Last-Chance Apocalypse Shopping: Walgreens

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apocalypse shoppingPicture this. The S has hit the fan in a big way. You’re fairly well prepped but have the chance to get to ONE store to buy anything at all that might help you survive in the coming weeks/months.

What if that ONE store is:

Sally Beauty?
Tractor Supply?
The Dollar Store?
ACE Hardware?
Hobby Lobby?

My writing team and I scoped out these “oddball” stores, among others, to track down prepper/survival supplies and gear and to inspire you with our maybe-crazy ideas!

The most important, underlying concept is to keep your brain nimble and always looking for options and adapting your way of thinking when it comes to making smart, quick decisions when it comes to survival.

So, let’s get started with Last-Chance Apocalypse Shopping at Walgreens (or any other drug store)!

Last-Chance Apocalypse Shopping

Drug stores can be found about every couple of miles in towns and cities across the United States. They can be local drug stores or national chains like Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid. In fact, you’ll frequently see Walgreens and CVS right next to each other, and in an emergency, that could come in handy giving you twice the shopping opportunities at the same location.

Even if you have stocked up on the following items or have enough for your own use, consider grabbing extras for barter or for resale.

First Aid Kit supplies

Drug stores are full of everything you need for a well-stocked first aid kit. Just a few necessities:

  • bandages
  • gauze
  • tape
  • ointments
  • masks
  • tweezers
  • cold packs
  • cotton balls
  • safety pins
  • hand sanitizer
  • thermometer
  • saline

I would recommend making a list after researching first aid kit suggestions and then shop for those items, otherwise, you may just pick up one of everything they have at a drug store. It can be much cheaper to make your own first aid kit than to buy a prepackaged one and you’ll know you have high-quality contents. I’ve been less than impressed with the contents found in some pre-made first aid kids, especially through Amazon. Check this list for first aid supplies you may not have thought of.

Medical supplies

Kicking it up a notch from first aid, medical supplies of all kinds can be found at Walgreens — slings, braces, crutches, walkers, canes, cervical collar, and so on. It’s handy to have these on hand, even storing them in the attic, because when you need them, you really need them! When my daughter broke her arm, I wished we had a sling on hang for her. I learned my lesson and now we have a child-size sling on hand.

Preventative medical kits and monitors

Walgreens will have medical kits and devices for monitoring medical conditions. They have blood pressure monitors, diabetes test kits, pulse monitors, cholesterol test kits, and drug test kits. For those who need to monitor blood pressure or blood sugar, having enough supplies on hand for at least a short-term power outage would be ideal. It’s never a bad idea to have these items on hand as a way to diagnose some very basic medical conditions without guessing. Having extras of these kinds of kits would allow you to provide fundamental medical information if a doctor’s visit isn’t possible.

Medicine and vitamins

Drug stores not only offer prescription medications but also offer over-the-counter medications. As cold and flu season come up, many people are glad to have medicine on hand instead of having to run to the store while sick or while kids are sick. They also offer many vitamins and supplements to keep up your health. Start clipping coupons and watching Walgreens sales ads and then stock up on what you use most. Just prior to cold and flu season, you’ll see a lot of very good bargains in this category. Finally, I highly recommend having a good stash of pain relief medication. You’ll find full descriptions of the different categories of pain-killers and suggestions for using them with children in this article.

Foot care

Countless people have lost their lives because of foot problems. Sounds almost too basic to be true, but think about it. If you have to run to safety and you have blisters, you won’t get very far. Feet are an extremely important part of surviving any emergency scenario.  Drug stores offer not just shoe inserts and ointments for foot conditions, but also everything you’ll need to deal with injured or blistered feet. They have moleskin and lamb’s wool, along with all sizes of padding. If you have any scenarios where you need to walk a long time (from work to home or from home to a bug out location), you should consider adding some of these to your kits. As this article explains, you won’t be able to escape the zombies if your feet are killing you!

