There is a myth that prepping, and survival gear are too expensive for the average person to buy. It isn’t true. Thrift stores often carry vital implements for prepping at a reasonable price.
Gently used, and sometimes even new, these items will leave you feeling organized and ready for most situations, without much expense. This article contains some of my prepper discoveries from a local thrift store.
One must diligently search local thrift stores to find prepping items. However, if you have patience, it can really pay off.
Out of all these items, many survival experts agree that the most important ones are:
1. Proper clothing
2. The means to light a fire and the area around you to boil water and stay warm
3. A survival knife
4. Materials for shelter
Depending on your circumstances of course you do not need to stop with this shortlist. Keep hunting for your supplies so you will be prepared in all circumstances.
Lighting Options Ensure Survival Success
Experts recommend that you have at least three different methods for lighting.
#1. Headlamp – so you can always keep both hands free.
#2. Matches in a small waterproof container – they will not get wet, and you will have a reliable way to start a fire.
#3. Flashlights are a must. Military flashlights with safety features are the best. Always have a supply of backup batteries.
#4. Candles serve as an additional source for lighting – even battery-operated ones are useful for home-based emergencies.
Related: DIY Tallow Emergency Candles
#5. A striker for lighting fires.
#6. A lighter stored in a zip lock bag for backup, in case other lighting methods fail.
Collect Shelter And Bedding Items
#7. Sleeping bags are important. Look for the ones that keep you warm when the temperature drops below freezing or below zero.
#8. Tarps are used for creating shelters, floors, and weatherproofing.
#9. Tents are ready-made, easy to store and create a practical shelter quickly.
Related: Tents That Turn Into Bunkers if You Just Add Water
#10. Foam mattresses serve as makeshift furniture and padding underneath your sleeping bag.
#11. Mylar sheets generate extra warmth and are very easy to store. They are often used as emergency blankets during rescue operations
#12. Blankets are often available in thrift stores. They are durable and provide extra warmth.
Acquire A Collection Of Clothing Layers
Reliable weatherproof clothing is essential.
Recently, during an ice storm that led to a state of emergency in my neighborhood, I gratefully wore the following layers nonstop, for four days.
#13. Coats are also good bedding options and are one way to stay a bit above ground to avoid insects and damp conditions.
#14. Heavy waterproof rain jacket preferably with pockets along with a parka.
#15. Fleece jackets, especially with extra pockets for storing essential items are helpful
#16. Wool sweaters and wool pants (common in thrift stores, especially after the winter when people want to get rid of them) can be worn under your fleece layer and on top of your long underwear.
#17. Rain ponchos keep you dry when you are outdoors performing tasks in inclement weather for long periods of time. They store well and you can even keep them in a pocket in case the weather suddenly turns.
#18. Heavy waterproof gloves are key. You must keep your hands warm and dry for tasks.
#19. Boots (hopefully waterproof) are a must.
Make Sure You Have Items To Secure Objects
You will need items to tie, bind, and secure objects. A quality cord that resists breaking is a critical prepper item.
If you can find a paracord, it is so strong that it can saw through very lightweight items like a zip tie. A small piece of it can even serve as a fire starter.
You can use the sturdiest cords to suspend your food up high, away from bears and other animals.
Sometimes a thin cord can be fashioned into a fishing line. However, you might want to look for proper fishing gear at a thrift store.
Related: How To Catch Fish With A Bottle
#20. Duct tape can bind most things together and patch holes.
#21. Sturdy nylon cord comes in various thicknesses, and it is well worth keeping a variety of types.
#22. Steel wire
#23. Bungee cords secure tarps and help anchor objects at risk of blowing away.
Stock Up On Critical Safety Supplies
#24. First Aid Kit – Hopefully your kit will include the following (#26 through #35)
#25. Pressure bandages and a tourniquet will treat bleeding.
#26. Antiseptic will disinfect a wound.
#27. Airway opening supplies are important. However, it is just as important to learn how to use them properly.
#28. An instant ice pack or Biofreeze works well quickly.
Related: 10 Medical Supplies to Stock Up on Before it’s too Late
#29. Burn gel to treat burns is crucial because during survival situations burns are much more likely to occur.
#30. Splints for sprains and fractures will provide support for those who cannot get to a medical facility easily.
#31. Powdered hydration fluid mix alleviates heat stroke.
#32. A selection of gauze and bandages keeps you prepared for different types of wounds.
#33. Small scissors help you cut medical supplies to fit a particular area.
#34. Back-up ice packs and a cooler to keep them in will help you treat an injury for a longer duration properly, keeping pain and inflammation at bay.
Extremely Important Prepper Items Include:
#35. A manual, not a digital, compass that will work under all circumstances.
#36. A signal glass (or small mirror in a protective case) to create reflective flashes that allow people to locate you.
#37. Carabiner clips are great for attaching various items together and take up little space.
