More Unusual Additions to the Survival Kit

One of the things I truly enjoy is coming up with ways to take common items and repurpose them as survival gear. I can’t say I’m always the first guy to come with a given idea as, more often than not, I’ll later see it or a variation mentioned somewhere. Still though, ’tis fun.

Alcohol swabs are pretty cheap. They are great to have in your kit to help clean small wounds, of course. But, they are also excellent for getting a fire going. Tear open the package and pull the swab out about halfway, then light it using any of your typical means of doing so. You may not see much flame as alcohol burns very cleanly. It also is pretty damn hot so be careful!

This one comes courtesy of survival expert and author John McCann. Toss a few small balloons in with your survival fishing gear. They work great as improvised floats. Who doesn’t have room in their kit for a couple balloons?

Glue sticks don’t need a glue gun to work. Just heat up one end over your fire, then smear the glue where it is needed. Great for making expedient repairs in the field. But, watch your fingers as the glue is obviously hot and will stick to the skin.

A simple, inexpensive rat trap baited with peanut butter will work well in keeping you fed. Spray paint it first with a neutral, flat color like gray or tan. Screw in an eye hook on one end so you can tie it to a tree so you don’t lose the trap if the critter isn’t killed instantly and instead tries to crawl away while “caught.”

Take a look around you. Think about how you could use everyday common items in a survival situation. Get creative!

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Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

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