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30 Survival Items To Get In The First 30 Days Of When You Start Prepping

Welcome to the prepper world! Today we face the most possibilities of SHTF than ever before: WWIII, EMP, power grid down, civil unrest, and economic collapse are all very likely to happen.

So, congratulations on making the right decision to start prepping for the sake of your family’s well-being and survival. It is best to be prepared and self-reliant than relying on the government’s help and getting sent to a FEMA Camp or dying in the process of waiting.

There are many items you should start stockpiling so you won’t have to go out after SHTF to scrounge for these supplies and take the chances of being robbed or killed on the journey to town. Listed below are 30 survival items and the majority of them can be found for a cheap price.

#1. Backpack to use as BOB

Your first plan should be to stay home during a SHTF scenario, so you are guaranteed shelter and you won’t have to risk your life to go out and find somewhere for you and your family to stay during the civil unrest that will undoubtedly arise. However, if something would occur and you cannot stay in your house, plan B will be bugging out.

To bug out, you need all your necessary survival items in one place for convenience. A sturdy backpack in a dark color that is not too large or tactical in appearance, is a wise choice for a BOB (bug out bag) because it’s easy carry and you can fit multiple belongings inside without attracting unwanted attention. Take your BOB with you everywhere you go and put it in the back of your vehicle every time you leave your house for convenient use if SHTF while you are out on the road.

#2. Bandanas

You can find bandanas for a very cheap price and they can be used for survival purposes when SHTF. You can tie bandanas up on tree branches or a road sign, so your family and friends will understand the message you are signaling.

Get with the members you will have in your group and come up with different color options. Examples: Red Bandana = I left/do not continue going this way. Blue Bandana = Turn right. Green Bandana = Turn left. Black Bandana = Meet at desired bug out location.

Using bandanas instead of paper and pen ensures an anonymous message that others will not understand which guarantees extra safety.

#3. Blankets

No one knows for certain when our lives will change forever because of a disaster. Even if you have an idea of when it will occur, you won’t know for sure how long the living situations will remain the same.

In case of SHTF in the winter or if you live in a cold climate, you need to be stocked up on blankets for you and every member in your group. Your home will not be as warm during the winter and you need all the extra warmth you can receive to prevent hypothermia.

#4. Camping Stove (The Solo Stove)

When it comes to survival, you won’t think twice about eating anything cold. However, when it comes to meat or needing boiled water, a camping stove will become a necessity.

The Solo Stove is a great camping stove choice because it doesn’t require any fuel to work. You will run out of fuel quickly when SHTF, so you will not have to worry about feeding your family when it comes to cooking on The Solo Stove. All you need are twigs or any burnable items such as pine cones, wood, or leaves. The Solo Stove is also small and has a compact design for convenient use.

#5. Cardboard

Cardboard can become very helpful when the SHTF and more than likely, you already have cardboard boxes out in your garage. You can use cardboard as insulation for your home or as a barrier from cold ground when forced to sleep outdoors. Depending on the amount of cardboard that you have, you can make emergency shelter out of it to protect you from the cold.

#6. Cleaning Supplies

Germs will be spreading like wildfire during a disaster because of less likely good hygiene and since you will not have access to a hospital to treat illnesses or infections, you want to keep your living condition as top notch clean as possible.

Stock up on disinfectant spray/wipes, bleach, vinegar (general bathroom cleaning or floor care), dish soap, heavy duty trash bags, and rubbing alcohol. If you keep your living area clean, you will reduce the chances of you or a loved one becoming sick which will decrease problems in the future.

#7. Condoms

Condoms are a necessity to prevent pregnancy. When SHTF, you will not be as healthy as you once were before TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) occurred. Pregnancy at this time is simply not ideal for the baby or the mother. You will be lacking more nutrients, more than likely hungrier than usual, and engaging in more exclusive physical activity than your body is used to.

If there is a problem with the pregnancy (tubal pregnancy for example) you will not be able to receive medical care to diagnose or care for the problem which could lead to death. Not to mention the mother may not be able to produce enough breast milk and she may not have any formula stocked up to feed an unplanned baby.

#8. Duct Tape

Duct Tape is cheap, small size for convenience, and can fix just about anything. You most definitely want to stock up on as much duct tape as you can.

