What’s A Prepper?
The overall goal of a Prepper is to be able to survive in an adverse situation. They’re expecting to stay in their homes because they’re stocked and ready with everything they need to survive. And, barring a reason that prevents them from doing that, will survive any catastrophe right where they are. A Prepper wants to stock up on as many supplies as they deem necessary to live on in any give situation so that they’re able to maintain as “normal” a living situation as possible. In a nutshell, a Prepper wants to be ready to face the worst and come out okay on the other side of it.
Where Do I Start?
As I said above, a Prepper stocks so they can maintain a somewhat normal existence by having what they need including things like matches and candles, potable water and food staples. Those are just the basics because you also need to add medical and survival tools like a reliable emergency radio. Here is a list of the things that you absolutely need on your Prepper Supply List.
Since your food prep is really going to be the most entailed and the largest part of your overall prep, we’ll start there.
The easiest thing to start your food prep with is canned goods, which encompass everything from coffee to canned meats. They already have a sufficient shelf-life on an average of two to five years for most products. As long as they’re not rusted, bulging or punctured and the contents still smells okay once they’re opened, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to eat the food. Most canned foods do remain edible far past the expiration date stamped on the can. According to the USDA, if the cans are in good condition and have been stored in a cool, clean, dry place they are safe indefinitely. That being said, you still need to have a rotation plan because the taste, texture and nutritional value can degrade over time. It depends on the acidity in the food as to how long they keep their best quality. High acid foods like tomatoes and other fruit will stay at their best for up to 18 months or low acid foods like meat and vegetables stay at their best from two to five years, also according to the USDA. Use a permanent marker to date all the canned foods that you buy and then, rotate them on a first-in-first-out basis.
And speaking of canned goods, you also need to invest in some canned staples to stock your pantry with and I mean with things like butter and milk. If you’re wondering, at this point, how you’re going to keep these perishables, don’t worry, I got you covered. There’s some really great products out there including Future Essentials Powdered Butter
and Ready Hour Powdered Whey Milk
that have a 25-year shelf-life. You should also add Augason Farms Powdered Honey
because, as a sweetener, it makes a great contribution to your diet. Add to those staples white flour, which has a shelf-life of over five years as long as it’s kept dry and safe from pests like weevils. To do this, store flour in air-tight containers with oxygen absorbers, which can be bought commercially. Do the same with baking powder, baking soda and yeast. Some type of cooking oil, either vegetable or olive, comes next and, then, put next to that the Future Essentials Canned Shortening Powder
. Although, salt is not a food, per se, it’s essential to a well-balance diet. It can also be used in food preservation, and it has an indefinite shelf-life. Last but certainly not least, round your staples out with a good selection of spices. They can make even the most awkward foods tasty and help to alleviate food boredom.
When you think of dry goods, consider grains, beans corn and pastas. Actually, a combination of beans, corn and rice provide almost everything you need to survive. They are the basics of a majority of the diets of countries around the world. White rice has a longer shelf-life, but brown rice has more nutritional value, so the choice is yours or store a little of both. Stock a variety of dried beans like pintos, black, chickpeas, lima and black-eyed peas. They all provide an excellent source of plant protein and endless meal recipes. Dry whole kernel corn has a lengthy shelf-life and will provide you with corn meal and all the foods that you can make with it like cornbread, corn cakes and tortillas, plus, it can be rehydrated to use in other recipes or as a side dish on its own. Dried pasts will also keep indefinitely, if stored in water, bug and rodent-proof containers. So make sure to store a variety of different kinds. The last thing to add to your dry goods store is oats, which have a shelf-life from four to six years and are also a great source of protein. You can use them in recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Extremely important to your psychological well-being and to alleviate food-boredom, stocking a sufficient amount of comfort foods is essential. These are going to be packaged foods like hot cocoa, cake, brownie and muffin mixes, boxed mac and cheese, boxed mashed potatoes and powdered juice drinks. Also include snacks like popcorn, sunflower seeds, hard candy and chewing gum. And remember to date and rotate these items out on a regular basis. Another great comfort food product that no food prep is complete without is the Ready hour Canned Peanut Butter Powder
. The powder mixes into a creamy peanut butter spread that gives you 65 servings of a nutritious, tasty, nutty delight that can top your favorite bread or eaten with fruit as a snack. Having a stock of familiar comfort foods can boost your mood and will help you retain some sense of normalcy during a long-term catastrophe.
