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Last Minute Prepping Items

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For reasons known only to you, the subject of prepping has, up until now, been one that you either outright mocked as sheer paranoid lunacy or a dismissed as a tremendous waste of energy. Who needs to prepare for the end of the world you said to yourself and smugly snickered at the people on Doomsday Preppers and their tales of impending destruction.

Something is different now. Maybe it is the news you hear almost daily of problems. No meteorites falling from the sky, but simple, regular, commonplace problems that people have. You hear of flash flooding, refugee crisis, wars, and terrorists cutting the heads off people, hurricanes, wildfires and a litany of bad economic news to boot. If that wasn’t enough now you have the Shemitah, rumors of an EU Army, tensions with Russia, China’s economic woes and mysterious explosions and just when you thought it was safe to go on vacation to Africa, we hear that Ebola is back in Sierra Leone.

What the heck is going on in the world?

If you are only now starting to look into the world of Preppers, welcome! I think you will find that contrary to what you may have heard on the news, we are not all crazy. There are some very sensible precautions we talk about here on the Prepper Journal and the people who visit this site are some of the best educated in the world. Preppers aren’t deviants who skirt the edges of society because we are off our meds, we are likely just like you; someone who doesn’t want to be caught on the bad end of a crisis or disaster that could have been avoided.

But there is much to do and so little time. What if you just now realize the gravity of your situation and need to prepare, but it is too late? Are there last minute prepping items you can grab that will still keep you safe? I think there are plenty of opportunities to stock up on prepping supplies if you can still get to stores and they are still taking money. If you have waited until the last-minute, here are some ideas for what to grab before it’s too late.

Food is one of the first things to go in a panic.

Food is one of the first things to go in a panic.

Last minute prepping items to get

OK, some crisis is coming or has just occurred so you need to move fast before supplies are exhausted or infrastructure fails.

Go to the Bank – Get as much money as you can out of the bank in cash in smaller denominations. Not all ones but not all hundreds either. When the power or internet is down cash machines don’t work. When banks put limits on the amount of withdrawals like they did in Greece and Cyprus recently it will be too late. You should have been keeping a hidden supply of cash out of the bank for emergencies just like this but if the banks are open, get out what you can. Then go to the cash machine if it is still working and withdraw your daily limit.

Go to the grocery store – Why do you need so much cash? Because stores may still sell items if the power is out if you have cash. Food is the first thing people panic buy and they do this at the threat of a storm or during riots or when forces have knocked out transportation access out of their location. You want to be ahead of everyone at the grocery store. Actually, if you have a big box store like a super Walmart, Sam’s or Costco in your town I would head there. Skip the electronics section, grab two shopping carts, or have each family member push their own.

  • What should you buy? Canned foods that your family will eat. Avoid junk food and get canned meats and vegetables. Don’t buy anything that requires refrigeration. Purchase drink mixes to add to water. Fresh food is great for vitamins but stay away from anything that needs to be refrigerated because the power could be out. Pasta, rice and beans are great staples that can be doctored with spices or sauces to provide filling meals.
  • Bottled Water – If you don’t have a supply of water, get as much as you can.
  • Lighters and matches
  • Spices and Seasonings – Salt, Pepper, Cayenne, Honey, Oregano etc. These are all great to have to make your foods taste better.
  • Batteries – Spare batteries for flashlights, radios and walkie talkies
  • Ammo – If you have firearms, it never hurts to have a little more ammo. You might never be able to buy it again.
Water is easily stored in these 7 gallon containers and you can move them where you like.

Water is easily stored in these 7 gallon containers and you can move them where you like.

Water – Water is one thing most of us don’t have any stored around the house. While you are at Walmart, grab several 5 gallon jugs. They will either be in the camping/hunting section or automotive. If you don’t have a Walmart, hardware stores should have the same containers. If you can’t find 5 gallon containers purchase coolers and fill these with water. If you don’t have either, fill your bathtub up. Hopefully you cleaned it first or had the forethought to purchase a water Bob.

If the crisis lasts long enough, you will run out of water so you will need a method for making your water safe to drink.

    • Boil it – Boiling water will kill all viruses and bacteria but isn’t the most practical way in my opinion. It will certainly do in a pinch.
    • Treat it with Chlorine – Common household bleach (the unscented kind) can be used to disinfect water also. This kills both viruses and bacteria, but requires a little measuring and can have a bad taste. To disinfect a gallon of water use 8 drops of regular bleach, shake and let it sit for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy add up to 6 more drops, shake and repeat.

Gravity filters are extremely easy to use, no moving parts and filter out most of the bad stuff you have to worry about.

