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Our goal here, at American Survival Guide, is to provide you with the information and advice you’ll need to survive any emergency situation. Everyone’s needs are different, so we’ve developed this expanded checklist to help simplify and organize your efforts, inventory and to-do lists.

No matter where you live or what you’re planning for, this checklist will help ensure you have what you need to survive. It’s organized in the same order as the sections in this Prepper Manual edition. We encourage you to add your specific needs to it so it’ll meet your requirements better. Whatever gear you’re able to gather, be sure you know how to use it before you need it.

We suggest you make copies of this checklist that you can keep in your storage areas as inventory sheets. In addition, file a copy with your other important documents, and use a copy as a shopping list for items you need to acquire or replace.

1. WATER

We suggest storing enough potable water so each person has access to 2 gallons per day for at least 30 days. This covers hydration, food preparation and hygiene requirements. Always use FDA-approved, food-grade, non-BPA containers and rotate your supply every six months (unless you treat it with a water preservative). Note: Be careful where you store it. One gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds.

1.1 WATER STORAGE

• Individual bottles or cans
• Portable water containers (1 to 5 gallons)
• Static water storage (30- and 50-gallon barrels, tanks, bladders, cisterns)
• Water resupply plan

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1.2 PRESERVATION AND TREATMENT

• Chemical disinfectant supplies
• Heat source and fuel for boiling water
• Ultraviolet water sterilizer
• Water filter/purifier (at least one device per person)
• Water flavoring (to improve the taste of treated water)
• Water preservative

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2. FIRE

Fire is an essential element of successful survival situations. There are many ways to start fires, and you should have a selection of tools that includes multiple methods, especially those that work in inclement weather. You can’t have too many fire starters, and each responsible person in your group should have at least one fire starter and tinder on their person.

2.1 FIRE STARTERS

• Disposable or refillable lighters (various sizes and types), replacement fuel

• Ferrocerium rods and strikers (various sizes and carry methods)
• Flint and striker
• Magnesium fire starters and scrapers
• Magnifying glass with cover
• Waterproof matches/weatherproof container/striker

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2.2 TINDER 

• Commercially made tinder
• Homemade tinder
• Weatherproof tinder container

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3. FOOD

American Survival Guide recommends keeping on hand at least a 30-day supply of food for each person. Remember that on average, men need about 2,500 calories a day, and women need around 2,000. This can vary, depending on age, condition, stress and activity levels, and other factors.

3.1 FOODSTUFFS

• Cooking oils
• Cooking powders (baking soda, flour, etc.)
• Dairy products, dry
• Eggs, dry
• Freeze-dried entrées and meals
• Fruit (canned, dried, preserved)
• Grains and cereals
• MREs and other packaged, ready-to-eat foods
• Pasta
• Protein, animal (fish, meat, poultry)
• Protein, plant (beans, lentils, nuts, powdered mixes)
• Rice
• Salt, iodized
• Seeds for planting and consumption
• Soups and stews
• Sweeteners (agave, honey, sugar, etc.)
• Vegetables (canned, dried, preserved)

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3.2 FOOD PROCUREMENT

3.2.1 HUNTING AND TRAPPING

• .22 air pellet gun, pellets and accessories
• Bow, arrows and accessories
• Maintenance materials for items in this group
• Rifle, ammo and accessories
• Shotgun, ammo and accessories
• Traps and snares

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3.2.2 FISHING

• Fishing rod, tackle and accessories
• Packable fishing kit

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3.3 PREPARATION AND EATING

• Cooker, stove and fuel (if gas-powered)
• Cooking utensils (knives, tongs, spatulas and other tools for food preparation)
• Eating utensils, dishes, mess kits
• Pans, pots, grills and other implements used for cooking
• Seasonings and spices

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4. NAVIGATION

You don’t have to go very far into unfamiliar areas before you run the risk of getting lost, especially if you’re dealing with an emergency situation that could provide unexpected distractions and stress. Everyone in your group should know basic navigational skills.

4.1 NAVIGATION TOOLS

• Addresses/coordinates of important places
• Binoculars/monocular
• Compass
• GPS unit, batteries and accessories
• Map cases and markers
• Pace-counter beads
• Road and topographic maps
• Smartphone navigation apps

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5. SHELTER

In an emergency, you’re usually better off hunkering down in your home. However, a time might come when you need to seek shelter elsewhere. In addition to knowing where local emergency shelters are, you need to have a bug-out plan for moving to a safe location where you can take shelter.

5.1 HUNKERING DOWN AT HOME

• Fire extinguishers
• Fuel and kindling for fireplace/woodstove
• Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and batteries

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5.2 FABRICATED SHELTER

• Bivy/sleeping bags and ground mats
• Tarps, 550 cord, bungee cords
• Tent(s), repair and replacement parts

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5.3 LOCAL EMERGENCY SHELTER

• Know the locations and contact information of nearby emergency shelters

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5.4 CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT

• Base layer, mid layer and street clothes suited to the weather and situation
• Hunting/camouflage clothing and accessories
• Insect- and snake-protective clothing
• Weather-protective outerwear, footwear and accessories

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6. TRANSPORTATION

The mode of transportation you use requires significant additional resources. Your best bet is to have one or more vehicles that can dependably handle multiple, if not all, mobility roles. If you have more than one vehicle, select those that use common fuel, lubricants, tools and other support materials to reduce the variety and volume required.

