Planning for living off grid or survival without modern conveniences can seem daunting at first glance, but there are some things that can be stockpiled over time that will make the process easier. Many of the same things answer the question, “What should I stockpile for SHTF?” Off-grid and disaster preparation can be very similar.
Canned goods, dehydrated vegetables, MREs, and other foods that are well preserved or otherwise made to safely store for an extended period of time are a wise thing to stockpile. The average American has less than three days’ worth of food stored in the home. This can be a serious disadvantage in an off-grid situation. Therefore, one of the first things to make sure to store up is food. Ideally, at least two weeks’ worth, but preferably up to six weeks’ worth of food should be stored. However, even foods that are meant to store for a long time can eventually become inedible; it is smart to rotate the stock and use the oldest occasionally and replace it with new purchases or preparations.
Cooking oil aids in cooking and can be used for other things, as well. It adds flavor as well as preventing sticking, and will also increase the fats in the food, which is important for digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Having a garden or raising livestock will aid in achieving this goal, as well as providing extra food at a later date.
A tent will come in handy if, for some reason, the primary dwelling is unavailable or damaged. What may be more important than having a tent, though, is having the knowledge to create shelter from the raw materials available in the surrounding area. Something as simple as a lean-to can provide enough shelter to keep people warm and dry as needed.
A plastic tarp can be used for a simple shelter, but can also be used for adding weather resistance to other things or to collect rainwater for drinking or washing.
Health and Hygiene
Keeping clean is important both for health and comfort. Feeling grimy is unpleasant and can lead to infection and sickness. This means that it is important to stockpile soap and wipes, towels and rags (including paper towels), and either have a good source of water or have some of that stored, as well.
Disinfectants for surfaces and water, such as bleach, is likely to be necessary. Bleach is inexpensive and can be stored easily.
Supplies for oral hygiene are equally important, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste or baking soda, mouthwash, floss, etc, and especially toilet paper or alternatives.
Feminine hygiene items should also be stockpiled. While there are other ways to handle specific feminine needs, such as menstruation, it will be much more comfortable to have the supplies that are usually used available when needed.
A few respirator masks, such as N95 respirators, may be a wise addition to the stockpile. These can be worn in buildings if they are old enough to have hazardous materials such as asbestos.
Medications such as painkillers, eugenol for toothaches, antacids, diarrhea medications, and other over-the-counter medications should be included in a first aid kit, which should also have bandages and ointments. Several pairs – or boxes – of vinyl or nylon gloves are likely to be handy for a variety of uses.
Tools and Gadgets
Sewing kits are helpful to repair damaged clothing or other textiles. They can also be used for stitching wounds in dire circumstances (though dental floss or clean fishing line may hold better in that case).
A firearm and its ammunition – plenty of ammunition – are a good thing to have on hand. Hunting can provide meat, and defense could become a requirement in some situations.
Basic hand tools, such as hammer, nails, screwdriver, screws, adhesives, saws, and other simple manual tools should be stored. Having at least two of each tool and multiples of nails, screws, and adhesives will prevent the need to use alternatives if one breaks.
Duct tape is handy for many uses, from creating shelter to catching water, repairing some things, and making things.
Plastic bags, such as trash bags and grocery bags, are easy to store and can be used for a lot of different applications from hygiene, shelter, disposal of waste, collecting water, and more.
Heat and Light
Batteries for flashlights (and the flashlights), wood-burning stoves, matches or lighters, candles, and similar items will make it convenient to see and have heat. A solar charger can be useful if items take rechargeable batteries.
Warm blankets and extra layers of clothing are easy to store and will greatly increase the comfort of people during cold weather if the heat is out and fire is not an option.
Mobile devices seem like a good choice for entertainment, but if electricity is unavailable and there is no internet connection, these lose much of their appeal. Board and card games, good books, paper and pens or pencils will be much more useful. Storing these can be tricky, as they need to be kept dry.
The absolutely most important thing anyone can have is knowledge and skills. Learning how to hunt, how to prepare the animal or fish, how to build a shelter, how to build a good campfire, how to cook over a campfire, how to treat a wound, and all the other myriad things that are needed to live off the land and survive on one’s own are much more important than anything else. Having a stockpile of items is good, but even the biggest stockpile will eventually run out. Having the skills to replenish the stores from items available in the wild is priceless and irreplaceable.
Learning the skills is only the start. It is important to practice what is learned regularly, so when the skill is needed, it is ready to use. When a skill is learned but never practiced, it becomes less of an asset as time goes by. Keep in practice, use skills regularly, and whenever the skill is needed, it will be easy to handle the situation.