Last-Chance Apocalypse Shopping: Tractor Supply Company

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Is it possible that one store could have everything you might need in a last-ditch effort to get prepped? This article is the second in a series that tackles prepper/survival shopping at oddball stores you might overlook in a panic to get prepped, and Tractor Supply Company is certainly a top candidate for that last-chance apocalypse shopping spree.

Located in 49 states, Tractor Supply Company stores are a great option to find a huge variety of supplies and gear for prepping, especially in more rural areas. The store is geared toward people who live and work on farms and homesteads, but there are items for every household in their stores. If you live near or pass by one, stop and check it out for yourself with prepping in mind.

1. Work clothes

Tractor Supply has a good selection of sturdy work clothes. Many of the items are heavyweight Carhart, such as pants, shirts, and jackets. In my own household, I’ve found that Carharts almost never wear out.

They also stock rubber boots and work gloves. Think about all the hard manual labor you and your loved ones might have to do in a worst case scenario. You’ll be grateful for heavy duty gloves, and these might even be something useful for barter once everyone else around you gets tired of dealing with splinters and blisters on their hands.

Wearing the right gear to do work around your house, garden, and farm can help you get more done and prevent injuries. Good work clothes would be ideal to have on hand for every member of the family so plan on grabbing complete outfits and shoes/boots for each person.

2. Rope

Tractor Supply has about every size and type of rope a person could need for any project imaginable. You’ll find twine, clothesline, nylon, paracord, sash cord, wire, chain, reflective, polypropylene and sisal rope. Most you can buy by length, too. The uses for all of these types of rope are endless – from tying things together, tethering animals, making a clothesline or making a belt. Paracord is useful on its own but with a sharp knife, you can split the outer casing and make use of the inner strands for sewing or fishing line.

3. Pet supplies

Most American households have at least one pet and you don’t want to forget them in the rush to get prepped for a zombie apocalypse. Tractor Supply carries food and supplies for animals from cats and dogs to horses, cows, and chickens. The bags of feed are large, so they would make a great back up food supply for pets, and you could package the feed in smaller containers and sell them. They also have supplies for rabbits, which can be bred for a food supply.

4. Alternate cooking

If the power goes out for a long while, cooking food can’t happen in the traditional oven or stovetop. Every household should have at least one backup cooking method, whether it’s a solar oven, hibachi, or rocket stove. (See these instructions for making a cheap DIY rocket stove.)

Since you may be using an open fire for cooking, fire safety is going to become paramount. Did you know that one of the main causes of death of women in past centuries was cooking over a fire? If their clothing caught fire, there was little that could be done and certainly no advanced medical care for fire victims. So, keep that in mind if you’re planning to do your off-grid cooking over a firepit or fireplace.

For safety, plan to have a backup cooking area and at Tractor Supply, you’ll find supplies to make a fire pit and even small, pre-made firepits ready to go.

If your truck is big enough, plan on tossing in a wood stove, pellets, and as much firewood as you can find. Grab a few propane tanks while you’re at it and you’ll have several different ways to cook food without worrying about the power grid.

5. Animal traps and hunting gear

During certain seasons of the year, squirrels take over our backyard. They’re kind of cute but the occasional mouse and rat, not so much. If you don’t already have a closetful of hunting gear, then a last minute trip to Tractor Supply will equip you with most everything except firearms. BB guns, pellet guns, and air rifles can be extremely handy for hunting small critters, and you’ll find those stocked at  Tractor Supply.

They also have catch-and-release animal traps, which can be handy for catching animals you don’t want around or animals you can eat.

Although you won’t find firearms, you can pick up gun cleaning supplies and gun safes in all sizes.

6. Plastic sheeting and tarps

While many stores carry tarps, Tractor Supply has both plastic sheeting, aka visqueen, and tarps in large sizes. These items can be great to cover items you don’t want getting wet or helping keep rain out of a house damaged by winds or debris. Tarps can also be great for dragging items like dirt, leaves or firewood from one place to another as well as a makeshift water catchment.

For more ideas on how you might use visqueen, check out this article of 16 different ways to put it to good use.

7. Water pumps

For people who have well water, a loss of power can mean no running water unless you also have a manual pump. Tractor Supply also offers a variety of hoses to use with the pumps and various replacement parts in case you need them. The pumps could become a lifesaver if there are water sources nearby (river, lake, stream) so water could be brought closer to the house easier.