Vitamins and Supplements
In addition to your food prep, you need to also stock a sufficient number of mineral supplements and a good multi-vitamin, just to make sure that you’re getting the needed daily vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. In addition to a multi-vitamin, add vitamins C and D, as they are harder to get with storage foods.
Just In Case
A word to the wise
, though, make sure that you also stock and store some back-up and fill-in meals-ready-to-eat
. You never know but you could have a situation where you are forced to bug-out instead of sheltering-in-place. Just make sure that you’re always prepared!
Where Do I Store It?
Now, that you have your basic food prep list, you’re probably wondering, “where the heck am I going to put all of this stuff?” There are several options and really it depends on what your situation is both financially and property-wise. The absolute best place is an underground bunker or buried shipping container, a root cellar or a basement. You can also consider a spare bedroom, attached garage or a detached storage building. A nearby storage unit rental could also be an option. However, it has to be a place that stays moisture-free and safe from weather extremes. Heat is the main element that will shorten your food-storage shelf-life.
Whether you live in a high-rise or a suburban home, one of the first things you have to consider during your prep is making sure that you have safe drinking water for you and your family. You need to make sure that you have a clean, reliable source of water or either, a way to make the water, on-hand, safe to consume. If the running water in your home becomes unavailable, you’ll have to get it from anywhere that you can find it even if it’s from a toilet in a public restroom or from a decorative fountain in front of a commercial building. The ideal would be sourcing it from a lake or pond in a park or greenspace but regardless of where you find it, you need to have a way to filter it before giving it to your family to drink. I suggest the Rothco Military Water Purification Powder
because it will eliminate most bacteria and other harmful micro-organisms that may be found in water. The powder comes in small packets that can be dropped in your pocket and has a three-year shelf life. You can also purify water with common, house-hold bleach, which should be a part of your prep, as well. One of the key ingredients to survival is cleanliness because, as history has proven, dirt breeds disease. You need an effective way to disinfect your living environment and absolutely nothing kills germs like bleach. IF you have a source, where you can get a lot of water at one time, you should get the Membrane Solutions Three-Liter Gravity Water Filter Bag and Straw
, which has a three-stage filtration system. No batteries necessary, folks. Just hang it up in your kitchen. You can also use the filter straw separately, literally taking it and putting it into a public bathroom’s toilet and drinking without worry. Lastly, don’t forget to have a couple of five-gallon water containers in your home to store the water once it’s purified.
Alternate Light Source
I don’t know about you, but I will definitely not be left in the dark if something happens to cause a black-out. So, you need to include an alternate lighting system in your prep because you don’t want to be without the comfort and safety of light at night. You have a few options when it comes to having a light source without electricity including battery-powered, solar-powered or just good old fire. You should have more than one lighting system in place because you need to be prepared for the long-haul. Days of cloudy weather aren’t good for solar power and batteries won’t last forever, even though you stock up on them. Eventually, you’ll be left with what our ancestors used – candlelight and firelight. Personally, I want to ease into that time and have artificial light as long as possible, so, let’s start with the battery-operated and solar-powered super bright LED systems first.
Trailblazer Pack-Away Camping Lantern
The collapsible Trailblazer Pack-Away Camping Lantern
is a great little battery-operated light. It’s so compact and portable that it will fit anywhere, making it great for your bug-out bag, too. It’s twice as bright as many LED lanterns of twice the size. It boasts 360-degrees of intense 250-lumen light that’s more than enough to flood a room with bright light. It has an extraordinarily durable ABS housing that’s water-resistant. It features two pivoting metal handles on top and magnets and a hook on the bottom so that it can be set-up anywhere. The beauty of these lanterns are that they can just be quickly picked-up and moved from room-to-room.
Trailblazer Tri-Folding Solar Camping Light
The Trailblazer Tri-Folding Solar Camping Light
can be used in your rooms during the day and you can use your battery-operated lanterns at night. This combination helps save your batteries. It’s a propeller-shaped light designed to completely conform to your needs and the solar light features three lighting modes including low, high and SOS. Each of the three 18-LED light panels can be adjusted independently to direct the light towards a specific direction and the hidden hanging hook design allows you the versatility to hang it anywhere. Use it as a flashlight when it’s folded closed or as a lantern when it’s completely unfolded. The tri-folding light has a built-in 680 mAh lithium battery, which can be fully charged via the micro USB port and included cable or charged with the three built-in solar panels.
