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2020 has made clear the importance of being prepared for SHTF situations. Perhaps one could say it didn’t go that bad, 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 supply 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.
How Do I Prepare for SHTF?
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 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. What you keep is also guided by the location you choose.
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 list with some necessities.
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 ready.gov, each person needs at least a gallon of water every three days.
Bottle water is a seemingly straightforward solution for potable water. Some FDA-approved water bottles can last for up to two years if unopened.
Some, like Blue Can Water, have a shelf life of up to 50 years. It’s a bit pricey, but have to pay for that shelf life.
You could start with this right away and purchase water with 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
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
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
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 include ways to get potable water through filtration or treatment.
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
Food is another survival necessity and a must for any SHTF prepper supply list. Again, for 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.
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 lifespans for storage.
When properly stored, rice can last decades. The variety of rice and the way it is processed does make a difference, so check the expected shelf life before buying it as part of your survival plan.
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
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 by direct consumption.
Nuts and Similarly Processed Foods
Nuts like cashews and almonds are nutritious and last for a long time.
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, 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.
Things like lighters, fuel, and cooking utensils are essential.
Survival lighters are a very convenient pick for any preppers 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
Defense and Weapons
Before you act on this section, you should check on 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 case firearms are not possible, it’s worthwhile to look at other options as well. Hunting bows/arrows, basketball bats, and anything else that can be used as a weapon should find its 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.
Medicines and First Aid
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.).
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 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)
Other Accessories and Items
Here are some items that should find a way into your checklist. They’ve proven themselves to be more than useful in most situations, and thus are necessities.
- Duct tape – this will find a way to make itself useful
- WD-40 – yup, same as above
- Small solar or hand-crank radio – a way to stay connected with the world
- Ham radio – an optional, but excellent, tool to stay connected with the world
- Your gadgets
- Solar panels or solar power generation system
- Nail clippers
- Hygiene supplies (toothbrush, paste, toilet paper, shampoo, soap, detergent)
- Hand sanitizer
- Portable shower
- LED lights, solar lights
- Cooler or refrigerator/freezer
- Walkie talkies (and their batteries)
Recheck and Organize Your SHTF Prepper Supply List
Getting your SHTF prepper supply 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.
Bonus: Root Cellar That Can Be Used as a Bunker
Do you remember the old root cellars our great-grandparents used to have? In fact, they probably built it themselves, right in their back yard.
If you want to learn how to build a backyard bunker like your grandparents had, without breaking the bank, then you need Easy Cellar.
Easy Cellar will show you:
- How to choose the ideal site
- Cost-effective building methods
- How to protect your bunker from nuclear blast and fallout
- How to conceal your bunker
- Affordable basic life support options
Easy Cellar will also reveal how a veteran, with only $421, built a small nuclear bunker in his backyard.
- America's Natural Nuclear Bunkers: Find the Closest One to Your Home
- 56 Items to Stockpile in Your Easy Cellar