Katadyn– The Rolls Royce of water purifiers. The Swiss made Katadyn, besides your standard hand held water filter, they also carry tablets,and desalinates for larger water amounts. This little hand held filter is good for 13,000 gallons!Chlorine Tablets – While not a long term solution, these can treat immediate water needs for about 5-10 gallons.
Medical is another critical group of items that should be well-stocked. The most important thing about this is the individual needs of yourself and your family. Special antibiotics, diabetic medicine, hearts medications etc.. will vary from family to family. Aside from the basics be sure to understand your family’s special needs as well.
Hydrogen Peroxide– this can be a go-to natural first-aid cleaner & topical antiseptic to prevent infection from minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. The best part about hydrogen peroxide is that it is dirt cheap! Grab some next time your at the grocery store.
Band Aids – Always need to have a stocked supply both large and small for unwanted cuts. Especially if you have kids, keep these handy.
Neosporin– Great antibiotic & antiseptic ointment. This could be your backup to hydrogen peroxide, yet somewhat more pricey.
ACE bandages– For general injuries, recovery, and compression, have several bandages in different sizes
Rolled gauze– Clean & sterile gauze are a must for dressing woods and stopping bleeding to keep infection at bay. Keep in mind, variety is key when it comes to medical supplies like this.
Butterfly bandages / If suturing is not your thing, butterfly bandages are a must.
Burn Jel– for fast and minor relief of burns, should be included in every burn kit.
Duoderm– this stuff is absolute gold! It is a sticky covering for external wounds that give optimal healing and prevent infection.
Tape– first aid tape should also be kept in your medical supplies. 3M makes all sorts of medical tape.
Scissors/shears– trauma shears should be handy if needed to cut through tough material.
Splinting material– portable splint devices used in the field and for medical emergency teams can be very useful.
Blister/moleskin– if you’re doing lots of walking or hiking nothing can stop you quicker than bright red blisters. Have some moleskin in your kit for those unwanted blisters.
N95 masks– if there is ever a pandemic, having a mask can be invaluable. Flu, Ebola, etc… when the crises hits these be will go fast, so stock up on some before they are needed.
Nitrile gloves– when dealing with blood, infections, etc… high quality disposable exam gloves can be very useful.
Quick alcohol pads– another first-aid antiseptic. Clean minor cuts, disinfect medical gear, or prep skin prior to injections. Although stingy, these are very compact and useful when cleansing wounds.
Tylenol/aspirin– always need to have a quality pain reliever or fever reducer in your medical kit.
Thermometer (mercury free)– measuring your temperature should always be available. Make sure to get a mercury-free thermometer and an accurate one at that!
Snake bit kit– depending on where you live, not a necessity. But if you’re out about in the country especially in the southern half of the US, having a snake bit kit is wise. These kits usually come with a powerful suction extractor that can double for any poisonous bite or sting.
Benadryl– very useful for allergies or allergic reactions as well as a general anti-histamine.
Vaseline– this topical ointment is primarily used for skin protection, windburn, rashes, etc …
Pedialyte– can be very useful for dehydration or diarrhea issues.
Aloe-Vera– this little plant is also useful for sun protection, rashes, and burns.
Sutures/needles– while this is more of a skill, sterile sutures could be a handy item to have in store.
Tweezers– don’t want to get a splinter without having these handy.
Hand-sanitize– when you’re on the go, having a portable sanitize and disinfectant is extremely important in prevention of disease and infections.
Syringes– disposable syringes are recommended if there is ever a need for a quick injection. Especially if there are special needs
Quick Clot blood stop– very handy and used by the military to stop bleeding fast!
Q-tips/cotton balls– Always need some cotton balls and q-tips handy for cleaning wounds and scrapes. They can also double for gun cleaners, tinder, and preventing blisters.
Essential oils– Having a good stock of essential oils will be very useful if the system goes down and its hard to find quality medicine. Essential oils are inexpensive and needs no prescription to buy them and can be used for antiseptics, relieve headaches, promote sleep, reduce anxiety, treat wounds, etc
Vitamins / prescription medications– Find a good multiple-vitamin for you and your family. Specific supplements that you may need based on your health and current needs should also be well stocked. If you’re on any prescription medications, research how you can store up a several month supply if possible or alternatives that maybe sufficient.
Insect repellent – A strong repellent for insects and bugs, especially if you work & live outdoors. If the grid goes down, everyone will be ‘working’ outdoors …
Chapstick– as you spend more time outside, Chapstick will be equally important.
