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What is your favorite prepping tool?

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Not my picture. Just too lazy to go get my camera and take a picture of my berkey.

My favorite prepping item/tool is my Big Berkey water filter. It is a gravity fed water filter where you put dirty/questionable water in the top, and gravity will pull it through these large black filters and delicious clean water pours out the spout. It’s just so handy, we use it every day in our normal lives to improve the taste of our water, and I know I have thousands of gallons of pure drinking water in an emergency.

What are some of your favorite prepping items/tools? Your garden shovel, ferro rod, flashlight, car, wheat grinder, dehydrator…

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  • Comments (71)

    • 9

      I love my fire stuff. Ferro rods are cool, I love matches, I especially love book matches, but just can’t beat a BIC lighter. So many lights in such a small package, no trash, and so easy. 

      I used to not carry one around with me because of the button getting pressed in and leaking fuel, but a little zip tie will stop that. I have it set perfectly so that it is tight and doesn’t slip off, but comes off easily by pushing your thumb against the nub in the front. You clip the end and then lick it with the lighter to melt the lock from sinching down anymore. 

      I ALWAYS use some pliers and pull off those pesky child safety thumb guards over the strike wheel. Hate those things.

      IMG_20210112_125442_1

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    • 7

      Yay for the Big Berkey! We have one that we use all the time, even if we live in the comfort of the suburbs (we even prefer that over the fridge filter).

      Other than that, my other favorite prepper tools are my power bank, and my foldable knife.

      With how much I use my smartphone, I couldn’t think of going anywhere without the power bank, and have extra power cables everywere. I’m using the NOVOO Explorer (wich is one of TP’s top picks) and I’m pretty happy with it so far.

      As for the knife, I have an Atturo Quartermaster Boss QSA-1. It’s not my favorite (it’s too big) but won that at a rafflle and it will need to do until I can afford a new one. I just love having a knife with me at all times 🙂

      PXL_20210112_213557627

      • 6

        Is there a knife that you’ve been having your eye on that you want to get Carlotta?

      • 5

        Totally misssed your question, sorry. No, have not had a chance to have a proper look yet, but I’m leaning towards something not too expensive but good enough as a generall field knife, like a Schrade SCHF56L. Even though I almost always had a knife on me, I am not a knife nerd and don’t have much experience in sharpening them, hence why I think I’ll start with something similar so I can practice.

        The problem is that I am a fond of foldable knives, which are obiously not great for general prepping purposes. I suspect that I’ll end up with a proper field knife, and then indulge in purty foldables (at least in my dreams) 😉

    • 6

      I’m a big fan of my berkey too.  Everyone I ever give any prepping advice to always starts off with water filtration.  I have the big berkey in my kitchen and it’s used daily.  I also have a travel berkey that goes anywhere I travel.  My wife and I stayed in a motel recently to visit her mother and we only drank filtered water from it or from sealed containers.  (Yes, I know travel right now is risky but we did as much as possible to be safe).  I never drink Unfiltered water and even my coffee is made with it.    
      I do think a multi tool, knife, lighter and flashlight are all good things too but ways to make water safe to drink will always come first.

       

    • 8

      My favorite prep is the refurbished food-grade 55-gallon BPA-free water drum I keep in the backyard. I also have some smaller aquatainers (5.5 to 7 gallons), Blue Cans for the car, and multiple water treatment options, but I was so excited to find a local purveyor of repurposed and disinfected drums. They even delivered it for free to my house, along with a bung wrench and siphon. Honestly, every time I look at it I just feel happy and secure. 

      • 4

        Water storage is very important, and I’ve been thinkin about adding some to my preppin. Do you recommend doin what you said above? Or if you had to do it over again, would you do it differently?

      • 11

        I think my water setup is pretty close to optimal right now. With respect to quantity, we have 78 gallons stored, not including Blue Cans in the cars and whatever’s in the water heater and toilet tank. With two adults and a medium/large dog using one gallon per family member per day, that’s at least 26 days of water. I feel like this gives us a margin for helping others. We also have multiple filters and purification tablets and water sources nearby, so there are long-term options, too.

        As to the assortment of storage containers we use to store that water, I think it’s pretty perfect. It’s good to have some smaller aquatainers that we can actually move around, but I don’t want to have a small army of 5.5- and 7-gallon containers— that would just be a pain in the butt. Having one big one and a few smaller ones seems right on. The Blue Cans are great for the car because of the long shelf life and temperature range, and if you buy a six-pack they come in an insulated container.

        So yes, pretty happy with this set-up! There are other aspects of my preps where I have some minor regrets, but this isn’t one of them!

