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10 Things Everyone Will Be Looking For After The SHTF


10 Things Everyone Will Be Looking For After The SHTFIf you’ve been prepping for more than, say, a day, you know to stockpile things like food, water, and first aid supplies. That’s the easy to remember stuff, right? We all know we’ll need to eat and stay hydrated.

However, there are a number of things many preppers overlook in their planning. Things that will certainly come into play at some point during any sort of long-term event.

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1. Heirloom Seeds

For the uninitiated, heirloom seeds are ones that are a true strain. Meaning, if you grow a watermelon from an heirloom seed, the seeds found in the ripe melon can be planted the next season and will, theoretically at least, grow just fine.

Most of the fruits, vegetables, and even seeds you buy in the grocery store or discount big-box retailer are hybrids. Plant those seeds and you’ll be lucky if anything grows and any actual fruits or veggies that result will likely be less than pleasant.

2. Greenhouse Supplies

Even a very basic hoop house covered in plastic will greatly extend the growing season. You can find plans online for several different types of DIY greenhouses. Many consist of little more than some plastic sheeting and PVC. They are easy to assemble and work quite well.

3. Fire Extinguishers

When all fire-fighting duties fall on you and your family, you’ll certainly appreciate the addition of at least a few decent fire extinguishers. While household size extinguishers aren’t going to do much about a raging inferno, they can certainly help prevent a small fire from turning into a large one.

When you go to use one for real, remember the acronym PASS: Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the trigger, Sweep from side to side. Here’s some more info.

4. Wagons

Whether it is a robust model like you’d find at a garden center or just an old Radio Flyer, wagons are excellent back savers. Load them up with plants, dirt, containers of water, whatever, and wheel it all to where it needs to go. Parents certainly know the convenience of this sort of mass transit device after taking a child to the fair for the day.

5. Feminine Hygiene and Health Products

Many if not most preppers will think to stock up on things like pads and tampons, especially if there’s a female involved with the prepping. However, I have to wonder how many will think to pick up yeast infection medication and other feminine health products?

While hopefully, such issues won’t be commonplace, even one yeast infection without the proper treatment won’t make for a very pleasant experience for all involved.

6. Sewing Supplies

If traveling down to the local discount retailer to pick up new duds becomes no longer an option, having at least needles, thread, and some patches will extend the life of your clothes. Did you know that back in the day, when a sock developed a hole, they actually repaired the sock (called darning) rather than just tossing it into the dust rag bin and buying new ones? Hard to believe, I know.

7. Emergency Dental Supplies

Every prepper worth his or her salt has a nice and robust first aid kit, even if they don’t yet know how to use all those nifty gadgets and gizmos. But many overlook the things they’ll need to handle dental issues.

If you’ve ever come down with a toothache at 4:00 AM on a Saturday morning, you know just how miserable it can be to have to wait for even just a day or two before seeing a dentist. Now imagine it taking weeks before even finding a dentist!

There are several different kits available on the market that can help with temporary fillings and such issues. Clove oil works well for pain relief. You might go so far as to invest in some dental tools and a copy of Where There Is No Dentist by Murray Dickson.

8. Yeast

A necessary ingredient of many types of bread as well as for making booze, yeast is one of those things that you just never think of until you need it. While it doesn’t last forever, it is fairly cheap so stock up before you need it. While you’re at it, maybe practice making bread once in a while. That will help you rotate your yeast supply, plus there isn’t much better in life than fresh home-baked bread.

9. Cooking Oil

Another item that admittedly doesn’t last for years and years, cooking oil will provide fats and calories in a survivor’s diet, both of which are essential despite what you’ll hear from various fad diet experts. Plus, a supply of cooking oil gives you additional cooking options, rather than just baking or boiling. Avoid the animal fat based products as they will go rancid quicker than the vegetable oils.

10. Condoms

Let’s face facts, ok? If there’s no television, no Netflix, and no Internet, many people are going to resort to other forms of entertainment. A good supply of condoms will prevent another Baby Boom. Plus, condoms have other uses, such as water bladders and even for building slingshots. Really, though, save them for their intended purpose.
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  1. N P Duncan-adam on August 11, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Before you start collecting the seeds from your store brought fruits you might first try to germinate one.
    Sadly you will find that they will not grow as most of the fresh fruit you buy has been irradiated to extend its shelf life.
    However the farmers market on a weekend comes to the rescue on that score so support your local farmers and save those seeds they are local and you know they grow in your area.