You can use duct tape as a water tight seal for leaks, emergency band-aids, attach tarps to trees for shelter, making an arm sling for you or a group member that dislocates a shoulder, fly traps (pest control is very important), become a DIY rope, make a cup out of it to collect rain water, and detaining punks or thieves by making handcuffs with a couple strips of your duct tape.

#9. Extra Transportation

If you are bugging out or temporarily leaving, you will eventually become exhausted by getting around on foot. Having extra transportation other than a vehicle would be a very wise choice. ATVs would be extremely handy for traveling through the woods or wherever off-road (never go out on a main road by yourself – too dangerous.) You will run out of fuel sooner or later so purchasing a bicycle is a smart move.

Bicycles do not require gas and you will be so much more comfortable for getting around rather than walking. You will also get to your destination a lot quicker than going by foot. Converting a vehicle to run on biodiesel fuel you make yourself will help enhance your ability to escape quickly.

#10. First-Aid Supplies

One thing you want to keep in your BOB and everywhere you go is a first-aid kit. Having first-aid supplies on hand can absolutely save a life. Most first-aid kits you can find at stores will only cover the basics like a scrape or cut but during a SHTF, that will not be enough. In order to keep things from getting worse or even deadly, you should make your own first-aid kit.

Your first-aid supplies should consist of many quality medical supplies and because you will have a lot of items, you should choose a large fishing tackle box. Using a large tackle fishing box gives you the option of being more organized with all the trays, more room to put supplies than in a regular first-aid kit, and convenient to carry.

#11. Flashlights

You should keep multiple flashlights in your BOB as an everyday carry item. If you are out during the darkness, a light is essential for taking your next step. If you are running in the woods at night trying to get away from a punk, you might fall in a hole and break your leg if you cannot see where you are going.

You should also purchase a headlamp because you may have your arms full carrying children, injured people, wood, food, or other items and the headlamp simply lays on your forehead which makes it much more convenient than a regular flashlight that you must carry.

#12. Food Preservation

Food preservation is crucial for you and your loved ones’ survival. If you do not preserve your food, not only will you eventually run out of food for you and your group members to eat, but the food that you attempt to store will spoil and deteriorate in a rather short amount of time. You need to stock up on Mason jars to can your food, water bath and pressure canning equipment, and both an electrical and a solar food dehydrator.

#13. Gas Mask

Gas masks are crucial to keep you safe from all smoke, toxic substances, and all airborne chemicals. If civil unrest occurs, tear gas will more than likely be used. During a natural disaster, bugging out (just to be safe), or nuclear attack, your gas masks will become essential.

#14. Geiger Counter

With all the threats from North Korea, you can never prepare too much for the possibility of a nuclear attack and being exposed to radiation. Or, even if the nuclear power plant has an accident or if you are exposed to a dirty bomb, you will be exposed to radiation.

You should always stay indoors for at least 24 hours after the air has been exposed to radiation before going outside to leave the area. You should get a Geiger Counter, so you can have an instrument that detects ionization and radiation. Having a Geiger Counter in your position can potentially save a life and reduce the chances of anyone being exposed to radiation poisoning.

#15. Hand Powered Tools

As convenient as power tools are, gas and electricity may not be available during a SHTF scenario, so you should stock hand powered tools in your shed to be prepared during a disaster. Hand powered tools will get you by during an emergency the same way our grandfathers used these types of tools daily.

You should make sure to have a hammer, wrenches, screwdrivers, and at least one axe. A two-person version of the cross-cut saw would be extremely helpful when it comes time to cut down trees for wood. Not only would this type of tool save you energy by having extra help, but it will also get the job done quicker which results to extra wood being cut before dark.

#16. Hygiene Products

Your overall hygiene health is extremely crucial to reduce the chances of becoming sick and resulting to a health issue. Purchasing hygiene products may not be at the top of your survival items but they most definitely should be.

Stock up on plenty of toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, anti-bacterial soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, baby wipes, tampons or pads, and face masks to keep your mouth and nose covered while around anyone that is contagious with a sickness.

If you just overcame any type of illness, make sure to throw your current toothbrush out and begin using a new one. Using a toothbrush you had while being under the weather can result to those nasty germs returning to your mouth again.

#17. Jugs of Water

The average person can only go three days without water before dying from dehydration. It is crucial for you, your loved ones, pets or livestock, plants, and garden crops to receive clean water when a disaster strikes.

You should start stocking up on water now before it becomes dirty and contaminated. Not only will you need the water for hydration purposes, but you will also need water for cooking, brushing your teeth, washing your hands, and showering.