Rayo Emergency Lantern Heater Cooker
Moving to the flame-powered lights, the first one I want to mention is the Rayo Emergency Lantern Heater Cooker
. It uses kerosene or lamp oil so that’s something you’ll need to stock-up on. The beauty of this lantern is that it tackles two jobs in one compact package. In addition to providing dependable light, it can heat water or small meals with its removable cooking utensil with lid. It’s brighter and more efficient with advanced pre-heated air flow and a 12” extra-tall, heat-resisting chimney. A simple lever lifts the chimney out of the way for easy lighting and the adjustable, 2” flame is bright enough to light a small room and it lasts all night. It also features a wide base to prevent it from tipping over and it has a durable, powder-coated finish.
UCO Nine-Hour Candles
Just a basic, classic system which I have in place, are my UCO Nine-Hour Candles
. These candles will each provide you with nine hours of light and that’s incredible longevity for a candle. They also produce less smoke, which is really important to me. All you need is just get a stable candle holder, which they’re a pretty standard diameter, so you can find one to fit anywhere. As with the other systems, you need to set up at least one in every room or what will provide you ample light for those long winter nights. Since these candles are compact and durable for outdoor activities, they are especially perfect if you have to be on the move when SHTF happens.
UV Tooblite Glow Stick
Okay, I’m going to round out the lighting system list with this unique source. The UV Tooblite Glow Stick
is a compact, high-performance glow stick that charges during the day by absorbing energy from any light source. And I mean ANY light source including a high-intensity flashlight, which will charge if pretty quickly. Then, it will stay illuminated for quite a few hours, gradually fading. It’s made of non-toxic materials and is water-resistant, reusable, last forever and works in any temperature. There are just too many uses for the Tooblite to mention. You need to stock up on a few of them.
A medical emergency can happen at any time, even if you’re hunkered down at home. You need to have the first aid gear and tools that are necessary to provide medical aid to a loved one, since professional medical care may not be a possibility. The below medical supplies are absolutely necessary to your prep.
Elite Tactical Trauma Kit
One of the first things that you need to have as a part of your medical supplies prep is an all-inclusive, quality first aid kit. The Elite Tactical Trauma Kit
is one of the best and most complete kit you’ll find out there. The bright, red backpack contains more than 230 first aid supplies that can address both life-threatening and non-life-threatening situations. Some of the basic supplies it has organized in the easy-to-access compartments are a variety of sizes and styles of bandages, including BleedStop bandages, and adhesive tape rolls, instant ice packs, AfterBite wipes and pain relievers. You’ll also find EMT shears, latex gloves, tweezers and safety pins. The kit has not so common medical trauma supplies like a blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, a scalpel, stainless steel hemostats and sterile sponges. Finally, the Elite Tactical Trauma Kit has an EFA First Aid Book in case you need a reference guide.
Reusable Splint Set
Accidents at home like falls from a roof, tree or down a set of stairs happen. What do you do when you can’t get the victim to a medical facility if they’ve broken an arm or a leg? What about all the random accidents that occur like slamming a finger in a door or spraining a finger while carrying something heavy? The Reusable Splint Set
has different sizes of splints so that you are ready for any medical situation that requires a limb to be immobilized. The set includes two small finger splints, a medium splint (19 3/5”x 4 3/10”) and a large splint (39 3/10”x 4 3/10”). All of the pieces of the set fit neatly in a tough nylon bag with a zipper.
Surgical Steel Tools Set
When you’re looking to beef up your existing first aid kit, a smart choice is the Elite Stainless Steel Surgical Set
. Especially, when you consider that a medical emergency requiring more than some antiseptic and an adhesive bandage needs to be prepared for in case a time comes where a doctor or hospital is no longer an option. The set includes stainless steel straight and curved hemostats, scissors, a needle probe, tweezers, scalpels, alcohol and iodine wipes, suture sets and a pen light. The surgical set also comes neatly stored in a tough, nylon pouch. There are so many emergencies which can be dealt with quite efficiently as long as you have the right instruments.
To complete your Prepper Supply List, there are a few specific survival tools that you need to add. These are tools that you will use to assist you in facing the new reality of a SHTF or post-catastrophe environment. This is the be-all, end-all of what you need to add to your prep but just a few essentials that you need to have.
