bushcraft survival tips and tricks

Items that disappear when the shtf and our alternatives

shtfWhen it all starts to go wrong one thing is for certain, people will panic, hit the stores, and buy up everything in sight.

Wait long enough and every shelf in the country will have been emptied.

Carts full of worthless items will be rushed to the checkouts and loaded up into cars.

This has happened in the past and happens all the time today with the slightest hint of a disaster or emergency situation.

What if you knew what to look for.

What if you had time to prepare for this eventuality

What if you had a go to list

What if you knew alternatives…

More has been written about this subject than I care to discuss but look closely enough and you will see that patterns are there. The panic buying does have some structure to it, albeit a chaotic one.

First up we want to look at the basics.


Bottled water will fly off the shelves. Thats a given. You can only last a few days without it and every survival scenario you hear of the first thing focussed on is drinkable water. Clunky and heavy to carry around but a necessity all the same.

Water Filters

A good backup for when you start to run short is a water filer. You can buy a purpose built water filter like this one or if you are handy you could try making one yourself. Below is a great video from Survival Lilly on Youtube showing a handy pocket DIY water filter.

Water Treatment Tablets

Another thing that will disappear quickly is water treatment tablets. Used to remove bacteria from water in order to make it suitable for drinking these are a great addition to any pack. Watch out for shelf life as they do expire and always use as a last resort and for short term only. Boil the water first just to be on the safe side.

Canned Food

Food stored in cans is also a fast mover in a disaster situation. Panicked shoppers will load up cart after cart full of canned food, regardless of its contents, because nearly anything in a can has a long shelf life, can be stored easily and consumed on the go. One thing I will say about canned food is this, yes its handy to have but for the weight you have much better options available to you.

food dehydratorIf you are stocking up yourself and storing goods then a great alternative would be to dehydrate your food supplies and store them in sealed bags. Much lighter and will last a good long time as well.

You could use something like this Food Dehydrator to get you started. One thing to keep an eye on is the temperature you store these at though as you don’t want the food to spoil.

Rice, Grains, Wheat, Flour

These will all get snapped up immediately for a few reasons. Long shelf life, ability to produce high carb food quickly and versatility in general. Rice on its own is great in a survival scenario because its really easy to prepare and gives you plenty of carbs and the high calorie count will give you plenty of energy to keep moving. Check out this chart to compare different types of rice and their respective carb/calorie counts.

If you are looking for an alternative to basic rice and grains then you should consider something like these packs from Mountain House. Lightweight, easy to pack and just add water for a tasty meal.


All types of over the counter pain medication will disappear straight away. Anything for pain relief will be snapped up. Stock up now because there is nothing worse when you find yourself in a situation and your head is hopping off you with a headache. They cost little or nothing and take up hardly any room but can really help you when shtf.

camping first aid kitGet yourself a handy first aid kit like this one and keep it nearby. You should consider getting a second one for the car just in case but make sure its stocked and always handy.

You don’t want to get taken down by something as simple as an infected graze or cut. This one comes with a handy book to guide you through some effective treatments for those unexpected events.

You could also read up on some of the natural treatments available for pain relief. This is more of a long term strategy but invaluable information if you have the time. Cols and Flu can floor you so it is worth ready this article for some natural remedies.

Camping, Shelter & Cooking

You can bet your last dollar that everything related to camping or outdoors will disappear from the shelves as soon as word of a disaster hits the airwaves. Next to food this stuff goes immediately.

So what do you need to make it out there.

Lets look at what goes first in a panic.


Everybody panics about power. Without it unless you are geared up properly and have some basic survival skills you will find yourself in trouble within a day or two. If you are planning to stay put then get yourself a trusty generator well ahead of time. There is no point going looking on the day things go wrong as they will most definitely be gone.

survival generatorThis particular model will run for 7.5 hours on half load and should do the job in most scenarios. It’s portable and lightweight so handy if you have to move away from your base.

It’s not going to run a full house of appliances but then in the event of a disaster you could have your fridge / freezer running, power and charge phones etc and run a light or two to keep everybody comfortable.

Tarps & Tents

Tarps and tents always take a hit. These will get cleaned out quicker than a blink of the eye. A tarp is a very handy item to have regardless of the situation you find yourself in. I’m not talking about a big heavy duty oilskin tarp now though. A lightweight tarp will do just fine.

Great for setting up an emergency shelter like the A frame tarp shelter or you can get very fancy and have a tarp / hammock setup so you can camp out comfortably in the woods if you have to move from base.

a frame tarp shelter

There are a million and one options for tents and your choice will depend on your situation.

Are you on your own or do you have a family to look after. Do you live near an area that is suitable for pitching a tent safely.