If you live in a wooded area, consider things like:
#38. A hard hat to protect your head from falling branches or other loose, flying objects in a windstorm.
Related: 5 Wilderness Survival “Rules” That Are Actually Myths
#39. Reflective safety vests will help make you more visible in poor weather to others.
Obtain User-Friendly Food And Water Items
#40. A single-wall metal water bottle for boiling water over your campfire or stove takes up less space than a large pot.
#41. Collapsible water bottles do not take up much space and you can utilize several at a time.
#42. Camp stoves provide an easy method for meal preparation.
Always check the amount of time your stove’s gas cylinder will last. Aim for a five-day supply to cook two meals per day and boil water if needed.
Have Tools On Hand For Important Tasks
#43. Bow saws are important, especially if you live in a wooded area because storms often mean road obstructions due to loose limbs. Of course, it’s also a tool to cut your firewood.
#44. Compact tool kits are all-purpose and are quite handy. I found this one at a thrift store for three dollars and look how many tools came with it!
It even has a small hack saw and an Exacto knife. I keep the mini kit in my car.
#45. Utility knives are one of the last items on the list, but one of the most important for just about every activity.
Don’t Forget Your Gardening Tools
A prepper depends on gardening, so gardening tools are vital for all seasons.
#46. Shovels (a collapsible shovel) may help you dig a foundation for your shelter, plus create your gardening rows.
Related: How To Start A Survival Garden From Scratch
#47. Hand trowels, etc. are year-round prepping tools for digging up weeds. Do not forget however to learn which of those weeds you are digging is edible. Many of them are and foraging responsibly can help you endure a survival situation.
Storage Products Secure And Organize Your Possessions
#48. Backpacks – the more pockets the better!
#49. Waterproof plastic tubs for storage are very handy if you live in an area where flooding is common, but also to keep things critter resistant.
Don’t Forget Your Survival Book
#50. Survival Books – You cannot survive a crisis without knowledge and skills. Once the internet is down, you can’t expect to remember everything you’ve ever read, so it’s best to have a written guide that might even save your life.
When you are finished gathering your items, organize them in one location so that they are easy to find. Although the survival books you find may give you prepping knowledge, we all need practical experience.
People need to remember practical survival skills when under stress. Experts recommend trying your prepping items out before you require them.
Test them first while backpacking, camping, or during a temporary power outage. As they say, practice makes perfect – one could also say that prepping makes perfect as well.
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books i would rather use as toilet paper….
anything from Jim Cobb
@Raven – For someone who doesn’t like Jim Cobb, you spend a lot of time on his website commenting…
Don’t those articles get emailed out? Are you on his email list?! Hahaha…
Go do something with your life, bruh.
I wouldn’t get on his mailing list.
A lot of the information you find in the books , are just re vomited internet tidbits you find on the web. If you do want something positive from Cobb, go ask him about knives. The man is a knife and blade guy that’s for sure.
I just dislike people who “sucker people into buying tickets to the show. Only to get bad information or just false hope. Not my cup of tea but hey if you need false hope more power to you.
Ah.The rude.crude,and socially unacceptable Raven has reared
it’s ugly head.Hard to imagine that much hate crammed into one body.
Lord help anyone that he lives with!
Chuck lets just hug it out
Chuck I don’t think the expert/master/Prepper is really hateful. I do think he craves attention. The fastest way to get attention is to piss everyone off. It works really well when you can hide behind your computer. It doesn’t work really well when you are face to face though. So I would suggest Mr. Expert Prepper, that if you are hell bent on getting noticed at any cost and you do not care that people are laughing at your antics, then yeah – continue to use your electronic shield. So there you have it….more attention for you.
I prefer yard sales over thrift stores. I’m on the rural edge of suburbia, so the goods vary widely from sale to sale. I lucked out and got an emergency surgical kit for a buck last weekend; the guy holding the sale had no idea what it was. It was already on my list for my med kit.
I’ve got some solar lanterns (as well as good tactical flashlights); no batteries, no problem.
2nd hand is my preferred shopping source for most things.
I picked up a blue bail canning jar for a buck. I feel like I robbed them…Maybe 🙂 niio
I prefer professional Biofreeze: I can get it where I have been getting physical therapy.
Great info to get people headed in the right direction. Any plan is better than none. Compiling suggested materials will give the people new to prepping a chance.
You guys always have great information – now were is my Zombie Apocalypse!!!!
Currently going on in the large cites, where the drug fueled zombies can wonder around and suck your tax dollars down. Destroying property and commit crimes. Meanwhile you have to go work to fund them and feel sorry for all the “problems they have”
Eugenics had some true real world value
Kathy: he called himself raven. niio
Kathy, there is a valley in Swissconsin that has a group of Elohim cultists that seem to be a bunch of gullible zombies.