Trial sizes

Stock up on as many trial/travel size products as you can. Not only are they handy for emergency kits and bug out bags, but they are just right for barter. These items are great for short-term bug out bags or for cars or work locations. Often, they also have travel size laundry care and a few tools as well. While you’re stocking up on these for travel and emergency kits, buy a few more for an emergency workplace kit. Instructions here.

Baby supplies

While it won’t be the cheapest option, drug stores do sell baby supplies and will have most everything you’ll need. At the Walgreens I visited, there were diapers, wipes, baby food, baby formula, bottles, toys, and bibs. If you need to stock up in a hurry, it’s good to know they offer items for babies. Prepping for baby needs is a daily occurrence for most parents and grandparents. Again, in a dire emergency, diapers and baby formula will be worth their weight in gold. Read here for a list of necessary baby supplies.

Nutritional drinks and energy bars

In all our emergency kits, I’ve included packets of high-energy jelly beans and a few high-calorie energy bars. Walgreens carries a very good variety of nutritional drinks and energy bars. They’re great for stocking up as they can provide a pretty decent source of nutrition in a small package. Work kits, car kits, and bug out bags are great places for these items. Do be careful about buying bars with chocolate if you’ll be storing them in the heat.


Ask anyone over 45 or so, and they’ll tell you that reading glasses are as important as having opposable thumbs! Reader glasses and sunglasses can be found at drug stores and sometimes they are priced very, very cheap. Being able to see and protecting your vision from the sun are vital things in any scenario. Stocking a pair of each at work, in vehicles and in several places in your home could really help you out long term.


At the drug store I visited, they had portable toilets and liners. While these are meant for injured or elderly people, they could come in very handy if the water was out for a long time. They also have toilet seat inserts, which could work on top of a bucket for a makeshift toilet.


Drug stores also offer condoms and birth control methods. These can be key to stocking up on to avoid pregnancy in a long-term emergency. For more on that topic, read this article about birth control during the apocalypse.

However, condoms are also great for using on guns to keep out dirt and debris or creating an almost waterproof seal for watches, phones and even bandages.

What would you add to this list for your pre-apocalypse shopping trip?

Coming next: Tractor Supply Company

Don’t miss the other stores in my series:

apocalypse shopping

9 thoughts on “Last-Chance Apocalypse Shopping: Walgreens”

  1. the walgreens I go to quite often has sales on canned meat and has a nice supply of groc items and bottled water…and lets not forget personal hygiene items like tooth paste and tooth brushes and also the dental cement if you break a tooth… its a pretty well rounded store… and you can pick up many things needed in case of an emergency

  2. They also carry batteries, tools, ( I got a set of 3 headlamps for $5), canned meats, smaller snack items, things like duct tape, super glue, bandanas. I’ve seen teeshirts, 3-5 packs of flashlights, phone chargers( portable battery type) office supplies. Feminine hygiene items.

  3. I’ve bought crutches (both adult and child’s), toilet chair, wheelchair, several walkers from Salvation Army and Goodwill for less than $5 each. Our local medical supply place has an end aisle that has slings, knee/arm braces, etc. with big discounts. My family thinks I’m crazy but we’ve actually had to use a good many of these items already within my family so I can only imagine how handy they will be when you can no longer get them.

  4. Our Walgreens has some seasonal clothing. I would grab extra socks, pedialyte, cans of nuts, chapstick, sunscreen, bug spray, canned meat, and lipstick. A gal has to look good, doncha know!

  5. Seasonal items. Sun protection is a great thing to get at the end of summer clearance. Not just sunscreen, but inexpensive sun hats, sun glasses, and light weight scarves. After winter you can usually stock up on cold weather items like extra gloves, hats, pocket hand warmers, and socks. Thermoses and backup power banks are sometimes still around after Christmas as well.

  6. Feminine hygiene!! Get several sizes of period cups. Monistate, cranberry chewables. If you find GABA. THE BEST PMS stuff ever.

  7. Down in the tack room of our barn, is where we store out trade goods. We went with the three “T”‘s. Tobacco,toilet paper, and tampons. They do not require climate control for storage, just dry.Indefinate shelf life. And anyone you meet after a societal collapse is going to want at least one of those items.

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