      • 5

        That does make sense to have a mix of large and small containers. I think i’d like 2-3 of the 55 gallon drums and then maybe 3-4 of the 7 gallon containers. That’ll be able to water my family when they all come over during a disaster. 

      • 6

        We have a family of four and a medium/large dog.  We keep 3 55 gal barrels of water in the garage.  I also have a 15 gal barrel and several smaller containers.  This works well for us.  

        We are on a private well so we have no running water when the power is out.  This makes water storage is important for us.  We have a hand pump installed on our well so we can access water that way without power and we have a river bordering our property so that also provides a backup water source.

    • 8

      What about duct tape and baling wire? 🙂 

      • 5

        I’d love to have a roll of baling and chicken wire. Can do a lot with them

        … added to the list!

    • 9

      One of my favorite garden tools is the Hori-hori knife, which is a stainless steel Japanese knife used for digging, weeding, planting & cutting.  I use mine almost every time I’m in the garden.  Just used it a few days ago to weed the beds where I’m getting ready to plant English peas & snow peas.  I just turn the blade sideways to scrape the weeds.  If there is a big clump, I just plunge the blade under & pry the weeds out.  When I put young plants in the garden, I use it to dig a small hole in the bed.  When I want to remove old garden plants, I just plunge the knife just under the soil and saw the roots.  It has a serrated edge on one side and has a measurement grid stamped into the blade.

      hori-hori

      • 6

        That looks like a valuable tool, and much sturdier than the cheap hand shovels that I have which bend on me every time I pry up hard soil or a rock.

        Do you ever sharpen it? 

      • 8

        Very sturdy & you will never bend it.  I’ve never had to sharpen it either.  The blade is not flat but has a curve to it, which makes digging holes for plants so easy… similar, but better than your garden shovel.

      • 5

        What a really handy tool. Why have I never heard of these before? 

      • 6

        I have the identical model and i find it very useful in the garden and also ,as a retired archaeologist, very versatile on digs, as well, especially the rulers engraved on the blade….

      • 5

        I’ve just been having a poke around the web and they are sold in the UK. I will definitely order one after pay day. I can see it being in my hand almost all the time in the vegetable garden. 

      • 4

        I will be real surprised if you don’t find it your favorite garden tool.  It is just so handy.  When I weed beds, I use my Rogue field hoe for the big, more open areas & use the Hori-Hori knife when I want to get right up against the veggies.  As stated, IMO it is perfect for planting young plants that have been started from seed.  I’m also a believer in leaving all the roots in the garden, once a plant is all done.  So as opposed to pulling the plant out, I use the knife to cut the plant, just below the soil level.

      • 5

        You were an archaeologist hikermor!? That is super cool!

        Were you the dig up artifacts kind of archaeologist? What are some things you have found?

      • 6

        One of my pastimes is caving.   We were checking out prospects at Grand Canyon and it was my turn to lead.  just inside this small cavern was an enormous prehistoric pottery jar, placed there to collect water.  My hat is off to whomever got it there in the first place.  Wee accessed the entrance via a 100 foot rappel

      • 5

        Was using mine today in the garden and decided to wrap the handle with red vinyl tape – much easier to find in the dirt and weeds that way

      • 3

        Sounds like a good idea.  A few days ago, after clearing my beds for the spring peas, I just started playing around with the knife, seeing how far away I could throw it & have it stick in the ground.  Yes, I’m still a kid at heart.  Something must have distracted me, because I left it sticking in the ground in the garden.  A day or two later, I noticed the empty sheath in my Gator, so I went to retrieve the knife.  With the blade in the ground and only the weathered handle sticking out, it was not easy to find.

    • 8

      Probably my Leatherman Wave. I’ve had it for over two decades and I always wear it on my belt. It’s like an additional appendage and I feel lost without it.

      • 7

        I love and carry my Leatherman Wave everyday as well. I bought the expansion that has various different bits and screw driver heads that work in the wave, but surprisingly i’ve never used it. So although it is comforting to have, I haven’t had a chance to use it yet.

        Just in case someone is thinking about buying it.

    • 4

      I think most favoroute prep would be my personal EDC gear, For me to have these essentials on or about my person is paramount to my preparedness. so this generally includes……………….

      My Knife (currently a CRKT CEO)

      Flashlight (Nebo Inspector)

      Lighter (Blazer PB207)

      Multi Tool ( Gerber Multiplier 600)

      RFID proof wallet (Akielo)

      Prescription shades ( Nike)

      8GB Flash drive with essential data on it

      Bandana

      Watch (Sieko Kinetic)

      Compass (Mini Silva)

      Mini prybar ( Gerber Artifact)

      Tactical pen ( Generic)

      Marker pen (Sharpie)

      I literally cannot function with my EDC kit.

