This article was originally published by Bill White on www.survivopedia.com
We all have that one person (or maybe more than one) who we always struggle to find the perfect Christmas gift for. If that person happens to be a prepper, that can be an even greater challenge, especially if you’re not all that up on prepping yourself.
Preppers have a different sort of wish list than other people. They’re not interested in the latest hit movie or video game. They may not even own a television set, if you can believe that. But chances are they have things you’ve never even heard of and wouldn’t know how to use, stashed away somewhere in their home. Those are likely to be their most prized possessions, even if they don’t seem like much to the average person.
Face it, preppers just think differently.
They have different priorities for their lives. Unless you are a prepper yourself or have lived with one for years, you probably have trouble understanding how they think. But isn’t the gift you buy for them supposed to be something they’d like, rather than something you’d like?
With that in mind, we offer you the following ideas:
Ok, maybe this one doesn’t sound very exciting to you, but it will to them. No prepper ever thinks they have enough food in their stockpile. Many avoid buying the pre-packaged freeze-dried “survival food”, just because of cost. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not high on their wish list. You can really make their day with this one.
There are two basic forms this food will take; buckets or MREs. You can even find the 5-gallon buckets of pre-packed survival food at such places as Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. One bucket will usually contain all the food needed to feed one person for four weeks or a family of four for a week.
MRE stands for “Meals Ready to Eat” which is more than just bad grammar. This is the current iteration of military combat rations. You can either buy the military version or a civilian equivalent. Either way, one pack contains everything that one person needs to eat for a well-rounded meal. Since these were designed for combat operations, these are high-calorie meals, giving a huge boost of energy.
A New Gun
I can just about guarantee you that your favorite prepper has a gun they’ve had their eyes on, even if they haven’t said anything about it. Collecting guns goes with prepping, just about as much as collecting food. There are just so many good choices out there, that it’s hard to be satisfied with just one.
Before buying a gun for your favorite prepper, you might want to ask about gun laws in your state. Specifically, you want to know if you can transfer ownership without a hassle. While you can in most of the country, there are a few states which will give you a hard time about that. If you happen to live in one of them, you might want to give them the money, earmarking it for that purchase.
A New Knife or Multi-tool
Like guns, preppers like knives and multi-tools. But I’ll warn you here, don’t think you can get away cheap. No prepper is going to be impressed with a cheap knife or cheap multi-tool, no matter how much they act like they are. they want the quality goods and understand what that’s worth.
Your best bet here is to stick with the major brands, like Gerber, K-Bar, Leatherman (for multi-tools) or Solingen. Avoid the more commercialized, popular brands, as they aren’t as good a quality. Another option is to go for something handmade, especially Damacus steel (that’s a bit of a fad right now) as those are widely considered to be of high quality. Few knife makers will waste their time making a knife out of poor-quality steel.
Some Unusual Weapon
Yeah, I know I’m going a bit crazy with the weapons here, but hey, weapons are popular; even unusual weapons. Chances are that any oddball weapon you can come up with will be gladly accepted. While they might not be as good or effective as guns, most preppers want to learn how to use a variety of non-standard weapons
This can include more non-traditional versions of more common weapons or things that are way out there. A compound bow is a fairly standard weapon, with a fair number of hunters that hunt the bow season. But you can also look at things like a Mongolian bow, which is not standard, but just as much fun to shoot as that compound bow is.
Tomahawks have become a popular weapon in prepping circles, perhaps due to their history. Many preppers are a bit of a throwback themselves, so a weapon that initiated with the American Indians is likely to be popular. A bo staff would probably be well accepted as well, as it is common in the movies. There are even some high-power slingshots out there, which are good enough to go hunting with. Take a look around, but just make sure it’s real enough to be useful and not just a toy.
Flexible Solar Panels
There’s a lot of talk about going “off-grid” in the prepping community. A major part of this is off-grid power, which either means solar power or wind power. Of the two, solar is more popular. There’s no real way of having enough solar panels in your collection.
Now there are flexible solar panels available, which are great. Granted, they aren’t the kind of thing you’d mount on your roof, but if you’re looking for emergency power, flexible panels offer the advantage of not breaking. That benefit alone is enough to make them popular.
You can find large flexible solar panels, as well as portable ones. There’s a couple of models out there which are designed to be rolled up and stuck in a backpack, either for camping or for bugging out. That’s a great addition to any bug out bag, as it provides portable power for cell phones, tablets and other electronics.
