Save Money Buying Emergency Preparedness Gear

Prepping can be expensive.  People  have gone into significant debt in their quest to out run the Zombies.  They let fear over take them, and before they know it, they have spent thousands and still aren’t sure if they have what they need to make it through the emergencies they are most likely to experience.  By creating a plan, we can save money buying emergency gear while adding only what we need to our emergency kits.

Emergency Preparedness

What Are YOU Prepping For?

The first question to ask yourself, is what are you prepping for?    It’s called conducting your threat assessment.  In reality it’s nothing more than simply sitting down and making a list of all the things that could cause life to get dicey.

Do you live in an area where tornadoes, earthquakes, or hurricanes are possible?

Is there a potential for your income to fluctuate, or for you or your spouse to lose a job?

Do you care for someone with special medical needs?

What would you do if your home caught on fire?

If your water source became contaminated, what would you do?

Can you make it through a prolonged blackout?

What you prep for may look very different from what I’m prepping for.  But we both can save money buying emergency gear.

How To Save Money On Emergency Supplies

Prioritizing  Will Save Money Buying Emergency  Gear

Out of all the possibilities you’ve listed in your threat assessment, what is the most important situation for you to be prepared for?   That will be your first priority.

As you prioritize your possible emergencies, you’ll notice that a lot of things overlap in regards to what gear you’ll need.  When you mark that piece of gear off of one concern, you’ll be able to cross it off of another too.

Sell What You Aren’t Using To Buy What You Need

Take a look around your home.  What do you have that you could live without?   What do you have that is less important than the gear you need to get through an emergency?

Sell it.

Ebay.  Facebook yard sale sites.  Local classifieds.  Take your pick, but turn that stuff into cold, hard cash.

Use Cash Back Sites

Cash back sites have become popular lately. From groceries (Ibotta!) to items for your 72 hour kit, there’s a way to get a few bucks back. My personal favorite is  Ebates Coupons and Cash Back


A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

Earn the cash you need by making some lifestyle changes.

*Shop Around for Better Life and Home Insurance

*Get rid of cable.  Embrace Netflix or Hulu.

*Menu Plan.  Make a list of what you need for that menu and stick to it.

*Give up a movie night.  Do without the expensive coffee.  Eat at home instead of going out.

*Set up a car pool.

*Brown Bag Lunches

Even if you are only able to cut back $20.00  bucks a month, that’s $20.00 more than you had before.

Who Says It Has To Be New?

Another way to save money buying emergency gear is to buy used.  Look on the same places that you sold your stuff to find the new stuff you need.  Don’t forget thrift stores and yard sales!

Simply Preparing Deals Group on Facebook

Your friendly hosts here at Simply Preparing have started a Facebook Group where we share GREAT deals and ways to help you save money prepping.   We’ll also find support regardless of where you are in your prepping journey.  Come ask your questions, share your stories and bring a friend!

It AIN’T All About The Money, Honey

Emergency preparedness is about making small, consistent steps in your ability to see your family through an emergency.  Don’t get caught up in the hype.  He who dies with the biggest bug out bag, really doesn’t win.

Choosing The Best Emergency Face Mask

As I write this post, parts of the country are either flooded or fleeing the path of Hurricane Irma.  Other states, Oregon, Washington and California are on fire.  If there was ever a time to begin preparing your family for an emergency, now has to be it.  One item that should be in every family’s preparedness kit is an emergency face mask.

*this post contains affiliate links

Which Type Of Emergency Face Mask Should You Buy?

Let’s run through the different types of emergency face masks and their best uses.

The lowest level of protection is the humble *this post contains affiliate links dust mask.   Inexpensive.  Disposable.  It’s the sort of mask you would need to protect against pollen, household dust, cut grass.  It is NOT NIOSH approved protection.  It’s really not going to offer much protection, and the only reason I mention it here is to help you tell the difference between this and a particulate respirator mask.

How To Choose An Emergency Face Mask

N95 Emergency Face Masks

A better choice for an emergency face mask is a particulate respirator, an N95 or above.  These are the types of masks suggested a few years back when the Swine Flu and Influenza were such concerns.  These filter 95% of 0.3 micron sized particles.

Particulate respirator face masks conform a bit better to your face, unless you have a  beard.   These masks give you more protection from microscopic particles in the air.