Kaito Voyager Classic Solar Radio
The first thing that you need is a radio to keep you in tune with the weather conditions and to update you on what’s going on in the world around you. The one radio that all of our staff agree on is the Kaito Voyager Classic Solar Radio
. Not only does it have seven pre-programmed NOAA weather stations, but it’s packed with functions like a NOAA alert, built-in wide-range speaker, AM/FM reception, an LED light and it will charge electronic devices through its USB port. One of the most important things about this radio, however, is that it has a built-in rechargeable battery that can be charged with a dynamo hand crank, solar panel or USB cable. It will also run off of three AA batteries. It’s a lot of radio for your money!
is one of the most versatile survival tools that you can have. A good, seven-strand cord can be used from its inside strands to its outer casing, giving you endless options. I could probably write an entire book on the many uses of paracord. Not just for tying things down, it can be used as fishing line, shoe laces, part of a leg or arm splint and even dental floss, just to name a few uses.
Aside from the obvious, electrical tape also has tons of uses and is something you shouldn’t forget to add to your prep. Since it has excellent insulation properties, you can use it to insulate other things and its resilience can provide durability to whatever it’s wrapped around, as well. Tough and flexible, it can be used for repairs, labelling and as a no-slip grip.
You need to have, at the very least, a wool blanket
for every member of your family. Wool is the only natural fiber which retains its insulating abilities even while wet, keeping you warm and dry, whatever situation, you find yourself or your family in. Invest in wool blankets that are 80 percent or more wool construction for the maximum benefit.
Activated charcoal definitely needs to be added to your prep and it can be bought in bulk instead of supplement form. Its variety of uses include water filtration, emergency poison treatment, antidiarrheal, odor and moisture absorbent and an antibacterial for wounds.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many homes don’t actually have one. A knife sharpener is very important because you can’t survive SHTF without having knives that are going to stay sharp and usable. I suggest the Ridge Runner Knife Sharpener
because it’s designed to keep a sharp edge on both single and double edged knives. Very easy-to-use, it’s made of impact-resistant ABS and the sharpening wheels are super hardened alloyed metal and ceramic. This gives you both fine and coarse sharpening options for a variety of types of blades from scalpel to bowie knife.
Large Stock Pot
Believe it or not, a large stock pot is an extremely valuable prep item. Of course, cooking family meals is the obvious use but it’s also a great tool when you need to purify large quantities of water. A stock pot can also be used to wash clothes in, if necessary, or collect rain water for drinking and gather food in when foraging.
Investing in a good, quality portable gas or diesel-powered generator will keep you, temporarily, in electricity. Essential appliances like your refrigerator or a freezer can be powered long enough while you eat your way through its contents if the power grid goes down. It can also provide power to cooking appliances like table-top stoves and crockpots. With a large enough portable generator that puts out more wattage, you can power your water heater, well pump or electric furnace. Of course, the ideal is to purchase a 60-kilowatt home standby generator, which is permanently wired into your home and will automatically switch on when the power goes out.
You feel good about what you’ve done to prepare for a major disaster but beware because “the Devil is in the details.” Every good Prepper knows that they need food, water, medical supplies and survival tools to make it. However, when you’re looking at the big picture, don’t forget the small things. Here are a few things to consider.
When you are stocking food and other supplies, are they safe? Are you storing them in a place that won’t be susceptible to water damage or vermin? It would be a shame to spend so much money and time on your prep to have it destroyed or rendered useless. You need to invest in good, air and water-tight containers. If you are depending on shelves in your garage or home, you’re making a big mistake. Also, if you don’t have a fireproof box or safe to store your important documents in, you need to go get one now. Disasters can come in a variety of forms but the key to surviving is having what you need. Treat your supplies with the same care that you treat your other valuables.
Make Sure It Works
There is a lot of survival equipment and tools out there for you to invest in that will definitely benefit you like a reliable emergency radio. However, you are SOL when SHTF if they don’t work. Do not buy items and leave them unopened in their boxes. Believe it or not, there are people out there who buy and store it away without a second look. You need to try out every piece of equipment you buy and if it’s something that has parts that could wear out, get extra parts for it. This goes for things like replacement flashlight bulbs and extra filters for your water filtering system.
Know How It Works
This leads into the fact that you also need to know how your equipment and your tools work. Even if it’s something as simple as an axe, take it out and practice using it. If you’ve never used an axe to chop down a tree or to split wood, you’ll find that it’s not quite as easy as it looks. If you haven’t actually used a firestarter to start a fire, you won’t just magically know how to do it in an emergency or that portable generator that you purchased, it would be a shame not to actually know how to use it, when the time came.