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The Ultimate Prepper Supplies List: Maximize Your Safety

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A year behind us has made clear the importance of being prepared for SHTF situations. Perhaps one could say it didn’t go that badly, but there isn’t a point in waiting for things to go off rails before taking action.

It’s sensible and easier to be prepared, and this SHTF prepper supplies list can pave the way for beginners and be a handy tip for pros.

Unprepared people panic and spend their time and energy on illogical things. The long lines outside stores during the great toilet paper rush of 2020 are your evidence.

Preparing for SHTF: A Foolproof Prepper Supplies List

The Ultimate Prepper Supplies List: Maximize Your Safety

There are plenty of everyday things we don’t give a second thought to, but they are invaluable if SHTF.

Consider things like nail clippers and cotton balls. They aren’t exactly remarkable or exotic, but they could be invaluable in a difficult situation.

A simple way to approach this is through priorities. Necessities to sustain you come first. If there’s still more space available, you can add other things as well. The location you choose also influences what you keep.

Those intending to stay at their own home don’t have to worry about moving things. However, if you have to travel to another location, there will be things that can’t come along.

Even if you’re planning to stay at your place, it’s still a good idea to have a “bug out bag” or emergency bag. This bag essentially includes necessities that you take along.

Let’s kick off this SHTF prepper supplies list with some necessities.

1. Water

Having potable water available at hand is non-negotiable. Humans can’t last more than 2-3 days without water.

Consider these numbers the extreme limit—dehydration will start taking its toll a lot sooner. Likewise, water is important for sanitation, cleaning, etc.

According to, each person needs at least a gallon of water every three days.

Bottled Water

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Bottle water is a seemingly straightforward solution for potable water. Some FDA-approved water bottles can last for up to two years if left unopened.

Some, like Blue Can Water, have a shelf life of up to 50 years. It’s a bit pricey, but you have to pay for its shelf life.

You could start with this right away and purchase water on your next trip to the store. Keep a convenient amount that can last for at least a few days.

Have a system where you use water bottles at home when they get close to their expiration date. Don’t forget to replenish your stock!

Large Reusable Water Containers

Water Storage Tank by WaterPrepared
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Bottled water isn’t always cost-effective. Large reusable water barrels or containers can store a lot more water at a fraction of the price.

But it’s always possible to treat the water and make it potable. Besides, there is always the possibility of using it for cleaning or sanitation purposes.

Portable and/or Large Water Filters

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
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If you have a way to store a lot of water, getting a large water filter will ensure you have a convenient and steady supply of potable water. This applies to places that are intended for use as shelters.

Having a portable water filter like the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is critically important. Whether you travel or stay put, a portable water filter will always come in handy.

When traveling in a SHTF situation, a dependable water filter is a lifesaver. You may not be able to carry enough water or trust that the water available en route will be safe.

Other Water Filtration Solutions

Potable Aqua Water Purification
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Potable Aqua Water Purification
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Those of us who enjoy the outdoors and go camping know that water is heavy. This is why camping and hiking gear for longer trips includes ways to get potable water through filtration or treatment.

Portable water filters are a good pick here. You can also include items like water purification tablets, which are popular among campers.

Another choice is chemical agents like bleach. A few drops of regular, unscented chlorine bleach will kill off most bacteria and viruses in water.

According to EPA recommendations, about two drops of 8.25% bleach are good enough for a quart/liter of water.

In a pinch, even coffee filters can be used for pre-filtration. They won’t kill germs, but they can help remove contaminants like dirt, some critters, and other small particles. Paper filters are better, but even metal filters can do some work.

Here’s the SHTF prepper supply list for securing your water supply:

  • Potable bottled water (FDA-approved)
  • Large barrels or drums for storage (if permissible)
  • Portable water filter
  • Large water filter (high capacity)
  • Water purification tablets
  • Regular, unscented bleach

2. Food

Food is another survival necessity and a must for any SHTF prepper supply list. Again, in this scenario, before we cater to our taste buds, we must first cater to our necessities.

Good preppers start with calorically dense, long-lasting, and low-prep bulk food. And don’t forget to stock up on food for your bug out bag.

Our SHTF list of supplies needs nutritious survival foods that have a long shelf life, don’t need much preparation, and can be stored without refrigeration.

Food Supplements

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Supplements like bulk carbohydrates and bulk proteins are easily available in convenient, large packaging.

They are nutritious, easy to store, and relatively cheap to stockpile. All you have to do is store them in a cool, dry place.

Long-Lasting Common Foods

Some popular and staple foods have ridiculously long storage lifespans.

When properly stored, rice can last decades. The variety of rice and the way it is processed do make a difference, so check the expected shelf life before buying it as part of your survival plan.

Other options include rolled oats and pinto beans.

Wheat grains can last a good time too, but flour doesn’t last very long. And keeping grains alone would also require ways to grind and manage them.

