There are countless survival preparedness emergency 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.
List of 55 Emergency Preparedness Items
This particular list is intended to provoke your own thoughts and ideas.
It is NOT a complete list of recommendations. Why? Because that list would be quite long. And everyone’s circumstances and requirements are different. Search this site for tons of recommendations.
Rather, this is a list to get you thinking about your own potential needs for preparedness. It’s a brainstorm list that hopefully helps some people in the future who happen across this page.
In no particular order…
(1) Toilet Paper, Personal Hygiene Products
Can you ever have enough? Answer: No. I recommend that you keep adequate supply at home, just in case of disruption. Also others 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) Food – 30 Day Kits
I’m mentioning this because it’s quick and easy to procure a 30 day emergency food kit. I have a number of these because you can quickly grab-n-go if you wanted to. Also, be careful to check calories on these kits because some are low (you might need two instead). 2,000 calories per day is a good target.
(3) Food – More of what you already eat
This means food from the grocery store. Most people have a week or less at home. Just get more. Canned meats, vegetables, sauces. Pasta, rice, beans. A chest freezer enables lots of storage too. Though obviously an issue during long term power outage. (Generator?). I have so many articles here on MSB about food storage… use the search box for more info.
(4) Food – Long Term Dry Goods
As you can see, I’ve split food into 3 groups (there are actually more, but this sets the notion of diversifying. This last one is a catch-all for bulk storage of things like dry “food staples” and other foods purposed strictly towards long term storage. Here’s a related article to get you on the right track:
(5) Water Storage At Home
This might be a combination of cases of drinking water bottles from the grocery store, water-safe containers / jugs (filled), and even larger storage such as a 55 gallon water drum. This storage will get you by for a short while if something goes wrong.
(6) Water Filter – Countertop Gravity Filter
I am a big advocate for having a quality countertop water filter for the home. Safe drinking water is paramount to survival. I highly recommend any of the Berkey models from the following USA distributor:
(7) Water Filter – Portable
A good water filter for on the go. Something you can throw in a backpack. Or keep in your vehicle’s kit. I’ve always liked the ‘ Sawyer Mini ‘ water filter. The ‘ Lifestraw ‘ is okay too. There are many others too.
(8) Fire Making Kit
Any aspect of making a fire. Essential for any survival kit. Have more than one way to make a fire. I write about it in the following article:
(9) Rope, Paracord, Cordage
There are countless uses for cordage. I keep a working 1,000 foot spool of paracord at home, from which I peel lengths off for various kits and uses. I also have other ropes (thicker, heavier) for their own uses. Keep a variety.
I like flashlights (a little too much). One on my key-chain and others all around the house and kits. Don’t forget a supply of batteries too.
You gotta have hands-free lighting sometimes! Nothing better than a headlamp for this.
(12) First Aid Kit & Supplies
It’s always good to start with a general purpose first aid kit for home (like this highly popular one on amzn). Then add to it. Also build your own mini first aid kit for any backpack survival kits you may have. One for your car too.
(13) 2-Way Radios For Communications
These radios are great for general purpose close range communications. They’re also a great tool for security. A half dozen or so of these inexpensive devices would be a good thing to have on hand. Maybe designate a few of them for the Faraday Cage…
(14) Portable AM/FM/Shortwave Radio
Battery operated radio for getting information when the power is out. They can also be fun listening on the HAM bands. Another good preparedness tool…
(15) Solar Battery Charger
Power up and charge batteries for your devices when the power goes out. AA, AAA, for flashlights, radios. USB Charge your cell phone, etc..
(16) Rechargeable Batteries
I keep a decent supply of AA (and AAA) rechargeable batteries. Though I also keep a stock of Energizer MAX, “if” the grid were to go down longer term, I could fall back on my rechargeables.
(17) Portable Stove (safe for indoors)
A great standby preparedness item is a portable cook stove. One that’s considered safe for indoors. Here’s what I wrote about that:
(18) FUEL, Gas Cans, Storage
Got enough fuel? Is just one “gas can” enough? That’s for you to decide. Remember though – when you store fuel, do it safely. Never indoors.
A portable generator. Not necessarily a monster of a unit, but one big enough to power your chest freezer, maybe the fridge, some lights, your furnace… I personally like the Honda and Yamaha generators (pure sine wave too) because they’re quality and they are quiet! Though expensive.
(20) Heavy Duty Extension Cords
For your generator! You really should have heavy gauge quality extension cords for your generator. It’s safer, and more efficient that way. Here’s an article about it:
(21) Tarps – Heavy Duty
Different sizes. I don’t like the standard blue cheap tarps. They’re thin and won’t last long (they start to shred). While all tarps will begin to break down in the sun and weather, heavier gauge (mil thickness) is better. I like (this one on amzn) as a “survival blanket” for a backpack kit. Again, get a variety of sizes.
(22) Ruger 10/22 Rifle
You cannot go wrong with a Ruger 10/22 (.22 caliber) rifle. There are a number of models that Ruger makes for the 10/22. What a tool. Actually, any .22, right?
There are seemingly infinite varieties of backpacks. These make great reservoirs for a survival kit. I ALWAYS keep a few backpacks in the truck. You never know when you might have to walk out, bug out, or bug home…
(24) 72 Hour Kit – Keep one in your vehicle
Build your own mini survival kit. A good target is one that’s designed to keep you going for 72 hours. It’s fun to put one together.
(25) Garden Seeds
Oh boy, this is a big one for long term survival! Seeds, AND gardening experience. It’s never too late to start. There’s a lot that can be learned, though many vegetables are fairly easy to grow under the right conditions.
