This post may use affiliate links from Amazon and other retailers which may earn a commission for purchases made at no extra cost to you. Learn more.
Ever found yourself in a blackout, feeling around for a flashlight that’s never where you thought you left it? Now, imagine the power not coming back on by morning, or a couple of days, or never at all. That’s when your SHTF gear isn’t just convenient; it’s your lifeline.
But what exactly does being prepared mean? Does owning a stocked pantry and a couple of flashlights cut it when society is flipped on its head?
SHTF—when ‘stuff’ hits the fan—is about more than just getting through the night. It’s facing down events that yank normalcy right out from under our feet: hurricanes, economic collapse…you name it. Hence the need for some real SHTF gear to help pull you through.
You’re probably thinking this is the stuff of movies or extreme doomsday preppers—but what if I told you readiness could be as close as arm’s reach and tailored to meet any crisis head-on? Imagine having clean water without worrying about contamination or hunting for food with confidence because you’ve got personal protection covered.
Let’s dive right in!
Understanding SHTF Gear and Its Importance
When the unexpected strikes, like a full economic crash or natural disaster, being prepared isn’t just smart—it’s essential. This is where SHTF gear comes into play. It’s not about if, but when things go down that we’d rather watch in movies than live through.
There’s a reason it’s called SHTF and you better believe that ‘Shit Hits The Fan’ doesn’t put it lightly.
SHTF survival hinges on having the right essentials at arm’s reach—gear that keeps you alive when bad guys roam free or bank failures make ATMs as useful as paperweights. Think of your SHTF gear list as your loyal sidekick; it has to be robust enough for whatever chaos throws at you.
Defining SHTF Scenarios
You’ve seen them in headlines: large-scale financial crises, cataclysmic weather events—they’re all part of what can cause society to stutter and stall. These are times when law enforcement might be overwhelmed and staying safe means relying on yourself—and your SHTF kit—to see daylight again.
Essentially any scenario where everyday life and how normal society functions are disrupted for some time should be considered a SHTF event.
A good idea? Get ahead of the curve now and acquire items needed for self-sufficiency—an ultimate survival collection including things from water purification tablets to emergency food supplies tucked away in a secure place and even some in a bugout bag in case you need to make a quick evacuation.
The Role of SHTF Gear in Survival
In these high-stakes moments, SHTF survival gear becomes more than accessories; they’re lifelines. Something like gas masks from MIRA Safety, which are renowned for their dependability, should chemical threats arise. I’ve shared some good info on them in this review.
If thirst is knocking at your door during an SHTF event without running tap water (which is likely), clean drinking water is worth its weight in gold—but only if it’s purified properly using legit water filters or even bleach (yeah bleach can work).
The government tells us each person needs one gallon per day so stocking up on gallon jugs makes sense but in reality, you’re going to want to stock up on far more than. Unless playing dehydration roulette sounds fun (spoiler: it doesn’t).
If you can’t stock up that much water, then it’s time to locate a sustainable water source that doesn’t rely on power to collect water and also have the means to purify it effectively. I recommend these water filters for this.
Your ability to prepare food may hinge upon whether you have access to ready-to-eat emergency food supplies—or know how to boil water without your appliances around. Knowing how to boil water and start a fire from nothing are good survival skills to have, however, you can make things easier on yourself by getting fire-starting supplies specifically made for preparedness. These are the best around and will make your life so much easier should you need them.
Having the SHTF gear you need to make your life easier once normal life is lost can be a chore. That’s why many rely on regular drops of curated survival gear monthly subscription boxes. These monthly subscriptions can ensure new tools aren’t just within reach but keep popping up regularly like a much-needed care package with lifesaving gifts.
*Note that these boxes will stop showing up in a true SHTF event if that isn’t clear so you must build your SHTF gear list now while things are running “smoothly”.
Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the SHTF gear you should consider if you want to be prepared for any challenge ahead.
