We’ve been working to learn how to be prepared for disaster scenarios now for four years, and it still amazes me that I am constantly learning about new things that need to be in a sufficient stockpile.
I’ll read somebody else’s prepper article, or I’ll have an experience in my own home that sets off that “Eureka!” light bulb about something we need to have that we don’t have. Like the time a couple of summers ago when we lost power.
“No big deal,” I thought, “it’s summer!” Well, all was well – for awhile. We didn’t need heat so it was okay that we didn’t have a generator. We played games and enjoyed life without TV and other electronics. But once it started to get dark and we still had no power things started to get not so fun. That was when we realized that one of our battery operated lanterns – although fully charged – didn’t work because the bulb was bad.
*Note to self: always have extra battery operated lantern bulbs on hand. Yes, another thing that we needed to have in our stockpile that we didn’t know we needed.
So in honor of education, I’m listing a few things here you may not have thought about needing in your prepper stockpile that you can pick up quickly.
Do You Have These Items in Your Prepper Stockpile?
1. TWO Manual Can Openers
I was proud of myself that we owned a manual can opener. In fact, we use our manual opener all the time now and don’t even own an electric can opener. Saving energy and building grip strength: double bonus!
I stopped being proud when our manual can opener broke. Oops. Now we’re back to having no way to open canned foods again. Always have TWO (at least) manual can openers in your prepper stockpile.
Here are two that got great reviews on Amazon.
OXO Good Grips Soft Handled Can Opener
Zyliss Lock N’ Lift Manual Can Opener with Lid Lifter Magnet, White
2. Paper or Plastic Plates, Forks, Knives, Spoons, Bowls and Cups
Although it might seem like you’ll be fine using your camping dinnerware or home dinnerware, it may be the case that you can’t or don’t want to waste the water needed to wash them after every meal. And if you need to bug out, the last thing you want to have to carry and/or wash is dinnerware. Get a decent stockpile of disposable dinnerware items (including bowls for oatmeals and soups) just in case.
Recommended Reading: How to Prepare for a Natural Disaster
Let’s face it: food is better with a little spice. Here’s a list of spices we keep in our stockpile. We buy in bulk at the warehouse clubs and save TONS of money.
- garlic powder
- chili powder
- parsley flakes
- Mrs. Dash
It doesn’t take much – just have something on hand to make often-bland prepping foods a little more exciting
4. Extra Batteries/Bulbs for Lanterns and Flashlights
Don’t make the mistake I mentioned above and have a fully charged lantern with a burnt out bulb. Go through all of your supplies and make sure you have back up batteries and bulbs for EVERYTHING including lanterns, flash lights, back up propane for camping grills, etc. BTW, here are our fave lanterns/flashlights:
Coleman Family-Sized Rugged Rechargeable Battery Lantern
TotaLohan Led Tactical Flashlight,High Powered Tac Light As Seen On Tv,Military Grade,5 Light Modes And Adjustable Focus Flashlight
5. Freezer Bags
Not just for food, freezer bags can help keep items like your cell phone and matches from getting wet accidentally. Be sure to have a box of 30 or so quality freezer bags in your stockpile.
Recommended Reading: How to Prepare for a SHTF Situation
6. Electrolyte Drinks
You can buy the liquid bottles, but electrolyte drinks such as Pedialyte and Gatorade also come in powder form and can be mixed with water as needed. Electrolyte drinks are great for staying hydrated during times of exertion and helping to recover from a bout of diarrhea or vomiting.
Also a good idea to keep saltine crackers and lemon-lime soda on hand for nauseous tummies.
7. Hydrogen Peroxide, Isopropyl Alcohol, Hand Sanitizer and Cotton Swabs/Balls
These must haves for prepper stockpiles will be useful when you need to disinfect a wound, eating area or utensil. The hand sanitizer helps you to have clean hands without wasting a precious water supply. Bonus: they’re all super cheap at your local Walmart.