The N95 masks can be found with ‘cool flow valves’ that help to reduce heat build up, moisture, and fogging, all of which help to make breathing while wearing this mask easier.

Because N95 masks are NIOSH certified, which means the respirator has passed stringent government performance standards including filtration efficiency testing and provides at least 95% filtration efficiency solid and liquid particles that do not contain oil.

 N95 masks have been a popular choice for protection from the smoke from fires, city pollution, viruses (H1N1, etc.) and allergies.

N99 Emergency Face Masks

Newer on the market are masks like the Cambridge Mask, which is a N99 mask.  More expensive, but reusable, Cambridge Masks provide protection against gases, smells, all PM; PM2.5, PM0.3, pollen, smoke and pathogens such as viruses (99.6%)  and  bacteria (99.77%).

As per the Cambridge literature:

Filters used in the Cambridge Mask meet the N99 standard (higher than N95)This is a US Government specification for pollution masks. Cambridge Masks have been independently tested by Nelson Labs, USA which confirmed almost 100% of particulate pollution, bacteria and viruses were successfully filtered when tested. We have also tested to meet the standards for Chinese NK-95 and Korean Food and Drug Administration requirements. The masks use a triple-layer filter system which will protect from a range of airborne contaminants.

Please, check the specs on ANY emergency face mask purchase you make.


PRO TIP: Remember viruses are transferred not only by touch, through a sneeze, these bugs can also enter through your eyes.  Good hand washing and keeping your hands away from your face is important.

emergency mask

Should You Buy A Respirator?

Next up, Respirators.  These provide at least 95% filter efficiency against solid and liquid aerosols as well as some organic vapors.  It will filter pesticides and some viruses too.   Basically, you get a much better seal with this type of face masks, which offers better protection.  If you want to amp up this protection add a pair of safety goggles.

Respirators work well for those with serious breathing problems, allergies, and a need to be protected from bad smells.  Think of it as a really jacked up version of the paper N95 masks that can also filter out strong odors.

PRO TIP:  At around $30.00 a pop, respirators are a great choice for protection.  But make sure you pay attention to the SIZES they come in, usually Small, Medium, and Large.   The effectiveness of any face mask depends on how well it fits.

Full Facepiece Respirators provide a good seal around your face, AND protect your eyes.  More expensive, but if this is a big concern for you, worth every penny.

Another choice you may want to consider is the ReadiMask, a single use, full face respirator that uses medical grade adhesive to create a secure barrier to your face.

What Face Mask Should You Choose For Mold Removal?

Let’s face it.  In the aftermath of a hurricane, a lot of people are going to be dealing with a lot of mold.  You are going to need a Mold Remediation Respirator kit.
Mold is nasty stuff.  Don’t try to use a paper face mask or simple respirator for this job.

When Are  Gas Masks A Good Choice?

Considering today’s world events, there is value in a good gas mask.   Again, it’s all about your personal circumstances.  The Israeli Gas Masks also run in the $30-40 dollar range.

Pro Tip:  Regardless of which face mask you choose, wearing them is a bit of a learning curve.  They are uncomfortable and can look scary on, especially for children.   Take some time and practice wearing your masks BEFORE an emergency.

What face masks do you have in your emergency supplies?  What type do your pack in your 72 kit?


Duct Tape Hacks for Preppers

Duct tape has become indispensable to Preppers due to it’s uncanny ability to fix just about anything.  Stock up on duck tape and you’ll be prepared for everything from first aid emergencies, to clothing repairs, to finding your way back to base camp.


Concerned about the bulk and weight of duct tape in your BOB?  Check out *this post contains affiliate links this FLAT duct tape!

Survial and emergency preparedness uses for duct tape. From first aid kits, to camping, to hiking and DIY projects, duct tape has you covered!

Using Duct Tape In Emergency First Aid Situations

Sling for a broken arm:  Fold a long strip of duct tape in half down the middle, so there is no longer a sticky side.  You now have a strip sturdy and flexible enough to use as a sling for a broken arm.

Stabilize a broken leg: Using sturdy sticks as splints, use the duct tape to hold the splints in place.  First, lay sticks on either side of the injured leg. Then hold it all together by wrapping duct tape around the sticks.