SHTF Gear Essentials: Firearms for Personal Protection
I like to start with personal protection because I have found it helps highlight the seriousness of what real preparedness is all about. Needing adequate personal protection brings to light the fact that people will become desperate and commit acts they wouldn’t normally do and that evil people will take advantage of the situation.
That being said, having at least a handgun in your SHTF gear is essential to keeping yourself armed for protection.
The Glock 19 is the bread and butter of handguns for personal protection when all hell breaks loose. It’s like that reliable friend who never bails on you—the one you can count on to have your back when things go south. This handgun isn’t just revered for its durability; it’s known as one of the best handguns in existence.
Choosing Your SHTF Handgun
When society crashes harder than a noob snowboarder, or when natural disasters hit like an unexpected uppercut, having the right SHTF gun could mean the difference between keeping threats at bay or being laid out and your SHTF stolen or worse.
Selecting a handgun isn’t about going full Rambo to be cool; it’s about finding what works best for your needs while being reliable. Carrying one of the best concealed carry guns for reliable defense might be exactly what you need.
I’ve seen my fair share of sticky situations in law enforcement, and as a firearms instructor, I know what works. And I’ll tell ya straight up: The Glock 19 is a no-brainer for most. That handgun will keep ticking long after everything else has stopped clicking.
Whatever you choose, you’ll need something that’ll spit out 9mm cartridges because these rounds are extremely prevalent globally plus they balance power and capacity extremely well. Some would argue for another caliber but I make a solid argument for the 9mm in this article.
A good idea would be to pair your chosen handgun with a quality holster to be able to carry, draw, and store it safely in your kit of other SHTF gear items. Keep these tucked away safely in some sort of tactical backpack to be prepared for whatever brand of crazy comes knocking down civilization’s door next.
Lastly, the most important thing when considering firearms is safe handling and having the proper training to become comfortable shooting and handling your weapon of choice.
You may even want to have a rifle and a shotgun for even more defensive capability or to hunt with. These can point you in the right direction for the best options around:
SHTF Gear Essentials: Water Purification Strategies for Long-Term Survival
When disaster strikes, and you’re left to fend off bad guys or just survive an extended period without a trip to the grocery store, clean drinking water becomes more precious than gold. But don’t think any old puddle will do—you need legit strategies to keep your water supply safe and sound.
The Necessity of Clean Water
Did you know that we can go about three weeks without food but only three days without water? Yeah, it’s that serious.
For bare-bones survival, each person needs at least one gallon per day. That’s not just for drinking; cooking and basic hygiene are part of that equation too. To stay in fighting shape, I recommend you drink more than the bare minimum if possible.
Now let’s talk water purification because gulping down murky pond water is asking for trouble. Water filters are the unsung heroes here—they slide into your bugout bag like they were born there and transform nasty water into something drinkable almost instantly.
If boiling isn’t on the menu due to lack of fire or time constraints—and sometimes it ain’t—a solid filter system steps up big time. I recommend having one individual filter like this one for each member of your family/group. They are literal lifesavers.
Gallon by Gallon: The Storage Showdown
If you’ve got space, consider stockpiling water at home and your bugout locations—but make sure those containers are sturdy enough to withstand whatever hell breaks loose and are preferably BPA-free. Over time you don’t want chemicals from the plastic leaking into your water supply that’s supposed to keep you alive. These are some of the best water storage containers out there right now.
Individually bottled water is a convenient method to store on your SHTF survival gear list as well but not in very large quantities. I know because I tried and it became way more expensive and took up more space than necessary.
Whether it’s WW3 shaking things up or a large-scale financial meltdown turning faucets dry—having your own stash means one less thing on your SHTF gear list keeping you awake at night. Don’t forget to include natural disasters in your planning process either.
This resource right here gives some helpful tips on storing water effectively and safely because nobody wants their survival story cut short by sketchy storage practices. Think dark places away from direct sunlight with cool temperatures.
Tabs Out: How Water Purification Tablets Save Lives
Last but definitely not least: never underestimate good old-fashioned water purification tablets. Their small size with their huge benefits are perfect additions for when SHTF hits hard-core mode. Pop these into any water collected from natural resources, wait out the magic minutes as they kill off the nasties looking to ruin your day (and guts), then sip knowing you’ve dodged another bullet in your survival journey.