      • 4

        Bill, how is “tactical pen (generic)” being defined ?

        Here, some areas have a non-generic definition and designate them as other than the instrument of a scribe.

        Maybe the word “generic” allows for duel-use .

      • 5

        Hi Bob, By Generic I mean unbranded, In this case I had a Tactical pen from a propriety company ( Perfecta IIRC)  which cost me £18 .  Then one day I was trawling E Bay and spotted the same exact pen but unbranded ( From China) for £3. I bought one, compared it with thr original and decided it was identical. so I bought ten of em. 

        An EDC Tactical Pen Perfecta

      • 5

        Understand now, Bill.  Appreciate picture.

        Here on this side of pond, some companies use term “tactical” to designate pen also designed as a weapon and, as typical, some problems emerged.

        I’ve got a “Rite In The Rain” brand pen.

      • 4

        What do you carry all your EDC stuff in Bill? Just your pockets?

        Can you tell me more about your Akielo wallet? I’ve been thinking about getting an RFID wallet because my bank issued me new cards and only offer RFID now. Have you tested that it really works? I’ve seen that there are a lot of cheap scammy ones out there. Their website looks nice though and it looks like a quality product.

      • 7

        Yes sir all my EDC gear goes in pockets on Pants / Jacket or on belt.  Essential EDC gear NEEDS to be on the person and not in a bag primarily because people can be separated from their bags through numerous means, IE Loss, Theft, Being Siezed, Stored somewhere when TSHTF and you cannot get to it. so my CORE EDC for want of a better phrase remains on my person, and the rest of my kit goes in my GHB ( 511 Rush 12).

        So the wallet, i bought it NOT to protect my cards and stuff from scammers or an EMP but to stop them being scanned covertly when pasing through security scanners. Not just government type scanners but often Malls and Stores use RFID scanners to find out customers shopping habit. I’ve not had any opportunity to test its effectiveness though.

        I got mine for only £13 on amazon.

      • 7

        I think i should add that personally I take having my EDC on me so personally important that I have turned down a job offer from a company I always wanted to work for quite simply because they would not allow ANY sort of pocket knife / multi tool on their premises. They head hunted me but when i read their working practices I ended up turning the job offer down.  Because I believe that if TSHTF we will be entirely on our own to survive  for hours at least and likely days.

      • 6

        Good for you! I’ve been in some jobs before that required me to not carry anything pokey or that made loud noises, and I really felt naked and vulnerable. Sure there will be those occasional wackos that you might have to defend yourself against at your job whether it be the disgruntled employee or the crazy customer. But I had the same concern that you did of SHTF. How will I get home and who will I have to fight off on the way home.

        Luckily I work from home now and can dress and carry whatever I want.

        If you do not have the luxury of picking and choosing your job and are forced to work in an environment where you are disarmed, try and improvise and think what you could use as a weapon in a worst case scenario. I’m sure you have plenty of time on the clock to day dream of a hoard of zombies coming in. What around you could be used to create distance between you and your opponent? What can be used as a blunt force object like a bat? Anything sharp and pokey near you like a pair of scissors?

        Have good situational awareness, know your exit and entry points, where you can hide, and what weapons you can improvise.

      • 4

        Thats where my Tactical Pen and Flashlight with serrated bezel come in 🙂

    • 8

      Indoors, it would have to be my dehydrator. I’ve preserved so much food over the years and also made some pretty good lightweight camping meals as well. I have a sweet tooth and fruit leathers are a great substitute for commercial sweets.

      Outdoors, I have Chillington Hoe, or digging hoe I’ve had for years, it saves a lot of time and effort.

      • 6

        Oh my gosh! I love my dehydrator too!

        I just did a post about it the other day 🙂

        You should go over to that post and share your fruit leather recipe. I’d love to learn about how to make it. I loved eating store bought fruit leather as a kid, but have looked at the ingredients as an adult and was shocked that it is like 90% sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Maybe an exaggeration, but i’d love to make a healthier alternative.

      • 6

        Dehydrating your own fruits is great. As you said, the industry has ruined almost all the store-bought stuff by turning it into candy — just like how breakfast is now “morning dessert” 🙁

        I grew up on my grandma dehydrating our own beef jerky for birthdays/holidays. Fond memories.

        Have yall ever done your own freeze drying?

