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10 Survival Items to Find at a Thrift Store

by Robert Wayne

Are you trying to build up the amount of survival items and equipment you own? Are you worried that you won’t be able to afford to do so?

Many would-be preppers think that they have to buy brand new equipment to prepare for survival scenarios. But with some creativity and ingenuity, you can find much of what you need at your local thrift store. Here are ten survival items to look for at your local thrift store.

1. Clothing

You’ll be able to find all sorts of clothing at thrift stores. You’re not looking for high fashion, just workhorse clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty or torn. You may stumble across wool clothing, jeans, or canvas clothing that someone got rid of because it was “uncomfortable.” But it could be just what you need.

Just be sure to wash or dry clean these clothes thoroughly. And a week-long spell in a freezer can’t hurt either. The last thing you want is to get scabies, lice, or bedbugs from used clothing.

2. Tools

You can find all sorts of tools at the thrift store, from hammers and chisels to gardening tools. Much of it will have been lightly used, and will have lots of life left in it.

Whether these tools will be primary tools, backups, or outfitting a bug out bag, you can assemble a pretty decent functional tool kit from thrift store finds.

3. Non-Electric Appliances

Preparing for power outages is important. That means having battery-operated or manual appliances could be critical for being able to carry out your household tasks if the power is out for hours or days at a time.

Grandma’s old manual crank egg beater may take a lot of effort to operate, which is why someone decided to donate it to the thrift store. But that could come in handy when the power goes out.

4. Buckets and Containers

The prices of brand new boxes and buckets are high and climbing. You could easily spend hundreds of dollars buying enough brand new containers to store all of your stuff. Or you could try to find containers at the thrift store at a fraction of the price.

5. Bags and Backpacks

A bug out bag doesn’t have to be the latest, greatest piece of tactical gear. Sometimes it can pay to be the gray man, and a lightly used Jansport from the thrift store might be just what you need.

6. Camping Gear

Thrift stores sometimes carry camping gear, some of it used once and discarded. Many people decide that their purchase isn’t quite what they wanted, and their loss can be your gain. You’ll want to inspect everything carefully to make sure there are no rips and tears, but it can be far cheaper to stock up on camping gear from the thrift store than from an outdoors retailer.

7. Wool Blankets

Wool blankets have a reputation for being itchy, which is why many people end up getting rid of them. But there’s nothing better for keeping you warm on a cold night.

Brand new wool blankets from reputable brands can cost hundreds of dollars. But a wool blanket from a thrift store won’t set you back that much.

8. Cooking and Kitchen Gear

From cast iron pans to glassware to water bottles, thrift stores are awash in useful cooking gear. If you don’t need a full set of anything but just need a few one-offs, thrift store finds can be useful for supplying your kitchen or your camp.

9. Candles

Candles can be very useful in a SHTF situation to provide needed light. But even used candles can be useful. Melt them down to make new candles, or use the wax to help make fire starters.

Buying wax at retail can be expensive, but buying candles from the thrift store can give you a cheap source of useful wax.

10. Rain Gear

Protection from the rain is something that most people don’t give too much thought. But if you have to be outside in inclement weather, an umbrella, a poncho, or a rain cover can make the difference between being comfortable and being miserable. And sometimes you can find that gear at a reasonable price from the thrift store.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, as there are far more survival items that you can pick up at the thrift store. But this should give you some ideas for how to take advantage of what thrift stores offer to outfit your survival equipment.

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