Do you have a plan for when society collapses? It’s not something that many of us like to think about, but the truth is that it could happen at any time. And if it does, those who are prepared will be in a much better position than those who aren’t.
Part of being prepared is acquiring much needed gear, tools and supplies that will help you on your journey. It is important to obtain some items as soon as you can because they will be extremely difficult or even impossible to get after society implodes!
In this article, we will discuss some of the items that will be nearly impossible to get after the collapse of society. Knowing what these items are and planning ahead can help you make sure that you are prepared for anything!
Some survival items will be nearly impossible to get or make at home. That’s what I want to talk with you about.
I said nearly impossible so there is a small chance you’ll be able to get them, but why take a chance? Stockpile now and you’ll be able to not just survive but thrive when chaos breaks loose.
Table of Contents
Not Everything You Need to Survive Will Grow on Trees
One of the most important things to remember going into a survival situation, especially a long-term one, is that not everything you need to survive will grow on trees.
Many preppers I know, and even your author here if he is being honest, like to imagine that we will just return to a simpler kind of life in the aftermath where we grow or make what we need and pick fruits and veggies from pristine wilderness to survive.
The truth is that even if the apocalypse were to happen tomorrow and we all had to start over from scratch, it would take years, probably decades, for things to return to anything resembling that kind of state.
In the meantime, there are a lot of things you will need to survive, or that will make survival much easier that simply cannot be provided by nature.
These are things that you want to have on hand well before things go sideways.
Sometimes DIY Does Not get it Done
I will tell you one thing, pretty much every, single prepper I know has an indomitable DIY-er, self-reliant spirit.
They will find a way, make a way, or make the thing that can open the way, come hell or high water. This is a credit to their fortitude, to be sure, and it is true that most of the time it is possible to innovate or improvise your way out of most survival problems.
But the sad fact of the matter is that some survival items, including several most of us take for granted, are not viable for DIY production.
They are either too inefficient, too technically difficult or too resource and labor intensive to be considered. So, if you are thinking about DIY-ing your way all the way to the survival “finish line,” think again.
When you look at the list below of these items and supplies, you might be struck by the notion that it is indeed possible to craft similar items that can accomplish the same task.
You may well be right, but I would challenge any reader with that assertion to compare the performance of the improvised replacement to the “genuine article.”
Chances are the thing you could cobble together under the circumstances will be woefully lacking in some regard!
For that reason, it is better by far to have these items on hand and in abundance if there is even a chance you might make use of them!
Survival Items Nearly Impossible to Get Post-Collapse
Glass Canning Jars
Canning is a great way to preserve food for long-term storage, but you need jars to do it. Once all the stores are closed, you’re not going to be able to just pop down to the local Wal-Mart and pick up a case or two.
Also, the resources and skill needed to produce and shape glass is a significant investment and unlikely to be worth your time or effort in a survival scenario, especially considering how cheap and plentiful glass jars are right now.
You need to have them on hand ahead of time. The good news is that the jars themselves are easy to reuse if you wash them out well and assuming they don’t get broken they will last for quite a long time.
The nice thing about empty jars is that they can be stored in places where food, water, or medicine won’t last, such as your attic (which can get pretty hot during summer).
When it comes to canning, having the glass jars is only one part of the equation. The other half is the jar lids.
These lids are thin machine formed metal that fit precisely to the rims of the jars and also feature a type of seal that will keep air out and the contents of the jar fresh and unspoiled.
This is not the sort of thing you can easily make yourself, or at least make one that will perform reliably for the purpose!
Although jars are reusable, lids are not, and that’s a problem. At 15 cents a lid and considering they take up very little space (compared to jars, at least), there’s no reason not to get them.
Tobacco and Coffee
Tobacco coffee and tea might seem like luxury items in our day and time, or even vices depending on who you ask, but they are far from an everyday pleasure in a survival situation.
Nicotine and caffeine are potent, effective and generally safe stimulants that can help give you a mental and physical boost when you are ailing.
The social aspects associated with smoking and stopping for a cup of coffee or a spot of tea should not be underestimated either.
Unfortunately, the plants that yield up tobacco, coffee and tea are difficult to cultivate, keep alive and harvest to turn them into useful products so a far better idea is to stock up on all of the above well before the fateful day arrives!