      • 8

        I have carried one model or another of Leatherman tool since I first encountered one in 1985.  I bought it for the pliers, which i used for unjamming locking carabiners; it was also useful on many other occasions.   have carried the various models of the Wave, and I have a Wave+ with an augmented set of accessories, but i don’t tote it on a daily basis.

        What I do EDC is a Skeletool CX,  with a nice sharp blade.  light and handy, it has all the tools that work for 98% of situations.

      • 6

        Think about this topic, a very worthwhile implement doesn’t have to bee some  expensive gadget.  Once I was working alone of San Miguel Island, not an uncommon situation of this very isolated island, part of Channel islands National Park.  I had taken a tumble of my bike a few days before and my wrist was sort of gimpy.  It was the rainy season and the trails were rather slick and I found that a walking stick would be a good idea.  Nothing tuned up t the ranger station, though I turned the place upside down.

        On my third day of a sever day tour, I was hiking along the beach and there was a broken mop handle!  I scraped off accumulated tar  with my handy L-tool and there was my walking stick.

        I fixed it up with a lanyard and it served me for the next several years whenever I was working on the island.  Price =$0; value =immense!!

      • 5

        I found a very inexpensive eyeglass repair tool kit at my local hardware store. It cost only a few dollars, but makes a world of difference if a pair of glasses need repair in an emergency.

    • 3

      How does that give you thousands of gallons of water?

      • 3

        Each Berkey filter element can treat 3,000 gallons of water. Most people have 2-4 elements in their Berkey so that will filter 6,000-9,000 gallons of water before needin replaced. That’s what I meant by havin thousands of gallons of pure drinking water in an emergency.

        I’ll still need a source of water though, which is why i’m gettin some water storage barrels. 

    • 8

      Hello all!

      First post here.  Lots of good ideas.

      Most emergencies I’ve run into have been when I’m on the road. A cell phone is an overlooked tool. Loaded with offline maps like Co-Pilot they are your map and compass. You can download a limited area from google maps for offline use too, it’s free. I have several RV travel apps showing locations for various stuff, they need a signal.

      I’ve carried a Kershaw multi-tool for 25 years, and a middle of the pack one-hand, assisted open knife like the SOG Flash is super handy. 

      I didn’t see cash money mentioned. A small roll with small bills and a few big ones in the glove compartment has got me out of scrapes in the past. Food after the Northridge Quake had everything down for example, a tire when an ice storm had lines and cells down another time, or buying snow chains on a day like today! More at home in a fire box is better than less, just in case. FRNs are disparaged in many circles but everyone knows exactly what they are, and what they’re worth so they’ll be good way down into hard times. I’ve bought lots more stuff with greenbacks than Gold Eagles, or 1963 quarters LOL.

      Oh! An ancient heirloom Presto canner…

      • 5

        Cash is a great thing to carry around with you. Never know if the credit card machine will be down. 

      • 5

        Welcome Pops, great first post and sensible ideas.

        You reminded me to check and replenish my “stash cash” in case of emergency.

      • 7

        Welcome to the forum Pops! 

        Dave Ramsey (smart financial guy) says that you tend to spend 12% less when you use cash vs. a credit card because you have the mental connection of handing over something in exchange for another thing. Where as with a credit card, you swipe your card and don’t physically give something to the other person and don’t have that sense of loss deep in your brain. 

        Just another reason to use cash. If it is true over time that you really do spend less when using cash because you think about your purchases and don’t impulse buy as much, that could be an extra 12% into an emergency fund or prepping fund. 

      • 9

        That is very true Gideon. I saw people go over their heads when debit cards first arrived. They had no idea where their money went and overspent within days of being paid.

        I use a debit card, but I also use a budget binder and every purchase is recorded and planned as part of household management. 

        I absolutely refuse to use “tap” transactions – I want to see and control what is being debited to my account. Also, there is the issue of hacking wireless equipment.

      • 5

        Welcome, Pops.

        Ref the 1963 quarters;  Was out in the sticks near a small town.  A couple of us had stuff to wash – field pants and jackets soaked in icey mud loaded with some industrial run-off chemicals.  Went to the town’s laundramat.  The place had electricity but the new card activated washing machines had a storm-damaged card dispenser.  The couple of old coin washing machines worked.  Our quarters were more valuable than our monopoly money.

      • 5

        @Bob — Yes to quarters! They used to say to keep a few quarters, or even a roll of them, in your earthquake kit, since pay phones might still work, and secondarily for laundry and making change. That was back in the before cell phone days, but I still have a roll of quarters in my glove compartment and another in my BOB. It just feels right to me.

