Scavenging and Salvaging Supplies Post Collapse

Scavenging and Salvaging Supplies Post CollapseWhere should I find supplies in a SHTF situation? If you and your family have not discussed this question, and a few more just like it, you could be making a grave blunder. Today we will discuss about scavenging and salvaging supplies in a post collapse world.Be it a sudden natural disaster or an entire region’s power failure there is one thing you can count on: that s is really going to htf. Prepping and planning are mighty meticulous, and at times can require the preppers budget being fully cooperative (which we all know, in this economy, how tough that can be). This can play a key role in just how prepared you really are.

A good 72-hour plan is pretty sufficient. And would leave you much further ahead than the average citizen; however, even the best of preppers will eventually run out of supplies.

Once SHTF, everything is going to go to hell in a handbasket, quick and in a hurry. It is a near given that, no matter the disaster, grocery stores are going to be hit hard; robbed, mobbed, raided and raked. Mobs will surely fill the streets, homes will be raided, and most all available supplies will be swept up.

This is no novel, fantasy idea that is only portrayed in Hollywood films; gang-like groups of bodies will be moving from neighborhood to neighborhood in search of food, supplies, and most importantly, the life-giving water.

This will all happen faster than you’d first imagine. The importance of quickly looking for alternative ways to find, collect, and store provisions in a SHTF scenario is dire to your survival.

Preppers, our title proclaims it all! The best and only reliable solution is for you to be prepared enough to have your own food, water, tools, and materials already stored. Another thing you be prepared to do is to defend those assets from hostile invaders.

Though the places that we would typically go to get goods will be looted and ransacked, there are still a multitude of places we can search for supplies.

(Let’s keep in mind that this article is extremely subjective and depends totally upon the situation you find yourself in. Remember to carry along your moral values and take into consideration every single scenario that could unfold due to your actions).

Don’t Be A Looter:

First and foremost, it is of extreme importance to properly define ‘scavenging’ and ‘looting’. Often times, people attempt to use the word reciprocally, however, the two are quite different.

During a disaster of any sort, the security of our homes and businesses are all but compromised; and as sure as the sun rises in the east, you can bet that many people will use this time to seek advancement in their financial position by looting these security-softened places.

This has been shown throughout all of history; media has reported on a wide range of natural disasters during which looters have targeted nearly anything they could get their hands on. This occurrence typically takes place very shortly after the disaster strikes.

The terminology ‘scavenging’ comes into play as a situation-specific and virtuously guided method by which a person aspires to improve their chances of survival. This should be thought about and processed long and hard, for the difference between looting and scavenging is foggy at best.

Related article: Know Your Region Before Disaster Strikes

Situational awareness and moral values are prime elements in deciphering this difference, and even at that, it can be either here or there. As a part of your preparations, you should make it a clear goal to understand moral standards, as these are what set us apart from our direct enemies.

We must take into considerations each and every consequence that may arise from our actions. This is where your situational awareness will come into play. Everything is temporary, and after things finally settle (that is, if you survive), you will spend the rest of your life analyzing each and every arduous, complex decision you decided to make.

While it is important to ensure your survival, social cohesion should never be compromised.

Stealing is stealing, simple as that; you must, yourself, become the judge of what is right or wrong in these sorts of situations. Be sure to make the right decision, as every single act has a consequence.


Proper scavenging should involve strategic planning. There are a few questions to ask yourself before you head out:

  • What do we need?
  • Why do we need this?
  • Where can we locate it?
  • Can we carry/store it?

Food, water, and other useful tools for survival should be high on this list (and, basically, the only thing on this list).

Places/Things to Search:

From farm to produce store, our food goes on quite a journey to make its way to our tables. If we think about this during a shtf-scenario, we will see that there are a number of places that a scavenger could potentially focus on.

  • Farms- Chances are, whoever owns the farm (unless it is entirely government ran), is still going to be holding their ground. This means your best bet is not to attempt looting, but perhaps use some of your personable skills and see if the farmer can potentially bless you with something (this is a good reason to have already your barter items set aside pre-shtf).

The rest of the list is pretty self-explanatory:

  • Supply Lines (trucks, ships, train, and auto containers)
  • Distribution Centers/Warehouses
  • Market Places/Abandoned stores
  • Processing Factories

Small Towns:

These hidden jewels can be expected to be absolute gold mines for food, water, and most other general supplies. There is a catch, however! These towns typically tucked away and withholding less than a few thousand people, are made of tight-knit folks who are full of toughness and grit. You can expect little to no looting out in these desolate areas (and you better believe you won’t get very far attempting to do it yourself). However, if you have some personable skills about you, you may be able to build relationships with these types of folk. If you are pure enough, they may just give you the shirts of their backs.

