Prepper Gear: The Most Important Items To Get (before SHTF)

By "Just In Case" Jack | Updated: 03/02/2024

Prepper Gear

Hey…I’m Jack, co-founder of SkilledSurvival and TheResilientLife.

And I’ve been working on and researching survival & preparedness since 2013.

Since then, I’ve helped thousands of folks prepare for the future.

And I receive lots of questions about buying gear.

Many people are worried they’ve overlooked a critical piece of gear.

So, if you’re new to prepping (or even a seasoned pro), this video will help you out:

↓ 10 Pieces Of Prepper Gear Everyone Should Own


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Want a free 78 item prepper checklist?

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Gear Vs. Prepper

Before we get started, I want to clarify the difference between supplies and gear.

Prepper supplies are things you consume in an emergency.

For instance:

Water and food are perfect examples of prepper supplies.

And you’re going to need a lot of prepper supplies.

But when I say “prepper gear,” I’m talking mainly about tools.

So, food won’t be on this list.

Yes, of course, food is fundamental.

But I’m leaving it out today because I’m talking about gear, okay?

GEAR is NOT consumable.

So, with that clarification out of the way, let’s get started.

Group of plastic water tanks1. Water Storage Containers

The first piece of gear I want to discuss today is water containers.

Now, there are tons of water container options on the market.

For example, there are:

But if you want water for the long term, you need to store it in containers.

I’ve written a lot about water storage in the past, for example:

And after all this research and testing, here are the exact ones I bought:

Legacy’s Storages Premium Water Containers

These are five-gallon stackable containers with a spigot.

And if you buy several, you get a free water treatment kit.

Simply follow the step-by-step instructions.

Fill them up, stack them in your basement or garage, and rest easy for years.

My favorite feature is they’re stackable.

This allows me to take one or two of them camping.

I load them up, and when I get back, I refill them.

So they’re a piece of survival gear I use throughout the year.

And supports living a more resilient life.

2. Water Filtration Devices

The next piece of gear you need is also associated with water: Water Filter

Sure, your water storage is treated and ready to go, but what happens if that runs out?

What’s your plan when your home’s water taps run dry?

Or maybe it’s your water well that runs dry…

Regardless, you’ll be forced to find a new water source.

If you’re wise, you’ll set up a rainwater collection system.

Or perhaps you’ll have to fill up some jugs and buckets from the local pond.

Either way, you’ll want to filter any suspect water.

If not, you’re risking getting severely sick.

And a crisis is the wrong time to deal with stomach cramps and diarrhea.

So there’s no excuse.

For example:

A tiny Sawyer MINI can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water!

You can use the Sawyer mini as a straw filter or set up a gravity filter system.

It just slowly drips as a passive gravity filter.

↓ Sawyer Mini Water Filter Review – Can This Filter 100,000 Gallons?

LifeStraws are another personal water filter option that we recommend.

↓ LifeStraw Review And Field Test

Or you can go with larger countertop gravity filters such as an Alexa Pro.

The water filtration solution you choose depends on your preferences.

DIY Rocket Stove

3. Alternative Cooking  Gear

The next piece of gear everyone should own is an alternative cooking method.

And “alternative” means without using natural gas or electricity.

It doesn’t matter if it’s freeze-dried food, canned meats, or rice; you must cook it before you consume it.

A rocket stove is a good option.

And what I like about it is that you put your pot of water on top and stick your wood in the hole below.

And because of its design, it’s one of the most efficient cooking methods.

That way, you’re not using as little of your firewood to cook as possible.

So I highly recommend you check out a rocket stove.

Wait, what about just using a backyard fire pit instead?

You CAN, but you’ll consume a lot more firewood just to cook a meal.

And it’s going to create a lot of smoke and smell.

All your neighbors know you’re cooking food in your backyard.

And in an emergency, that may not be what you want.

Another great alternative cooking device is a solar oven.

As it sounds, it’s an oven that uses the sun’s power.

So, if you live somewhere with a lot of sunshine, invest in a solar oven.

FYI – Sun oven is the leader in the solar oven market.

