Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
You’ve got 2 hours until disaster strikes. Are you prepared?
If you’ve watched any apocalyptic movie ever, you’re familiar with the grocery store scene. You know which one I’m talking about. Anxious dad rushes isle by isle gathering water and canned food for his family while everyone around him gradually turns from innocent customer to aggressive looter.
In this scenario, shelves are emptied quickly, and the store turns into a war zone. In the next scene, dad finds a store that has managed to keep control of their stock but has become absurdly greedy, inflating prices and heartlessly bartering family heirlooms in place of the now useless cash.
Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
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If you think this scenario can only play out on the big screen, think again, pal. Just the whisper of disaster is enough to throw your whole neighborhood into a frenzy – because guess what, no one is prepared for a disaster. No one has stocked up on window reinforcements or food rations. No one has thought about how to protect their family or home. No one is ready, and now they’re panicking to the point of hostility.
As you’ll see in this minimalist disaster survival list, you can prepare for a disaster with low-cost supplies and limited storage space right now. Every purchase on this list is quickly accessible via a 2-day Amazon Prime order or a speedy run to your local Walmart.
How fast can you collect them all?
1. A Physical Map
Grab a map of your city. If a disaster knocks out your power (which it will), you’re quickly going to realize just how dependent you’ve become on GPS. Back to the basics, you’ll need to keep track of the unsafe zones on your map as navigate yourself out of the city or towards the nearest remedy.
Related: 8 Maps You Should Have In Your Bug Out Bag
What help is a flashlight or hand radio without any juice? Give yourself some extra insurance by purchasing a variety pack of batteries instead of a standard pack. You may think that you know which battery every device requires, but there’s always that one gadget with unreasonable standards.
Don’t even bother with matches from your local hardware store. Pick up a dozen BIC lighters and keep them somewhere dry.
Related: 15 Weirdest Ways To Start A Fire
4. Ziploc Bags
A hurricane, flood or typhoon will ruin your electronics and family mementos by submerging them or covering them in condensation. Double Ziploc anything and everything worth value to you.
Related: 15 Survival Uses For Ziploc Bags
5. Long-Burning Candles
What’s the first thing you do when the power goes out? Light the candles, of course. But what if the power is out all night? Or all week? You’ll need candles that burn up to nine hours. If you can’t find these in the store, get the tallest and thickest candles you can find on the shelves – don’t bother with tea light candles!
Related: 11 Ways To Light Your Home When The Power Goes Out
6. Flares and Smoke Flares
In the case of a flood, rescue workers will eventually row from house to house, checking for stranded families. Speed up the process by drawing attention to your home with a simple flare gun.
Another attention-getter. Either alert rescue crews of your location or find your way back to your tribe if separated during a journey.
8. Fire Extinguisher
So, the disaster has left you with no source of light or cooking, right? Now you’re using candles that you don’t usually use and cooking with methods that you haven’t practiced with often. An accidental fire would not be a huge surprise under these circumstances, right?
Don’t make your situation any worse with a house fire. Keep your extinguisher handy and learn how to use it right when you buy it.
Related: How To Choose And Use A Fire Extinguisher
9. Battery-Powered Flashlight and Lantern
Small, compact, and easy to repower when a disaster creates a power blackout, every home needs a battery-powered flashlight and lantern. You can walk into any home goods store and find a collection of flashlight + lantern gadgets. Make sure to get an LED flashlight; these shine brighter in the dark.
When a lightning storm hits, you want to unplug your electronics. Similarly, when a natural disaster hits, you want to shut off your utilities. Specifically, gas lines and water pipes. Explosions and flooding are not uncommon in these situations.
11. A Gun
Hey, if you’re near a Walmart and have a permit, you can be in and out of the store with a shotgun in 20 minutes.
Related: 6 Survival Guns You’ll Need After The End Of The World
12. Duct Tape
The ultimate accessory for emergency repairs! Seal windows, stop leaks, and hell, even put your car back together long enough to get out of dodge. Duct Tape is the #1 disaster accessory that you should be storing under the kitchen sink. Grab as much as humanly possible.
Related: 47 Survival Uses For Duct Tape
13. Hammer, Nails, and Plywood
Hurricane on the horizon? Zombies looking for dinner? Reinforce your windows ASAP. If the exterior of your house is lined with siding, plywood boards can easily be nailed on to securely cover your windows.
Live in a tall apartment block? Here comes that duct tape again! Nail some boards together and then secure them over your windows from the inside.
Related: 18 Home Repair Supplies You Need To Get In Case Of Disaster
A wet or cold disaster can damage the inside of your home within hours. Use the caulk to plug any holes or fill any gaps you can find on your windows and doors. Essentially, you want to create the warmest and driest conditions possible. This means that you might also consider using caulk where caulk doesn’t usually go, like the base of your front door.
For the Humans
15. Heavy-Duty Blankets
Whether you are tucking in for a weekend of snowstorms or expecting a full-on apocalyptic blizzard, you’ll need blankets that will help regulate and/or stabilize your body temperature. You can go with Military-grade wool blankets that keep you warm even when wet or a simple down comforter that you can find in any superstore or department store.
