21 Survival Items To Look for

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Recently by Lisa Bedford: What I Wish I Had Done Differently

  • Sterling silver flatware — Even if you can only afford to buy a spoon or a fork at a time, sterling silver is known to have antimicrobial properties. Some people believe that simply using silver flatware as everyday eating utensils can ward off harmful microbes. Typically, a single piece of silver, such as a spoon, will run about $50. Buy from reputable sellers, such as established estate sale agents and thrift stores.
  • Survival related reference books — Peruse Amazon lists such as this one and become familiar with titles, authors, and subject areas. Books about homesteading, gardening skills, primitive camping, wilderness survival, and so much more are very often found for just a couple of dollars, or less. Other books to look for: Boy Scout manuals, Foxfire books, and issues of Backwoods Home magazines and anthologies.
  • Grain mill — A good mill can run upwards of $300 and more, but it’s not uncommon to find them in yard sales and thrift stores. Familiarize yourself with good brand names, ask to test the mill with actual wheat (if possible), but otherwise, I’ve found mills in very good condition for less than $50.
  • Camping equipment — Good quality tents, sleeping bags, camp stoves, lanterns, cots, etc. are often sold at very low prices by people who thought camping was a great idea, tried it once or twice, and decided to stick with hotels! Their loss is your gain!
  • Good quality knives — Look for brand names such as K-Bar, Cold Steel, and Gerber and know how to spot quality. A Swiss Army Knife is also a good find.
  • Homeschooling supplies — In a crisis, you may end up being your children’s teacher. Workbooks, classic literature, flash cards, math manipulatives, textbooks, and even school supplies are very often for sale by homeschoolers who are moving up a grade or have decided to liquidate their stockpile of school supplies.
  • Winter wear — I once picked up a super heavy duty men’s winter coat for ten dollars. I was thrilled because it looks like it’s never been worn and came in a dry cleaner’s bag. Look for snow boots, winter gloves, and other pieces of winter wear, and if you have kids, buy this clothing in a size or two larger for future winters.
  • Boots — Work boots, riding boots, gardening boots, mucking boots, military boots, motorcycle boots, cowboy boots, hiking boots, desert boots — who knew there were so many different kinds of boots? Check for quality construction and material as well as wear and tear. When it comes to taking care of your feet, always go for quality.
  • Tools — There’s just something about old tools from the 40’s and 50’s that beats the heck out of today’s “Made in China” label. Some sellers are savvy to the higher quality of their tools and may ask a bit more, but in the long run, it will be worth it.
  • Battery-operated appliances — I get a lot of questions about survival following an EMP or long-term power outage. If you find battery powered fans, important appliances, and other tools, buy them, just to be ready for a power-down scenario. Be sure to stock up on the appropriate batteries as well.
  • Food dehydrator — No need to be a snob about this. I still use the inexpensive American Harvest dehydrator I bought a few years ago on Craigslist. I spent $30 and got extra trays, fruit leather trays, and even a couple of screen trays.

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