Over the years I’ve consulted with many clients through my consulting business who know that they should stock up on food, water, and other needed gear but they’ve become so overwhelmed with all the “prepper foods” and “prepper gear” suggestions that are being promoted on nearly every survival blog and prepper website that they don’t know where to start – so they contact me for help.
I love seeing the look on their faces when I tell them that they don’t really need all of that stuff or need to order anything online because everything needed to prepare for a local disaster or even a total SHTF event can be found and purchased at their local Wal-Mart.
Prepping should be a simple and low-cost expenditure, unfortunately prepping has been made into a business where you’re intentionally led to think that you have to spend thousands of dollars on long-term storage foods, firearms, bug out vehicles and other related gear, when in reality everything that you really need can be purchased quickly and cheaply at your local Wal-Mart Supercenter.
Below I’ve put together a 20 step prepper’s checklist that once completed will make you better prepared than probably 95% of the U.S. population – all at a fraction of the price of purchasing an equal amount of foods and gear from the prepper supply vendors that you see promoting their products everywhere online nowadays.
You can do all 20 steps at once if you want or you can divide each step into separate days, weeks or months. But you need to get it done as soon as possible. Keep in mind that this is only a starting point and isn’t presented here as a completed end-all list. Prepping is a lifestyle and you’ll always be working on and improving your skills and adding to and or altering your supplies.
Now let’s get started…
1. Head to the nearest Wal-Mart and pick-up 20 lbs. of white or brown rice (white rice stores longer but brown rice is more nutritious) and 20 lbs. of pinto beans. White rice has a better storage life while brown rice has more nutritional benefits – your choice.
2. While you’re there grab 5 lbs. mixed beans, 5 lbs. of white sugar, 5 lbs. of iodized salt, one gallon of olive oil (can be frozen to extend shelf-life), 5 lbs. oats, 10 lbs. each of white or wheat flour and cornmeal.
3. Now head over to the canned foods and pick-up 20 cans of canned fruits and 20 cans of canned vegetables. Be sure to buy only those brands and contents you normally eat and nothing exotic. No need to shock the senses.
4. Now over to the canned meats. Pick-up 20 cans of various meats, salmon, stews, spam, and tuna. Again buy only those brands with contents you normally eat and nothing exotic.
5. Okay. Now to the to the peanut butter shelf and toss two 40-ounce jars in the cart. The listed shelf life is just over two years and each jar has over 6,000 calories. Peanut butter is an excellent instant survival food.
6. Over to the powdered drink mix – go on I’ll wait…Okay, pick up two 72 Ounce Tang Orange drink canisters (provides 100% of the US RDA vitamin C requirement per 8 oz. glass). Also, grab six 19-Ounce Containers of Kool-Aid Drink Mix.
7. Off to the vitamin and supplement aisle, pick up 400 tablets “one a day” multivitamin and mineral supplements. I buy this brand at the local Wal-Mart – comes in 200 count bottle for $8 each.
8. Now to the department, we all love – sporting goods. Go to the camping aisle and pick up 4 five gallon water containers. Fill with tap water as soon as you get back home.
10. And while you’re in the sporting good department pick up the best flashlight you can afford, extra batteries and bulb. Also, grab two boxes of wooden matches and several multi-purpose lighters. Don’t forget to date, use and rotate – remember first in first out. Let’s get started. What would you add to the list?
11. Go to back the grocery department and pick up 5 lbs of powdered milk or the equivalent of canned, now go over to the next aisles and throw in 5 lbs of rolled oats and a case of Ramen noodles. Ramen noodles aren’t the most nutritional food but they are cheap, add bulk to the diet and store well – just don’t rely on them to provide all your nutritional needs. And don’t forget a good manual can opener.
12. While you’re in the grocery department be sure to pick up an assortment of spices to taste, such as Basil, Chili powder, Cinnamon, Garlic, Sage, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme and Black Pepper. Spices can go along way toward making unfamiliar foods palatable. Also, while you’re in that area add 5 or more lbs of salt to your shopping cart, as you know salt has 101 uses.
13. Okay, counting what you bought during our first trip to the shopping center, that should do it for the grocery. Now go over to the area near the pharmacy and pick up 3 large tubes of toothpaste, 3 brushes, 100 double edge razor blades, (note: if you don’t have a razor you’ll probably have to order one from Amazon.com and don’t forget a brush and bowl), I’ve used this type razor for years and think it is a cheaper long-term solution than disposable.
14. While you’re there, add the most comprehensive first-aid kit that you can find to your cart and don’t forget over the counter pain meds (Tylenol, aspirin etc.). If you’re a woman (or have one in your life) go over a few shelves and pick up enough “feminine” supplies to last three months or longer.
15. With all that food in your pantry its only a matter of time before you have to poop. I know, its shocking but we all do it. If you have a water source such as a stream or lake nearby you can still use the toilet in your bathroom, all you have to do is manually fill the tank in back and flush as usual. If this isn’t an option, you’ll need to look for other alternatives such as the Portable Toilets sold in the sporting goods department or making a sawdust toilet from a five-gallon bucket.
16. What’s next? You guessed it toilet paper. If you poop you need to wipe, if not you probably need to start. You could use a corncob, cloth, Roman sponge on a stick or paper from discarded books or newspapers but I would wager most of you prefer the softness of Angel Soft. Get enough to last at least a month, more if possible and remember women need more than men so plan accordingly.
17. While you are in that area of the store pick up a supply of disposable plates, bowls and plastic utensils. Don’t go overboard here but having a small stockpile of these items on hand can save a lot of water that would otherwise be used to wash dishes. Also add two or more gallons of regular, unscented bleach to your cart.
18. This is a biggie and can’t be done (legally) at the department store pharmacy without the signature of a doctor – that is stocking up on prescription meds. Getting more than a 30 day supply, at least in the U.S., can be difficult if not impossible. But there are ways to get most of what you need for long-term survival. See this book (note: some of the information in the book is dated but there is still good advice to be found).
19. Now push your cart (man this thing is getting heavy) over to the hardware department of the store and pick up a carpenters hammer, vise grips, adjustable wrench, screwdriver set, duct tape, electrical tape, ax, pry bar, crosscut saw, hacksaw and a large can of WD-40. This is your bare minimum survival toolkit.
20. After you get your toolkit, go over to sporting goods and in the camping supply aisle pick up a propane camp stove and 5 or more 1 pound propane cylinders or a bulk 20 lb tank and hose adaptor – yes the pressure in the small bottles is the same as a 20 lb cylinder or even 100 lb tank, just be sure to get the proper adapter and hose assembly. Another alternative and the one I prefer is the Volcano Stove because I can use propane, wood, and charcoal.
21. Okay, we are just about done – only a few more steps you’ll be out the door and heading home. You’ll need a way to keep in touch with your group so go to the electronics department and pick up the best two-way radios that you can afford – I have these. Don’t forget a battery-powered radio and extra batteries for both. While not necessary, I prefer a radio capable of receiving AM/FM and shortwave broadcasts – I have this one.
This shopping list will have you better prepared than probably 90% of the U.S. but it should not signify the end of your preps only a good start. There’s always something to do and learn never become complacent – remember the quote “On the plains of hesitation lie the bleached bones of those who on the very threshold of victory sat down to rest, and while resting died.”
What did I leave out? What would you add? Let us know in the comments below.