The Top 10 Most Overlooked Preps You Need to Get ASAP

Part of being prepared means having the right supplies, tools and equipment to face whatever disaster befalls you head on. While it is true that the more you know, the less you need, having the right stuff close at hand sure helps!

The less you have to fashion, build, scavenge or improvise in a crisis, the better. You might say that being forced to improvise is a symptom of lack of preparation, but I digress.

No matter how carefully you lay in supplies and how religiously you pour over your list, some things will typically fall through the cracks. Items big and small that are crucially important in all kinds of situations may be forgotten or ignored because you did not anticipate a need for them or just because you plain forgot them. No matter what reason they were omitted, you need to correct this deficiency and grab them pronto!

In today’s article, I’ll list the top 10 preps I see otherwise diligent preppers overlooking, and tell you why they are important.

Consider Your Situation

We don’t even have to get to the list proper and I can already hear keyboards just a clattering ready to rebuke me over my selections. I am sure that for a significant fraction of the population they actually will not, ever, ever, even conceivably need some of these items.

That much must be true. But for the 98% of us who aren’t planning to escape into the wild with our knife, axe and precious little else to survive wild in free, they will, every time, make a difference.

That all being said, your personal survival context will dictate if these items are “d’oh!” level oversights or purely optional nice-to-haves. You should never take any advice you hear or read as gospel, even from such a trusty source as Survival Sullivan. But you should think critically and hard about the why or the why not: don’t let preference, bias or presumptions blind you to lurking threat.

You may have your personal survival, escape and bug-out plan wired A-to-Z, but all it takes it one major curveball to completely flip the script. Suddenly your perfect plan is turned on its head, or trashed entirely, and you might be sorely lacking supplies or equipment that is critical.

No, you cannot truly plan and prepare for every permutation of every possible disaster, and one might argue that even preparing for a true one-in-a-million chance is a waste of resources, time and manpower, but you’d do well to expect the unexpected.

The Top 10 Overlooked Preps

Below you’ll find the preps that I have found time and time again to be undervalued or omitted entirely from prepper’s, er, preparations. Note that some folks, including perhaps yourself, might actually have some of these items in your goody stash. You aren’t necessarily off the hook yet! I’ll wager, by my estimation, that you probably don’t have enough.

Sometimes preppers make the mistake of overestimating how far supplies can take them (or the inverse, how long a SHTF situation might last) and their meager supply will not carry them through to better, safer days and a good outcome.

If this turns out to be the case, remember the old prepper maxim: “Buy it cheap and stack it deep!”

10 – Antibiotics

You’ll rarely encounter a prepper who lacks medical equipment and supplies like gauze, bandages, medical, tape, tourniquets and more along with a little training, at least, to put them to lifesaving use. What is rare, though, is the prepper who stocks and rotates a supply of antibiotics among their other medical preps.

Antibiotics are, rightly, one of the single greatest discoveries ever in human history, rendering once fatal diseases survivable or even trivial, and preventing almost entirely the risk of death from wounds becoming infected with nasty germs. Antibiotics are not foolproof, but they are the first and best defense against a battery of microbial threats.

So why don’t most preppers stock antibiotics? This one is easy: it is a pain in the ass! Antibiotics require a prescription and the cooperation of your doctor. They can be expensive, typically have short shelf lives, and require frequent rotation and replenishment.

Unlike the can of Spam and green beans that is nearing its expiration date that you can pull and prepare in a meal, recouping your investment in calories at least, you cannot nom your antibiotics unless the situation calls for it.

The aggravation, expense and hassle of keeping antibiotics on hand and in prime effective condition means many preppers don’t bother, trusting to homeopathic methods to fight infection or homebrew techniques like the use of fish antibiotics.

Now, I am not any kind of expert on fish antibiotics, but I can tell you this: they are for fish, not people! While they may do no harm and have at least some positive effect, you can bet your butt they don’t hold a candle to moxifloxacin and other “high-caliber” antibiotics.

Don’t let infection spell certain death: keep antibiotics on hand and fresh!

fuel canisters

9 – Fuel

Yes, most preppers keep fuel on hand in a handy gas can or two, but only a few take pains to keep a substantial fuel supply ready to gas up and go. You might not think you need to keep a big supply of gas on hand, especially if you are planning to bug out to a safer place far from your well-stocked abode, but reality might have other plans when the Big Day arrives.

What if, however it happens, you wind up trapped more or less in your local area, unable to make the long distance journey to your BOL? If all you kept handy was a couple of jerry cans full of gas, and now that becomes your “long haul” supply, you’ll be very miserly with your vehicle and any gasoline (or diesel, etc.) powered tools you might have.

A goodly supply of even a single 55 gallon drum, half-drum or several large man-portable cans will allow you to use your labor-saving and potentially life-saving gas-guzzlers more liberally and frequently.