4. Medical First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is something EVERYONE must own.

It doesn’t need to be a massive trauma kit; it just needs your basic first aid supplies.

Here’s an excellent one I recommend by MyMedic.

MyFak-IFAK-EmergencyIt’s a bug-out-size medical pouch or a MyFAK (individual first aid kit).

It provides a ton of resources to treat most medical conditions at home.

Because you can’t assume 24-hour emergency care facilities will be open.

First, the emergency rooms will become overwhelmed in a widespread disaster.

Or perhaps all the doctors decide it’s safer to stay home to protect their own families.

Either way, you can’t rely on others 100% of the time.

So you have to have some first aid backups.

And I also highly recommend you get a medical handbook.

The Home Doctor is the one I recommend.

It shows you (with large images) how to perform basic procedures like suturing and treating infections.

That way, if you have to do those procedures in a pinch, at least you have a resource.

A physical book that’s NOT online or an E-Book.

↓ Home Doctor Book Review – Is It Worth Buying?

5. Back-Up Generator

The next piece of  gear everyone should own is a backup generator system.

If you have the means, go with something large like a fuel-based generator or a Bluetti Power Station.

With the Bluetti, you can hook up to solar, and you can hook it up to your car.

It’s a tremendous power station for camping.

But it also can run your full-sized refrigerator – turning it into a solar refrigerator.

Yes, I’ve tried it, and it works—a nice, big regular-sized refrigerator for several hours.

Now, it won’t replace your entire home’s electrical needs.

It’s not powerful enough to replace a traditional fuel-based generator.

But it’s got some great features I like.

For example:

So you can run it inside your home.

It also can be recharged through solar panels.

So, it’s a big battery and solar generator, and I highly recommend it.

↓ Bluetti AC200P Power Station Review (Solar Generator)

Or perhaps you’d rather go with a traditional fuel-based generator.

Then you’ll want to stockpile extra fuel to keep it running for as long as possible.

But either way, whichever solution you choose is acceptable.

Just get something in place before the next emergency.

Hand Crank Radio

6. Hand Crank Radio

I highly recommend a hand-crank radio.

These are essential because you can’t rely on the internet if the power’s out.

You also can’t rely on the TV to get information on what the hell’s going on.

And the worst the crisis, the more questions you have, such as:

Is it dangerous to leave? Should I bug out? Should I stay put? What should I do? And what’s going on?

That’s why you need a radio.

Because it’s the most reliable way to ensure you’re aware of what’s happening out there.

Get a radio with a hand crank generator built-in.

That way, you can crank it to generate power to run the radio.

And you can also use the hand crank to charge small electronic devices.

This will power a few small electronics.

AND give you SHTF communications to find out what’s happening around town.

↓ Hand Crank Radio Review – Eton Microlink

Man with Full Faced Gas Mask In Hoody Standing In Front Of Barbed Wire Fence

7. Gas Masks and Filters

The next piece of preparedness gear I think EVERY home should own is a gas mask.

Now, some people freak out and say,

“Gas mask! Really? Are we talking doomsday here? “No, I’m talking about:”

I mean, come on, if those things happen and the air you breathe is dangerous, you’ll be glad you have a gas mask.

For example:

What if the next pandemic is 10 or 15, or 20 times worse? What if you were 80% likely to die?


I’m talking about some nasty stuff.

You wouldn’t go to the grocery store without a gas mask.

I’ve written a comprehensive gas mask buyers guide to give you all the information.

With that said, I highly recommend this one from MIRA Safety.

The CM-7M is a top-notch gas mask that I own.

Every home should have at least one gas mask.

And if you can afford more, I think EVERY FAMILY MEMBER should own at least one gas mask.

And buy several filters for each gas mask.

That way, you have plenty of filtration capacity for long-term emergencies.

older tactical knife

8. Knives, Multitools, Etc.

The next piece of gear everybody should own is a slew of knives and multi-tools.

For example, you could potentially use all these different types of knives:

Make sure to have at least one full tang fixed blade survival knife.

Why? Because it’s nearly impossible to break.

For example, you could do what’s called batoning.

