Most Essential Prepping List – #20 Important Topics

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Mike Roth

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Prepping List

In a so rapidly changing world that we all live in, it is important to prepare for the events that may occur. Here you can find a Prepping List of the 20 most important topics you’d want to be prepared with.

This Prepping List is not only a list of items you should buy. You’ll find further information on tools, skills, and techniques you want to get in touch with when you’re in an emergency situation or when a big blackout happens. You can also use this list to pack the right things together for a camping trip.

I spent hours and hours finding a prepping list I can fully agree with. And I think you feel the same. So, I just created my own list and wanted to share this with you.

Keep reading and find your way into Prepping:

#1 – Water

#1 - Water

As you might already have guessed, water is one of the most important things you need to stay alive after oxygen. You can survive for around three days without any water. In good circumstances, an average person needs one gallon of water daily.

For emergency preparedness, you should get at least enough drinking water for two weeks. [1]

But there are more things you’re supposed to do with water, such as cooking or cleaning. In that case, you can use purified water, see #2 of the list or read this article: How To Purify Water.

Drinking Water

  • Have water for at least two weeks 
  • Tap Water for drinking only lasts for six months! [2]
  • Water From Store Most bottles expire in 2 years


Some Preppers store water for much longer than two weeks.
You can use a lot of water bottles to fill or a 55-gallon BPA-free barrel for enough drinking water for 55 days if you’re alone.

Other Info

  • For true Preppers: There is no limit for storing water.
  • Don’t overfill your container when it gets cold outside. As it expands and increases its volume when it freezes. Fill it up to around 85%.
  • A Rainwater Collecting system is convenient when placed in the right location!

#2 – Water Purification

#2 - Water Purification

When you were in the wild and ran out of water, you probably know how hard it could become to get some fresh drinking water out of nowhere.
Imagine an outbreak of a crisis, and you can’t get any water from your sink.

A Blackout or Power-outage causes the pumps to shut down. 
Without electricity won’t work any pump that transports the water.
Be prepared to clean the water you find in the woods, and don’t start panicking.

There are lots of ways to clean your dirty water. I’ll show you the main ones:


Dirty water must be filtered before drinking. Otherwise, it causes disease!


Adding 16 drops or ¼ of a teaspoon of chlorine per gallon of water will make the water drinkable.

UV Light Water Purifier

UVC light kills microorganisms like bacteria and viruses.

When you want further information, you can read this article about How to Purify Water.

#3 – Food

#3 - Food

A human being needs fuel to run its body. It’s suggested to consume 2000- 2500 calories per day as a grown man.
When you eat below 1200 calories per day, it will not only lead to a tired state of mind. You’ll get angry and start to starve within 1-2 months. And this is a terrible way to die.

As with water, the American Red Cross suggests a 14-day preparation.

As a Prepper, you’re going to prepare for many months or even years. Emergency Food Bars are ideal for this!

It is also super important to have basic gardening skills to grow your food in case of a more extended power shutdown. See in the #19 Skills section.

(Freeze) Dried Food

Dehydrated foods are much lighter because the water got removed. Freeze Dried Foods last much longer than on a shelf. It depends on the place, but dried foods last between four and twelve months. It should be stored in a place safe from sunlight and cold conditions.

  • All kinds of Beans Kidney beans, Black beans, Pinto beans, navy beans, lima beans, etc.
  • Rice Is cheap food to store. Remember that brown rice is whole-grain rice that contains a lot of oil and lasts only one year.
  • Oats Are a popular prepping food, as they can last for more than 20 years and is cheap.
  • Wheat Can be stored very well and is up to 18% protein. 
  • Vegetable Corn, Broccoli, Green Beans, Mixed, Potatoes, tomatoes, Carrots, peas
  • Fruits Nuts, Raisins, berries, Bananas, Peach
  • Meats Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Ham 

Canned Food

Canned food is made by heating the food to kill bacteria. However, the food must be stored in a container (Canned)

Canned meals will last for years as long as the container is alright. Making it ideal for your food storage.
But, any hint of rust or swelling makes the meal suspect.