Sound farfetched? Well how about the notion that, even staying put on purpose, you can use an inverter to make your vehicle an ad-hoc generator to power your other electrical devices, or provide cool AC in blazing temperatures and a dozen other handy functions.

An abundant gas supply is also a boon for friends, family, neighbors and down-on-their-luck strangers who could use a hand. An important concept for building goodwill and bartering.

Do remember that fuels break down over time, and so stabilization, rotation and proper storage will be required for this prep.

8 – Building Supplies

You might have the tools, but they will do you no good without the raw materials to put them to use. For general preparedness but especially if bugging-in is a keystone in your plans you must have some construction materials to repair damage, create barricades and defenses or other utility structures as the situation dictates.

You don’t need to go crazy here, but a good supply of common lumber and plywood sizes along with PVC pipes, wire, screws, nails, tape, and heavy plastic sheeting will allow you to repair damage to your dwelling and make it weatherproof or at least more weather-resistant.

And before you jump to conclusions and think you’ll simply gather building materials from other wrecked and ruined houses around yours, consider the fact that it looks an awful lot like looting (and more than a little like a scavenger picking at a corpse); not the best light for your former or current neighbors to see you in.

7 – Siphons

Gathering liquid will no longer be as easy as turning on a tap when the SHTF, at least in most situations. Contamination, power outage and other unfortunate events will see taps, hoses, pumps, spigots and hydrants fail, leaving you to invent some ingenious way to painstakingly and laboriously transfer the target liquid from one source to another without losing or ruining it.

At least, that’s what will happen if you don’t have siphons and hand pumps. For nabbing water and fuel from low-lying, enclosed or hard to reach places these contraptions are the best buy.

Sure, yeah, you could siphon it by mouth and risk injury, infection or a mouthful of nastiness, or you could bust out your siphon and get it done efficiently, quickly and safely. Siphons and hand pumps make short work of what is otherwise a tricky proposition.

It should not have to be said, but I’m gonna: remember to get two types of siphon, one for fuel and one for water. Ensure they are marked, don’t mix them up and never, ever use one for the other.

No matter how it happens you’ll wind up with contamination and potentially not be able to trust your siphon again for the job you bought it for.

Siphons! Get some, and learn how to use and maintain them.

fume mask

6 – Fume Mask

Fires are an extremely common occurrence all over the world, and all it takes is a minor mishap to spark a small fire that will grow into a raging conflagration in no time flat.

Fires also occur naturally in the form of wildfires and as concurrent events caused by all kinds of natural and man-made disasters. While the prospect of burning up is terrifying and you are right to fear it, statistically it is smoke inhalation and subsequent asphyxiation that will be the most likely to incapacitate and kill you.

Prevent this likely occurrence by investing in a lightweight fume masks that cover the head and provide filtration for smoke-borne particulates. Proper, fullsize gas-masks can work, but are bulky and not as quick to put on.

If you already have gas masks, simply ensure they are rated for smoke and utilize the appropriate cartridges as necessary. Otherwise nab some fume masks from any fire safety and prevention store.

A good unit will be quick to don, easy to adjust and see through and provide and ample seal around the neck and face. A fume mask that does not prevent smoke from slipping past the filter intake is less than no good!

This is a cheap and drastically underrated prep that I do not see many preppers investing in. With all the chaos that has been caused by riots and wildfires in recent months (not to mention more wildfires on the horizon if scientists can be trusted) it is painfully obvious how needed these are.

Get them, learn to use them, no exceptions!

5 – Personal Documents Backup

It is easy to forget how important your personal records are when you are planning to simply keep your ass alive and above room temperature. Understandable, but you should know that, statistically, you will reach safety and working civilization again, or the lights will come back on and things will get back to normal even if you have been displaced from your home.

Wherever you have civilization you have bureaucracy, and that means you need to provide your bonafides. That is just the way it is, no matter how much you might prefer the Mad Max life. I am kidding, but only a little.

Paper or digital copies of ID’s, social security cards, birth certificates, diplomas, credit cards, bank accounts and more should all be made and kept with your emergency supplies or nearby.

Now, this requires some careful thought on your part as any person who gets a hold of this file has, literally, the keys to the city if they want to steal your identity and ruin your life.

And digital copies kept on flash drives or memory cards should be encrypted and authenticated secure by a tech-savvy person before you trust them.

Paper copies must be very well hidden or the data somehow concealed as to avoid all but the most thorough search. Sewn into an article of clothing or bag lining, perhaps?

4 –Manual Washing Machine

Talk about going old school! In any but the shortest of disaster situations, you’ll eventually have need to wash your clothing. Yes, you can pack or keep extra to forestall laundry day (laundry doomsday?) but eventually you’ll have to tackle that stinky, dirty pile of clothes.

