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Minimalist Survival and Preparedness

Updated on September 7, 2014

Minimalist Survival Preparedness, Techniques and Tools

Social chaos, economic collapse, political turmoil and upheaval has many people thinking about their future and how they will survive. There are tons of blogs and websites dedicated to the idea that having a survival plan with requisite gear will allow one to survive and perhaps thrive the impending doom. I have no doubt that being prepared is a good thing. However, just because one has barrels of rice, stacks of toilet paper, boxes of ammo, jugs of water and packs of emergency rations and supplies does not mean that survival is guaranteed. You also need a basic minimalist survival kit.

Many people seem to be preparing for an "I Am Legend" or "The Walking Dead" scenario where billions of people are dead and your survival demands that you have enough supplies to survive the apocalypse. Fair enough. Nobody can ever suggest that it is bad thing to have a basement full of MRE's and survival knives.

The end of the world survival is just not what I worry about. People want to know what to hoard for survival. We are actually hoarding food and water making sure we have enough for up to 6 months. just in case. Just in case of what? Food shortages. Long food lines. Supply disruption. Who knows? But while the country is figuring out how to deal with it my family will be munching on food that we have set aside for such an emergency.

The problem that I see with typical survival is that folks are preparing for the moment that the balloon goes up or zombie start roaming the neighborhood while they are watching a favorite episode of Ice Road Truckers. That is unlikely.

What I see happening is that some emergency will happen when you and your boy are across town watching a movie while mom is at the mall. Or maybe you are at work. Lot's of people are calling for an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) to wipe out all electronic devices sometimes in the near future. So now you are stuck without a working vehicle. Phones won't work. Traffic lights will be shut down even if your car does work so there will be gridlock. Stores will close. The now popular "mob robs" will happen to unprotected stores. How long will electricity be out? Who knows. But you won't be able to buy anything if all you carry is a charge card. Maybe it will be something like a natural disaster. God help us, but we sure have had a lot of those events recently.

Preparing for those events and surviving will always be important. Anyway, what if I am 20 miles away from my survival gear? What if I am in another city? What if circumstances are that I cannot get back to my house to access my well stocked fall out shelter or grab my emergency pack? Well then you are left with what's in your pocket. Maybe what you have in your car. This is minimalist survival. This is what I prepare for. Some might call it urban survival.

Photo Credit: Royalty Free

Pocket Knife

You have to carry a pocket knife for any survival

The one thing that I have plenty of is knives. I carry a car survival knife in my and wife's vehicles. I carry a pocket knife. I have a survival knife in my home. I can make do without a lot of things trying to survive but a knife is going to be one of those things that I consider a must have. Any knife will end up being better better than nothing.

There are tons of great pocket knives. Everybody has their favorite. Anyone can wax poetic about why a fixed blade is better than this 3-blade. Blah, blah, blah. Get a knife that you can carry each and every day.

Personally I like a Buck pocketknife. This Buck 0371BRS Stockman Folding Pocket Knife is great. I like a 3-blade pocketknife. A dual blade is fine as is a single blade. Who cares? I prefer a length of about 3-inches to carry daily. Sure a 7 inch survival blade would be great but I doubt you are going to be able to get away with strapping that on to carry into the board room.

The bottom line is a pocket knife is the one thing that you cannot do without in any survival situation. It is primitive. You have to carry one to be prepared.

Tactical Palm-sized Flashlight

I have plenty of flashlights in my home and car. I have plenty of batteries. If the apocalypse hits the world then I am pretty sure I can light the darkness for many months until things get sorted out. As long as I am home. If circumstances find me away from home with no ability to get there then I have a back up plan in my pocket. I carry a flashlight daily, just in case.

There are plenty of small LED flashlights that you can snap onto your key chain and will all but forget it is there. I opt for a darn expensive tactical flashlight Surefire T1A Titan Variable-Output LED Flashlight

Maybe you are on the 47th floor of a building when the electricity goes out. EMP burst. People scrambling onto the stairwell. How amazing would it be to have a light!?

I read an article from a Navy SEAL talking about survival if you ever find yourself in a situation where you can't carry your weapon. He was discussing what to do if you found yourself in a situation like those people in the movie theater as a mad man starts shooting. He said a bright LED flashlight like this could blind the man just long enough to disorient him allowing you time to escape or try to subdue him. I thought that sounded brilliant.

Bear Grylls Survival Series Ultimate Kit
Bear Grylls Survival Series Ultimate Kit

Survival Packs and Kits

For every item that I think is important to me for my survival someone else will decide that something is more important to them. On a daily basis, to "Be Prepared", these are items that I would not want to do without. So I make sure I do not.

What about water you say? Well, part of my survival is to live somewhere where accessing water is not a big problem. You live in Las Vegas well you have a survival problem if the government is not taking care of your needs. In the East I can locate plenty of streams, creeks, springs or lakes to access water. I'll find a can and boil some water to purify it and I'm good to go. Food? I can survive for a day or two eating off the land until I got home or somewhere I could access/buy/forage supply. But if I did not have a way to make fire then I would have a problem.

There are so many different kinds of survival packs. There are urban survival kits. There is wilderness survival gear. There is survival items for you car, for your home, for your second home. People buy survival food packs. People have backup gasoline. Cisterns for water.

These are all worthwhile. They have their uses. If I was going on a hike I'd make sure to have a wilderness survival pack like the Gerber 31-000701 Bear Grylls Survival Series Ultimate Kit.

