Prepper essentials: 50 Emergency items to stock up on before disaster strikes
10/21/2022 // Zoey Sky // Views

Many life-threatening situations can catch preppers off-guard. But you can prepare for most disasters by stocking up on essential supplies like food and survival gear.

And while even the most experienced prepper can't anticipate all disaster scenarios, knowing you're prepared can help ease some of your worries. Detailed below are 50 survival items you should always have in your home before SHTF. (h/t to

Alternative power sources

These alternative power sources will come in handy if the power goes out at night.


If the power goes off, you will need a sturdy flashlight and batteries to navigate home.

You can also keep things hands-free by getting headlamps, while lanterns will also help keep your home lit.


An emergency backup generator can help keep the lights on at home during a power outage. It will also keep your electric appliances working.

Hand-crank radios

A cordless hand-crank radio will be an essential source of weather alerts, power and light after SHTF.


You will need matches, especially waterproof ones, to help start fires in a damp area or light candles.

Spare light bulbs

Keep spare light bulbs at home in case the ones you are using are burned out and it isn't safe to get new ones after SHTF.

Health and safety supplies

The supplies will help keep your home clean and prevent infections.


Bleach is a versatile ingredient that can be used as a disinfectant to kill bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Essential hygiene items


You need assorted hygiene items to maintain proper hygiene and avoid the spread of disease.

Fire extinguisher

Make sure you have a fire extinguisher at home to help extinguish or control fires.

First aid kit

Your SHTF first aid kit should include the following items:

  • Antacid
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Bandages (assorted sizes)
  • Burn gel
  • Cough drops
  • Gloves
  • Hydrocortisone anti-itch cream
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Laxatives
  • Medicines
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Scissors
  • Splints
  • Thermometers
  • Tweezers

Hand warmers

If you lose power in the winter, hand warmers will provide heat. They can also provide soothing heat for muscular or joint aches.


Use insecticides at home in cases of pests and disease outbreaks.

Moist towelettes

If you don't have hand sanitizers or access to soap and running water, use moist towelettes to sanitize a dirty surface.

Respirator masks and gas masks

When environmental disasters strike, a respirator mask will help protect your family from the contaminated air.

If you find yourself stuck in a pandemic, chemical or biological attack, using a gas mask may be the difference between life and death.

Seeds for medicinal plants

You will want to grow your own medicinal herbs in your home garden when going to the pharmacy isn't an option.

A shovel

A shovel can be used to dig in your garden, or it can be used as a makeshift weapon for self-defense.

Sanitation and hygiene

These must-have items will keep your home clean and sanitized even after SHTF.

Garbage bags

Get sturdy garbage bags to get rid of waste properly and keep your home clean.

Off-grid laundry

When there is a power outage, you can use five-gallon buckets, a washboard and clothespins to wash and dry clothes even if you can't use your washing machine.

Portable toilets

If you need portable toilets after SHTF, get a five-gallon bucket that can be emptied at a distance from your homestead.


When SHTF, you may need these tools for self-defense.

Stun gun

Keep a self-defense weapon like a stun gun at home in case looters try to steal from your property during civil unrest.

Pepper spray

Pepper spray is another non-lethal self-defense item you should keep at home for emergencies. If you prefer something stronger, learn how to use your firearm of choice properly and stock up on extra ammo.

Bedding items

These items will ensure that you get a good night's rest even after SHTF.

Emergency blanket

Emergency blankets will keep your body warm and prevent your body from losing heat, which can help save your life if you are suffering from hypothermia.

Extra pillows

Make sure you also have extra pillows at home so you can sleep well after disaster strikes.

Spare items

These spare items are useful for charging small devices or miscellaneous needs around the house.

Extra batteries

You'll need lots of extra batteries for small items like flashlights and headlamps.

Notepad and pen

Use a notepad to stay organized, like keeping track of your food supplies.

If someone gets sick, write down someone's symptoms and times they occur in case your doctor needs it.

Power bank

With a power bank, you can recharge your cell phone or flashlight.

Spare chargers

Always keep a spare USB and long cable charger for your phone and other rechargeable devices.

Spare glasses or contact lenses

If you or someone else in the family wears eyeglasses, you will need spare glasses or contact lenses in case something happens to your usual pair.

Spare home keys

Keep spare home keys so you can unlock the front door if you lose or can't find your usual keys.

Food and water supplies

Food and water supplies are crucial if you plan on bugging in or staying at home after SHTF.


Stock up on dry foods that can be stored for a long time like dried fruit or canned food. (Related: Food preservation 101: A step-by-step guide to air-drying fruits.)

Pet food and supplies

If you have pets, you also need to stock up on pet food and supplies so you can provide for their needs in case of emergencies.


Always store clean water for drinking, cooking and sanitation for the whole family.

Water filter

You will need a water filter in case you lose access to clean running water and you have to filter rainwater or water from wild sources.

Vegetable seeds

With vegetable seeds you can grow your own food in a home garden.

User-friendly kitchen items

Use these tools for cooking and food prep when SHTF.

Aluminum foil

Use aluminum foil to store leftover food or for cooking over flames.

Cast iron cookware

Cast iron pans are heavy duty and they can withstand high temperatures. Cast iron cookware is best for cooking over a direct flame on a campfire.

Insulated ice chests

Use insulated ice chests to keep your food cold when the power is out and you can't use refrigerators.

Propane heater

Use a propane heater at home to heat water, cook and even dry clothes.

Rocket stove

When the power grid goes down, you can use a rocket stove to cook since it doesn't need electricity.

Seasoned firewood

If you live in a cold climate, you can use seasoned firewood to stay warm.

Important documents and cash

Book of DIY projects

Use a book on DIY projects to help your family get through times of economic crisis, long-term blackouts, riots, hyperinflation, hurricanes, martial law or other unforeseen events that may disrupt your normal way of life.


Always keep emergency cash at home so you can buy supplies if you can't withdraw money from the bank.

Important documents

Keep your important documents safe at home so you can easily access them if SHTF.

You can also save digital copies of documents like IDs and passports on an encrypted USB flash drive.

Assorted supplies for binding, tying, opening and sewing

Duct tape

If you have duct tape at home, you can use it to seal cracks temporarily. Duct tape can also be used to create a sturdy rope if you don't have cordage.

Manual can opener

Make sure you have a manual can opener so you can safely open cans of food from your stockpile.


With a good multi-tool, you can do quick repairs.

Plastic sheeting

After SHTF, you can use plastic sheeting to seal your windows, doors or air vents.

Plastic zip ties

Use plastic zip ties to close a garbage bag and avoid contamination.


You'll need sturdy pliers to cut an electric wire.

Thread and needle

You can use needles and thread to repair clothing or even suture a wound during emergencies.

Waterproof bags

Use waterproof bags to seal valuable items like phones, batteries and flammable materials and keep them dry after SHTF.

Prepare before SHTF and stock up on survival essentials like food, water and various tools and supplies.

Watch this video about cheap prepping items for your stockpile.

This video is from the Survival 101 channel on

More related stories:

Prepping 101: How long will bottled water last in your stockpile?

Prepping must-haves: Medical supplies and first aid kits.

Prepping essentials: Stock up on supplies now to prepare for looming food crisis.

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