16. Super Glue
We all know that super glue can be used to temporarily bond wood, metal, and plastic… but did you know that you can also use super glue to close a minor wound? If a shard of glass slices your finger during a disaster and you’re not able to get to a hospital, temporarily close your wound with super glue.
Don’t use glue on deep wounds, near your eyes, or as an everyday fix. But when you’re in a bind, this will stop the bleeding and help protect from infection.
Related: 12 Surprising Uses For Super Glue
17. Medical Kit
Every home needs a medical kit, and odds are that you already have one. What most people forget, however, is that a medical kit doesn’t update itself. You need to check the expiration dates on your Neosporin and make sure that you haven’t used all the Band Aids. Pro Tip: Stick an Epi Pen in there for good measure.
Related: How To Build An Emergency First Aid Kit From Scratch
Rule of thumb: Humans require one gallon of water per person per day. This is both for drinking and sanitation. When disaster strikes, clean water is no guarantee. And without clean water, you are… well, doomed.
Related: 8 Places You Can Store Your Drinking Water
19. Non-Perishable Food
You don’t know how long the aftermath of this disaster will last, so when collecting food, you want to get food that won’t spoil quickly, doesn’t need refrigeration, and can be eaten without cooking or heating.
- Beef Jerky
- Peanut Butter
- Canned tuna (pop top cans are best)
- Protein bars
- Pickled anything
While you want to make sure you collect food that will provide nutrients and sustenance, having some morale-boosting snacks will do wonders. Think “chips and salsa” or some Snickers.
Related: Beginner’s Guide To Emergency Food Storage
20. Feminine Supplies
No showers mean poor hygiene, especially during that time of the month. Stock up on tampons now, or even better, convert to the Diva Cup which is infinitely reusable.
What else is there to do during a blackout or blizzard? Although there aren’t official stats of how many babies have been conceived in these scenarios, we can unofficially assume that disasters double as baby makers.
Related: 20 Survival Uses For Condoms
22. Toilet Paper
Admit it, you would’ve totally forgotten about this one if it weren’t for this list! This goes back to the hygiene subject. Never underestimate the physical and mental importance to keep clean hygiene practices, especially when living in close quarters with others.
Related: 15 Ways To Wipe Your Butt When The Toilet Paper Is Gone
Last Minute Hail-Mary
Greece. Venezuela. Zimbabwe. What do these 3 countries have in common? Their economies took a total nosedive with hyperinflation and a debt crisis that turned their currency into pickles. If the US dollar suddenly does the same or the banks start to shut down, you might want to consider converting your online cash into Crypto before the internet goes down.
When a disaster strikes, the disaster isn’t your only threat. Your neighbors will turn hostile within hours and your thirst will turn deadly in ten days. You mustn’t fear the disaster as much as you should fear the aftermath and the repercussions of not being prepared.
There is no excuse NOT to be ready.
The only way to minimize these threats, fears, and dangers? To prepare now. Today. Again, everything on this list is available right now. It’s always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
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Michael Bryden says
If the SHTF and power grids are out, then how would you access your bitcoin!?! Sorry but you should have said physical precious metals…gold, silver, platinum, etc.!
Mensa Graham says
Buy more bacon while it is still available.
Anthony daniel sellars says
when we had a 3-hour power cut, I had a little 2 stroke generator I used to drive the grinder at work. I plugged it into a 4 gang socket and plugged a lamp and radio in. Within 5 mins we had the first call. you got electric. No got a little genny, can you boil a kettle for me? No sorry, it’s not big enough will just about run a light bulb. It’s to heat baby food. Sorry, It isn’t strong enough. We got the windows egged, and we were threatened. turned it off and lit an oil lamp in the end.
Mildred Stephens says
Be careful with baby wipes, they are not made to flush. Throw thwm out when you are finished with them. Ask me how I know (plunger); I was lucky, several people have had to call a plumber.
Think information and what your can work, action, with. Its what you have to work with inside you head and in the outside environment. Don’t necessarily think batteries. Did those who crossed this country in covered wagons have and use batteries? Did they stop to get medical care from blue cross / blue shield, Ucare or Medica or complain about it and mule or puke that they could not get it, NOT. Go back a century into the 1800’s and study and see what those then did. Like MacGyver the stuff is already there I just fine a different way to use it.
Good advice. I’ve always had the same mindset. The only thing the modern conveniences will do is buy you a bit of time to figure out some of the other skills and knowledge that the native Americans and pioneers relied upon.
I absolutely abhor duct tape. It leaves a sticky messy goo on everything it touches for more than a few minutes. Not to mention the gooey mess you make in your back pack if you are hiking or storing this in a hot climte. The alternative is gaff or gaffers tape, and is available in a plethora of sizes. Sure it’s a little more expensive but this stuff sticks to everything and leaves no residue when peeled off. I keep two rolls a 2″ roll and a 4″ roll in my go kit when I work communications for hurricane disaster relief and other events of nature.
