Prepping in action: What you can learn from the homeless
08/13/2019 / By Melissa Smith / Comments
Prepping in action: What you can learn from the homeless

Have you ever wondered how the homeless survive in the streets? Learning how they survive in the urban jungle every day may help you prepare in case any long-term or large-scale disaster forces you to live in the streets, with nothing but your wits and the clothes on your back. Here are some survival tips from the homeless that may help you stay warm, stay clean, and stay sane in the streets in case SHTF. (h/t to

Staying warm

Staying warm is crucial to survival. Homeless people stay warm using newspapers as beddings or insulation to cover their bodies and stuff their clothing with it. You can also burn them for fire. If you don’t have newspapers, you can use a napkin or tissue.

You may also have noticed that homeless people wear layers of clothing. Layered clothing is a great survival tactic. If it’s too hot, you can remove a layer or two of clothing, and add them back on if you start to feel cold again. It’s best to have multiple light layers of clothing as it will be easier to remove or add them when needed and they dry fast. So, choose your bug out wardrobe wisely. You can also use cardboard to make a layer of insulation between the cold ground and your body to keep you warm when you’re sleeping.

Homeless people are also great at finding good places to sleep. If you have a car, that would be a great place to sleep at night. It would also be a good idea to invest in a high-quality tent. Abandoned buildings also make for good emergency shelters.

Staying clean

Staying clean is important for survival – rashes and blisters could appear if you have poor hygiene, and minor wounds could easily get infected. A clean look also boosts one’s self-confidence and gives you a more optimistic view of life. Homeless people often use wet wipes to stay clean. You could also make use of public toilets, where there’s free access to running water, or you could use a proper toilet in big stores and shopping malls that have free public restrooms. You could also go to city shelters to take a hot shower.

Staying sane

The key to staying sane in any survival situation is to stay calm and control your desperation. If you let fear creep in, you would likely panic. Try to find comfort and happiness in small things and never lose hope. Find yourself a companion like a stray dog. Your pet dog could also serve as your bodyguard that would protect you from thieves and harassers. It could keep you warm, safe, and sane. (Related: What can the homeless teach you about urban survival?)

Other survival tips from the homeless

  • Keep your things close – Homeless people stay alert and keep an eye on their survival pack, so it wouldn’t be stolen. Never leave your things unattended. They’re also always ready to immediately leave a place when they sense danger.
  • Find free food – The homeless go to restaurants for leftovers at the end of the day. You can also try going to grocery stores where you could find free bread or even free samples. Some churches also give away free food. Your last resort would be dumpster-diving. However, these things would probably not be available in a survival scenario, so it would be best to hasten your hunting and fishing skills and have a survival food supply ready for emergencies.
  • Store food – Prepare some long-storing food and food that fills you up, such as canned goods, beef jerky, and trail mix. You should also keep refillable bottles, so you could fill them with water from gas stations or restaurants for drinking or washing.

Interested in learning more about surviving in the streets when SHTF? Visit to learn more.

Sources include:

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