11 Most Important Prepper Items

Even though lists like this are subjective, there are some items or gear that every prepper should have. That is why I decided to come up with 11 items I believe are the most important for everyone to have. 

Top Most Important Prepper Items


Important Prepper Items

Touted as one of the most important survival tools, a knife is an item that everyone should have. It is so versatile that it can be used for self-defense, making a shelter, processing food, processing wood, making tools, and much more. 

In my opinion, there are two different knives that people should have. The first is a heavier-duty outdoor knife that is a workhorse. Typically this knife is larger and it is okay if it has a coating on it to protect the blade as it will be used for processing wood, cutting materials, self-defense, and other tasks. 

The second knife however should be an uncoated blade that is primarily used for food preparation. Many knives that have the black coating on them are for tactical purposes and are not appropriate to be used in the preparation of food. 

Hand Tools

In our modern society power tools are king. They are quick, easy to use, and efficient. But in a scenario when the power grid is down, those tools will be worthless and hand tools will become king. 

Every prepper should have an assortment of hand tools that they think they will need for building and repair tasks. These include hammers, drills, screwdrivers, sandpaper, grinders, saws, hatchets, axes, mauls, etc. It would be my recommendation that you find a “manual” version of any power tool that you currently use. 


Whether or not you are comfortable with firearms it is an item that everyone should have and should learn how to properly use. It levels the playing field as it pertains to acquiring food and self-defense, plain and simple.

There are three basic firearms. A rifle, shotgun, and a pistol. Ideally, one of each should be owned but do not get carried away in the hype of the different platforms. What is important is that you know your weapon in and out and are proficient in its use and maintenance. 


Everyone needs to eat but this does not only pertain to canned goods and beans. Knowledge of gardening, growing livestock, hunting, and preserving food are all important to know how to do. 

Pre-packaged foods are eventually going to run out which is why the ability to grow your own food is going to be the most valuable skill to know. Not only is the food itself going to be valuable but so will your skills as a gardener or in raising livestock. Learn this as a hobby now so that you will be a valuable resource to go to when visiting the grocery store is no longer an option. 

Skills and Knowledge 

There is so much information in the world that a single person cannot aspire to know it all. This is why knowing a trade or skill is important to the prepper. Knowing certain trades or skills will become critical when the only person you can rely on is yourself. Skills and knowledge will also become valuable in a bartering situation.


Three days without water and survival becomes a dire situation. Everyone should have enough water to cover their needs for drinking, cooking, sanitation, and cleaning. Storing enough water can be difficult which is why knowing how to find it, collect it, filter it, and purify it is equally as critical.

Collecting rainwater, having your own well, or just having a surplus of ways to make potable water will pay dividends in the long run.


According to the rules of three, having a shelter or maintaining our core body temperature is one of the most important survival abilities. This can take many forms from knowing how to build outdoor shelters to utilizing materials in an urban environment that will help to regulate our body temperature. A tarp will go a long way in the wilderness while newspapers and other insulating materials can help in the concrete jungle. Items that can be used for shelters or maintaining core body temperature should be stockpiled.


We have several ways in which to communicate nowadays that may not be available to use when the SHTF. But given all of the options here are a few ways to keep communications flowing in good times and bad. 

Cell phones, computers, tap tables, radios, morse code, sign language, and even pen and paper are all ways of communication that a prepper should be familiar with. 


Maintaining core body temperature notwithstanding, fire is an awesome force to use. It can help us to make tools, keep predators and insects at bay, cook, boil water, create a light source, and use it for many other needs. 

This is why the tools and the knowledge of making fire are so  important. In my opinion, this is the order of fire-making tools you should have and know how to use in terms of priority. Lighters, matches, ferrocerium rods and magnesium rods, and magnifying glass.


For me, cordage is like duct tape in that it has so many uses that you can never store enough. You can use it to build shelters, transport game, transport wood, transport materials, restrains threats, repair clothing, and gear, hunt, fish, etc. 

From paracord to different sizes of nylon and natural materials all types of cordage should be stored. You never know when and how cordage will help you in your time of need. 

A Community

This is not a physical item like a product but I believe it is one of the most important items that preppers need to have. And that is a community. 

In its simplest form, this means that you have others that you can rely on or call upon for help. A single person cannot do everything that needs to be done by themselves and having others with various skillsets will make a bad situation that much easier to get through. 

Wrapping It Up

I am sure that my list does not contain all of the most important items a prepper should have, so sound off in the comment section below and let us know your thoughts. Thanks for reading

Written by Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021. Read more of Bryan's articles.