Estimated reading time: 13 minutes
If you’re reading this, you probably already know the basics: water, food storage, first aid, etc. But even hardcore survivalists can overlook items that could be important. In this post, I’m going to list 100 survival items you might have forgotten to buy.
Originally, this was a list of 50 survival items, but since then, I’ve gotten all sorts of comments and messages from people telling me about other things preppers often forget. Once I had 50 more, I added them to the list. Now there’s a total of 100.
To be clear, this isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list of every survival item you’ll need. It’s just a list of the ones that are often overlooked. Hopefully, it will help you fill in any gaps in your survival plan. For everything on this list that you already have, give yourself a pat on the back.
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1. Acoustic Instruments
For entertainment and morale.
This has many uses, the most important of which is the treatment of poisoning.
It’s not the Altoids themselves that are useful, but the tins. There are lots of cool ways to reuse them.
There are many important uses for aluminum foil in a survival situation. Specifically, you can use aluminum foil to create a splint for a broken or dislocated finger, to waterproof your phone or electronic devices (simply wrap the devices in multiple layers of foil), or to leave a trail when you venture into the woods (simply wrap strips of aluminum foil around twigs or brush) so you can retrace your steps.
This stuff will keep rodents away from your home and small herbivores away from your garden.
How else will you chop firewood? Axes can make for decent self-defense weapons as well.
7. Baby Wipes
Besides their marketed use case, you can also use baby wipes to wash your hands when you don’t have access to water, for cleaning surfaces when you don’t have access to other cleaning solutions, or as deodorant as an alternative to actual deodorant.
8. Baking Soda
Baking soda is among the most versatile cleaning and health agents in existence. You can use baking soda to clean your teeth as an alternative to toothpaste, as a cleaning paste to help remove household odors and to treat irritations and rashes from bug bites or Poison Ivy.
Bandanas can be more than just a headband. You can use them to mark trails, as a makeshift tourniquet or sling, or as a cooling towel (simply soak the bandana in cool water, wring it, and then tie it around your head or neck for cooling purposes), to make cordage, and more.
10. Baseballs, basketballs, footballs, etc.
Playing ball is a great way to stave off boredom and keep morale up during hard times.
11. Bicycle Gear
If gasoline is in short supply, you might need your bike to get around. That means you’ll need a bike pump, extra tubes, etc.
12. Binder Clips
Hang clothes to dry, hook tarps together, keep bags clipped down, and more.
It’s difficult to read by candlelight and you don’t want to waste your flashlight’s batteries. Book lights are cheap and last a long time.
You might be surprised how much free time you have after the SHTF. Now’s your chance to read those novels you always meant to read.
15. Bug Spray
There is usually a major lack of proper sanitation after a disaster, especially if there isn’t running water. That means there will be more roaches and other critters. There might also be a lot more mosquitoes.
16. Bungee Cords
Bungee cords are among the most useful items you can use for survival purposes. You can use them as a makeshift belt around your waist, to help build a shelter (extend a bungee cord between two trees and then lay a tarp over it to help make a lean-to shelter), or for exercise purposes (you can use them as resistance bands).
You may also need these to tie valuables to your bug out vehicle, or you could use them instead of rope for other projects.
You’ll need a way to track the day and date if the power is out for a long time.
You wouldn’t think so, but there are at least 20 things you can do with chapstick. A few of these uses include to help soothe skin irritation from bug bites (just apply directly to the affected area), to protect knives and tools from rusting (simply apply over the blade), or to help get a campfire going (simply apply chapstick to your kindling and then light with matches or a lighter – it works just as effectively as Vaseline).
Huge morale booster during difficult times. Just don’t overdo it.
20. Car Charger
Don’t get stranded somewhere with a dead phone. This one has a battery backup in case your car won’t start.
If you’re cooking over a fire, your regular pots and skillets won’t cut it.
22. Cloth Diapers
Other than the obvious usage, these are also great for cleanups because they’re so absorbent.
23. Clothes Lines and Pins
Because your dryer will be a waste of space. Here’s how to wash clothes without a washing machine.
Imagine eating a typical meal without mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, hot sauce, etc. You’ll get bored fast.
TEOTWAWKI is not a great time to get pregnant, but people still have needs. Use protection.