  • Vegetable Beans, Carrots, Corn, Mushrooms, Peas
  • Fruits Pineapple, Berries, Peaches, Mangos, Cherries, Grapefruit, Apricots
  • Meat Beef, Ham, Chicken, Bacon, Crab
  • Fish Tuna, Salmon, Mackerel

Other Info

  • For true Preppers: There is no limit for storing food.
  • Special MRE Food is expensive but lasts for 20-30 years!
  • Honey lasts long, so learning how to keep bees is a relevant skill you can learn! See #19 Skills for more

#4 – Cooking

#4 - Cooking

When it comes to a Blackout or Power Outage, you can never be sure how long it might last. Only for a few hours or up to one to two days. Or much, much longer.

In that case, you’ll be welcome to have some fine warm food. But without electricity? I suggest you prepare for at least one of the topics below.

Make sure your environment is not flammable. Check that a radius of 3 meters is safe, and watch for tree branches above!

Open Fire

Building a fire space is easy when you know what to watch for.

  • Stones to make the fire Spreadproof
  • Lighter Matches, Fire Starter, Kindling
  • Easily Flammable material Dry Wood, Newspaper


All kinds of Charcoal grills are a great option for cooking your food. There are multiple ways to light your coal; here are the common ones:

  • Lighter Fluid cover all coal with easily flammable fluid and burn them.
  • Chimney Starter Put your coal in the Chimney and light it with some old newspaper or fire starter.
  • Special Charcoal Some Coals are easier to light than standard coals; they are already covered in lighter fluid. Light it with a lighter or match.

What you need to Grill:

  • Grill Barbeque-, Kettle-, Barrel-, Ceramic grill
  • Charcoal Lump Charcoal, Charcoal Briquettes, Hardwood Briquettes
  • Chimney
  • Lighter
  • Fire Lighter & Starter


There are plenty of different stoves. If left alone without gas or electricity, you can still make decent food with a built-in wood-burning stove. Here are some ordinary easy stoves you can prepare for.

  • Rocket Stove Uses Wood and Charcoal as fuel
  • A Simple Gas Stove Uses Propane, Butane, Alcohol, Isobutane-Propane threaded
  • Solar Stove Uses UV light to heat your food.

Other Info

Coal is ready when it’s covered in gray ash

Don’t forget your can opener!

#5 – Medical/ First Aid/ Hygiene

#5 - Medical/ First Aid/ Hygiene

When you get injured by anything, you need medical utensils to repair yourself and the know-how, of course. Even the smallest wooden skewer could infect you and harm your health. 

Remember that you will need some technical experience to fix large wounds or help somebody. Read in #19 Skills more about skills you need to survive when you can’t rely on professional help.

Medical Supplies

When thinking about preparing for health, medicals are a critical point.

  • Everybody has a different need for medicine. Some with special needs have to be careful only to hoard what they can take without problems.
  • Do a quick research on how long your medicals will last. I suggest you to go for at least six months.

First Aid Supplies

You can’t be overprepared with First Aid stuff. But keep in mind to cover almost everything you could possibly need. Make yourself some thoughts about what you could need:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Bandages For smaller wounds
  • Shears
  • Moleskins For blisters
  • Antiseptics Cleaning the wound
  • Cold Packs
  • Hot Packs
  • Splint To support a broken bone
  • Tapes Cloth-, Clear-, Waterproof Surgical Tape
  • Gauze Pads For cleaning and covering cuts, scrapes grazes, and minor burns


That is a big topic nowadays, especially when you have a little wound and try to stop the bleeding with dirty hands. You’re likely to infect yourself when you can’t wash your hands as frequently as usual cause fresh water is in short supply.

Cleaning your body is also a massive boost to your mental health. 

  • Soap To wash your whole body
  • Sanitizer
  • Antiseptic
  • Wet Wipes
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Your personal needs include Female Products, Deodorant, etc.

#6 – Clothing

When it comes to a disaster situation, you never know if that will happen in winter or summer.

You’d better have too much from winter and summer clothing than too little, as you might have no way to wash your clothes. Or have the opportunity to buy new.

  • Warming Clothes Jacket, Sweater, Warm underpants
  • Summer Clothes Tank-Tops, T-Shirts, Shorts
  • A Raincoat Will make you waterproof
  • Underwear You can’t prepare too much underwear
  • A Hat For protection on sunny days
  • Sunglasses For Sun and wind protection
  • Good Shoes For every weather, Rubber boots, Tactical boots
  • Gloves Will make your life so much easier when you do hard work
  • Survival WatchRead our Best Survival Watch Reviews.