  2. Ed Meyer on September 4, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    This comment is not really about what to store, This comment will address what you need to DO, and KNOW when prepping, and the aftermath of a SHTF event. First of all, Those fancy generators that you have? Enjoy them while you can. In a “grid down” situation, the sound of your generator is going to travel far and wide… notifying ANYONE within earshot that you have supplies…. Those solar panels…they are a highly visible billboard announcing to everyone that you are a “prepper”….and have supplies……. Anyone who is foolish enough to think that in a true SHTF situation they will be able to shelter in place in an urban environment… I really pity you… In this instance though you will be wise to ALWAYS be seen going to the “government handouts”…whether you need them or not… If you do not go and get your supplies….people will notice…and realize that you must have large stores of goods within your house…Meaning, you will not have them for long. Just a few things to think about. If you have solar panels, mount them on a flat roof where they cannot be seen from passersby… You will lose a substantial amount of efficiency, but will likely survive much longer from the hoards of starving and desperate people.

    • Steve on July 13, 2019 at 9:54 pm

      Families that have a handicapped individual living in the home have no way to bug out. Walkers and wheelchairs aren’t made for any type of cross country hikes. You just have to play the cards life deals you.

      • N P Duncan-adam on August 11, 2019 at 2:34 pm

        May sound a bit crass but a wheel chair bound person can easily be transported across most environments on a game dolly these things are designed to haul the body of a large animal across all manner of terrain admittedly they provide no comfort but when the choice is move or die it’s a limousine and imagination is the master of necessity.

  3. Gail on January 19, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    I read about including yeast as a basic item to stock but it didn’t really make sense. It expires in a short time and if you have baking powder and soda, you can make other types of bread. Not a worthwhile investment. Then, this article mentioned yeast for home brewery. OK, NOW I know why people were encouraged to store yeast! So, I am good to go! Not going to brew anything so no need to stock it. Prepper lists are good to use as a guide but you still need to think through what your family needs and not stock items that are not practical.

    • Tim on July 4, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      Also, you can grow a culture of yeast (a sourdough starter) yourself if you mix flour with water and leave it a few days. This is how we’ve made bread for hundreds of year because commercial dried yeast…

  4. Proud_to_be_American on October 3, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Did anyone mention honey yet? Last almost indefinitely.

    • Honeybee on February 28, 2018 at 9:32 pm

      Honey, many are not aware of, is also a very powerful healing agent-Inside and outside- of our bodies. We use it to heal my husbands leg ulcers bc it works 100% better than any prescription!

  5. Chris Thomas Wakefield on May 31, 2015 at 11:05 am

    “SHTF” is too broad a concept, not to mention an internet-born, colloquial acronym. In preparing for a situation it’s just as critical to know _what_ one is preparing for, as preparation itself. “I brought the blankets!” he said cheerfully, to which the other’s replied: “To a blanket factory?” I wonder if fellow “preppers” ever think about what it is they think are preparing for? Economic collapse? What, after 4000 years of human “civilization” it happens now? or soon? I don’t think so. Yeah, it’s nasty out there, but the IMF and the rich countries, institutions or more specifically rich individuals are going to allow their big_money_storage to disappear? Again, I don’t think so. THINK about it, what _would_ cause a true collapse of society?

    • David on October 20, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      google “the georgia guidestones”!

      • Chris Thomas Wakefield on October 20, 2015 at 8:14 pm

        David you under estimate me hugely, my site:


        • Phyllis Guarnaccia on August 21, 2016 at 1:52 pm

          CHRIS!!! Been looking for a way to ask you a question. So I’ll be so brief I know you’re busy. Will Elmira NY be part of the bend?
          Will Gloversville NY at the base of the Adirondacks be underwater or be the new waterfront?

          thank you for helping all of us find our way!

    • David on October 20, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      chris: you have a very impressive site. enjoyed looking at it. i’ve been compelled for some reason the start a “jihadist watch website” here in the u.s. a place for people to go and report behavior of certain individuals or groups that may require public attention. mostly focused on smaller communities. it appears these certain” groups” have started obtaining land in remote communities around the country. tennessee for one state is home to a large number of small to medium sized mosque. these people then start ‘training facilities for jihadist. the site would be a heads up for american citizens to let them know there’s at least a possibility of a ‘camp’ in their area. in texas there are several “groups” getting a foothold in the smaller communities. after 911 several arab doctors in the dallas area went on trail for raising money for terrorist organizations. i myself spoke with the fbi because i worked in the e.r. at a north dallas hospital and a guy of arab descent came in to be treated. when asked for an i.d. while checking he produced a valid kansas and illinois drivers license. this was about 3 weeks after 911. the fbi did look into the matter and the man was involved in some sort of money laundering scheme for funding terrorist in the middle east. this may sound a bit “off the old rocker’ to some, but i believe we americans need a forum to warn each other of any impending situation. if you have any constructive ideas please share. thanks!!

