Let’s face it. There are so many options for prepper gear out there. It can be overwhelming to know what to buy. But there are certain areas of prepping that are especially important. These include food, water, personal hygiene, personal protective equipment, and some special tools. These are the items that will preserve life and prevent illness.
When purchasing preps, some people choose to buy a few items at a time, often due to budgeting issues. However, some people can afford to buy everything at the same time. Whichever way you choose to do it, there are items you should focus on as your top priority. From our experience, the following list includes the top purchases that anyone should make when they first start prepping.
It doesn’t matter how much S Hits TF, we all need to eat. And when things go sideways, food won’t necessarily be easy to get. You need to be sure you have enough food on-hand, so you and your family will be well-fed. The following items are must-haves when it comes to your food and nutrition needs:
You should have a minimum of two weeks of food on-hand for emergencies. Of course, it’s better to have a month or two worth of food stored away. This is the regular food you eat on a daily basis and it’s considered to be your short-term food supply. If an emergency event is relatively short-lived, this food should get you through.
Aside from your regular food, you should consider your long-term needs. If the disruption to society is extensive enough, you might need to have food on-hand to get by for months.
Buckets of emergency food are the perfect addition to your prepper gear. These contain full meals that can be eaten simply by adding hot water. And they have a 25-year shelf life, so you can store it and forget it.
Stored food, even buckets of emergency food, mean you will eat well. But you need fresh food and that is tough to get in emergency situations. Having sprouting seeds on-hand will allow you to grow sprouts with just a little water. This isn’t about growing a garden—it’s about having fresh greens to eat every day. Examples of the types of seeds you can use include mustard seeds, mung beans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and lentils.
In just a few days from starting the seeds, you will have fresh green sprouts to provide extra nutrition. Just be sure to get seeds that are non-GMO. Grocery store seeds have generally been irradiated and will not sprout effectively.
For long-term food needs, having a store of seeds you can plant is critical. After all, you will eventually run out of the food you have stored. Once the worst has passed and you are rebuilding your life, you will be able to start a garden. The best seeds to store include:
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This is even more critical than food. You can go as long as three weeks without food, but only 3 days without water. Make sure you have water on-hand and make sure you have a way to cleanse water when you have to make do with what you find outside.
Hopefully, you will be able to bug in for an extended period of time. Having bottled water stored away will help ease the burden when you are getting your footing in tough times. You should have a minimum of two weeks’ worth of bottled water stored away, but as much as a couple of months. Again, if the emergency is short-lived, this will be enough to get you through.
This is the easiest way to store emergency water and is ideal for any type of home. As long as you have warning you won’t have or be able to use your water, the waterBOB is indispensable. This is a one-time-use container that holds up to 100 gallons of water. Since we need to store 1 gallon per person per day, the waterBOB provides 100 days’ worth of water for one person.
The waterBOB is designed to line your bathtub. You can fill it without the need to sanitize your bathtub. This ensures your water is fresh and clean and it will stay that way for as long as 16 weeks. The waterBOB also comes with a pump to extract the water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. And it is inexpensive at around $30 each.
If you are bugging in over the long-term, you will need a water-collection system of some kind. A rain barrel is the simplest option. Be sure to have at least one or two of these on your property and you can capture rainwater. Even if you live in an apartment with a balcony, you can use a rain barrel to collect water. Just don’t catch it as runoff from the roof as most roofing tiles contain chemicals that can contaminate the water.
The Sawyer Mini Filtration System is perfect for filtering and purifying any water. It filters 100,000 gallons of water, removing 99.99999% of bacteria and 99.99999% of protozoa. This makes just about any water safe to drink.
The filter is small, lightweight, and comes with a straw and a drinking pouch. This makes it an ideal addition to your home kit or your bug out bag. And the best part is this filter is very affordable at around $30 each.
It never hurts to carry a couple of extra water bottles with you. This way, you can carry extra water with you if you have distance to travel between water sources. Stainless steel or Nalgene water bottles are best.