  • Filter it – This is my favorite method because it is simple. Yes, filtering doesn’t get out waterborne viruses so if there really was a lot of death and disease I would move to boiling, but just making water safe initially, filtering should be fine. There are many types of backpacking filters you can pick up at Walmart. Pumps like the MSR work great but you have some moving parts. I prefer gravity fed filters like the Platypus GravityWorks. What about the Britta water filters you stick in the fridge? These are better than nothing, but they don’t remove bacteria and seem to be geared to taking the metals out of your water more.

Go to the gas station – Now you can probably get some of this at Walmart too. You have food and water but do you have a method to cook that food? If the utilities are out can you resort to a charcoal grill or propane? I have a spare tank of propane at all times, but if I was looking for last minute prepping items, fuel for my grill would get several extra propane tanks. You could absolutely cook over an open fire if you had plenty of wood too.

  • Get ice to put in the coolers to keep the food you have cold enough to eat. Eat this food first before it goes bad in case of a power outage.
  • Gas – Fill the cars up even if you have a half a tank of gas unless the lines at the pump are too long. Long fuel lines lead to frustration. Frustration leads to violence and violence is the last thing you need with desperate people who see a car full of food. If you can get gas, fill all the spare fuel cans you have also.

Go to the drug store – Purchase extra of your prescriptions if you are allowed. Make sure you stock up on extra medicine because you may not be able to go to the hospital. Hygiene items like soap, toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper and feminine hygiene products to last as long as you can. You should also get rubbing alcohol, extra bandages, hydrogen peroxide, vitamins and any other supplies you think your family will need.

Go Home – Once you have everything start an inventory of supplies and thinking about any security issues you may have to face. This list won’t cover every conceivable item you need, but it should give you some capabilities that you didn’t have before. If you acted quickly and were able to beat the crowd, you may just survive.

In a perfect world, these preparations would have been made long ago. Prepping isn’t a single shopping trip, it usually is a never-ending thought exercise of what situations you could face and how to prepare for them. This changes every day with news, your location or life circumstances at any time. Hopefully nothing happens tomorrow and this doesn’t have to be your last-minute prepping items list. Start now to prepare by taking small steps so that you are already prepared if something happens. You won’t regret it.

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  • Mike Lashewitz

    Well done.
    If you get to the store late then grab barter items. Shovels, axes, garden tools. fertilizers. Dog food and cat food (people care more for their pets than themselves). Fasteners, nails, screws, brackets to attach plywood over broken windows. Sheet plastic, duct tape, glues.

    Do not forget car parts will be scarce. Do you have a spare serpentine belt? Air Filters or oil filters and oil? Other fluids???

    Think!!!!

    • Great additions to the list Mike. Sounds like the first thing we need to do (for those who haven’t started prepping already) is to stop by the motor pool and get a 5-ton truck!

    • Miketoo – just not goofy

      Mike, you’re misguided and/or silly. The title of the article is LAST MINUTE PREPPING ITEMS!!! “spare serpentine belt”??? really, Mike? Is that what you’re going to hoarding for you and your family as the SHTF?? Get a grip.

      • Mike Lashewitz

        Dude really? Misguided? When there is nothing left on the shelf you get what you can. As for the serpentine belt. if your vehicle needs one (uses one) and yours breaks, if one is not available you are shit out of luck. What if you are out there driving your ass off trying to get away and yours breaks because like the typical American Vehicle Maintenance is not a priority until it happens. What are you going to do? What about hoses and belts and a thermostat?
        I can only assume you have never been stuck in a desert in a humvee when this happened… Without a support crew??
        What if you choose to defend and “shelter in place”? Ever consider living like that for 7 years. Bosnia provided a lot of lessons learned….

  • Bolofia

    Pat,
    For the last minute preppers out there, the best possible outcome would be for them to read your great article and realize just how futile it would be for them to attempt to purchase that range and quantity of supplies while (or just after) the S has HTF, Assuming they aren’t involving in fist fights on aisle 7 while trying to grab the last bag of frozen chicken tenders, they are likely to get clubbed with a baseball bat as they race to their car.
    I sincerely hope this is a wake up call for them.

    • Thank you Bolo and you saw right through my motivation for the post!

  • Bobcat-Prepper

    We had a derecho (strong storm) hit our area in 2012, and it knocked power out for a week. Our Walmart closed during that time, yet the Mom&Pop store down the street kept open, taking cash only. I would recommend folks locate their closest locally-owned store, and ask the cashiers or owner if they stayed open the last time there was a power outage.

    Then make sure there is an easy way to bike or walk there, and you have plenty of cash stored up.

    • I remember those Bobcat because it was the first time I had ever hear of the term Derecho. You make excellent points about alternative stores. I have a local Ace Hardware down the street that is actually closer than Walmart and I bet it would be less crowded also.

  • LWJ

    Walmart!! Your one stop shop as long as the lights are on that is.

    • Yep. And as long as you can make it past all of the people in the isles buying yard decorations of inflatable minions for Halloween…