Are You Handy?
One of the advantages that I believe I have is an ability to fix just about anything. I don't say this to brag, it's just something that I can do. From as far back as I can remember, I was one of those kids that was taking things apart to see how it worked. This curiosity as a child has served me well and saved us money as adults. The reason that I bring this up is because I think if we ever face the end of life as we know it, having this ability will come in very handy. Imagine your possible daily life having to scrounge for just about everything. The old adage of One mans trash is another mans treasure will be an absolute truth. It is this reason that some of the things I have included in my essential bug out equipment is tools. What tools I'm able to take with me will depend on the situations we're facing but you can take a small assortment of tools with you even if you have to walk with a backpack. A good multi-tool can do some things and you should have one but I can tell you from experience that just about everything you do with a multi-tool is more difficult and much slower than with the equivalent purpose made tool, but in a pinch it's better than nothing.
I believe that people can learn to be handy even if they don't think they are. Have you ever had something stop working and decided to take it apart and see what the problem is? Why not? It's already broken so there's nothing to loose. This will accomplish 2 things. You gain experience in seeing how things were meant to work and you find out what tools are needed to do the job. Since this has basically been a lifelong hobby for me, I have lots of tools, both common and specialty. I have also noticed that through the years fasteners change which require special tools to remove them but if you have just a basic #2 phillips and medium flat blade screw driver you can still take apart a lot of things. If you compliment those with Torx and Allen bits you can take apart about 95% of all household items. These types of tools to remove fasteners for household items are generally small so they are light weight and usually come packaged together in different sizes so you can carry them without adding much weight or taking up much room. The small set I have pictured not only has most of the bits I'm talking about but also a small variety of sockets. Add a Crescent wrench and you'd be amazed what you could take apart.
I'll give you a scenario of what I'm talking about. Let's say you are using a power circular saw to cut some lumber while building a shelter and it stops running when you pull the switch. Now if you know that you have power to the saw then most likely the switch has gone bad or you have a bad connection in the switch. You take apart the saw in order to get to the switch. If all connections are tight then the switch is probably bad. It's a 3 hour drive to go into town to try and find another switch (if you can) so you have to stop working for the day right? Not necessarily. Looking at the wiring you will see a wire that connects to one side of the switch and one to the other side. The switch in between is what allows the power to flow from one wire to the other, so if you connect the 2 wires to the same post it's now directly wired eliminating the switch. The saw should now turn on when you plug it in and stop when you unplug it. This is not the safest way to operate a circular saw and I do not recommend it but will get the job done in an emergency. If the world has ended you still have an operable tool to use. There you have it, no money spent, finish your project for the day and then go into town to find the part you need.
One other tool that I believe will be essential is having a multi meter. These range from $10 on up to several hundred but a cheap one will tell you whether you have voltage where you should have it and how much. This is essential in troubleshooting electrical problems. Electrical trouble shooting will likely be beyond the skills of most people who haven't been trained in it but remember, you can learn the basics. Go on YouTube and start learning. It just may make your life easier one day and all it takes is some investment in time and less than $100 in basic tools.