SHTF Gear: First-Aid Preparedness in SHTF Situations
When disaster strikes, a well-stocked first-aid kit is your frontline defense against injury. Band-aids alone won’t suffice when faced with larger injuries. That’s why diving into your emergency supply of medical essentials can be as vital as having clean drinking water on hand.
Building Your SHTF Medical Kit
Your med kit should go beyond basic supplies and equip you for anything from small cuts to significant trauma. A standout option for the basics is the MyMedic MyFAK Pro, packed with crucial items designed for wound stabilization and other emergencies that could arise out of nowhere.
Beyond the basics like bandages and gauze, consider these absolute must-haves: tourniquets for controlling life-threatening bleeds; splints to support broken limbs; hemostatic bandages to stop bleeding more quickly; and lastly chest seals for bullet holes in the chest cavity and lungs.
Remember this—the right knowledge combined with an efficient first-aid/trauma kit could drastically tilt survival odds in your favor in any SHTF scenario and even in normal life. So it is not sufficient to just have the medical gear (which is still better than nothing). Proper training and knowledge are imperative to save lives in a true emergency.
One of the leading causes of preventable death in the U.S. is massive bleeding. This is a fact in today’s world not even considering a disaster or SHTF event.
In a real SHTF situation, there’s no room for error but let’s face it, mistakes happen. So make sure you and your loved ones know their way around the contents of your med kit and how to use them effectively because panic isn’t helpful when trying to recall where those darn hemostatic bandages ended up let alone use them correctly.
Think ahead by familiarizing yourself with all supplies inside your med kit—including natural remedies—and how they’re used effectively under pressure (because stress can turn even simple tasks into a major effort).
Again, a great idea would include learning skills beforehand like CPR and wound management—consider them essential SHTF gear items themselves—that can save lives until professional medical teams arrive…if they ever do.
Remember, you are your own first responder in any SHTF scenario so having proper medical supplies and training is a must.
Resources For Medical Training and Supplies
As a former Deputy, as well as formerly EMT certified, and a current firearms instructor, I know the value of having quality medical gear and training.
That is why I have made several connections with reputable resources to give you the best medical gear and training at the best value possible.
SHTF Gear: Stockpiling Emergency Food Supplies
When disaster strikes, a well-stocked pantry isn’t just comforting—it becomes your line of survival.
Imagine this: the economy and stock market crash harder than Biden with another face plant, and the store shelves clear out faster than the toilet paper frenzies back during the 2020 lockdowns.
There is no resupply for the grocery stores in sight because the supply chain is at a standstill and looting of what is left is in full swing.
You can see that having an emergency food supply in your home is a must-have for any situation like this.
What you store in your emergency food supply can vary. We’ve got the traditional canned goods and bulk grains that can sit patiently on your shelf while chaos reigns outside. Long-term food storage buckets aren’t just practical; they are essential items in any prepper’s checklist. Also, think of other methods like canned and freeze-dried meals that have extended longevity.
All of these options are easy to store if you have space and they only need a cool spot away from sunlight. But when it comes to crunch time, I personally prefer a high-quality source of freeze-dried food stored in emergency food buckets.
these guys are ready to roll out and can be prepared in an instant with nothing but some water.
Exploring Emergency Food Supplies That Have Extended Shelf Lives
Emergency food storage can be hit or miss. The plus side is that no matter where you buy from it packs light, is convenient, and will last a long time if stored properly.
But there’s a downside…
A lot of companies out there use fear-based marketing tactics to sell you their empty calorie buckets filled with garbage ingredients and preservatives for an arm and a leg.
I have tried out quite a few of the most popular ones out there and I was not impressed. Sure it’s something to eat, but if you need to get any work done, fight for your survival, or move to a safer location, you’ll be sapped of energy in no time because the sustenance just isn’t there. Not to mention the stuff isn’t good for your body and mind, which will already be pushed through the ringer in a disastrous event.