#18. Map

After the SHTF, chances are you will not have access to your phone or GPS. Having a map in your console of your car and your BOB can help you and your group members to relocate to a new destination.

If you do not own a map when a disaster strikes and if you are in an unfamiliar location, you could potentially get you and your loved ones lost and result to death from starvation, dehydration, or if you come across punks that steal all your belongings in your BOB. If they steal your BOB, how are you going to get to your home or bug out location to get in your stockpile if you do not know where you are and how to get back to your needed destination.

#19. Matches

Matches are extremely small for convenient packing, cheap, and they have a very long shelf-life as long as you do not get them wet or break them. You can easily put multiple stashes of matches in your console of your car, BOB, and even your pockets. Matches are the most common and simplest method when it comes to starting a fire.

#20. Medication

Medicine is a definite must need when it comes to survival. You should always, always, always stock up on medicine every time you have the chance. For example, if you or your loved one has high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes, medicine is crucial when it comes to your survival.

Antibiotics are another great type of medicine you should have bundles of stocked up. With all the physical activities outdoors, an injury is bound to happen by someone and if they get that cut or wound infected, they will need antibiotics. If someone has an ear infection, toothache, or a virus, they will also need antibiotics.

Building your own herbal apothecary would also be a wise choice when it comes to medical health.

#21. Non-Perishable Food

53% of Americans do not have a three-day supply of non-perishable foods in their households. You need to make sure to have a wide variety of non-perishables, so you and your family will not have to worry about starving.

A lot of non-perishable foods can be conveniently stored such as canned foods, you can easily stack them on top of each other and provide you with more room to stack other non-perishables. You can also buy non-perishables from survival food companies for a bigger bulk of foods and most of them are already cooked, you just need to heat them up or add water.

#22. Pet Food

You and your group members are not the only living creatures you must provide and care for. Your pets and livestock are relying on you for their survival. When you are stocking up on non-perishable foods for you and your loved ones, that would be a great time to also stock up on dog food and livestock feed.

If you are not stocked up on livestock feed when a disaster strikes they will eventually run out of their feed which will soon result to death. Guess what happens if your livestock die? Obviously, no meat and dairy for you and your group.

#23. Plastic Sheeting

Plastic sheeting should have its own stockpile because of all the different uses you can get out of them. You can use plastic sheeting build a solar still, making a shelter, covering ground for a sterile surface, creating a quarantine, collecting rain water, making blackout curtains so others will not know you have light/electricity on in your house, building a greenhouse, and ensuring your plants do not die by the frost. You can also put your plastic sheeting up against windows and doorways to trap heat and create more insulation.

#24. Rope

There are many different types of rope and the uses of them differ depending on which kind of rope you have. For example, the most common is the “twisted rope” which is extremely strong. If your bug out location is near a water source, this is the type of rope to have, as it is capable of floating. If you plan on building shelters, you need to get a “paracord rope” or “guyline rope.” Paracord ropes are also great for holding up a hammock. “Climbing ropes” are also a great type of rope to have so you know for certain that it will allow heavy loads while climbing.

#25. Seeds

In order to have a beautiful garden that will allow you and your family to indulge in must needed nutrients, you need seeds. Seeds are very cheap, and you can purchase a lot in bulk to be stocked up for a long period of time. The type of seeds you need to get are based on your personal preference. For example, if you and your family are big broccoli and corn lovers, make sure to stock up on these two vegetables. If you are not a fan of carrots or beans, you could still stock up on them and use them as for bartering.

#26. Sewing Kit

You absolutely need clothes for when a disaster strikes not for modest purposes but for warmth and protection purposes. If it is winter or a cold climate, you need clothes to prevent you from being a victim of hypothermia. You also need clothes to protect your skin when you are out in the woods to prevent you from being cut or bit by ticks, insects, and snakes.

Sewing machines can repair clothing or make new clothing out of scraps from other clothing or blankets. You can also make your own gear with your sewing kit which can include: archery quivers, rifle cases or slings, hats, moccasins, bags, and water bottle holders. You can make just about anything with a sewing kit, it just requires creativity and patience.

#27. Tent

A tent is a definite source of shelter, so you should purchase at least one tent. If you have a huge family or big group, you can get a large enough tent to fit your needs. Even if you plan on staying home when SHTF, you may be away from your home when the disaster strikes so you need to be prepared and have shelter for you and your loved ones until you make it back home. A tent will keep you out of nasty weather, protect you from getting bit by insects, and keep you out of the cold.

