Four ‘Unique’ Survival Items


Today I wanted to share with you a few ‘unique’ items that we have in our supplies. When it comes to prepping, everyone usually talks about having food. Plenty of food. And believe me, there is nothing wrong with that at all. In fact it is the first step in a prepping plan. However, trying to maintain some sort of a household, survival retreat, or ‘home’, will require more than just food. I happened to come across these unique items in our supplies, while I was looking for something else and I thought I’d share.

1. Washboard – This simple, inexpensive, yet unique little item, we found to be quite impressive. Whether you are bugged out or bugged in, you will need the ability to clean some clothes and undergarments, particularly if you are out of power. If you are in a disastrous situation, you won’t be doing your normal laundry on a regular basis, but I am sure you will have some things that need to be washed. Our washboard removed stains and cleaned clothing. What surprised us was how lightly you really had to scrub on the steel ridges to get your clothes clean. Again, it’s a simple, inexpensive item and it’s great!

2. Maxi pads –  I recommend that you have them in your first aid supplies/kit. Why would you need maxi pads with your first aid supplies? Well, they are great blood absorbers, so use them when you are trying to stop heavy bleeding coming from someone’s wound. If the bleeding is light, then by all means, use some gauze. Maxi pads will be much more helpful when trying to stop heavy bleeding so that you can apply bandages once the bleeding has stopped. Remember that you need to apply pressure to stop the bleeding.

3. Cable ties or zip ties – Many of you have probably seen these. They are primarily used by electricians. However, they are great fasteners. Generally, they have a one time use. They are inexpensive and lightweight. They will also fit nicely into your bug out bag. They can secure tarps together as long as they have grommets. They also come in handy in your garden for tying plants, such as tomatoes, to a stake to hold them up. There are many uses for these lightweight, but effective fasteners.

4. Bandanas – Here is another useful, inexpensive and unique survival item. First of all, some more obvious uses would be to use them as a washcloth or a dishrag. Ken loves to use one as a sweatband and I use one to cover my head to help prevent heat exhaustion. Tying one around your neck will help to prevent your neck from getting sunburn. You can also keep some in your first aid kit to use as a sling or a tourniquet. They also make a nice impromptu little ‘basket’. Tying the ends together through your belt loop or a loop on your backpack and you have an extra way to carry things.


These were just a few unique and inexpensive items that are great for all preppers. There are so, so many items that are handy for prepping. It’s always fun to list a few that are not typically in the main-stream short-lists.


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  1. First Aid thoughts:

    When treating an arm injury by keeping it close to the chest; use a triangular bandage or a bra (put the elbow into one cup), even cord used on blinds may be used to secure the arm to the chest. You get the idea.

  2. There are some Zip Ties, that are able to be reused. These Zip Ties are handy when multiple openings and closings are needed in a certain use, where using the generic ‘one timer’ zip ties would cause too much waste when they’re cut open.

    Look into reusable Zip ties for those areas that will reduce waste and promote sustainability and keep up the numbers of on hand zip ties.

  3. Most one use cable ties (aka zip ties) can be reused if you apply pressure on the lock finger located on the inside of the circular loop created when engaged. just place a small razor knife into the finger and apply pressure to release it from the ridged side of the cable. works like a charm

  4. additionally, it should be noted that individuals will have to learn to travel light in desperate times. Only take items that you can carry. learn to harvest the land via hunting and gathering. Utility tools like high quality hunting knives and Leatherman are esscential to survival. Understand that you will need to consume proteins like larva and worms to sustain life. Learn to boil water to via two thin stainless camping pots and conical lid. the condensation drops that form on the lid when boiling water rises as steam will drop into the smaller pot that is laying inside the larger pot. This is the safest way to drink water when no clean water resources are available. Always have fire starting materials on hand, such as magnifying glass (swiss army champ knife by Victorinox has one – along with can opener, saw, corkscrew, etc) also magnesium block, flint/iron, etc. carry small denominations of old silver coins, these will work as bartering tools with others. Carry a couple firearms – automatic pistol and also med size rifle – THIS IS HUGE! Bring only esscential clothes for survival and only wear combat worthy boots with plenty of socks. BEST OF LUCK FOLKS!

  5. One thing to be wary of regarding rubber bands, is they will deteriorate fairly quickly, especially in the sun. Just mentioning this in case anyone is relying on them still being effective after being in storage for awhile… Good to rotate them with new from time to time.

  6. I just found this site last week and this is already my second question! Yeah, I’m a newbie. Anyway I was wondering about the washboard. I hadn’t thought of that. Could you make your own out of tin? I’m not sure exactly what it’s called–galvanized, maybe? It’s rippled like a potato chip. We have a few small pieces left over from a project. I always like the idea of ‘make do with what you’ve got’. Then again, I don’t want to waste it if it wouldn’t work. Any thoughts on it?
    Thanks for the site. It’s wonderful for those starting out w/ prepping.

