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Stockpiling Essentials:

What To Have In Your Survival Cache.

In the mindset of a prepper, one of the most important things you can do to prepare for natural disasters, economic crises, and other emergencies is to have supplies already on hand. Its pretty much the definition of "prepping" is to prepare yourself ahead of time in the event some calamity befalls your neighborhood, city, state or even the entire country. The idea is to be prudent and not one of the masses who is scrambling at the last minute for bottled water and canned soup.

The general rule of thumb for survival without certain things should sound pretty familiar:

  • 3 minutes without air: After three minutes without oxygen, a person may suffer irreversible brain damage or death.

  • 3 hours without shelter: Exposure to extreme heat or cold can cause hypothermia or heat exhaustion, which can quickly become life threatening.

  • 3 days without water: the average time a person can survive without water is about three days. However, factors such as dehydration, heat and exertion can reduce this time.

  • 3 weeks without food: Depending on a person's body fat reserves and overall health, a person can survive up to three weeks without food. But who wants to?

Keeping this "Rule Of Three's" in mind, what should a survival kit include? Here are some essential items to consider when putting together your own stockpile:

Water and water purification supplies:

One of the most important things to have in your supplies is water – and lots of it. Plan to have at least one gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation purposes. You should also have water purification tablets or a filter to clean any water you come across in the event that your supply runs out.

As it turns out, water is difficult to transport for obvious reasons 1). It's heavy. 2). It takes up a pretty good footprint. The knowledge and ability to purify your own water will come in handy if you're forced to evacuate your home in the event of an emergency (hurricane, wildfires, etc.). You may only be able to carry a gallon per person in that case. We cover this topic in a different post you can find here.

Non-perishable food:

Along with water, you should also have a supply of non-perishable food. Items like canned soup, protein bars, and dried fruits and nuts make great options for a survival kit. Make sure to choose items that have long shelf lives and don’t require cooking, as power may be out during a crisis. When stocking up on canned goods it's always a good idea to take a permenant marker and write on the lid of the can what it is and what the expiration date is. Labels can often get torn off and lost.

Another option to have on hand are freeze dried foods and meals. A large assortment of these products have a shelf life of approximately 30 years. The varieties are often sold in stackable buckets, making storage in a spare closet quite simple. There are plenty of Freeze Dried Food distributors available, including Mountain House, Readywise and Valley Food Storage. Many of them are sold as "family buckets" indicating that there are a certain number of meals for so many days for a family of four.

First aid kit:

This is one of the longer lists, so prepare yourself (pun intended). Creating a well-stocked first aid kit is crucial for any survival cache. While specific needs may vary depending on the situation and personal requirements, here are some essential items to consider including in your first aid kit:

Basic Supplies:

  • Adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)

  • Sterile gauze pads and adhesive tape

  • Disposable gloves

  • Scissors and tweezers

  • Safety pins

  • Thermometer

  • Cotton balls and swabs

  • Instant cold packs

  • Small mirror (for signaling and checking injuries)

Wound Care:

  • Antiseptic wipes or solution (e.g., hydrogen peroxide or povidone-iodine)

  • Antibiotic ointment or cream

  • Sterile saline solution (for wound irrigation)

  • Sterile sutures, needles, and syringes (for serious injuries)

  • Sterile closure strips (e.g., butterfly bandages)


  • Pain relievers (e.g., acetaminophen or ibuprofen)

  • Antihistamines (for allergic reactions)

  • Anti-diarrheal medication

  • Antacids (for stomach discomfort)

  • Prescription medications (if needed)

  • EpiPen (for severe allergic reactions)

Personal Protection:

  • Face masks or respirators

  • Nitrile or latex gloves

  • Eye protection (safety goggles)

  • Hand sanitizer or hand wipes

Miscellaneous Items:

  • Medical shears/scissors

  • Splinting materials (e.g., SAM splint or rolled-up newspapers)

  • Tweezers (for removing splinters or foreign objects)

  • Moleskin or blister pads (for foot care)

  • Sunscreen and lip balm

  • Insect repellent

  • Snakebite kit (if relevant to your region)

Information and References:

  • First aid manual or guidebook

  • CPR instructions or guide

  • Emergency contact information

  • Personal medical information and any allergies

While all of these items can be gathered up individually, there are several pre-built options that will include most, if not all, of these supplies.

4. Lighting and Communication:

During a crisis, reliable lighting and communication tools are essential. Include battery-powered flashlights, extra batteries, a hand-crank or solar-powered radio, and spare cell phone chargers. A whistle and signal mirror can also be valuable for attracting attention or signaling for help.

5. Tools and supplies:

In an emergency situation, you may need basic tools and supplies to help you get by. Some items you may want to include are a multi-tool, shovel, rope, duct tape, and a crank radio or flashlight.

6. Blankets and warm clothing:

In case of bad weather or a limited power supply, it’s important to have warm clothing and blankets to keep you and your loved ones comfortable. Make sure to include items like warm socks, coats, and blankets in your survival kit.

7. Self-Defense and Security:

While personal safety is paramount, it's essential to prioritize non-violent solutions. However, having items for self-defense can provide a sense of security. Consider including items like pepper spray, a whistle, or personal alarms. If you choose to include firearms or other weapons, ensure you are trained and adhere to local laws.

8. Personal hygiene items:

Personal hygiene is still important during a disaster. Make sure to include items like soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, toothbrush, and toothpaste in your survival kit. Alsso, don't forget the ladies in your home/group. Keep and extra supply of feminine hygiene products on hand as well, becaue Mother Nature won't stop, just because the stores are all closed.

9. Cash/barter items & Important Documents:

In case of power outages or equipment failure, it’s important to have some cash on hand in your survival kit. ATMs or credit cards may not work, so make sure to have some smaller bills on hand. If you haven't already, now is a great time to stock up on physical silver (or gold, if you can afford it).

Keep copies of identification documents, passports, insurance papers, and important contact information. Store them in a waterproof container along with some cash, including small bills.

In the event of a prolonged disaster (one that takes more than 2 weeks to get resolved), we would expect the value of paper money to be diminished rapidly, and as such and older method of trade between folks would likely become fashionable again: bartering.

In our 21st century economy, cash is king and we trade dollars for products and services. In a barter economy there is no defined medium for trade, so you trade items you have for items you need. (Example: I'll give you these three cans of beef stew for a dozen of your eggs). And almost anything can be a good barter item so long as its easily divisible. Canned goods, matches, candles, salt, sugar, coffee, airline-sized liquor bottles, and so forth. We will talk more about the barter system in a later post.

10. Mental and Emotional Support:

Surviving a crisis requires not just physical preparedness but mental and emotional resilience as well. Include items that can provide comfort and alleviate stress, such as books, games, puzzles, or personal mementos. A notebook and pen can be useful for journaling or leaving messages.

Building a well-rounded survival cache is a crucial step towards preparedness. Remember that these are general recommendations, and you should tailor your cache to your specific needs and the potential risks in your area. Regularly review and update your supplies, ensuring they are in good condition and not expired. By being prepared with the right items, you can face challenging situations with confidence, safeguarding yourself and your loved ones. Y'all stay safe, stay prepared!


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