The Most Frequently Overlooked
Copyright © December 1, 2008 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
Items for Long-Term Hard Times Survival
All Rights Reserved.
One of the suggestions that is frequently mentioned on a variety of internet forums is to purchase "trade or barter items" before the hard times begin. Some of the typical "trade and barter items" that are recommended are salt, first aid supplies, toilet tissue, and 22LR ammunition. The general reasoning behind this "trade and barter strategy" is as follows:
At first glance the above logic appears to be reasonable. However, there are several flaws with the above strategy such as:
- At the current time these "items" are widely available and reasonably priced.
- During really hard times these items will become scarce or very expensive.
- When that happens almost everyone will be desperate to obtain these items.
- You will therefore be able to trade these "items" for the things you really need.
Therefore I suggest that you think very carefully about investing your money in "trade or barter items" for future trading purposes during a hard times tragedy event.
- The items you will eventually need during a hard times event will also probably be very scarce or very expensive.
- You will have a very slim chance of finding someone who has what you need and who is also willing to trade for what you have to offer.
- The overwhelming vast majority of the people who desperately need your "items" will probably have nothing to trade that you really want.
- Once it becomes known that you have an inventory of "extra items" you will become a high-priority target for thieves and criminals.
In my opinion a better strategy would be to simply invest your money in the things you know you will need. If you have all the things you will need during a hard times tragedy event then you will not be forced to leave your home and expose yourself to unnecessary risk by traveling to some remote "barter location" in the hope of being able to find someone who has what you need and who is willing to trade for what you have.
With these thoughts in mind the following list of items may be things that you may not have previously considered but which would probably be very useful during a hard times tragedy event. If you already owned the following items at the beginning of a hard times tragedy event then you would not need to leave the safety and comfort of your home and expose yourself to unnecessary risk.
The following list does not include the obvious survival necessities such as food, heirloom vegetable seeds, water filters, medical and first aid supplies, and self-defense weapons.
List of Frequently Overlooked Items
- Free Empty Reusable Food Grade Containers - such as plastic soda bottles, glass juice bottles with screw on caps, glass food jars with screw on lids. (Note: Wash the food containers after you consume the food and save the containers and the screw on tops.) (Note: If you have the option to buy the same food item in a can or in a plastic or glass jar with a screw on lid and you intend to consume the food before its expiration date then the food container with the screw on lid is a better investment than the can because it can be reused. However, if you plan on storing the food past its printed expiration date then the can is usually the better choice.)
- 50-Foot Vinyl Coated Wire Clothesline and 2 Hook Screws or Eye Screws - attach to any two stationary objects such as two buildings or two trees or two wall studs inside a room in front of a south facing window.
- 100 Clothes Pins and a Clothes Pin Bag - hang your clean washed clothes on a clothes line to dry in the sun.
- Several Baby Pacifiers (new not used) - to keep a future baby or grandbaby quiet so you can get some rest.
- Cloth Baby Diapers, Big Diaper Pins, and Plastic Pants - to keep a future baby or grandbaby dry and clean, and the baby sheets dry and clean.
- Nylon Ankle-High Footies - wear under your socks to prevent foot blisters when walking long distances (appropriate for boys, girls, men, and women).
- Panty Hose - to help keep your legs warm during the coldest part of winter (wear under your clothes and appropriate for boys, girls, men, and women).
- Long Johns (thermal underwear) - both uppers and lowers for warmth during severe winter weather.
- Ski Cap or Head/Ear Cap or Hat with Ear Flaps that cover your ears - to cover your head and ears in order to stay warm indoors and outdoors during severe winter weather.
- Soft cotton gloves - to keep you hands warm indoors and outdoors during severe winter weather.
- Pair of Waterproof Hiking Boots (designed for comfortable walking) - consider 1/2 size larger than you normally buy so you can wear a thick pair of socks or two thin pair of socks for warmth.
- Hand-Held Stainless Steel Hatchet with a Belt Sheath - useful for a multitude of applications including emergency self-defense.
- Extra Gun Cleaning Solvent and Oil - to keep your firearms clean and rust free.
- Several Pair of Quality Reusable Latex Rubber Gloves (one size larger than you normally buy) - to clean fresh fish and skin wild game.
- Hand Operated Meat Grinder - to convert the occasional tough wild game meat into hamburger consistency to make it easier to eat and digest.
- Traditional Mercury-Filled Outdoor Thermometer (-60°F to +120°F or -50°C to +50°C) - not battery-operated so you can always determine the true outside weather temperature.
- Traditional Mercury-Filled Indoor Thermometer (-20°F to +120°F or -30°C to +50°C) - not battery-operated so you can always determine the true indoor temperature.
