.  3 — 4 days max.  Peri­od.  It is heavy to car­ry, and bulky.  It is not one of those items you are going want to car­ry if you are car­ry­ing gear and five gal­lons of water.  There is a lit­tle you need to know about water.  First, not only must you car­ry it, but sec­ond, you need some­thing to hold the water that will also dis­in­fect it.  If you are one of those peo­ple who goes to Wal­mart, Tar­get, Sams, Cost­co, etc and buy cas­es of bot­tled water, you’re in luck, because the sun alone can dis­in­fect your water over 8 — 16 hours, and you have a few small can­teens you can use to car­ry your water load.  You should go to your laun­dry clos­et, dump out one of those waters, and fill it with your UNSCENTED Clorox bleach.  This will give you more than enough bleach to clean and dis­in­fect your water with.  In fact one of those water bot­tles will only require a cou­ple drops of water to basi­cal­ly dis­in­fect it.  I would also leave the water bot­tle in the sun for about 8 hours of direct sun­light to also kill any oth­er pathogens.

So in my case, I run to the bath­room, and take out a bot­tle of Clorox, and load up a water bot­tle with it.  Oh, and please mark the water bot­tle with a per­ma­nent mark­er, indi­cat­ing it is bleach.

If you have a 2 quart con­tain­er to make lemon­ade or iced tea in with a lid that clos­es, I would grab one of these as well to trans­port more water in a con­tain­er as well…  You can use Duct Tape to secure the lid(s) so that they do not pop off or leak.


Next I would go to my cup­board, and take a look at what I had.  Soups, rice, beans, canned pro­teins (chick­en, tuna, etc.), ramen, etc.  I would load up enough that makes sense, try­ing to gauge how much food I might need/require for a few days (72 hours), keep­ing weight and water in mind.  You will, of course, have to take into con­sid­er­a­tion water for those items that you will be re-hydrat­ing, cook­ing, and drink­ing.  Try not to over­load on the weight or canned goods unless you are throw­ing every­thing in a plas­tic bin and throw­ing it in the car… You cer­tain­ly don’t want to hump so much weight around by hand if you don’t have to.

As for cook­ing, if I had noth­ing else, I would take my per­co­lat­ing cof­fee pot with me and ma mid size cast iron fry­ing pan that I have in my kitchen.  You will want some­thing that you can use over a fire or over a stove of any kind.  Obvi­ous­ly a cou­ple of basic cook­ing uten­sils and a few pieces of sil­ver­ware would be pru­dent to throw in your back­pack… The cof­fee pot can be used for boil­ing water to make it safe to drink, cook soups, ramen, etc.  The fry­ing pan, of course, can be used for cook­ing and eat­ing out of if nec­es­sary.

Grab alu­minum foil, plas­tic zip lock bags,


Unless you have a tent or RV, I am going to out­line here the eas­i­est way I know how to cre­ate a shel­ter from hav­ing next to noth­ing, as I would do it in a sit­u­a­tion where I had next to noth­ing… Most of us have plas­tic garbage bags under our sink or hid­ing in a clos­et some­where.  I would grab a box of those plas­tic bags (or two box­es), a roll of duct tape, a knife or scis­sors, and throw them in my pack.  You will use them lat­er to cut the bags open, and tape them togeth­er with your duct tape to cre­ate a water­proof emer­gency shel­ter.  You can then roll or fold it up once you take it down and safe­ly put it in your pack for re-use.  You can cer­tain­ly use 30 gal­lon or 55 gal­lon garbage bags to do this.  The choice is yours based on what­ev­er you have.  You might want to actu­al­ly prac­tice doing this.  Cut­ting plas­tic in a straight line isn’t the eas­i­est thing to do with a knife.  This also assumes you are in the warmer of the three sea­sons…

Do not use all your plas­tic bags in the field, how­ev­er, because they make great rain pon­cho’s as well if you do not have one with you, or great ways to col­lect and move larg­er amounts of water from point A to point B.

Fire, Your Heat, Energy and Light Source

I would hope that your home has a few can­dles, match­es, and a lighter or two.  These are going to be the essen­tial items to take with you as the core to start­ing a fire for heat, ener­gy to cook, and as a light source if you have to Bug Out to a wilder­ness loca­tion.  If you hap­pen to have a camp stove and sev­er­al of those 1lb propane tanks, you will want to greab them for your stove if you have it.  If you do not, how­ev­er, and you are bug­ging out, I would grab what­ev­er match­es and lighters you have.  I would also grab any cot­ton balls, dry­er lint, or oth­er very flam­ma­ble items that can help you start a fire.  I would also grab any lip balm, Vase­line,  or oth­er petro­le­um based jel­ly, and any antibac­te­r­i­al gel that you have (it is 60% iso­propyl alco­hol and when you soak a cot­ton ball in it, it will burn for an extend­ed peri­od of time)  that you have in your home.  This could be the dif­fer­ence between being warm and eat­ing in the evening, than not.  Make sure you know how to make a fire.

