55 Preparedness Items

Last updated on March 31st, 2018


55 Preparedness Items (TO GET YOU THINKING…)

There are countless survival preparedness supplies (preps) that you might consider, acquire and store ahead of time, before any potential short-term emergency, a longer-term disaster, or even a SHTF collapse.

This list of 55 preparedness supplies is intended to get you thinking about your own potential needs for preparedness. I’ve purposely listed a variety of supply categories – many not related to one another – with the intent of getting you to think beyond just food and water.

This particular preparedness list is intended to provoke your own thoughts and ideas (‘outside the box’) and is purposely missing many of the obvious supplies found in other lists.

The list is random, and purposefully not a list of absolute essentials for survival such as
The 5 and 10 C’s of Survivability

In no particular order…

1. Toilet Paper, and other personal sanitation items such as feminine hygiene products, diapers for infants, etc. It’s hard to imagine life without TP so store as much as you can 😉

2. Paper Towels. Too many uses to mention, and a good idea to have them as part of your overall storage.

3. Dish Pan. A dish pan, wash basin, has countless practical uses – not just for washing dishes by hand (e.g. power outage – no dishwasher).

4. Heavy Duty Trash Bags. In addition to your ordinary kitchen trash bags, heavy duty ‘contractor’ bags will have many other practical uses for disposal/ sanitation, etc..

5. Ziploc Bags. I use Ziploc bags (the heavy duty freezer bags) for all sorts of things – storage, organization, keeping things dry, emergency kit (e.g. protect items from moisture, they could hold/ carry water), and of course for food, leftovers, etc.. Many practical uses for preparedness.

6. Coolers. Various sized coolers for varying purposes and circumstances. Obviously to keep things (e.g. foods) cool or refrigerated. I had a fridge conk out awhile ago and lived off coolers until a replacement. Use while camping, traveling, etc.. Will also hold water while used as a ‘tub’ – perhaps for other uses including washing things, cleaning clothes, etc..

7. Shovels. This military folding entrenching shovel is one example of many, regarding tools (in this case, shovels) for preparedness which may prove invaluable for all sorts of tasks.

8. Bar Soap. Soap for sanitation is so very important – especially during a time of disaster or SHTF while avoiding infections, keeping utensils clean, and you could even wash your clothes with it…

9. Cotton Balls. A million uses for cotton balls. First Aid, Excellent Fire-starter (e.g. mixed with Vaseline) – great to be kept in kit (e.g. stored in small Ziploc) for firestarting.

10. Small Notebook. These small ‘wire’ memo notebook’s are perfect to write on for writing lists, thoughts, and other information throughout the day. Also good for home or kit – leaving a note or message regarding a situation, destination, instructions, etc..

11. Space Pen. This ‘space pen’ will write in extreme temperatures and environments – great for harsh conditions while writing, messaging, noting, marking, sketching, drawing, etc..

12. Cable Zip Ties. Quick tying or lashing together of nearly anything.

13. Duck, Duct Tape. OMG there are a zillion uses for Duct (Duck) tape and it’s perfect for preparedness.

14. Sewing Kit. A sewing kit (and extra sewing supplies such as threads, needles, buttons, etc..).

15. BIC Lighters. Fire is an essential, and the classic BIC lighter is one good and easy way to start a fire. Not only practical for ordinary times, but in a collapsed world (especially), lighters and matches will be worth their weight in gold…

16. Salt. Salt has important attributes for food preservation as well as being a flavor enhancement to your food storage inventory.

17. Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil. Aluminum foil is very useful for cooking or improvised cooking, as well as many other uses.

18. Candles. All sizes. Not only for light at night, or for longevity help while starting a fire, but could also used to heat food in small cookware.

19. Can Opener. Picture trying to open some of your canned food during a power outage without a manual can opener.

20. Basic Hand Tools. This includes hammers, screwdrivers, saws, axes, utility knives, scissors. Anything extra that you can store from your
tool chest.

21. Fishing Line. Not only will fishing line enable you to fish (with a hook of course), but serves other purposes (trapping, stealth line, improvised cordage, etc..).

22. Heavy Duty Gas Cans. Provides fuel storage for vehicles and generators. Don’t forget to add STA-BIL or PRI-G for extended shelf life of gasoline.

