Getting Prepared: A checklist of 50 Items to Hoard

Community Preparedness: The Facts

Research on preparedness shows that people who believe themselves “prepared” for disasters often aren’t as prepared as they think. Forty percent of survey respondents did not have household plans, 80 percent had not conducted home evacuation drills, and nearly 60 percent did not know their community’s evacuation routes.

Nearly 20 percent of survey respondents reported having a disability that would affect their capacity to respond to an emergency situation, but shockingly only one out of four of them had made arrangements specific to their disability to help them respond safely in the event of an emergency.

Provided by The Patriot Caller

Water Filter – A high-quality water filter, designed for filtering untreated water can help you extend you water supply by recycling gray water and/or use water sources outside your home.

Hand-Crank Radio – Hand crank radios offer the ability to listen to important communications when power and cell networks are down. Some hand crank radios even offer a USB charging functionality.

Camp Stove – There are a million options available for this purpose – everything from handy backpacking stoves to heavy-duty outdoor ranges – but it’s hard to beat the old self-contained Coleman camp stove. Don’t forget cooking pans if necessary!

Can Opener/Multi-Tool – It’s a good idea to carry a survival knife, but it’s a great idea to carry a quality multi-tool, like a Leatherman. A Leatherman comes in handy almost every day under normal circumstances and could be used as a weapon in a pinch.

Flashlights – When it comes to flashlights, I have two recommendations, and neither one is expensive. First, find a comfortable LED headlamp. Second, rather than finding the brightest, most high-tech available, invest in a Maglite LED that runs on simple AA batteries.

Batteries – Obviously, you’ll need to coordinate your battery storage plan with any of the flashlights, radios, or other devices you may keep in your emergency stockpile. Batteries will last longest in cool dry conditions, but should be rotated out of your emergency supply on a yearly basis.


Firearms – Last but certainly not least, you’re going to need some type of weapon, just in case. It doesn’t have to be a gun, but then again what else are you willing to risk your family’s safety on. A sword? Pepper spray?

It’s unfortunate, but the fact is that crises seem to bring out the worst in the worst kind of people. Every time a crisis distracts local law enforcement, looters and opportunistic criminal spring up out of nowhere.

A 12-gauge pump shotgun is an excellent choice for home defense. The pump action also makes a loud click-click sound that is internationally recognized by criminals.

If you prefer higher magazine capacities and more maneuverability, then a semiautomatic handgun (see our Top 5 Pistols here) is and excellent choice to fill this role. If you only own one gun, and that gun is for home defense purposes, then an 12-gauge shotgun or a semi auto handgun are the two best options going away…


Toothpaste – You never know how long a crisis might continue, and you want to be prepared to keep up your family’s normal hygiene regime throughout the crisis.

Toilet Paper – Running out of toilet paper is annoying in any situation. But you certainly don’t want to run out in a shelter-in-place crisis scenario. My advice is to get more than enough. Life can get messy.

Zip Lock Bags – It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any specific plans for your bags, keep them on hand because you will find a use for them.

Trash Bags – Trash will still need to be properly disposed of, even in a crisis. In fact, trash bags are even more important in a crisis. If running water is unavailable, trash bags may have to double as a toilet. Don’t skimp here.

Feminine Hygiene Products – If you won’t be sheltering with any women, obviously you can skip this.


Medicine – Stock a large bottle of aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. to deal with any aches and pains. The last thing you want during a crisis is a splitting headache.

Hand Sanitizer – Because water may be limited for hand washing purposes, you’ll want to keep a large bottle of this stuff on-hand.

Hydrogen Peroxide – In addition to its medical uses, hydrogen peroxide can be used to disinfect cooking utensils, cutting boards, and dishes.

Band-Aids – For minor cuts, scraps, blisters, etc., you’ll want to have a stash of Band-Aids specifically for this application.

RELATED: How to Close a Wound in a Crisis [Crisis Medic]

Gauze/Bandages – For more serious injuries, you’ll want to keep a supply of dedicated gauze and bandages.

Rubbing Alcohol – Rubbing alcohol burns on an open wound, but it is a great way to sterilize instruments, surfaces, and the skin surrounding a wound.

Multivitamins – As you’ve probably noticed by now, fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t very well represented in this list. That’s why your emergency stockpile should include an economy sized bottle or two of a good multivitamin, preferably a gel-cap or chewable form.

Warmth and Comfort

Sleeping Bags – There’s really no easier or more compact way to store your bedding essentials, especially if you choose a highly insulated sleeping bag designed for backpacking.

Thermal Underwear – Since power utilities may go down for long periods of time during a crisis, thermal underwear could be worth its weight in gold.

Candles – You’ll probably never read a disaster preparedness list that doesn’t include candles, and for good reason. A good stock of slow-burning emergency candles is a survival essential, as well as something to light them with.

RELATED: How to Make Your Own SHTF Candles

Cigarette Lighters – I recommend stashing a combo pack of at least 6 lighters in your stockpile. In a power outage, these guys can become very, very important. The can also be very easy to misplace.

Fire Logs – Manmade fire logs, such as Duraflame, are an excellent choice because they put out more heat and burn longer than real lumber. Again, this is not a camp out, it’s a survival situation.


