41 Essential Items For Sheltering in Place

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By Bryan Lynch •  9 min read

Believe it or not, the idea of sheltering in place can be slightly unnerving. Afterall, human beings are social creatures and most of us are out and about daily. Whether that be going to work, running errands, going to appointments, or just taking a nice walk. So, I can see how the idea of having to stay in one location can seem uncomfortable.

41 Essential Items For Sheltering in Place

However, there is one main reason I have found that people are scared about sheltering in place. They do not know what they need. Luckily, most of the items on the list below are probably already in your home. You just may need to adjust the quantity.

I have created lists like this in the past for myself, and I wanted to take another shot at it to see if anything has changed. I am going to challenge myself, and you, to come up with a list of 41 essential items for sheltering in place for 30 days. Let’s go!

41 Essential Items For Bugging In

Water. Critical to life and most of us utterly take it for granted. But considering we can only live three days (plus or minus given the conditions) without it, I consider it a priority item. A good rule of thumb is one gallon per person per day for drinking. Do yourself a favor and have some extra water stored away in appropriate containers just in case the tap stops running.

Ideally though having an abundant and renewable resource for water is important. To build such a device, you should watch this video presentation.

Water filters. The tap may still be running but other factors can affect whether the water is still safe to drink. This is when having methods to clean water can become a lifesaver. Add in a few filters like the Lifestraw or Sawyer Mini to help clean your drinking water.

Food. Disregarding what foods to store, walk into your kitchen, and look through your pantry and refrigerator. Do you have enough food to last thirty days? If you answered yes, then good for you. If you answered no, then start putting away extra items now. One recommendation would be to store up on items that do not need refrigeration or a power source for cooking, such as canned goods.

Or if you just want to be prepped, you can buy survival food kits.

Manual Can Opener. This will be important to have should the power go out or the canned goods do not have the easy-open tabs.

Coffee/Vices. Okay, so, can you live without coffee? Sure. But I have personally known people that have blinding, migraine level headaches from caffeine withdrawal. Whatever your poison is, it might be worth having some extra on hand.

This is out most favorite coffee product for long-term storage:

Franklin's Finest Survival Coffee
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Pet Food. Many of us view our pets as members of our family. It only makes sense then that there should be enough supplies for them as well.

First Aid. How else are you going to take care of minor cuts, scrapes, burns, blisters, etc.? The kit does not need to be expensive or extensive but make sure its contents reflect your skill level. Check our our pre-made first aid kits.

Prescription medications. More and more people are taking some form of prescription medication for their health. Be sure to always refill your prescription as soon possible so you always have enough on hand.

General medications. Things like aspirin, Tylenol, and allergy pills just to name a few. While some of these medications may not be critical to your health, alleviating aches and pains can go a long way in being more comfortable.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Having a healthy supply of latex gloves, face masks, eye protection, earplugs, skin protection, and heavy-duty gloves can help you deal with the unknown.

If you are wanting to buy face masks, we highly recommend this one.

Hand soap. Washing your hands is one of the cheapest, most effective means of stopping the spread of germs. Be sure to load up on a couple of extra bars.

Body Soap. Have extra to keep yourself fresh and clean.

Toothpaste. Oral hygiene is extremely important for general health. I suggest having at least one extra tube of paste and a toothbrush on hand. Do not forget to floss!

Feminine Hygiene Products. Be sure you have what you need in this department.

Baby Supplies. Diapers, wipes, formula, special foods, and special medications. Make sure the littles are covered.

Dish Soap. Unless you are willing to let your dirty dishes pile up for the duration it is a good idea to have enough dish soap on hand.

Bleach. It is a good disinfectant and can be used to help purify water. Make sure it is unscented.

Disposable plates/utensils. Of course, if you do not want to have to clean dishes than this is a cheap alternative. Also, they are useful if the water is not available for cleaning.

Laundry detergent. Speaking of letting stinky items pile up, do not forget to have enough detergent on hand to keep your clothes clean.

Alternative Clothes Washing Method. What if the power goes out or the washing machine breaks? Plan for an alternative method for washing clothes. Something like the Wander Wash or a five-gallon bucket with a plunger

Trash Bags. Other than keeping our smelly trash contained, trash bags have a multitude of other uses.

Candles. Handy to have if the lights go out. I suggest Sterno emergency candles because they have an extremely long burn time.  For other suggestions, check out this article.

Lighter and Matches. Going to need these to light those candles. But which one is better? Check out this debate on lighters vs matches.

Batteries. With the amount of electronic gear we have these days, it is always a good idea to have extra batteries on hand.

Flashlight. Always useful to find your way in the dark. Think about purchasing a solar-powered or rechargeable one so you can ditch the extra batteries.

We highly recommend the Procharge Survival Flashlight (solar powered) or the EVATAC Flashlight.

Radio. Not only are good tunes a plus, but a radio will provide a means of knowing what is going on outside. I would suggest one that is rechargeable, solar-powered, or of the hand crank variety. Otherwise, make sure you have enough batteries.

Check out our HAM radio products that we recommend.

Blankets and Fans. Modern buildings rely heavily on air conditioning and heaters to regulate indoor temperatures. Should these go out, have a few fans on hand for hot weather and heavy blankets for cold weather for regulating body temperature.     

Solar Charger. Its always nice to have an alternative energy source in case the power goes out. I have used solar chargers by Sunjack and they work great for charging small devices and a laptop.

Generator. If you are in the position to have one of these, I highly recommend one but do your research first. Make sure you have a plan in place to run it outside or a means of venting it.

Fuel. Extra fuel for a vehicle, cooking sources, or other devices you deem essential.

Hand Tools. Have some of the basics on hand to fix or adjust items as needed such as a screwdriver, pliers, wrenches, and hammer. Pliers and wrench are especially important should you need to turn off utilities.

Extra Hardware. You never know when you might need a nail, screw, or bolt. Most big box stores carry kits of assorted hardware that are quite affordable.

Duct Tape. How does the old saying go? If you cannot fix it with duct tape, then it cannot be fixed. Seriously though, duct tape has a million uses so make sure you have some.

Plastic Sheeting. It has many uses including covering windows, waterproofing, and sanitation.

Plastic Bags. I always keep the cache of plastic shopping bags in the house. They have a variety of uses such as a trash bag, keeping items organized, and other sanitation purposes.

Fire Extinguisher. During a shelter in place orders, certain services such as the fire department may not be available. But one of these should always be in your home regardless.

Personal Protection Device. I will leave this blank but there should be something on hand that you know how to safely use if you need to protect yourself.

Check out our top survival rifle choices.

Important Documentation (non-digital) In case electronic resources are not available, it is a good idea to have a hard copy of the information. Include things like contact numbers, especially emergency contacts, addresses, health-related information, and emergency plans. Be sure to keep it all in a waterproof container.

Stationary. Helpful in recording important information or should you need to leave a note or a warning. A small supply of paper, pens, pencils, permanent markers can be picked up super cheap.

Cash. You may be asking, “what is the point of cash?” Cash is king and if you are sheltering in place then something out of the norm is going on. ATMs and banking systems might not be available. Put aside some cash just in case.  

Entertainment. Cabin fever is no joke. Isolation can deteriorate one’s mental health so it is important to have things around that will keep you occupied. Books, movies, hobby supplies, board games, or whatever you are into.

Here is an interesting video about this topic:

Wrap Up 

Whew! I think that is a darn good list of the basics for sheltering in place. Do not forget to personalize the above categories to your needs, that way you can have the best list possible. I am sure this list could be longer so if there are items that I forget to mention, please feel free to comment below.

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.