It’s a survival technique where you take a chunk of wood, place the knife on top, and beat it down.

So you can split a piece of wood with a knife blade instead of a hatchet.

↓ How To Baton With A Knife Or Machete

And you can do that with no problem with a full tang fixed blade knife.

I also own several folders (or pocket knives) that flip open and shut.

If I tried to baton with one of these knives, it’d probably break the spring mechanism.

Pocket knives can’t handle that type of abuse. But it’s great for carrying around for everyday carry.

So, of course, I recommend you own a plethora of knives.

Another tool I like to keep handy is multi-tool pliers.

These usually include a nice set of needle-nose pliers.

It also has basic screwdrivers and some small blades and saws.

So it’s an ideal tool for everyday carry.

That’s why I highly recommend a multitool be a part of your prepper toolkit.

And, of course, you must always keep your knives sharp.

So invest in a pocket knife sharpener.

Here’s the one I own and recommend.

It’s small, and you can carry it anywhere, but it does an excellent job of keeping a sharp edge on all your knives.

Officer Holding a Flashlight

9. Tactical Flashlights

All right, next up is lighting. I think everybody should have a tactical flashlight and some spare batteries.

Or you can get a rechargeable flashlight.

That way, you can hook it up to your hand crank radio and recharge the flashlight any time.

Of course, you want your tactical flashlight to be super bright.

That way, if you’re walking around at night, you must ensure you can see where you’re going, even if it’s pitch black.

You should always carry a tool to see what’s happening in the dark—something to illuminate any threats, invasions, or attackers lurking in the shadows.

Want a free FireHawk Tactical Flashlight?

Click Here To Get 2 For 1 FireHawk FlashlightsClick here now to access this limited time offer, just cover the small shipping & handling fee.

Jump Over River

10. A Bug Out Bag

A bug-out bag is the last preparedness gear every home should own.

Now, I know what you’re thinking,

“Bug-out bag, seriously? A bug-out bag? I’m bugging in; I’m not going anywhere. Instead, I’m hunkering down, and there’s no way you’re going to split me up from my supplies.”

But think about this…

Wildfires are getting more prevalent every year; they’re getting more dangerous.

If you live anywhere with the potential for a wildfire, you must have a bug-out bag.

You got to be able to grab a bag of your stuff:

  • flashlights
  • knives
  • a radio
  • some food
  • a water filtration device

And get the heck out of dodge within one minute or two.

To get away from the most dangerous place, which in some cases is your home!

And if you’re ever forced to leave your home, you want a bag of supplies that’s 100% YOURS!

The Combat Bag

evatac combat bagI own The Combat Bag from EVATAC. It’s the perfect size for shorter-term bug-outs because most folks end up with a bug-out bag that’s way too heavy.

When you’re in the 40 or 50-pound range, it’s weighing you down and slowing you down.

And at that high of weight, it’s got a bunch of gear you don’t need.

Remember, we’re not talking about leaving for months at a time. We’re talking a few days max.

And so this bag by Evatech, their combat bag, is solid at a reasonable price.

Plus, it’s got high-quality stitching and zippers.

It’s got a fair amount of shoulder padding and lots of compartments.

↓ Bug Out Bag Review – The Combat Bag By EVATAC

But no matter what, try to keep your pack under 35 lbs for most adults.

Here’s a chart to help you figure out a reasonable target weight to aim for:

I’ll give you a frame of reference for how heavy your bug-out bag should be.

But many people don’t get a bug-out bag because they don’t think they will ever bug out.

I think they misunderstand what a bug-out bag does.

Sure, SOME people plan on leaving and never returning, making their way to a secret bug-out location if TEOTWAWKI occurs.

But you also need something for your more everyday emergency events.

A bag of YOUR stuff to get out of the path of danger.

Prepper Checklist eBook Cover - with gas mask on a SHTF scenery background

Want a free 78 item prepper checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

Final Thoughts

If you want to be more resilient, you must invest in the right gear BEFORE the next crisis arrives.

So take this prepper gear list and knock off each until you’ve completed them.

Until next time…

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