Lots of people become homeless for a variety of reasons, and many of them end up living in their cars, on the street or in the woods.
Being homeless usually means living with very limited financial means which compels the homeless to come up with some ingenious ways of surviving.
These homeless survival tips are taken directly from their lived experiences, and preppers may well be able to benefit from these ideas. All of us have the basic needs of clothing, food, water, and shelter.
One of the most pressing needs for homeless people is the need to stay warm especially if they live in cold climates or are out during a cold time of the year.
⇒ Do You Make These Fatal Mistakes In A Crisis?
The ability to stay warm is a deadly serious matter as hypothermia is the number one killer of homeless people.
Tip #1 – Wear multiple layers of clothing during cold weather, preferably made from wool or synthetic materials as opposed to cotton.
Many thin layers are better at keeping you warm than one thick layer because air is trapped between the layers that will help to keep you warm.
Tip #2 – Use materials stuffed between the clothing layers for extra insulation. Common materials are newspapers, pieces of foam, plastic bags, and dried leaves.
Tip #3 – Wear a waterproof jacket.
If you don’t have a waterproof jacket, use an adapted garbage bag to keep your clothes dry.
Remember, wet clothes (even from sweating) will cool your body down, making you feel cold.
Tip #4 – It’s important to keep your extremities warm in cold weather. Wear a wooly hat or pull up the hood on your hoodie and put on extra pairs of socks.
Plastic bags between the pairs of socks will help to stop your shoes/boots from becoming damp from sweating as well as adding some extra insulation.
Related: How to Make The Coolest Wool Boots Ever, Easily
Tip #5 – It is better to wear boots that at least cover the ankles, if not higher up, to help to keep out the cold.
Tip #6 – A sleeping bag coupled with a blanket or two is best.
The blanket can be wrapped around the body before entering the sleeping bag.
Extra insulation can be had by placing a mylar blanket or newspaper between the blankets.
Tip #7 – It is vital that an insulating layer is put between you and the ground so as to stop heat being sucked out of your body into the cold ground.
At the very least a dismantled cardboard box will make an excellent insulator, or thick layers of newspaper will also work. If you have one, a foam yoga mat is also good.
Tip #8 – Try to generate some body heat before laying down either by eating/drinking something hot, or doing some jumping jacks etc. but avoid generating any sweat as this will cool you down.
Tip #9 – Pick your sleeping place carefully so as to avoid getting your bedding wet. Stay away from water sources that may end up wetting your sleeping bag.
Tip #10 – If it really is too cold to sleep, don’t try to sleep but keep moving to generate body heat and sleep during the day.
Tip #11 – A tent is the number one choice as it is easy to put up, take down and carry around.
Tip #12 – In urban areas, shelter can be found under bridges, freeways or railway tunnels. Alleyways are useful for blocking the wind and even unoccupied buildings may be accessible.
Tip #13 – In rural areas, pitching a tent underneath trees will give added shelter and help to hide you. Shelters can also be made from logs and dried leaves if no tent is available.
Repurposing Items To Make A Shelter
Many items can be repurposed to make a whole array of different shelters.
Homeless people have become very resourceful and well understand the saying, ‘One man’s junk is another man’s treasure’.
Related: Things You Throw Away That You Should Add To Your Stockpile Instead
Tip #14 – All manner of wood can be salvaged, including wooden pallets, wood crates, old lumber, old doors, window frames, bamboo, furniture etc. This wood can be used to make small wooden shelters. Even old nails can be straightened out to be reused along with any screws.
Tip #15 – Cardboard boxes can be used to make a number of differently designed shelters.
Cardboard is easy to get and is a very effective insulator. Its downside is that it can get wet easily and therefore needs to be covered in plastic if exposed to rain or snow.
Tip #16 – Plastic bags as well as discarded shower curtains and bubble wrap can be stuck together to form a tarp.
Tip #17 – Packing peanuts can be stuffed into plastic/garbage bags to form pillows and mattresses or even as part of a tarp as described above.
Tip #18 – A rudimentary teepee can be made using a plastic sheet, sticks and shoelaces to tie them together.
