Emergency preparedness from a combat veteran

Use double duty prepper gear to save weight and space

Crazy knifeChoosing prepper gear that solves two problems means half the weight

When you’re deciding on the stuff that goes on your prepper gear bugout bag list, you should do more than just make sure you have all the bases covered. You should try to overlap the problems that they solve. Let’s say you had a bug out bag that had 30 items to cover 5 categories of problems (fire, water, shelter, medical, communication – or whatever categories you want to segment them into). If you were able to find items that would cover more than one survival situation, you could theoretically cut down your bag to 15 items.

There are myriad items that can pull double-duty and I’d love to hear some of the creativity of you all on how you’ve figured out how to do this. I just want to get the word out there that with proper planning, the size and weight of your bugout bag can be drastically cut without compromising your capabilities. Here are a few examples to get your prepper juices flowing:

Things that work under many conditions

I came up with a great way to power my batteries and small electronics using a small portable  power kit I put together that can power my stuff pretty much in any conditions.

It can charge AA batteries with solar or being plugged into a wall, it can charge  small electronics with solar, it can charge small electronics with AA, and a bunch more. It’s a great system you should check out to see just how varied your system can be if you choose things correctly. Check out Almost unlimited power for your camping or bug out bag electronics.

Potassium permanganate

potassium permanganate (KMnO4) is used in some water purification methods. It may not be the best purification method but works ok in conjunction with other methods. What it will do well, however, is help start a fire (in some cases but it’s not as easy as people make it out to be) because it’s an awesome oxydizing agent and will sterilize wounds, making it a great choice to pack.

Mixing some of this stuff with some glycerine-type of fuel will start a fire in even the dampest environments. Here’s a great little video by Dryad Bushcraft, showing how to do it:

Man, I love Aussies.

Glycerine, simple alcohols or other fuel that will start a fire with  can be found easily in such places as:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Antifreeze
  • Gel tablets
  • Brake fluid
  • Certain lotions and creams
  • Sulfuric acid – Explosive though

Because it’s a triple-duty item, I recommend getting some of it.


When you’re deciding which flashlights or other small electric items you’re gonna pack, try to get things that use the same battery. If everything you have takes a CR123 or AA battery, then that’s all you have to pack. You won’t need spares for each and everything at that point so your battery weight will go down, and batteries weigh a lot per square inch.

Multiple-use items

Good stuff

What I’m talking about here are things that have like a flashlight and a knife together, or a compass on a lighter. These may seem like great ideas, and the can be, but they’re usually crap. A good multi-tool like the Gerber multi-tool is an excellent choice but a lot of the “survival” gear out there with stuff all crammed together just plain sucks.

Olive Oil

Makes a good sling too

I may be the only prepper who carries olive oil but hear me out. Olive oil packs 251 calories in each ounce. That’s over 32,000 calories per gallon! You don’t have to carry very much to be able to gain back your strength if you were without food for a while.

Olive oil is obviously good for lubrication and can be used for not only machinery, it’ll usually unstick a stuck zipper.

Again, obviously, it would make a good oil lamp. All you need is some kind of wick to stick down in it and you’re golden.

Olive oil also can get off camouflage makeup. Try it next time.

Also, if you’re lucky enough to run across a bunch of Swedish cheerleaders after SHTF, there are plenty of other uses for it.

550 cord

Ok, I may be stretching the theme here a little bit but 550 cord is a must-have. Not only can it be used to tie up multiple things (I’ve used it as a replacement for a broken throttle cable on a jeep and a Harley in the past), it’s made up of several strands that can be pulled out and used as string for items such as field-expedient fishing line or trap cord.


Not only can these be used for their original intended purpose, they’re clean so they can be used for wounds, and they burn easily so they can be used as tinder.


This is also called a tactical desert scarf. It’s in the pic above and to the right, wrapped around old dude’s head. These are good for keeping the sun off  your head, keeping your neck warm, and can be used as a sling.


This should at least get your mind wandering about inside your head. There are many things that can be used for multiple uses. What you need to do is look at what you have and see if you can find an item that will replace two items. Keep in mind that you always need backup items, “two is one and one is none,” but you shouldn’t have to have four items to cover two uses in all cases.

I know you guys have come across things that serve more than one purpose in  your bugout bags or home preps. I have an article that may spark your creativity called 57 bug out bag gear ideas you may not have thought of.

Feel free to post your ideas in the comments below so everyone can learn…

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About graywolf

I am a military veteran who has deployed to combat theaters in Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan and have almost three decades of military and military contracting experience.

My goal is to help preppers and others understand how to intelligently protect their family and their way of life.

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