Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Trying to buy everything that we need for prepping can strain just about any budget. Buying the food for our stockpiles is bad enough without trying to buy all the gear that we need in order to survive.
This probably explains why so many preppers make their own gear when they can. But then again, it could be that most preppers are the kind of people who like making things for themselves. Either way, there are some things that are better to make as DIY projects than to purchase.
The other advantage of making our own survival gear is that we can make it the way we want, rather than having to accept the way it comes. There are a lot of innovative preppers who come up with some really great modifications to existing gear. If you’re one of those, then that’s just one more reason to build your own gear.
Fortunately, we don’t have to be inventors to take advantage of the opportunity to make our own gear. There are plenty of plans and videos online, showing us how to do a wide variety of DIY projects for preppers. It’s just a matter of finding the time and the materials.
Here are some of our favorite DIY projects for doomsday preppers.
Want to save this post for later? Click Here to Pin It On Pinterest!
Refrigeration is one of our most important uses for electricity. Unfortunately, those big metal boxes aren’t going to do much for us if the power goes out. Lots of food will spoil.
One solution to this is a Zeer Pot, a form of refrigeration that works by evaporation. While a Zeer Pot isn’t as big as a refrigerator, they are great for keeping produce fresh. Find out how to make one here:
The only problem with a Zeer Pot is that it isn’t very big, limiting what you can keep fresh. Our ancestors came up with a solution to this a long time ago, first using caves and wells to keep food cool and fresh, then digging their own artificial caves, which were called “root cellars” as they were mostly used for storing and preserving root vegetables.
A root cellar will keep those vegetables and other things amazingly fresh for a long time. you can dig a full-blown root cellar, giving you a lot of space, or go for a smaller unit. While a small root cellar might not hold as much as you need, it will certainly help keep your food from spoiling.
You can find how to make an underground root cellar here:
Another option is to build one in your basement; check it out here:
Your food is going to have to be cooked somehow. One obvious answer is to cook it over wood;, but coming up with enough wood may be an ever-increasing problem as time goes on.
People brag about solar power, saying that it is endless and free, so why not harness it for cooking? A solar oven will allow you to make good use of the sun’s power, although it is a bit slow to cook with—more like a crockpot, than a fire.
Take a look at this guy’s DIY solar oven here:
If you want something that will cook a little faster, than a parabolic solar cooker will speed up the cooking process. It’s a bit harder to make, but worth the effort.
Check it out here:
The most powerful sort of solar cooker involves the use of a Fresnel Lens. It’s worth the effort because of the amount of heat it can generate. The key is finding an old projection television that’s heading for the scrap pile and stealing the Fresnel Lens out of it.
That’s not hard, as you’ll see in this video:
Tin Can Stove
Solar isn’t the only way you can cook in a survival situation. Tin cans can readily be transformed into a stove big enough to heat a can of soup. There are a lot of different ways of doing this, some of which are quite elaborate.
What I like about this one is that it only takes five minutes to make:
Rainwater Capture System
Harvesting water from nature is one of the most important parts of survival. If you’ve got a stream running across your property, that might not be much of a problem. But for the rest of us, it’s extremely challenging.
Drilling a well is cost prohibitive for a lot of people, and it requires a well-drilling contractor in many states. On the other hand, installing rainwater capture is easy and inexpensive.
This guy has quite a system at his house:
Drill a Shallow Well
Most wells run pretty deep, making it hard to drill one yourself. But there are plenty of places where you can put a shallow well in. You may not get the best water there is, but you’ll have water.
It’s not actually all that hard and can be done with a drill made of PVC pipe. Of course, that pipe won’t dig through a rock, but it will do a pretty good job against dirt and sand.
Find out how here:
Solar Hot Water Heater
Heating water is the second biggest use of electrical power in most homes. But if the power goes out, you can pretty much forget about having that hot water. That is, unless you have an alternate means of heating water.
I suppose we could all heat water in a big pot over a fire, but that’s pretty inefficient. It would be much better to use the same solar power that we are already using to cook and provide electrical power.
There are many ways of making a solar hot water heater, but this is one of the lower-cost ones:
Solar Air Heater
There’s really no shortage of ways you can use solar power. Why not heat your home with it as well? Sunlight naturally warms anything it hits, especially if that “thing” is black or some other dark color.