Useless Facilities:

Another place to find supplies in an SHTF scenario is in buildings and businesses that were once useful, but are now left deserted. School houses, old office buildings, and warehouses may all have vending machines that might have been overlooked. They will possibly, in old cafeterias, have containers of food tucked away in unexpected places. These buildings will surely have an arrangement of woods and metals that you can collect and repurpose for tools and implements you may need.

The Wilderness:

Ah, the great outdoors. This is where we off-grid preppers will be rolling in the joy of our outdoorsmanship and preparation. In the wilderness, given you have the correct skill sets, you will be able to find most, if not all, of the supplies you’d ever need to survive. It can be extremely arduous and seemingly burdensome and requires quite a bit of skill. Nevertheless, by utilizing your knowledge and talents you can find food, water, wood, and even rejected gear and useful scrap.

Urban environment:

In cities, the story is going to be quite different. There will be looting, and pillaging and rioting. It will be extremely dangerous and survival will be based on critical thinking and mastered survival skills. Knowing where to locate supplies is one of these dire skills. It will not only make your life a bit more comfortable and simpler, but it can also serve to be a valuable piece of information.

Following is a list (not all-inclusive, of course) of places that are worth checking out when salvaging for survival-use items.

  • Office buildings could potentially prove to be treasure troves. There will surely be break rooms with remnants of dry-storage foods and if there is somehow still electricity, you can raid the refrigerator as well. Most all offices have five-gallon jugs that they use for water dispensers (no need to go into detail on how important a find like that may be).
  • Amusement parks will have food, water, first aid supplies, and tools. Namely, first aid supplies. These will be important to have on hand (always think about bartering, what can help to put you ahead or things that can help someone else out).
  • Manufacturing facilities will be useful to find fuel, batteries, tools, first aid supplies, and likely food and water.
  • Restaurants may be looted and emptied fairly quickly, but it’s worth scoping the scene anyway. If the power is out, skip the freezers/coolers and look for dried goods like beans, rice, and pasta. Canned goods are another option.
  • Pawn shops are hit or miss but can be a good source of tools, weapons, and gold and silver. Though, chances are, they will be locked down with the crazy one-eyed owner sitting behind the chain-guard fence, watching as the world burns, drinking an off-brand cola, straight from the can.

Related article: Reusing Garbage In A Post SHTF World

  • Feed supply stores will usually be overlooked, but if you’re starving, animal feed could provide enough nutrition while you search for tastier choices (this is in the case of a dire need for food; maybe you could use the feed to bait in other animals for food and bones and hide).
  • If your local fire station has been abandoned, you can find plenty of first aid supplies, tools, and water—the fire engine has a main tank with tens of thousands of gallons of water. Just be sure to filter it.
  • Marinas and harbored boats may provide you with some food rations, communication devices, and fishing gear. Most boats will also have emergency flares and possibly (depending upon the owner) a firearm or two.
  • Pet shops and dog kennels, much like feed stores, can be another decent source of food. Pet food doesn’t sound appealing, yet, I’m sure, but hunger can really break a person down. You can also find first-aid supplies, and if you know what you’re looking for, antibiotics and other medications.
  • A zoo is yet another good source of food. Houses and grocery stores and restaurants will be looted and drained of goods fast, however, the zoos will have a sort of protein source that will be hard to beat if you catch my drift. I’m thinking some good buffalo steaks will beat the band, mmm over a nice applewood..
  • Abandoned vehicles can be scavenged for supplies as well as batteries and fuel.

Learn to think creatively! Even fresh compost is often rich in seeds.


The key element in scavenging/salvaging supplies post-shtf is going to be your morality, critical thinking skills, and mindfulness. It is of great importance to remember that scavenging for survival is more than likely going to be a short-lived period. We must not imperil our society’s ability to bounce back and dispel other, more vital threats. Scavenging must be done with much thought.

Remember, it is wise not to go where the crowds are going. It may seem tempting, at first, to join up with the mobs and pilfer and pillage to obtain and fulfill your needs; however, it can only end badly for the many involved.

Always keep a level head, and don’t forget that we humans are meant to give one another a helping hand. Stay sharp!

This article has been written by Jonathan Blaylock for Prepper’s Will.

Useful resources to check out:

This ONE THING Can Help You Terminate Your Store-Bought Dependency

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

A Green Beret’s guide to combat and shooting

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

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