Long Term Wilderness Living/Survival.
In a TEOTWAWKI situation, in my opinion, the towns & especially the cities are not going to be a good place to survive for decent people, especially those with families. My reasoning is. 1) How are you going to be able to defend yourself against gangs which are prepared to burn you out if they can’t get you any other way? 2) Food is only going to last a short time. The gangs will get the majority of the equipment and food, and it will be very dangerous for anyone else out in the open on the streets or in the stores. 3) Your ammunition for your modern firearms will not last long if you are continually have to fight off raiders. You can of course for a while reload your own ammo if you have the gear and have managed to secure a store of powder, primers and lead. 4) There will be no clean water, no electricity unless you have a generator indoors and plenty of fuel. There will be no toilet facilities and you can not risk going outside. Yes there are toilet systems available that do not require water, but these are not designed to be used only in house.
So, the wise survivalist or prepper will leave the city and move to a place in the bush, be it your own property, or just a suitable place with running water, shelter and a food source. If you travel early, you will be able to use some form of transport, but if you leave it too late, the roads out may be blocked. Few people will already be living in the bush. If you are one of the lucky ones, and you have the money, then you will be able to set yourself up for a long term stay. But if you have to move to your retreat when TSHTF, then again your supplies will be limited to what you can transport.
If a survival situation big enough to warrant leaving the city arises, many people will not know until it is too late. Ask yourself now, what will be the signs? How will I know when to leave? If this is the situation you find yourself in, you will have to be prepared to ditch your vehicle if A) it breaks down, or B) the roads are blocked and you can’t get around it. This will mean having to travel on foot. How much of your gear and supplies can you carry on foot? What will you take with you? What are you prepared to leave behind?
A sensible person will have thought of this already, and what they will be packing in the vehicle will be back-packs, and only the stuff they can carry on their backs. There may be other separate supplies, just in case they can get through, but if they have to walk, these separate supplies will be left behind. This preparation will take a lot of serious thought. Remember, you are not military; there will be no back-up supplies when you run out. You are on your own, group or individual so choose your equipment and supplies wisely.
Something else to think about.
It is my belief that if you start off with all modern equipment and tools, sooner or later these items are going to start to wear out or break, and when they do, you are going to have to resort to a very primitive lifestyle. Most of the equipment we carry is solely for comfort and ease of living. When these items are no more, then our lifestyle will be radically changed. If however you choose a period lifestyle pre 19th century, then it is highly unlikely that you will ever have to drop below this level of comfort. I chose the mid 18th century, mainly because I am a living historian and this is my chosen period of interest, but also because I soon came to realise that this period’s technology is not too modern, and not too primitive. For survival purposes it gives me a level of ease and comfort I am happy living with.
Equipment and Tools.
For every piece of equipment you intend to take with you, ask yourself these questions: Will this add significantly to my comfort? Do I really need it? How long will it last? How versatile is it? Is there some better alternative? If it malfunctions or breaks, can I fix it?
Let’s look at some typical examples of good and poor choices. One of the most important tools you will need is something for cutting wood. Even if you do not have to construct a shelter, you will need to construct animal traps, some form of fencing for gardens, possibly splints and crutches if someone is injured, maybe fishing poles, spears, pikes, defenses, drying racks for food preservation, frames for scraping animal skins, and possibly more besides. Saws are good but limited in their use. A good strong pruning saw could be useful and it is not heavy, but you will need more than this. Many people choose the machete or a similar tool. This may be okay in a jungle, but it is still limited in its use. Only a fool would use a good knife for cutting wood, especially if it was the only tool you had. A knife is a very useful tool to carry but it has specific uses, and they do not include cutting large pieces of wood.
A tomahawk on the other hand is light, versatile and very efficient for all the tasks mentioned earlier. It can also be thrown for recreation and hunting if needs be. The head can easily be removed if it has a tapered eye and be used for fleshing skins. A new helve is easier to make and fit for a tomahawk than for a modern belt axe. The poll can be used as a hammer for driving in pegs and stakes, and it is a good fighting tool.
Now how about your firearms? If you only have modern firearms and no bows, then your ammunition will not last long if you have to use them for hunting and defence. Brass shells are heavy and you will need to carry a lot of weight in ammunition and possibly a reloader. A modern firearm is a good idea for use in defence if you have people to carry them, but the weight of the ammunition can make it unpractical to carry too much ammo. There are many other important supplies to be carried by someone. If your modern firearm malfunctions, can you repair it?
A flintlock muzzle-loading gun or rifle on the other hand is far more versatile than a modern gun. It can be used to create fire without using precious gunpowder; on the other hand the gunpowder can itself be used to make fire in certain circumstances. The flintlock is easy to repair with just a few simple tools & spare parts, and even if you do not have any spare parts, the lock can easily be converted to a matchlock or tinderlock for continued use. Lead is retrieved from shot game & remoulded, so there is no need to carry a lot of lead. Also there is the option of using other projectiles besides lead. Extra gunpowder can be carried in place of the extra lead, which means that your supplies will last longer.
Before you go spending your hard earned dollars on a custom knife or some Bowie look-alike, think about the use to which your blade will be put. Your knife or knives need to be able to field dress, skin and butcher game. They may also be needed for defence. A good butcher knife will serve you well in this regard, which is why the butcher knife was the most commonly carried knife by woodsmen and Indians alike back in the 18th century. A legging knife can be carried as a back-up to your hunting knife, and a good clasp knife will serve well for camp chores and making pot hooks and trap triggers. All three of these knives can be purchased for the cost of a modern camp or hunting knife.