Survival Tip: Survival on a Budget CAN be Done!

Harbor Freight Tools, home of cheap tools!

Survival Tip: Survival on a budget CAN be done!

I know.

I’ve read the reviews.

Harbor Freight Tools are not high-quality tools.

In fact, MAD magazine calls them “Hazard Fraught Tools!”

Here’s one of my favorites from MAD:

Mad magazine spoofs everyone, including Harbor Freight Tools. If this chainsaw had a solar panel attached, it would be complete!

While it is true that approximately 99% of Harbor Freight’s tools are a little junky, a lot junky, or pure junk, they do sell a few tools that are useful for SURVIVAL.

Those tools are the ones that I’m focusing on right now.


Eight items for an average of one dollar each. I could have worked out a better deal, but I was in a hurry!

I planned my store visit by clipping one of  their “useless coupons” (thank you MAD) for a free flashlight.

I knew that the fire starters would be on sale (they always are).  Normally, they are priced at $4.99 each, but sometimes they are on sale for $1.00 to $3.00.

I picked them up for $2.99 a piece.

I have used the Harbor Freight brand of firestarters for about three years, and, so far, I have no complaints.

I have read comments on other boards about the superiority of Coleman branded firestarters, or USA made pieces, but I have not seen a significant difference in quality.

I can light a fire every time with the HFT brand.

I have priced the Coleman starter at several locations (Gander Mountain and Meijer, among them).

The average price is $8.00 each.

With tax, the purchase of one Coleman branded fire starter is exactly equal to my purchase of eight items.

That is two firestarters, four snap blade knives, a package of utility blades, and one led flashlight (with batteries included).


I purchased two magnesium fire starters, four snap blade knives, a package of utility blades, and a nine LED flashlight.

These basic tools, which are items on most BOB (bugout bag) lists, do not need to be of the highest quality.

If the firestarter starts a fire, if the disposable snap and utility blades can cut and be disposed of when dull, and the flashlight works, then I count that a success.

The balance between cost, practicality, and quality always need to be weighed when planning to survive.


In this case, I think that cost and practicality won the day.

Have you started putting together a BOB bag yet?

Why not start out small, with a mini-survival kit?  Here’s a link for instructions and kit items: “Making a Survival Kit.”

Prepping can be fun and inexpensive–I found a Ronco food dehydrator for just a few dollars at a garage sale. The kids and I make our own dried fruits, meats, and other things.  Of course, they never make it to the survival pantry–we end up eating the goodies long before they have been stockpiled.  Read about it here: Survival 101: Dried Foods Last Longer! (Unless You Have Hungry Children in the House…)”

For more humorous Hazard Fraught Tools visit:

For reviews on Harbor Freight Tools go to

Here is a link to an LDS pdf file that lists the basics for a 72 emergency kit (not necessarily a bugout kit):

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