Water may seem like an obvious choice (as well it should), but you’d be surprised how many survival storage guides treat water as if it were an afterthought. The average person can only go 3-5 days without water. In many climates, 3 days would be a miracle. That’s why I’ve put it at number one.

Most experts recommend storing a 2-week supply of water at a minimum. This gives you the option to shelter in place for 2 weeks without having to leave the safety of your home during a natural disaster, civil unrest, or even a radioactive fallout scenario.

Perhaps the easiest way to store excess water is through a rain barrel. Rain barrels allow you to store upwards of 40 or 50 gallons of water efficiently on your patio.

RELATED: 7 Sneaky Ways to Hide Your Water Stockpile

Ideally, you’ll have your barrel situated to collect rainwater as it runs off of your roof. In a longer-term scenario, this piece of planning would pay major dividends. Rainwater storage tanks are easy to camouflage and are useful for watering your gardens and landscaping for free.


Sugar – While many Americans do everything to avoid sugar in their daily lives, in a survival situation the usefulness of sugar (white or brown) would be very important for both its flavor enhancing qualities and its calories.

Honey – Sweeteners like sugar and honey come in very handy when you’re faced with a bunch of bland survival food choices. Local honey is also thought to help with pollen allergies.

Vinegar – While most of us think of vinegar as something you put on food, it can also be used to clean fruits and vegetables, and to disinfect cutting boards and other utensils.

Spices – Just like condiments, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, etc. will be in high demand as the food supply gets more repetitive. Think about how important the spice trade was in Renaissance Europe.

Cooking Oil – Have you ever tried cooking without some kind of oil? It’s almost impossible to not burn whatever’s in your pan. If you stock up on olive oil, you can also use it in dressings and dips.


Flour or Wheat, or Both – In a long-term crisis, in which supply chains are completely off-line, the baked goods we take for granted will immediately become a luxury item. Flour and wheat are just as useful for baking as they would be for bartering.

Rice – Dried rice has an incredibly long shelf life, making it ideal for storage. In nutritional terms, rice is rich in starch and carbohydrates. It’s also a good source of Vitamin B, iron, and protein.

Beans, Lentils, Black-eyed peas – Legumes are a great source of protein, iron, and dietary fiber. Like rice, which they’re traditionally served with, dried beans have an exceptionally long shelf life.

Oats, Pancake Mix, Cornmeal – Starchy carbohydrates may be a no-no according to most dieting books, but these foods are a filling source of energy. Plus, they are comfort foods.

Condiments – Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, and other dressings will come in very hand when you’re living on a limited survival diet.

Pasta – Pasta stores well, has a long shelf life, and it’s loaded with carbohydrates. It’s also easy to prepare. Not to mention, pasta pairs well with lots of other items on this list.

Peanut Butter – Hoarded by everyone from college students to doomsday survivalists, and for many of the same reasons, peanut butter is a tasty, shelf stable source of protein that pairs with lots of other items.

Jams – When shopping for jellies and jams in a survival situation, you won’t be looking for the most organic option, but the one with the longest shelf life. Since refrigeration may not be an option, single-serving restaurant packets are a good idea.

Vacuum-Sealed Nuts – Peanuts, pecans, cashews, etc. can be a savory snack that’s high in protein. Canned or vacuum-sealed nuts have the longest shelf lives.

Dried fruits, such as raisins, apricots, and papaya – Dried fruits are a great source of nutrients, calories, potassium, and fiber. They can also be added to nuts to make delicious trail mixes.

Energy bars – Since these bars are typically loaded with carbs and protein by design, they’re actually a good choice for your survival storage (maximum nutrition with minimal effort and prep).

Canned soups and chili – Canned soups are easy to prepare and offer a nice variety of ingredients for the effort. Look for low-sodium options. Premium brands may be healthier, but value brands will make your money go further.

Canned veggies – When the farmer’s market is not an option, canned veggies are a good source of the same nutrients.

Canned chicken, tuna, or turkey – Canned meats can be added to pasta, rice, etc., to add flavor, iron, and protein. These canned meats have a shelf life of 2 years, as odd as that may seem.

Tomato Sauce – Canned or jarred, tomato sauce delivers a lot of convenience, calories, and nutritional value. Combine this with your pasta or canned meat.

Your Family’s Favorite Drink – Powdered sports drinks and teas are easy to store, and they’ll offer you a little variety. Plus, many of these contain electrolytes and added B vitamins.

Crackers – When it comes to eating items like peanut butter or canned tuna, you’re going to need something to “put it on.” Since breads don’t store well, crackers are a great alternative. Wheat and vegetable-based crackers can add nutritional value.

Packaged Meals – Just-add-water style meals will offer both variety and simplicity. You’re probably thinking about Macaroni & Cheese or Hamburger Helper here, but there are a ton of options on the market, from Cajun to Thai.

Comfort Foods – Comfort items are important psychologically, especially if your family includes young children. Popcorn, Candy (hard candy keeps longer than chocolates), sealed pudding containers, fruit snacks, etc., are all options that store well and can give children something to look forward to.

TIP: Ideally, you’re food stockpile will match your regular eating habits, so that you can consistently rotate through items before they reach their expiration dates. Plus, if you’re going to make a disaster food supply, why the heck wouldn’t you give yourself some tasty options?

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