23. Magnifying Glass. Use a magnifying glass to start a fire (while the sun is visible), or to assist while removing a sliver, etc..

24. Cold Weather Sleeping Bag. If the power goes out (along with your heat) a good cold weather sleeping bag will be a welcome comfort for sleeping. Also an obvious advantage for while on the go.

25. 550 Paracord. The ultimate cordage for lots of general purpose high-strength requirements is 550 Paracord.

26. Boot Laces. Extra sets of boot laces for your various shoes and boots. Shoe laces are also good for tying off things for other purposes.

27. Paper plates, plastic eating utensils, disposable drinking cups. Great for short-term needs and simply disposable without the need for traditional dishes which need washing with soap and water.

28. Blankets. Good warm blankets like these fleece blankets are great for keeping in your vehicle for an emergency, or simply keeping warm at home (as opposed to lesser quality blankets which may not be that warm).

29. Towels. All sizes of towels from hand towels to bath towels. No doubt you already have some, but having plenty will assist in the various cleaning and sanitary duties during a time when you may not be able to easily wash the few that you might have…

30. LED Flashlight. A LED (long lasting) flashlight like this one with multiple (useful) brightness settings and other quality features. Headlamps are great to have too, enabling both hands free.

31. Nylon rope. A waterproof nylon rope (e.g. clothesline rope) will have plenty of general purpose uses apart from those of Paracord.

32. Toothbrushes. Your electric toothbrush will be worthless without electricity, and it’s always a good idea to have plenty of regular toothbrushes for home or while traveling. Good hygiene is essential while remaining healthy during any situation, especially a longer term disaster.

33. Pellet Gun. This particular air rifle (pellets) is amazingly powerful (1000 fps) and effective with most varmints and small game. Ammo is cheap and it’s much much quieter than a .22 rifle. A great addition to your preparedness supplies.

34. Honey. Honey has a indefinite shelf life. Along with being a great sweetener, it has health benefits too (antimicrobial).

35. Spray bottles. So many uses; garden, home, homemade DIY mixtures, etc..

36. First Aid Kit. This is a very good general purpose first aid kit (Made in USA) and you should have one at home, in your vehicle, and place of work. Consider getting extra first aid supplies too, beyond what’s in a typical kit.

37. Survival Novels. Reading material for when the lights go out 😉

38. Safety Pins. Fairly large safety pins like these #3’s will enable fastening many things (fastening several blankets or fabric together, quick mending of a tear).

39. 2-Way Radios. Communication with 2-way radios may be essential (or very helpful) during many disaster situations, and for normal comms while out and about.

40. Solar Charger. When the power goes out and you no longer can charge your electronic devices, this solar charger will enable a full charge (via USB ports).

41. Insulated Work Gloves. Heavy Duty insulated work gloves are much better than typical winter gloves which aren’t designed for heavy wear. I own these particular gloves and they’ve been great so far. Nice and warm.

42. Heavy Duty Pants. These heavy duty tactical pants have proven themselves as a very practical and comfortable well-made rugged pants (Made by ‘Propper’).

43. Signal Mirror. A signal mirror is a good addition for a emergency preparedness kit. After you get one, learn how to use it.

44. Cloth Grocery Tote Bags. They are practical and reusable bags for holding and carrying all sorts of supplies – handy while out collecting things, foraging, and all sorts of other uses.

45. Quality Water Filter. Keyword, ‘quality’. It’s hard to beat the ‘Berkey’.

46. Heavy Duty Extension Cords. Particularly useful with a generator while routing power to other appliances or tools. Extension cord Wire size should be 12-gauge (12/3 for 15-amps).

47. Water Container. A water container that is safe for storing drinking water. Perhaps used to transport and/or conveniently dispense water.

48. Portable Stove. A portable stove is perfect for power outage and more…

49. Portable AM/FM Radio. A portable radio really is essential during a disaster to keep up with news and information which may help in your decision-making.

50. Survival Reference Books. Books that will provide information and instructions on survival, preparedness, cooking, plant identification, etc..

