20 Money-Saving DIY Prepper Tools and Gadgets

The do-it-yourself (DIY) niche pairs well with the prepping community. Learning various DIY projects teaches you the skills and provides you with some of the various tools you might need in the future in the event of a natural disaster, personal emergency, or even something much bigger and more impactful.

That said, the biggest benefit for certain preppers like those who are budget-conscious is the ability to save a ton of money. So many tools out there that people recommend you have are something you can quickly and easily craft yourself.

From things that are great to have on hand and easy to make to some of the things that will take a bit more of an investment of your time but will still save you money, we’ve come up with a list of 20 money-saving DIY prepper tools and gadgets that you should focus on developing yourself. Let’s dive in!

1. Wicker Basket

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Wicker baskets might not be crazy expensive, but finding a high-quality piece can be a pain, and having something to tote your essentials around in during a serious emergency can be helpful. A DIY wicker basket does require you to be a little crafty.

However, you only need some willow branches and something to cut your branches with, and you’ll have something you can carry around whenever you need it.

2. Wood Utensils

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DIY wood utensils are a great way to save money on buying utensil sets or investing in a ton of disposable utensils. Wood utensils only require a few things: the wood you plan on making the utensils out of, a solid carving knife so that you can execute your vision, sandpaper, and some wood care products.

Once you get the hang of it, you can create wooden utensils for nearly any use, regardless of whether you need something to eat or something to cook with.

3. DIY Fire Starters

setting fire to shredded paper
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Having something on hand to start a fire quickly is invaluable in a survival situation. And while you can easily spend money stocking up on fire-starter products, you can save a little more by making your own.

You can make some with things you have around the home like toilet paper rolls, dryer lint, and cotton balls. How’s that for frugal ingenuity?

4. Hand Vise

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Hand vises aren’t something you might have thought of owning, but they’re extremely helpful if you’re engaged in certain survival activities like prepping hides. Large bench vises may be too big, and the smaller hand ones can be a little more difficult to use without the right attachments.

Making your own hand vise is cheap and only requires some wood, some cord, and a piece of wood to wedge in between to keep the jaws in place while you use it.

5. Water Filter

Filtering water
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While there’s no DIY replacement for water purification tablets and other essentials needed to make drinking water, there are ways you can make some quick water filters and save yourself some cash.

Some water filters are as simple as using fabric and others combine plastic bottles with rocks and other materials. Take a look around to see what ideas appeal most to you.

6. Pepper Spray

Pepper Spray
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While it never hurts to have strong pepper spray on hand, you can make your own. Going the DIY route can help you save money, especially if you plan on using your homemade pepper spray to keep pests out of your garden or as a basic self-defense tool.

While recipes may vary, ingredients that are often used in DIY pepper spray include red peppers, garlic, and other vegetables with spicy or stinging components.

7. Oil Lamp

A lamp fuelled by oil
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Oil lamps can be a quick and easy way to keep your environment well-lit. Additionally, they don’t come with the concern as to whether or not they’ll fizzle out too soon.

An oil lamp just requires a jar and a homemade wick like a strip of cotton cloth. Even better, you don’t need gasoline to power it. Olive oil is sufficient, and that will likely be cheaper for you too.

8. Air Conditioner

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Making an air conditioner is a bit of a larger project than the other ones on this list. While not technically a traditional AC, it can keep you cool, and it won’t drain any energy that you might be relying on for other tasks.

You’ll generally need a bucket, a fan, and water, although builds can sometimes be more complex or less complex depending on the source. Staying cool can be important in emergencies, so this money-saving DIY project just might be worth your time.

9. Solar-Powered Cooking Device

camping stove with wind screen shield. Cooking hiking food
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If you live somewhere quite sunny and you need to cook without power, you’re not out of luck. Many preppers will utilize the sun’s energy to cook via solar-powered cooking devices.

From umbrellas that make use of aluminum foil to more complex builds with reflective sheets of metal, there’s plenty of inspiration out there to draw from if you can’t afford camping stoves and fuel.

10. Zeer Pot

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If ever in an emergency where refrigeration is no longer available, you’ll need to keep your produce and dairy products cool by any means possible. A zeer pot draws inspiration from ancient cooling methods still used today, whereby you use insulated pots to keep items cooler regardless of the surrounding temperature.

They’re cheap to make and will save you a substantial amount of money if you’re not looking to power a fridge with a large generator.

11. Tin Can Stoves

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Solar power stoves are helpful only when the sun’s out. If it’s not, you’re out of luck. That is, unless you have tin can stoves. Tin can stoves make use of some of the cheapest supplies.