Smelling salts– inhalants that are used when light-headed or just dizzy. If you need a jolt to wake up, use smelling salts!
Charcoal tablets– charcoal tablets are used for many types of digestive and stomach issues. They contain lots of small cavities able to absorb unwanted materials and gases sitting in the gut causing bloating, pain or gas.
Antibiotics– the scary thing about an economic collapse will be the scarcity of antibiotics and prescription medicine. IF you’re not a doctor/nurse and don’t have access to such medicine, there are some alternatives. Some people say, some animal antibiotics use the same ingredients as the one for humans.
Potassium/iodide tablets– it’s wise to store Potassium iodide or KI in your medical emergency kit. This is a type of salt that can be used to combat radiation poisoning. Potassium Iodine will block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland. KI (potassium iodide) is a salt of stable (not radioactive) iodine that can help block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland, thus protecting this gland from radiation injury. The thyroid gland is the part of the body that is most sensitive to radioactive iodine.
Isopropyl alcohol– this is another useful topical agent for disinfecting items, cleansing wounds, and general antimicrobial liquid.
Sun Block – More time outside, more sun on the skin, get some sun block.
6 mil plastic– this can be useful in case of a bio-hazard. Creating a safe room requires 6 ml plastic, some duct tape and proper ventilation. This type of plastic sheeting has lots of other uses as well such as rain collection, or for sheltering or a tarp.
First Aid Manuals– a solid first aid book that covers the basic should be on your shelf. We rely so much on the internet, that if the grid went down, the only information you would have are the books on your shelf.
Next on the list comes safety and security measures. You want to be able to protect your home and your family in case anarchy ensues and there is no law & order. Think weapons and ammo and a home fortress. The first thing we will look at on the list are guns.
Handgun– While there is some argument on the perfect caliber, 9mm, .40. or .45, owning a pistol is essential for defense. This can be your go-to gun by your bedside to things that go bump in the night. If you want a simple point-shoot go for the revolver.
Shotgun– Many will argue if you could only have 1 weapon for home defense, the shotgun would it. The ammunition is inexpensive, is a long gun so there are less background checks when purchasing one, and can always double as a hunting gun. Also, if someone is in your home, and they hear the pump of a shotgun, it will scare any would-be intruder.
Long rifle– For hunting and long range needs you will need to have a long range rifle for 400+ yards out. Suggested calibers are the .30-.06, .308, or the .223.
Knife– You should always have a knife in your bug-out bag or as an everyday carry. The uses of a knife are limitless.
Short range rifle– The .22 LR rifle is regarded as the Survivalist best friend. The ammo is plentiful and extremely cheap and could always double as a barter item, so stock up!
Ammo– whatever your choice of weapons are both handguns and rifles, be sure to stock up on as much ammo as possible. Prices will skyrocket and ammo will be non-existent if there ever is a collapse scenario that unfolds. Guns and ammo will always hold their value.
Neighborhood defense– Get to know your neighbors now! If law & order ceases your neighbors will be your closest allies or enemies. The more neighbors who are prepared the better. If you can develop a plan even better.
Guard dog– Man’s best friend can prove indispensable in an end-time collapse. German Shepherds or Rottweilers are standard guard dogs, but any decent sized dog will be of great aid. Remember to stock food/water/medicine for your canine friend.
Tasers/ pepper spray– If guns for some reason are not an option, at the very least own some tasers or pepper spray for home defense.
Pre-cut plywood– This can be a wise strategy if you leave in a high risk area. You can use pre-cut plywood to board up your windows to harden your home and make it more difficult to enter.
Security cams/alarms– Strategically placing security cams or alarms around your home can notify you of danger in advance. Some will say this can make your home more of a target because the average home doesn’t have cameras. Your choice. There’s also the option fake cameras to deter would be thieves. Actually fairly cheap for $6.
$500 cash– While this would fall more under financial security having extra cash in your home could prove wise in a financial collapse scenario. Credit cards may stop working and having a decent supply of 20’s, 10’s 5’s and 1’s for buying essentials for at least 1 month is a prudent strategy.
Precious metals – you could write a whole article on preparing yourself financially for an economic doomsday scenario. Investing in precious metals is one of them.
Lighting for home– A well lit home is less likely to be targeted at night. Security lighting around the perimeter of your house my encourage the riffraff to look elsewhere. Go for the solar-powered option here.
Power & Heat
When the grid goes down or power from the state is no longer reliable how will you power your home or keep warm during the winter. What alternatives from electric power do you have? The following is a short list of options
Blankets – Thick and heavy blankets, enough for several unwanted guests that may pop in as well.