Each scenario is different so put a bit of time and thought into this one before you make any rash decisions that may come back to bite you later.


condor tool and knife reviewA good sturdy camping knife or two should be high on your list. Stock up ahead of time, as yes, these will go along with every other type of sharp blade on the shelves.

A knife can be a life saver.

Not just in a self defence scenario but it can be used for chopping firewood to keep warm. making traps to catch food and preparing that catch for dinner, or stripping down bark from a tree to make some type of cordage to help put your camp together.

The list is endless and only limited by your skills and imagination.

We have reviewed the best camping and bushcraft knives for 2016 here so take a look and see if you find something that suits your need.

Another thing you should consider is getting yourself a sharpening stone. All knives are great when they are sharp but if you are out and about for any period of time the blades will inevitably get dull and will need to be sharpened. This stone is just the job.

Remember to keep all knives out of reach from small children and only use if you are comfortable with a sharp blade in your hands.


survival axeYou should also consider getting yourself a quality hatchet. When the power goes out so does the ability to keep yourself and your family warm unless you can make fire.

A good knife will serve you well here but if you have a sharp hatchet you can make short work of any trees or branches that can be used as fuel for your fire.

Think about that for a second. If you have no power, didn’t manage to get yourself a generator then you are going to need fire to keep yourself warm and to cook food over.

We did a review a while ago on some of the best camping and survival axes on the market so take a look and see if one suits your needs. 

No need to get a full size axe unless you are planning to chop down a forest…

Fire Starter

Exotac-nano STRIKER-Ferrocerium-Fire-Starter--250x2Having the ability to start a fire can be a live saver in a disaster situation.

Disposable lighters will be snapped up straight away so always keep a few spares in stock just in case. Waterproof matches can also be a bit of a life saver so get yourself some of those to have just in case.

Another option is to get yourself a ferro rod like this one or flint and steel if you are feeling really caveman like.

There is a bit more work involved in getting a fire going with this kit but once you get the hang of it you are good to go.

Like everything, a bit of practice goes a long way on the day. Check out this video from Mike over on MCQBushcraft where he shows you exactly how to use a ferro rod to light a fire.


It’s only in a disaster or a survival situation do you see the real world with open eyes. Being prepared and having the ability to defend yourself is a must. Desperate times call for desperate measures and hunger and needs will push people to do things they would normally never do.

Cooking Pots

camping potsIf you are in a situation where you have to leave your home and move into the bush for safety then you will have to think about cooking meals to feed yourself and your family. You have to consider weight here as you will need to carry everything with you on your travels. 

This set is lightweight and easy to pack but gets the job done. It all compacts into itself and fits right into your pack. Perfect for cooking for two people. You can use this on a small open fire but you should have a grill or something under it to be on the safe side.

If you want to cook on a bigger open fire then you should go for something like a cast iron skillet but be careful of the weight. This one is extremely popular and has a great rating so give it a go if thats what your after.

Torch & Light

Thrunite TN36 UT 3700 LED FlashlightYou are definitely going to need a torch or light of some description unless you have been eating carrots you whole life and can see in the dark.

A good torch will really help you in any situation when it gets dark. It can also be used to frighten off impostors from your property. We could spend a year discussing the different types of torches on the market and the benefits of each one but we have a review already prepared on survival torches that will give you some pointers on what to look out for.

Small compact torches that use 18650 batteries are probably your best bet. 


You are definitely going to need a few batteries in your disaster kit. Rechargeable are best but obviously without a power source you are bunched. Get yourself a few packs of disposable batteries anyway. Yu never know when you may need them.


survival backpackYou are going to need somewhere to store all you gear and something handy to grab in the event of a disaster. One for each family member and even a spare for the car. A good backpack is essential for any scenario you may be faced with.

Our preference is for something low key, no bright colors and not something that looks like military either as you will attract unnecessary attention and somebody desperate may try to take it from you. This 36L Mil-Tec pack is a great option and is built to last but will not stand out too much.

You could also look at the option of getting yourself a fully fledged bug out bag so you are ready to go in an emergency. These fully stocked bags are ideal for a beginner or for someone who does not have the time to put their own kit together. Plenty of options available but this pack is an ideal starter that carries most of what you need in a disaster. This bag has enough supplies for four people for three days.

There are a million other things to take into consideration for every different scenario. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list but more of a guide as to what will go first, what you need any how to get the right kit together to prepare yourself and your family for the disaster that may lie around the corner.

We are not trying to be hardcore survivalists here, just realistic and working within our abilities. And yes make sure to have plenty of Duct tape – you can never have enough duct tape.

We would appreciate any comments you have and if you feel like it please hit one of the share buttons, it really makes all the difference. 

Stay safe and have an awesome day out there – wherever you are…


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