As a prepper, the biggest and most immediate concern is starvation. However, if your family preparedness plan is to be complete, there are a lot more things you will need. Other than food, you need tools to prepare the food, medical supplies, ways to keep up with hygiene, and more! Keep reading for a comprehensive list of things to keep on hand beyond food.
Toilet paper and other hygiene products.
There’s a reason this is number one… Toilet paper is a very important part of our lives. Imagine using leaves, newspaper, or even your hand! No thank you. Make sure you know how much your family uses each month and have enough for the amount of time you are prepping for. In addition, don’t forget about feminine hygiene products, ladies. Otherwise, you might have to do what the natives did and spend your time sitting on a hole in the ground! All kidding aside, save yourself this embarrassing problem. Ditto for baby diapers. Of course, by the time disaster hits, you may not need those anymore, so monitor this closely. Keeping a store of these products will help keep a bit of normalcy through a bad situation, and it will save a lot of water that would need to be used without it.
Water: an essential part of a family preparedness plan
Dehydration is another top concern for preppers. Water is an absolute necessity, and we need it to drink, bathe, cook, and clean. Running water can also be used as a force to run a water wheel you can hook up to a generator. Ha! It has so many uses! So it is important to have as much of it stocked up as possible, unless you live near a large body of natural fresh water. Don’t have room for all that water? If you live in a temperate climate, what about setting up some rain barrels outdoors to collect fresh rainfall? Then, you only need to pour it through a filter. We have both a ceramic filter and two rain barrrels in our yard to help out with water requirements, especially non-drinking/cooking water.
You should also be sure to delegate between drinking, cooking, and bathing water and use with extreme prejudice. You should have enough drinking water for every family member to drink for the duration of the emergency for which you are planning. In addition to this, you need enough remaining water with which to cook, clean, and bathe. Suffice it to say, you can never really have too much water.
If you don’t have a fancy water wheel generator like I mentioned above (Ha! Who does, right?), you are going to need alternative power sources. Batteries, solar panels, and/or a regular generator are all great to have. You need a way to provide light and regulate the temperature of your space. Extreme temperatures can kill as quickly as anything else, on top of causing lots of health issues.
Fire is great for providing light and heat, but if you are in a place that is not well ventilated, it could suffocate you. Fire also does nothing to help during any kind of temperature spike. You must be able to constantly feed a fire as well, and that can be very taxing on your supplies. Not very practical and also hard to control.
Propane or kerosene may be acceptable alternatives, but can be dangerous to store long-term. They also only fuel very specific items, such as grills, stoves, and lanterns. A less expensive and more storage-friendly option is the tried and true battery. Stock up on batteries for heaters, cooling fans, and light sources; get a solar powered generator—and a backup generator just in case; and make sure you have some kind of burner on which to cook your meals or boil water.
Personally, there’s no point in having two sets of cooking supplies, especially if you own well-organized, quality supplies in the first place. But, for some people, it may be a better way to go. Durability and versatility are key in choosing cooking supplies for your family preparedness plan. Cast iron cooking pans are great for this because they are very durable and conduct heat well. Just make sure that you have high heat proof gloves for handling your pans. You can find cast iron pots and pans in all shapes and sizes, so stock up and keep them organized, if not in your designated space, until you need them. You will, of course, need knives, can openers, peelers, and cooking utensils as well. Do your best to find ones that are simple, durable, and all one piece. You do not want tools that will fall apart over time. You will also need plates, bowls, and eating utensils; so, get enough of those for everyone. I would recommend stainless steel for its safety and durability.
If you do choose to store away complete sets of things, I recommend checking local thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets to find these extra supplies. Don’t break the bank!
Medical supplies: another necessity in a complete family preparedness plan.
You definitely need first aid supplies and backup medications for anyone that may need them. Stockpile these things carefully, and make sure you pay attention to expiration dates and interaction info. Most medications expire after about a year. Have bandages, disinfectant, compression wraps, gauze, stitching tools, antibiotics, expectorants, vitamins, and supplements. If you have access to some old crutches or other such helps, include them, too. You never know what could happen and prepping is all about being prepared for anything.
Optional nice things to include in your family preparedness plan
Knowledge is power, and books cannot be deleted or drained of their battery power. Have books about local plants that are safe to eat, how to hunt and dress game, field medical care, etc. Most importantly, READ THEM. They are useless unless you have studied what you need to know from them. So choose the books you need, read them, and make sure everyone else in your family has access to them to be prepared as well.
Having a big toolbox can be a lifesaver in an emergency situation. Make sure you have one with all the basic hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches; and build from that if you can. A dremel, soldering iron, drill, and more are also very useful. Be sure that you have plenty of nails, screws, nuts, bolt, and rope in case you need them as well.
There you have it, some things to keep on hand other than food when you are a prepper. Be inspired by this to take another look at your supplies and make sure you really have all the things you could need in the event of a catastrophe.