Beginning Prepper’s Checklist: Essential Items

April 15, 2015

It’s easy for beginning Preppers to feel overwhelmed when first starting out on the prepping path. With so many things to consider (food, shelter, safety, etc.), and so many products to choose from, prepping can seem like a daunting task to someone who’s just getting started. While prepping won’t be exactly the same for everyone, there are some items and supplies that most everyone will need.


Always keep a supply of water. FEMA recommends storing 1 gallon of water per person per day. You should also have on hand at least 2 ways to purify water. If you need to find water outside of your home, consider collecting rain water and always know where your closest bodies of water are located.

Boiling is one of the safest ways to treat water. Let the water come to a rolling boil and continue to boil it for a full minute. Pouring the boiled water back and forth between two containers will put oxygen back into the water and will make it taste better.


Beginning Preppers should start with no more than a 30 day food supply. Over time, as you start to grow more comfortable with prepping, you can store more. If you’re determined to store more than a 30 day food supply right out of the gate, make sure to keep a list of the items and their expiration dates so that you can maintain a healthy rotation. Even with less than a 30 day food supply, keeping a list will help you keep things organized.

Try to store foods you already enjoy eating. They’ll be easier to rotate!

Foods that store well include:

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Dry Beans
  • Canned Meat
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Jams and Jellies
  • Canned Fruits
  • Honey
  • Iodized Salt
  • Powdered Milk

First Aid & Personal Hygiene

Needless to say, you should always have a first aid kit on hand. Along with your basic first aid kit, it’s a good idea to store extra bandages, Neosporin, alcohol & hydrogen peroxide, Benadryl and a pain reliever. Personal items you’ll want to store include: shampoo, toothpaste, a brush, razors, soap and toilet paper.


While some Preppers have the skills and means to create shelters, beginning Preppers will want to consider other options. Ideally, in a catastrophic situation you’d get to stay in your home, but if for some reason you couldn’t, it’s good to have a few essentials you could quickly “bug out” with.

The first essential is a good bug out bag that includes the basic necessities you’ll need in an emergency situation. 

You’ll also want to make sure you have something to protect you from the elements while you sleep. A tent is great, but tents add weight. Consider a lightweight tarp instead. If possible, sleeping in your vehicle would be even better.

Clothing should be suitable for the outdoors. Warm socks, sturdy boots, and try to dress in layers.

Other Essentials

It’s great to keep food on hand but not so great if you have no way to get into that food or cook it. When it comes to prepping, there are many “other” essentials people often forget. Add the following to your list of necessary items:

  • Gas Grill/Camp Stove
  • Solar Oven
  • Cooking pot/pan
  • Cooking utensils
  • Multi-purpose knife and a good, lightweight knife sharpener
  • Lighter/matches
  • Candles
  • Batteries
  • Can opener
  • Flashlight
  • Duct tape
  • Rope

When gathering your own supplies there will certainly be things you’ll want to add to the list but the above items are a good start in the right direction.

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