Sleeping bags– Along with blankets, having a solid sleeping bag for each member in your family is also recommended. Be sure to check for temperature rating and type of insulation.
Batteries– An ample supply of batteries should always be in your prepping supplies. One tip is to use battery operated devices that use the same type of battery preferably AA, which is the most popular out there. Then you only have to stock up on 1-2 kinds of batteries as opposed to every size of battery.
Rechargeable batteries– Some tools eat batteries like candy! You will want some rechargeable batteries to go the extra mile.
Spare fuel– Whatever fuel you have to power your car/generator/stove etc… you will want to have store some spare fuel.
Gas cans– Gas cans are needed to store spare fuel.
Power inverter– A power inverter enables a 12 volt DC to be converted to a 120 AC.
.Solar power watt kit– A solar power watt kit allows you to power your RV, home, cabin, boat, etc… all from the power of the sun. Solar power especially in the south can be very attractive as an alternative power source. To piece together a solar power kit you will need, solar panels, charge controller, batteries, connections & wiring, as well as a power inverter.
Flashlights– Remember to try and stick with the AA flashlights to standardize your battery selection.
Candles– Emergency lighting at its best! Candles are great for short-term light needs around the home, which also provide a small source of heat as well.
Oil lamps– Another short-term light source that are somewhat better than candles and can be used in power outages, outdoors, or just for camping fun.
Head lamps– Head lamps are extremely useful when working, exploring, camping or whatever and you need your hands free with a bright light.
Propane– Heat for cooking will always be a priority, and nothing works as good as old-fashioned propane. Although not super cheap instant fire for cooking and heating is a worthy trade-off if there is no power or gas coming in.
Solar cooker/oven – Solar cooking has been around for hundreds of years. They are amazing and you really can cook with the sun, though it does take some patience. A proper solar cooker can easily reach degrees of 300F so cooking should be no problem! And what more abundant energy source do you need as the sun.
Fire extinguisher – Prepping is about preparing for the unknown. If the Fire Department no longer exists, catching a small flame before it gets out of hand could potentially save you your home! Be prepared and get a small extinguisher.
Generator– Generators are great in emergency situations, especially if power is crucial for medical reasons. Long-term however there is debate at how viable generators can benefit as you will need a constant supply of fuel as well as fuel storage. Not to mention if the power has been down for months and would-be scavengers are rummaging the neighborhood when they hear the sound of a generator running? If you do plan on getting one, look for triple-fuel generators.
Bio-diesel fuel– while not a particular item to stock, the skills and know-how to make bio-diesel could be a life-saver if fuel is critically needed. Bio-diesel is just a renewable fuel to replace diesel fuel, and can be homemade with the proper equipment.
Iron stove– A wood burning iron stove maybe a smart choice for a solid heat source as well as double as cooking outlet. Northern winters are brutal, and a wood burning stove will do wonders to heat your house and offer a place for cooking. Some popular brands are Ashley, Heartland, and Franklin.
Firewood & matches– For those that live in colder climates, preparing and storing firewood should be an ongoing prep. Wood is free and abundant if you live off the grid and with a little labor can be used to heat any home with no power. Also never hurts to stock up on strike-anywhere matches.
Tools & Miscellaneous
Adequate tools and equipment will be crucial for survival in a complete shutdown of the system and economy. Begin to stock up on useful tools, equipment, and items now before they are needed.
Ax– A solid ax will be useful mainly for cutting wood. Now that you have your wood-burning iron stove, you will need to procure firewood to heat your home.
Buckets– Buckets are very versatile and can have tremendous use for life hacking and different situations.
Wire– Wire can be a life saver for makeshift repairs. Use it to fix chicken coops, machinery, fences, etc… very useful when things breakdown and you can’t go to the store and buy a new one.
Shovels– Practical, shovels are useful for camping, hunters, hikers, etc… outdoor use is endless. Have 1-2 quality shovels in your garage or shed.
Wheelbarrow– Like a shovel, a sturdy and durable wheelbarrow will be highly useful as we move more to a agrarian society again.
Hammer & Screwdrivers Standard tools again, make sure you have some.
Nails/screws– Building up a nice supply of mixed nails and screws will be a smart choice when you can no longer buy them. Home and fence repairs almost always include a hammer, screwdriver & some screws.
Jumper cables– always have a pair of jumper cables.
Bleach – Good ole fashioned bleach has many uses in a survival situation. Bleach can be used for purifying water, disinfect supplies & tools, as well as general purpose cleaning.