Food And Cooking
Tip #19 – A very simple yet effective wood/gas stove can be made by repurposing a used soup can with the help of a can tapper and nail.
There are also numerous other methods that can be used to make stoves but using cans in various ways is the simplest.
Tip #20 – You will need a store of long term food such as rice, pasta, canned beans, beef jerky and peanut butter (high in calories and protein). Dried foods are also useful because they are lightweight and take very little cooking.
Trail mix is particularly nutritious with lots of vitamins and minerals. The dollar store can help to keep this expenditure low.
Tip #21 – Keep food in a metal tin or tie it up in a tree if in the forest. This will help to stop rats and racoons etc. from eating your food.
Tip #22 – Refillable water bottles are a must and can be filled up at gas stations etc. If you are in a rural environment, you can catch rainwater or use water from a lake or river. Just make sure to boil and filter before use.
The above tips can be utilized by preppers, especially those on a very tight budget. It is useful to remember that preparing for SHTF doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
Chucks family would be SME on this.
What does SME mean?
subject matter expert
Very valuable info … though in my opinion, common sense, whether or not you have been homeless or observe those that have been or are homeless. Including the concept not mentioned, of homeless encampments. Few lone wolf homeless exist on the streets, usually congregating in groups, so that help can be shared.
I have been homeless many years of my life. I was homeless by choice. The choice being pay three quarters of my paycheck to some Millionaire for rent or split a motel room with a friend three times a week and have money to spend on other things. I even got a loan to buy a car I really liked while being homeless living in an old van with no engine. Living this way is not rocket science and I didn’t have to read a book to do it. Have slept under overpasses and on freeways. Common sense is all you need. Why is it nobody has any common sense anymore? The World has clearly been DUMBED DOWN! We Clearly live in an Idiocracy. I wouldn’t be surprised if I see farmers watering their fields with Gatorade. President Nacho is in the white house right now!! would not look forward to being homeless with those that have been dumbed down and would rather live far out in the wilderness alone than with thieving desperate retards that have no code to live by.
Home is where the heart is
Actually, not to water their fields.. but in India, a significant number of farmers have been using Coca Cola and Pepsi as pesticides .. of course, those companies and several other ‘fact checkers’ deny that it is effective and the Guardian and BBC said ‘colas’ and that they are also using local brands..
My mother was literally adicted to Coca Cola and I stopped drinking any of them years ago, even before I read about using them as pesticides..
Actually the high sugar content may attract beneficial insects to a field although I’m not sure about the othered ingredients. Molasses works this way.
I no longer drink soft drinks, just a tonic or soda water for me.
Decades ago I remember my grandfather using coke for many things. The one that stuck with me the most was using it to “ungunk” screws that were corroded and stuck. Danged if it didn’t work every time.
A little less than a decade ago, I needed to reduce the contents of a huge house where an older couple had passed away. This was in an area with city sanctioned homeless camps. They had a group of about 50 tents that the city would move every 3 months. I went through the pantry in the house and found it was full of past pull date foods. There also was a huge stack of newspapers, etc. So, I filled the rolling garbage bin full of out of date foods and took it to the road. I also filled the recycle bin full of newspapers and took it to the road. The next morning, both bins were gone. I called the garbage company and told them that I needed new bins as the ones at the house had disappeared. They told me that the bins regularly disappear as they are used to sleep in. They are dropped on their sides and the flip-top lid can be propped up for more of a roof.
Using less fuel to prepare food can be a plus. Foods like minute rice, ramen, instant oatmeal are easy to fix. If you’re having a fire to stay warm during bad weather it wouldn’t make much difference. I’m also a believer in and user of ponchos. If a USGI poncho doesn’t do it for you, Frog Toggs makes a serviceable substitute that is lighter but not as durable. Ponchos are also an instant, personal shelter.
Old Para, Various other countries specialize in dishes that have been chopped up into smaller pieces. It isn’t so much because it is a favorite way of eating but because the smaller pieces of food will take less time to cook, thus less fuel.
Yes, many nomadic hunters would cut bite size pieces of meat and roast one piece of meat at a time on sticks. Even when I Sautee/stir fry fresh veggies from the garden I cut them smaller than I would when I make a stew.
