Being prepared for a disaster emergency is essential for survival. If you’re just getting started with your survival preparation, it’s important to know the essentials. There are hundreds of items you can purchase to go in your survival storage, but there are some you absolutely must have.

In this report you’ll learn the most important survival items you can have. This is enough to help you get started. Once you’ve obtained these items, you can begin to add more and more to your survival cache.

1. Water

Water is the most important nutrient you must have. You cannot live for more than three days without water. When there is an emergency, you will die from dehydration faster than everything but hypothermia.

It’s important to have water stored that you can immediately drink. For survival, you’ll need at least one gallon of water per day per person.

It can be hard to store enough water for a long period of time because it takes up a lot of space. But don’t let that deter you. Store as much as you can and then make sure you have a water purification method you can rely on so that you can purify other sources of water.

Also consider that water is used for cooking, cleaning, flushing toilets, brushing teeth, and bathing. It’s a good idea to have a separate water storage for these functions. Storing water in barrels outdoors can work well. Don’t rule out alternate water sources like swimming pools, fountains, or ponds.

To store water outside in barrels, you just need to make sure that you have a barrel that’s food grade and free from BPA. You should also make sure that the barrel is clean inside. If you fill the barrel with tap water, there’s no need to purify the water because it’s already been chlorinated.

However, if you use another water source, you need to make sure that you treat it with chlorine. You should also make sure that if you need to drink water from a barrel, you heat it to at least 160° F for at least 30 minutes or 185°F for 3 minutes.

2. Nutrition

Nutrition is critical to surviving in any disaster. You must have a supply of food. Most people begin with a 3-day supply of food and then increase the supply so that they eventually have a year’s worth of food stored.

There are many different ways to store food. Some people choose to buy prepackaged kits with all the nutrition you need for a specific period of time. Others like to purchase MRE meals that are military style.

Still others prefer to choose foods that are a part of their regular diet, store a large quantity and rotate them throughout the year by replacing what you eat. It’s important that you try to store some things you know you like to eat. If you don’t like the food now, you won’t like it later.

Prepackaged kits and MREs are more expensive in the short term than putting together your own supply, but the convenience can be worth it. If you are going to buy a kit, make sure you try some of the foods before you order a large quantity to make sure you and your family like it and will eat it.

And let’s not rule out food production methods like gardening, livestock, and hunting and fishing.  Just remember, you can only live about 3 weeks without food.  After that, bye-bye prepper.

3. Shelter

Shelter is essential to survive a disaster. There are different types of shelter to consider depending on your needs and your geographic location. Many people want to have a permanent structure that will protect them from tornadoes as well as chemical or nuclear fallout.

An underground shelter made of steel or concrete is optimum. You can expect to invest thousands of dollars to create such a shelter. If that’s not an option for you, there are some measures you can take that will help you to stay safer.

In the event of some sort of air contamination, it’s important that you have thick plastic sheeting and duct tape. These items can be used to seal off a room or an entire area of your home so that you can avoid coming in contact with dangerous chemicals.

For a tornado, you can preselect an area of your home that’s as below ground as possible and without windows. If you don’t have an area like that, a bathroom on the lowest floor of your home is your best bet.

You should also think about having shelter should you have to evacuate. A tent that will accommodate all the members of your family is the simplest and easiest way to make sure that you have shelter from the elements.

Keep your tent with your emergency kit so that you can grab it and go in an emergency. After purchasing a tent, make sure that you have opened it and set it up so that you know you have all the parts. You may also need to add waterproofing if that hasn’t already been done.

You’ll be relieved during a disaster to know you have some sort of temporary shelter and that you know how to set it up.

4. Backpack

A backpack is essential for storing your 72 hour emergency kit. It will allow you to carry your supplies for a long period of time. A backpack distributes weight evenly across your body and leaves your hands free for other things.

When buying a backpack, you want to get the highest quality you can afford. Purchasing a backpack with an aluminum frame will provide more weight distribution and support, which will let you carry more.

It’s also good to choose a backpack that has many external pockets to store items you need to get to quickly. It can also be helpful to have MOLLE loops. These are strong loops that allow you to clip equipment to the outside of your pack.

Many packs also come with a hydration system that includes a bladder and tubing so that you can drink while on the move. This is another feature that’s worth the added expense.

With a backpack, you shouldn’t cut corners when it comes to cost. The investment you make will be worth it when you need a rugged pack that can stand up to difficult situations. Everyone in your family should have a backpack that’s appropriate for their size.

5. Lighting

In a disaster or emergency, one of the first things to go is power. When the power goes out, you’ll need to have a source of light in order to survive. A flashlight with batteries is helpful, but batteries can drain and then you’re left without light again.

A good hand crank flashlight is a more reliable source of light that’s powered by you instead of external energy. You can also find hand crank flashlights with USB ports that can power your phone, tablet, and GPS unit.

A lantern is also helpful for lighting a larger area. You can find battery powered lanterns with LED lights that will last a long time.

Kerosene lamps are also good for survival because they’ll burn for a long time with a small amount of fuel.  But remember, flame light can bring its own risks.  Be careful when using oil-burning lamps or candles for emergency lighting.

