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Your ultimate guide to creating the SHTF checklist

Your ultimate guide to creating the SHTF checklist

We must always be prepared to deal with any drastic situation with the right survival tools and skills. Preparing for such events takes complete planning because you don't want to miss out on anything. Creating an SHTF checklist is a great way to track everything you need.

We need 3 main categories of stuff to deal with survival situations:

  • Consumables
  • Tools
  • Utilities

Read on to learn what items are necessary to add to your SHTF checklist.

Consumables that need to be on your SHTF checklist.

You will need to start working on the checklist with the consumables first. It is because we cannot survive for long without water and food.

1. Water

You will start with water because we can only live without it for 3 days. Having access to clean water for drinking and other needs is essential. So, here are all the water-related supplies you must include on the checklist

  • Water bottles
  • Purifier (pocket purifier, tablets)


If you are staying at your place, filling up all water containers, including the bathtub and basin, is good.

2. Food

Food is essential for survival situations. When packing food, you need airtight containers, so the food does not spoil over time. Having at least 3 months of supply for your family is essential because you cannot just go to the local supermarket. In terms of food, canned goods and products in bags are good. Some essentials include:

  • Oats
  • Popcorn
  • Cornmeal
  • Potato and corn flour
  • Beans (lima, chickpea, pinto, etc.)
  • Rice
  • Spices and seasonings
  • Cooking fats
  • Pet food (if you have pets)
  • Vegetable seeds if the environment is suitable for growing vegetables
  • Quinoa, etc.


Throw some oxygen and moisture absorbers or silica gel packets into the container when putting food in it.

3. Medical supplies

First aid is essential for survival because you cannot just visit the hospital. Here is a list of items to include in your medical supplies:

  • Masks
  • Painkillers
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Band-Aids and liquid stitch
  • Tweezers and scissors
  • Medical tape
  • Burn cream
  • Rubber gloves
  • Special medication if you have patients


Not all consumables are good for a lifetime. Most items have an expiry date, and you must grab stuff according to that date. You don't want to be in a survival situation with expired stuff that is of no use. The best practice is getting all consumable items with similar expiry dates and updating the whole stock after that time.

Tools and equipment that need to be on your SHTF checklist.

Tools and other equipment can make survival easy for everyone because you don't need to work manually. There are many tools, with the most important ones elaborated below.

1. Cooking utensils

Keeping cooking utensils is important because how else you plan to cook and consume food that you are packing. Go with the most basic cooking utensils and refrain from anything complex.

  • Waterproof matchsticks
  • Can openers
  • Eating and drinking plates and glasses
  • Kettle and iron pan
  • Aluminum foil and plastic wrap
  • Solar oven and wood stove


Packing different types of compact stoves is better because you never know what type of situation you will be cooking in.

2. Tools

Whether you are in an outdoor situation or indoors, you will need several tools to make it through the survival days. So, be prepared with tools for hunting animals, fishing, or cutting veggies. You must add the following ones to your checklist:

  • Multitool or Swiss army knife
  • Hammer, nails, and screws
  • Duct tape and glue
  • Ample length of bungee cord
  • Knife
  • Portable saw
  • Tip ties
  • Fire starter flint
  • Shovel.

3. Communication and navigation

Even when everything is out, you must not lose hope that someone will stay in touch with you. There could be officials trying to contact you to relocate to a safer location. So, make sure to keep all of these:

  • Hand crank radio
  • Whistle
  • Maps
  • Important contacts
  • Walkie talkies

4. Light and power

You may need the power to keep certain electronics turned on. Similarly, the light will be necessary as the night falls. As there will be no electricity, be prepared with the following power backup solutions

  • Led flashlights, headlamps, and pocket lights
  • Lighters
  • Chargers (solar, fire, and hydro)
  • Power banks
  • Portable UPS


Try to rely on electronics in these situations as less as possible.

5. Survival skills

With all the items packed, you also need to have some survival skills. Some important ones that can easily get you through the tough survival days include:

  • Starting a fire
  • Cooking
  • Animal trapping, hunting, and defense
  • Fishing
  • Basic medical and first aid treatment
  • Map reading
  • Gardening
  • Woodworking
  • Sewing

Utilities must be on your SHTF checklist.

There are things that we never think about in our life. Surviving without these is never easy because of our dependency on these utilities. Below are some items that must be a part of your SHTF checklist.

1. Shelter

The shelter can save your life in outdoor situations if forced away from your home. When selecting a shelter, you must get items that protect you from rain and snow to increase your chances of survival. The most important shelter items on the checklist include the following:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Good quality tents
  • Emergency blanket

2. Clothes and hygiene

Never forget to pack the right clothes according to the survival situation. Usually, warm clothes and thick layers are good choices to keep your body temperature normal. While keeping clothes, you must care for hygiene as well.

  • Warm clothes
  • Sunglasses
  • Bandana
  • Outdoor boots
  • Raincoat
  • Q-tips
  • Soap
  • Insect repellant
  • Vaseline
  • Hand sanitizers

3. Bags

When selecting a bag, you cannot go with the regular school bags. Bug-out bags make a good choice for survival situations because of their durability and weather resistance. These bags also have efficient interior pockets for organizing all your stuff.

Bonus tip:

When packing the SHTF checklist, you may feel the temptation to keep everything in your bag. It usually happens because of panic, and it is inefficient. So, think twice and only keep items that you need. Extra items will only increase the weight on your back.


As you create your SHTF checklist and gather everything, you will be well prepared to deal with most survival situations and natural disasters. So, whether you need to stay at your home or survive the outdoors, the items on your checklist will make survival easier.

Image by Uwe Mücke from Pixabay 

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