95 Essential SHTF Gear List 2024(Complete lists)

If SHTF happened today, will you be ready to handle it and survive for some days? Many people are never prepared as they have never faced any disaster in their life. Thus, When creating a SHTF gear list, you need to concentrate on the tools that will help you survive if hell broke loose. As a result, you only need to pack what can help you escape and sustain you for some time, as a solution is being sought out.

Summary of Contents

But, What is SHTF?

What is the meaning of SHTF? It means something bad has happened with you and you are not completely responsible for this. A good example could be natural disasters. For serious peppers like me, it is crucial to be prepared for any possible disaster, accident, or emergency event that needs us to fight to live. It can be an earthquake, an Armageddon, a tsunami, an economic crisis, a hurricane, a volcanic eruption, or even an apocalypse. Whatever SHTF takes place in your area, you need to be prepared and ready to battle for your survival.

The best SHTF gear list should typically include items that can address the most likely disaster that can befall you. For instance, if you live close to a volcanic mountain, you need to pay attention to the gears that can tackle a volcanic eruption. While for those who live near an ocean, they should pay attention to tools that can tackle a tsunami or hurricane.

Why do you need the best SHTF Gear?

A good SHTF kit should have items that help you survive such as food gear, shelter gear, water gear, security gear, first aid gear, and fire starting gear. These are basic and you will need them to survive even if it’s for 72 hours. If you are new to prepping, knowing the best items to include in your survival gear can be very tricky. Hence, we have created a long list of different items that you should consider if you want to be a serious prepper.

Every survival is different from another. Therefore, don’t expect your survival gear to be the same as mine or that of another prepper. For example, some would prefer to pack an EDC flashlight while others would prefer to have a headlamp. Another prepper would be okay sleeping in the tent, while there may be those who prefer hammocks. Thus, don’t feel bad leaving out some gear that you don’t think will be of great help to you and add those items that you think are essential to you. When preparing for SHTF, you need to include the things that you will use and can’t do without. Luxurious and entertainment items shouldn’t be included as they will only make your bug out bag to be heavier and lag you behind.

The Ultimate SHTF Gear List 2024

On our list below, we have made things easier for you by breaking down the tools and items into different categories. So, you can only select a few gears from different categories and put them on your SHTF list. Go through the list and let us know if there is anything that you want to add to your list in the comment section! Additionally, feel free to let us know which items you think should be added to our list.

Must-have survival gear list

First and foremost, when creating a SHTF gear list, you need to start with the items that you cannot afford being without. The must-have items are those things that will help you make a temporary tent or help you set up one. Furthermore, these items will allow you to prepare food and drink clean water.  While in the wild, you will also need light for illuminating in the dark and a weapon for protecting yourself from attackers or stray animals. Hence, items like a flashlight, tent, knife, multi-tool, bug out bag, energy bars, and water purification tablets come in handy. These items should be your priority if you want to survive.

  • Flashlight
  • Pocket knife
  • Multi-tool
  • Lantern
  • EDC bag
  • Axe
  • Emergency candles
  • Bug out bag
  • Hammer
  • Scissors
  • Saw
  • Machete

Shelter and thermoregulation gear list

Whatever your survival plan is, you need shelter to keep you safe from animals and from the extreme weather. As we have discussed earlier, you can make your own shelter if you have the right tools or carry one and set it up. Altogether, it is good to have your own shelter as you don’t know what to expect where you are going to. When in a survival situation, you need to stay warm and safe.

If you live in a cold environment, there is a high chance that the weather will be very cold, and protecting yourself from it is vital for your survival. Get the right heat generation gear to stay warm when there is a blackout during winter or are out in the cold. But if you live in a desert or hot area, you don’t need this.

  • Survival hammock
  • Tent
  • Tarp
  • Sleeping bag
  • Bivy Sack
  • Butane/propane heater
  • Rain jacket
  • Space emergency thermal blanket
  • Rubber rain boots

Rescue gear list

When a disaster takes place, you may ask for help when you are in danger or get lost. For this to happen, you need to have proper communication and navigation tools that will ease the work of rescuers. Although, very few people would want to be rescued or even found if a disaster such as a war broke out or an apocalypse occurred. But if you are one of those guys who is adventurous and goes to odd places like huge forests and deserted caves, then you need to have these tools with you. They will help you know where you are and allow you to stay in touch with other people.

  • Cell phone
  • Whistle
  • GPS
  • Compass
  • Maps
  • Signaling mirror
  • Satellite phone
  • Walkie talkie

First aid and medicine gear list

As you change your lifestyle and surrounding, it is very easy to get sick due to various unavoidable circumstances. That’s why you need to have a first aid kit with most of the basic first aid and medicine supplies. The items or medicines that you include in the kit can never be enough but at least it will deal with most of situations. As you run away to find a safe place, you might be cut by wild plants or be bitten by a fly. In such a situation, you need to have a medicine that can temporarily stop the disease for some time before you get prepared for treatment when the whole nightmare is over.

  • Adhesive bandages
  • Iodine
  • Sewing kit
  • Wound dressing
  • Aspirin
  • Topical supplies
  • Benzocaine geladvil
  • Insect repellent
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Splints
  • Needle
  • Ibuprofen/painkillers

Fire making gear list

Making a fire is very crucial when you are in a survival situation. Below, we have listed various items that you can use to start a fire. This doesn’t mean that you should have all of them, but having several of them as a backup in case one of them fails is very important.