(26) Duck Tape
What list doesn’t include duct tape?! It fixes everything! I’m not joking. Keep a roll of this stuff around!
(27) Rocket Stove
I’m talking about any type of small portable “rocket stove” (a design characteristic) that accepts twigs and small wood for fuel. These stoves are very efficient and quick for boiling water, heating foods. And the fuel is free. I happen to have a SOLO stove, purchased years ago…
(28) Survival Knife & Sharpening Tools
A knife, any knife, is a obvious survival & preparedness asset. Not just one (you can’t just have one!). Many of you already have an every day carry pocket knife. A so called Survival Knife might be a tad bigger…
(29) Maps of Your Region, Compass
GPS is one thing. But maps are another. Road maps. Topographical maps. All sorts of maps. It’s always a good idea to keep hard copy maps on hand.
(30) Water Container (Stainless Steel Cup)
What I mean is a container for your kit which you could potentially heat over a fire or coals to disinfect water. You could also cook food in it.
(31) Weather Alert Radio
So important. Especially for those of you who live where tornadoes might form. There are several popular weather alert radios. I wrote about it in the following article:
I’m referring to a minimal tent that you could strap to a backpack. Enough for good shelter. It’s a category of its own. But a good idea to have one, either for hiking/camping trips, or just in case.
(33) Sleeping Bag
Similarly, a compact efficient sleeping bag. Something that you could pack with you. Consider the temperature of the environment you may be in, when choosing.
(34) Cash on hand
It is wise to keep some amount of cash on hand, at home, in a safe. Don’t keep it all in a bank. Why? Because “what if?”…
(35) Reference Books
Hard copy books for your survival & preparedness reference. This could be anything associated with topics and skills of your choosing.
Seeing is believing… There are all sorts of good reasons for having binoculars. Compact, full size, there are advantages for each. A nice preparedness item to have. I touched upon it in the following article:
(37) Night Vision
Okay, this is a luxury item. But I’m putting it out there on the list because of its importance regarding SHTF Security.
(38) Fishing Gear & Supplies
Fish. They’re great for protein. And they are in most every body of water. A food source. Fishing gear will help you advantage that, should you need to. Or just for fun…
(39) Yard Wagon
These things are great. So many uses. Hauling water to your house following SHTF? (it’s heavy!), and so many other practical utility uses around the garden or wherever and whatever. Highly recommended.
Transportation without fuel. Maybe a folder for your vehicle (getting home if you need it). Attach a utility trailer for hauling stuff. It’s just a good idea to have one. I’ve written a few posts on the subject. Here’s one:
(41) Personal Defense & Security ‘tools’
A catch all line item for that which you feel important for your own personal and home security. This topic becomes increasingly important as a disaster situation lengthens in time.
A traditional method of in-house lighting when the power goes out. There’s something about the unique ambience too. A supply of various candles for preparedness is a goo thing to have.
(43) Hurricane Lamp (Oil Lamp) & Fuel
Again, indoor lighting, just in case. A nice prep to have on hand. Especially you have kids or pets, use caution when burning candles or an oil lamp (common sense).
(44) Fire Extinguishers
Important! You never know if and when you might need to use it. I keep several of these around the house, garage and barn. It makes sense.
(45) Work Gloves
I always keep a stack of new work gloves on standby. Some are insulated for colder months. Others for summer. I go through more than the average person. Protect your hands.
(46) Plastic Sheeting
Dark, and clear plastic sheeting. Lots of potential uses. Killing off weeds on a garden. Darkening windows at night (SHTF?). A lot of useful applications. It’s easy to acquire a roll or two of plastic sheeting.
(47) Crosscut Saw
Got a wood stove for heating? Can you imagine procuring wood during a worst-case-scenario breakdown when fuel / chainsaws no longer function? Okay, maybe that’ll never happen (hopefully), but a crosscut saw and/or bow saw are great tools for fire making, camping, whatever. I wrote about it here:
(48) Emergency Heater
It’s winter. The power goes out. Your furnace stops working. Or, you just want a portable heater that’s considered safe for indoor use (always use a carbon monoxide detector). I have a “Buddy Heater” (brand) which is a popular indoor portable heater. A nice prep. Here’s more:
If and when there’s ever a food shortage problem (again, hopefully never!), you will be relying upon your own stored foods for calories and nutrition. It’s a very good idea to also have adequate supply of vitamin supplements for your nutrition.
(50) Regular Bleach
Use regular bleach for disinfecting surfaces and also purifying water for safe drinking. Note that bleach does weaken with time (reverts to salt solution). Perhaps down to approximately half strength after ~ 1 year. Just saying…
(51) Home Canning Equipment
Pressure canning and Water bath canning are great ways to preserve foods. It’s really not that difficult to figure out. It does take some time to process the foods. But the good thing is there’s no refrigeration required to store the jars afterwards. A fantastic prep and skill to have.
(52) Hand Tools
Any tools really. I’m a “Jack of all trades” so to speak, and tools are so very important. Tools and practical skills to use them. “Tools of the trade”, whatever that may be.
(53) Motion Lights
The Security category. Motion lights are a GREAT deterrent. I have them all around my castle. The thing is, there are differences in motion lights. And many years ago I researched and discovered the best…
(54) A Good Dog
Mans best friend. And a great security alarm.
(55) Food Producing Trees, Bushes…
The best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago, or right now. ANY food producing product on your land is a valuable asset for preparedness. Don’t wait. Time flies. Plant some food producing trees or bushes, etc., for your growing zone.
Again, this preparedness list (although sensible) is NOT intended to be all inclusive. Instead it will hopefully get you thinking about your own readiness and what you might need.
When doing your own preparedness list, one way to think about it is by categories.
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, 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!