#28. Water Purifier

When SHTF, the water will soon become contaminated which means no more tap water. One way every water source will become contaminated is because of human waste. If you drink contaminated water, you are just asking to be exposed to all kinds of infections that can become very serious and result to death.

Yes, you can stock up on bottled water, but you and your group members will be drinking a lot of water to keep hydrated and eventually your stockpile of bottled water will be gone before you know it. You need to get water fillers, they are not that pricey and can save your life, so you do not die from dehydration.  Water fillers remove the containments completely away from the original water source and leaves you with clean, drinkable water.

#29. Weapons & Ammunition

Weapons should be the #1 survival item to have, period. If you do not own any weapons, then you might as well kiss your loved ones good bye now. When SHTF, there is going to be more crime than you could ever imagine. For one, people will be defending for their own and not have police help which excites all criminals. Even the people with the biggest hearts will turn against you when they become hungry enough and will most definitely do what they need to do to feed their families. With that being said, you need to stock up on as many weapons as possible.

Rifles and handguns should be your first choice of weapons. Don’t forget to stock up on the correct type of ammo, as well. Bows (compound or crossbow) are also weapons that you should absolutely own. Bows are quiet which will be great for when you are hunting and want to keep quiet, so people nearby will not have any clue of your location or that you just killed a deer because they will be wanting that deer for their own family.

If you ever run out of arrows for your bows, you can easily learn how to make your own. Slingshots are great to have for killing small game and they are also quiet. Knives is also a must have for self-defense or butchering the livestock or deer.

#30. Whistles

You need to go purchase whistles for you and your loved ones and begin putting them in your BOB. Whistles are very loud and great for grabbing your attention. You can have your loved ones blow their whistle if they are being robbed, raped, or beat up and you will know their location to come to their rescue. There is a such thing known as the “Emergency Whistle Kit” which includes: a whistle, led light, compass, magnifying glass, signal mirror, and thermometer. You can either wear the survival whistle across your neck, on a keychain, or in your BOB.

What’s Next?

If you’re serious about prepping, you should start my one-year stockpiling challenge. Start here.

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About Brea Miller

Brea Miller
Brea is a stay-at-home mother to her two toddlers and newborn baby girl. She works from home as a writer and virtual assistant. She was raised by prepper parents who instilled the importance of self-reliance at a young age and now continuing on that tradition with her own children. Brea lives on a homestead in Appalachia where she is always taking care of her farm animals or the crops. She doesn't get much free time but when she does, you will be able to find her out in the woods on the back of a horse, hiking, or hunting.

6 comments

  1. 1) Along with the BOB, you need a place to bug out to. Otherwise, you are not bugging out, you are fleeing. You still need a backpack with supplies, you just will have to select general supplies rather than ones designed to get you to your bug out location.

    7) Condoms by themselves are not a guarantee against pregnancy, but they do reduce the risk significantly. Better would be to use more than one form of birth control. Including abstinence, which is 100 percent effective or “rhythm” which by itself is not very effective but can add to the effectiveness of the condom.

    10) Tackle boxes are good for stationary first aid kits, but they don’t pack well. For the kit in your BOB, there are pocketed soft cases which would pack better.

    13) A gas mask is a good thing to have in a nuclear or chemical attack, but they are problematic. A good one is very expensive, and the cheap ones are next to worthless. Any which are “surplus” are surplus for a reason. Plus you need filters for them, since even normal air will use up a filter in 24 hours or so. Also, they only work if you are clean shaven. Whether or not you have a gas mask, make sure you have a bunch of filter masks of at least 95% capability or better would be 99%. They have “100%” ones (more like 99.7%, but I have not tried them).

    14) Geiger counters tend to be more for the “professionals” who need to know the details of radiation. Better for “home use” might be a radiation meter and/or “dosimeter” badges.

    15) Crowbar/Wrecking bar, pliers, bolt cutters, knives, machete/

    19) Matches are also the least reliable (in inclement conditions). Also have lighters and ferro rods.

  2. Following on what John said,
    1). Great to get a BOB together first, even if you don’t have anywhere specific to go (yet). Fleeing to the woods with a BOB is better than fleeing to the woods with nothing.