Especially ones that explain how to make things from scratch, like this one. You could also look for some good from-scratch recipes online and print them.
27. Crank Lantern
No need to waste batteries or wait for the sun to charge it up. This one also has a port for charging electronics.
28. Crayons and Coloring Books
A good way to keep small children entertained while the power is out. Also, crayons can be used as fire starters or emergency candles.
You may need this if you have to scavenge for supplies. It can also be used for self-defense.
30. Dental Kit
A first aid kit is obvious, but many preppers forget that dental emergencies are also very common.
I mentioned cloth diapers in the other post, but regular diapers are also important. Plus, they have several other uses.
32. Door Stop Alarm
Make sure looters and burglars taking advantage of the chaos can’t get into your house without you being alerted.
33. Duct Tape
A must-have for any prepper. You can use duct tape to help secure a makeshift splint to a broken arm or a leg, to help mend shoes or clothing (simply apply the tape over the site of the tearing or ripping), or to make cordage (simply twist multiple lengths of duct tape together into a makeshift cord).
34. Ear Plugs
It’s important to use these when hunting with firearms, but they’ll also help you sleep at night. Why? Because after the SHTF every little bump will wake you up. Just make sure someone is standing guard while you sleep.
If you get desperate for food, you might need this.
36. Fire Blanket
A quick and easy way to extinguish a small fire.
37. Fire Extinguisher
For larger fires, you’ll need one of these. We’re supposed to be preparing for emergencies and fires are a very common emergency. Don’t forget this one.
It’s even more important than your toothbrush. If you’re not flossing now, get started. Many critical uses for floss also go beyond its intended use. You can use floss to help stitch an open wound, as a thread for repairing clothing or as an alternative to a fishing line.
39. French Press
No need for a coffee maker. Just add boiling water and enjoy fresh coffee.
I know this sounds silly, but there are actually several things you can do with one.
Playing cards, board games, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, and any other type of game that doesn’t require power. This is especially important if you have children.
42. Glasses and Repair Kits
If you wear glasses, make sure you have a backup pair and a way to fix them.
43. Glow Sticks
A great way to find your way around in a dark house.
This includes safety goggles and swim goggles. You never know.
45. Hand Sanitizer
As I mentioned above, there might be a lack of proper sanitation after a major disaster. Stay germ-free. And besides its marketed use as a hygiene agent, you can also use hand sanitizer as a cleaning material to help remove stains from clothing, to remove glue or the residue left from sticky labels (simply wipe the sanitizer directly over the affected area), or to help start a fire going (simply pour a little sanitizer over your kindling before lighting it with a match or lighter).
46. Inflatable Mattresses
If you and your prepper friends and/or family members all stay in one home, you may need more places for people to sleep.
47. Instant Coffee
If you’re hooked on coffee (like I am), then you’re liable to go crazy when your coffee pot won’t turn on.
48. Kiddie Pools
You’re better off getting these at a flea market or yard sale. Believe it or not, there are all sorts of things you can do with them.
49. Landline Phone
If the power goes out, a simple landline phone will continue to work. But that’s just one type of SHTF communication.
Most of us have gotten used to relying on Google Maps and GPS, but those could become things of the past. Paper maps never stop working.
51. Meat Thermometer
Very helpful item if you want meat that is safe to eat but still nice and juicy. Here is a guide to recommended temperatures.
52. Mesh Strainer
Strain oil, rendered fat, herbs, etc.
53. Mylar Blankets
These aren’t just blankets. Here’s a list of 22 things you can do with them.
54. N95 Masks
These provide protection from dust, toxic fumes, and airborne viruses.
These can be used to hold bait, make cordage, strain water, go fishing, dehydrate food, and many other things.
56. Paper Plates
So you won’t have to waste water cleaning dishes.
It has dozens of applications. Here’s a list of 44 fantastic uses.
58. Pencil and Paper
These are historic times so keep a journal. Also important for games and making lists.
59. Pet Supplies
Don’t forget about your pets! There’s a detailed list of pet supplies in this post.
60. Plant Pots
Plants are often easier to grow in pots than in the ground.
61. Plastic Sheeting
You can use plastic sheeting for repairing leaks, collecting water, keeping out contaminants, waterproofing your firewood (simply cover your stack of wood to shield it from rain), as a general alternative to a tarp, or to help create an isolation or quarantine area in the event of an airborne disease breaking out.
