Not many people realize this but DIY-ing is a BIG aspect of the prepper lifestyle.
You didn't really think that those awesome-looking gear holders were bought at Walmart now, did you? No, siree. That prepper item you're drooling over is probably customized to perfection, DIY-ed with pride.
But before you get the hammer and start busting out projects left and right, let's talk a bit more about DIY and the different DIY projects you can do:
Why Go for "Do It Yourself" (DIY) Projects
Before recommending WHAT projects you can do on your own, we want to say that there is usually a low with every high. That also applies to DIY. Here are the pros, and some of the cons you might want to think about:
You Learn New Skills
You're guaranteed to learn something new when doing a DIY project, including a new set of skills. And any new skill acquired guarantees a higher chance of survival. That's a win.
You Build According to How You Like It
Ever bought something and wished you could tweak it or make some additions to it? When you build or create something yourself, you get to do just that, and then some. No more wishful thinking; build it the way you want it.
You Can Save Money
Okay, so maybe you can save money. Usually, when you DIY things, you save money because you aren't paying someone else to work for you. You do it yourself, and all you have to pay for are the materials needed. It can cut the cost of things by half or even more.
That feeling you get when you take a step back to admire your finished project will never get old. Imagine laying in a hammock that you built yourself with an ice-cold beer in hand and a fantastic view? Hell yeah.
It Can Be Time-Consuming
DIY-ing stuff MIGHT look easy, but it takes a whole lot of effort and time from your end. You might get tempted to take on a big project, and before you know it, you've grown a full beard, and it's been six months since you've seen sunlight. Remember, be realistic with the projects you do.
You Might Not Know Where to Get the Right Material
When you have experts build your things, they can usually find discounted prices on materials and suppliers. But if you're DIY-ing, sometimes materials can get pretty pricey because you don't have that relationship with suppliers that can get you those low prices. It's times like that when we miss just buying the item instead of making it.
The Most Useful DIY Projects for Preppers
We've laid out why you need to try DIY-ing as well as the pros and cons you can take into consideration, so let's get down to the projects perfect for any prepper and survivalist, listed under three different categories.
Home Improvement DIY Projects
Home improvement projects are all the rage — you don't have to be a prepper to know that. The projects listed below are perfect for your existing home or for your bug out location, and will definitely improve your chances of survival.
DIY Hydroponic Garden
Gone are the days when you needed an expansive backyard to grow your own veggies. Urban gardening methods have made it super easier to grow plants from… wherever really.
One method we're really loving here at HQ is the hydroponic garden, an approach that only needs a tiny corner of your home to work. There's no soil required, and all you need to grow your plants is water with a ton of nutrients in it.
For an easy build, all you'll need are grow lights, large PVC pipes, cups to hold the plants, a pump, and a container to act as a reservoir, such as a storage bin. The way it works is that the water circulates between the pipe and reservoir in a closed system.
Electrical grid down? Not a problem; bring out the sturdy and handy flashlights. We like to think it will last a while, especially with a flashlight that you can easily plug to a power bank.
But if you wanna change things up, save some of that battery, and make your flashlight last longer, then a simple oil lamp is the way to go. For this, we're going to recommend olive oil for the following reasons:
- It's very safe to keep
- It doesn't smoke like other types of fuel
- It's widely available
- It's inexpensive
A bottle of olive oil in your bug out bag or in the pantry will go a long way. How do you make it? It's pretty simple. All you really need to make it work is a container to hold the olive oil, such as a can or a jar.
You'll also need a wick with one end soaking up the oil and the other end in the air. Cotton will do great, but you can also use paper towels or even a piece of paper.
Brick Rocket Stove
We like having options when it comes to cooking, and it makes sense to have some sort of back-up cooking method, and an efficient one, too. So why not DIY a brick rocket stove? It's perfect as a DIY project and a great addition to your home or BOL because:
- It only needs a minimal amount of fuel
- It's wind-resistant
- It produces less smoke
- It's efficient in cooking
You can build it outdoors, and all you'll need are bricks and a good stacking job. You'll want to lay out a base then slowly stack up with a clearing in the middle. The middle part is where you will lay your twigs, sticks, and leaves to burn. It'll also act as a funnel that will direct heat straight to the bottom of your pan or cookware.