Bio-Life Camp Stove
The Bio-life CampStove 2 is a unique product. As best I know, there isn’t anyone else who is producing a comparable product. This unique backpacking stove burns sticks for cooking, but also produces electrical power. That power is used to power a small fan, increasing the burn rate of the sticks and producing more heat. So even though small, the stove cooks amazingly well.
But that’s not all it does. The upgraded Bio-life CampStove 2 produces 50% more power than its predecessor and includes an integral battery. So you can use it to charge your smartphone or other device. This means that you will always have a source of electrical power with you, even on those days when the sun is hiding and you can’t charge your phone with solar. I don’t know any prepper who wouldn’t love to add this piece of gear to their collection.
Having light when the power goes out is important. Our ancestors solved this problem centuries ago, with both candles and oil-burning lamps. I’m not sure when the oil burning lamp was first used, but it goes back at least two millennia.
The advantage of an oil-burning lamp over candles is that you don’t use it up. Granted, you can use up your stock of oil, but most of these lamps will burn just about any combustible liquid, including used motor oil or cooking oil. Those may not smell great, but at least your favorite prepper will have light so that they can see at night.
The old-style Coleman lamp, which burns either Coleman fuel or gasoline (not propane) is another great option. These are getting harder to find, but they can do what no other lamp on the market can… run off of gasoline. That makes them invaluable in an emergency situation, as gasoline is the easiest fuel to find.
Tactical Flashlight or Head-Lamp
Speaking of light, tactical flashlights and head-lamps are another thing that preppers tend to collect. I can’t tell you how many flashlights I have, mostly because I don’t know. But there are tactical lights in every room of my house, usually hanging in a clip in the closet. I also have them in my vehicles, my pocket, my briefcase and my desk. Like I said, you can’t have enough.
If you want to give them a tactical light that will impress them, go for something that puts out a lot of light. Today’s LED lights are much brighter than they were just a couple of years ago. Back then, I bought what was probably considered to be the brightest light on the market, which had an output of 600 lumens. Today, that wouldn’t be considered all that remarkable. You’ve got to get over 1,000 to be considered bright and I’ve seen them as bright as 3,000 lumens.
Let me caution you here, that not all manufacturers measure lumens the same way. There are a lot of lights around, advertised as having huge outputs, which aren’t all that great. Avoid the hype and look for major brands; that will protect you.
Another option is to buy a headlamp. Those are always useful. I found one with a 120 degree cone of light a few months ago. It’s amazing. I actually bought it for gardening at night; but it makes a whole lot of other things easier to do as well. With it, I don’t have to worry about getting my head at exactly the right angle, in order to see what I’m doing.
That headlamp has become my main light for when I’m doing mechanics work or working in my workshop. It seems like I never have enough light; but with that, I do. It’s also internally rechargeable, which saves me the hassle of having to remove batteries to charge them. While not a big deal, that’s a nice feature.
Ballistic Body Armor
This is one that many preppers have on their wish list, but never bother to buy themselves. While they recognize the value in having ballistic body armor, there are just too many other things that are more important to buy. So, this often goes on the “someday” list; and someday may never come.
If you’re going to buy ballistic armor, make sure that its level III-A (read three-A). This is the highest level of protection against pistol bullets, able to stop everything up to and including .44 Magnum and high-velocity 9mm rounds. Lesser levels just don’t work against higher power pistol rounds. However, to get protection against rifle rounds, you need to go up to levels III or IV, which usually means adding a ballistic plate to the vest.
This is another gift that may not seem like a big deal to you, but will seem like a big deal to them. Like freeze-dried food, there’s no such thing as having too much ammunition. So, if you’re looking for something small as an add-on gift or a stocking stuffer, grab a box or two of ammo. Just make sure it’s the right caliber for at least one of the guns they have.
Gun Range Membership
Speaking of guns, you can really make them happy by buying them a membership to their local shooting range, assuming they don’t already have one. Not only will this make them happy, but it’s a great way to encourage them to practice one of their most important survival skills. Shooting accurately requires a lot of practice and the range is the place for it.
Shooting has another benefit, besides increasing skills; it’s a fantastic means of relieving stress. If your favorite prepper is working in a high-stress job, encourage them to de-stress by buying that membership. You’ll be glad you did, because they’ll be more pleasant to be around.