And who hasn’t heard or read the advice that cigarettes and coffee are going to be some of the best bartering items when the U.S or even the entire world descends into anarchy?
Coffee is going to be one of the few things (besides family, pets, and comfort foods) that will make you forget for a little while just how bad things are.
Needles and Sewing Kits
We use an awful lot of fabrics in our daily lives and will depend upon fabric in our clothing, luggage and other gear during a survival situation.
A big part of prepping is learning how to repair and maintain your things, and most folks forget about the necessity of repairing and maintaining fabrics.
To do that, you’ll need a needle and sewing kit at the minimum and this is one of those common, taken for granted items that will become scarce indeed in the aftermath of a major event.
While it is true that you can fashion a workable, primitive needle for many materials, none of them will work as well or reliably as a needle made from high quality, flexible steel alongside the associated tools of the trade.
A comprehensive sewing kit with a large stash of needles will take up hardly any room and cost very little, so you’ve got no excuse for going without!
Sunscreen is a great idea anytime you’re going to be working outdoors and exposed to the harsh rays of the sun.
Particularly in areas that have significant UV indexes, sunscreen could be mandatory for protecting yourself from devastating sunburns.
Though it is true you might make your own sunscreen from basic supplies, most of the active ingredients, namely zinc oxide, or anything but common or easy to handle for the purpose.
You need to worry about this problem if you stock up on sunscreen ahead of time, and most popular commercial varieties have long shelf lives between three and five years so you won’t have to worry too much about rotating them.
Lots of Preppers that give up on the idea of daily hygiene as a nicety considering they are preparing for a survival situation, but this is misguided.
Taking care of your body and keeping clean is vital for health and wellness long term, and this includes your mouth.
You’ll need to brush your teeth, of course, but floss is just as important and more importantly for our discussion extremely difficult to fashion yourself.
Floss is incredibly thin and incredibly strong for its size, and there isn’t really any cordage or thread that works as well as flaws for the purpose.
Many so-called survival experts assert that you can use common thread or the inner strands of paracord in a pinch if you need floss, but I don’t know anyone who has been able to make this work when they actually try it!
Confession: my teeth are really close together so only certain types of floss work for me (the ones that are really really thin).
Duct Tape and Electrical Tape
If there is one item that all preppers love it is duct tape. Duct tape is incredibly useful for repairs or improvised constructions and all sorts of tasks while in the field, in the workshop or at home. You can even use it to prevent blisters!
But consider how difficult it is to make tape of any kind. You need a fabric backer or some other kind of material and then an adhesive that is strong but mostly solid so it doesn’t run and make a mess when you apply it.
Then the whole package has to hold together and hold together whatever you are putting it on! You’ll have a fat chance of making something like that yourself.
Just like with duct tape, you can use chicken wire in a million different ways (including art) but you just can’t make it on your own.
Chicken wire, like most metal goods, is going to be extremely difficult to fashion yourself from raw materials, and far more difficult still trying to do it in the middle of a survival scenario.
But considering how useful chicken wire is, both for its intended purpose, general security and a host of other tasks around the homestead or campsite you’ll want to have plenty of it on hand.
Even assuming you had a large roll or spool of wire at your disposal, you’d go crazy and waste many, many hours trying to fasten it together in such a way to replicate the performance of chicken wire. Far better indeed to get it now while it is cheap and plentiful!
Of course, if you’re thinking of raising chickens post-collapse, there are other ways to keep them safe.
Footwear is one of those gear categories that you just don’t appreciate until yours are starting to fail or you don’t have any, and then it is a crisis.
Good footwear is incredibly precious because it protects our feet and does so comfortably even over harsh and unforgiving to rain, allowing us to work and move far longer with less ill effects than we could at barefoot.
And as you were probably not surprised to learn crafting modern, high performance footwear requires an enormous logistical chain and even using primitive methods is a highly skilled and involved process.
If you don’t want to be running around in primitive moccasins, you better have plenty of backup footwear on hand.
Filters and associated filtration technology go hand in hand with prepping because the need to purify water in order to make it safer to drink is so universal.
But making anything besides a simple and cumbersome multi-stage filter from various media is pretty much out of the question.
The high performance filters we depend on in our portable field filters, countertop models and even our coffee makers are made from incredibly fine fabric and other materials that we simply cannot replicate in a meaningful way.
