Stockpile storage tips: How to store survival medical supplies
09/06/2021 // Zoey Sky // Views

Before SHTF, every prepper knows to stock up on essential supplies like food, water and medication, especially for common medical complaints or for loved ones with chronic health conditions like diabetes.

Detailed below are tips that you can follow if you want to know how to store survival meds properly. (h/t to

Keep medications away from heat, humidity and light

Non-food items like bandages and instruments can be stored in a variety of environments, but medications require more planning.

How you store medicines can affect their potency over time. You can maintain the maximum effectiveness of medicines by keeping three factors in mind when choosing the right storage: heat, humidity and light.


Most medications are best stored in a cool environment since their effective shelf life may be affected by the temperature at which you store them. For example, storing medications at 50 F will make them last much longer than storing them at 90 F.

Ideally, medications should be stored at room temperature. There are some exceptions, like insulin and some antibiotics that need to be stored in the refrigerator. But according to one study on insulin, there is little short-term (one month) degradation at room temperature.

If you're not sure how to store medications, follow the instructions indicated on the container. Do not freeze or refrigerate medications unless necessary. (Related: Stockpile storage tips: How to organize your survival supplies.)


Always keep medicines as dry as possible. When stockpiling medication, remove the cotton ball often included in bottles because it might pull moisture into the container.


Small packets of desiccant (drying crystals or powder) are often included in pill containers due to concerns about humidity. Moisture in medicine bottles could cause mold and mildew to form, especially if you're stocking up on natural remedies like dried herbs and powders that can expire within a year or so.

If you have medications that you use regularly, don't store them in your bathroom medicine cabinet because the moisture from showers and baths can degrade drugs significantly. Keep the meds on a high shelf in a closet or a dedicated storage box for easy access.


Frequent exposure to sunlight can break down materials such as plastic, and it's the same for medications.

Light may have a negative effect on certain meds. This is why medications are often stored in brown or amber bottles. You can keep all medicines in their original containers, but store them in a dark place for long-term storage.

Should you vacuum seal medications?

Vacuum packing can help protect against moisture, but it wouldn’t affect other storage factors like light or temperature.

Since it's best to keep medications in their original containers with the possible exception of powder packets, you don't have to vacuum seal meds for proper storage.

The method may be useful, however, for stocking up on dried herbs and other natural products.

Suggestions for proper storage of meds and medical supplies

Store medication in a special box that is well sealed. Use a sturdy box that's big enough for all your drug containers and bottles.

If a large box isn't spacious enough for all your medical supplies, use an organizer drawer. Keep meds on the top two drawers and store other supplies like bandages, gauze pads and other supplies at the bottom.

Clearly label all items so it'll be easy to identify what you need to use for different conditions. This will also ensure that you and your family can easily find the right products and return them to the right section.

Label all medicines clearly to make sure no one takes the wrong meds by mistake.

Why do meds go bad?

Most medications last longer than their expiration dates, but you need to know what makes meds "go bad."

There are three ways this can happen:

  1. Physical means – Meds can deteriorate because of different factors like evaporation, freezing or heat.
  2. Chemical means –Deterioration can also occur due to reactions like oxidation that may change the composition, concentration, odor or other characteristics of a substance.
  3. Microbial means – Deterioration may occur when meds are contaminated by bacteria, fungi or mold.

It can sometimes be hard to tell when meds have gone bad because of improper storage. But other times, it can be very obvious. For example, aspirin pills may develop a vinegar- or ammonia-like smell, even before the expiration date.

Aside from changes in smell, a change in color or consistency may indicate that your medication has gone bad. If pills or capsules are harder or softer than normal or if they stick together, it might not be safe to continue taking them.

For liquids, color or viscosity changes may indicate that meds have expired. You can also check for an unusual odor or if solids accumulate at the base of an ampoule or vial.

If you have your meds delivered via mail, opt for overnight shipping whenever possible to avoid prolonged travel time. According to a 1995 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report, a standard black mailbox can reach 136 F in the summer heat.

Excessive exposure to the hot sun or extreme cold can cause drug deterioration. If you don't want to wait too long for a delivery, have your medical supply delivered to where you can receive them personally and immediately, like at your workplace, instead of at home.

Store medications in your survival stockpile in child-proofed and sturdy containers away from heat, humidity and light to extend their shelf life.

Visit for more articles with tips on how to properly store medications and other survival supplies.

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