One of the first and perhaps most important rules of lazy survival, and part of the reason I started this site in the first place, was that I feel that you should be able to equip yourself without needing to go to a specialty store or website. There are some great specialty stores/sites out there, but for someone that’s unaccustomed to the subject matter going there can be intimidating. As importantly, and sticking with the “zero effort” theme here: Who wants to go to yet ANOTHER store? What? You got nothing but spare time in your life? Yeah, thought so. 🙂
So generally speaking, anything I recommend here can be acquired at a place you were probably already shopping with. That aside, it’s been said the “specificity is the soul of all good communication”, so here are my picks for Where To Buy:
- Amazon.com – Most of the product links I provide here will be to Amazon. The prices are good, you can get additional user reviews and images and they have just about everything ever made. You don’t have to buy there; I won’t be offended if you don’t. This was a choice driven as much by convenience as anything.
- Target/Wal-mart – I prefer Target, others prefer Wal-mart, still others prefer shops like Fred Meyer. The point is that these places all specialize in…well…not specializing. You can get a bit of everything there. The prices are usually very competitive, the selection decent, and in most cases they have good web-sites that would allow you preview the items and check inventory before going.
- Costco/Sam’s Club – for the bulk goods, you’ll get good prices buying from places like this, BUT, if you don’t already shop at someplace like this then don’t sweat it. There’s nothing on this site that requires you buy in bulk and in fact it kind of goes against my requirement that the things we’ll be doing are easy and inexpensive. Dropping an extra $100 or $200 on bulk supplies is fast/easy, but not the cheap solution. But hey, i’m not judging you.
- Any Gas Station – Some of the items I suggest can be best acquired from the local gas station. It’s not the only place you can get them, but the easy-path is just to pick up them up next time you find yourself fueling up.
Places I DON’T recommend:
- Military surplus stores – My experiences with surplus stores are that they have oodles of wonderful things, but they’re routinely in out of the way parts of town and require a separate trip well out of my way to visit. Additionally, a lot of the things they sell, while useful in some circumstances, really don’t fit the model we’re after. Military needs and civilian emergency needs do often overlap, but are also different in sometimes important ways.
- Camping stores (REI, Bass Pro, etc) – This is actually a bit of a tough one for me. These stores actually DO have a ton of great stuff and it’s very useful for civilian needs. Products are typically designed with more user friendliness in mind and light-weight items are plentiful. On the otherhand, it does mean stopping at yet-another-store and the prices are often less than optimal.
Actually, none of these places are bad or wrong and you’re not a horrible person for using them. Indeed there’s a lot to be said for not using the major chain stores. But it’s also more effort and, likely, more expense on your part. At the end of the day, no one cares where you got the stuff, so please don’t sweat where you shop. Remember, the idea is that being disaster-ready should be stress free and *easy*.