There are a lot of lists out there on items that you should have in your preps. These include items for barter and items to have on hand even if you don’t know how to use them, “just in case” someone else might know how to use them. I think stocking items like this will tie up money and storage space that can be much better used for items that you can and will use in daily life or if the world goes to hell in a handbasket.
Having all sorts of great HAM radio gear costs a ton of money to buy and can take up quite a bit of space. Being a licensed radio operator, I can assure you that just having the equipment will do you no good whatsoever. There is a significant learning curve on using HAM to make contact with other operators. Unless you are practicing these skill already, you won’t have the ability to use this gear when you need it. I encourage everyone to become proficient in communications, but I’ll never recommend that someone buy radio gear “just in case” For the price of a good transceiver and antenna you can put back a ton of beans. Literally a TON of beans.
In my opinion, barter items are in the same boat. If you overstock ammo with some trade in mind, that’s not too bad because you can use that ammo yourself if there is no need to barter. I hear a lot of people that store liquor for barter, but they don’t drink at all. I like a good drink, so I know exactly how expensive liquor can be. Don’t get me wrong, if you drink it’s all good to store some of your favorite beverage. It will store indefinitely and I can think of nothing better than facing the end of the world with a nice Bourbon to take the edge off. However, I’m not going to tie up hundreds of dollars to store a luxury item before additional food or medical supplies.
Now that I have my rant out of the way, we’ll look at some items that you can feel confident about storing without worrying about overstocking. Of course, I’m a proponent of “Store what you eat, eat what you store”, so rotating these items shouldn’t be a major problem. You should only be limited by the amount of space you have available to you. This list isn’t meant to be completely inclusive, so use your best judgment on what would serve you and your family. Also, note that the list is not in any particular order, so don’t feel the need to add any items in order of appearance.
- Water – You can never have too much, but it is bulky. Have a way to purify water from outside sources!
- Rice – White rice stores a really long time. Wild and Brown rice have a much shorter life span.
- Beans of all types
- Canned vegetables
- Canned meats – only store these if you are willing to eat them!
- Powdered milk – You’ll need to learn to cook with this, so practice now.
- Home canned goods.
- Dehydrated foods – These take up very little space and store for a long time.
- Freeze dried foods – These are a little pricey, but can’t be beat for shelf life.
- Dried eggs – Check out the OvaEasy brand. They are amazing!
- Baking supplies
- Powdered drink mixes
- MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) – Try before you stock up. They are calorie dense, [and chock-full of artificial preservatives]. Some people despise the foods within.
- Soap – Bar and liquid
- Dental floss
- Shampoo and Conditioner
- Toilet paper
- Feminine products
- Shaving cream
- Baby powder
- Medical tape
- Nitrile gloves
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Saline solution
- Antiseptic solutions
- Over the counter medications
- Batteries – all sizes and types used in your household
- Duct tape
- Sewing supplies
- Cordage – stock a variety of sizes and types
- Trash bags
- Zip-Loc bags
- Plastic sheeting
- Ammunition – This is also a great hedge against inflation since the price only seems to go up!
- Gasoline – Gas must be treated to increase shelf life, so plan for this if you have long term in mind
- Kerosene or lamp oil
- Seeds – Heirloom varieties ensure a supply of seeds from the garden year after year
- Currency – None of us can ever have too much money!
- Canning lids and rings
Like I said earlier, this isn’t a complete list, nor is it in any particular order. Each person or family’s needs will vary a little bit, so each of us will need to evaluate what should be in our preps. If I have any glaring oversights, please feel free to leave a comment so we can build this list up with useful items.