3 Places Preppers Would Never Think to Scrounge For Survival Supplies

This is a segment that you can take for ideas and build off of for yourself.  Survival is all about improvisation, and adaptability: those who adapt to the situation have a better chance at making it through the tough times.  This is a different kind of segment, though.  The information here is how to make it on what you can scrounge in the wintertime. Sounds simple, right? It isn’t.

We Live in an Imperfect World That is Not Prepper-Friendly

The reason is the “perfect” world we live in does not present you with many opportunities to train. For that matter, there isn’t a lot of encouragement either. Certainly, no one will encourage you: not your family members, your neighbors, or community in general, let alone the government…local, state, or federal.  That’s not “life.”

No, most of these guys just mentioned are only concerned with you playing to the system by getting up in the morning, going off to your work (to earn taxable income) so that you can pay your taxes, consuming foods, materials, and other necessities (with taxes), driving (using fuel that’s taxed) home…the one with your mortgage and property taxes, that have, well…a nice, “established” way for you to keep your lawn, grounds…you know…how to live, right?  In an acceptable manner, right?  A small cog in a giant machine, working and consuming until it’s time to call your number in.  Then your money and property… what you have left, that you paid taxes on all the way?  Time to tax it again until the government (kicking and screaming) magnanimously gives what’s left to your heirs.

The Only One Who Will Help You Succeed and Excel is You

As a general reminder, you never know when the next emergency will happen, so make sure you have the basic necessities to get through the most unpredictable situation.

3 Places That Preppers Would Never Think to Scrounge For Survival Supplies

Remember: these suggestions are SHTF/emergency suggestions…as most of this stuff is illegal, and if it’s not?  You’ll be “marginalized” until they come to remove you from Fisher Price-ville.

  1. Auto Wrecking Yard/Junkyard: It’s amazing the number of supplies you can come up with here. Seatbelts can be pulled out to their length and cut to use as straps.  Upholstery sometimes has fabric that can be cut or fashioned for makeshift shoes or clothing.  The number of field-expedient weapons you can find or fashion is limited only by your imagination.  Mirrors and glass are found here in abundance…glass for lenses to concentrate light and make fire…mirrors for signaling or channeling light.  Copper wire can be pulled out of the insides.  Metal antennas can make useful tools or weapons.
  2. Construction Sites: You can find lots of preparedness supplies here. For instance, wood for shelters, for lean-to’s, and to fashion snowshoes or fuel for fires. Insulation can be wrapped up in plastic bags and used.  Hardware and other construction materials, such as rebar can be used to make field-expedient tools and weapons.  In addition, construction sites are sometimes tapped into a water supply.  Don’t sleep in the building!  Everyone and their brother will be “grasping” such an idea!
  3. Dumpsters/Trash Sites: often the source of fuel for burning, scrap/discarded clothing, cheap items to harden your home, and cardboard…plenty of cardboard…plenty of plastic. The cardboard can be “sheathed” in the plastic, and stacked to make a ground cover (preventing conduction of heat), and cardboard also burns.  Do not discount the use of paper to insulate your body…newspaper crumpled up tightly gives loft to what you wear…more airspace.

The way to do it is to perpetually scrounge, and utilize things for purposes that they can fill, but were not originally designed.  This takes some practice.  You have to blend what you can pick up that is used or cast away by a man with what you can forage from the woods.  We did some pieces on how to find food during the wintertime, and how to make shelters for yourselves.  I give you this one extra caveat before closing the topic:

If it looks as if it can be lived in and is unoccupied, you may have it…but you’ll have a “visitor” eventually.

It is better to take materials and supplies (either man-made or natural) and establish a camp and shelter for yourself away from the haunts of people, out of sight…thence, out of mind.  This for safety and security, your first and foremost concerns.  Camouflage and conceal your shelter, and keep your supplies out of view, whatever you have with you and what you scrounge.  Perhaps you’re “gaming” this in your mind and thinking about challenging yourself with a training exercise.  Excellent thought!  Plan it out in advance and run with the ball.  Remember: Millions will tell you “you can’t,” and millions will not adapt and make it in the long run.  Step up to the line of scrimmage, and make the pass.  Good luck, and happy scavenging!  JJ out!


Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published March 14th, 2018
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9 Responses to 3 Places Preppers Would Never Think to Scrounge For Survival Supplies

  1. Craig Escaped Detroit says:

    I’ve always looked at Junk Yards, burned out or abandoned buildings,”Trash Day” and Dumpsters as “Free Shopping Opportunities”.

    I used to do a lot of “scrapping” of abandoned buildings in Detroit for a couple of years, and learned much, found much, and sold scrap metal to pay the bills.
    Trash day is a gold mine. Collected (not all at once), about 130 Mason jars, sealed cases of adult diapers (worth some good money, or useful as a medical prep for injured preppers), bikes & parts, and even found a pressure canner!

    Dumpsters are sometimes a gold mine too. Even if you grab old, semi rotted food scraps to feed to your homestead PIG, or you collect veggie scraps for the things that can be “re-planted” and grow again, such as Carrot tops, onions, and many other veggies can be planted from scraps, or even if you need to make a compost pile.

    Car Junk yards, filled with great stuff. You can also locate (all over the nation) abandoned cars in so many places. And keep your eyes open while driving, you never know what you’ll find in open fields, or things on the side of the road that fell off of another car or truck.
    But be careful and wary, because in every town and city, there are gangs and criminals (and angry people) who will see you as a TARGET.
    For scrappers or junk yard salvagers? you’ll need TOOLS to assist your work.

    There are people who have built entire HOMES from salvaged materials.
    Salvaging thrown away windows, or removing them from abandoned structures, can become your future GREEN HOUSE.
    Good Luck.