      • Chris Thomas Wakefield on October 20, 2015 at 10:46 pm

        David, thank you for your kind assessment of my website. Your idea is interesting although my time line for late modern human civilization is down to about 5 years left. Personally, I think the Islam “jihadist” extremist consciousness is supported by their native culture which will be almost completely destroyed by the Pole-Shift, as will ours. No internet, no distributed electricity, water or food. We will all eventually move to cooperative communities and those who would control others and subvert peace will kill each other off and not be allowed to re-birth here on Earth.

        • 101st on January 3, 2020 at 1:43 am

          Pole shifting. Still here.

        • Ernie on July 27, 2020 at 7:36 pm

          A “pole shift” is nothing more than a shift of MAGNETIC FIELDS. There will be little to NO EFFECT, not if but when it happens AGAIN. The planet isn’t going to flip, gravity will not be affected, there will be no calamity because of magnetic shifts.

    • Zane on March 13, 2018 at 1:26 am

      ““SHTF” is too broad a concept, not to mention an internet-born, colloquial acronym”
      Oh so so Wrong….. SHTF has been around far longer than the internet. I can remember it being used at least as far back as the 1960’s…

  6. the truth of the matter on May 25, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    One thing I notice everyone is missing…antibiotics. Go to your local pet store and buy fishbiotics (its amoxicillin). they come in 250mg capsules, I buy them at a feed store near me and vacuum seal them in doses( two tabs in one dose x 3 doses a day x 7 days) then in mason jars. it sure beats learning to make pennisillin.

    • Doc on October 15, 2017 at 10:59 am

      I pick up animal antibiotics at our local “Tractor Supply Company.” They are exactly the same as people antibiotics. As a former Navy Corpsman, I also packed a minor surgery kit and sutures. Lidocaine and syringes are all available online. Don’t attempt this if you are not trained. At least one person in a group should be a trained medic if possible.

  7. AgEngr on May 6, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    The seed type you are looking for is “open pollinated”, don’t limit yourself to the “heirloom” name. The open pollinated will breed true from generation to generation, and there are many excellent commercial versions available in large quantities at low price.

  8. immxdmta4 on March 8, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Grapefruit seed extract is the best, natural ‘cleaner’. And zero toxicity to people. A MUST for everyone. I has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal properties.

    GSE is ideal as a safe and simple way to treat drinking water when camping,back packing or in any emergency situation where safe drinking water is not obtainable, and boiling(or distilling) is not practical.

    Available water should first be filtered. (At the very least, let suspended particles settle.) Retain
    the clear water and add 10 to 25 drops of grapefruit seed extract(less for questionable tap water, more for stream or pond water) for each one gallon of water. Shake or stir vigorously and let sit for a few minutes. A slightly bitter taste may be noticed. This is just the inherent taste of the GSE.

  9. Sigi on March 6, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Knowledge and equipment for making vinegar, wine, cheese, etc.

  10. Edith Gaylord on March 5, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Guns, ammunition, reloading equipment and reloading supplies.

    A friend of ours was once told by a coworker that she was a prepper and had a couple years of food. He told her that he had no food, but he did have guns…so he could come and take all of her food. She got his point that you need a way to protect what you have from those who have nothing, have not planned and do not know how to stash supplies.

    If you have rimfire rifles and ammo, you have highly tradable goods. Stock up on these. Rimfire guns are quite inexpensive, so start buying them when they’re on sale. Good for hunting small-to-medium-size game and larger game when the SHTF.

    Shotguns and shotshells are also great as tradable goods. Again, the guns are inexpensive. Buy them whenever they go on sale. Buy the ammo whenever you can. They’re good for self-defense and hunting small and large game.

    Get several slingshots with laser sights or dot sights. Extra slingshot ammo and extra sling bands, too. Squirrels and rabbits are highly edible! We’ve added a slingshot that also shoots arrows.

    Don’t forget bows and arrows. Don’t get a crossbow unless you have a cocking assist since they’re hard to cock.

    Best of all, learn to load and shoot all the things you have. When you trade a gun and ammo to someone who doesn’t have a clue, they’ll want to know how to use it. Become proficient.

    Learn to shoot with open sights, not just with scopes. Scopes can & do go bad. But most importantly, you may have to hunt for your next meal in the pelting rain. Many scopes are waterproof and/or rainproof. Yet, they can and will break because nothing is 100% perfect. Open sights work in any weather. Learn to use to them.