Make it a point to obtain plenty of spare filters for your in-home and portable water filtration systems and any other appliance that requires them. Even a couple of packs of coffee filters can go a long way when repurposed for other things.
Seasoned preppers know that gallon sized or larger Ziploc freezer bags are one of a pepper’s best friends.
Highly adaptable, reusable and useful for a variety of tasks, everything from disposing of trash and waste to carrying surplus water or waterproofing gear. You’ll want to have plenty of these guys on hand for all of your adventures great and small.
But you are dreaming if you think you’ll have the capability of producing a watertight, virtually airtight and rugged transparent plastic bag that seals with a clicky zipper! No, such things are entirely dependent upon modern industries for production.
This is one of those items that most Preppers won’t need to be reminded of! Pretty much all of us by now rely on certain tools that require batteries to function. Flashlights, headlamps, radios and more besides.
There is nothing for it but to have on hand a sizable supply of disposable primary sales for every gadget, tool and device that requires them.
Remember that all batteries slowly self-discharge over time, those certain ones, like lithium batteries, do so far, far more slowly and this will likely justify their greater expense for Preppers. Get AA, AAA, 9V, etc.
Steel wool is a common item in kitchens and on work benches around the world, but it has additional utility for survival scenarios.
It is useful to clean the rust off of tools and other metal surfaces, naturally, but it has additional utility as an emergency fire starter when paired with a battery.
Speaking of which, if you happen to store 9V batteries, why not add some steel wool (in a separate container, of course)? Touching the two together is one of the fastest and easiest non-traditional ways to start a fire.
As you might imagine, trying to produce wire fine enough that you can bundle it together like a wad of fabric is going to be essentially impossible for the average person assuming they aren’t having to deal with all the other requirements of survival.
Don’t even waste your time; just keep a large supply of steel wool on hand among your supplies.
Reading glasses and Contact Lens
Anyone who depends upon prescription glasses or contacts for vision correction, and especially those who are highly dependent on them to see at all, absolutely must keep a spare set or three of additional corrective eyewear in their survival stash if they want to go the long haul.
Chances are you’re never going to be able to run down to a local optometrist for the duration of the event and likely a long time after if you need to get your eyewear replaced or your prescription adjusted.
How you would even set about trying to make your own I could not say. Don’t risk it, have spares.
Quality fabrics can be used for all sorts of things in a survival situation, from crafting luggage and clothing to repairing the same in case of large tears and punctures. But crafting fabric from scratch requires an enormous investment of time and resources.
If you don’t like the idea of raising animals before harvesting their fur or wool and then spinning it into fabric it is in your best interest to have several bolts of the most versatile and useful fabrics on hand.
Also keep in mind that you might not necessarily be able to make use of it, but someone else in your group could or you might be able to utilize it as valuable trade fodder.
Regardless, you had better believe that most of the industrial looms are going to go silent immediately in the aftermath of a disaster, and that means no more fabric.
Metal is everywhere and all around us these days, but in centuries past metal tools and weapons say nothing decorative or trivial items were incredibly precious because metal required a huge investment of manpower and energy to fashion into useful things.
So will it be again during an SHTF scenario of indefinite length. You’ll want to have a wide variety of metal tools of all kinds on hand along with fasteners like screws, nails, braces and so forth.
You might well find it all useful, and if you don’t someone else definitely will for their purposes making an excellent trade fodder.
Even if you are a blacksmith, producing metal tools and other implements takes a long time and a lot of care to do. Stockpile nails, screws, tools, nuts and bolts, copper pipes, tweezers, socket wrenches, scissors, etc. etc. etc.
Taking the concept of metal tools to the next level, power tools combine the strength and certainty of metal with the ferocious capability of a motor.
Power tools can allow one man to easily do the work of several and you had the best believe that there will be plenty of call for power tools for the duration of whatever situation you find yourself in.
Considering most factories will no longer be producing them and precious few people know how to repair them, if you have working ones you’ll be ahead of the game. Make sure you have the capability to fuel them or charge their batteries depending on the type.
Manual Grain Grinder
Grains are one of those things that are likely to just keep on growing in the aftermath of a crisis so long as people are still reasonably able to tend to them, but turning those grains into useful and edible food requires an intermediary step.
This is where a manual grain grinder comes in. So long as you can supply a little muscle power you can turn whole grains into flour useful for baking.
