I'd put firearms and ammunition towards the top of the list. Couple reason:
For one, assuming nothing does happen, and you need cash, firearms nearly ALWAYS increase in value over time, and there is always a good market for
them. Not only is stocking up on firearms and ammo preparing for a SHTF scenario, but it's an investment if things don't go downhill.
Second, and I know this makes you a "bad guy" but being armed means you can take pretty much whatever you want. 1 gun and a thousand rounds could get
you a years worth of food, water, meds, alcohol, ciggs, drugs, etc. 1 gun is much more compact than all that stuff, too. I would never turn to such
things unless the world completely fell apart into a "its either you or me" situation, but if it does you can bet it's going to be me.
For those that can't image a time when you could turn to this, watch "The Road" or read the book. It's THE most realistic depiction, in my opinion, of
what would happen in a PAW.
Third, assuming your not an apocalyptic bandit, guns can still get you food. I know you could fabricate a bow and arrow, spears, etc, but they aren't
going to be as effective as a firearm. Can't take down a deer at 1,000 feet with a bow. Maybe it's possible, but I doubt anyone here can/could do it.
Just like someone else said, nothing else matters if you don't have water, but someone attacking you could mean the end of your life in seconds, where
as a lack of food/water takes days to weeks to end it. And you will probably find more water and food lying around than you will firearms.
Other than that, I'd assume food, water, drugs, and skills would be the most important things to have before TSHTF. And if you do have guns, make sure
you know how to use them. Shooting is a skill, hunting is a skill, defending yourself is a skill. Guns are next to useless without them.
Someone mentioned reloading supplies, which I didn't even think about. Great idea! To go further with that point, in addition to lead, molds, and
powder, you are going to need new primers and a bullet press. Also, right now you can find loading specs for pretty much any cartridge online, but if
TSHTF you won't have that luxury, so it would be a good idea to download loading specs for various different calibers, and keep this info with your
loading kit, assuming you go that route.
I'll also second duct tape. I mentioned this in another PAW thread, this stuff is gold on a roll, as I'm sure most know. I used to work some pretty
tough labor jobs, and the front of my jeans would wear out and tear after maybe 4 months at the most. I repaired these giant tears with duct tape, and
never had the duct tape fail. Even after going through the wash over and over the duct tape still held. Aside from mending clothes, you can dress
wounds, turn it into rope, make something water/air tight, the list is nearly endless.
Anyway, I've rambled long enough, I love these kind of threads.
edit on 25-2-2011 by James1982 because: (no reason given)