Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
You’ve probably read quite a few articles over the past year that list how much water and food you should have in your emergency pantry. Now it’s time to think about the other items that are essential to survival.
Of course, the type of emergency, where you live, and the time of year will factor into the supplies you need. But we’ve put together a list of non-food items you should consider gathering as part of your emergency preparations.
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1. Air Pump – You can use a hand-held pump to pump up your vehicle’s tires, rafts, or flotation devices.
2. Ax – In the right hands, a quality ax or hatchet can do much more than just chop wood. (If you don’t believe me, read Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.)
3. B.B. Gun, Pellet Gun, Slingshot – These weapons are useful for hunting small game and for self-defense.
4. Baby Supplies – Plan for baby’s needs both for now and down the road.
5. Baking Soda – You can use baking soda as toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo, and to treat irritated skin. And that’s just the start of a long list.
6. Bandanas – These inexpensive items can serve as facemasks, compresses, cool-down cloths, and other things.
7. Batteries – Make sure you have spare batteries for things like radios and flashlights.
8. Bike – You may need a bike for transportation, and the more rugged terrain it can handle, the better.
9. Binoculars – You can use binoculars like these to watch the sky for weather changes, to look for rescuers, or to help find people or animals that are lost.
10. Blade Sharpener – Keep your knives and other tools in shape with a blade sharpener.
11. Blankets – Keep extra warm blankets at home and in your car.
12. Bolt Cutters – Sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures, and bolt cutters might become a necessity. .
13. Buckets and Lids – Five-gallon buckets are useful for storing and carrying food, water, and other supplies.
14. Cash – During a grid failure, debit and credit cards may not work. Keep a supply of cash on hand for emergencies.
15. Cast-Iron Pan – You can use a cast iron pan on the stove, in the oven, or over a campfire. This one is even pre-seasoned.
16. Charcoal and Lighter Fluid – You can start an outdoor cooking fire easily with these items.
17. Chlorine Bleach – Unscented bleach can help you sanitize dishes and cooking gear with minimal water.
18. Compass – Your phone’s navigation tools won’t help in some emergency situations, but a compass will always be fully charged and ready to go.
19. Contact Information – A written list of phone numbers, addresses, and other contact information of friends and family members is handy if your phone won’t work.
20. Crowbar – A good old-fashioned crowbar and some elbow grease can get you out of a lot of jams.
21. Dental Floss – Small and easy to carry, floss can be used for fishing lines, thread, traps, snares, and many other survival purposes.
22. Duct Tape – You can read entire articles on the many survival uses for duct tape. It’s inexpensive, versatile, and long-lasting.
23. Dust Mask – All the face masks we’ve been wearing over the past year will be useful in another emergency.
24. Eating and Cooking Utensils – Portable, reusable utensils — like the infamous spork — are important to a survival toolkit. This one even has a bottle opener.
25. Emergency Candles – You often can find inexpensive emergency candles at yard sales and thrift stores.
26. Extra Socks – Clean, warm, dry socks are critical for health and comfort.
27. Family Photos – These treasured keepsakes can keep you focused on what’s important.
28. Ferro Rod – You can use these to light a fire in just about any condition.
29. Fire Extinguisher – It’s a good idea to have several fire extinguishers at home and one in each of your vehicles.
30. Fire Laces – These reusable flint and steel shoelaces will help you start a fire.
31. First Aid Kit – Keep a well-stocked kit at home and in your car. Here’s a list from the Red Cross.
32. Fishing Line and Tackle – Fish is a valuable food source. Make sure you have the supplies you need ready.
33. Fixed-Blade Knife – In addition to a multitool’s blade, you’ll want one or more quality fixed blade knives.
34. Flares – If you need help at home or on the road, flares can be a lifesaver.
35. Flashlights and Batteries – Everyone in your family should have their own flashlight, and make sure you have plenty of batteries for them as well.
36. Games, Puzzles – You’ll want to save your phone battery power for communication and news updates, so think old-school when to comes to entertainment.
37. Gasoline – Gas stations are likely to be closed in a disaster. Keep your gas tanks full and store an extra supply for emergencies.
38. Goggles – Goggles can offer eye protection when there is debris in the air.
39. Hand Warmer Packets – These single-use packs will warm hands and feet when you are cold.
40. Hand-Cranked Can Opener – You’ve got a lot of canned food in that pantry. Don’t rely on an electric opener, or you could be out of luck in a power outage.
41. Hand-Cranked Radio – With one of these devices, you can get news and weather updates even when the power and internet are down.
42. Hats, Gloves – We don’t know when an emergency will strike, so be sure you have winter gear ready.
43. Headlamps – If you need to travel by foot after dark or just need hands-free lighting to perform a task, headlamps do the job.
44. Heat Source – If you don’t have a fireplace or woodstove, you’ll want to invest in a portable propane or kerosene heater as a heat source. This Mr. Heater is suitable for indoor use.
45. Hygiene Products – Don’t forget oral care when you stock up on health items.
46. Jumper Cables – If you’re using your car to stay warm or run electronics, you may end up with a dead battery. Make sure you have jumper cables to jump your vehicle or someone else’s.
47. Lighters, Waterproof Matches – Starting a fire without these items can be done. However, why waste your time and energy if you don’t have to?
48. Machete – If you have to find your way in the wilderness, this tool is excellent for cutting branches and vines.
49. Maps – Google Maps is great, but what about when the power is out and your phone is low on charge? Paper maps of your area can come to the rescue.