We haven't bought one of those home survival kits but we hoard items that might come in handy. Stuff that we do not want to stand in line for if some emergency happens. Things that we have access to for 3-6 months if supply lines are cut. We can food. We store food. We have handguns, rifles and shotguns and plenty of bullets to fire.

Which leads me to guns. I live in a carry conceal state. I carry a concealed weapon. I do not carry it into the office but I leave it locked in the car. Depending on the circumstance I may be able to get to the car and have that as part of my survival. And frankly I will make damn sure that I've exhausted every effort to do so when the crap hits the fan and I'm away from home. So yea a gun is important but I may not have it with me. But I will always have my keychain with a firestarter, knife and flashlight on me.

I don't begrudge anyone preparing for the worst. Hoard food. Collect bullets. Store water. Put a survival kit in your cars. Definitely. But in those plans make sure you are prepared just in case you aren't around your stash.

Roll of dollars
Roll of dollars

Cold Hard Cash

Credit cards may not be an option

There are plenty of websites that discuss the end of the western financial systems and that the only way to protect yourself is through gold and silver. I believe in diversification and think the physical metals have a grand place in any portfolio. Many talk of the doomsday where the dollar will be worthless and you'll trade using the ancient currencies. Maybe it will come to that but in the event of minimalist survival I think its best to have some cold hard cash.

If an EMP or civil riot or economic turmoil does occur, for a time the credit card system could very well be a mess. And you might not be able to take out any money from your bank. Perhaps you have a few grand stashed in your safe at home. That's great. It won't do you much good if you are 300 miles from home and having to survive your way back to your home.

That's why I do like my dad did when I was younger and carry cash. Sure there are some who say that is dangerous in today's time but everyone it seems is totally reliant on their bank or credit card. That is not survival. That is reliance on a system that you have zero control over.

The dollar may in fact collapse like many economists insist. But for now it is our currency and is recognized the world over. Having a nice roll tucked inside your pocket for that just in case scenario is not a bad thing. And if you use it for a lunch or two, don't forget to replenish the stash. Be prepared.

Magnesium Survival Firestarter
Magnesium Survival Firestarter

Magnesium Survival Firestarter

Genuine Issue Magnesium Survival Firestarter

There are not many survival scenarios that it would not be helpful to be able to build a fire. Hopefully if the stuff hits the fan you will be safe and secure in your home and will have many options available to prepare a meal or keep warm. If you are in a survival situation then having a means to build a fire will always be useful.

I don't know about you but I don't want to have to rely on rubbing a couple of sticks together to get a fire going. If you are a smoker then you will always have your trusty lighter waiting to create a fire. If you aren't then the chances of you carrying a matchbook or lighter is probably not good. I carry neither but I can create a fire pretty much anywhere I happen to be that's because I carry a chunk of magnesium on my keychain.

Yea it seems rather absurd to think that I would ever need to build a fire trying to get home from work. But what happens if something catastrophic happens at night on the road home. Car is disabled. People are scampering around like zombies. I just want to get home. I leave my car and start my trek to my family as best I can. Maybe I get tired and need to stop. Get warm. Break out the Genuine Issue Magnesium Survival Firestarter, my knife and BAM! I have a fire. I can search around for wood with my trusty flashlight.

Yep, sounds ridiculous. Until it isn't.

What are you doing to prepare?

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    • SBPI Inc profile image

      SBPI Inc 3 years ago

      I will bring the Bible

    • SurvivalFood1 profile image

      SurvivalFood1 4 years ago

      Good reminder about simple things we need to have on hand at all times -- realpreparedness for whatever may lie ahead.

    • PatriciaJoy profile image

      PatriciaJoy 4 years ago from Michigan

      Great advice. I've been prepping for a while but still consider myself a beginner in so many ways. Sprinkled with angel dust.

    • profile image

      gallows29 4 years ago

      Nice information here. I have a decent food stash and other items like silver coins. Never hurts to be prepared.

    • robertzimmerman2 profile image

      Robert Zimmerman 4 years ago from SE Florida, USA

      I'm redoing my B.O.B. this week.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I really like the flashlight. Quite expensive but very handy and sure to last a long time.

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      Good suggestions. People can't eat gold or silver. Having access to a food supply would also be a pretty powerful means of trade.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Good lens, I think this might come in handy some day but I hope not.

    • FunMoneyBusiness profile image

      Sharyn Read 5 years ago from ... either in the kitchen or at my laptop...

      The keyring pictured is a good idea. We were recently advised to leave a country town we were visiting as a flood was coming, they needed to close the road out to strengthen a levy point... if you have to pack bags, you have no time to gather things. Preparedness and readiness are necessary.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I just purchased a Bear Grylls survival pack via ebay as it was the cheapest price. I am a Bear Grylls fan so thanks for sharing this information

    • cmcyclist profile image

      cmcyclist 5 years ago

      Thanks Prepperdad! It's amazing how things feel like they are teetering on the brink...of something. I was a Boy Scout. Better to "Be Prepared" than not. If nothing happens then that is great. If it does at least I give my family and myself a chance to survive until things get sorted out.

    • Prepperdad LM profile image

      Prepperdad LM 5 years ago

      As a dedicated prepper, I have to say that this is an awesome lens. You hit the nail on the head with the "I Am Legend" comment. It's the more mundane things that we tend to forget. Cash will be very important if an emergency happens - especially a power failure.