24 Unexpected Items Every Prepper Needs to Hoard Before Disaster Strikes

Turn on the news, and you’ll hear stories about natural disasters, economic downturns, pandemics, and political instability. Because of this, more people are starting to prepare for the worst. Prepping is about making sure our families are safe during tough times.

We all know it’s important to stock up on food, water, and medical supplies. But what about those lesser-known items that could be crucial in a crisis? This list includes unconventional items preppers should consider hoarding before disaster strikes. From everyday household items to overlooked tools, these innovative ideas could be game-changers when the unexpected happens.

#1. Zip Ties

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These seemingly harmless plastic ties may not look like a big deal, but they’re helpful in survival situations. 

Keep a stash of them in different sizes and colors to secure shelter, make impromptu weapons or tools, and even use them as restraints if needed.

The possibilities are endless, so you should stock up on them. Also, note that they come in different lengths, so always get a few different ones to have what you need.

#2. Newspapers

newspapers on doorstop
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While it may seem peculiar to collect newspapers, they can prove invaluable in times of crisis.

These versatile sheets can serve many purposes, such as igniting fires, providing insulation or padding for shelter construction, acting as garden mulch, and even substituting toilet paper.

While we don’t recommend you take on a newspaper subscription, take the time to pick up the paper when you go grocery shopping so you can build a stash in case of emergencies.

#3. Old Tools

Tool kit
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When disaster strikes, having a few basic tools like hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches can be a game-changer. 

They can help fix broken items or create new ones from scavenged materials, and they don’t require electricity or batteries to function, making them reliable in any situation.

Be sure to inspect them regularly for rust and stick to high-quality brands. The knockoff version may be cheaper, but the quality suffers, meaning they break more easily.

This isn’t an issue in everyday life, as you can buy a new one, but in times of disaster, you might not have the option to purchase a replacement.

#4. Wood Ash and Chips

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Wood ash and chips may seem like simple items you could not use in a crisis, but they have numerous survival uses.

Ash from wood fires can be used to make homemade soap or as a natural fertilizer for plants.

You can also use wood chips to create charcoal for cooking and heating.

Alternatively, you can use ash under car tires for better grip if stuck in the snow. 

#5. Wire

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A wire is an excellent resource with countless uses, from fixing communication devices and electronics to building makeshift shelters. 

With various wire types, you can unlock its remarkable versatility for crafting improvised fishing hooks, constructing traps, securing tarps, or fastening objects together. 

#6. Books

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In a disaster scenario when the internet might not be available for access to information, physical books, especially those on survival farming, canning, and recipes, can prove invaluable. 

These books provide knowledge on how to grow and preserve food in emergencies, ensuring that you have a sustainable source of nourishment. 

#7. Crayons

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Crayons have a flammable wax property that makes them pretty handy in emergencies for starting fires. 

But they’re not just practical; they’re also super fun when you need a break from stress. 

You can use them to create colorful drawings or make your own candles by melting the wax and using it as a wick. 

#8. Foot Coverings

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In a survival situation, keeping your feet protected and comfortable is crucial.

Socks, shoes, and boots can prevent blisters, cuts, and other injuries that could inhibit your ability to move around and gather resources.

#9. Coffee Filters

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Though often overlooked, coffee filters are lightweight, affordable, and have immense value in times of need. 

They are easy to carry and serve many purposes, from filtering water to eliminating harmful bacteria and debris to writing paper or makeshift plates for eating.

#10. Firewood

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While some preppers stockpile fuel for camp stoves, having a stockpile of firewood is essential for any survival situation.

Make sure to gather dry wood that will burn easily and protect it from rain or snow so it will be ready to provide warmth, light, and a great source for cooking food. 

#11. Vaseline

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Vaseline is a popular product in the first aid kit of preppers to treat minor cuts and burns, protect from friction and chafing, and even help start a fire when combined with a cotton ball. 

It is also great to moisturize your hands and feet in harsh weather conditions.

#12. Gauze and Bandages

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It’s super important for preppers to have a good supply of gauze and bandages in their first aid kit for treating wounds, stopping bleeding, and preventing infections. 

Make sure you have a variety of bandage sizes and types, along with medical tape, to secure them properly.

#13. Jars and Canning Supplies

empty jars for homemade jam
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As a prepper, it is crucial to have jars and canning supplies for preserving food for extended periods. 

