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Prep and be calm
464 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The $20 challenge posted elsewhere got me thinking about BOB prep items for cheap or free from Thrift Store, Dollar Store or from existing household supplies. Maybe this has been posted elsewhere but its an interesting exercise to think through.

Ideas on How to put together a BOB on next to nothing.

Heat, Fire and water purification (boiling) via wood-gas stove or solar oven:
--Tin can wood-gas stove (free and fuel is free) (
--Lint from dryer (free) or cotton balls for fire starter -- add bit of old wax candles (essentially free)
--Sparker/flint from expired lighter to start fires (free)
--Matches -- (free from restaurants)
--Light weight metal pot or cup to cook in or sturdy metal can (from thrift store or use empty cans) free or up to $1
--Heavy duty aluminum foil or car sunscreen from $1 store (solar cooker/purifier) $1
--Oven bags for solar cooker (to put blackened pot inside while cooking) about .50 a bag
--Coffee Filters to use in water purification (dollar store or already have around)

--Large heavy mill plastic for tarp or tube tent (drop cloth or at least 2 garbage bags) $1 to $4
-- Tyvek remnant from construction site for a ground cloth (probably can be had free)
OR Purchased 8X10 poly tarp with gromets: $3 from Amazon or similar
--Other various smaller plastic bags for use as vapor barrier clothing (as sock/boot liners, improvised hat, vest, gas dispenser gloves from gas station, ) Free
-- leaves and other naturally found insulation (in bags or under tyvek) Free
-- A Newspaper (to stuff in clothing for added insulation or for fire starting) Free
-- Hammock Option: (
3.5 yards of fabric (remnants bin?) for hammock -- Free or up to $5 (shouldn't pay more.)
-- 550 Paracord: 50 to 100ft and other bits of twine/cord as found around or purchased. (around $7).
-- Blanket (fleece or wool) possible to find used, thrift store, home. Free if from home -- otherwise up to $15 purchased.
-- Bubble wrap from packaging in large enough sheet to use for insulation in hammock or on ground as pad.
-- Wool felt from discarded or used sweater (thrift store) to make hat, pot cozy, vest gloves. Free to $2.00

First Aid:
-- Needle (easy to find free or very cheap)
-- Single edge razor blade (probably have at home or $1)
-- Dental Floss (free sample)
-- 2% tincture of Iodine from pharmacy (~ $2.00) can be used to disinfect wounds, doubles for water safety.
-- clean cotton cloth patches -- bleached and stored in ziploc bag (free)
-- super glue (dollar store $1.00) to close wounds
-- duct tape taped around water bottle
(under $.50 since its only a small strip of a larger roll hopefully you already have around)
-- Free packets of salt and sugar from restaurants/fast food places. (rehydration formula and seasonings)

Other supplies, tools & safety:
-- Sturdy plastic soda bottle or other to store purified or boiled water (Free -- washed)
-- Extra tin can or two for cooking, food bowl, etc. (Free)
-- Cheap sunglasses (dollar store)
-- Hat (can be improvised but better to have one -- most likely already have one at home.)
-- Safety pins (fishing hook improv)
-- Duct tape -- dollar store -- or ask a friend for a small amount and wrap it around your water bottle.
-- Knife (or 2) (from thrift store or dollar store)
-- Plastic whistle (for signal)
-- Mirror from mini cosmetics (for signal)
-- Work gloves (sometimes found at dollar store if you don't already have).

Food: (everyone has their own favs)
-- Raisins -- lot of calorie value for space and cost
-- Peanuts -- source of oil and protein -- cheapest of nuts.
-- Rolled Oats -- cook up easily -- good carbs.
-- Food from home that has been set aside for being light and easy to grab (hopefully you already have).
-- Home made dehydrated foods, rice, pasta etc.
-- Make your own energy bars and dehydrate-vacuum seal to carry. (

Drawstring bags can be made from scrap materials for organizing contents. Find a used belt to hold bedroll & bags together. Sometimes Thrift stores have good duffel bags or other larger items to store your BOB's in.

Prep and be calm
464 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
good list
alcool stove are cheap also and alcool can be bought at dollard-stores or the likes

Yes -- alcohol stoves are free actually if you make them from soda cans. I've nade and used one but I prefer not to carry fuel in a pack. I keep a few Esbit tabs for back up but am grateful to find a stove I can use that will burn enough to boil water and cook a little for a handful of twigs. Only down side is soot (but that is an upside because it blackens a pot which makes it usable as a solar oven pot (which has to be black to absorb sunlight).

762 Posts
I have found stainless steel bowls at the dollar store in favor of cans for cooking and eating from. I'm just not sure of the coatings used inside the cans anymore once they are exposed to the air and heated repeatedly. Better safe than sorry is my mantra. I think you mentioned aluminum foil as an alternative.

Chopsticks from oriental restaurants=sharpen into skewers, eating, use in tourniquet, many other uses.

Prep and be calm
464 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, I agree about the bowls in preference to cans. However in a pinch cans will do for bowls or drinking -- the problems with cans have more to do with cooking in them I think. A can used as a "bowl" would probably be safe.

But if you can come up with a bowl from home or from dollar store/thrift store -- all the better.
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