Circulating air through a box that is black will allow the sun’s rays to warm the air inside that box, providing virtually free heat. The box can either be mounted in a window or on the wall outside a window, with an outlet that goes into the home.
This video shows the details of making an excellent solar air heater to help keep your home warm when the power is out:
Survival “Clay Pot” Heater
Speaking of heat, there are actually a lot of different ways of generating heat for your home. Most require something to hold whatever is being burnt to generate the heat.
The best of these work well to radiate the heat out into the room, like this clay pot heater does:
Many preppers use solar power for charging their battery backup systems. However, solar panels are rather expensive for what you get out of them.
On the other hand, they’re not really hard to build. You can buy the individual cells online and solder them together yourself to ensure that you always have at least some electrical power. It’s not hard, but it is rather tedious work, that needs to be done very carefully, as the cells are glass and can break easily.
This guy gives some really detailed instruction on how to do it.
Solar panels are popular, but in reality, wind provides more power, assuming you have enough wind where you live to power a wind turbine. You can buy wind turbines at any home improvement center, but they are simple enough that it’s really no problem to build your own.
This man claims that his design is the easiest to build that you’ll ever see:
Preppers seem to be fascinated with knives. Perhaps that’s because the knife is the most basic survival tool there is. Knives are not only useful, but can be beautiful as well. There’s something satisfying about making a knife yourself and being able to use it.
Some knife maker shops are specially set up for this, but you can do it with rather simple tools. Watch out, though. Once you get started, you might find that you’ve got a new hobby, making a wide variety of different knives.
Watch and see how here:
Once you’ve made a knife, you may decide that you want a tomahawk too. Tomahawks have become popular in the prepping community as a secondary weapon.
Some think they can use it in place of a hatchet, but it really doesn’t work well for that. Still, the tomahawk is a useful weapon and making one can be a fun project.
Some are forged by blacksmiths, but this guy shows how to make one without a forge.
After the knife, the bow is one of the oldest weapons known to man. What’s truly amazing about the bow is just how long it has been in continuous use. As a survival tool, the bow has a number of advantages, since arrows are easier to make than making gunpowder and bullets.
Someone came up with the idea of using PVC pipe for making recurve bows, which is great, as it is readily available and cheap. Making it a recurve increases the power or “muzzle velocity” from the bow.
This guy really seems to know what he’s doing:
A bow isn’t much use without arrows, which can be harder to make than the bow itself. That is, unless you know how to make it easy. This is one thing you really want to find out about before trying it yourself.
Arrows which aren’t made correctly won’t fly straight, which will mean that you miss everything you’re shooting at. What makes it worse is that each arrow will fly differently, so it’s not like you can correct for it.
Watch this guy build them and find out how you can do it yourself:
The arrows above were made with “broadhead” arrowheads. A more traditional approach, which might be necessary if you can’t find the right materials in a survival situation is to knapp arrowheads, much like Native Americans did in the past. Knapping arrowheads from glass is easier than from flint, but can still work just as effectively for hunting.
Learn how here:
Do you live in a cold climate with lots of snow? Then you probably already know the value of having a pair of snowshoes. Trekking across snow that you sink into up to your knees will wear you out quickly; but doing the same thing with a pair of snowshoes strapped to your boots isn’t bad at all.
While the snowshoes made out of rawhide can be rather complicated to make, there are simpler ways to make a pair of snowshoes, which will work for survival situations.
This guy seems to know what he’s doing:
Of all the fire-starting methods there are, the fire piston is one of the most intriguing. Using nothing more than air which is compressed inside the piston, it gets hot enough to ignite tinder, allowing you to start as many fires as needed. Since the fire piston itself doesn’t use any fuel, it can’t run out.
Learn how to make this intriguing fire starter from this video:
Cotton Ball Fire Starter
While we all need to be able to start a fire using materials we can find, there are times when that can be difficult, especially if it is wet and raining out. In those cases, it is useful to have some sort of fire starer or “accelerant.”
There are many different kinds of these, but one of the most reliable is made from nothing more than cotton balls and petroleum jelly.
Thanks for reading! If you're new here, I highly recommend reading this article which explains why civilization is going to collapse. If you're skeptical of climate change, read this article about why I reluctantly changed my mind.
If you want to start preparing, check out our list of free books and manuals and our list of recommended supplies. If you're feeling anxious about collapse, please visit the support page for tips on how to manage your emotions, places where you can get help, and lists of articles and videos on coping with collapse anxiety.