#7 – Shelter

#7 - Shelter

It’s incredible to say, but 1 in 10 American homes was affected by natural disasters in 2021.[3]

When something like that hits your town, you’d have a much easier life when you prepared with some sheltering.

Maybe it’s too late, and you must build a shelter quickly. Make sure to read How to Build a Survival Shelter with little tools.


In a perfect world, you have a good tent somewhere lying around. But tents can become pretty expensive. Make sure to have something that can hold the worst wind in your hometown and is waterproof.


With some imagination, you can make good tents with heavy tarps. Tarps are also suitable for rainwater catching, transportation, or covering damaged areas in your home or tent.

Sleeping Bags

Anytime you have to sleep outside your bed, make yourself a pleasure and sleep in a sleeping bag. Having a good sleep doesn’t only let you feel much more rested, but you’d also be in a much better mood. Which is a big morale boost in disaster situations.

#8 – Light & Fire

#8 - Light & Fire

In case of a Blackout, your lamps in the kitchen will probably not work anymore. Except you have an emergency power supply with a generator. But even that won’t last forever.

I’ve learned that you should never underestimate the power of visible light. No one likes the darkness in crises.

Remember Extra Batteries! 


These are your best options to prepare with ASAP.

  • Flashlight Is also the number 1 tool for self-defense
  • Headlamps 
  • Lanterns & Oil Lamps 
  • Candles 
  • Glowing Sticks 


Having no way to light your candles is frustrating, especially when it’s your only light source.

  • Lighters regular lighters, Waterproof lighters, coil lighter
  • Lighter Fuel Haven lighter fuel prepared is a must!
  • Matches
  • Fire Starters

#9 – Batteries

#9 - Batteries

Prepper or not, everyone should hoard a decent amount of Batteries as they’re the only energy source when the power goes off. Almost every device has a battery in it. From your light source to Radio. Better to have more than enough.

Having a decent Power Bank at home is always a good choice.

Different Kinds

Keep in mind that there are rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries. You’d be better off paying a bit more for rechargeable batteries, as it might be easier to recharge those than buying new ones in a store.


In almost every electric store, you can find rechargers that cover all typically used batteries.

To recharge Batteries that went low on power while you’re off-grid, you best use a solar recharge device.

#10 – Fuel

#10 - Fuel

I constructed a list of different kinds of fuel you should prepare with. Think about what items you need for catastrophes in your town.

Store Your Fuel in a Safe Place and their special containers!

  • Wood Is used in many different situations. You need wood to light a fire and thus to cook when your herd is powerless. Some Stoves do use wood as fuel too.
  • Kerosene For heating and cooking
  • Propane For heating and cooking
  • Diesel To run a generator

#11 – Communication & Signaling

#11 - Communication & Signaling

Active communication with your family in catastrophic situations is a huge moral boost. Getting information from leaders about the current state and receiving instructions on what to do is crucial.

Consider taking a look in our Best Walkie-Talkies for Emergencies review.

  • Mobile Phone For communication and news and other useful tools
  • Crank Powered Radio To get information in case of a Blackout
  • Walkie-Talkie Short-range communication
  • Solar Radio For info in case of a Blackout
  • HAM Radio Communication around the world. Only licensed people are allowed to use the HAM Radio!
  • CB Radio Citizen’s Band Radio is a land mobile radio system.

#12 – Bug out Bag

#12 - Bug out Bag

You don’t have enough time to pack your bag in an emergency. In a crisis, you only want to get out and away. And for that, you will find a list here to pack the most important things together. Place that bag ready to hand to flee as soon as possible.

Your Bug out Bag is not only for bugging out; this piece of equipment can be used in plenty of conditions, such as evacuation, House fire, or a natural disaster.

The bag shouldn’t be heavy or uncomfortable as you might hold in for several hours on your back. If your bag is not waterproof, you don’t have a bag.

