By Mac Slavo

When you first decide to start stockpiling food and storing water in case the SHTF, there are 5 items many consider essential and should be in every prepper’s arsenal. These 5 items will help you get a jump start on your preparations with the added benefit of giving you some peace of mind.

Like I always say, this is by no means a complete list or one that cannot be altered and tailored to one’s specific needs.  It is a simple starting point for beginners to springboard off.  Everyone starts somewhere and oftentimes, all we need is a little guidance to think about things in ways we hadn’t before.

1. Backpack

A good quality backpack will be essential! If you want to create a bug out bag, you could definitely use your backpack for that, or you could put together a vehicle kit to keep in your car. You may want both.  Prepping is personal and we all will have different needs, but making sure your backpack is not cheaply made is essential for everyone. You don’t want your gear falling out the bottom or the zipper breaking three hours into a SHTF situation. Make sure you can comfortably carry it and that the backpack will hold all of your supplies.

2. First Aid Supplies

Personally, I like to buy pre-made kits for this. You can grab good ones pretty much anywhere, and pick out what you want and might need for your prepping kits. This will give you all the basics, too, so you can focus on the things that often do not come in a first aid kit, such astourniquets, clotting agent, and forceps. Remember to add any medications you take regularly and toss in some antibiotics if you can!

3. Life Straw

Getting enough clean water that won’t make you sick is going to be rough, but a life straw can really come in handy. A life straw is a personal water filtration device designed to remove 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites without chemicals, iodine or batteries. The LifeStraw hollow fiber membrane water filter removes bacteria and protozoa from lakes, streams to ensure safe, clean drinking water. The water bottle style (left) has become increasingly popular, but the standard life strawswill still do the trick. They also last for a long time. The microbiological filter will provide 4,000 liters (1,000 gallons) of clean and safe drinking water with proper use and maintenance. 

4. Survival Book

I highly recommend The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster by Tess Pennington. This will outline steps that can be taken to help you along the way on your prepping journey and offer advice for those situations that often slip our minds.  You should also consider grabbing a book about edible plants in your area and a first aid survival book. I recommend The Survival Medicine Handbook: THE essential guide for when medical help is NOT on the way by Joseph Alton MD. Again, this isn’t set in stone, and more books and reference material will be incredibly helpful if we have no power or ways to access the internet.

5. Lighters

You are going to need to be able to light candles and make a fire, so stock up on lighters. Make sure that you are periodically checking them though. The fuel could be leaking or they may not work, and those won’t do you any good.

These are the 5 things that I would consider the essentials to get you started. With prepping becoming more popular, it’s important to go back to the basics and remember our most vital items.

This article was sourced from

Image credit: Pixabay

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  1. magnifier of either the plastic or glass variety can start a fire during any daylit tines. Also, fine steel wool and a 9-volt battery. They both can be stowed inside separate zip lock bags ready to always work day or night.

  2. A couple more suggestions, especially for Bug out bags…a change of clothes, or if space is at a premium, just a T shirt and a change of underwear ! If you get stranded somewhere you will want them. Also, a couple energy bars or other snack food. And a day’s worth of your prescriptions ! A decent quality multi tool is also useful. Happy Prepping !


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