So if you’ve even thought about buying some of the items below, I’m hoping this will change your mind (particularly since you’ll get alternatives to each of them). Keep in mind that, although some of these things are convenient, they might not be necessary, particularly if your bug out bag is heavy and you’re trying to shave some pounds off of it.
Folding chairs are nice if you’re planning a barbecue, but do you really need them in a survival situation? My guess is that you won’t. I wouldn’t even put them in my bug out vehicle; I’d rather stock it with other emergency supplies or just leave empty space for something I may obtain later.
Flare guns are something that are best suited for a survival expedition than a bug out bag, unless you plan to bug out in a mountain area. If you’re not in the mountains, you probably won’t have any trouble finding people. In fact, I’d be more worried about not being found.
The problem with flare guns is that unlike signaling mirrors, they have no alternative uses.
Your survival knife is just not something you want to compromise on. You need something good. Mine is a Morakniv Companion MG and it’s one of the best out there. It’s cheap too, only $15 bucks on Amazon.
Most wire saws aren’t that good anyway and some of them even break when you fold them!
Alternatives: knives, axes, chainsaws, anything you can use to cut things.
There’s no need to tell you a lot of the survival items are made in China so, needless to say, a lot of them are just cheap knock-offs. There are plenty of good multi-tools out there, such as the ones from Leatherman.
You’ll find toothpicks are easy to make if you have wood and a knife. And, besides, floss is way better AND has more uses than toothpicks.
Some people love trekking poles, others don’t. Depending on your health and your fitness level, you may or may not want to pack these. You can always use your survival knife to cut a nice wooden stick if you need it later.
Sporks are weird spoons with fork lines at the other end. They seem like a great idea in theory but when you actually start using them, you realize they’re stupid. They become even more cumbersome to use if it’s dark outside.
Plastic Forks, Spoons and Knives
Ever cut your tongue with a plastic spoon? Ever broke your plastic fork and had the fork tines remain inside your food? Then you know what I’m talking about. Metal utensils are the best.
Besides, in a long-term SHTF scenario, you’re much better off using metal utensils because you’ll have less garbage piling up. Burning plastic won’t work, so you might as well sacrifice a little bit of water to wash the ones made of metal. And if you can’t afford to spare a little bit of water to do wash dishes, you’ve got bigger things to worry about.
Now, I’m not trying to say condoms are useless, it’s just that keeping them as back-ups inside your bug out bag to carry water is somewhat of an extreme scenario so, unless you’re looking to get lucky along the way, I’d suggest you keep them at home or your bug out location.
Again, you may use one at some point but it shouldn’t be that high on your shopping list. There are just more important things to do.
…and other things you’d take for entertainment purposes such as a harmonica or a guitar. Unless you’re good at them, maybe.
They’re useless because they break. A lot.
Any Item You Don’t Know How to Use
It doesn’t matter if you have it, what matters is you know how to use it. SHTF situations are no time to learn new skills. Make sure you carefully analyze and practice every tool and weapon you buy.
When deciding on the list of things to stockpile, keep in mind that every person has different needs and priorities. The items in this list are not all “no-nos”, so use your own judgment when deciding if you really need them or not.