Prepping supplies that should be contained in your bag:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Water Filter To clean water you find in the wild
  • Metal Cup For Drinking
  • Purification Tablets Also to clean dirty water
  • Fire Lighter & Starter To quickly make fire when needed
  • Waterproof Matches
  • Emergency Food Some good Energy Bars that refill you with power
  • Portable Stove Run with Gas or Wood
  • Lightsource A Flashlight and a Headlamp
  • Multitool Swiss Army Knife or a Leatherman
  • Knife/ Axt To collect wood for a fire
  • ParacordRead our Best Paracord Reviews
  • Duct tape
  • Tarp As an Emergency Shelter
  • Documents Digital or Paper
  • Sanitation You don’t want to survive a disaster and die to a virus
  • Toilet Paper
  • Gloves
  • Raincoat Being To be wet causes your body temperature decreases fast
  • Clothes Pants, Shirts The right dress is important. Pack what you need in your hometown
  • Underwear & Socks 
  • Solar Radio To get information about the situation
  • Powerbank To charge the devices you got with you
  • Trash Bags Humans produce trash all the time

#13 – Heating

#13 - Heating

A Power Outage in the winter can cool down your home pretty fast. To avoid freezing at all, you might prepare an alternative heating source.

  • When you have a place to hoard wood, do prepare an oven or stove that heats with wood, otherwise,
  • Propane is your way to prepare for when you want to heat your house in a Blackout. It’s easy to store and lasts for a long time.
  • Having the right heater is essential, read more Here.

#14 – Tools

#14 - Tools

Having the right tools at the right moment is crucial for surviving the wild. Imagine you want to eat a canned meal and end up with no can opener. Not so good.


  • Bandanas Can act as pretty much anything. You can pre-filter dirty water with it. Protection from the sun and dust, pillow, scarf, bandage (when clean), holding hot cups
  • Hammer
  • Saw A small handsaw can come in handy, but if you want to make a fire you’ll need a bigger one
  • Axe Collecting wood
  • Gardening Tools Small and Big shovels, etc.
  • Mechanics Kit Contains tools you need to repair mechanical stuff
  • Electric Kit Contains tools you need to repair electrical stuff
  • Strong Cord
  • Lighter & Matches
  • Fire Starters To Start a fire quick
  • Screws & Nails
  • Screwdriver
  • Multitool
  • Compass Navigation
  • Map Navigation
  • Zip Ties Universal makeshift tool
  • Scissors Always good to have
  • Can Opener To open canned foods
  • Duct Tapes For makeshift repairs
  • Work Gloves Having to build a shelter without gloves is something you only do once
  • Rain Collecting A bunch of buckets or a rain-collecting system
  • Bleach To purify water and mainly cleaning
  • Whistle

#15 – Selfe Defense, Safety & Security

#15 - Selfe Defense, Safety & Security

When humanity collapses and gets sent into a state where you have to fight for food, You don’t want to be an easy target for other people.

Self Defense

  • Flashlight #1 Defense Tool
  • Pepper spray is a good choice to defend yourself
  • Taser To quickly take off an enemy
  • Knife Selfe Defense purpose
  • Body armor
  • Survival Guns
  • Ammo Depends on the choice of your weapon
  • Learning Martial Art Karate, jiu-jitsu, Krav Maga


  • Barber Wire Is almost invisible for unpleased guests and effective
  • Protective Film To make windows safe
  • Alarm
  • Gas Mask

#16 – Mental Health

#16 - Mental Health

No Smartphone, no TV, nothing at all that is powered with electricity, will work while a power outage is present for a longer time. Human beings become bored so fast that you better prepare with some of these:

  • Board Games
  • Playing Cards
  • Books
  • Puzzle
  • Chess

#17 – Seeds

#17 - Seeds

Hoarding Heirloom Seeds [4] is a must for everybody that prepares for the future. 

  • Owning a Garden Is essential for surviving
  • Heirloom seeds Are open-pollinated seeds, which means they reproduce the same plant as the parent plants and inherit the traits of their parents.
  • In catastrophic times seeds always had value for humans. They are very useful in trading with others.

#18 – Documents, Contacts, Photos, Data

In the current state, it is outdated to save all documents only in paper format. You really should keep every single document you’ve got in digital format.

But get at least one copy from every document; you’ll probably need it in the future anyway. Don’t forget to make another copy after using one!

Everything on your USB Driver makes it much easier to escape in a crisis situation. Make sure to encrypt your Driver just in case you lose it.


  • ID
  • Passport
  • Deeds
  • Birth Certificate
  • Titles
  • Insurance Policies
  • Driver License
  • Financial Data
  • Marriage Certificate


To have pictures of your family in your pocket in case of a disaster is a huge morale boost. Save them also in digital format.