Thrift stores are often pricy…. and way to much of the (i know what i got )
Rummage sales are the ticket to finding all the treasures., Amish stores often also have discounted items as well.
you’re going to need a lot of
Clothes for the various ages
Oh beware of sleeping bags where people did odd things in them.
Some thrift stores start out with too high of prices but have certain days that are discounted. One local store has old people’s day once a week. Everything is 30% off for anyone over 55. It is worth asking the store clerk what discounts they have regularly.
I did notice that stock on the thrift store shelves has dropped down from a couple of years ago. My guess is that not as many people are donating?
Now way Raven! What ever is wrong with you might be contagious
you might also check estate sales; they are similar to yard/garage/rummage sales.
dz: That may be one of the best places yet. the first one I went to, I walked away with a truck load of tools, shotgun shells, a good circular saw, air pump, and t-posts. The cost for everything was under 100 bucks. I asked about guns, but was to late. niio
It’s hit or miss… People with auction fever are the worst…
One advise is to keep a eye on your stuff we had people stealing our pile of stuff we won the bid in the auction on. Scum bags where stealing and hiding it around the corner. Our crew was busy helping a guy who passed out from heat stroke and that’s the thanks we got.
Two is auction fever was annoying. Stuff was going for more then it was going new in the stores. So keep a eye on the prices before hand. The firearms all went above and beyond and none of the firearms where anything i would consider (tactical at the one we where at) so it didn’t really interest me that much.
If you stick around to the end they often do have clear out “bids” and you can get whatever is left cheap.
Thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales, any on-line marketplace. We collect anything silver, brass, or copper because these are healing metals. Hospitals are washing surgical instruments and laying them on copper sheets to sterilize them. They say not even MRSA survives. Copper is great for destroying parasites in the body, and in water. niio
red, with respect to a friend, I’m not sure where you got this idea from.
My hospital might be small, but we are up to date, and I don’t have copper sheets for such sterilization. I think my surgeon friends would be outraged by the idea. High pressure steam is still the gold standard, along with rather harsh gas or chemical sterilant for items damaged by steam.
MRSA btw isn’t hard to destroy on hard surfaces. Really hard to eliminate on soft things like patient skin.
Copper is hard on germs, that’s true but I’d not like folks *thinking* they can get some copper flashing and start sterilizing things. Copper tops in bar scenes is helpful in reducing bugs but not to the level of sterile by any measure.
I wish copper was the great sterilizer, but not so much.
Michael: Studies were done. I had an argument with someone here about it and had to go research for him. Skepticism is good, it’s intelligent, and no, I’m certainly offended by you.
I used tobacco to kill a MRSA infection feeding on a surgical wound. Any bacteria is vulnerable to copper. Internal parasites as much so. Do you know what it takes to kill liver flukes and tape worms? Yet, copper is proved to knock them out. niio
Good job Michael.It’s nice to see a correction made in a civil manner.
Little tip here. Yes, it’s good to carry a lighter for emergencies, and it should be in a semi sealed bag. The author states *A* zip lock bag. Nope. One won’t do it. Use TWO, one inside the other and facing opposite directions. I’m frequently surprised to find items in *one* zip lock that are thoroughly wet. I sure don’t want my spare pair of socks soaking wet!
Good article. Another thing about these kinds of stores, is the timing on when to go. I have found the best deals shortly after the weather warms up. People do spring cleaning and just want to get rid of old items that they may have got new around the holidays. Then again just before cold weather sets in. People seem to get rid of warm weather items that they have no room to store come winter. Change of seasons seems to be the times when you should be at your most diligent when hitting them.
Just an off-topic suggestion……someone should do a write up on how to PROPERLY sandbag for flooding. I have never seen a write up on this subject, and I have rarely seen people do it properly. I have only seen ONE news crew show proper sand bagging when I lived in Louisiana.
Another thing is makeshift sandbags. In an emergency, double and tripling up simple Walmart shopping bags will work. If you’re like my family, it’s nothing to get 50 or more bags a week from stores. Granted they’re not as big as regular sandbags, but they also cost a lot less than a regular sandbag and you can almost as many as you want when bagging your own groceries.
Another bag that works great are feed sacks. I go to the mills and ask for old bags with small holes in them. They give them away because they can’t reuse them for feed as they’ll leak feed all over.
Another great bag is pet food bags that are plastic and very tough as well. When we buy pet food, we search for bags made of plastic and not paper.
Just a thought since we’re getting into that season where flooding is a real issue.
What about a ‘Life Straw’ in your kit?
I wanted to add to the timing comments. I used to live fairly close to a university. Going to the thrift store closest to campus right when school was letting out for the year yielded some great finds.
My sister-in-law one year was part of the university cleaning crew for the summer and started that job just before school let out. She said the stuff kids threw away was amazing. She was able to use some of the discards, gave some to get friends, and sold others.