Just cut a few notches into the top and bottom for venting and to act as a stand and fill it with fuel that will keep things going. This a super cheap way to heat food that beats out most other alternatives.

12. PVC Bow

bow and arrow
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There’s no denying that weaponry can be crucial for survival, whether it’s for defense or hunting. The biggest barrier for many is the sheer cost of weaponry. If you’re looking for something you can make, consider a PVC bow.

Recurve bows made with PVC do well in survival situations. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to buy arrows or learn the skill of making your own so that they do what you need them to do.

13. Snowshoes

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Snowy areas that require traversal demand snowshoes. Unsurprisingly, snowshoes can be a hefty investment. Until you have the money for them, you can make your own.

While they aren’t as high-quality as the snowshoes you can get in the store, you can fashion some with sticks and cords, and they’ll do about as good of a job when the time comes.

14. Rocket Heater

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Heaters are a privilege during times of major crisis. If you do have power, you’ll find that inefficient space heaters will be the wrong choice if you’re looking to preserve what you have.

A rocket heater can be made with materials like bricks or tin cans and heat the surrounding space quite effectively. Take care not to burn these inside at risk of filling your space with unhealthy contaminants like smoke and ash.

15. Compost Bin

A woman emptying a home composting bin into an outdoor compost bin to reduce waste
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Composting is a valuable skill to learn now and in the future if you ever need to grow your own food. There are plenty of fancy compost bins out there, but it turns out that you don’t need to buy them!

One of the cheapest ways to make a compost bin for gardening and survival is to string four pallets together with zip ties. That’s all you need! If you do follow this route, always make sure your pallets are made from wood that is safe to keep your compost in. Survival will be difficult if your compost is leaching harmful chemicals out of your compost bin’s wood.

16. Slingshot

sling shot
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A slingshot is a quick and convenient weapon and defense system that will help you in a pinch.

With a sturdy branch that’s split in the middle, some elastic material, and a piece in the middle to nestle your projectile in, you have a cheap weapon you can use whenever you need to.

17. Can Rotator Rack

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Organizational gadgets are something that many preppers forget about. These tools help you ensure you’re getting the most out of your available storage space so you can keep more on hand.

A can rotator rack, similar to a spice rack but bigger, can be made without needing any serious woodworking skills. It’ll save you space and make it easier to access the things you might need most.

18. Newspaper Pots

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Looking to grow seedlings or anticipating that you might need to in an emergency situation? Forget about regular pots.

Newspaper pots are very inexpensive origami products that can help you stock up on hundreds of pots you’d need to start vegetables and fruit plants. They can even be made on the fly if you find you have no plants on hand.

19. Mini Survival Kits

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Mini survival kits have been all the rage, but sellers online try to trick you into paying quite a bit of money for materials you can practically find around the home. Whether you’re interested in pillbox survival kits or some of the bigger ones you can easily fit into your pack, DIY these kits.

You’ll certainly thank yourself later if you create a kit that’s not as useful as you thought but is still far cheaper than buying one from someone else.

20. Solar Water Heater

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Solar water heaters are a beast of a project to work on, but they’re useful when there’s no other way to get the hot water you need to bathe or engage in other activities. Moreover, these things will keep working even during an emergency.

Like the other major projects in this guide, there are many approaches to this type of project, so feel free to look around to find one that meets your budget needs.

Best Hunting Rifles of the Last 50 Years

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Choosing the “best” hunting rifle is a pretty personal thing. We all have different opinions and preferences on what we like to hunt with. But still, over the last 50 years, there have been some remarkable weapons. Over the past half-century, the evolution of hunting rifles has seen so many innovations, catering to a wide range of needs from the casual deer hunter to the adventurous big-game enthusiast. What’s your favorite hunting rifle? Which weapons deserve a spot on this list?

14 Most Versatile Hunting Cartridges

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With almost 16 million hunters in the United States, and with such a huge range of game to hunt, the right rifle and the best cartridge is critical. We have some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, with animals ranging from tiny squirrels to gigantic moose. The cornerstone of a successful hunt lies in the hunter’s skill and knowledge but also in the choice of ammunition. The right cartridge can make all the difference, offering the power needed for a clean, humane kill without compromising the quality of the game.

38 Things Every Prepper Should Stockpile That Aren’t Water, Food, or Weapons

Get home bag
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This list extends beyond the basic survival trio of water, food, and weapons. It’s a given that we need to stock up on water, food, and a way to defend ourselves and what we have. But what other things will you need in a survival situation? None of us truly knows what TEOTWAWKI will really look like, although most of us have theories we think most likely. But whatever the situation is, there are certain supplies that it just makes sense to have on hand, aside from the obvious trio I mentioned above.

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