    • Dean Kinman on March 20, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      Black powder firearms are a good thing to have as well also learn how to make your own powder ( it is not hard at all )

  11. Mk Johnson on March 2, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Lard has a long shelf life if it’s kept in an airtight container- something like those popcorn tins with the tight-fitting lid works real well. Even after it goes rancid it’s still useable for making soap or candles.

    • Sigi on March 6, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      Good point about other uses for rancid oils. I have some old flax oil I am keeping in case I need to use it in a small oil-lamp or boil it to finish wood.

  12. Encourager on February 18, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Somebody mentioned condoms… So I will mention baby stuff when those fail =) You can get patterns at a fabric store to make your own cloth diapers with a PUL outside that keeps the wet in. (Use snaps on the diapers as toddlers love to rip open the velcro and deposit goodies where you don’t want them). You should have clothing patterns on hand, flannel for newborns, other material for older toddlers.

    Also, patterns and know how to make moccasins for everyone. A knowledge on how to tan leather, smoke meats, build a smokehouse and outdoor oven. A couple good books on medicinal herbs and how to use them. How to make tinctures, essential oils, cough syrup from elderberries. I could go on and on. BTW, good article.

  13. Debra Velzy-Pate on February 14, 2015 at 8:35 am

    I save glass jars of various sizes to have containers to break down larger packages. Run through a couple dish washer cycles to get rid of odors or wash with baking soda.
    Stash small amounts of cash in small bills in various places. If your robbed, they won’t find it all. Also stash things to use as a weapon around the house incase a intruder gets in. Aim for their head.

    Plastic bags various sizes, plastic pails and lids , food safe ones and regular.

    Scope out your area for a place you could discreetly grow food and check youtube for ideas how to. Get hunting and fishing supplies and find out what areas or lakes, rivers are areas good place to hunt, fish.

    Get Heirloom seeds, then you can save the seeds from what you grew for the next year. The seeds sold in most stores will not produce usable seed. Again, check youtube.
    Do not discuss that you are prepping with others, people remember and may visit you to get your supplies.
    Fill laundry detergent jugs with water and enough detergent to wash a sink full and other jugs with just water to rinse. Free storage containers.
    Fill washed juice jugs and pop bottles with drinking water. Do not fill milk jugs with water, the plastic is made to break down and will leak after a short time. Save empty milk jugs to fill and transport water if, when shtf.
    God bless you and keep you safe and healthy.

    • Sigi on March 6, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      Great ideas!

    • Eric on June 6, 2016 at 10:43 am

      Do not aim for the head. It’s a smaller target and if ammo is getting low you’ll want a critical area that is a larger target. 2 maybe 3 rounds center mass (heart and lungs). Most people’s nerves will be racked if ever faced with the situation of having to kill another human and a small target like the head is not a wise choice.

      • N P Duncan-adam on August 11, 2019 at 2:46 pm

        Aim below the waist body armour is so prolific now you cannot afford to take the chance if you are certain your target is not wearing any armor then go for center mass if your uncertain go for mobility if they can’t move the threat diminishes exponentially, however if your into the Hollywood’s theory then it’s simple just put one down the barrel of the baddies gun and it’s all over bad guy walks into the sunset crying no one died lol.

  14. Mike Gregory on February 13, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    assorted sizes of plastic bags bigger ones that fit 30 gallon plastic trash barrel great for water,food.and other type of storage you want to keep clean and a little more portable

  15. Shawn Mullen Sr. on February 13, 2015 at 9:32 am

    There are a LOT of people that have gasoline and chain saws…… one of the barter items I’ve stocked up on, that most people overlook is 2 cycle engine oil, in small bottles………. NEVER barter around where your supplies are located. MOST people will be honest and trade…….. others will think they just need to find where its at, so they can take it!!

  16. Bill Singleton on February 13, 2015 at 9:13 am

    I’d go for tools. Screwdrivers, saws, hammer, wrenches etc………..

  17. Snager on February 13, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Toilet Paper

  18. euragone on February 12, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Hydrogen Peroxide … It has more uses than say rubbing Alcohol…

    • Mk Johnson on March 2, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      hydrogen peroxide has a pretty short life, even sealed in their original containers

      • Sigi on March 6, 2015 at 5:02 pm

        How about distilled white vinegar?