    7) Agree completely. If you’re in a crisis situation to the point of having to flee with your BOB, having sex should be really low on your To Do List. Save it for more tranquil times.

    13, 14) Given the lower risks of chemical and radiation problems, these seem to below much farther down the list — certainly not the first 30 days kind of stuff. $175 for a Geiger Counter could be much better spent on improved first aid supplies, for instance.

    25) Seeds: Great idea for the long view. If you haven’t grown those vegetables before, start a garden this spring. Practice growing food plants. It’s not as simple/easy as putting the seeds in the dirt and coming back in a couple months to eat the produce. Too many ways to fail (e.g. corn stalks, but no ears. Tomatoes half rotten with blossom-end rot, etc.)

    27) co-equal with a tent are sleeping bags. More efficient than blankets. Whether you’ve fled to the woods or grandma’s basement, you’ll want something to sleep in. We’ve got Tact Bivvy mylar sleeping bags for emergency (wind/rain/cold) and regular 0°F bags for less turbulent use. (can be used together, of course.)

    29) Yeah, move that one up higher on the list — far more important than a gas mask, for instance. Which guns to get first is a perennial blog topic with no absolute answer. Personal protection and hunting will each favor different types. Bow and arrow are nice, but take a lot more time to master. Start practicing now, before you absolutely MUST have that rabbit to feed your family.

    As others have recommended, start out by trying to have preps to survive a week w/o power and shopping. Once you have that, move up to preps for a month, etc.

  3. Dont forget comms, both to stay in touch with yr loved ones and for catching up on the latest. Forget the AM/FM radios that everyone has, get a small decent portable short wave radio, almost any of the Kaito brands, Yacht Boy, etc are suitable. Stay away from the hand cranked ones, youll soon get sick of winding for 1/2 hr to hear 10 mins news. Solar powered ones are better. Yr not going to need ssb etc, but some of the better ones are ssb capable for listening to Hams etc. Dont forget the good old crystal set, you can build one for short waves for almost nothing and its small, doesnt need batteries, but will need a long aerial. The advantage of a crystal set is that it is very light, and doesnt radiate any signal, unlike all modern radios that are detectable from some distance off by their local oscillator ratiation. It also isnt very selective in its tuning, meaning that it will pick up the strongest broadcast, which will fade out and be replaced by annother. Meaning you dont really have to know where the stations are, it will pick up everything. Jaycar electronics has a small set on a printed board for less than $20 Aust, i have several of them. (KV3540). Rewind the coils for short wave, its dead simple. Get some uhf cb radios, solar chargers and batteries, put them in yr faraday cage, you do have one dont you ? Keep transmissions short as you can be traced with rdf equipment. Ive never seen anyone mention this in any blogs, but its possible for the Govt to spy on u that way as well. Ditch the cell phone as it can also be traced, remember opsec, you dont want to be found.

  4. If you are going to the trouble of a Geiger counter, why not have the iodine pills that protect you from nuclear fallout?

    • Because iodine pills do NOTHING to protect you from fallout. They have one (important) function. They fill up your thyroid with iodine (cause they thyroid loves to slurp up any iodine). When it is full, it accepts no more, which means that it won’t accept any (or much) radioactive iodine created by a nuclear explosion. It has no effect on any other nuclear product, and will protect no other organ in your body.

      Fallout consists of Alpha and Beta particles, and gamma radiation. Normal clothing can provide short term protection against the particles, and a good filter mask will keep you from breathing them in, where they will really cause you harm. Gamma radiation is very penetrating, about the only thing which will protect you from that is shielding. For instance, 3 feet of dirt.

  5. Most everything here I’m on board with, except…
    Iodine pills, you are incorrect. Iodine pills WILL indeed protect your thyroid which in turn protects other systems and functions in your body.
    Add in Iosat potassium iodide tablets for your entire family. Perfect solution? No, but they are cheap insurance.
    As to a Geiger counter, well if you must. There are some cheap versions for your smart phone.
    Cheap insurance? ok..I’ll likely get one. Neat gadget to fiddle with.
    Condoms..I had to chuckle a bit at your first statement..you know, abstinence works fairly well also. just saying..
    Oh and.. CARDBOARD?!? no, really? That one isn’t well thought out at all.
    Cardboard doesn’t store well, rodents love it, will do nothing if you bug in and won’t be with you if you bug out…
    the list goes on.
    DUDE!! too funny. lol

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