Earlier this week, I wrote a post on sneaky ways to give a “prepper” gift to a non-prepper. That post was focused on cooks – because as a cook myself, I just had so many ideas to share. But this post is for every other non-prepper in your life, cooks and non-cooks alike.
As a prepper, I want to give my head-in-the sand loved ones the security I find in being prepared. But I’ve tried this before, and it just didn’t work out so great. What I found out, and you may have discovered for yourself, is that my non-prepper loved ones think I’m nuts. And my thoughtful prepper gifts were most likely re-gifted to someone at their workplace as a going away gift. Note to self: “no prepper gifts to non-preppers.”
But I’ve realized that the reason non-preppers often don’t like prepper gifts is this: although the gift may be generally useful in an emergency, in everyday life it has no utility for that person. For example, giving a camp stove to someone who has never camped in her life will almost certainly guarantee a re-gift. Plus it can actually do damage: that person will now see you as a crazy prepper.
So now, I’ve gotten sneaky about it and started fitting the prep to the person.
On to the list. I hope you enjoy, and that it gives you some ideas on how to sneakily give a prepper gift to your non-prepper loved ones:
1. A Good Watch
Who carries a watch anymore? Many folks don’t. Mobile phones have mostly taken over that function. But one day, those mobile phones may not be, uh, shall we say, available. (I recommend not going into details about that scary post-EMP future with our non-prepper friends.)
Give your non-prepper loved one a good mechanical watch. This is also an excellent gift for the survivalist in your life. In the event of a disaster, coordinating efforts will be critical. And not being able to tell time could be a big problem when you’re trying to get groups of people to act as a cohesive team – or when you’re trying to time a heartbeat or labor contractions.
My favorites: Anything by G-Shock is impressive, and this one is solar (since batteries may be an issue in the long term). The watches from this Japanese company are all mechanical, top-rated and handsome to boot. But I have to say, my most favorite is this one from Suunto – even though it isn’t mechanical. I like it because it has the perfect number of bells-and-whistles — not so many that it’s impossible to figure out, and just the right ones for survival, such as:
- barometer – when there’s no weatherman, monitoring barometric pressure is your weatherman
- temperature gauge
2. An Heirloom-Quality Blanket
I’ve received an heirloom blanket (mentioned here) a few years ago from my dear cousin. We come from a poor family, so we don’t have a lot of heirlooms laying around. So this blanket – practical and an heirloom – is a prized possession. It has allowed me to keep my heating bills low (it’s super warm) and always goes camping with us.
So if you have someone you love that’s in need of an heirloom, an heirloom-quality blanket will be a gift they’ll always cherish. And when the power goes out, boy howdy will it be cherished.
My favorites: The one I own is a Pendleton camp blanket – they’re made in America, and come in tons of colors. There’s even a nice machine-washable one as well. Another option is the English-made Woolrich blanket – another classic heirloom-quality blanket.
3. A Weather Radio
Tornadoes and other weather events happen all over the country at unexpected times. And while many folks have a civilian alert system (those big speakers) in their area, many do not – or they live out of range, or they’re heavy sleepers or both. So think of a weather radio as a simple extension of that civilian alert system.
This gift will keep your loved ones safer in the event of a weather-related emergency. If you position it as just for weather emergencies, then it’s not a scary “prepper” thing – it’s just a weather thing.
My favorite: This is my favorite weather radio – it has a crank, and you can get it with an A/C adapter, so it can stay plugged in and keep the battery charged. It also has a light and will charge a cell phone.
4. Oil Lamps
Your best girlfriend loves candles and always seems to have some going whenever you visit. You may disagree on the fate of the world, but that has not come between you too much over the years. You guys still meet for dinner and you’ve always admired how nicely decorated her home is. She takes pride in it.
An oil lamp (or two – matched sets are always welcomed) will warm her heart. It shows that you appreciate her love of light, and it’s beautiful (I love mine). Be sure to include the thoughtful touches of lamp oil and extra wick so she’ll actually get the intended utility out of it.
My favorite: Hands down, this is my favorite oil lamp – ever. It’s beautiful and very well made – especially given the very reasonable price. What the picture doesn’t show you is that it comes with a wall mount, which is very well-designed, and keeps the lamp out of the reach of cats, children, etc.
5. Fishing or Hunting Tool Kits
Fishing and hunting, as we know, is an essential skill for long-term survival. (I mean, really, even for short-term survival, fishing comes in handy – have you bought fish lately? Ouch!)
A specialized tool kit will be a welcomed present. Should the day come that he must fish, having good tools will save a lot of energy and time.
My favorites: I own this fishing tool kit – it’s one of my first preps and I especially love the gloves for gripping the fish. For the hunter in your life, this hunting tool kit is a wonderful option – your loved one will be able to process any game she or he gets.
6. Solar Phone Chargers
Imagine that your niece has just learned to drive. She loves her smart phone and it has all her important info in it – including phone numbers of friends and family. After spending the night at a friend’s house, she waves goodbye to her friend and her friend’s parents who all drive off.
All alone, she finds that her car battery is dead — and so is her phone. Crap. But wait: the solar phone charger that you gave her is in her emergency kit (another gift from her auntie). She unfolds it, and she keeps warm under her survival blanket (more info on survival blankets) and waits for her phone to charge so she can call her dad.