Duct tape– The go to item for makeshift repairs. My favorite brand is Gorilla Tape.
Epsom salt– Epsom salt is a cheap medical alternative to treat sprains, soak in, cramping, athlete’s foot, general laxative, and to relax and distress. You can pick up some Epsom salt at your local grocery store of pharmacy.
Siphon tubes– Moving fluids from buckets and gas is easy with a proper siphon tube. These are handy to have around the home.
Zip ties– Zip ties are another universal item for makeshift repairs and keeping things locked together. Somewhat like duct tape, their uses of infinite.
Gadsden Flag– Made popular by patriots, the yellow flag with a coiled rattlesnake and the words Don’t Tread on Me has become more and more famous. Flying this flag sends a message to like-minded patriots where you stand.
Dish washing liquid / Gloves– Never hurts to have an ample supply of dish washing liquid/soap and proper gloves for cleaning your dishes and utensils. Several extra scrubber pads and steel pot scrubbers can help ease the pain of doing the dishes.
Garbage/Trash bags– Another item with endless uses. Gathering trash or other items, trash bags cannot be beat. Make sure you get the heavy duty kind!
PVC Piping– Extra PVC pipe can be useful for DIY plumbing, most likely there won’t be a plumber to call if chaos ensues.
Glass Jars– Very useful to store foods and liquids.
Toothbrush/paste– Extra toothbrushes will be very useful.
Writing pencil & paper– If the grid goes down, and there is no electricity, paper & pencil will again come to the forefront.
Diapers & baby stuff– If you have little ones, or are planning to have a baby anytime soon. Store up on diapers and other essential baby products.
Ziploc bags– Ziploc bags are versatile and useful for storing small loose items and keeping them dry.
Backpack (bug-out bag)– It is very useful to have a bug-out bag packed with essentials for about 3-5 days. If something threatens your neighborhood or home and you have to leave, a bug-out bag could sustain you the first 36-72 hours of the emergency.
Land maps– We rely on the internet and free digital access for everything! What if the net goes down? Land maps of your surrounding area could be very valuable especially if you’re new to the area or are out in the back country. Make sure these are water and tear proof.
Tent– Another useful item to have along with sleeping bags. Gives you mobility and shelter out in the land.
Bicycle– Bicycles could become very popular again if gas prices skyrocket or energy shortages appear. Have a good quality mountain bike with spare tires and tools to make repairs to keep it running.
Tarps– Tarps can collect rain water, provide cover from the elements as emergency shelter, hide tools and equipment, and the list goes on!
Bungee Cords– Another all-around multiple-purpose tool. Very strong in securing and tying down items. You usually don’t hear about bungee cords in prepping,
Welding Kit– Welding will be a useful skill down the road, and having the tools before they are needed is prudent.
Sewing Kit– Fixing ripped clothes, tents, tarps, sleeping bags, etc … you will need a proper sewing kit and gear.
Screwdriver/wrench set– It’s best to stock up on everyday tools now, especially if you don’t have any. DIY, makeshift equipment, and machinery will be more and more common and having the proper tools will go a long way in keeping things running.
Multiple-tool– Carrying a good multiple-tool is essential for the outdoors-man. A multiple-tool is about efficiency and usability in a small compact tool.
Rope / Para-cord– Rope is needed in all things outdoors. .
Compass– A sighting compass is a smart and useful tool out and about. Again think of no electricity or if the power goes down, this can be convenient for navigation.
Hand saw– Handy for most woodwork, tools dealing with wood will become very valuable if a collapse occurs.
Flint starter– A fire starter if your matches ever run out. For heat, warmth, and cooking, fire will always be important.
Hatchet– A solid hatchet is ideal for chopping kindling and small firewood.
If there ever is a major catastrophe, EMP attack, or the grid goes down, the ability to obtain information as well as communicate with others will be a critical resource. Below are several items to help you in getting started in communications prepping.
HAM radio– The gold standard in communications, HAM radio or amateur radio, has always stood the test of time when all other communication fails.
Hand crank radio– An emergency radio for disaster situations to keep you up to date on weather and basic FM/AM radio stations.
Pocket list of contact numbers/frequencies/channels– Important numbers and all relevant contact numbers should be written down somewhere for quick access.
Faraday cage– A Faraday cage will protect your electronics in the event of an EMP, which disables any object with a circuit.
You might say how to begin prepping begins with lists. As I stated earlier, this list is no where a complete itemized list, but it’ll give you a good starting point and an example of a prepping list.