Having the Right Urban SHTF Gear Can Save Your Life

Like many other things, living in a city has pros and cons. But it seems that nowadays that the cons outweigh the pros – the high cost of living, the lack of spaces to live, pollution, contamination, noise, and crime. 

Not the mention that living in the city leaves you more at risk of SHTF – “shit hits the fan” (or “stuff hits the fan,” if you prefer a less vulgar term), a colloquial term for something that has taken a turn for the worse. 

When most people think of SHTF, they usually think of any catastrophic event, such as natural disasters. But when it comes down to it, what constitutes an SHTF scenario is simply any emergency or crisis that will put your survival skills to the test.

The most common types of SHTF situations include:

  • Extreme weather conditions
  • Natural disasters
  • Rapid economic downturn
  • War
  • Terrorism
  • Epidemic or pandemic

Having the proper gear is a brilliant move if you really want to be prepared for any situation. Take Benjamin Franklin’s words to heart: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Without further ado, here is the following urban SHTF gear you need to get you prepared for any eventuality:

Three types of urban survival kits

As long as you want to do this properly, you’ll have to put together three types of kits, which are easily doable and inexpensive. You’ll need:

  • An everyday carry (EDC) kit – Items that you almost always have, such as things in your pockets like your wallet, keys, lanyard, purse, etc.
  • A get-home bag (GHB) – An additional bag you keep with you in your proximity, such as items in your desk drawer.
  • A bug-out bag – A regular backpack designed to evacuate the urban area when SHTF.

Emergency backpack equipment organized on the table

The following items you’ll need when SHTF

  • First aid kit – In an SHTF scenario, hospitals or emergency services are likely to get shut down, inaccessible, or overwhelmed with patients. Thus, you should prepare a first kit for your medical essentials in case of SHTF. The Red Cross recommends that all basic first aid kits should contain the following: 
    • Two (2) absorbent dressings (5 x 9 in)
    • 25 adhesive bandages
    • One (1) adhesive cloth tape
    • Five (5) antibiotic ointment packets
    • Five (5) antiseptic wipe packets
    • Two (2) packets of aspirin
    • One (1) emergency blanket
    • One (1) breathing barrier
    • One (1) instant cold compress
    • Two (2) pairs of non-latex gloves, large
    • Two (2) hydrocortisone ointment packs (about 1 gram each)
    • One (1) three-inch (3 in) gauze roll (roller) bandage
    • One (1) roller bandage, four inches (4 in) wide
    • Five (5) three-by-three inch (3 x 3 in) sterile gauze pads
    • Five (5) sterile gauze pads, 4 x 4 in
    • Oral thermometer
    • Two (2) triangular bandages
    • Tweezers
    • Emergency first aid guide
  • Emergency face masks – Emergency face masks can protect you from pollutants, most especially in case of toxic fume leaks from industries when disaster strikes.
  • Water purification system – It’s had to find safe drinking water in an SHTF scenario. Preparing your own water purification system means you can have drinking water at home or anywhere. The American Red Cross recommends at least three gallons of drinking water per person during a crisis.
  • Lighter and fire starter – When the power goes out, you need a lighter or fire starter for candles, boiling water, or cooking food.
  • Fire extinguisher – In an emergency, you have to put out fires caused by many factors, like gas leakages or defective electrical wirings. A fire extinguisher will come in handy for this job without having to wait for an emergency crew.
  • Solar charger – You need a portable solar charger for your mobile phones, flashlights, emergency radios and phones, and rechargeable batteries.
  • Foldable knife – A foldable knife is a staple in any kit, but be sure to check your state laws governing carrying a knife as well as knife style and blade length.
  • Multi-tool – You will also need a multi-tool for a variety of tasks.
  • Flashlight – Another standard in an urban SHTF gear, a flashlight is also an item you will need to be able to see in dark conditions.
  • Emergency toilet – Hygiene and sanitation are also as important as anything else when prepping for any disaster, which can affect water and sanitation systems. An emergency toilet consists of a specially made bucket for your bodily wastes. You can either buy an emergency toilet or make your own.
  • Self-defense weapons (knives, pepper sprays, etc.) – In an SHTF situation, you may be forced to defend yourself against attackers, looters, etc. Whichever weapons you choose, use them properly, too, to avoid accidents.
  • Rain poncho – There will be times when you cannot find shelter during inclement weather. You will need a lightweight rain poncho to protect you from the wind and rain.
  • Maps – You will also need to include maps in your SHTF urban gear. Don’t assume that just because you live in the city for a long time means that you know every way and corner at the back of your hand. Depending on the severity, disasters may obliterate street signs, eliminating landmarks, and burying everything in smoke and dust. So, make sure to include a map to help you find your way.
  • Respirator mask – Incidents such as a major wildfire or a collapsing building will fill the atmosphere with choking dust and smoke that can easily asphyxiate you or, if it doesn’t kill you, can cause severe long-term health problems. In that case, you must be prepared with a respirator mask, preferably rated N95 or higher.
  • Duct tape – A duct tape is also an essential emergency gear item as it will help you secure, repair, or create anything in a bind. You can use it in repacking, fixing broken pipes, patching the holes in sleeping bags, or fixing bandages in position.
  • Emergency radio – An emergency radio allows you to tune in and receive updates from severe weather to government announcements regarding the ongoing situation when a disaster has struck. Emergency radios are inexpensive and some come with a solar panel and even a hand-crank feature.
  • Spare batteries – Don’t forget extra batteries! You will need these to power your flashlights, emergency radios, and other devices. Make sure to keep them in a water-proof case or Ziploc bags.
  • Portable USB drive or SD card – You will also need a portable USB drive or SD card to store all the important and confidential files, such as documents, pictures, CVs, licenses, passports, bank papers etc., so that you will have a backup in case the hard copies get lost. You should keep your important data with you regardless of your connection to cloud storage or other information networks. Make sure that you have the files encrypted and protect them with a password. Store your portable USB drive or SD card in a water-proof, shock-proof, and puncture-proof container.
  • Work gloves – Include a sturdy pair of work gloves if you have to do some tasks, such as clearing broken glass or debris from your home.