Sunday, February 21, 2010

HUGE LIST of ITEMS TO HAVE (for vehicle & emergencies)

Everybody's idea varies a little in terms of what they "need," so these lists are just based on my personal opinions. PLEASE comment with your own suggestions OR things that you keep in your vehicle!! Also let me know if you want to see photos of anything.

I'm sure I will eventually remember to add more things that I had forgotten and also more specifics about certain products, so this list is an ongoing "work in progress," so to speak. I know it's very long, but I do use everything listed; If I don't use it, I lose it. I'm also an organizational nut if you haven't figured that out already, so there's an actual place for all this stuff in my van.

Vehicle Items (What's in my VW Pop-Top Camper Van):

Glove Box:

vehicle insurance & registration
envelope containing important AAA membership info
99¢ poncho
black Sharpie permanent marker
small spiral notepad (blank)
small log-book for gas info (prices, mileage, fill-ups) & maintenance info (parts, repairs, dates)
pepper spray
swiss army knife
2 cell phone chargers (12-volt charger & regular wall charger)
iPod earbuds & cell-phone anti-radiation headseat
12-volt power inverter (I think it is 175 watts, I will have to double check)
12-volt automotive battery tester
spare fuse set
free napkins from fast-food restaurants
spare ignition key
spare gas-tank key
a couple spare bulbs
VW owner's manual & camper supplement guide
Bic lighter & a book of matches
tire pressure gauge

Hanging in a canvas tote, behind my driver's seat:

Rand McNally U.S. Road Atlas
local maps & pamphlets (these change frequently)
book: "2010 RVer's Friend"
book: "Traveler's Guide to the Firearm Laws of the 50 States, 2010"
printout of the VW Vanagon Rescue Squad list
big lined notepad
folder containing miscellaneous papers, magazine cutouts, coupons, mail, etc.

Inside passenger-side's hanging backseat organizer:

antibacterial wet-wipes!! (always handy)
flower vase (just because it makes me happy to have fresh flowers around)
Zippo refillable butane lighter (and small bottle of butane)
pens & pencils
mini spiral notepad
compact 28-LED flashlight (bought mine from a local auto-parts store)
Petzl Zipka Plus 4-LED Headlamp (perfect for night-time reading)
fleece pouch containing my UCO Candle Lantern, along with a few spare candles
incense (Nag Champa & SuperHit) and incense burner

Inside my nylon gear hammock (easy access):

journal, sketchbook, and whatever book I happen to be reading
daily planner
roll of papertowl
box of kleenex
roll of toilet paper in a ziplock bag
warm hat and pair of gloves
LED bendable lamp (free-stands or hangs)

In regards to eating/kitchen stuff:

bottle of Dawn liquid dish soap (I only buy this if I'm parked somewhere long-term with good water access)
dish scrubbie brush
kitchen towel (for drying my dishes)
collapsible 10-Liter sink
titanium spork (my favorite eating utensil)
extra silverware (2 spoons, 2 forks, 2 knives)
2 plastic plates, 2 bowls, and 2 mugs (enough for me and a guest/traveling companion)
1 really good, large kitchen knife and 2 paring knives
knife sharpener
cutting board
can opener
Max Burton Portable Butane Stove
a couple pots/pans
butane fuel canisters for my portable stove
Nalgene BPA-free water bottle (for my daily drinking water)
GSI Outdoor Halulite 1 qt. tea kettle
a couple gallon jugs of water (I re-fill these at the water machines in grocery stores)
ziplock storage bags (quart & gallon sized both come in handy)
2 plastic tupperware containers (1 small, 1 medium)
aluminum foil
non-perishable food (like oatmeal, cereal, pb, granola bars, soup...) AND green tea (essential)