Oils and Fats

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Oils are a good source of fat and a good item for any prepper supply checklist.

Cooking oils like coconut oil and avocado oil can last 1-2 years and give your food a quick dose of fat. You could even have a small amount directly, but there’s a risk of intestinal distress from direct consumption.

Nuts and Similarly Processed Foods

Nuts like cashews and almonds are nutritious and last for a long time.

Other items, like beef jerky and protein bars have a high energy content and can last a long time. These items are perfect for a bug-out bag and even storage.

Canned Foods

When choosing canned meals, give the highest priority to canned meat. Stored properly, these can last 5 years or more.

Canned veggies, on the other hand, would be pushing expiration dates in a couple of years.

Canned foods are heavy and relatively expensive, so try to strike the right balance.

Livestock and Pets

This falls into a more specialized category, where your place of shelter is capable of handling animals.

Additionally, it should be possible to manage the food for the animals. Chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, and even cows can form a part of this group.

Pets that aren’t livestock can be useful, too. Remember, you will have to feed your pets in addition to yourself.

Dogs can do guard duty, while cats and ferrets hunt vermin. Exotic pets like spiders and snakes aren’t a good choice for a shelter. Other pets, like rodents and fish, are off-limits too.

Cooking Gear

Things like lighters, fuel, and cooking utensils are essential. Survival lighters are a very convenient pick for any prepper gear.

Their application in starting fires can come in handy for more than just cooking. Matches should do fine too. If you intend to use a stove, make sure you have plenty of fuel.

As for cooking utensils, pick cast iron products. They aren’t the best-looking, but they can help get iron into your diet and have ridiculously long-term lifespans.

Here’s a quick rundown for our preppers supply checklist for food:

  • Food (and protein) supplements
  • Cooking oils
  • Long-lasting rice
  • Nuts, jerky, and protein bars
  • Canned meat (canned vegetables are low priority)
  • Cast-iron cooking utensils

3. Defense and Weapons

Before you act on this section, you should check your local laws on gun ownership and weapons.

Unpredictability is a hallmark of SHTF situations. It could be an inconvenience, or the world may go straight to hell in a handbasket.

Panic can make people do crazy things. Weapons are an essential part of any prepper checklist.

A handgun/pistol and some ammo can go into your bug-out bag, while larger guns and rifles can be at the base.

In the event that firearms are not possible, it’s worthwhile to look at other options as well. Hunting bows and arrows, basketball bats, and anything else that can be used as a weapon should find their way to your shelter/base.

If nothing else, keep all your kitchen knives with you. They’ll come in handy—and not just as weapons.

4. Medicines and First Aid

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Any necessary or life-saving medicine you need should be part of your bug-out bag as well as other packaging. These include medicines for existing medical conditions (heart medication, insulin, EpiPen, blood pressure medication, etc.).

Also, keep a first-aid kit at hand. Things like bandages, gauze, cotton balls, scissors, a thermometer, a cold pack, antibiotics, etc. are part of any first-aid kit.

Other medications, as necessary, should find a place as well. Potassium-iodide tablets that can help with radiation exposure are a must for preppers.

Masks have proven themselves to be useful. Include the N95 and N99 masks in your inventory. Depending on how thorough you want to be, items like gas masks and hazmat suits should be considered.

A SHTF prepper checklist for medicines includes:

  • Necessary medication (existing conditions like heart problems, allergies, etc.)
  • First aid kit
  • Potassium-iodide tablets
  • Masks (N95, N99, maybe gas masks too)
  • Tourniquets
  • Multivitamins

5. Other Accessories and Items

Here are some items that should find their way onto your checklist. They’ve proven themselves to be more than useful in most situations, and thus they are necessities.

  • Duct tape: this will find a way to make itself useful
  • WD-40: Yeah, same as above
  • Hand-crank radio is a way to stay connected with the world
  • Ham radio is an optional but excellent tool to stay connected with the world
  • Batteries
  • Your gadgets
  • Solar panels or solar power generation systems
  • Nail clippers
  • Hygiene supplies (toothbrush, paste, toilet paper, shampoo, soap, and detergent)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Portable shower
  • Lighter/matches
  • LED lights, solar lights
  • Cooler or refrigerator/freezer
  • Walkie-talkies (and their batteries)

Recheck and Organize Your SHTF Prepper Supplies List

Getting your SHTF prepper supplies list together should start with basic necessities. Once you’ve secured your shelter, food, and water supply, other things start getting easier and more sensible.

Next, think of medicines, hygiene, and defense. If you have to travel in an SHTF scenario, also consider the vehicles and fuels you’ll need.

While our list is intended to be comprehensive, there are always special circumstances and conditions that affect individuals. Never shy away from changes that make things more suitable for your use.

The Ultimate Prepper Supplies List: Maximize Your Safety