Thursday, February 6, 2014

Keep it cheap, keep it simple

Today I took a little walk through my local Big Lots store just to see what they have. I like to familiarize myself with the local markets in case some kind of disaster happens and I need to beat the crowds to get certain things. What I came across was a penny pinchers paradise full of inexpensive but useful prepping items. Big Lots is a weird store to me, it's like they tried to put a gas station inside of a walgreens then shove it all inside of a tiny furniture store. They have everything, but not much of it. It's sort of like a store that takes leftovers from others because their quantities weren't large but their selection was. I came across some items I think could help out your preparations, whether it be a small vehicle kit, an extra kit at home or anything else you can thing of. Some of this could even be useful in main Bug Out Bag or Survival Box at home. Let's get to the items:
10X16 CAMO TARP!- $12
First I found a 10x16 Camo tarp for $12. That's the everyday price, $12! The possibilities for this are endless and in an entirely different article to come another day! I checked the thickness of the sample piece that is attached and it's a nice feeling, durable Camoflauge Tarp!

Gotta go big? Ok. How about a 12x20 Camo tarp right next to the last one for $21. Same color, same material, much bigger. This would hide a compact car, a basecamp, your fire wood, all sorts of stuff. Obviously it is still a tarp and does everything the little one does, but on a much bigger scale.
Gatorade has been around forever putting much needed electrolytes back into your body.
One thing I did notice was the relatively soon upcoming expiration date. Being a powdered substance has me thinking it would outlast that expiration date by a long time, but that's something I'll have to look into. 

In my Bug Out Bag I keep Q-Tips covered in Vaseline for fire starting, one thing I noticed when testing those is that once the fire gets to the middle piece (stick) it tends to go out. The few times I have gotten the stick to light, it does not burn well. Well as you know, wood burns well. So for an extra minute or so of burn time which could save your life igniting a fire, these Wood Stick 100% real cotton ear swabs are a great choice. Dip both ends of 50 in some Vaseline, stick them in a waterproof bottle and you're starting fires like Lisa Left Eye Lopes! And at 1 whole American dollar, it's easy and cheap!

Oh the uses of cotton. Cotton swabs and cotton balls covered in Vaseline will burn substantially longer than those without. Cheap, easy, and lightweight. These are makeup disks for removing makeup. They would make excellent dry tinder assistant to help get a fire going. And at $1.20 for a bag of maybe 1/16 oz, there's very little room consumed and not enough weight to speak of.

These are assorted packs of carabiners. All three of these packs are two dollars. Obviously none of these are meant for climbing. I would never trust my life to a carabiner from Big Lots, but I wouldn't be afraid to hang a few pounds of gear off of my bug out bag with one of these carabiners.

Next on the list is some utility knives I found. The utility knife comes with five blades and the knife and five blades are five dollars. Also next to that is a two blade pack for one dollar. On the far left is a box cutter style utility knife. These are nice but I would much rather have the style on the right. One of the main benefits of this style is the folding capability of it for safety. Under these is a small multi tool. The quality of the multitool is in question with its three dollar price tag. But it wouldn't hurt to have just in case. At very minimal weight to the two of these objects, the knife and the tool would make a great addition for anyone needing a spare.

Pry bars have about as many uses as knives and Paracord in a survival situation. These are solid, sturdy, thick prybar's that don't weigh much at all. At three dollars it wouldn't hurt to have one. 

I like these little flashlights, of course they aren't as good as a $200 flashlight. They aren't going to have 160 lumen of life, or blind somebody from 4 miles away. But they are reliable easy to use lights with a pushbutton switch on the back. At two dollars a piece, they are a nice cheap way to have light throughout your house in case of a black out. They run on AAA batteries and I have one that sits on the dresser that I have had for eight years and to this day has let me down less then most weapons lights I have used in the past. Obviously these lights are not suited for recoil. Don't duct tape them to your rifle and expect quality out of them. Use them for what they are and you will get surprisingly good results. 

A friend of mine has four kids, he came up with a great idea. In case of a black out, he makes his children where headlamps. Not only can they see where they are going. But if the light stays on the head, and the head stays on the body, you know where your children are at all times. This is much easier than making your children carrying flashlight, depending on the size of the flashlight in relation to your child's hands, they might drop the light, they might set it down and forget where, or they might be carrying something in their hands and cannot use a handheld flashlight. 

A whole bunch of cable ties for a little tiny price. The capabilities of cable ties or zip ties as a lot of people call them are endless. From quick cuffs, to tying things to a bag, to shrinking the size of your gear for transport, there is so much you can do with these and I would not go anywhere without them.

These are very nice, very thick, very comfortable leather gloves. For eight dollars an extra pair would never hurt.

A utility knife, pliers, and a 9 LED flashlight. Possibly the best $10 deal in the store.

This is a nice thick thermal shirt for nine dollars. The quality of the shirt felt really nice, and the thickness of the thermal shirt felt very warm. 
These are very nice medium weight cushioned crew socks. This is for 3 pairs!

I used to have one of these can opener's at my old apartment, they actually function very easy. They weigh almost nothing and are very easy to use. At $1.25, they could be a tool that would make your life much easier in the field. 

This little multi tool is meant for a key ring. It is a nine and one tool including screwdrivers, a small pair of scissors, a nail file, a bottle opener, and a can opener.

The best part about this store is the amount of food they had. It's not all name brand, but that doesn't matter. They have tons of dry goods, canned goods, non perishable items, and drinks. As well as microwave dinners and stuff to make home made MRE's. People don't see Big Lots and think of food, but make sure to check out their selection 

I would strongly recommend checking out a Big Lots store near you. I was in there for approximately 22 minutes and I found all this stuff. I'm sure I missed a few things that would be great to have in a survival situation. Thank you for reading! 

"I'm no longer preparing for the apocalypse, I'm now preparing against the unprepared for when the apocalypse comes"


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