Starting a fire in the traditional way can be very challenging. For instance, take the bushcraft tactic of rubbing sticks together. Even though this method can produce a fire if well mastered, it is not a sure way and can be useless if the surrounding is wet or when there has been a rainfall. Alternatively, consider carrying a matchbox or other fire starting items that we have listed below. These are more reliable and very easy to use.

  • Firestarter
  • Lighter
  • Tinder
  • Waterproof matches
  • Magnifying glass

Clothing and apparel gear list

As you prepare shelter and other heat generation gear, don’t forget to include your clothing and apparel. These will come in handy in emergency and survival situations. Carry normal clothes and then add those that are vital for extreme weather conditions like cold or hotness. The list below has different clothes that you need for different weather conditions. The clothing and apparel that you include in your stockpile should focus on the climatic conditions of your region. If it’s cold, focus on clothes that can give you warmth. And if it’s warm, focus on light clothes that will make you feel okay. For hikers, ensure that you have the right boots and hiking gear.

  • Jacket
  • Sunglasses
  • Wool socks
  • Hiking boots
  • Bandanas
  • Tactical boots

Food and hunting/gardening gear list

Of course, you will have to eat or cook even if SHTF happens. That’s why you need to plan in advance what food you have to carry. Many survivalists and preppers carry ready to eat food that will last them for at least three days. Even though the idea of stockpiling food is wonderful, you also need to have a plan B just in case the SHTF goes way beyond the estimated period. In this case, it will be great if you know how to hunt or fish as they can become an alternative way of looking for food. Carry fishing and hunting gear for such emergencies. Gardening is also an option if you will live in a new location for a very long.

Since you already have food or know where to get food if you find yourself in a survival situation, you should as well know how to prepare it. This brings us to the cooking utensils and other tools that you require to prepare food. Additionally, have items like can openers to properly open canned foods and bottle openers for drinks. These will make life easier for you.

  • Energy bars
  • Canned food
  • Hard candy
  • Rice
  • Stainless steel cooking pot
  • Can opener
  • Butane/propane portable stove
  • Cooking and eating utensils
  • Aluminum foil
  • Wine opener
  • Gardening knife
  • Shovel
  • Baskets
  • Fishing line
  • Fishing rod
  • Crossbow
  • Slingshot
  • A hunting rifle and ammo
  • Binoculars

Water purification system gear list

No matter the SHTF situation that you are going to face, you will still need water for different uses. Preppers and survivalists usually know the importance of carrying water and items for purifying the water. It is a fact that in one way or another, your water will become depleted and you will need to look for a water source. The problem is that finding fresh water that is fit for consumption is not easy. Therefore, you require having water purification items that will make the water fit for use. Get at least two or more items for purifying water.

  • Water bottle
  • Water bag
  • A Water filter
  • Water collection tank
  • Water purification tablets
  • Bleach

Self-defense gear list

In a survival situation, you would love to have an item that you can use to defend yourself and your family against any attacker or animal. The good news is that there are various SHTF self-defense weapons that you can add to your list. These include firearms and other lethal or non-lethal weapons. A good weapon to consider is a gun. Check and find out if guns are allowed in your state or country. If they are permitted, you can buy one, get a license and train how to use it. Besides having a gun, include other tactical weapons that can work together with a gun such as a flashlight and a knife.

  • Tactical flashlight
  • Folding knife
  • Pepper spray
  • Firearm plus ammo
  • Bear spray
  • Tactical Pen

Power and lighting gear list

We live in a world where electricity is the main source of energy. Therefore, if SHTF happened, there might be a major blackout that goes on for several days and this may inconvenience many. As a backup, you need to have different items that can provide light for some days. Be prepared and you will not be left in the dark. A key gadget to have is a flashlight and other lighting options. Others include:

  • Energy bank
  • USB solar charger
  • Carphone charger
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Electricity generator
  • Battery solar charger

Important documents and educational resource gear list

Surviving or being prepared for the worst doesn’t just mean having items that you can use, but as well items that you need to move from one area to another. That’s the reason we have included documents, finances, and educational resources. You will need your documents to move from one border to another and your finances in case banks and other financial institutions aren’t functioning.

Besides having the right documents, you need to have knowledge of what to do and how to do it in order to survive. Carry a notebook with the content on how you should survive in different environments. Also, include first-aid books to help you know how to treat a wound or other ailments. With this info, you will be more cautious and know what to eat or not to eat. Eating or coming into contact with the wrong plants might just worsen your case.

  • Extra cash
  • ID
  • Passports
  • Credit cards
  • Survival book/notes
  • List of contacts

If you are a non-prepper but still want tools that will enable you to survive in case of an emergency, you can consider looking at small everyday carry survival tools. Most of these can be kept in the wallet, pocket, or attached to the keychain. They are very easy to use and not a burden to carry. For instance, a folding knife, a mini-phone, a Keychain flashlight, a multi-tool, and a credit card tool.


Your life depends on what you have in your SHTF gear. So, as you prepare your list for survival, make sure that it includes all the vital items that will enable you to survive for at least 3 days. The items should address shelter, food, water, personal protection, and a first-aid kit. The survival items that you pack will be different from that of another person depending on many factors. Research and know which SHTF are more likely to occur in your area and prepare gear in accordance with them. Having the wrong gear in the wrong location won’t help a lot.

Our list above contains various items for different categories. Choose items that you feel suit your situation well and the ones you are comfortable with. Just remember, you should start with the most basic items and follow up with items that suit your surroundings well. Feel free to add or suggest other items that should be included in the list in the comment section below.

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