The Top 5 Preparedness Items you MUST own NOW—and cost less than $20.00 each

People spend thousands of dollars on the latest and greatest preparedness equipment in their preparations for when the SHTF. Too often the most common sense and inexpensive items are overlooked. 

 Here are the Top 5 Preparedness Items you MUST own NOW—and cost less than $20.00 each.



#1. Matches—Fire provides heat. Fire provides the ability to cook. Fire can boil water. Fire can sanitize medical instruments and provide protection. A lifetime supply of matches to start a lifetime of fires can be bought for less than $20.00.


Vacuum pack or throw in zip-lock bags to provide some protection from moisture.




#2. Candles—No batteries and no solar panels are required to obtain light from a candle. For less than $20.00, hundreds of hours of light can be bought via inexpensive jar and pillar candles. Best sources include dollar stores and your local “Wally-World”.


Candles can be stored for decades and have a variety of uses besides illumination.


Don’t spend extra money for more expensive name brands and special scents. A $4.00 jar candle will burn much the same as a $28.00 jar candle.





#3. Tarps—Tarps, as well as painters plastic drop cloth’s, have a multitude of uses. Foremost is their ability to be turned into   expedient shelters. Another is they can be used to temporarily patch roof leaks from fallen trees and bad storms.





#4. Water Filter—It is well known that the human being can only survive 3 days without water. Even after 24-36 hours the ability to “perform” becomes difficult without proper hydration.  Having a  water filter which can render found water safe to drink is a critical  component to any preparedness system.


The LifeStraw is highly recommended as it is portable, effective, and is less than $20.00. Do not rely on home water filter systems.


#5. Trash Bags—Trash bags can be used as emergency poncho’s as well as shelter. They also can be used to collect and transport water. Disposal of waste and other hazardous material can be made much easier with trash bags. Lacking a backpack to carry supplies? Throw a couple of trash bags inside each other and get going!


The 5 items mentioned here are not miraculous, top secret things. They are but a few of many things that can make surviving a disastrous situation just a little bit easier.

Good luck all!

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15 thoughts on “The Top 5 Preparedness Items you MUST own NOW—and cost less than $20.00 each”

  1. Great suggestions, Rourke! I looked at tarps the other day in Tractor Supply. Those cheap blue tarps are made in multiple sizes and have grommet holes on the corners. We have been saving matches for quite some time. I even purchased multiple packs of lighters (4 Bic sized, plus 2 minis) after reading that Selco survived the war in Bosnia by refilling lighters. Super items for barter. We also have several water filters. We bought some buckets at Lowes today to experiment with the gravel/charcoal/sand homemade model. We definitely can use more candles. Thanks.

    P.S. I am working on an article. I will have it to you this week.

  2. A tick to 4 of the 5. We don’t have a separate water filter mostly because we don’t have a separate water source, other than what I have in containers. As we don’t get much rain, there is no local standing water and have no water courses it hasn’t been a high priority.

  3. One other article I would add to the list is 5 gallon plastic buckets. No backpack? Use a bucket.
    No water tote, bucket. No toilet, bucket. Can even be used as a light shovel for a drainage ditch.
    Found a local bucket supply at a sandwich shop for $2 apiece,with resealable lid with rubber gasket, at Costco you can get them free in the bakery dept.
    Look in inordinary places places for supplies.
    To become a prepper is to be on a perpetual scavenger hunt.
    Learning to do so now is easier than later.
    Scrounge away people!

    Rourke,still waiting for that lunch. Set a time.
    Show you how to make your cell phone into a ham radio.

  4. First you have to get your ham license.
    This is required to access the app on your smartphone.
    I know, I know, everybody is saying way too much trouble.
    I’ve seen 6 year olds’ pass the test for their tech class license.
    Don’t bitch and moan.
    If you want want to communicate and and to be able to talk worldwide ya’ gonna’ have to practice, so get your ham ticket.
    30 questions, multiple choice.

    I have several ham buddies in Australia, Europe and South America that I talk to sans normal ham radio, just my cellphone and the ECHOLINK app.

    Check in your area for your local ham radio club go to a monthly meeting.
    You’ll find more help than you can shake a stick at, and DOn’t be shy. Ask questions,we all started that way.

  5. I agree whole heartedly with your list but would add three items as must have. Aluminum foil, duct tape and cordage like para cord. For myself, I prefer the fiberglass filament tape rather than duct tape.

    • Harold –

      Excellent! All three are certainly valuable items to have. I just bought a few rolls of duct tape at Home Depot.


  6. Rourke-exc. I will order a Life straw.We have a big fliter but this sounds handy. We had tarps but they are quite ripped up after covering firewood through storms etc. Will replace them.
    I have stored matches in glass for years-they keep dry and rodents cannot accidentally start a fire with them.

  7. Some great information!!! Thank you for sharing!! One never knows when an emergency may arise & some simple preparations such as this can certainly make the difference!!


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