While many methods for accomplishing this exist, from ancient washboards to beating your clothes against river rocks, all of these methods are positively hell on your clothes’ fibers and stitching.

A better way, and one that uses little water and effort in the bargain, is a small, manually operated washing machine, designed to use liquid soap or normal detergent.

These crank- or foot pedal-powered dynamos can get a small load of wash remarkably clean in a short time with comparatively little effort, and do it all quietly and in a small space.

A quick wash, hand rinse, spin and then some time in the sun and you’ll be smelling and feeling as fresh as a daisy with properly cleaned clothes!

sabre pepper spray

3 – Pepper Spray

You’ll never need mention self-defense to most preppers; they are already dying to tell you about their latest gun, crossbow, battle axe or whatever.

Sad to say but it is of course true that our fellow man and former neighbors might be the biggest threat we encounter during a serious SHTF situation. Fear, lack and desperation will make people go mad and turn on their fellows with little warning and terrible repercussions.

Even in the midst of such awful times you should have a defensive option that is better than your fists but not as final and as lethal as a gun or knife. For my money, pepper spray is the only thing that fits the bill. Pepper spray gives you the range, effectiveness and follow-up capability in a small package that is unbeatable for the money. No other less-lethal tool does what pepper spray can.

And I mean pepper spray! Not bug spray, wasp spray, or anything else. None of those hasty or improvised sprays even come close to doing what pepper spray will, which is knock the starch right out someone’s will to fight. And on the chance that they do carry on, it is always easier to beat someone who can barely see or breathe.

Get a small canister for carry in your pocket or pouches and a mega-sized riot canister for at-home or in the car hijinks.

2 – Reference Manuals

Go ahead and plan on Google, Bing, Wikipedia, YouTube and, yes, even Survival Sullivan being DOA when the merde hits the oscillator. Anything, any info you do not know by heart or have written down means you won’t have access to it unless someone teaches you or you can read it somewhere. Read it…

Hey! There’s an idea! Why not keep a whole bunch of reference materials handy in book format, be it ink or old-fashioned paper binding so you can access potential need-to-know info in a pinch?

From first aid to car repair, gardening to animal rearing, there are guidebooks, manuals, technical documents and so much more that you can add to your survival library just in case.

Especially with the rise and prevalence of e-readers and phones you can carry around a literal entire library’s worth of books in a slim, sturdy device that weighs only a hair more than your average paperback novel.

While it won’t replace experience and true expertise, a good how-to book is a hell of a lot better than wearing a dumb look on your face or finding an answer the “fun” way; by trial and error, errors you might not be able to afford…

If you just have to have paper, consider any of the excellent survival field manuals and prepper bibles as excellent starting points. Many of these tomes are available in reduced size format for easy inclusion in BOB’s.

1 – Bleach

Chlorine bleach is nothing short of a survival godsend, able to sterilize and sanitize everything from surfaces to tools to your skin and most vitally even your water supply

Plain, regular, unscented bleach can be added to questionable or known contaminated water sources to kill any lurking microbes inside that might make you sick or kill you. Yeah, it will have a pool water taste and smell, but it will be far safer to drink! Just make sure you get the splashless, plain, no-added-nothing bleach for this purpose.

For cleaning up the aftermath of blood or other bodily product spills, bleach is also the king of over the counter agents, making short work of germs on smooth surfaces like floors, counters and tools. A strong mixture of bleach in distilled water is more than up to the task when left to sit for a short time on the surface before being washed away.

Do take care that you rotate your bleach! Yes, bleach loses its bleachy-ness over time. The general rule is when it loses that sharp tang, it is losing efficacy.

The good news is bleach is a common household agent and will always be useful, so as long as you adopt a first-in, first-out policy when it is time to scrub the bathroom you can be assured your freshest stock is always on hand in case of disaster.

The bad news is, bleach is 6 months at the most, so you want to rotate it / use it often.

Take the time to learn your ratios for using bleach properly and safely, as anything except strict adherence to the “recipe” might injure you or ruin your water, and mixing bleach with a number of other chemicals can produce dangerous byproducts and potentially deadly gasses. Give this powerhouse staple the respect it deserves and stock up!

Conclusion

Some preps are crucially important and chronically overlooked. Take the time to review the list above and make sure you aren’t shooting yourself in the foot by omitting any of them.

Even if you cannot foresee yourself needing them, chances are with just a twist of fate they could become vital. Don’t make things harder by omitting them without a good reason!

overlooked preps pinterest

About Tom Marlowe

Tom Marlowe
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.