Secure a bandage:  Place a sterile dressing over the wound, and strap it in place using duct tape.  This will also create a water proof barrier.  A piece of duct tape can also be fashioned into a butterfly suture.

Make shift mole skin:  Cover the blister and the area around it with a bit of cotton gauze from your first aid kit,  then place a piece of duct tape completely over the cotton gauze.  Make sure that the duct tape doesn’t touch the blister!

Create a Pandemic Seal:  Use duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal a room from the spread of pathogens.

Waterproof your hiking boots using duct tape.

Mend Clothes And Gear With Duct Tape

Repair shoes and clothing:  Who needs a sewing machine?  Did you know this miracle tape come in transparent?

Fix your broken glasses:  We won’t tell the Fashion Police, pinky swear.

Patch up your rain gear:  Duct tape is water proof!    Line the inside of your boots to keep the cold and wet out too!

Keep the creepy crawlies out:  The zipper on your tent busted?  Use duct tape to keep the door to your tent closed.

Have a hole in your sleeping bag?  Duct tape to the rescue!

Splint a broken tent pole or fishing pole.   Tape a stick to the broken part of your tent pole or fishing pole.  It won’t be a long term fix, but it should see you through the current need.

Create Emergency Shelter.  By duct taping together a few of your contractor grade garbage bags together you can fashion a simple survival shelter .  You can also tape branches together and then stretch out and duct tape the garbage bags to those to help provide a wind break/simple shelter.

Fix a broken window screen.

Mend a cracked water bottle:   After making sure the outside of your bottle is completely dry then cover the crack with a piece of tape, and then wrapping the tape around the entire width of the bottle.

Get your car back on the road! Duct tape can be used to repair leaking hoses, hold up a bumper, patch the roof, etc.

Cover tears in vinyl siding:   Apply when the siding is dry, making sure to smooth the duct tape down well. You should get at least a season out of this hack.

20 Ways Duct Tape Can Save Your Life

Camping Hacks

Mark a trail:   Need to find your way back from where you came from?   Wrap duct tape around tree trunks along your route.  Just remember to make sure that each tree is in sight of the next one.

Signal for Help:   Make a giant arrow pointing to where you are, or create a giant S.O.S.  Fluorescent colored duct tape or reflective tape would work the best for this.

Use as a fire starter:  Wrap tape around a bundle of dry lint and then cover the outside with char cloth.

Makeshift torch:  Wind the top of a large branch with duct tape and light it up!

survival uses for duct tape

In the comments below, share YOUR favorite ways to  get yourself out of a jam with this wonder tool!


Surviving Winter Storms: A How To Guide

Snowy and cold has been the forecast for my state this year, with the Northern part of Utah digging out from under 28 inches of the greatest snow on earth,  even as I type.  We are at about 150% of average snow fall here, with more on the way.  This is a big change from the last several years of drought,  prompting me to compile a list of the best posts on Simply Preparing on the topic of  Surviving Winter Storms.

*this post contains affiliate links

A Checklist for Surviving Winter Storms


I always have to grin when recent transplants from warm weather states realize that they are actually going to need a warm coat to survive winter storms with below zero temperatures.

1.  Learning how to dress in layers for winter weather is a must.

2. Don’t let your body heat escape into thin air.   These behind the *this post contains affiliate links head earmuffs are my favorite and don’t make me feel like a five year old when I’m out in the winter weather.    But you may be more of a beanie sort of person.

3.Gloves  You’ll need winter gloves that are warm,  water proof, moisture wicking and will allow you to work out doors too.

4. Winter Boots   I have a pair of KEENS that I adore.  They give my feet the support they need, while keeping them warm too.

5.  Insulated snow pants.  Maybe a pair of thermals to go underneath.

6.  Wool Socks.  I remember first thinking that wool socks would be so uncomfortable.  The first thing I think of when I think of wool is rough and scratchy.  Plus, who wants to hand wash wool socks.  Then I found Smartwool.  Soft.  Warm.  Machine washable.  Your goal of surviving winter storms will be much more comfortable when your feet are dry and warm.

The Ultimate Guide To Surving Winter Storms

Surviving Winter Storms Without Electricity.

1. Your chances of losing power during a winter storm are pretty high.  Having a Propane Space Heater will allow you to heat the inside of your home safely.  If going this route, you’ll want to make sure you have a battery operated carbon monoxide alarm, which each of us should really have anyway.

