Everyone is slightly different in the things they need and want in their preps, and we all find different, cool things to include in our preps. Rather than having one person create a list of their favorites, this article has unusual items for stocking up from other survival experts.
Plus, we’ve pulled some of our favorite ideas from reader comments and added them at the end. Take a look!
Unusual Items for Stocking Up
- An Altoids tin with a small plastic container of denatured alcohol to make a small, portable stove. (Jim Cobb)
A Land Shark Bag is a patented instant emergency shelter that keeps you warm, dry, and visible to search & rescue crews for miles, on land, or on the water.(Rob Hanus) Sadly, it appears the Land Shark Bag is no longer manufactured. If you know otherwise, please add the info in the comments for others.
- Vacuum-sealed Cheetos in a jar. Cheetos make me happy. (Jamie Smith)
- Meat tenderizer to rub on ant bites. It works miracles. (Jamie Smith)
- Activated charcoal is commonly prescribed at the emergency room to absorb toxins in the stomach. During a SHTF scenario, there will be an increase in food poisoning, arsenic, adverse reactions/celiac, etc. (Helen Cates)
- Binder clips can be used for numerous things. Keeping bags clipped down, clipping items to clotheslines, hanging items to dry, hooking tarps together, and more! (Karen Lynn)
- Small tin of Vicks VapoRub. Triple use: Medicinal use per the label. Mixed with tinder, it is an excellent fuel for starting fires, even in the rain. Swabbed under the nose, it covers unpleasant smells like spilled sewage or dead bodies. (Jim Acosta)
- Dried prunes. Dietary changes and stress might affect your digestive system. We have four kids, and one of the quickest ways to clear them out is to have them eat a few prunes. (Sarah Anne)
- “Sillcock keys” or “4-way keys.” Outside of fast food restaurants and gas stations are water spigots that don’t have a traditional handle. This prevents unauthorized people (read “homeless”) from using the water for drinking, bathing, etc. The water can only be turned on with a sillcock key. Having one of these in your bug out bag may help provide you with a water source that others won’t be able to access. (Amy Van Riper)
- Knee-high (and some full-length) pantyhose. Possible uses include: (1) straining debris from water before sending it through the purifier; (2) using sterilized ones as you would cheesecloth to strain cooled bacon fat or make cheese (#2 was untested!); (3) tie strips around the garden fence and tomato cages to keep critters away; and (4) slip it over a leg or knee injury and unroll it over a gauze pad for an instant, flexible compression bandage that doesn’t stick and doesn’t show dirt as fast as white tape and gauze. (Kris Alford)
- Popcorn is a filling and a fun snack to bring out for a little taste of comfort for the kids, especially if you pop it on the stovetop or over a fire (not microwaved). You can grind it into cornmeal. I’ve even had success with soaking it and cooking it slow and low like you would dried beans. It was not the best that way, but it was certainly edible. (Christy Jordan )
- A huge amount of coffee makes life pleasant and safer. How many people do you know who are nice before their first cup of morning coffee? (Christy Jordan )
- My Bible because when things go wrong, nothing brings me comfort like reading scripture. (Melissa K. Norris)
- CASH. When there is no power, we need to have CASH. For those stores that are open, many can help you if you pay with cash because they won’t be able to run credit or debit cards. (Paula Tobey)
- If you must evacuate, bring a few things to help maintain your routine. That could be books to read for bedtime, a board game, chargers for their electronics, favorite music, a blanket or pillow… Whatever part of your family routine matters most, try to preserve it. If you keep some predictable routine, your kids will not feel as scared or frightened during disasters, power outages, or bad weather. (Paula Tobey)
- Gloves – all kinds of gloves. Many of us have a pair or two of work gloves for adult family members, and of course gloves / mittens for cold weather. Consider adding work gloves for elementary and middle school kids, bags of cheap gloves with rubber-coated palms (in more than one size, and some double-coated), Mechanix gloves, gardening gloves, dish-washing gloves, nitrile gloves, and even fingerless work gloves. (Liz Long)
- I have an entire 5-gallon bucket dedicated to just hair doodads: hair brushes, combs, barrettes, bobby pins, and hair ponies. There are five girls here, and we all have tons of hair. I can’t stand having hair in my face when I’m trying to get stuff done!!! (Charley Cooke)
- Thieves essential oil helps fight germs, including cold and flu germs. (Julie Behling-Hovdal)
- Paracord (made in the USA, and available in many colors). If you’re dropped in the middle of the jungle, it’s the one thing you want. Snares, fishing line, stashing a food cache, rappelling down a cliff, bivouacking above the forest floor. It makes it easier to build a lean-to or create a shelter. It has a zillion and one uses. Just about anywhere in the world, you can make something sharp, i.e. a blade. But it’s hard to create a rope that will support your weight. Paracord rules! (Patrice Lewis)
- Jalapenos. I have them dried, freeze-dried, pickled, and canned! I love spicy foods and can’t bear the thought of eating bland rice and beans in a future worst-case scenario. (Lisa Bedford)
Our Favorite Unusual Items From Reader Comments
These are some of our favorite ideas from YOU, our readers!
- Vicks or Mentholatum is also good to have on hand for athlete’s foot. (Jan)
- Paper clips have a plethora of uses, such as repairing broken zippers. (James B.)
- Drawing salve draws out infections and splinters and boils, too. (Teri R.)
- Diapers in both kids and adult sizes. If you have to hole up in the crawlspace to wait out a tornado or have to sit in a car for hours due to an evacuation, you really don’t want to worry about getting to a washroom. (Olga N.)
- Chains and padlocks to temporarily secure things. When you need to go into the store or the bathroom, for example. (Edie)
- Expanding on the chain and lock, it can also be used as a weapon, such as a ball and chain, or as a flail. (Gregg) Survival Mom comment: There are many, many locations where having a self-defense weapon of any kind isn’t allowed. Great Britain comes to mind. Knowing how to quickly improvise a self-defense weapon could be a lifesaver.
- Cheetos also make great fire starters. (Lisa)
- Another improvised weapon is a sock and lock, sock and rock, and sock and pool ball. (Rick)
And a Few Suggestions from The Survival Mom Editors
We thought these less common items for prepping deserved some space. What do you think?
- Chewing gum. What’s more normal than chewing gum? Plus, it can help you stay awake.
- Super Glue is useful for repair tasks and as a stopgap if you’re out of bandages.
- Dental floss can substitute for thread, fishing lines, snares, and lashing small items.
Hopefully, this has gotten your wheels turning, and you’ve found some new items to add to your own preps.
Please add your own favorite unusual items for stocking up on in the comments as well!
By the way, if you’re just starting your prepping journey, check out The Survival Mom’s Prepping 101 course. It prepares you for the next emergency and helps you keep your home and family safe!
Last updated on November 30, 2022 by The Survival Mom.