Just when we thought that we were rid of Raven Piece of Shit it
has reared it’s psychotic head as Megaton for 2024.
I have quite a few additional ideas but they would amount to an article so I cannot really post them here. Do additional research and you can find most of the ideas here and there around the internet.
One thing though, that I think is very important about the homeless tips for preppers is that if you gather up the things that are mentioned and store them here and there. That way, if or when a time comes when you might not actually be homeless but you want to appear as though you are, you will have what you need to look the part but can live it for a while to convince people that you are homeless and do not have anything they might want.
Just my opinion.
I have a friend who purposely lives in the woods he has no permanent shelter but thrives of course it’s harder in the winter he knows he can always ask me if he needs help I have purchased small propane tanks for him before but I don’t think he even used them he makes a camp stove from old tin cans if I was ever in the position to need help I know who I would ask to teach me
Home is where the heart is
Tip 21 must have been written by city dwellers…
Rats and Raccoons can climb, racoons can take down whatever you have tied in a tree; they are excellent climbers and they are able to untie things too. Rats will chew through pretty much anything including metal, or just the rope and drop your food stuff to the ground.
Second, you MUST put your food away from wherever you are sleeping – in the rural/wilderness– as bears will find it even if it’s in a metal container. If you smell like food in your shelter the bears will find you. Yes, put your food in a tree, but understand that bears will likely get to it as well. I’ve seen bears tear through a metal dumpster like it was carboard looking for food.
I lived in Colorado for a minute..We had bears in the area. I witnessed a Bear Proof Garbage Bin totally taken apart by the “Bears” going after Shrimp Shells..
If you spend time working with the homeless the 1st thing you learn is that their personal hygiene is just dreadful. The homeless stink because our society is too damn greedy to build and maintain public bathroom facilities. The homeless human does most of his business in doorways, behind dumpsters, in the little wooded nooks and corners that are all over the urban landscape. Public libraries are often the only place they can find soap and water. I’ve taken some extensive baths in campground sinks but the library discourages one from sitting naked in their bathroom sinks. The homeless seem helpless to help themselves, but we’re not helpless. If you plan on living rough your preps should always include a good entrenching tool and an ample supply of wet wipes. My fave wet wipe these days are the brand Wet Wipes Anti-bacterial in the little packs of 20. They have improved the seal on the packs, I just opened a 2 year old pack and they were very fresh, and so am I. The mild anti bacterial in them is excellent for relieving that embarrassing condition known as Monkey Butt.
Growing up in Michigan we used to have a lot of bathroom facilities along the highways and especially along the freeways! These were used by locals and homeless people as well. They were parts of the rest areas. However, along with state mental hospitals, the liberals made all of the communities tear them down and put locking facilities in place that were safer and cleaner for everyone to use and, offer mental patients foster care. Some aspects of that were OK if they were utilized properly but, everyone can see what happened when people in power interfered with what actually worked.
Stay safe and God Bless…
dont ever ever pitch a tent under a tree, should a branch fall off during the night when you are asleep, its curtains for you
Happened last weekend in the Blue Ridge. Young girl squashed by a huge limb that just broke. Ya’ll be careful.
Kevin, Some years ago, I was down by a river by some tall evergreens on a very windy day. It become windier so I went inside the house. After the wind died down, I went back to where I had been before by the river. At that location, a long 6 ft. or so evergreen branch had broken off at a sharp angle into a spear type end. That spear was driven straight into the ground a good 6 inches.
i’ll pitch a tent however i want 😉
Ok but please don’t waste your time voting… 🤯
Love it. I like survival camping. Best bet on peanut butter, buy peanut flour and add the rest yourself. Sugar, oil, and a touch of molasses. Peanut butter can go rancid in storage, but the flour is defatted.
One great thing about clothes, if you live in a hot area, wear layers of airy cloth. Body temperature will hit upper 90s but should not go higher, no matter how hot the air is. Experiment! It’s great for cold weather, of course, but there’s a reason Arabs wear a lot of clothes outside, even in summer. niio
if you have access to an abandoned building, sleep in a small bathroom if possible. they have locks on the doors. old motels and apt’s are the best.
personal security is paramount if you are alone