51. Wind up clock. A wind-up-clock doesn’t need batteries – although you need to remember to wind it everyday, it will last practically forever while providing a wake-up alarm. Just think ‘SHTF collapse’ when all power is long gone and several of you need to wake up at a certain time for patrol, etc…

52. Plastic storage containers. These heavy duty storage containers are great for all sorts of preps.

53. Emergency Mylar Blankets. Mylar blankets keeps in body heat and preserves body temperature. Small enough to fit in a kit.

54. Washboard. Perfect for washing clothes by hand – although you may not like to 😉

55. Heavy duty tarps. So many uses. Be sure to look for heavy duty for longevity. This one is 16 Mil thick.


Note: Again, this prep list (although sensible) is NOT intended to resemble a list of essential items or ‘must-have’ supplies. Instead it will hopefully get you thinking about your own readiness and supplies beyond the ordinary.

When doing your own list, one way to think about it is by categories. That’s mostly how I do it. For example, think of a general category such as ‘Kitchen’ and then list supplies and priorities in that category. Other general categories might include Shelter, Clothing, Food and Water, Tools, Sanitation, Security, Transportation, etc… think ‘categories’ and then narrow it down within each category. If you are just starting – then start with Food and Water!

There are a lot of reader comments listed below which are related to previous postings of this list (which have been changed from time to time for further provocation, some items removed and replaced with others). Feel free to add your own thoughts too!