8. A Decent Tool Kit
Always important to have a decent set of tools and supplies for fixing anything that might need fixing if the power is out or if you’re at your bug out location. For a start, you’ll need:
- a hammer
- a Phillips and a standard screwdriver, preferably a set with multiple sizes
- a tape measure
- duct tape
- allen wrenches
- a saw
You might want to consider a good multi-use kit like this one that’s easy to transport. We bought this set as a gift for my son and he LOVES it. So does Rick. 🙂
9. Chewing Gum and Hard Candies/Suckers
This might not seem like a necessity but its’ benefits are two-fold. First, sugar is a natural pain reliever so chewing gum or sucking on hard candy can help aid pain relief. Second, it keeps kids occupied. 🙂 For years I’ve had an emergency stash of dum-dum suckers in my purse. They work wonders for minor aches and pains, meltdowns, boredom and fighting children, especially on road trips. And they’re kind of fun too. 🙂
10. Decks of Cards, Paperback Books/Puzzle Books, and Travel Size Games
Again, boredom combat is vital during a power outage or other emergency. Keeping your minds on fun stuff helps to keep your minds off of the not-so-fun stuff.
11. Firestarter Supplies
Matches, a lighter (preferably a longer grill lighter to keep hands away from the fire/grill) and a firestarter. We keep a gallon baggie of dryer lint. Again, these are simple items that you’ll be SO glad you have if you need them. *Note: see the comment from Anne about her great TP firestarter idea!
12. Pet Supplies
Pet food, litter for cats, any needed medications for animals, treats for dogs and cats, fish food, etc. Take stock of the animals in your house and have a decent supply of food etc for all of their needs. Same with farm animals.
13. Clothespins and Rope for Line Hangers
You might need to dry wet clothes and not have electricity, especially in a bug out situation. If you’re at home you can get a drying rack. If you’re not at home you’ll need clothespins and some rope to tie in between two trees. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, but if it does you’ll be glad you have them.
Mothballs are great, especially in a bug out situation. Most rodents – including skunks and raccoons – skidaddle at first smell of moth balls. This will help keep your bug out camp safe from unwanted rodents. We’ve used mothballs first hand out here on the farm to shoo away a skunk that decided he wanted to make his home under our shed. They really do work, and it’s a much safer/easier option than trying to cage the thing to release it in the wild, or having to shoot it and dispose of the carcass.
15. Simple Self-Care Treats
One of the things that nearly all people who have been stuck in real-life, long-term disaster situations talk about is how important it is to feel “normal”. Often times it’s the little pleasures throughout the day that help people to feel the love. Everyone’s list will be different here, but here are some options for simple self care items that will help you to feel normal in the wake of a disaster scenario.
- coffee or tea (tea is my stockpile supply must-have)
- moisturizing lotion, lip balm, your fave facial cleanser
- for the women, a basic makeup stash such as mascara and lip gloss
- your favorite magazine or book
- toothpaste and floss
- nail polish/polish remover
- your fave snack or chocolate treat
Again, this list is going to be different for everyone. The point is to think about the little pleasures in life that make your day bright and to stockpile them to make a power outage or other scenario just a little bit more pleasant.
16. A Good Survival Guide
If you do get stuck in a disaster scenario, whether it be weather-related, economic-related or whatever, you’re going to need advice quickly and the Internet most likely won’t be available. Here are a couple of our favorite survival books.
SHTF Prepping:: 100+ Amazing Tips, Tricks, Hacks & DIY Prepper Projects, Along With 77 Items You Need In Your STHF Stockpile Now! (Off Grid Living, … & Disaster Preparedness Survival Guide)
Survival Prepping: Skills & Tactics For Surviving Anywhere In The World (2 in 1)
I hope this list has helped get your mind thinking outside the box. Prepping is about more than having food and water. It’s about thriving (not just surviving) in any type of disaster.
Did anything on this list have you saying “Oh – I never thought about that”? What items would you add to the list?
I have most things on this list!!! I am missing electrolyte drinks and mothballs. It’s a great idea to have the powdered drink mix on hand. And I didn’t know mothballs were effective at getting rid of anything except moths! Thanks for the tip.
