So, the world has ended, or you’ve been given the doleful news it’s about to end. Lucky for you, I’ve composed a shopping list to take along on your looting trips so you can be sure to grab the most useful stuff you can have during an apocalypse. These items are not only useful, they’ll be the most valuable trade goods out there.
1) Guns— even if you never need them for defense against zombies or home protection, you’re going to need them for hunting once the supply of cans of Spaghetti-Os is depleted. If you can’t get a gun, a crossbow or a powerful slingshot is another good choice. Don’t laugh at the slingshot: some of the modern models are as powerful as a .22 caliber handgun. And the best thing about crossbows and slingshots is you can make more ammo for them.
2) Liquor— As Justin says, “It’s a pain-killer, a disinfectant, and a good time, all rolled into one.” It’s going to be one of the most valuable trade goods. I once told a paranoid acquaintance that if they were really worried about a societal collapse, they shouldn’t invest in gold. They should buy cases of Jack Daniels, Marlboros, and ammo.
3) Medicines—Anti-diarrheal medication will be a life-saver, especially once people start getting exposed to non-purified water. Fever reducers such as aspirin will also be vital (become a wasteland doctor by learning to make it from willow bark!) Stronger pain killers would be great to have, but pharmacies tend to be the first places looted, so you’re probably not going to have much luck with that.
4) Condoms—STDs and accidental pregnancy are still issues in the post-apocalypse world. Come prepared, as they say. Condoms can also keep your matches/kindling dry, keep dirt out of your weapons, and in a pinch, the unlubricated types can even be used to transport water. You can even put ‘em over your feet to keep them dry temporarily while crossing a stream. (Wet feet are very dangerous in a world where the smallest cut can lead to deadly infection.)
5) Tampons— Women will need these, obviously, but you can also use them for bandaging wounds, filtering water, and starting fires.
6) Weight loss powder/protein shakes— Your diet probably isn’t going to be consisting of recommended daily servings from all the food groups, so if you can supplement with diet shakes or muscle-building powders, it will probably help keep your body replenished with vitamins and nutrients you’re missing. And some Flinstones Chewables probably wouldn’t go amiss.
7) Duct tape— An all-purpose repair kit in handy roll form. Or make a prom dress. Whatever the situation may call for.
8) Bleach/iodine/water purifier— Once society crumbles, there goes our safe, clean water, too. We’re so used to being able to get potable water at the touch of a tap, we don’t even think about it, but clean water is going to be one of the most precious resources you can have, and you’re going to need a lot of it. You’ll have to get used to chemically purifying, filtering, distilling, or boiling every drop you drink.
9) Sunscreen—Zombieland wasn’t joking. Who’s going to treat you for skin cancer? Wear sunscreen, cover up, and stay safe. Take care of yourself as best you can and prevent ailments before they start.
10)Salt— Another thing that so ubiquitous we don’t think about it. Modern food has tons of salt in it, but once the manufactured stuff goes, we’re going to need to find new sources of salt, not only for our dietary needs, but for preserving food.