6.1 ALL VEHICLES

• Cargo containers and tie-downs, 550 cord, duct tape
• First aid kit
• Fuels, fuel additives, lubricants, motor oil (on-site and portable)
• Light sources, replacement batteries
• Navigation aids (maps, compass, GPS)
• Replacements for parts most likely to wear out or break
• Rescue aids (flares, high-visibility panels, air horn, whistles, mirrors)
• Secure storage for weapons and ammunition
• Shelter-in-place kit with food, water, shelter, fire starters, etc.
• Tools, wire, zip-ties and other items useful for field repairs and extrication

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6.2 LAND VEHICLES

• Extrication and road-/path-clearing equipment
• Spare keys
• Spare tires, air pump, patch kits

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6.3 WATERCRAFT

• Ditch bag with rescue/survival gear, first aid kit
• EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon) and/or PLB (personal locator beacon)
• Paddles, oars
• Personal flotation devices for everyone aboard
• Repair kits

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7. SECURITY

Security includes safety issues, along with self-defense, wherever you are. If you have additional security and safety preparations than what’s listed here, you should add them to this list.

7.1 HOME SECURITY/EARLY-WARNING SYSTEM

• Emergency/portable lighting and replacement batteries/chargers
• Home alarm
• Motion-sensing cameras and automatic lighting
• Remote-adjustable video/audio systems

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7.2 LETHAL WEAPON SYSTEMS

• Cleaning and maintenance equipment for all firearms
• Handgun with spare mags or speed loaders, ammunition, accessories
• Holsters and other means for safe/concealed-carry/transportation of firearms
• Rifle with spare mags, ammunition, accessories
• Shotgun with spare mags, ammunition, accessories

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7.3 LESS-THAN-LETHAL WEAPON SYSTEMS

• Less-than-lethal shotgun rounds
• Personal-defense spray/tear gas dispenser and replacement cartridges
• Restraint systems
• Stun gun and replacement batteries or Taser and projectiles and accessories

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8. ENERGY

Many of our devices require electricity, making a backup energy source plan very important. Short-term power outages can generally be handled with generators—as long as there’s access to fuel. Adding solar, wind or other generation options to your plan will help, as will reducing your dependence on electricity for essentials and conveniences.

• Batteries/chargers for all associated devices
• Generator, accessories, fuel and maintenance tools and materials
• Power inverter
• Solar power-generation equipment (panels, cables, batteries and accessories)
• Tools and replacement parts to support all energy sources
• Wind power-generation equipment (turbines, cables, batteries and accessories)

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9. COMMUNICATIONS

During any emergency, it’s imperative to maintain contact with others in your group, as well as with external information sources. Connectivity can take many forms. Take into account distance, energy and equipment requirements when you put your plan together.

• Amateur/ham radio, CB radio, multiband scanner and accessories
• Cell phone and accessories
• Computer/laptop/tablet and accessories
• Faraday cage or other EMP-protective containers
• FM/AM/SW/weather radio and accessories
• List of group members’ addresses and contact information
• Satellite phone and accessories
• Television, reception gear and accessories
• Two-way radios (FRS/GMRS), batteries and accessories

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10. HEALTH

Maintaining good physical and mental health will become more difficult and important during an emergency. Managing existing conditions and avoiding or dealing with illness and injury should be placed high in your prepping priorities. Be sure your group knows how to use the materials and equipment before you need it.

• 90- to 180-day supply of all vital medications
• Backboard or other type of litter
• Blankets (compact/packable and traditional)
• Emergency dental kit—one per person
• Epinephrine pen kits
• Home first aid kit, upgraded for your specific needs
• Hygiene and sanitation supplies for individuals and group
• Individual first aid kit—one per person
• Neck brace and assorted-sized splints
• Slings and triangle bandages
• Snake bite kit—one per person
• Specialized equipment (defibrillator, CPAP, oxygen supply and accessories)
• Suture and trauma kit—one per person

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11. ADDITIONAL ITEMS

• Assorted hand tools for building, repairs, gardening, etc.
• Bug-out bag—one per person
• Bushcraft knife (we suggest that each person has more than one knife), sharpeners
• Candles
• Copies of all important documents on thumb drive or other media
• Optics for use during the day or night
• Pet supplies, medications, toys and accessories

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12. EMERGENCY PLANS

• Bug-out plan and leave-behind note
• Group emergency preparedness plan with contingencies
• Local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) contact information
• Local FEMA/Homeland Security contact information
• Local hospital addresses and contact information
• Local National Guard Armory address and contact information
• Police, Fire, EMS addresses and contact information

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Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the Spring-Summer 2021 Prepper Manual print issue of American Survival Guide.