- Traditional Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer (-40°F to +80°F or -40°C to +25°C) - to determine the temperature inside a "future root cellar" that you construct.
- Traditional Oven Thermometer (+50°F to +450°F or +10°C to +230°C) - to determine the temperature inside a "future smokehouse" that you construct.
- Instant-Read Cooking Thermometer (0°F to 220ºF or -20°C to +105°C) - to determine internal meat temperatures to verify the meat is "done" and safe to eat.
- Six-Feet of Thin Wall Flexible Food Grade Plastic Tubing - to siphon or transfer liquids, such as water from a solar still, and a multitude of other applications.
- Broom and a Mop - to sweep and clean your floors when you have no electricity.
- Bucket Toilet Seat (available on ebay) - to put on a five-gallon or six-gallon bucket with a lid to make a cheap effective indoor winter toilet that doesn't stink.
- Mouse Traps and Rat Traps - to keep rodents under control (rodents multiply during hard times).
- Fly Swatters - to keep flying pests under control (flying pests multiply during hard times).
- Professional Strength Bug Poison Powder or Concentrated Liquid (available at some Hardware Stores and most Pest Control Stores) - follow label directions and precautions and mix it yourself with some water and then apply it with a clean empty spray bottle such as a window cleaner plastic spray bottle with a nozzle.
- Mosquito Head Net - to keep all the annoying flying insects away from your face and head whenever you are working outside in good weather.
- 400-Yards Heavy-Duty Nylon or Poly Twine (minimum 150-pounds breaking strength) - useful for lots of applications including emergency shoelaces.
- 400-Yards 20-Gauge or 22-Gauge Metal Wire (usually for sale near artificial flowers or in the hardware section) - multitude of repair and primitive construction applications.
- Pre-assembled Portable High-Quality Complete Hand-Tool Kit with Hammer, Screwdrivers, Pliers, Wrenches, etc. - repair almost anything anywhere if you know how.
- Pre-assembled Package Assortment of Fasteners such as nails, screws, bolts, and nuts (available at some Hardware Stores and most WalMarts) - repair things when all you need is a simple nail, or screw, or bolt and nut.
- Portable Sun-Heated 4-Gallon or 5-Gallon Camping Shower Bag - a warm shower even when there is no hot water.
- Large Heavy-Duty Hand Sewing Needles with Big Eyes (available at Sewing Supplies Stores and some WalMarts) - to sew deer skins, or bear skins, or shoe leather, or any other heavy-duty sewing application.
- One or Two New 12-Volt Marine or Golf Cart Batteries - deep-cycle batteries that are designed to be recharged and discharged many times for many years.
- Portable 30-Watt Mono-Crystalline "Folding Briefcase" Solar Panel (available on ebay) - to recharge one or two 12-volt deep-cycle batteries, such as marine or golf cart batteries.
- 1200-Watt Inverter (or 2000-Watt) - convert 12-volt battery power into 120-volt house power to run simple appliances for a short time (microwave, drill, etc.) (Note: A picture of a blue 1200-Watt Inverter is shown below).
- 25-Foot Medium-Duty Electrical Extension Cord (120-Volt 14-Gauge) - to quickly and easily transfer inverter power to the exact place you really need it.
A simple easy explanation of the basic principles of solar power is at the following link: The Basics of Solar Power
During hard times it is really advantageous to have access to electrical power, even if it is only for a short period of time.
For example, if you needed to repair something and you had to drill a hole and you had an electric drill, then you could easily and quickly drill a perfect hole in 30 seconds if you had temporary electrical power. On the other hand, if you tried to make a small hole by hand then it could take several hours and when you finished the quality of the final hole may not satisfy your original need.
The same concept applies to heating food during warm weather. If it is already warm inside your home then you really don't want to start a cook fire to simply heat some food. However, if you had access to temporary electrical power then you could heat pre-cooked food in a microwave oven for 30 seconds or 3 minutes, depending on the food item. What you could not do is use the microwave oven for 20 or 30 minutes because you would not have that much reserve power in your 12-volt batteries.
Or you could run an electric sewing machine and repair your clothes. Or you could use a power saw to cut lumber or plastic pipe. Or you could recharge the battery in your laptop computer and watch one of your favorite DVD movies every day. Or you could print (or copy) a very important document using your printer. Or you could recharge your flashlight rechargeable batteries using a standard 120-volt recharger.
The above are just a few examples of how your life could be much easier during a hard times event if you had access to temporary electrical power for short periods of time exactly when you needed it. At the present time you could provide yourself with backup electrical power for a total investment of about $500 and you would have access to small amounts of reserve electrical power for many, many years into the future. Most good solar panels have an expected life of about 20 years and most deep-cycle batteries have an average life of between 5 to 7 years. When your batteries eventually wear out you can replace them.
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