Guess what… adding to the fact that duct tape is a goo-mess, the chemicals used to make the adhesive can also cause a “allergic reaction” to people sensitive to things like latex (which I am!) so as another alternative I’ve used:packing tape(stronger than people think & that stuff sticks as long as you don’t keep removing & replacing it) also there’s:painters tape (if left on a surface, after pressing it on securely by going over it several times to get air bubbles out) but it’s almost cloth-like & hard to rip especially doubling it up or twisting it around to make a kind of rope strand & braiding a few together!) this is just in case people can’t afford gaffer’s tape(!) as that is my #2 choice as well! Thanks for sharing your ideas!!
One thing that is not mentioned very often is pet food … You can purchase large bags of both dog and cat food and then make smaller vacuum sealed bags to keep it fresh. Also canned food for your pets if that’s what they’re use to eating, and treats. Make sure you have water for them too!
Baby wipes are MUCH better that toilet paper.
TP is much too bulky.
Use baby wipes instead.
Cut open the package and drain the liquid.
Allow to completely dry out.
Vacuum seal the packages.
Add a small amount of water to reconstitute if need be.
Light, compact, Woo Lah !!!
Deprived Briton says
One item that’s conspicuous by its absence for all the recommendations for medicine chests I’ve seen is iodine. It’s an excellent if somewhat painful treatment for minor wounds.
Lee Petersen says
Yes! and you can purify water with it as well.
Deprived Briton says
Living in the UK means there’s an awful lot of stuff not available here. We can’t have firearms for example, hell we can’t even own or legally carry lock knives; but that’s not so bad as you might think. What do you do when the ammo runs out? Learn to make/use a bow, it’s quiet and the ammo can always be recovered or made. It doesn’t need to be too sophisticated, after all primitive man was making and using them for hundreds if not thousands of years.
Steven Niccoli says
As for the Ammo, I stockpiled PLENTY!(I also reload). A Bow and Arrows is a Great Idea! I have a Crossbow and LOTS of Bolts with Various Tips! Sorry you can’t have a Firearm.☹️
Not sure I get converting your bank account to crypto currency “if the Internet goes down.” How do you access your crypto currency without the Internet?
I was thinking the same thing. That bit of advice makes no sense!
I guess you could transfer it to an external wallet and hope the internet comes back on at some point.
Just what I was thinking!
Mensa Graham says
Buy 80 hour emergency candles from Dollar Tree
Absolutely correct. And long matches to light them as they burn down
FYI: If you don’t have long matches, you can use spaghetti. Just light the end and you have a long “match”.
Lots of books of matches, vacuum pack them and they keep for years and are great trade items. Pop top can are not the best they can be compromised to easily by dents. So have a manual can opener or carry a knife or multi-tool that has a can opener in it. Almost any canned food can be eaten with out cooking. The exceptions are things like canned bacon and some canned hams
Ray M says
On the canned bacon and ham…… “Absolutely Wrong”!!! I have had years of experience testing and tasting and I have yet to find either to not be edible right out of the can. Do the research then speak.
With all due respect, BitCoin will be of no use if the Internet goes down…which it will. At least ten percent of your wealth should be in precious metals in case the stock market takes another depression level dive. You should keep at least three months worth of gold/silver at hand (not in a bank, see below) to cover expenses and immediate needs. I recommend junk silver (pre-’65 dimes, quarters, half-dollars, dollars, $10 gold pieces, etc.) because most people are aware of the 90% silver content. Some people won’t want your silver, that’s OK, barter with other things like lighters or food or medications or toilet paper or soap. There are lists with hundreds of barterable items you can store (the smaller/lighter they are with the most value the better. Cases of soap/shampoo/lotion/pain meds like the ones you get from hotels is a good example, better are renewable barterable items you produce yourself like honey/alcohol/produce/eggs/rope or a barterable skill like carpentry/medical expertise/dentistry/small engine repair/sewing/etc.)
Precious metal, etc. storage: Get four lockable containers with quality, 5+ digit combination locks. Divide your coins into fourths by denomination and put in the four containers. Keep one at home and store the other three as close as you can but not on your property or at your bug-out location – you need it handy. Store with relatives, close friends or members of your mutual defense team members and do the same for them. Never store with them unless they store with you and never relinquish theirs unless they relinquish yours. Ditto for guns/ammo/food/etc. if you can. Have them sign an inventory list. It isn’t foolproof but it’s the best I’ve come up with.
Thinking the same thing on the Bitcoin comment. If the internet went down bitcoin goes away. It was a stupid suggestion
Ray M says
Dianne Sullivan says
I’m in agreement with you! If the internet goes down, your bitcoin won’t be worth a damn. Dumb. Get some silver instead. It can be purchased in one ounce sizes that will trade well.
pete dickson says
If you are lucky enough to have developed a prepper/survivor group it is good to have a “Constitution” read, signed and copies handed out to all. Pre, post and current conditions.
Darn…you beat me to it about the Bitcoin. If you can’t hold it, you don’t own it and since Bitcoin does not exist in the real world, if the electric goes away, so does your Bitcoins! Gold and Silver will rule in that scenario.
Baby wipes are great too for self hygiene.
Joseph Finkle says
Amen you can conserve precious water by using wipes!