  1. K.J. 06/21/2011
    • ken 06/21/2011
      • Lisa 06/21/2011
        • mensa141 08/19/2012
          • Ken 08/19/2012
          • eyebuydirect 02/10/2015
          • chucknorris 11/20/2013
      • K.J. 06/22/2011
        • Jerry 03/23/2012
          • Ken 03/23/2012
          • Lou 10/25/2012
          • Ken (Modern Survival Blog) 10/25/2012
          • honeymom 06/01/2016
          • NRP 06/01/2016
          • Ken Jorgustin 06/01/2016
          • atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
          • Michael Haymar 04/08/2015
          • Eddie 12/05/2015
      • Normy 02/23/2012
        • JayJay 06/01/2012
      • poorman 08/06/2013
    • Kay 03/30/2012
      • Sue Ann 04/27/2012
        • JayJay 06/01/2012
          • Missy 08/08/2016
        • Christi clayton 08/18/2015
          • gregp. 12/03/2015
      • atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
  2. Brenda 06/21/2011
    • ken (Modern Survival Blog) 06/21/2011
      • Jerry 03/23/2012
        • Ken 03/23/2012
          • Michael Haymar 04/08/2015
          • tootie 05/11/2016
          • Brian Bark 07/19/2015
          • Ron 02/26/2016
          • Ji m Jarvis 05/15/2016
        • poorman 08/06/2013
        • atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
          • honeymom 06/01/2016
    • Gerry 03/30/2012
      • saxa 03/08/2013
  3. anonymous 06/21/2011
    • Jerry 03/23/2012
      • Ken 03/23/2012
        • Joe Dumlao 11/04/2015
    • poorman 08/06/2013
    • atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
  4. Anonymous 06/21/2011
    • Ronda 04/21/2012
    • atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
  5. Screamin Mimi 07/19/2011
    • atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
  6. Aaron 08/03/2011
    • Dakota1022 10/28/2011
      • poorman 08/06/2013
      • atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
  7. Alan 08/07/2011
    • Anonymous 12/16/2012
    • poorman 08/06/2013
    • atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
      • Salt 02/09/2015
        • Roger 09/18/2015
  8. Anonymous 08/14/2011
    • Ray 09/21/2011
  9. slugdiamond 08/26/2011
  10. roy 09/19/2011
  11. iloozyun 10/01/2011
    • atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
    • Minnie Min 04/01/2016
      • tootie 05/11/2016
  12. anonymus 10/06/2011
    • poorman 08/06/2013
  13. Alice 10/27/2011
  14. Dakota1022 10/28/2011
    • atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
  15. Anonymous 10/31/2011
    • GUFF 01/05/2012
    • weltonsfancy 05/05/2013
  16. Woodsey 11/08/2011
    • JayJay 06/01/2012
      • Lord Snow 02/10/2015
  17. Damkina 11/20/2011
    • atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
  18. Anonymous 12/02/2011
    • Deborah 04/15/2012
    • atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
  19. Damkina 12/10/2011
    • atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
    • rt66paul 11/24/2015
  20. IrishEyesAreBlue 01/13/2012
  21. idahorez 01/20/2012
  22. Josh 02/12/2012
    • Steve 07/21/2013
    • poorman 08/06/2013
  23. Josh 02/13/2012
  24. Ken 02/22/2012
  25. Anita 02/24/2012
    • atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
  26. Jim 02/26/2012
  27. Marthe 02/29/2012
  28. skippyjeans 03/10/2012
    • Ken 03/10/2012
    • Panix 03/13/2012
    • cubmom 08/12/2012
      • honeymom 06/01/2016
  29. Ruthie Reimers 03/10/2012
  30. Donna 03/15/2012
  31. Thomas 03/15/2012
  32. Denise 03/16/2012
  33. Frank 03/24/2012
  34. sally 04/01/2012
    • Spirit 11/20/2014
  35. Young homesteader 04/12/2012
  36. Young homesteader 04/12/2012
  37. Young homesteader 04/12/2012
    • honeymom 06/01/2016
  38. otter 04/13/2012
  39. Toecutter 05/13/2012
  40. Big Red 07/26/2012
    • Ken 07/26/2012
    • bspotts57 09/03/2012
      • California Mama Bear 11/09/2012
        • Lord Snow 02/10/2015
  41. doug harrington 08/10/2012
  42. Glen 08/30/2012
  43. Traveler3123 09/10/2012
  44. Traveler3123 09/10/2012
    • Traveler3123 09/10/2012
  45. segurelha 09/11/2012
  46. Fixxer 09/20/2012
  47. sixpense 09/20/2012
  48. sixpense 09/20/2012
  49. JohnM3 09/24/2012
    • Joe Dumlao 11/04/2015
  50. E J 09/28/2012
    • Ken 09/28/2012
  51. Mike 10/15/2012
    • California Mama Bear 11/09/2012
      • poorman 08/06/2013
        • honeymom 06/01/2016
  52. myOWNmind 10/21/2012
  53. David Paul Bomar 10/22/2012
  54. highlandwolf 10/30/2012
    • Ken (Modern Survival Blog) 10/30/2012
      • Joe Dumlao 11/04/2015
  55. MH-Colorado 11/06/2012
  56. lol 11/09/2012
  57. Anonymous 11/11/2012
  58. Anonymous 11/11/2012
  59. Sower of Seeds 11/12/2012
  60. Nat 01/06/2013
    • Epic 02/09/2015
  61. Brian 04/12/2013
    • John 08/02/2013
    • poorman 08/06/2013
  62. ancona 07/31/2013
  63. John 08/02/2013
  64. Brian 08/16/2013
  65. Brian 08/16/2013
    • atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
  66. atasteofcreole 08/20/2013
  67. turkeyfether 09/18/2013
  68. Barry Luke 10/08/2013
  69. Chucko927 10/29/2013
  70. Chucko927 10/29/2013
  71. Barry Luke 12/03/2013
  72. tango 02/09/2015
  73. Bill 02/09/2015
    • JDoc 02/09/2015
  74. tango 02/09/2015
  75. Otarn 02/09/2015
  76. NRP 02/09/2015
  77. Chamele0n 02/09/2015
  78. panic 02/09/2015
  79. Stardust 02/10/2015
  80. GoneWithTheWind 02/10/2015
  81. me 02/10/2015
  82. NRP 02/10/2015
  83. Chamele0n 02/10/2015
  84. Chamele0n 02/10/2015
  85. October 02/11/2015
    • Yes 02/13/2015
    • Pat W 09/02/2015
  86. Someone not important 02/13/2015
  87. Elvis 03/01/2015
    • Anon 03/01/2015
  88. Anon 03/01/2015
  89. Vintage Texan 06/24/2015
  90. Getit 11/18/2015
  91. rt66paul 11/24/2015
  92. Older, Grumpier, Grayer 05/14/2016
  93. Morris 06/26/2016
  94. EDBDeyes 11/19/2016
  95. lovelypoet 01/13/2017
    • Ken Jorgustin 01/13/2017

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