> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Prepping on $40 a Week: Protective Gear



Prepping on $40 a Week: Protective Gear

Things like gloves, hearing protection, glasses, and so on are often overlooked when packing a survival kit. Good luck surviving with an eye fragged by flying debris or if your hands get shredded falling on broken glass. Protecting your body from the omnipresent dangers post-disaster is a pretty big deal, so don't slack on it.

We're going to be adding a good pair of work gloves, eye protection, ear plugs, an N95 mask and a bandanna to our budget kit this week.

The gloves I have used for several years now are original Mechanix gloves. They are not as hardcore/armored as many tactical gloves on the market, but they provide some decent protection while retaining dexterity. They are also quite affordable. Mine are the original black/white pattern, but I would go with the new black/black or Coyote color patterns if buying new. Amazon has 'em for $15.99, and Lowe's hardware also carries a pretty decent selection of them.

For eye protection, I usually have a pair of Oakley sunglasses. I've had 'em for several years now, and they've held up well. Check your sunglasses to see if they offer impact resistance (you want ANSI Z87.1 impact resistance). If they do, you're in luck - grab 'em on the door on the way out. Decent shooting glasses should have this level of protection or higher, too. If you need to pick up an extra pair, your local gun shop should have some, or these Remington's on Amazon look pretty decent for around $8.

Ear plugs or other hearing protection are often an individual preference thing. I've yet to sink some dough into really nice ear pro and mostly make do with squishy ear plugs, which work fine for me. I spent the $15-ish for a pair of Surefire Sonic Defenders and left that range trip without hearing in my right ear, so I wouldn't really recommend them. Amazon has zero deals on little foam ones, but you probably have some spares floating around your range bag. Wal-Mart definitely has some cheap foam ear plugs for under $5 that will keep you from going deaf. A safety pin through foam ear plugs can help keep you from losing 'em. We'll budget like you can scrounge some up, though.

N95 particulate masks aren't a full blown gas mask by any means, but they are cheap and helpful in filtering crap out of the air--dust, debris, and yes, even potential airborne bacteria (zombie plague). Amazon has boxes of 20 3M Health Care masks for around $12 - overkill for a bug out bag, but we're not just building a bug out bag here, we're trying to increase overall level of preparedness. If you only want a few, Wal-Mart, pharmacies and hardware stores should all carry N95 masks of some variety. Make sure they are N95, too, and not just dust masks.

Bandannas have a bunch of uses - here are a few - and they weigh next to nothing. You can buy them all over the place for not much money; buy only 100% cotton though. When I can, I buy jumbo-size ones, bigger than the standard 22x22 size - which can be harder to find. Amazon has 'em for $4.55 a pop, in a bunch of cool patterns. I've had luck at Army Surplus stores too. If you want to spend a bit more, the bigger Mid East style shemagh is all the rage these days, and will look the part when you're surviving in the post-apocalyptic wastelands.

Cost: Gloves - $16, Spare Eye Pro - $8, N95 masks - $12 and a bandanna - $4.55. If you need to buy extra ear plugs, that's an extra few bucks. Total is $40.55 for the week.
Bank: We were at $14.03, so -.55 brings us to $13.48


  1. Great post, I have added everything to my Amazon wishlist and will pick 'em off next pay day. Double check the shemagh link, it is currently bringing up the N95 masks.

  2. I have a a pair of suspenders in all my bug out bags. I have more gut that I do butt, so I can literally walk out of a pair of jeans once they stretch a little. Probably TMI but you can see where they could come in handy....especially if you must do a lot of walking and not much eating for a few days.

  3. Good call on the gloves, Man is the Tool User and damaged hands is a major disadvantage. It pays to protect them.

    I prefer leather gloves (White Mule pig skins to be exact - comfortable!), but do concede that the outdoors is not kind to full time exposure, leather has many natural enemies. I will have to look into these, as well as some kevlar cut resistant models - cuts are a hazard and getting infections will be a full time job.

    If you plan on walking around at night, some googles or safety glasses are definitely recommended, eye damage is bad!

  4. A lot of folks in the Army use the Mechanix gloves. The only thing I am not sure about is if they are flame/ heat resistant or not, which I think is a deal maker for tactical gloves.

    I would humbly add a pair of leather work gloves. The Nomex type tactical gloves are great for light scrapes but not so good for a outdoor work tasks. You can get a pair of decent ones for pretty cheap.

    1. Mechanix gloves (at least the cheap one's)are in no way heat resistant, I have melted several pair.

    2. Personally I run standard Nomex "flight gloves" but this is good to know. Thanks,

    3. Ya, the Mechanix Original are all synthetic - the synth leather palm will offer a small measure of heat protection, but not "I'm in a burning Humvee" type protection.

      Nomex flight gloves run around $30, and good pair of kevlar/nomex tactical gloves will run around $40-$60; I would upgrade down the line.

  5. I've added most of this list to my amazon wish list to order after I move. Doing a big move next month and don't want to risk getting my shipment list in transit lol

  6. Don't forget to stock more personal... a'hem...protection. In the midst of a 'crunch' may not be a good time to bring a new junior prepper into the family.

  7. An N95 respirator won't do anything for you in a building collapse scenario. You will need something along the lines of this: http://www.amazon.com/MSA-Safety-Works-817664-Respirator/dp/B0009XW3ZS/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1347196432&sr=8-4&keywords=respirator

    The dust masks and N95 did not work at Ground Zero whereas the one I linked did.