> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Prepping on $40 A Week: Toiletry Kit & Odds N' Ends



Prepping on $40 A Week: Toiletry Kit & Odds N' Ends

An odd n' ends week as we round up a bunch of stuff to help top off our budget bug out bag. This week, we will be adding:

  • Toiletry Kit
  • Pocket AM/FM Radio
  • Compass
  • AA batteries to power our flashlight and radio
A toiletry kit isn't a must-have survival necessity, but it is a major morale booster and, outside of a very short term emergency, hygiene does become a real issue. Folding toothbrush, travel sized toothpaste and deodorant, wipes/hooahs and a 2-oz travel bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap. The little bottle of Dr. Bronner's goes a long way, and you can actually use it to brush your teeth if you don't mind a little soap flavor and want to save the ounce or so that a travel sized toothpaste weighs. Pack it in a freebie airline toiletry kit (or a quart sized freezer bag or a dollar store toiletry case) and you're good to go. With the Bronner's, you should be at around $10 for the toiletry kit.
For a budget pocket radio, I really like this Sony model. $10, runs off of common AAs, great battery life, and surprisingly good functionality. Sure, there are nicer radios, but for tuning into emergency broadcasts and what have you, it works well. I've had mine for a year and a half now; zero problems and has held up well. I would throw it in a freezer bag and keep it with your clothes or sleeping bag to avoid getting smashed.

For a basic, budget compass, the Silva Polaris is tough to beat at $12. Getting lost while in an already crappy situation is a bad thing.

AA batteries are, well, AA batteries. We buy the big brands (Energizer, Duracell) and Kirkland (Costco brand), though we've been switching over to Eneloops for our battery needs (high quality pre-charged rechargeable batteries). Taken what you have left over this week and buy some AAs of your choosing. I like to have at least two sets of spares in a larger kit. Take note of the expiration date when buying.

Budget: This week should pretty much exhaust the $40 - if you have a buck or two left over, roll 'em into your bank.

Editor's Note: Last week, I mentioned we'd be wrapping up the bug out bag portion this week. I went back over the previous posts and noticed that I'd forgotten a key item (headlamp) and a couple little things I'd like to include, too. So, we'll be taking one more week on this portion of the series. Stay tuned!


  1. I really love this series, this week I have almost all of this covered, but I still enjoyed reading it.

  2. I too appreciate any and all input you or anyone else has, but, has anyone posted anything to do in case of an EMP? Unless stored in a Faraday cage electronics, including batteries are pretty useless. Any input on this. tia

  3. On compasses. If you live in a cold climate, beware of offshore made compasses (indonesia). They can freeze unlike the ones from Finland. There is a definite price difference. Plus, if you get a compass with a sighting mirror, it can double as a signalling device.

  4. I've got those little SOny radio's in all of my kits too. Really a great bang for your Prepping buck. This continues to be a good series of articles that I enjoy reading.

  5. If you are packing a compass, probably worth packing a map too, especially if the emergency forces you to take a detour off your prepared routes. Various ways of downloading and printing them.

  6. One hygene item I used in the feild was a small can of lysol, just for the feet. It cooled your dawgs after a long day, and kept the funk off, even if changing socks meant rinsing them out, hanging them up, and turning them inside out in the morning. No you are not supposed to spray it on bare skin, but it seems to work well, and helps keep the fartsack from gettin aromatic, hooahs for the ankles on up, and lysol on the feet. YMMV.

  7. A dollar store soap dish / cover or VHS cassette case also makes for a good storage container as well.

    Thanks for tip on radio, I've been looking for a replacement for my original Sony AM/FM Walkman, which finally was killed after 15 good years of use. Single AA battery, pretty decent reception.

    HalfElf - thanks for tip on lysol, I wouldn't have thunk of that one.

  8. Great tip on the Dr. Bronner's soap. Ignore the basically-bug-nutty label text and you still have a great cleaning/body care product. You don't have to use a lot for good effect. One of the big quart bottles can be stretched pretty effortlessly to provide daily showers/basic B.O.-control for 2 people for pretty close to a year.

    Do stick the plastic squeeze bottle inside a sealed zip-bag (or 2) in your BOB. The 'flip-top' dispenser top WILL fail catastrophically if it gets 'squished' hard inside your pack, and it is NO FUN to clean up the spillage.

  9. I have the same radio and its sturdy enough, basic, and simple. You don't want something too fancy--say with a digital screen. More stuff to break/not work properly. And RE: emp...if the EMP is strong enough and wide spread enough to knock out your radio/batteries then anything broadcasting is probably knocked out too and you wouldn't have anything to listen to anyway. If it worries you enough you can keep your electronics in a faraday bag and then put that in your BOB: http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=faraday+bags&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=8042258317&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=15536411586048436&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&ref=pd_sl_5lsz0eps96_b

  10. You can make an easily portable Faraday cage by usin Aluminum Wrap. First waterproof your electronics (Freezerbag, plastic wrap, etc,,) then wrap in some type of protective material. I use a hand towel (gives me a nice shower/cleaning rag in my kit) and finally wrap liberally with aluminum foil. Your electronics will now be protected from an EMP. Its alot lighter, smaller and versatile. You can individually wrap them and keep them ready to go in your BOB. (Be sure there is plenty of padding between your electronics and Aluminum Foil)
    If you keep your BOB or Kit in your metal truck box you already have a ready made Faraday cage. Just finda way to keep the electronics directly off the metal and you are good to go. If an EMP does hit, your truck wont work, but the items in your box will.
    Definatley practice, and train on using your compass, there are alot of variables that will come into play during land navigation (declination, Pace, distance covered, terrain association, etc..)
    If you want a good way to store batteries, put them in the fridge. the cold will slow the electrons inside enough to give them a bit longer life than whats on the package.

  11. Super necro comment, but an update after years of using the Kirkland Costco batteries.
    Apparently these are not the great batteries they once were. I believe a few years back they were made in a different location (UK?) and they were awesome- I have a set in a clock that has not been changed for years and they're still going strong.
    However, having used them for a number of years in all different devices from remotes/CD players to flashlights, all I can say is do not buy them anymore. The runtime you get out of them seems to have decreased quite a bit, and worse they leak incessantly. The last year I used them (2013) almost everything I put them in experienced leaking of the batteries.
    So, IMHO not worth it any more. I have switched to Duracell, and the problems seem to have gone away.