This is an important Link in keeping the calories flowing in the long run and the complexity and metal nature of a grain grinder means you’ll be hard-pressed to make a good one yourself.
Feminine Hygiene Products
Certain facets of nature don’t care one iota what is happening. Any ladies in the audience or in the lives of our male readers know all too well that certain monthly requirements must be taken care of and damn the torpedoes.
Instead of having to improvise something that is uncomfortable unless efficient or risking positively unhygienic practices it is in everyone’s best interest to obtain a sizable stash of feminine hygiene products that may be required.
Just because you can improvise a workaround does not mean you should have to resort to it for want of a little prior planning!
Paper, Pens and Pencils
Another ubiquitous item that is sorely taken for granted the world over and particularly in the West is the utility and certainty of quality paper and writing implements.
Think of how often you use paper, pens and pencils every day. You’ll likely have cause to use them much the same during a survival scenario, particularly one where you are bugging in.
Nothing works as well, as quickly or as reliably as these tools for the purposes of writing anything down or recording information. Make sure you have plenty, that’s it.
Sure, you could make your own paper at home as long as you have recycled paper. But what if you can’t? You still might want to write stuff: your thoughts, a journal, to keep inventories of various things, etc.
Things for Having Fun
Even though survival is serious business, life must go on and in the case of humans assuming the situation stabilizes to a degree boredom and stress must be dealt with for health and longevity and that means you’ll need distractions and diversions.
Books, games, puzzles, balls of all kinds, sports equipment and more are all worthwhile inclusions to a well-rounded, robust and holistic survival stash.
These items will either be intricate or complex to manufacture and thus poor uses of your time or such a specialized nature that their production will be essentially out of the question.
All of them are excellent and cost-effective candidates for inclusion in your supplies. I made another list of all these things here.
Solar Panels, Charges and Generators
We already talked about the need to stockpile batteries further up on our list, but what about those items that use a rechargeable, fixed battery or removable rechargeable cells?
Most Preppers know that our electrical grid will likely be among the first and certainly the longest lasting of the casualties in any society toppling event worth the name.
This is where a solar charging system comes in. Be it a portable array or a larger bank on your property or even attached to your home, these systems allow you to easily and safely make use of the sun’s energy by converting it to electricity.
It should go without saying that the technological nature and intricacy of such systems mean they will be effectively impossible to produce on your own.
Cast Iron Skillets
For your cooking endeavors. Yet another metal implement and one that is incredibly useful and adaptable for indoor or outdoor cooking.
Everybody understands how valuable cast iron cookware is, but the nature of these pots and pans means that making your own will be an involved process that is plenty dangerous.
Considering just how little care they require to last a long time, you want to have these well ahead of time and making use of them the whole while!
Unless you wanna use lamb intestines soaked in milk, you may want to stock up on this. Not to carry water, as some reality TV shows advertise.
Guns and Ammo
Firearms are complex metal machines. Modern cartridge ammunition is equally complex, multi-component and reliant upon highly refined chemicals. This is one of those things that you’ll have only if you have them on hand and as is before trouble starts.
Sure, you might be able to fashion a primitive gun, typically called a zip gun, from the most rudimentary parts but it’s damn hard to do the same thing with ammunition.
Once it is gone, it’s gone and it will dry up almost overnight when disaster strikes. If everybody is going to want it you better have plenty of it.
Thanks to the ubiquity of mobile mapping apps, GPS systems and efficient, interconnected highway networks most folks have found their need for paper maps going by the wayside.
This will not be the case in most major survival situations that have a regional or national impact on society.
In centuries past, maps were typically only of reasonable accuracy and if they afforded any accuracy at all they were still incredibly valuable.
What a wonder it is, then, that we have access to incredibly precise, informative and accurate maps these days and for pennies.
You’ll want a large collection covering your city, Regional area and surrounding wilderness. Don’t forget a comprehensive road atlas while you’re at it!
The world holds many dangers for hard-working hands, and since you will be completely reliant on keeping your manipulators functional you had better protect them with gloves.
Right now, gloves are cheap, plentiful and available in any material, any size and any color that you might desire.
But in the past, gloves were something of a luxury item requiring skilled craftsmanship and the right materials to fashion if you wanted to wear them without completely compromising your dexterity. Don’t let yourself wind up without any, stock up now.