In regards to sleeping/bedtime area:

sleeping bag (my Moonstone bag is rated comfortable down to 20 degrees)
Cocoon 100% silk mummy bag liner (adds 10 degrees to my bag's comfort rating)
several pillows and body pillow (for ultra comfort and the ability to prop myself up)
slippers (my feet get cold easy, sometimes the floor is wet, and I just love my slippers)
bungee-cord gear hammock (above my bed, on the ceiling, for putting my headlamp & reading material into at night)
bulletin board velcroed to the wall next to my bed, complete with pushpins & calendar

In regards to clothing:

mesh laundry bag
1 pair of flip-flops
1 pair of comfortable everyday shoes (hiking shoes, running shoes, whatever)
1 pair of waterproof overboots or rainboots
rain jacket
regular coat/jacket
hoodie (I've only got one, but I'd keep two in my van if I had two)
2 sweaters
little canister (like a xmas cookie tin) that holds my jewelry (I don't have much)
7 Eagle-Creek "Pack-It Double Cubes" in my van's closet - 3 for my bottoms (pants, skirts, shorts, dresses), 2 for my tops (tank tops, t-shirts, long-sleeves), and 2 for my bras, socks, underwear, belts (I'm always trying to downsize even more)

In regards to personal hygiene/bathroom stuff:

Lady J & Little John (bathroom female funnel w/ portable urinal)
2 towels (1 bath & 1 beach), 1 handtowel, and 2 washcloths
1 small bottle of Campsuds or Dr. Bronners liquid castile soap
first aid kit (containing bandaids, Vick's vapor inhaler, Burt's Bees Res-Q ointment, Neosporin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen-Sodium, a few gauze pads, roll of surgical tape, and various items....)
sunscreen (50 SPF)
daily Multi-Vitamins, supplements (Spirulina & Garlic-Oil), & some Emergen-C packets
small bottle of No-Rinse Shampoo (for emergency hair "washing")
spray bottle containing water (for quick washups and hair-wetting)
Eagle Creek Pack It Cruiser (hanging organizer for my most important toiletry items) - (VERY easy to hang on a tree if using a solar shower, and very convenient for grabbing to head into a gym, friend's house, or community swimming pool)
Inside my "Pack-It Cruiser" - tiny mirror, deodorant, comb, sharp little hair-cutting-only scissors, bottle of perfume/scented body spritzer, shampoo, conditioner, bar of pure Castile soap inside a soap container, facial scrub, hairbrush, hairpick, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, witch hazel (I poured it into a little spray jar to easily spritz my face with), facial lotion, small hand-lotion, fingernail clippers, toenail clippers, tweezers, couple boxes of contacts, eyeglasses w/ case, contact solution, contact case, OB tampons, travel-sized box of Q-tips, razor, tiny battery-operated Conair personal trimmer, Carmex lip balm, and a couple hairties

Misc. items of importance (stored under bench seat, in cupboards, in drawers, and elsewhere):