We keep extra gasoline on hand – for the generator and/or the cars.
Yay for preparedness! 🙂 Yes, it’s cool about the mothballs. When we had the skunk we just didn’t know what to do. Not a great animal to trap, yet we didn’t want to kill it. The mothballs were the perfect solution!
That’s a good list. We are woefully under-prepared for a disaster. My plan is to get in our car and drive 12 hours to my brother’s house if the SHTF. Not a great plan, but better than sticking around. Hopefully, 12 hours away is enough to get out of the disaster zone.
I think that’s a great start, Joe. At least you have a plan; many people don’t. Just make sure you keep the gas tank at least half full. That’s a long walk. 🙂
A little over a year ago, the area where I live lost power for 3 days. That was a huge eye-opening experience because you can feel all prepared until it happens. For me, there were lots of little things. I only had a small flashlight that seemed so bright when I didn’t need it but when it was dark, gave out very little light. I did have candles but my little lighter no longer worked and I had no matches. For me, because I live in an apartment, it’s important to keep non-perishables, like granola bars, around because I can’t start a fire. I was fortunate that power outage wasn’t storm-related, so I was able to drive to get food and water for the day.
Wow – three days is so long, Tanya!! I kind of appreciate those experiences because they help you to get a real-life vision for what a disaster scenario could be like. Hopefully you’ve got some great stock up stuff now, like granola bars and a good flashlight. 🙂
There are only e things I would add. First is a sturdy plastic bucket or tub to hold these items. Cardboard boxes eventually deteriorate and if they get wet, well you know the drill on that. The bucket or tub should have a sturdy, animal proof lid such as those manufactured for camping in bear country. Also a cash stash. If there is a national emergency whether man-made or natural, ATMs may not work, banks may not be available (flooding or civil unrest) etc. I’d suggest $500-1,000 to get you through the first several days. And finally, and this might be unpleasant for some people to think about, is a firearm and ammunition. You never know what type of societal breakdown may occur and you might just need protection for yourself and the items you so carefully accumulated.
Love the bucket idea! Also, cash is vitally important – I’ve mentioned it lots in other posts. Always appreciate you sharing your insight, Kathy.
Mothballs! Brilliant suggestion, adding to my list. I also keep old fashioned strike matches in my stash. The mention of dryer lint reminded me of an easy to make, non toxic fire starter. Take an empty toilet tube, stuff with dryer lint, light with match when you need to start a fire. The burn rate gives you enough time to add additional fuel, smaller sticks, leaves, etc. Thank you for caring enough to share your list!
Love the toilet paper tube idea, Anne!!! Yes, preparedness is definitely a part of my heart!
Am I strange if I have 15 of the top 16 items listed? LOL. The only thing I’m missing is the prepper’s guide, but I guess I don’t need it since I’m fully prepped??
LOL, you rock, Derek! That is seriously awesome!! 🙂
I’d also add:
– Pain meds, some of your daily meds or copies of prescriptions so you can get them filled if necessary
– old glasses or copies of prescriptions so you can get them filled if necessary
– Women’s monthly things…..the pads can be used as a bandage in a pinch!
– those disposable hand warmers (and/or ice packs) that you can buy. If you cannot start a fire or have electricity for warmth, they’ll keep the frostbite away
– extra socks, underwear and gloves
– water sanitize/purification tablets
– Solar Cellphone charger and a list of emergency numbers.
Thanks for sharing, Amy – we appreciate it! Always great to have additional tips and insights.
Great list Laurie. I am running out of freezer bags and would need those extra batteries for lanterns and flashlights. Thanks for the reminder.
Get shopping, my friend. 🙂
Very good list. Everyone would benefit from having more of these items on hand!
Excellent tips specially last one ‘Simple Self-Care Treats’. Very easy way to live your life happy and healthy.
Important not just during times of disaster, but always!!
A very thorough list. We have focused on the food element, but, we don’t have enough of several items on the list and some we haven’t even thought of like plastic bags or electrolytes as we only use them infrequently through the year and only buy what we need.
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