        • Mk Johnson on March 6, 2015 at 7:02 pm

          Vinegar is good for so many thing- it makes sense to store some. Baking soda too. (baking powder has a pretty short shelf life, but you can make it out of baking soda and cream of tartar, and those have almost a half-life rather than a shelf life, lol)

  19. Betty Hiland on February 11, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Garlic oil will kill a yeast infection and a bladder infection much better than any medication. Edible clay will heal a toothache. Also Life straws for drinking water and a couple of tub sized containers for water might come in real handy. How about ham radio and the know how to use it?

    • Debra Velzy-Pate on February 14, 2015 at 8:12 am

      I’d like to know more about Garlic oil remedies please, sources, quantity of dose, etc.

  20. Lisa Roloff on February 10, 2015 at 11:31 am

    olive oil takes forever to go bad as well. I have everything on the list except the green house supplies

    • Gordon Waite on February 16, 2015 at 10:24 am

      “Olive oil takes forever to go bad” unless it is not stored in a cool, dry and dark location and has not been exposed to air!

    • immxdmta4 on March 8, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      And you can use in making oil lamps. Olive oil is the best due to least amount of smoke and time to burn but all oil will work.

      Rancid oil of all types works too. Even bacon grease.

  21. janet on February 10, 2015 at 9:18 am

    wine,tobacco,honey,and cooking spices… I am working on growing/making these items on our homestead for barter…also have coffee bean seeds ordered….great article by the way…

    • George Avalon on February 10, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Agree on everything here, +1 for honey (won’t go bad, great sweetener, and even a wound dressing); liquor, or the ability to create it will be huge if SHTF is a long endeavor. (assuming folks have the other necessities first)

    • Encourager on February 18, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      You can buy green coffee beans in a can and they will store for a long, long time. Use a cast iron pan over a fire to roast them, stirring often and watching well as they can burn easily, especially just before they are done. Crush them until they are as fine as you want them to be.

      • Sigi on March 6, 2015 at 5:02 pm

        Illy coffee comes in whole or ground beans in metal cans, vacuum packed and nitrogen flushed.

  22. JeffersonOh on February 10, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Liquor, salt, matches, cigarettes, gloves/hats, duct tape, plastic sheeting are a few more affordable and very tradeable items.

    • Brandy on February 14, 2015 at 3:23 am

      Cigarettes go stale

      • Ash on February 16, 2015 at 3:26 pm

        So? If you haven’t had a smoke in weeks or more you won’t care if it’s a little stale. An old cigarette is better than no cigarettes.

    • Cindy Kittinger on May 6, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      if you vacuum seal them they should stay good for a year! I’ve done it with potato chips in mason jars….

  23. Silence Dogood on February 9, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Sally Seals is right on bleach. And I will add toilet paper. You can not possibly have too much toilet paper ! ! !

    • euragone on February 12, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Keep sponges for just in case…. It worked for the Romans… You can only store so much toilet paper!

      • Encourager on February 18, 2015 at 3:08 pm

        Those sponges the Romans used were sea sponges. Make sure they are clean and free of tiny shells and coral branches…that might hurt!

        • euragone on February 20, 2015 at 7:57 pm

          True.. But Synthetic sponges have evolved! And their cheap….Sooner or later TP will run out.. and then what?

          • Sigi on March 6, 2015 at 4:57 pm

            Stock up on “sports bottle” style water bottles. They’ll be handy for squirting water to rinse off the backside, reducing the amount of TP necessary to do the job.

      • Mk Johnson on March 2, 2015 at 1:20 pm

        You can also cut squares of soft absorbent cloth (think old t-shirts or flannel sheets). Use em and drop into a bucket with some bleach water, then wash out later- just like cloth diapers. And speaking of diapers…. if the condoms don’t work, you’ll need diapers.

    • Theresa Lange on May 27, 2015 at 7:50 am

      Plant lambs ear…nature’s toilet paper

  24. Sally Seals on February 9, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Coconut oil will not go rancid. Something to keep in mind. Cooking oil in small bottles might not be economical but small amounts keep better. One thing I would add is bleach. Bleach disinfects and can be used by a few drops to purify water.

    • Brandy on February 14, 2015 at 3:22 am

      Bleach goes bad.

      • Cindy Kitchen Baublis on February 14, 2015 at 7:22 am

        you store pool bleach in powdered form

        • Sigi on March 6, 2015 at 4:56 pm

          Or oxygen bleach.

  25. Rick B on February 9, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    11.Taster’s Choice Instant Coffee Single Serve Packets. People gotta have their coffee. Have plenty to barter.

  26. anonymous on February 9, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Bicycles are as good or better than wagons. One can tie on a heavy load, then push that load a long way over rough terrain. One wheel of a bike can be made into a crude wheelbarrow. Tires can be stuffed with grass or anything that has some flexibility to it.

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