Kerosene heaters would fall under this category.  The heaters burn a wick fueled by kerosene to keep a large space warm.

2.  Firewood.  If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove,  make sure you keep an extra cord of wood available to burn.  You’ll also need a good axe for splitting wood and chopping kindling.

3.  Pellet Stoves and Natural Gas Fireplaces.  These usually need electricity to run, however there is a brand of pellet stoves that will keep you warm with being hooked up to a power grid.  Be prepared.  They are an investment for sure.

No Secondary Source of Heat?  Try These Ideas:

Concentrate your efforts on one room where everyone will gather, preferably one without a lot of windows.

Use heavy quilts to cover doorways and under doorways, to help keep the cold from the other rooms seeping into your warmer room.

Grab that plastic shower curtain from your bathroom to cover windows with, or drape a blanket over an existing curtain rod. If you have them on hand, black contractor bags would be a great solution for insulating the windows.  Tape them up with duct tape.  Another option would be the plastic table cloths that always go on sale after the holidays.   If it’s sunny during the day, you can take these down to allow the sun to heat the room a bit.

Plug any leaks around your windows or outside doors with insulation foam.

Kerosene Hurricane Lanterns can add some warmth to a small space.  Think Little House on the Prairie.   Be sure to keep the kids away from them though.

Bundle up in coats, hats and gloves.

Break Out The Camping Gear.  A tent inside the house?  You bet!  Roll out those sleeping bags too.  Body warmth can go a long way to keeping each other warm in a tight space.

Wool Blankets.   Far superior to cotton or fleece at keeping you warm, wool blankets are a must have for surviving winter storms without electricity.

Hand Warmers.  I buy these by the box and stash them everywhere.  Little bits of bliss, I’ll tell ya.


Surviving winter storms requires  you having a stock of non-perishable food items to last for a while.  Granola bars and shelf stable milk for breakfast.  Peanut butter and whole grain crackers.  A can of black beans mixed with a jar of salsa scooped up with tortilla chips.  Packets of ready to eat tuna and crackers.

If you heat with a fire or a wood stove you can heat up canned soups and stews.  In a real pinch, you can even eat these foods straight out of the can.  Just make sure you have a good can opener on hand!

You can purchase MREs (Meals Ready To Eat) that come with their own single meal use heaters.

Don’t forget the bottled water.  The rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day.


At the first sign of a winter storm, fill the bathtub up with water to use for flushing toilets. Add the water to the tank so that, if necessary, you can flush.

Here’s another opportunity to put that box of the black contractor grade garbage bags to use.  Place a bag in your drained toilet. Sprinkle some kitty litter into the bottom of the bag. Every time someone makes a ‘deposit’ into the black bag, add another scoop of kitty litter. You’ll be able to tie the bag securely and then store it outside until your services are restored.

A Guide To Surviving Winter Storms

Let There Be Light

The last thing you want is to be caught in the dark while surviving winter storm. Fortunately there are a lot of lighting options to choose from.

Camping Lanterns

Flashlights    Even the kids can have their own.

Candles   Don’t forget the matches.

Luci Lights have become one of my favorite choices for illumination when the lights go out.

Staying Safe Outside

1.  I’ve seen many people trying to remove snow from their roofs after a snow storm.  Make the job easier and safer with a roof rake.

2.  Ice Melt  Used for porches and sidewalks to keep them free from ice.

3.  Kitty Litter.  Yup.  Plain old non-clumping, non-scoopable, gravel kitty litter will help provide traction under your car’s wheels and down those front steps.  Can’t find this type of kitty litter?  Grab a couple of bags of sand.

4.  Snow Shovel/Pusher.

5.  Snow Scraper with Brush

Being Prepared Brings Peace

Preparing for any possibility during a winter storm is simple common sense.  Don’t be part of the herd racing out to the grocery store in hopes of grabbing a loaf of bread and a carton of milk before the flurry flies.   Take the fear of of winter storms by being prepared before hand.

What things to you to do to prepare to survive winter storms?

For more information surviving winter storms, read Simply Preparing’s List of 11 Things To Do Before A Winter Storm!

Plan on traveling during the winter months?  We’ve got you covered. Check out our post on   Last Minute Winter Emergency Road Trip List