Carry inside the pack a high quality "meat cleaver". Carry a means to keep it extremely sharp, such as a fine 2 X 4 inch "Arkansas stone", as this is key to its effectiveness. You will find that you use this single device almost constantly for all sorts of chores. This item has served the Orientals for thousands of years in some of the following ways:
Carry in your backpack a good pair of pliers or "vice grips" which will have many uses.
Carry in your backpack heavy duty sheet metal shears.
Carry in your backpack two spools of wire. One should be of the variety with which one hangs pictures. The second should be # 14 solid brass (which is difficult to find, but is available usually in hobby shops. You will need about 100 feet of the twisted steel kind and no more than 25 feet of the brass. These are for building and setting snares for small game.
Carry your wool or synthetic wool blankets (forget the sleeping bag) wrapped in several layers of heavy black garbage sacks with the ends tied, one inside the other. Pre pole shift, strap to the top of your pack, post pole shift strap to the bottom of your pack, due to rain.
Pre pole shift, strap your poncho and tarp rolled as tightly as possible to the back of your pack. Post pole shift you are likely to be wearing the poncho most of the time.
Pre pole shift carry whatever money you have hidden as best your ingenuity can provide. Just prior to the pole shift and post pole shift carry as much salt in the bottom of your pack as you can fit. A tiny portion of this salt will be for your own use; its primary purpose is for barter starting a few weeks post pole shift. Salt is a barter item that will be overlooked in the immediate aftermath looting and you have a good chance of finding it. Don't overlook "ice cream salt". Carry in sturdy small zip lock bags. Salt will be an excellent barter item post pole shift because food, "eaten off the land" is extremely bland. This includes both vegetables and insects. The cave man used ashes from his fire to enhance the flavor of his food. Carry a very small packet of salt in the top of your pack with the rest at the bottom. Think of your salt as gold dust and strike a hard bargain.
Pre pole shift, cover your wok in a dark heavy cloth bag. Post pole shift it is likely to be covered by your poncho.
The next item to be strapped to your pack should be a military surplus "entrenching tool", that is, a small shovel. Do not buy one from some place like KMart as my experience with them is that they break one way or another within a very short while. Its purpose is to dig your shelter trench to ride out the pole shift. Why does the soldier always carry an entrenching tool on his pack? Because the military has long learned the extreme effectiveness of a 3 foot deep "fox hole" when artillery shells are exploding only yards away.
The last item to be strapped to the pack is your water distillation "kit" in a heavy dark cloth bag. I've been working on a portable, practical design that can be constructed for only a few dollars before the pole shift and a similar version built from scavenged material post pole shift. Without going into the design here, it is constructed from two 1 gallon "paint" cans and a few feet of copper tubing. When empty, as when traveling, it is very light and apparently of no real value. It can, however distill water a gallon at a time using your campfire and available water from any source.
Inside your pack include a large supply of zip lock plastic bags.
Inside your pack include a book or two on edible wild plants, look for especially good descriptions and pictures of mushrooms and mosses and shade loving plants. This can be particularly life saving. For example, at the Troubled Times, Inc. headquarters, there is a large continuously flooded area thickly grown to face height with various plants. Practically anywhere in this area, if one parts the tall plants, down in the deep shade one will find a plant every boy scout knows about, commonly called "arrowhead". This plant has a large tuber underground. When cleaned and cooked this tuber can hardly be distinguished from potato and is very nourishing, providing much needed carbohydrates. I expect an abundance of these along with mushrooms in the aftertime.
Offered by Ron.
For space constraints a Pocket Saw for cutting wood is a necessity. Compact but very useful. Also for fire, a Flint Style fire starter is very durable and long lasting.
Offered by Steve.