This post may contain affiliate links for products I recommend. If you click a link and buy something I may receive some compensation. This does not change the price you would pay.
Many people get the wrong idea when it comes to prepping. They think that it costs thousands of dollars to do, when in reality, this simply isn’t true. Although the cost of prepping can add up over a long time, it doesn’t require a lot of startup money. In fact, there are many survival items that will cost you less than $10 each. So, once you get that false belief out of the way, you’ll be able to start prepping for you and your family and be ready for any disaster. Again, this is a simple list of only 10 items.
BIC lighters are long-lasting, durable, and inexpensive. Each cost about $1 or $2, and you can even buy them in bulk to save money. When building a bug out bag, I recommend having several lighters. That way, if one fails, you’ll still be able to make a fire. Also, survival items like lighters should be kept in several different areas, including one in your desk at work, one in a drawer at home, and one in your vehicle. This will allow you to be prepared for anything.
#9: Water Purification Tablets
In a survival situation, it’s not the predators you need to worry about- it’s dehydration. Even if you’re completely surrounded by water, chances are good that you can’t drink it without getting sick. That’s what water purification tablets are for. In short, they’re an absolute must-have for any bug out bag. Eight tablets can effectively purify an entire gallon of water within half-an-hour. These essential survival items will remove bacteria, viruses, and parasites from water, making it safe to drink. Single bottles typically come with about 50 tables, and cost under $10. You can also buy them in bulk to save even more money.
#8: Magnesium Sticks
When your lighter fails, having magnesium sticks is a good backup option. You can use them to create sparks and start a fire. The best part is that they’re reusable and inexpensive. Speaking of fires, always make sure that you have a minimum of three ways of starting a fire. That way, if two of your methods don’t work, you’ll still have a third option. So if you’re going to carry lighters, then have magnesium sticks as the backup option. If your magnesium sticks fail, you should have some knowledge about how to start a fire using more primitive methods (using sticks, kindle, etc.). Overall, they’re one of the more recommended survival items for under $10, like the highly rated Survival Spark Magnesium Survival Fire Starter with Compass and Whistle you see below.
No matter how prepped you are, it means nothing if you can’t see what you’re doing! That’s where a good flashlight comes into play. Whether you’re trying to light up your room after a power outage, or find your way at night in the wildernesses, they’re in invaluable item to have. On Amazon, I’ve seen these survival items run as little as $7.99 for a pack of four. Granted, you’ll need batteries, but they’re still very cheap nonetheless. If you can afford a higher-quality flashlight, then I recommend buying that instead. But even a small flashlight is better than not having one at all.
I can’t overstress the importance of ponchos. Not only can they keep you dry from the rain, but they can also be used to build a survival shelter. They can be used to make slings, collect rain water, and many other things. Getting wet in the wild can put you at risk of hypothermia, so a good poncho can help prevent that. And since these survival items can be used to build a shelter, you’ll be able to isolate yourself from the elements. Ponchos are pretty inexpensive, and like many of the items on this list, you can get a big discount if you buy them in bulk. I recommend packing a few of them in your bug out back just to be safe.
When SHTF, you might not have access to GPS technology. Instead, you’ll need to rely on your ability to read a map (which requires a compass). Without a compass, it’s too easy to lose track of your bearings and become even more lost. While there are hundreds of models available, you should buy one that comes with a lanyard. That way you can hang it around your neck to lower the chances of losing it. While they range in price, these survival items are commonly priced less than $10. Since they’re so cheap, buy a few of them and keep one in your bug out bag, one in your home, and one in your vehicle. Some of them are even included as part of another piece of equipment (like the Survival Spark Magnesium Stick kit shown above).
#4: Survival Knife
Don’t underestimate the power of a good survival knife. With it, you can do a lot- build a shelter, start a fire, and even defend yourself against predators. Not to mention, there’s a huge psychological benefit to having a knife when you’re lost. Believe it or not, there are survival knives that cost less than $10 (such as the Survivor HK-106320-2 Outdoor Fixed Blade Knife pictured below). If you had to walk into the wilderness with one item and nothing else, many experts would recommend having a survival knife. Try to buy a survival knife that has a good grip so that it doesn’t slip while in use. And make sure that the blade is durable too.
#3: Mylar Blankets
Also referred to as “Thermal Blankets”, these survival items are designed to insulate body heat. If you find yourself stuck in a cold environment, you’ll be glad you bought them. Mylar blankets are awesome due to their versatility. For example, did you know that you can use them to build a makeshift stove? Or a shelter? I’ve even seen people take advantage of the reflective ability of these blankets to make a fire. There aren’t many survival items out there that are capable of so many things. Mylar blankets cost about $5, and are the perfect addition to any bug out bag.
Actually, you can get one of these survival blankets for FREE at SurvivalFrog.com HERE. (Just pay shipping)
There are thousands of ways to use paracord. Obviously I can’t talk about each one. I will, however, talk about the most common uses of paracord. The first benefit is that you can use them to build a survival shelter. Rather than use vines as makeshift rope, you can just use your paracord. Then when you’re ready to move on, just untie it so you can use the rope later. Paracord can be used to tie things down, repel down steep places, and even build a snare. These survival items have also been used to build slings, signal for help (if they’re brightly colored you can tie them in a visible area), and build snow shoes. The options really are endless when it comes to paracord. Check out the Paracord Survival Kit at SurvivalFrog.com Here – FREE! Just pay shipping and handling.
Last but not least, you need some matches. By now, you’ve probably noticed a pattern- building a fire is super-important in a survival situation. I mentioned earlier that you should have three ways to make a fire (in case the first two fail). Matches are a great addition to having lighters and magnesium sticks. You can even place all your fire-starting material in a single Ziploc baggie for quick and easy access (and to keep it dry). Matches are super-cheap, but can save your life. This is why I recommend stocking up on as many as possible.
Cheap Survival Items – Bottom Line
As you can see, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to prep for a disaster. In fact, if you add up the prices of all the items on this page, it would likely come out to less than $100. That’s amazing considering what you get in return. Each of these survival items serve a distinct purpose, so if you truly want to be prepared for anything, you need to have them in your bug out bag.
(NOTE: For more information on bug out bags, check out the article How to Build the Best Bug Out Bag.)