Urban prepping essentials: 9 Uncommon but useful survival items for your bug-out bag
By Zoey Sky // Dec 02, 2021

If you're in the city when SHTF, you will need a bug-out bag packed with the right tools so you can escape to a safe location. Preppers usually pack items like food and water, but you may also need other tools like duct tape or a crowbar for different survival scenarios. (h/t to PlanAndPrepared.com)


Pack your bug-out bag before SHTF

If you don't have a bug-out bag (BOB) yet, prepare one immediately. You will need the usual survival supplies like drinking water and food, a change of clothes, a blanket and other tools that will help you survive for at least 72 hours or until you reach your bug-out location after disaster strikes.

Here are nine urban survival items that you need in your BOB:

Crowbar or pry bar

Even if SHTF, it doesn't mean you can loot whoever and whenever you want. Be a responsible prepper and only scavenge for supplies in empty locations to avoid accidents or violent confrontations.

Use a crowbar for emergencies, such as when you need to escape an area with locked doors or windows that are stuck.

Duct tape

If you don't want to bring a whole roll of duct tape with you, wrap a length of tape around your pen or a wooden stick and hide it in your BOB.

Here are some of the many survival uses of duct tape:

  • Make cordage by twisting at least three lengths of duct tape to form a rope.
  • Use it to repair a cracked water bottle.
  • Use duct tape to make DIY arrow fletching.
  • Use duct tape as a handcuff alternative if you are dealing with ruffians when SHTF.
  • Mend shoes or clothing with a piece of duct tape.
  • Fix rain gear with some duct tape.
  • Use duct tape to mark a trail if you're signaling for rescue. This works best if the tape is reflective or is brightly colored.

Marker and waterproof notepad

You still need to take notes when SHTF and it's raining. While a regular pen and notepad will do, if you're expecting rain or severe storms it's better to also have a marker and waterproof notepad.

Power kit or jump starter

When the grid goes down, you will need a backup power source. Get a power kit or jump starter so you can quickly charge small devices like your phone or a rechargeable flashlight.

You can also use some power kits to jump-start vehicles, which will come in handy if you plan on driving to your bug-out location. (Related: Odd items that can be life-savers following an SHTF event.)

Respirator mask

When SHTF, a respirator mask might save your life, especially when you're trapped under rubble after an earthquake. You will need a mask that will filter out almost all particles in the air.

Safety goggles

When traveling in areas with dust or debris, you will need safety goggles to protect your eyes. Sunglasses are useful for reducing glare, but safety goggles are more useful if there's airborne dust and particles.

Trauma kit

Sign up for first aid training classes so you know what to do if someone gets hurt in a disaster scenario. And instead of trying to save time and buying a basic first aid kit at the local pharmacy, prep a DIY trauma kit to ensure that you have what you need for medical emergencies.

You'll need a trauma kit to treat major injuries, especially life-threatening ones, and to keep someone alive while you are waiting for emergency medical services. Trauma kits are often used when treating injuries on patients that need a doctor.

Meanwhile, a first aid kit is used to treat minor and superficial wounds, like small cuts and scrapes.

Your trauma kit should include the following items:

  • Alcohol prep pads
  • CAT tourniquet
  • Compression bandage
  • Gauze pads, 4"x4" (six pieces)
  • HALO chest seal
  • Iodine
  • Israeli bandage
  • Latex gloves (use alternatives if you are allergic to latex)
  • Mylar blanket (emergency blanket)
  • Nasopharyngeal airway, 28 French for opening airways
  • Silk medical tape
  • Trauma shears
  • Tweezers

Feel free to add more items to this list and make sure you learn how to use each item in your trauma kit before SHTF.

USB drive

Before SHTF, you need to have important documents or copies hidden someplace safe in your house.

These documents may include:

  • A list of important numbers and addresses of friends, family and other contacts like a family doctor, insurance company, etc.
  • Bank information
  • Title to your home and car
  • Birth, death and marriage certificates
  • Driver’s license and passports and visas
  • Insurance cards
  • Military documents (e.g. DD-214, etc.)
  • Work licenses
  • Area maps
  • Previous tax returns
  • Medical history, immunization records and list of medications

Carrying hard copies of all of this can weigh down your BOB, so try to scan everything and carry a USB drive when SHTF. Make sure you protect and encrypt your data.

Water key

You need to drink enough water to stay hydrated when SHTF.

If you're trapped in an urban area after disaster strikes, you may need a water key to get enough water to survive a prolonged grid-down event. Use a 4-way sillcock water key to access water faucets outside of industrial and public buildings.

Before disaster strikes, prep your bug-out bag and secure your bug-out location.

Sources include:




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