  7. Zip Ties rot in the sun & only last a year. Also have soft iron wire.

  8. In my past while an impoverished student, I did all hand washing and air dried all of my clothing. It wasn’t all that difficult, just time-consuming. I would soak my clothing in a soapy solution, then after patiently waiting, I would hand-wring the clothing. Then I would take the hand-wrung items and soak them in a container of clean water, let them soak, then again hand-wring the clothing to remove as much water that I could.

    I think a lot of slightly build folks would have difficulty with that as they don’t possess upper body strength. I’d recommend having a roller to express out the water in addition to the washboard. In a pinch, one could use a clean mop device to squeeze out the water fairly well.

    They make inexpensive lines to stretch out across a room to hang upon a hook. They also make wooden racks to hang quite a few clothing items at once, but realize that doing this will add a lot of humidity to a small area around the racks. One can easily hang such slightly damp clothing over chairs and that will also work but might over time harm the shiny finish of those chairs. We used to use this method all the time for sweaters which can get equally ruined by being in the clothing dryer with too much heat.

    Post-collapse, making laundry soap will be a big problem. That means committing a lot of rendered fat towards the process of making it, and those are valuable food calories. Sure, making soap with lye from wood ashes is not that hard. You use a potato as your pH device. They teach that to villagers in 3rd world countries. The problem is 21st Century Americans finding a fat source to render in sufficient amounts to do this in an organized fashion. Even if you had it, you’d want to amass it to make a batch of soap and that would mean probably waiting for a bit for that to accumulate. Instead I think smart cooks will be adding in every bit of fat, catching fat drippings, in order to give their families as many calories as possible.

    Here’s what they did in England during WW2. Certain plants have sapponins in them. The most common in the USA are ferns. These commonly grow in shady areas that get some diffuse light. The roots of those ferns when mashed produce sapponins to gently wash with. This isn’t a sudsy material, but will clean some, a very important thing to know under disaster conditions.

    In Roman times leading up to medieval times, urine was carefully saved. Everyone should know that ammonia is used to wash clothing, and that’s only slightly different that urea. Because urine when mixed with fecal matter won’t breakdown in the privy region, then you’ll teach people to place one in one bucket and use another bucket for the other.

    Urine once saved can be used as a mordent to fix dyes. Urine produces almost a chemically identical composition to commerical chemical fertilizer. As such, you’ll be using that in a safe way in your garden.

    The other cannot safely be disposed of without a lot of intentional sanitation. Sure in times when one family lived miles from another, then privies would work, but post-collapse, such privies without specific guildelines will result in contaminated wells.

    Do y’all see how many things are connnected in Nature and in humanity. That’s real prepping and learning how pioneer folks didn’t waste anything and were constantly looking for uses for what little they had or could source.

    1. Thanks for those tips, Hopeful! I didn’t know that about urine (I’ve done a little research into composting with humanure, but hadn’t thought to check into uses for urine.) I know to some it may sound gross, but hey, in a different world, all things are useful, right?

      1. You’re welcome. While the humanure method does work (look that up folks for you will need that long term in a collapse), it takes at least two and probably three years of proper bacterial digestion to work. The time variance is mostly due to the outside temperature and the fermentation process.

        In fact long time, a smart thing to do with human manure would be to make a biodigestor to make methane. That’s been successfully done, and also variable with the best success done in tropical countries. Then the methane produced is utilized to burn for cooking or can be used for lighting or heating. That’s better than composting human manure for agricultural use.

        There are several scientists who have worked with Peace Corps volunteers and NGOs on developing better composting toilets. Typically theree is a way to divert urine from the feces, for when mixed it slows the bacterial digest and so takes longer to render the manure safer. Those projects are not hard to find on the Internet.

        It’s essential for the first few years of a collapse to concentrate on simpler sanitation solutions in the abscence of an engineer and equipment. This likely means making a community toilet facility that is far from the area of agricultural areas and also far from the well area and also far from the burial area. This is why preppers who understand these issues, as well as local talent in the sciences could rebuild civilization.

        If not, then each survivor is doing their own thing and poisoning their neighbor’s well, something that could cause skirmishes in a post-collapse world.

        If you have documents saved and/or printed, then when organizing it will be far easier to sell these ideas, for they are not common knowledge. The avergae survivor will simply dig a latrine, and that kind of, “But it was always done this way before…” will lead to disease, lower crop yields, insect and rodent infestation, etc.

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