My favorites: I own this solar charger – it was one of the first solar items I started prepping with. It’s been a couple of years and it still works great. Another solar charger that’s highly rated (and a little less expensive) is this one. Either way, this is a great gift for anyone who depends on their phone, and positioned correctly, not at all weird.
7. A Car Emergency Kit
You could go a couple of different ways with this one. If they’re very non-preppery, I’d stick with a pre-made kit that’s got some “official” insignia on it. It’s a bit of social proof – if AAA approves it, then it must be good, right?
If your loved one is not too head-in-the-sand, then you could craft one yourself, just for them. This is your opportunity to sneak in some BOB items as well if you want, but keep it non-scary: don’t include a NBC mask or a hazmat suit, for instance.
My favorite: I own this AAA emergency car kit – it’s what I started off with for my car preps. I’ve added on to it over the years, but it’s quite comprehensive. I’ve used some of the items a few times. Unlike some kits out there, this kit has quality items in it – not just a lot of junky stuff.
A multi-tool is probably one of the first things we think of giving our non-prepper loved ones. The uses for a multi-tool are so, well, multiple – we can’t help it. It’s especially great for the gift-giver too, as a multi-tool is generally inexpensive enough that you can give them to loads of people on your list – and for any occasion (such as groomsman gifts).
It’s fairly innocuous as far as prepper gifts go, but in case you’re concerned that it might be received with some raised eyebrows, consider giving them a multi-tool that’s packaged in a cool box. Or, consider giving them the best-rated one and saying “I thought you’d like it – it had like 400 5-star reviews.” Accentuate the social proof that it’s a good thing.
You could also tie the gifting of this tool to an event in the recipient’s life – a new home, a first apartment or car, a new job where they work with their hands – just a few ideas to get you started.
My favorites: this is the best-rated multi-tool – and it’s very reasonably priced so you can give generously give one to every non-prepper in your life. For a gift boxed set, this is a solid option as well.
9. Hand Warmers
Your son-in-law works as some sort of computer guy – even when he’s home, he’s click-clacking on a keyboard all the time. But as he’s starting to add a few years under his belt, he’s started to get a little stiffness in his hands. He’s been dealing with it, but it’s something that’s been bothering him and causing discomfort.
Consider some old-fashioned hand warmers to help relieve his pain. He’ll appreciate the soothing on his tired hands. But you’ll know that in the event of a prolonged power outage or even if his car breaks down in winter, these will be essentials that will help keep him or someone in his family warm and toasty as well.
Hand warmers are also a great gift for anyone who works outside – consider the teacher in your life who has to attend recess every day, for instance.
My favorites: I own these hand warmers – when I bought mine, they weren’t offering the chrome, so I have the black ones. But the chrome is super pretty, so if I had it to do over, I’d get the chrome ones. Be sure to outfit them with lighter fluid and replacement burners for the long-term (not that anything is going to happen in the future!).
10. A Gravity Water Filter
But since they moved, they’ve been kvetching about the water. “It just tastes funny and your father now won’t drink anything but pop!” your mom says to you over the phone. You suggest a water filter and they acquire a pitcher-style water filter that they love – much to their surprise, this “fancy thing” really works! But now, they kvetch about having to buy so many filters all the time.
So here’s your chance to solve their problem once and for all. Now that your folks see the value of a water filter, get them a serious water filter. A hiking style filter may not be the one in this case – they’ll just see it as too survivally. Get one that is made for daily use, such as a gravity filter, and perhaps include a little note as to how it will last a lot longer than the pitcher.
My favorites: Where to start? I own the Katadyn Ceradyn filter (here’s one of my oldest posts on this blog showing us using it). We’ve used it consistently for a year now, when we’re not drinking water from our local spring. The filters last forever – 39,000 gallons – which is why I chose this one. But plenty of folks like the Big Berkey too, and this one has fluoride filters. And there’s also a brand spanking new Lifestraw gravity filter recently released- it’s got really great reviews and one to consider (it looks a little “preppery” but it may work for your recipient).
11. Solar Yard Lights
In a previous post, I talked about how you can use solar yard lights for emergency lighting – and even as a solar charger for batteries.
If you have friends that love to be in their gardens, take that opportunity to give them a set of solar lamps and upgraded rechargeable batteries. You don’t have to tell them about the emergency uses of this set up right away – save that for a day they might need it.
My favorite: These are beautiful, but like all solar yard lights, they have mixed reviews. I suspect it is because nearly every solar yard light ships with cheap batteries – so more important than the light itself, is the choice of battery. Whatever lights you end up getting, replace the batteries with the consistently great eneloop battery and your loved one will be able to have both a backup light source and a way to charge batteries in the sun.
12. Hanging Window Plant Shelves
Your daughter loves to grow little plants and flowers – they’re all over her house here and there. She seems to be running out of room a bit in her small apartment, but all those plants seems to bring her a lot of happiness.
Why not extend her growing space by giving her a set of hanging window plant shelves? These are seriously awesome – great reviews and made by the husband/wife team who invented them.
What your daughter doesn’t know is that should the very worst happen, these window shelves can be used to grow microgreens instead of decorative plants – and microgreens provide a ton of nutrition in a small package.
Sneaky, yes? 🙂
My favorite: I just love these hanging window plant shelves. They’re easy to install – they just hook onto your window molding. And the company’s customer service appears to be a thing of legend. (Oh, and did I tell you that I want this so bad!)
Whew! So there it is. A pretty big list, and I hope you can use these ideas as starting points.
What sneaky gifts have you given successfully over the years? Please share!