This enables the storage of homemade preserves, canned vegetables and fruits, and even meat.

Plus, you can store dried goods like beans, rice, and flour in jars.

#14. Diapers

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For parents with a baby or toddler, ensuring you have sufficient cloth and disposable diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, and baby food is critical. 

Consider keeping a small stockpile of these items even if you don’t have young children because they can be valuable for bartering with other families who do.

Regularly rotate and replace these items as your child grows and their needs change.

#15. Buckets and Lids

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Buckets and lids may seem strange to this list, but they are instrumental when disaster strikes. 

You can use these items for storing water, food, and other supplies, as well as for waste disposal, gardening, or other tasks.

#16. Bleach

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When you think of bleach, you might think of getting stains out of your clothes.

But there are many other uses, especially in times of struggle.

For example, disinfect surfaces, wash off fruits and vegetables, and even purify water.

You can even use the chemical for self-defense, as getting it in your eyes will burn.

Mix with a water solution in a spray bottle to make transporting it easier.

Finally, rotate your stock, as bleach can go bad.

#17. Insect Repellent

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Insects can be a major nuisance in an emergency; some can even carry diseases.

Having insect repellent on hand can help protect you and your family from bites and potential illness.

#18. Screws, Nails, and Other Hardware

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Having a variety of screws, nails, and other hardware items can come in handy when trying to repair or build something during an emergency.

Make sure to have a mix of different sizes and types to cover all potential needs.

#19. Duct Tape

duct tape
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You should hoard plenty of duct tape because it is a versatile tool for many purposes. 

Uses include repairing equipment, patching tents or tarps, and improvising splints or bandages if necessary.

#20. Candle-Making Supplies

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In a power outage, candles can be a lifesaver to light your space and provide warmth.

But instead of relying on store-bought candles, it’s a good idea to have the supplies needed to make your own, such as beeswax and wicks.

This way, you can constantly replenish your supply without worrying about running out during a prolonged emergency.

#21. Paracord

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Paracord, a versatile rope, is lightweight and durable, making it indispensable in emergencies. 

Whether for constructing shelters, fashioning impromptu clotheslines, or even serving as a tourniquet, paracord proves invaluable when traditional tools are scarce or inaccessible.

#22. Steel Wool

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In times of emergency, access to soap or cleaning supplies for your cooking pans may be limited, but you can rely on steel wool.

With its abrasive properties, use it to effectively eliminate stubborn food residue and maintain the cleanliness and usability of your cookware.

Steel wool can also be a valuable fire starter. 

Rub it against a 9-volt battery or create a spark with flint to ignite tinder and swiftly start a fire.

#23. Glue

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Glue is a versatile and handy item to have in emergencies. 

You can use it for makeshift bandages, quick fixes for clothes or backpacks, and patching tents or tarps.

Plus, it’s great for arts and crafts to entertain kids during emergencies!

#24. Gatorade

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In emergencies, staying hydrated is super important, and water is crucial, but it might not be enough to replenish those electrolytes. 

That’s where electrolyte drinks like Gatorade or Pedialyte come in handy. 

These drinks help you rehydrate and avoid dehydration.

Plus, they come in powder form for easy storage and transport.

20 Crucial Supplies for Surviving a Societal Collapse

glass of water
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In the face of uncertainty, being well-prepared gives you at least some degree of control and security. The thought of a societal collapse, while extreme, prompts us to consider how we might endure without the conveniences of our current lifestyle. Here’s a list of 20 essential items that could prove indispensable in such a scenario. This guide isn’t about succumbing to fear but embracing preparedness and resilience.

14 Essential Canned Goods for Your Emergency Pantry

selection of canned goods
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I firmly believe in keeping a well-stocked emergency pantry. While fresh food is ideal, in a survival situation, we may not be that lucky. So, for my family, even though we grow a lot of our own food, canned goods play a crucial role in emergency preparedness. They offer a reliable source of nutrition when access to fresh produce may be limited. The goods you stockpile should be affordable, easy to store, and full of nutrition.

Best Regions in the U.S. to Escape to When Society Collapses

Alaska skyline
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Choosing a refuge in the event of societal collapse involves weighing the pros and cons of each location against your personal preparedness goals and abilities. Whether you’re drawn to the solitude of the desert or the protective heights of the mountains, the key is finding a place that offers safety and the opportunity for growth and renewal.

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