Apocalyptic Scavenging

When it comes to surviving after the apocalypse, there are a wide variety of skill sets you’ll need to rely on.  Being able to rock a studded leather jacket and zoom around the blasted landscape in a souped up hot rod is just the beginning.

One example of these skills would be the ability to scavenge materials and improvise necessary equipment.

Not so much a skill as it is a mindset, I’ll grant you.  But, start now with coming up with ways to repurpose junk you find around the house.  Pretend you’re MacGuyver and need to build something useful out of four random items.  Use an old aluminum can and a length of 1/2″ PVC to make an adequate blowgun and darts.  Get in the habit of patronizing rummage sales and see what you can find for pennies on the dollar.  Ammo will be scarce in the apocalypse, so learn how ammunition works and learn to reload. Old tools and gadgets are great finds and often pretty cheap.  Steel files can be made into serviceable blades and sharpen up quite nicely, for example.

Some years ago, I came across a tool used to remove a locking lug nut on a car wheel.  It is shaped like a T, with the short bar hollow and each end terminating in a different size box wrench.  The longer part terminated in a flathead screwdriver.  This made for an ideal knuckle knife, albeit a bit longer than the norm.  I took the screwdriver end to a grinder and in just a few minutes had a very sharp point on it.  The “handle” of the weapon is about four inches long and the business end extends about six inches total.  I’ve not done so but the hollow handle could easily hold a few matches, a length of fishing line, and a few other odds and ends.  Wrap the whole handle in duct tape or friction tape and you’re good to go.  Given the six inches length, there is a fair amount of penetration possible.  Um, hypothetically speaking, of course.

As any parent nowadays can attest, toys come packaged with about a billion little wire ties.  These are actually quite strong.  I’ve amassed a few shoe boxes full of them, varying in length from a couple inches to over a foot.  They can be great for cinching together wires/cords, among other things.  Best part is they are essentially free.

PVC is incredibly useful.  We’ve used it to make a small greenhouse, play forts for the kids, and an irrigation system for some of our plants.  While the lengths are fairly inexpensive, the innumerable different connectors can get relatively pricey.

Word of warning, this can be addictive.  You might find yourself loathe to throw anything away.  If you’re not careful, you might find yourself featured on the TV show Hoarders.  But, it can be fun to take what most would consider junk and turn it into something useful.  In a  post-apocalyptic world, junk will likely be all we have to work with when we need to make something.  A quick trip to Home Depot probably won’t work out so well for you.

JimPI writes for www.survivalweekly.com

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ApocalypseGuide had written 112 articles for How to Survive The Apocalypse

5 Responses to "Apocalyptic Scavenging"
  1. jeremiah johnson September 25, 2010 00:28 am

    yeah i know you cant stress this skill enough. i am glad i am not the only one who has thought of this. lol

  2. Sick Puppy September 26, 2010 23:35 pm

    The NRA gives shotgun and regular ammo reloading classes, something I am planning on taking by the end of the year, just go to NRA dot COM click classes. Scrounging would be a valuable skill the History Channel did a show with an ex SF type during Apocalypse Week. The key is to find the seems everybody else misses. Stores, warehouses, restraints, are going to be the first hit. If anybody has ever worked in an office knows the crap people keep in their desks, snacks, extra food, bottled water. Office buildings would be the first places I would look to scrounge, along with basements, and work lockers. The SF type pointed out during Katrina Libraries where not touched these would be gold mines of info, everything from maps to How to do books.

    Nice article

  3. JimPI September 27, 2010 15:17 pm

    Glad you both liked the article. That's an excellent point about what people store in their desks at work. Along with work areas, don't forget vending machines as well as the employee lounge or break room.

    Libraries are not only great places for scrounging as they'll likely go relatively untouched but many of them are almost fortress-like in design. Few entrances/exits to block up, thick walls, few windows (in many cases at least).

  4. The future survivor October 5, 2010 05:49 am

    Yo awesome article; a very important skill alot of ppl over look is sharping a knife with a whetstone

  5. Awesome dude November 20, 2010 19:01 pm

    About the library thing not only do the librarys have thick walls and stuff there also have lots of infomation in them for u to learn about how to make things im 13 and ive been on this web site for a year now and i have made and tryed allmost every thing on here loved the post

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