Urban Survival: 9 Places Where No One Will Scavenge

Urban Survival - Where to Safely Scavenge for Goodies

No matter how much you stockpile your resources are not permanent. Some items last longer than others but things will go bad or run out eventually. You might also find a need for things that you did not plan for. Depending on the size and scope of the disaster, your urban survival situation might require that you head out into the world to do some urban scavenging.

Now, whether your locked away in a bunker or just bugging in, you should keep the option to scavenge open. You should have a plan and be ready to use it. Let’s investigate some of the best places to scavenge to avoid the crowds (hint... not the grocery store)!

Why Preppers May Need to Scavenge? 

You can scavenge for all sorts of things besides food. While you might have stored up plenty of food you might find that things like first aid, hygienic items, shoes or even items to make home repairs become a needed resource.

In an urban collapse you are going to be responsible for every single resource that you need. After a bit of time, there will not be a hardware store, a pharmacy or a grocery store around that will not have been picked over.

Scavenging for resources will be a way that you can find the items you need and put them to use. You might even be able to find pieces of items and use those pieces to fix things around the home. Urban survival scavenging can be as much about finding parts and pieces to fix things as it is about finding things for you and your loved ones.

When scavenging don’t just consider your own needs, but also look for hardware that everyone might need in case you barter or trade in the future. Hardwares and things like nails or screws could prove very valuable. You might not find what you were looking for, but you could really do well in bartering those items you did find.

Survival Resource Runs

To implement any scavenging excursion you should first have a game plan. If you simply head out the door at any old time of the day and go to any old location, you could run the risk of getting followed, robbed, or even injured or killed. Remember, this is going to be a very different time. Risks will be high. If you set foot out into the world with the intent to take something, you are putting all your chips on the table.

Possible Scavenge Locations

What you can do today is map out a selection of local spots that might serve as great places to scavenge. Are you unsure of these locations? Well, the good news for you is that we have a list of 9 places to scavenge for urban survival and avoid the crowds.

1) Abandoned business parts and small offices - loads of tools and gear, often overlooked

2) Distribution and trucking centers - possibly food, tools, supplies

3) Junkyards - not the first place that comes to mind when people are in survival mood

4) Used car lots - try the smaller, off the beaten path locations

5) Abandoned homes - options to try, however the home may look abandoned but still have inhabitants, proceed with caution

6) Cell towers - minimal tools or gear, but possibly a great vantage point to establish for future use

7) Marinas - If you live on navigable water, these will be early targets as people will use boats to flee, however if the marina is on a lake that doesn’t get you anywhere, it may be overlooked

8) Manufacturing centers - loads of tools and gear, often overlooked

9) Personal storage facilities - normally protected quite well, but could be overlooked when disaster strikes

Any of these locations will work great but don’t forget about unique places in your own area. There could be something left off this list that your town has and would make a perfect location for scavenging.

Find the Safest Route

Not only will you want to notate the locations you’d like to explore on a map, you will also want to consider routes. Main roads might be incredibly dangerous to travel. You could find that the most terrible people are out on the main roads. Even crossing roads in modern war times can be incredibly dangerous.

Knowing that, you will also want to look at creating alternate routes to these locations. Find a few routes that keep you covered for most of the trip. Think about traveling by trees and alleys instead of sidewalks and main roads. Always have cover in mind and be aware of ways to escape quickly.

Night May Be the Best Time

Heading out midday, while the rest of the world is active, might not be the best idea. Instead, you should look to make your move in a time frame where most people don’t even want to exist. Depending on travel time you might look at the 3am to 6am window. Don’t forget, you will need extra time to get back because you are, hopefully, going to be lugging things.

If you have an effective route with plenty of cover and a great travel time, you might be able to move in the dark without being seen. I will caution you, travel in the dark is no picnic. It will also slow you down. There are risks during the day and risks going at night, so consider what would be best in your situation.

What You Should Bring to Scavenge

Here is an example of what you should bring on a scavenge run in an urban setting. These items will offer you the best chance for success and safe return home.

Access Tools

  • Lock Picks
  • Bump Keys
  • Pry Bar
  • check
    Window Punch

Search Aids


  • Backpack for Scavenge Tools
  • Empty Duffel Bag


  • Mace
  • Pry Bar (double duty as an Access Tool above)
  • Firearm

How to Scout Your Scavenge Run

Just like hunting, the resource run should be scouted first. You should find your location and scout it thoroughly. Spend a few hours there under the cover of camouflage to ensure safe passage. Once you are satisfied you can either enter the location or head back home to grab your complete resource run tools.

Without scouting a location, you simply have no idea what you are walking into. This is incredibly dangerous.

A well scouted location will give you the confidence, focus and time you need to search it thoroughly. Do not skimp on this most important of tasks, in regard to urban survival scavenging.

Conclusion - Scavenge Safely!

If you find yourself prepping in an urban setting, consider these tips as you walk or drive around next time. Having a sense of possible locations will give you a big advantage in case of a serious emergency.

While it might seem picturesque to navigate the collapsed urban sprawl with all your gear on, don’t do it. Its also a waste of time. Scavenging should be a plan just like any other. You should know where you are going and what your after. Playing Rambo in real life, should not be the plan!

Scout those locations first to be sure you aren’t walking into a hornet’s nest, both figuratively and literally.

Finally, be sure you have the right tools and gear to get you there, get inside, get what you need and get back home safe. That’s the whole point, right?

The Simple Prepper