50. Medications – Stock up on standard over-the-counter medicines as well as your prescriptions.
51. Multitool – A quality multi-tool is a must-have. We like this powerhouse tool from Leatherman.
52. Oil – Motor oil is useful for your vehicles and machinery, and you can use it to start a fire if need be.
53. Paper and Pens – You’ll need these for lists, messages, diaries, and doodles.
54. Paracord – You’ll find lots of uses for this emergency staple.
55. Pepper Spray or Bear Spray – You can use these portable self-defense sprays to ward off animal or human predators.
56. Personal Identification Papers – Keep copies of essential records and documents on hand in a safe, waterproof, and fireproof place.
57. Pet Food and Supplies – Think about how you will feed and transport your pets, if necessary.
58. Phone Chargers – Have you seen these emergency phone chargers that come in three-packs?
59. Playing Cards – There’s a good chance you’ll have time on your hands during an emergency. A deck of cards can keep your mind occupied.
60. Portable Camping Stove – We like this classic Coleman suitcase stove.
61. Propane – Many camping stoves use propane, so make sure you have a supply of this fuel safely stored.
62. Radios – A ham, shortwave, or C.B. radio can provide a vital communication link when other methods fail.
63. Rain Barrel – Collect rainwater to keep your water supply up.
64. Rain Gear – It’s a good idea to stock up on inexpensive ponchos for every member of your family.
65. Rechargeable Batteries – You’ll need these for your electronics, radios, and lanterns.
66. Rubbing Alcohol – This inexpensive staple works well as a wound disinfectant.
67. Saw – Storms that cause emergencies tend to bring down trees and tree limbs. You’ll find many uses for a quality saw in a disaster.
68. Scissors – You probably have a pair, but are they in good repair, and are they sharp?
69. Seeds – After your food supply starts to dwindle, what then? You can grow your own fruits and vegetables if you have a selection of seeds stored. (Be sure to rotate seeds for freshness.)
70. Self-Defense Weapon and Ammo – You also can add martial arts and self-defense tactics to this item.
71. Sewing Kit – Whether it’s fixing a backpack strap, hemming a torn cuff, or sewing a deep cut in an emergency, needle and thread can come in very handy.
72. Shovel – You’ll need one to dig a firepit, free a stuck vehicle, break up ice, and plant a garden.
73. Signal Mirror – You can use a mirror to reflect sunlight to alert potential rescuers who are on the ground or in the sky.
74. Sillcock Key – This tool allows you to open water valves that don’t have standard handles.
75. Sleeping Bag – Store one for each person in the family. Choose the best temperature rating for your climate zone.
76. Sleeping Mask and Earplugs – When things get tough, sleeping gets tougher. These items can help you block out the lights and noise to get the rest you need.
77. Solar Battery Lantern – Lanterns like this one are good for 360-degree lighting when the power is out, or you are in a tent.
78. Solar Chargers – When the grid is down, you can harness the sun’s power with solar chargers like this portable one.
79. Space Blanket – Lightweight and packable, these mylar blankets help you maintain 90% of your body heat.
80. Sturdy Boots – Having the proper footwear may be one of the most under-rated aspects of survival gear.
81. Sunscreen – You’ll also need sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful rays.
82. Survival Backpack – We’ve often written about what to pack in a bug-out bag. You also need a quality backpack in which to place your on-the-go supplies.
83. Survival Books – Pocket guides and full reference books can help you handle the unexpected. This article gives tips and suggestions for building a survival library.
84. Survival Hammock – You may think of a hammock as something to relax in, but sleeping off the ground is much more comfortable.
85. Survival Mask – Check out this selection of survival gas masks.
86. TACT Bivvy – Here’s an emergency kit that comes with a lightweight sleeping bag, carabiner, survival whistle, and paracord tinder.
87. Tarp – Plastic and fabric tarps are useful as ground cover, for building an emergency shelter, and many other things.
88. Tent – A quality tent provides emergency shelter in the wilderness.
89. Tinder – Store tinder for building fires during an emergency. (Hint: dryer lint is a good one!)
90. Tire Repair Kit – Can you fix a flat fast if you have to? Make sure your spare tires are in good shape, and stock up on Fix-A-Flat.
91. Toilet Paper and Toilet Paper Tablets – Yes, store some actual toilet paper, but you don’t need to clear the store shelves. These tablets are another idea.
92. Traps and Snares – Here is a design that’s easy to anchor to a tree or stake and doesn’t need a wire.
93. Trash Bags – Large trash bags are suitable for their intended purpose, but they also work well as ground covers, tarps, makeshift ponchos, and other things.
94. Walkie-Talkies – Use these two-way radios to stay in touch with friends and family who are up to 16 miles away.
95. Water Filter and Purification Tablets – The personal-sized Lifestraw can filter up to 1,000 gallons of contaminated water. These tablets disinfect water, making it more suitable for drinking and cooking.
96. Whistle – A survival whistle is small and lightweight, but it can be a powerful way to alert others of your location when you need help.
97. Wipes and Hand Sanitizer – These items are helpful for on-the-go clean-ups and whenever water is scarce.
98. Written Plan – Think and plan ahead and talk with your family about what you will do and where you will go if disaster strikes. Make sure everyone knows where your supplies are located and how to use them.
99. Zip Ties – Makeshift handles and fastening gear into your backpack are just two of the ways zip ties come in handy.
100. Zippered Plastic Bags – You can use them to hold and protect kindling, nails, snacks, you name it. Make sure you have some in several sizes.
There’s one more thing you’ll need in a disaster: common sense. The past year has shown us in dramatic ways that none of us is immune to disaster.
The good news is that planning ahead can offer you valuable peace of mind that you are doing your best to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.
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