To give it that homey look and feel, top off your brick oven with a burner grate.
FIFO Can Storage System
Properly storing your food is something you need to learn if you want to make it through the apocalypse. Yep, you need a solid prepper pantry for that. One aspect we'd love you to DIY is a can storage system that follows FIFO's principle — first in, first out.
A FIFO can storage system ensures that the oldest can be presented first for consumption in terms of the expiry date.
There are several ways to make it, with the most common ones consisting of sturdy wood done in a slanting shelf-like build where a can falls or rolls down into place to replace another can that's been taken. It's pretty hard to explain in words, but you can check this out to see how to build a proper FIFO can storage system.
Survival DIY Projects
At the end of the day, when SHTF, we all just want to survive and live to see another day. What better way to do that than to have reliable survival gear handcrafted by you?
Check out these awesome projects to help you up your survival game:
Sometimes we're pro at starting fires; other times, we just get kicked in the butt again and again. It can get frustrating, but we don't have to suffer that all the time, especially if we’ve got some homemade firestarters on hand.
There are so many different firestarters you can make, but one of our favorites involved soaked corks. It's pure genius and oh so simple. You simply need to fill a jar to the middle with rubbing alcohol. Then, you drink as much wine as you can and save the corks! Well, okay. Maybe not all in ONE go. Just collect as many corks as you can and soak them in the half-filled jar until you need to start a fire!
You can put it in your backpack or gear the next time you head out but just make sure that your jar is tightly sealed and spill-proof.
When out in the wild, having something on you to protect you or help you hunt will be heaven-sent. If you want to keep things on the down-low, a survival slingshot is the perfect tool to have.
It's useful and effective when you want to catch small game. The best thing is that it's pretty easy to make, and you can buy all the materials needed to build it at your local hardware store.
To get you started, you'll need the following:
- You know, that perfect stick you saw outside that formed the letter Y? That's the ideal slingshot right there and exactly what you need to DIY one.
- Think along the lines of paracord, rubber bands, or surgical tubing. Anything stretchy, really. You'll be using this to propel your projectile.
- You'll need a pouch nestled on the elastic band of your choice. It will hold the projectile and can be made from canvas, leather, or a similar material.
- You can use pebbles and small rocks for those who are in a pinch. Many choose to use ball bearings because of the uniform size and weight, making it great for accuracy.
The material keeps it all together
- You'll need to secure the elastic material to the "Y" of your slingshot. You can use dental floss, twine, or electrical tape.
With those 5 materials, you can put your slingshot together, test it, adjust it accordingly, and customize it to how you want it to be.
You might get the chance to fish if you find yourself close to a body of water. A fishing pole might seem like a crazy thing to have in your EDC kit, so we're going to opt for a fishing net made entirely of paracord instead! If you want to learn the specifics of how to make one, we suggest watching the video above for the exact steps.
We'll also take this time to say that having paracord on you is the most useful thing — you can create other things with the humble paracord. Stock up on it!
Bug Out Vehicle (BOV) DIY Project BONUS
Bug out vehicles are a must for any prepper, but it can get a bit expensive, especially if you're planning to get a new one. One solution? DIY-ing your existing vehicle to make it more bug out appropriate.
There's a lot you can do, but we'll go with the most straightforward project that you can do for your BOV — EXTRA STORAGE SPACE.
We want to be prepped when we move out to head to our bug out location, and space might be an issue with your BOV; you might not have enough. One way to address that problem is to attach a roof rack.
You can't just build ANY roof rack, though. As always, there are two things you need to consider before you take those protective work gloves out:
- What will you be loading onto the roof rack and into your car?
- What does your car's roof look like, and how much can it hold?
You wouldn't put a heavy metal roof rack on top of a VW Beetle or a Mini Cooper, right? So, again planning before you dive headfirst into DIY-ing is needed.
DIY-ing might not be for everyone, but learning how to DIY will be of so much help. Remember, start easy and work up from there. Big projects will always be around, so go for the DIY projects that will help you now.
If you want to see what other projects you can do on your own, visit our site's DIY section for more information.