6. Fire Starter

The ability to start a fire is vital in any disaster situation. Fires provide warmth, light, the ability to cook, and water purification. But if you can’t get one started, you will not reap those benefits.  Instead, you could suffer from hypothermia and possibly die from exposure.

Waterproof matches are the least expensive way to go to start a fire. You can dip matches in paraffin to keep them from getting wet and then store them in a watertight container with a strike strip to make your own.

You can purchase a steel fire starter that comes with a magnesium rod and tool to scrape it.  Magnesium is extremely flammable and all it takes is a spark to catch on fire.

You can also purchase olid fuel tablets made from hexamine that will help you to get a cooking fire started.

A camping stove is also a helpful item to have so that you can cook items from the food you’ve stored.

Whatever you choose to use to start a fire, make sure you practice with it so that when the time comes and you desperately need a fire, you can start one.

7. Weather Radio

During an emergency, a radio can help you to stay abreast of what’s happening in your area. Having a voice in the dark giving you information is a huge psychological boost during trying times.

You want to invest in a weather radio that can be powered by batteries, solar power and/or hand crank. This will allow you to get the news even when the power is down.

There are many units you can purchase that combine weather radio with AM/FM signal as well as a flashlight and phone charger. This all-in-one tool will be critical in an emergency when having information can make the difference between life and death.

8. First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is a must so you can care for minor medical emergencies when it’s not easy to get to help from professionals. In a weather or disaster emergency, medical personnel get spread very thin and might not be able to get to you to provide help.

It falls on you to be able to treat cuts, scrapes, broken bones, and other emergencies while you’re waiting for professional care. You’ll need to know how to use your first aid kit.

Taking first aid classes and having a first aid handbook with your kit is a lifesaving choice. You can order premade first aid kits from many disaster survival supply companies or you can put one together yourself.

It’s important to have a first aid kit at home and in the car so that you’re never without it. This is also a good place to store a supply of prescription medications if you require them.

If you can’t afford to buy all the first aid supplies you think you’ll need, start small and add a little each time you get paid. Eventually you’ll have a kit that can help in almost any medical emergency.

9. Map / GPS

If you’re forced to travel because of a disaster, having a way to navigate is critical. GPS systems are the most precise way to find your location and get directions. However, you may not be able to use a GPS system in an emergency.

If you have a GPS system, make sure that you have a way to charge it. But also have a backup plan. An old-fashioned map is very valuable in a disaster. Keep a map of your area in a water tight bag so that you can find your way if need be.

Also take the time to look at a variety of evacuation routes and mark them on your map so that when you’re in the middle of an emergency you won’t have to spend time thinking about where to go.

10. Multitool

Having a multi-tool in your disaster supplies allows you to have many tools in a small space. A full-size multi-tool will contain items such as:

  • pliers
  • wire cutters
  • knives
  • saw
  • file
  • can opener

This tool will keep you from having to store individual tools that perform the same function. It can be placed in your backpack and has almost unlimited uses.

Don’t skimp on cost with a multi-tool. You want a high quality tool that isn’t going to break the first time you use it. Expect to pay around a hundred dollars for a high quality tool that meets all of your needs.

11. Sanitation

Another key consideration during disaster survival is what to do with waste. Human waste can cause disease if not disposed of properly. The simplest way to handle waste is to have a 5 gallon bucket and trash bag liners.

You can use the bucket as a makeshift toilet and then dispose of the trash bags. You can also purchase camping toilets that are basically the same thing, but with a more comfortable design.

If you’re going to be camping outdoors for an extended period of time, building a latrine is a good way to manage sanitation. A latrine is basically a pit you dig that’s at least four feet long and one foot wide.

You’ll want to dig below ground about 6 inches. You can use sticks to create a place to sit when going to the restroom over the pit. After going to the bathroom, you can cover waste with soil to keep the odor from getting strong. When you leave the location, you can fill in the hole.

Also, make sure you stock up cleaning supplies such as alcohol and bleach. If you come into contact with dirty water or infected people, you will want to be able to kill any bacteria you might come into contact with.

12. Protection from the Sun

If you’re outdoors, the sun can be both your friend and your worst enemy. The sun can help you to stay warm, can be used for a solar oven, and will light your way. But, it can also cause your skin to burn. And it will dehydrate your body.

It’s essential that your emergency supplies contain sun protection supplies. This includes sunscreen as well as a wide-brimmed hat. Remember, even during the winter, you can experience sun damage.

If you’re out in the sun, make sure you have adequate drinking water to replace fluids that are being lost. You should also make sure that you have long sleeve clothing and long pants to protect you from the sun’s rays.

Work to make the sun your friend, but never neglect to protect yourself from its harmful effects.

Bonus: Survival Stores

Now that you know the most essential items you need for survival, it’s time to start adding them to your survival storage. Most people can’t afford to purchase everything at once. But, what you can do is create a plan to purchase a little at a time.

Set aside a specific amount of money in your budget each month and buy what you can until you have everything you need. Start by making sure you have what you need for a 72-hour survival kit, then add more and more.

Cover your basic necessities before you do tools and other preps. But remember, all your preps are insurance to maintaining a lifestyle that you enjoy, even if you are on your own.