There are countless reasons why the world (or America) could fall suddenly into all-out chaos. Economic collapse. Electric grid attack. Nuclear attack. Invasion by foreign forces. Invasion by domestic forces. Invasion by aliens. Natural disaster. Do I need to go on?
What will you have in your bug-out bag when it does (not if, but when)? Because a couple of Pop-Tarts and a bottle of Evian aren't going to cut it. Take notes from these well-equipped practitioners of the worst-case scenario.
Keeping a cut or wound clean will save your life in a post-apocalyptic scenario. Make sure you have a bottle or some wipes stashed in your bag.
People claim candy would be on the first of their minds to be stuffed into their bug-out bags. Twizzlers, chocolates, gummies — what fun is the end of the world without a sweet treat?
3. Gold Bond
A sweaty, chafed area can be your downfall when Walmart is looted, and showers are a figment of the past. You'll be grateful that you had the foresight to stash a jug (or three) of Gold Bond in your bag.
4. A Harmonica
Haven't you watched movies documenting The Great Depression or the Dust Bowl? No catastrophic economic downturn is complete without a dirty-faced folkie playing a harmonica next to the most depressing campfire you've ever seen. If you have room, toss the banjo in the bag, too. If we're going to suffer, we may as well make our soundtrack, right?
Specifically, hoses that can serve as siphons for both water and gasoline. Does this indicate that these preppers might be siphoning fuel or water from someone else's stash? Perhaps. But you must do what you must do when the End Times strike.
Keep a couple of hoses in your prepper bag, and keep those suckers (literally) handy.
6. A Rubber Duckie
One man ready for an economic collapse, energy grid blackout, or nuclear explosion keeps a rubber Duckie in his prepper bag. He says it's an inside joke between him and his wife, touching on a prescient fact. Even as the world collapses, we need stuff around us that brings us joy.
A rubber Duckie, though? Maybe it's not the best item to have in your bag during a stealth scenario. You may as well pack a whoopie cushion, too.
7. Dental Floss
One prepper notes that they keep a couple of packs of dental floss in their bag if they need to make an impromptu zipline. Just kidding, they keep the dental floss to remove food from their teeth even in the most dire of times. Just because the world is in the crapper doesn't mean your dental hygiene has to be, too.
8. A Manual Pencil Sharpener
No, writing notes with a Ticonderoga #2 isn't a priority in the post-Apocalypse world. The pencil shavings make it worth storing a manual pencil sharpener (and a few pencils) in the bug-out bag. Pencil shavings are serviceable tinder for starting a fire, especially when rain or dew makes the tinder you'd find outdoors unusable.
Of course, you'll also want a healthy grasp of gauging distances on the map. A prepper notes that they also keep a book full of valuable addresses. If the grid goes down, GPS no longer works, and you can't access your phone, ensure you have physical alternatives.
And no, that globe you keep in your childhood bedroom doesn't count.
10. File Folders
A manila folder can be a lightweight sign even if you don't have many documents to track as you trek across post-apocalyptic America. Advertise your wares on the black market, notify motorists that you're a non-murderous hitchhiker, or productively use the sign. File folders are cheap, portable, and worth having when the crud hits the fan.
11. Baby Wipes
Whether you need a waterless shower or want a disinfectant toilet paper alternative that won't chap your rump, an abundant stash of baby wipes might save your rear end when the world ends.
12. Playing Cards
It may not seem like it, but the harshest times are precisely the times for fun and games. You might need shirt buttons or pine cones for poker chips, but at least you'll have the cards.
Pop Culture Writer, Life Hack Aficionado
- Focus: Film and Television, Life Advice, Comedic Writing
- Education: Bachelor's of Journalism from the University of South Florida - Tampa
- Published in several international publications, including stories completed as a Wealth of Geeks geek
- Nearly seven years' experience writing professionally
Experience: Sam Mire is a freelance writer with over seven years' experience writing about entertainment, global events, American law, and sports. He got his start as a journalism major at the University of South Florida, and has since spent weeks in the Alaskan wildlands, immersed himself in the world of Florida's homeless population, covered live sporting events, and served as a linchpin for media outlets in the legal, tech, and entertainment spaces. Sam has written news stories and Op-Eds featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, AP News, Fox News, and, most notably, Wealth of Geeks.
Sam focuses on popular culture, film and television, and general life advice in his role for Wealth of Geeks. He strives to turn readers onto the directors, actors, and other creatives who deliver compelling content outside of the box-office top-ten. In his free time, he enjoys boxing, woodwork, engaging in battles of strength and wit with his dog, and spending time with good company.