fire extinguisher (installed right on the wall behind the passenger seat)
tension curtain-rod (up near ceiling, behind front seats) (perfect for draping things over to dry OR for added privacy)
welcome mat & floor rug (from Kmart clearance)
foldable full-length lounger (used mainly at the beach) (kept behind my driver's seat)
VW repair/maintenance manuals (Bentley, Haynes, etc.)
digital camera
laptop computer, case, Ubiquiti wi-fi card, and solid-state external hard-drive
hand-crank & solar powered radio
can of WD-40
roll of duct-tape
pair of heavy-duty scissors
work gloves (for dirty van maintenance work)
a few rags
spare windshield wiper blades
spare oil filters AND oil-filter wrench
spare air filter
4-way tire iron (lug wrench)
jug of Prestone coolant (phosphate-free) w/ funnel
toolbox w/ tape measure, electrical tape, various screwdrivers, allen wrenches, socket kit, hammer, pliers, superglue, etc.
velcro (for holding things down/attaching things inside my van)
a few quarts of 20W-50 oil
12-volt Typhoon-Max air compressor
12-volt fan
rear hatch bug-screen
skylight bug-screen
window shades (pop-open front shades AND accordian-style homemade side shades)
plastic Folger's coffee can, containing a roll of TP (my mini toilet)
bag of plastic bags (I save them from shopping - they can be very useful)
spare AA & AAA duracell batteries (and eneloop rechargeable AA & AAA batteries)
battery tester
Silva solar AA/AAA battery charger AND regular household Sony battery charger
several wire coat hangers (these always come in handy!)
jumper cables
heavy-duty outdoor extention cord
folding shovel
2 little tri-pod folding stools
1 bottle of "Awesome" brand spray-cleaner (from the Dollar Store)
mini broom/dustpan (from the Dollar Store, for keeping my floor swept up)
a few envelopes and stamps
metal detector & sand-scooper
handheld GPS (for geocaching)
2 gallon gas can, filled with gas (I hate running out!)
Fiamma bike rack, mountain-bike, detachable bike light, and bike lock
mini sewing kit
MSR Mini-Works EX water filter
indoor/outdoor thermometer (from Radio Shack)
4-gallon solar shower
inflatable 4' kid's pool (from Walmart, for showering inside my van)
collapsible 2-gallon bucket
a few holsters, some ammo, and range gear (shooting gloves, glasses, earplugs, boresnake, rag, Hornady One Shot gun cleaner/lube)

Hanging on the pop-top bar inside my van:

hanging clothespin clips (SO handy! gifted to me, so I have no idea where they're from)
small piece of coat-hanger, bent into an "S" hook (holds clump of bananas)
decorative homemade disco-ball (gifted to me)
windchimes (I find them to be soothing, but they annoy any of my passengers)
Solar LED lights (from Walgreens Christmas-clearance)

On top of my van, in the waterproof Pelican storage tote:

my tent & tent footprint (REI Half Dome 2 HC)
Therm-a-rest Z-lite sleeping pad (for camping)
fishing pole & tackle box
parachute-nylon travel hammock

Possibly on myself:

Apple iPhone
purse - driver's license, CPL, survival-tin, and money (if I've got any!)
tiny gerber pocket knife (from Walmart)
K-Bar TDI knife
Ruger LCR
Maratac AAA flashlight (worn as a necklace)
550-Paracord anklet (homemade and gifted to me)

Still need to get for my van:

2nd battery (deep cycle marine battery)
solar panels

*As a side note, I don't want to come across as a big spender, but you can probably see that I have spent quite a bit of money (over time) on some higher-priced products. It just makes sense to me to buy the higher-quality products that will last longer than the cheap stuff from China. Better to just buy things once, instead of paying to replace them later because they either break or don't work as described.

*When first starting out, buying cheap useful things is totally fine, but here's something to keep in mind: If you move out of a rented apartment and into your vehicle, while continuing to work a full-time job, THEN you can take your previously $600 per month "rent payment" and now put it towards gear/maintenance/"housing supplies" for your vehicle. If you just keep working and putting "rent" towards your own home-on-wheels (instead of into the pockets of landlords), then you will soon have your vehicle all outfitted with everything you could possibly want and need to live comfortably.


Possible survival things to keep in a back-up location (garage, storage unit, shed, house, friend's house, parent's basement, etc...), in case of emergency (societal collapse, national emergency, ice-storm, earthquake, zombie attack, food shortage, hurricane, short-term emergency, long-term emergency, whatever):

*Basically, just consider the simple things that we need for survival and comfort (food, water, shelter, warmth, health, companionship), and then try to keep some useful items regarding them on hand... (Obviously this is an overwhelming and expensive list to acquire, but it is very important to at least pick out what is MOST important to you and to store it someplace safe... an emergency could strike at any time, and if you aren't prepared, then what?)