Make sure to have a copy of everything here near you:

  • Maps When you have to panic leave your home and end up lost, a map will most likely help you find yourself
  • Emergency Numbers International and local emergency numbers, hospitals, and Helplines
  • Contacts Name, telephone numbers, and contact addresses of family members and friends
  • Medical Records Medicaments you take, Allergies
  • Legal Last Will, Business documents

#19 – Skills

#19 - Skills

This section is the biggest one of all, as you can stay alive, with the right information, for a more extended time. Yet, it would be best if you practiced it beforehand.

I can’t stress this enough. When you get a new tool, Use It! Often! To know how to handle the item when needed.

Basic survival skills aren’t as complicated as they sound at first.

So stay on track with the skills you most likely need in your home, and learn how to help yourself!

  • Gardening You probably already guessed that gardening is the number 1 skill to learn
  • Foraging and Gathering Herbs, Plants, and Flowers
  • Medical Beside the skill of knowing how to provide first aid is to learn how to close a wound, use a tourniquet, or to deal with emergencies.
  • Fitness Once set out into the wild you can’t afford to not walk a few miles in one go.
  • Mind Crises get on your nerves heavily, and this is hard to train and prepare for, but some meditation techniques are proven to stable your mind in these situations. [5]
  • Finding Water Without water you can only stay alive for around 3 days. Once all your water is gone, your number one priority should be finding water.
  • Building a Shelter Following this list you should have already a shelter in your near. How to build a shelter from nothing is a huge skill every prepper should know.
  • Crafting Knowing how to sharpen your knife, doing some blacksmithing and woodworking can be helpful in a lot of situations [6]
  • Navigation & Orienteering If your phone dies, you’ll be naked without your map. Make sure to study it beforehand!
  • HAM License and Radio Respect the local rules
  • How to Purify Water We have a whole article about this Here.
  • Food Canning/ Dehydration Finding a huge pig in the woods and not knowing what to do with all that food is a problem, as we can’t freeze them. But with some basic knowledge of how to process meat and make it long-lasting is a huge bonus.
  • Starting a Fire Sounds pretty easy but in some conditions, it can get hard to make a stable fire.
  • Cooking
  • Making Knots
  • Signaling Morse Code, SOS with smoke, etc.
  • Martial Arts Karate, jiu-jitsu, Krav Maga
  • Animal Husbandry & Farming Keeping animals is a great way to start homesteading if you want to. But in case of disasters, you’re also much more flexible.
  • Beekeeping Honey is a long-lasting food. When stored dry, cool and in a dark place it will last for several years.
  • Hunting & Trapping Make sure to follow your local laws
  • Reading Tracks Important for hunting but also if you live in a state with dangerous animals in the wild.
  • Fishing Is a source of protein. Something you’ll need in survival situations.
  • Maintenance Learning to do basic repairs on vehicles (Mechanic), and how to fix cables, switches, and other basic things (Electric).

#20 – Other

Some things don’t fit in one, but in two topics, or don’t fit in any big topic at all but have to be in this ultimate prepper list:

  • Mental Preparation Maybe you’re new to prepping and survival, blackouts, and disasters. To read about these negative objects is a spiral downroad that will soak you into a negative mental state. The good part about this is that you can prepare yourself mentally. There is always something good in the bad. When you need any help, contact us on this page.
  • Writing Utensils Not only for writing but for drawing too. This is a good way of passing the time. Waterproof preferably.
  • Vitamins Not getting good food with the right vitamins you need can make you feel tired, without drive, shortly said – bad. A vitamin deficiency can be concluded from this.
  • Anti Bugs 
  • Siphon Tube To easily soak water into your vessel
  • Wire For repairing electric things
  • Super Glue
  • Pet Stuff Your best friend really shouldn’t be harmed. Make sure your pet gets enough food and drinking.
  • Weapons For hunting and self-defense
  • Bow and Arrow Same as Weapons, for hunting and self-defense
  • Trash Bags I already mentioned trash bags already in the Bug Out Bag section. But Here is a list of things to do with them to make clear how useful they really are:
    • Storing your trash, obviously
    • Storing all kinds of things
    • Can act as a bandage when clean
    • Collect water on the ground and rainwater
    • fix small holes (Put into a hole or stick it over)
    • Keeping no waterproof things dry
    • Catching fish (Pulling the bag out when the fish is above it)

What Now?

Prepping is a huge subject that can make you feel overwhelmed.

But don’t freak out now, take your way into prepping slowly but steadily and you’ll feel safe in any scenario that might happen in the future.

Now you can dive into a more detailed post on a topic we’ve already written about Here.