It can protect your windows during a hurricane, but it’s also great for many other unanticipated construction projects.
It’s amazing how many recipes require butter and/or eggs. These are hard to store long-term, so try some of the powdered variety.
64. Powdered Juice Mix
Because you’re going to get sick of drinking room-temperature water.
65. PVC Pipe
As with plywood, this is great to have around just in case.
66. Rem Oil Wipes
This stuff is awesome. It’s not just for firearms. You can also use it to keep anything metal clean and protected from rust.
67. Rubber Bands
I use these to keep small items together and organized, and sometimes string just isn’t enough. You can also use rubber bands to hold your paracord together to stop it from unraveling in your pack or you can also use it to help construct a makeshift slingshot. You can also wrap a flashlight to your wrist if you need to work with two hands in the darkness.
68. Safety Pins
Use as a fish hook, hang stuff to dry, fix shoelaces, attach gear to your bug out bag, connect blankets or tarps to build a shelter, etc. Your imagination is the limit.
Use to protect your home from flood waters. They can also be used to gather water, carry supplies, trap animals, patch tents, and much more.
Axes are good for chopping firewood, but you’ll need a saw for everything else.
71. Seed Sprouter
Sprouts are tasty and healthy, making them a great addition to your survival food.
72. Sewing Kit
If your clothes tear, you might not be able to afford or even get access to new ones. Learn how to sew.
73. Shoe Laces
Again, you might not be able to get new ones. Plus, shoelaces have several uses. You can use shoelaces as a makeshift clothesline, as an alternative to cordage to help construct a survival shelter, or as a tripwire if you need to construct an emergency alarm system around your survival site.
74. Shut-off Wrench
Very important if you have gas power. A broken gas line is extremely dangerous.
Another way to kill small animals for food.
In the words of Lieutenant Dan, “Take good care of your feet!” They can also be used as gloves, pouches, bandages, masks, and tinder.
Set these in the sun for a few hours and they will light up your home or camp all night.
78. Song Books
As with acoustic instruments (mentioned above), these are good for entertainment and morale-boosting.
Great for boiling water, heating soup, cooking Ramen noodles, making instant rice, etc.
80. Steel Wool
In addition to scrubbing pots, it can be used to start fires, peel carrots and potatoes, and plug mouse holes.
81. Super Glue
Seal small cuts, repair water bottles, fix equipment, etc.
82. Survival Books
You’ll need this as a reference. Check out my post on the 100 Best Survival Books of All Time.
Use them to keep stuff dry, provide shade, carry things, and so forth.
Another good way to keep kids entertained. Find some good toys that don’t require batteries.
With this, you can fix clothes or sew new ones without power.
Do you have one? If so, does it work well? And do you have extras for your family members?
87. Vacuum Sealer
In addition to sealing food, you can also seal things that could corrode, things that could dry out, and you can reseal mylar bags.
It’s a firestarter, it prevents rust, and it’s even useful for first aid. Here are 4 reasons to buy it.
If you ever get into a major car accident and can’t get out of your car, this tool will help you cut through the seat belt and break the glass.
90. Vet Wrap
Self-adherent tape that holds bandages in place.
91. Waterproof Wristwatch
Nowadays most people check the time on their phones or computers. In a SHTF scenario you might want to have a good watch.
Good for much more than lubricating hinges.
These can be a lifesaver if someone is under attack or lost.
My wife uses one as a calendar, to jot down notes, grocery lists, etc. Could be useful.
95. Wind-Up Clocks
So you don’t have to waste batteries.
These are essential during the winter, especially if the power is out and you want to keep the heat inside.
A non-electric portable slow cooker. All you have to do is bring your food to a boil, then put it in the bag. It retains the heat and slow cooks your food for hours. This thing is awesome!
98. Yard Bags
Heavy duty bags will be useful for all the trash and debris that accumulates.
99. Zip Ties
These can be used for building shelter, repairing clothes, building snares, and more.
100. Ziploc Bags
Great for keeping things dry and organized.So there you have it, my ultimate list of survival items people often forget about. If you’re a homesteader, be sure to check out these 25 Homestead Items You Forgot To Buy.
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