8. Large water tanks

I was delighted to find water tanks in all shapes, sizes, and materials. A large galvanized stock tank and a 1500 gallon water tank are both on my wishlist!

While meant for cattle or other livestock, those large watering tanks that can be used to store water for any situation and would make great raised garden beds. Even if they just collect rainwater, it can provide another water source for your family. Consider water purification methods if you use water collection, though. You can find suggestions on that topic here.

9. Fencing

Security is something to think about if you decide to shelter in place for a long time. Having a fence is an easy way to stop animals as well as people from getting on your property or in your garden. Tractor Supply sells electrical fencing, which could be ideal for people who have horses or cattle and need to keep them secure. As long as the power grid is operational, you’ll have that added layer of security.

10. Gardening and canning supplies

If you have even a little garden, you don’t ever want any of your harvest to go to waste because you couldn’t cook and eat it fast enough. And, if you have a big garden, you can’t ever have too many canning jars and lids! Tractor Supply carries pretty much everything you’ll need for canning, including water bath and pressure canners, glass jars, and pectin.

You can also find basic gardening tools and equipment. Growing your own food is a great survival skill to have, along with preserving your harvest.

11. Live chicks and supplies

If it happens to be chick season, on your way out, and if you still have room in your car, gently grab a dozen or so chicks. You’ll need feeders, starter feed, a pen with a warming lamp, and then a chicken coop, bedding, feed, a heat lamp, and feed. Before you make the decision to raise chickens in this last-chance apocalypse shopping spree, know what you’re getting into and what you’ll need.

Where there are chickens, there are predators, but if you picked up a pellet or BB gun, you’ll be prepped for that, too!

I’ve only scratched the surface of the prepper and survival related supplies Tractor Supply carries. What would you add to the list?

Coming next: Sally Beauty Supply

Don’t miss the other stores in my series:

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Sarah Anne Carter is a writer and reader. She grew up all over the world as a military brat and is now putting down roots with her family in Ohio. Visit her at SarahAnneCarter.com

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6 thoughts on “Last-Chance Apocalypse Shopping: Tractor Supply Company”

  1. Hi, the historical references I have seen state the greatest cause of death of pioneers was from infections of burns from fires–not burns themselves. Also, re: paracord–you do not need to slit the outer wrap of the cord to access the inner strands, merely cut both ends(if they have been melted) and you can work the strands through a rather long length of cord fairly easily with a bit of patience. Nice article!

  2. Tractor Supply also carries hardware including hand tools, parts for trailers, nuts and bolts. The big box depot stores tend to get overrun with last minute shoppers when big weather events are headed your way. This store can be a good alternative.

    For a true apocalypse or just plan old disaster everyone will need some hand tools and fasteners ( nails etc ) to make temporary repairs.
    For the true acropolis

  3. Great article.
    I mistakenly thought there were no TSC stores in my state. There’s like 12! One is 45 minutes away. I’m looking forward to seeing it.

  4. Thermal burns; As someone smarter than I pointed out, if we’re going to be using open flames to heat, cook and illuminate post event, thermal burn injuries may become commonplace and as such, consider burn injury in your medical preps. You mentioned propane tanks. I bought a couple of 10 gallon tanks there. Because I was in my car I didn’t fill them there, but they do sell propane there. And propane fittings. Fencing and fence panels; I saw where someone got, I think they were 4’ x 12’ Hog panels, which are flexible enough to bend into a half circle arch that, covered with plastic sheeting is now a green house. Batteries, for vehicles and tractors, so they’re big batteries.

  5. Benjamin Comeau

    Animal Medicine, alternative uses: Corona ointment used in nursing homes to prevent bed sores. Absorbine Gel, liniment, used by many people for relief of sore muscles, joints, arthritis. Ivermectin injectable cattle dewormer: can be used orally – main ingredient in dog heartworm pills, used in 3rd world countries to treat parasites in people, main ingredient in newer prescription lice products. Needles and syringes. Multi-species penicillin. Please verify any info I have provided prior to using these products for other than their intended use.

  6. Yes, animal antibiotics and first aid supplies! Also there is usually beef jerky and nuts. Hatchets. Lots of great items there!

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