canned vegetables, canned meat, wheat, oats, grains, pastas, whole corn, olive oil, peanut butter, dried milk, rice, sugar, dried beans, energy bars, ramen noodles, jerky, etc. (packaged for long-term storage & dated)
MREs or freeze-dried food (if you'd rather go that route)
vegetable/herb seeds and perhaps some gardening supplies (pitchfork, rake, shovel, trowel)
jugs of drinking water
several gas cans containing gasoline (treated with fuel-stabilizer)
clorox bleach (to purify additional drinking water)
pressure canner, canning equipment, canning jars/lids, and the "Ball Blue Book of Preserving"
distilled white vinegar, salt, baking soda, yeast
multi-vitamins and vitamin C
bars of soap
blankets, towels
a portable butane stove with some butane canisters
lighters, matches, flint & steel firestarter
2-person pullsaw or chainsaw w/ some 2-cycle gas
fishing gear (pole, assorted fishing line, hooks, sinkers, good fillet knife, etc)
CB radio
hand-crank powered radio/phone charger
solar panels/solar chargers
toilet paper, tampons, first aid supplies, medicine, toothpaste, saline solution, aluminum foil, storage bags, some spare pairs of eyeglasses....
you need it? you name it. add it to the list!

I don't currently have all of this stuff since I don't have a place to store it or the money required to purchase it, but, I do have some things. I've got a well-packed "Bug-Out-Bag," a little stash of canned goods, and a few other odds-n-ends.

Really, this survival-list is to get you thinking ahead and to help you maybe start planning a little for the unknown. If a major emergency ever suddenly occurred, supplies and high-demand goods would be essential to have for the short-term.... In the event of any long-term emergency, however, our own survival ultimately would depend on our skills and knowledge - to kill our own deer, catch our own fish, start our own fires, grow our own food, make our own soap, bake our own bread, find fresh drinking water, etc. A storage room filled with supplies will only last for so long, especially if they're being shared and divided up amongst many individuals.

I'm 28 years old, and I honestly believe that I will reach a day in my lifetime when some things that I have come to depend on, from society, will no longer be available (for some reason or another, either temporarily or long-term). And when that day comes, I want to be able to say 'oh well, I can just provide those things for myself.' I think the best ways to prepare for the unknown are to:

1. Start now
2. Stock up on some of the most important supplies to have (food, gasoline, water, etc.)
3. Buy some books, print some info off the Internet, and learn about how to become more self-sufficient


Todd Temple said...

That is an amazing post. First off, I suprised at how much you actually have, but it seems none of it is frivolous.

Secondly, I'm amazed that you know EXACTLY what you have.

I only found your blog a few weeks ago and I look forward to your posts.

Thanks for sharing.


Todd - thanks for your comment! yeah, in a list, it sure looks like alot of stuff. Ironically though, when things are put away, there is absolutely no clutter inside my van. My Westy really has plenty of ledges, cupboards, and nooks for everything. Also, yeah, I guess I do have a good grasp on everything I own... Probably because everything is always right with me and seen on a daily basis. I think I've also got a very photographic memory. lol. I can close my eyes and envision what I've got inside every cupboard. A van is such a small space that things REALLY need to be organized well in order to make optimum use of it.

As for frivolous things, I guess I've never been into them. I like useful things :) I did used to keep some more random things in my van, (books I liked, markers, jumprope, hand-exerciser, boardgame, magnetic chess-set, umbrella, water-flask, etc) but those things eventually made their way out when I never used them. They were things I WANTED to use, but just never did. I hate things that just take up space, and you REALLY notice what things those are when you live in such a small area. In a house, all those un-used things get kept, just b/c there is space for them! I definitely have a turnover of items, depending on my main hobbies at the time. :)

Guntard said...

I'm a list guy. Thanks for yours. IT will make it into a story someday.

cw said...

i always wanted to get the titanium spork from ""


Guntard - my list will make it into a story someday? that sounds nice

cw - I checked out the site, and i'm assuming you didn't mean the "Star Trek laser engraved one?" lol. The other one listed is the exact one I have! It is by Snow Peak. It's hilarious the way thinkgeek describes it as "The Spork of the Gods." hahaha. It probably really is the "coolest and most powerful spork ever created." I should put a photo of it on my gear pics page.


also to Guntard - I'm a list person, too. I love lists. glad you enjoyed it!

