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7 Places To Find Cheap OR Free Preparedness Gear

7 Places To Find Cheap OR Free Preparedness Gear

7 Places To Find Cheap OR Free Preparedness Gear

Thrift Stores

The place to start your prepping on the cheap mission is your local thrift store. These places are great for picking up clothing and other accessories pretty cheap.

Watch out for wool sweaters, coats and pants, no matter the color they can be dyed to something to suit your need. Always look at the shoes, because sometimes it can really pay off. And of course watch the racks for BDU’s or other military attire.

A few years ago I was in a small thrift store and spotted a pair of Chippewa insulated boots in extremely good condition. (They had a small slice in the leather on one toe but not very deep) Turns out they were my size so I took them up to the counter to pay the $.80 they were asking per pair of shoes. Turns out it was half off day so I got $150 pair of boots for 40 cents!

If they have a sporting section always look for outdoor gear you can use. Many times I have seen Coleman stoves and lanterns in the $5 range.

The cookware section is worth checking out also. Any cast iron cookware should be considered, and I always look through the cutlery for carbon steel knives.

Garage Sales

After the thrift store keep an eye on your local garage sales. You never know what will turn up at one of these. I have bought all sorts of things from cars to firearms at a garage sale.

If you live with driving range of a military base, the garage sales in that area offer you a chance of getting some wonderful things. MRE’s, old gear and uniforms or even souvenirs from deployment can be found by keeping your eyes open.

If someone has lots of this kind of thing out for sale and you are looking for a specific piece of gear, don’t be afraid to ask, maybe they just forgot to put it out, or hadn’t thought anyone would want it.

Antique Shops

If you are looking for equipment and supplies for when the grid goes down, you should head to your local antique shop. They will have all manner of yesteryear tools and equipment that you might be able to use yourself.

Many things like grain grinders and meat grinders are relatively inexpensive, unless your dealer is extra proud of his antiques. You can also pick up older books and magazines that tell how they did things 100 years ago, and that can be very helpful.

Watch for oil lamps, older camping equipment, knives, axes, cast iron cookware, and hand tools. These things can also be overpriced but there is a good chance they will be of better quality than what you can buy at your local big box store.

The Dollar Store

The local dollar store has all manner of small cheap things you might use in your preps. Small canned meats like tuna, oysters and sardines can usually be picked up on the cheap.  Lots of other things like containers, bags and other supplies can be found here.

Online Auctions

If you are into online auctions, these are good places to pick up specific items you may not be able to easily find elsewhere.

The key is to know what you want, and what it is worth before you just go out and buy it. If you are just browsing, try to find things that might be listed in the wrong category and have less viewers. Another tip is the search for “vintage” items. Like shopping the antique shop vintage items are older and might be of better quality.


Another way to get gear cheap is to barter with your friends. I’m sure we all have stuff we have no clue why we bought it. These things might be useful to a buddy, who might be willing to do some trading.

You can get real serious in the barter business, and trade for things from some people you plan on trading right away to someone else.

Dumpster Diving

Finally, how to get free gear. Dumpster diving.

America throws away literal tons of useful items every day, and some of these things can be saved by checking out your local dumpsters.

Apartment complexes are great towards the end of the month since lots of people throw stuff away instead of moving it. If you live near a military base even better since it will be soldiers moving and getting rid of excess stuff.

You can even get stuff you might not need now and barter it for things you do, all without mentioning where it came from.

As you can see finding affordable gear is not a problem if you are patient and are willing to expend a little effort at finding it.

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