By now, I don’t think there’s anyone left in the world that needs to be told how precious toilet paper will become to the average person when things start looking grim.
Although toilet paper is not strictly a survival necessity, it is one of those hygiene centric items that make life far, far more tolerable.
And though there are many ad hoc replacements that can do the job in a pinch, including natural materials, you don’t want to have to resort to that.
Like all mass produced paper products, the lines that produce toilet paper and distribute it to the masses will come to a grinding halt. Buy it now, buy it cheap, and stack it deep, that’s an order!
There will be no shortage of knives and other bladed implements to sustain you in the aftermath of an shtf event, but razors are a specialized and entirely separate category.
The delicate, incredibly fine edge of a razor lends it a usefulness and a precision that typical blades just cannot match. For shaving or for surgery, razors are tops.
But you’ll have no hope of replicating this incredibly fine cutting implement without the benefit of a master bladesmith with a working shop setup otherwise.
Considering that most disposable razors of any category are mass produced and distributed like other consumer goods, you have a good case for stocking up while you can.
The ability to make fire is one that sophisticated mammals take for granted. The ability to make fire on command has been such a pivotal technology that it has literally been with us since prehistory.
What an ironically funny coincidence then that even common, disposable lighters, so cheaply and widely available, could it become incredibly precious after the world comes to a screeching halt.
You’ll have lots of ways to produce fire on your own without benefit of a lighter, but you’ll be hard-pressed to make something as reliable, portable and easy to use as a lighter on your own.
Whether you want a refillable, traditional model or just a box full of disposables, make sure you get them now.
Bug netting, also called mosquito netting, is an incredibly fine, sheer mesh that will allow you to sleep or rest without worry of the tiniest of biting creepy crawlies getting to your tender, delicious skin.
Absolutely mandatory for survival in the deep parts of the world it also comes in handy for keeping bugs out of your home when strung across any opening.
Bug netting is made to such exacting tolerances from specialized fabric that you have little hope of recreating even a working approximation of it on your own.
A large roll or several extra large drapes worth should be enough to take care of most of your needs.
Sunglasses, and particularly safety rated sunglasses, are an underrated prep useful in all kinds of situations. Keeping your eyes safe from UV but also protected from flying debris is capability that every prepper should be able to appreciate.
Your chances of crafting transparent, protective eyewear that will do the job as well as a scientifically tested and purpose designed pair are quite slim.
A good survival whistle is an indispensable, retro tech communications tool that can be used to convey simple or complex instructions or just indicate that you need help and attract attention.
Although it is quite possible to craft a simple whistle from wood and other natural materials, producing one that can offer the ear piercing blast of a survival whistle is nearly impossible.
A couple of these purchased ahead of time and distributed throughout your survival kits is just what the doctor ordered for tough times, especially if you plan on bugging out.
Super glue lives up to its name. Capable of bonding all sorts of materials and adhering almost instantaneously, super glue is another one of those prepping superstars that you’ll use for all kinds of repairs and improvised constructions.
In a pinch, you can even use super glue to close up a small laceration or protect a puncture wound.
But how in the hell are you supposed to make this stuff yourself? It is entirely possible to craft all kinds of simple, primitive glues using a variety of natural and man-made materials, but as far as I’m concerned the only place that super glue comes out of reliably is a lab.
Try not to get your fingers stuck to each other!
Bleach is a precious survival commodity, and not just because you want to get your whites sparkling White at the end of the world!
Bleach is a potent disinfectant that can be used to sterilize all sorts of surfaces, including your skin in a pinch, but most vitally it can absolutely nuke bacteria and germs that might be hiding in collected Water supplies.
By precisely administering a certain amount of bleach to a specified quantity of water, you can rest assured that the microorganisms at least will be dealt with.
This is another one of those products that can only be produced at scale in a laboratory, so if you aren’t a chemist with access to copious raw materials stock up while you can.
Start Stockpiling Today!
Am I missing an item on this list? Write down your suggestions of survival items I should have added but please try to stick to the ones that will be nearly impossible to manufacture post-collapse, not right now.
My dad was military. My grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But I don’t like taking orders. I’m taking matters into my own hands so I’m not just preparing, I’m going to a friggin’ war to provide you the best of the best survival and preparedness content out there.