    • Rascally Rabid says:

      Impressive, very resourceful. Would you consider writing an article on how you’ve developed your scavenging skills, and how you have used some items you’ve scavenged? You’re actual experiences would be more informative and practical than somebody who speculates on scavenging. Perhaps some of the safe methods you developed to salvage stuff. I’m thinking a good place to start is with a tetanus shot, followed by a good pair of gloves.

      • Craig Escaped Detroit says:

        Gloves? YES. And it’s a good idea to have shoes or boots that are good for walking on trash, boards that may have nails sticking out, water and mud.

        A lot of people won’t be able to afford or find those “tetanus shots”, so BE careful.
        Scrap metal purchasing yards, are another “education”. You get the best prices by separating out the copper wire from the demolished appliances. Glass and TV picture tubes generally have no value, and monitor/TV picture tubes are “hazardous waste” because they contain up to 20% Pb (lead).
        It’s (EPA) illegal to bring in a/c, fridge units that still have FREON in them, it’s also “illegal” to vent it to the atmosphere, but the legal way is to “pump it out” with the proper gear (which costs a few hundred bucks.) We just cut and separated the condensers, pumps, etc, and brought it legally to the scrap yard “as parts”.

        Each different “grade” of metal, brings different “prices”. Red brass, yellow brass, bright copper, bare wire, insulated wire, motors, etc.

        Utilising things? I never had to get that deep into it, not until the SHTF.
        But I’m clever, and can figure out how to “re-purpose” stuff.

        Getting a “ticket” for tresspassing or scrapping without a “license”or “permission from the property owners” are other hazzards. (who owns abandoned, burned homes? Who has the time or money to get those permissions?

      • Craig Escaped Detroit says:

        I was driving my minivan for all this. Having some “tire patch-PLUG kits” and cans of “Fix-a-flat” (and portable compressor) saved me from a flat getting me stranded.

        Taking out sheet metal, duct-work, etc, you stomp it down to fit more into the car. Some appliances can be sold for $20 to appliance repair-resale shops. SO many homes have roaches, fleas and bedbugs, you’d better have plenty of BUG spray for the car, etc.

        Abandoned clothing is abundant, but you’d better wash it with some bug treatment, to make it “bug free”. If you’ve got a good location for selling stuff at a “flea market-yard sale”, then you, or some family member, could be doing that while you go out collecting more.

        A pry bar, plumbing tools, mechanic’s tools, PEPPER spray for the feral dogs in every city, or feral neighborhood punks, etc. Sometimes, knocking on the door and asking if they have anything they’d like you haul away is also a great source of “stuff”. Give them a cellphone number they can call when they’ve got stuff for you.

        Food markets are a great source of Pig feed, garden compost, or “out of date” veggies that can be replanted and grow. (root crops, or even just scavenge out the seeds from rotted veggies and plant those seeds.) You don’t have to BUY all your seeds from the store.
        Good condition (round) garbage cans, makes for a decent rain barrel to collect water for your garden.

      • Craig Escaped Detroit says:

        TIP= If you’re doing some “sensitive” scrapping, (lots of reasons), I’ve found it best to have a partner or 3, and put on those ORANGE Work vests, Hard hats, proper boots, etc, and make yourselves appear to be “official contractors”, even have a CLIP board and “work sheet” with you. Put out a few ORANGE road cones!!!

        Or, work on COLD, windy days when people stay away.

        At one location, we wanted to salvage an old furnce and fireplace stove, etc, so while one guy worked inside making all that noise, I was OUTSIDE, with a LAWNMOWER, cutting the 2ft tall weeds and grass… making the abandoned home look decent, as if I was a city contractor who was hired to cut the weeds. This worked 100% good.
        Even some neighbors PRAISED me for attending to the abandoned home!

      • Craig Escaped Detroit says:

        Gardening-scavenger tip? Old tires, make good potato towers! Fill a
        tire with dirt, plant potatoes, as they grow taller, add another tire
        and more dirt, and the plants grow taller again. Repeat. Then at the
        end of the season, you’ve got a 4ft tall “potato tower” with taters all
        the way down.

        Remove the top tire for some taters, and as you
        need more food, remove the next tire, etc. Also, the black rubber, gets
        warmer and holds heat, which is good for COLD seasons or colder areas.

        Experiment. Lots of ways to make “dirt towers” for root crops,
        strawberry towers with holes punched thru the sidewalls and strawberry
        plants growing out of each of the holes.

        I took out some of my
        home’s front yard-landscaping, and planted some Jerusalem artichokes
        (sunchokes), grows tall, looks nice, and EDIBLE roots that nobody knows
        are there! Also planted potatoes along the front wall of my home, looks
        nice, and few people knew it was a “stealth garden”.

        great “stealth garden”, is growing GINGER and Turmeric plants… (can’t
        remember which) but one of those looks VERY much like “decorative HOSTA

        Many jurisdictions, don’t allow “front yard” gardens,
        so you need to plant “edible” landscaping, or things not obvious as
        “food”. But hey, a fruit or nut tree in the front yard is a great idea.
        How about those “tellis” things, with grapes or kiwi vines on it, or a
        grapevine carport roof?

      • Rascally Rabid says:

        Well, I think you should consider an article, maybe in 2 or 3 parts about your experiences as it applies to your real life experiences, and how it would apply to repurposing after SHTF. Submit it to Rawles’, on his Survivalblogdotcom website. You might win some of his donated prizes and people would benefit from your experience. I think it would also teach people to think of new uses for stuff.

  2. Free Man (NOT) says:

    One thing to watch for on those tanks: Some of them feed horizontally vs vertically as used in BBQ grilles and RVs.

  3. WhereEaglesDare says:

    Wow, some great info JJ. Also some real good ideas from Craig 👍🏻👍🏻

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