Personal hygiene is even more important in emergency situations than during everyday life. We have so many conveniences at our disposal in our society. Yet many people don’t realize the challenges when those conveniences are no longer available. Personal hygiene is really about keeping clean and avoiding unsanitary conditions that can lead to illness. The following are must-haves for your prepper supplies:
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NEVER be without a first aid kit. Even in good times, we need to have access to first aid kits to see us through minor emergencies. But in catastrophic situations, even small medical emergencies can turn into a serious health risk. In fact, a small cut can be life-threatening if it gets infected.
There are many types of hygiene products that keep you clean and smelling nice. Well, I can tell you that when it comes to a true survival situation, who cares how your pits smell. Really. As long as you have some soap and water, you’re good. But your oral care CANNOT suffer—and this isn’t because of the risk of bad breath.
Oral care is critical because if you end up with cavities, you can very quickly find out how bad dental issues can become. A tooth infection is no laughing matter. It CAN kill. So, make sure you have toothbrushes, floss, and toothpaste/baking soda in your oral hygiene kit.
It is also important to have clove oil and temporary dental fillings your oral hygiene kit. Clove oil is an ideal natural treatment for toothaches and abscesses. This is because love oil is a natural analgesic and antiseptic—thanks to a component of the oil called eugenol. Clove oil also numbs the mouth, reduces pain, and fights infection. Emergency fillings will cover any exposed nerves which can lead to immense pain.
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When the plumbing goes out, you will very quickly realize going to the bathroom is a big problem. Even a simple water main break that shuts down your water for a few days will prove how quickly using the toilet becomes an issue.
Having a simple bucket on-hand is ideal. You can line it with a garbage bag and have kitty litter right there. That way, you don’t have to go outside when you need to use the facilities. Just do your business and put a scoop of kitty litter over it.
This is the equipment that will keep you physically safe in any given situation. Having each of these items in your prepper gear is an absolute must.
When the air around you becomes deadly, there’s not much else that can help you other than a quality gas mask.
If you’re going to get any gas mask, mask sure it’s suited for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats. If you’re looking for a mask to handle it all, make sure to check out the MIRA Safety CM-6M Tactical Gas Mask.
It’s used internationally by police, military, and law enforcement, and is highly regarded within the prepper community.
As a bonus, make sure to pick up the VK-450 CBRN/CO filter as it’s the only 40mm NATO threaded filter on the market that handles CBRN agents and carbon monoxide. It will transform any full-face respirator into a fire escape mask, converting CO into CO₂ and allowing you to breathe it out.
You need to be able to protect all your orifices. Use earplugs to protect your ears from loud noises. Use goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris and dangerous chemicals. Use an N95 mask to protect against breathing in chemicals and biohazards.
These should all be kept in your work bag or get home bag. Seriously, if everyone had these during the 9/11 attacks, fewer people would have been injured.
Finally, here is a list of unique and necessary tools that can literally mean the difference between life and death. These tools can help you get out of tight situations and help you get what you need when you are on the move.
If you live where winter reigns half the year, you need to be ready for a grid-down situation during the cold months. This means having a safe, reliable heat source. Ideally, you would have a wood stove. A fireplace is also a plus.
But if you don’t have either of these, then your next best bet is to have a portable propane or kerosene heater in your prepper gear. And have plenty of extra fuel to go with it. The Mr. Heater is a good choice. It’s safe for indoor use, but have a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector on-hand, just in case.
You should ALWAYS have at least two ways to light a fire with you at any given time. However, having a ferro rod is particularly useful. The ferro rod can be used repeatedly and is a reliable method of starting a fire. This way, you can easily boil water to purify it, cook food, and keep warm.
This might seem basic, but it is so important. Spend some money to get high-quality LED flashlights for your prepper gear. These will help you light your way in the dark and are safer than candles. They can also help you identify danger and can be used in self-defense.