    • 4

      Two other items that are worthwhile having on hand:

      GFI tester and a good quality meat thermometer.

      The GFI tester is used to check your GFI outlet to ensure that it is still working correctly. This wouldn’t apply if power was out, however, not all events involve power outage.

      Recently, I paid for an extra electrical call for an outdoor GFI outlet for my vehicle plug in for my block heater (extreme cold climate). The GFI kept shutting down the outlet. Electrician on first call said problem with the vehicle.

      I took the van to the mechanic who insisted he tested the block heater on his GFI outlet and that the problem was with my electrical outlet on the house.

      Back to the electrician (2nd call out) and this time he worked it back and sure enough the short was in the vehicle block heater. When I brought the van back to my mechanic to replace the block heater, we discovered that his GFI outlet was no longer working properly and couldn’t identify the short in my block heater. My van plugged into his GFI outlet should have triggered it to shut off, but it didn’t because it wasn’t working properly. 

      A GFI outlet is intended to do provide protection by shutting down in case of an electrical problem. That is why a GFI tester, a simple and safe item to use is well worth it.

      Meat Thermometer: In times of crisis, the last thing anyone needs is a bout of ecoli or other bacteria from undercooked meat. I recommend a really well made one. The last one I bought was on the fly and inexpensive. It was garbage and only worked once.

      • 6

        The GFI seems a bit specialized for prepping. I’ve never heard of one.

      • 4

        Hi Bluefoot – I had never used or heard of them either until my husband told me about them. Now we are slowing changing our house over so all our outlets are GFI (GFCI is same thing).

        Here’s some info from Home Depot about them and what they do to protect you and your home: Home Depot GFI/GFCI

        The article talks about AFCI which are Arc Fault Circuit Interruptors and is worth reading about.

        I posted about them because depending on when our homes were built, sometimes, there is new technology or existing methods that aren’t overly expensive retrofits that could help keep us safer in a crisis.

        I hope this helps and thank you for asking.

    • 4

      @Roland where do you buy a Big Berkey water filter? I’ve never heard of that before but would like to get one now.

      • 4

        Hi Jessica, In case Roland is away, here is the info on Big Berkley

        Big Berkley Water Filters

        And, for comparison here is info on the one I have:  Katadyne Drip. Katadyne was the first company to desalinate water. They have products for hikers and the home. Hope this help.

        Katadyne Water Purifiers

      • 5

        Hey Jessica, that link that Ubique linked to for the berkey is a good website. I bought from them the other day and it was a pretty good checkout process.

        Their shipping is a bit slow though. It’s been 10 days so far and they say there are another 3 to go before I get it. I’m fine waiting, just good to know if your water is contaminated and you are waiting on them for some fresh water. It might be better to spend the few extra bucks and get it from Amazon if you’re in a rush.

        -Be Prepared-

      • 9

        @Ubique and @Robert Larson thank you for the links and advice!

      • 2

        Sorry i’m late to the game jessica. Looks like others got you taken cared of though.

    • 4

      Can anyone tell me what us the berkey like on the inside? Is it just plain steel or is there a plastic container in there? I have never seen a photo of what they look like on the inside. I currently have a ceramic alternative.

      • 5

        UK version (there are two) One is all Stainless Steel inside and out, the other is all food grade plastic inside and out.

      • 2

        Thanks.

      • 3

        Berkey-water-filter-5

        Here’s what the inside looks like of the one I have. Again, not my picture though.

        The top basin has four holes in it that are either occupied by 1-4 filters or plugged with a rubber stopper. The more filters you have, the faster it will filter. I’ve always had two. 

        The water is fed by gravity through the filters down into the lower basin and sit there until you open up the nozzle. The nozzle is raised up off the bottom by about 1/2 inch so I always tend to tip the berkey towards me to get the bottom bit of water out.

        I’ve been wantin to make some kind of automated fillin system. Have a water sensor in the berkey where if it senses water is at a certain level, it activates a little pump that draws water up through a fridge hose line and pumps a determined amount of water in the top basin to then filter down to the bottom. Not sure if i’ll ever make it, but would be cool. Or at least make the berkey out of glass so that I can see what my water level is at. Nothin worse than needing a big glass of water and your berkey is empty.

      • 4

        Thanks. Very interesting. Similar to mine (except mine is ceramic and in two pieces).

      • 2

        Yup I’ve got the standard ceramics and the super sers with silver coated ceramics, but no carbon ones after all the QC problems a few years ago with the carbon candles separating from their bases.