Stockpiling food, water and other items is a great idea. In an emergency situation, having those crucial items could mean the difference between you and your family surviving on your own or having to become dependent on a Federal Emergency Management Agency center, assuming you can get to it on time.
But what if you’re traveling when a crisis occurs? It’s unlikely that you’ll have much of your food and water supply in your car when something like that happens. Or you may find yourself in a situation where you are really on your own and have to deal with the elements that Mother Nature can throw at you.
With a very limited number of items that you can carry in a survival situation, you need to make sure that some of those items have multiple purposes. Space and weight will suddenly become very important, because you may be limited by the size of your dwelling or by the amount of items you can carry or transport.
Two multipurpose items come to mind immediately: a Swiss Army knife and duct tape. There’s almost no limit to what you can do with those versatile tools. But as far as protecting yourself from the environment and gaining the water you need to survive, following are three multipurpose items that you should try to never be without:
- Thick garbage bags. Uses include a rain poncho, a sleeping bag, shade from the sun, an additional bag for holding gear and other items, an emergency buoyancy device, tying off a wound to lessen bleeding, an emergency shelter (with the help of cord), liner for shoes and boots, a water collector or carrier, a solar still, and keeping wet clothes or gear separate.
- Bandanas. Uses include sun shade, an evaporation cooler, a medical sling, a pillow, a pot holder, a signaling device, a filter for smoke and dust, protection against breathing fumes, pressure on a wound, a weapon when “loaded” with a rock, a pre-filter for water, a headband to catch sweat, and identification of people in your group.
- Strong cord, such as paracord or parachute cord. Uses include shoelaces, a fishing line, lashing sticks for shelters, restraining a human or animal, towing branches for fires, wrapping handles for easier carrying, a weapon when tied to a heavy object, strapping various items to a load-bearing object, and securing doors.
If you want to put yourself in the best possible position to survive when stuck in the worst conditions, these three items will help you. Try not to ever be without them.