That is why I only recommend a couple of resources here.
Valley Food Storage offers food supply kits from samplers all the way to 1-year and beyond. They include 72-hour starter kits which I recommend if you are just getting into the game and for the serious prepper they have a 4200 serving kit that could last you over a year if rationed right.
Next up is my go-to for preparedness. Nutrient Survival offers special ops-grade nutrition and they use completely GMO-free and clean ingredients that have more nutrients and vitamins than any emergency foods I’ve seen.
What you get for the cost is leaps and bounds better than anything else out there and I would rely on this to survive without a doubt, so I have built a steady supply starting with their Bug Out Kit and then moving onto their most popular 14-day supply kit. Next up on my list to build a larger supply for my family is the 90-day Emergency Food Kit once I can set aside funds for it.
Use that to help out with the cost for you. They hit heavy in nutrients and you can check out a complete review of the food I did here.
SHTF Gear: Tools and Miscellaneous Gear
When it comes to preparing for a SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan) situation, the right gear can make all the difference. It’s not only about having food, water, and shelter; you also need tools that will help you survive in any circumstance. Here we focus on some essential items like firestarters, survival knives, paracord, and communications devices.
A reliable firestarter is one of the most critical pieces of survival gear. Whether you’re trying to cook food or keep warm during cold nights, being able to start a fire quickly is crucial. There are many types of fire starters available from simple matches or lighters to more advanced flint strikers or magnesium bars.
Get a variety of options to stay adaptable and check out the best fire-starting gear around to have something you can actually depend on. 99% of the Amazon specials will fail you after a couple of uses. Save yourself the headache.
No preparedness kit would be complete without a good-quality survival knife. These versatile tools can be used for everything from cutting wood for your campfire to open canned goods to hunting game and even self-defense if necessary.
Look for one with a sturdy blade made from high-quality steel that won’t easily break under pressure. There are plenty out there but I always recommend this American-made survival knife as a great affordable option.
Paracord, short for parachute cord, is another must-have item in your SHTF gear list due to its versatility and strength. This lightweight nylon rope can hold up to 550 pounds and can be used for everything from setting up a shelter, a fishing line, or even as a makeshift tourniquet.
In any emergency situation, communication is key. A reliable two-way radio will allow you to stay in touch with others in your group or receive important updates about the situation at hand. Some models also include features like weather alerts which could prove invaluable during a natural disaster.
Having one for each member of your family and even others nearby is essential for communication and information when all internet and cell service goes down.
The goal of having these tools and gear isn’t just survival; it’s about being prepared enough that you can maintain some level of comfort and security no matter what happens. Remember: strength doesn’t only come from what you can do but also from how well you prepare for what might happen.
SHTF Gear FAQs
What gear do I need for SHTF?
Pack a sturdy knife, reliable firearms, water and water filters, non-perishable foods, supplies for shelter, and a solid first-aid kit. Tailor your pack to local risks.
What is a SHTF box?
A SHTF box contains vital supplies for emergencies: tools, food rations, medical items, and survival essentials all packed in one place.
SHTF Gear Summary
So you’ve walked through the essentials of SHTF gear. Knowing the right tools to use when disaster strikes can make a huge difference. Think clean water at your fingertips with purification strategies and gallons stored just in case.
Stay safe; stay armed. We touched on personal protection—knowing which firearm fits like a glove for both defense and hunting is crucial.
Tend to wounds; tend to health. Your first-aid kit isn’t just band-aids but life-saving supplies ready for action.
Eat well; eat smart. Remember, stockpiling food means thinking long-term with SHTF survival gear items like emergency food kits that’ll last until normalcy knocks again. We even gave you a great discount to take advantage of!
SHTF survival tools will make your life so much easier should you need to survive through a true disaster.
If all this seems overwhelming, remember: start small but think big. SHTF survival is about being prepared at a moment’s notice because if there’s one thing certain—we’re in for something big down the road.