14 comments

  1. Avatar

    Well i put this comment up early in the article because i did some research on fish antibiotics!They work just as well as human ones and in fact have the same exact ingredients!They have a longer shelf life then human ones and the only difference even if they are past the date will still work.you just have to figure out how much of the fish antibiotics to give to a person.Allowing for the persons weight and all that! And if all else fails they are a great alternative to not having any at all! Not to mention they are quite cheap!

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      There are places on the interwebs with info on what antibiotics go with what ailment and the dosage. Download and save.

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        Better yet, go to a used book store and pick up a Nurses Drug Guide handbook. It has dosings for all the antibiotics.

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    P.S. by the way you can also get antibiotics that are used for farm animals and once again they are the same exact ingredients as human ones and the only reason they are cheaper and you dont need a script for them is because they are for animals!Once again a much longer shelf life and there is already a graph on the bottles to let you know how much to give a person due to the list of dosage per farm animals weight.Much cheaper as well then human versions of the same exact meds!

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    im still recovering from a STAPH A infection. dont know how i got it but doctors say it is on every ones skin and i must have gotten a scrape or cut.
    any way i was carried to a truck and then to an ambulance that took me to the hospital during a blizzard by a sheriff deputy. it was january 28th, 2019. i was in a comma and had a sore place on my collar bone. they did a MRI and sent me to sioux falls hospital. they cut a big hole in my chest and then took 1 1/2 litre of liquid mussel out of one of my legs and drained the other knee and ankle, i was eat up with infection because it kept seeding other sites. i was sent to skilled care after 3 weeks and could not move my 1 leg at all, after 3 months in hospital total, with 3 months of I V ANTIBIOTICS , they put me on oral antibiotics. i take 500 mg of CEPHALEXIN 2 TIMES A DAY. ive been out of hospital since April 18th, 2019 and tomorow i see the thorasic surgen to find out why the chest area stopped healing. been going to hospital 3 days a week to get my wound vac serviced and wound cleaned. i have a hard time just walking these days, and this tube attached to my chest is no fun as the vacuume unit is in a bag with shoulder strap, that swings down to hit my 14 month old son when i bend down to pick him up. i have a hard time getting in and out of bed, etc…
    viagra dont work at all on me (prostate was infected too) ,but a coffee from Maylasia with tonkat ali, maca and other ingrediants works great!
    why did i spend the time to tell you all this you might ask? well to emphasize just what can happen if you do not treat every scratch. my doctor at the hospital told me that he did not think i was going to survive when i arrived at the emergency room, and the INFECTIOUS DIESASE DOCTOR at the major hospital says that they have never seen anyone with as many infected sites as i had. so be careful out there as there is no 911 etc… after SHTF!! and ive got fish antibiotics in my preps!

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    One thing I like about this article is that you are not trying to sell us some crap. I know you have your adds – it’s important to make money – but too many times, there will be an article, and at the end, it says buy this and buy this and buy this from my Amazon link. It’s just one me commercial….

    Your info makes sense, and it’s easy to understand.

    thanks

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    One antibiotic that was around for several thousand years before the “new ” stuff ( penicillin, etc) is silver. Yeah the stuff that guy overused and turned his skin blue-gray. I use a colloidal silver for every day use with slightly more when I get a scratch or scrape. Silver even works against MARSA (antibiotic resistant germs)! The particles are microscopic so it looks like and tastes like clear water. The brand I use is Sovereign Silver but there others as well.

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    Do you delete comments that mention specific products?

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      If I determine that the main purpose of a comment is to promote a product, and not to offer value to the readers, then yes.

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    Many of the “fish and bird” antibiotics are the same exact pills as the human version and even come in the typical human dosage of 250 or 500mg. Do your own research. Instead of liquid bleach with the short lifespan, far better to store powdered pool shock with a 5-10 year lifespan with proper storage.

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    Army tests show that most antibiotics remain safe and useful for over 10 years if stored away from heat, light, moisture and air. There is one class, Cyclines if I remember correctly, which can become toxic eventually.

    The fume mask may keep out particulates, but it won’t provide oxygen which the fire consumed. Certainly a good idea to have the mask, but it won’t replace an oxygen system (like fire fighters use)

    I’ve seen articles claiming that solid chlorine tablets (pool supplies) have a much longer shelf life than liquid, but have not done any investigation into this.

  9. Avatar

    It’s a decent list. I think the “Top 10” will vary based upon your level of preparedness/readiness. I’ll say it, you’re wrong on the fish anti’s. Same manufacturer/same factory. I’d have to combo bleach/vinegar. Reference material is one of the easiest and if a solar charger is not in your preps, reconsider. So, you’ve obviously been wasp sprayed? Trust me, it will render you defenseless. The link for N95 masks was for “used” which I didn’t understand at all. Yes, you should have air filter/protection of some kind. Again, this seems elementary to me.

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