Crayons? 5 things you never realized you need in your prepper gear

Preparing for the worst is often looked down upon by those who don’t think there’s any reason to prepare for even a natural disaster by storing a bit of extra food. But when you live in an area where even major blizzards are possible in winter, thoughts often go to the most obscure items and their potential use. Here, we will list five things you may or may not have thought to add to prepping supply or gear and some possible uses.
While food, water, and ammunition seem like the obvious items to hoard and store safely for a SHTF scenario, these five items could also help, even though it may not have been considered before now. But once you see the things we’ve come up with, we are confident you could think of even more ways to use these valuable items!


A pencil sharpener is small and light, but that’s only one reason to toss it in your bug out bag or put it in your bunker or food storage room. You could even save a few pencils if you so desire. But a pencil sharpener could be an invaluable tool to help you make kindling. You would simply use the pencil sharpener to sharpen a pencil (or a twig) and get kindling to help you start a fire. Most preppers carry a lighter but stop short at thinking they could need kindling to help get a fire going. Obviously, you can shave down wood into tinder using a great knife (if you have one handy) or you might be able to find some small twigs, but nothing you can carry can make kindling quite as easily and more safely as a pencil sharpener.


Did you know that dental floss could also be used as kindling? You can wrap some waxed dental floss around a dry stick bark and then light it like a candle. While the floss itself is a tinder, use waxed floss or dental tape to fasten bundles of kindling too. But its got so many other uses as well making it an item that it should be tossed into any preppers bug out bag. Dental floss is pretty strong and could be used as a hair tie or fishing line if needed. Not only could floss help you seal up bags of unused food, but it could also be invaluable to your camping gear. Dental floss or tape will work nicely for your camping gear since it’s sturdy enough to hold canvas and tarps in place, yet slender enough for getting through the eye of the needle. In a survivalist situation, tie down a tarp with braided floss secured to trees for a do-it-yourself tent. If there’s no tarp, then floss could help bundle wood frames and materials together to forge a shelter.


Cheesecloth is not just used for making cheese. This is another obscure item that isn’t normally on the radar of preppers. But because it has many uses, it could come in handy in a survivalist situation. The cheesecloth will not disintegrate when wet and after being used a strainer for foods to keep out fats, bones, or other solids. Other uses include making a dust mask to help mitigate a biohazard. Wrap a few layers of cheesecloth around your nose and mouth and it will help keep some dust or ash from getting into your nasal passages and lungs. Something you may have thought of is using cheesecloth as a gauze for first aid. Cheesecloth might also be useful as a makeshift fishing net if you’re having trouble catching fish to ear. Another interesting use would be making a spice bag or tea bag out of cheesecloth and your dental floss. Flavoring food and having a cup of tea out of herbs you’ve saved could be a little easier if you’ve got a way to same the herbs and spices.


Crayons can be melted down into candles (use your dental floss as a wick) and then used for lighting or heat. But if you have small children, crayons and a coloring book could save your sanity while trying to set up a camp, start a fire, or cook some food. You could save the small broken pieces of crayons and make candles beforehand too so you have some already made and ready to burn in case of a SHTF situation!


Baking soda, often known as sodium bicarbonate has some use in apocalyptic scenarios. Not only can it be used as a cleaner for the household but can be used for many hygienic purposes too. For instance, body odor will be a real issue if showering and bathing become infrequent, and baking soda is great at killing the stench. But it isn’t just about the stench. Moisture in your shoes could cause a much more dangerous condition, and baking soda soaks that excess moisture right up! Sprinkle some in your boots or shoes to cut down on odors. You can also brush your teeth with it! Baking soda could also extinguish an accidental fire from one of your crayon candles or kill body odor on clothing making it easier to hunt animals. Most animals pick up on the scent of human body odor and will scatter unless you’ve done something to cut down on that smell. On the plus side, baking soda is fairly inexpensive making it an easy item to stock up on because it won’t break the bank.

These items are often overlooked, but in a situation that may mean life or death, these five obscure items could come in handy and might even make your apocalyptic situation seem a little more optimistic. So sit back, have some tea in a cheesecloth bag and ponder what other interesting or multi-use items you could save or toss into a bag for easy use during a disaster scenario. It is never too late to prepare or at least think about preparing for the worst.

Article by Sara Tipton. Originally published at Ready Nutrition.