Bon vivant said...

I'm sorry. It's just not detailed enough for me. Could you go a little deeper. lol Jesus, Mary and Joseph. You need to get out more. hehehehe Just teasing. I'm a lister too. Or so I thought.

Person said...

I'm not a vandweller but I do like to imagine what it would be like. I sat there and read this list for like an hour and it spurred so many pictures in my head of what vandwelling is like. I don't want to live in a crummy panel van and that's all I'd be able to get right now. Maybe someday I will buy a snazzy VW camper and read this blog for practical purposes!

cw said...

the sporks true powers will be unleashed then those zombies start tearing through your "Westy Canvas" :)


Bon Vivant - just so you know, it did at least take me roughly 4 days to compile this list. Lol.

LMM - I'm so glad this gave you some good mental pics, that is one thing I was hoping to do for people. It is so fun, new, and refreshing to try to put ourselves in someone else's shoes for a bit. VWs are excellent, but really, any type of van can be as decked-out and cozy as you want it to be. Two-Knives Katie's van is a Ford Astro, and it is so nice inside! There's a page up all about it at Bob Well's Cheap RV Living site. If I didn't have a VW, I think I'd have an Astro, laid out alot like hers. I am actually thinking about taking out my stock fridge/stove/sink unit to make room for more regular storage space, but my big VW bed sure is great though, along with the poptop and swiveling front seats.

Cw - love it!!!! HILARIOUS! :D

Guntard said...

Yes a story. I write various tales, from Mystery to PAW stories including Zombie fiction and Sci-Fi. Someday I might even get published. Lists are a part of what I make in a character sketch.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

You have more things than I do by far.

Do you have a buggout bag handy in case you need to vacate yer van in hurry? What if it catches fire? god forbid, but what if? important papers survival pouch a little food and water and a change of clothes in a back pack wont burn up if the unthinkable happens.

My 2 cents


Guntard - neat! since you aren't published YET, have you done anything with your tales so far? I'd love to read them.

OGT - Excellent food for thought, you've got me really thinking now...

I do already have a bug-out-bag all packed, and I'm going to eventually do a post with the contents-list of that. It is basically my 4-day ultimate survival backpack.

As for everything else in my van, man, a fire would sure be terrible. I wonder if I can insure personal belongings/items through my van's insurance company (AAA). I will have to look into that. You would think that you would be able to insure your belongings that are kept in your vehicle, but I have never looked into that, so now I will. I would obviously have to have a list (good thing I already wrote this post) and pics/documentation of everything I owned that was kept inside my van. And since my van could kind-of be considered a "camper," maybe there is some sort of personal-belonging insurance for RVs/campers or something like that. Anybody reading this happen to have any idea?

Yea a fire would be awful... Got the bug-out-bag covered, although maybe I SHOULD pick out a few more important things to keep handy to add to my bug-out-bag in case of emergency, like my computer's external hard-drive (with all my important stuff on it). Many of the items in my van (on this post's list) are already actually kept in my bug-out-bag, like my hammock, water-filter, rainjacket, first-aid kit, etc.. I'll just hurry up and work on my bug-out-bag list soon. thanks for the comment!!

Guntard said...

What sort of story would spark your interest? Zombie Fiction, PAW stories in the Road Warrior vein, PAW/Prep stories, Fantasy, Mystery...

I've got a few of all of them!

I'll post a ZPAW short story on my blog just for you!


Guntard - ooh, they all sound like ear/eye candy to me.. terrific! I'll pop on over there right now & check it out :)

randy said...

You are very wise for your age. God Bless You!


Randy - thanks! But I have so much still to learn..

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