After all, if the light is low and you shine a flashlight in the eyes of an assailant, you will blind them long enough to get away or get the upper hand in a confrontation. Just make sure to have backup batteries.
A tarp is an indispensable part of your prepper gear. You can use a tarp for so many things, such as:
Tarps are truly indispensable. So, make sure you have at least one in your prepper gear.
This is a multi-tool that is an important part of your prepper gear. The Leatherman Wave comes with so many gadgets. These include:
This multi-tool will come in handy in so many different situations. And it can get you out of tight spots you don’t even know you’ll get into.
Store the Gerber E-Tool in your car for all kinds of emergencies. This folding spade has a serrated blade. You can use it to dig yourself out of a tough spot or chop through ice like a hot knife through butter.
The 5.11 Rush Tactical Backpack is the gold standard to get your bug out bag started. This is the tactical backpack used by military forces worldwide. It is roomy and comes in three sizes— 24 liters, 37 liters, and 55 liters of storage capacity. This pack is rugged and durable and it is designed to make the organization of your gear easy.
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The fabulous Ontario SPAX tool is a must as part of your prepper gear. It will help you get water from fire hydrants. It also makes it possible to shut off gas mains when an earthquake or other natural disaster is imminent. Plus, it can be used to gain access to buildings and in self defense.
This tool could have easily been listed under the water category above. If you look at the outside water access on commercial and large residential buildings, you will see most of them can only be turned on with a special key— a sillcock key.
The sillcock key is designed to fit nearly any sillcock in use on commercial and residential buildings. This makes it possible to access water in urban areas. And even if the water is no longer running, there can still be a lot of water sitting in the pipes, especially when it comes to tall apartment buildings.
Hopefully, you will never have to use it, but you should have it. A self-defense weapon is a critical part of your prepper gear. Sometimes, just showing it is enough to deter people. Obviously, a firearm is the best choice. But there are other options, such as a crossbow or longbow with arrows, a taser, or a knife. Whatever you choose, be sure you are well-trained and practiced and that you have plenty of ammo.
In a lot of emergency situations, the grid and/or the internet will be down. It will be difficult to get the information you need in these situations. Your best option is to have hard copies of all the information you might need. You can print out a bunch of information from the internet or you can get a bunch of books, including the SAS Survival Guide.
A good weekend camping trip can help get you started learning how to rough it a little more than usual. Don’t try to take on a wilderness adventure on foot if you have never even camped out at a place you can drive to. Car camping allows you to take more gear and you can practice your fire-starting skills, learn how to use your water filter, go to the bathroom in the woods, etc. If you have the time, you can practice constructing rustic shelters.
There are classes that you can take online or in-person that will help you gain medical skills. Youtube videos can help. Skinny Medic is a favorite among preppers. Dr. Joe and Nurse Amy Alton are the authors of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” and have a website full of resources to help you learn.
Your kit needs to be designed based on the age of your children but also take into consideration that they are growing fast. Here are a few items to consider. Baby formula and diapers Extra clothing they can grow into Medications Something for entertainment A pair of closed-toed shoes they can grow into.
Obviously, there are plenty of other things you can and should have in your prepper gear. But these are the most basic and most important items. Focus on these first.
If these are all you have when disaster strikes, you will be able to survive when most other people won’t. And once you have these basics, then you can move on to the extras that will make survival easier and more comfortable.
Have we missed something? If you have ideas for other must-haves in your prepper gear, please let us know in the comments section below!
Roman is a notable figure in the sphere of emergency preparedness and has been featured in various news broadcasts, publications, and documentaries to weigh in on the subject. He has made multiple appearances on HBO, BBC, CBS, and other media outlets to provide insight on the critical importance of readiness under all circumstances. When he is not hard at work being the CEO of Ready To Go Survival and MIRA Safety, he enjoys riding his motorcycle, shooting, handball, and scaring his neighbors by taking out the trash in full MOPP gear.