I do a lot of camp­ing so, I am pret­ty adept at build­ing fires… You should give it a shot.  If you have a grill on your ter­race, deck or back yard, in the grill, try light­ing a cot­ton ball soaked in petro­le­um jel­ly or with antibac­te­r­i­al jell.  I have done this many times.  Observe how long it takes for the cot­ton ball to burn down.  This will give you an indi­ca­tion of how long you will have to add tin­der and kin­dling to the flame to start your fire.

I also sug­gest you get the heck out of Dodge and do some camp­ing and prac­tice this for your­self.  Build­ing a fire can be easy or hard.  If it’s been rain­ing build­ing a fire can take a LOT longer, and that petro­le­um jel­ly soaked cot­ton ball could be your life­saver.

Also take a look at the home­made fire starters / sticks.  They were easy to make, and they will burn 5 — 8 min­utes each to help start the fire… I keep some of them in my Get Home Bag in my car, Bug Out Bag, and use them when camp­ing.  In an hour or two I can make dozens of them.  I sim­ply cut up card­board from box­es that I keep for stor­age or from order­ing some­thing online.  The most expen­sive part of the equa­tion is the wax that you can buy at any craft store in the home made can­dle sec­tion.

First Aid

You should have a first aid kit.  If you do not, go out tomor­row to your phar­ma­cy, get online, go to your gro­cery store, and either get the com­po­nents to one and assem­ble it your­self, or go buy one.  You’re going to grab it when the SHTF and bring it with you.  Along with that you are going to grab extra fem­i­nine hygiene prod­ucts, hydro­gen per­ox­ide, triple antibi­ot­ic, etc. to aug­ment the first aid kit.

Duct tape… Duct tape is also a good first aid item.  If you need to make a sling, cov­er up a blis­ter, hold down a home­made ban­dage on a cut if you don’t have any­thing in your first aid kit that fits the bill…


This should be a no brain­er for you.  Your kitchen is full of knives.  You should be able to grab a cou­ple steak knives, chef’s knife, slicer, etc.  Prefer­ably full tang, but we are talk­ing about what you should take based on what you have.  You should grab your sharp­en­er so you can keep your knives sharp.

With some of the card­board dis­cussed above in the fire sec­tion, you could take some of that and make a cou­ple of sheaths for your knives so that they are eas­i­er to trans­port.  You can fold the card­board around the knife and then wrap the card­board in duct tape sev­er­al times to keep it secure and to pro­tect the card­board and the blades…

Also, you may want to raid your tool box for a box cut­ter to be able to han­dle small­er items.  Grab a file so that you can sharp­en an axe if you come across one in your travel(s).  Also, grab any saws that you have need to cut down any small saplings to cre­ate a shel­ter, oth­er struc­ture, or to cut small fire wood with.


I don’t know too many peo­ple that kept para­cord in their home before they start­ed prep­ping, so any twine, string, den­tal floss, climb­ing rope, CAT 5 Net­work cable, speak­er wire, or any­thing else you can use to tie and bind some­thing.  I have sev­er­al 25′ net­work cables and a ton of speak­er wire.  I would grab those and put them in my plas­tic bin in a pinch.  You won’t be able to hold 550 lbs like para­cord, but you will be able to tie off things you need to…

Oh, and exten­sion cords work in a pinch too…

Oth­er Items

Grab Nee­dle & Thread, Pli­ers from your tool­box, extra bat­ter­ies, a cou­ple of small tuper­ware con­tain­ers, mag­ni­fy­ing glass if you have one at home,

Now, all of this assumes that you have not start­ed prep­ping, do not have a cache of resources, no food preps, etc.  It also assumes you don’t have gear either, and that the sea­son is a warm spring, sum­mer, fall, as you should know how to appro­pri­ate­ly dress for the weath­er.  What I obvi­ous­ly did not go into here were sleep­ing gear or what to car­ry it all in, but I think it is safe to say if you have a cou­ple back­packs, you can fill them with your “just in time” gear and get the hell out of Dodge.

If you’re an expe­ri­enced prep­per, feel free to add to the list of every­day items some­one could throw togeth­er at the last minute.

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