Fall is almost here and you’ll probably be busy with lots of things you’ve been dying to accomplish the past several months. The season is the perfect time to get some repairs done on the house, tend to your garden, make progress with that old car you’re trying to restore, or any other major project you have in mind. Just don’t forget that this is the right time to prepare for winter, too. Before it gets too cold, start gathering emergency supplies to stockpile for winter. You’ll likely have a hard time doing so once the cold season is here.
To give you a headstart, start gathering these 20 emergency items to stockpile for winter:
1. Non-Perishable Food
Stockpiling emergency food is something you should be doing on a regular basis. Moreso, before winter comes. Check your pantry now so you’ll have an idea how much you still need to last you all winter and beyond. Stock up on canned goods (especially soup), dried meat, dried fruits and vegetables, grains, beans, crackers, and other non-perishable foods.
2. Drinking Water
A normal person needs at least one gallon of water a day. Count how many you are in the household and compute the amount of drinking water you need to stockpile for winter. Remember, the pipes may freeze in extremely low temperatures. That means you won’t have water for a while so you should have clean water in your pantry. Don’t forget to also store water for cleaning, washing up, and bathing, too. If you have pets, they need water, too.
3. Firewood and Fuel
Fire keeps you warm. If you live on a homestead, you should already have lots of firewood stored safely and properly. You should also be chopping more firewood around this time to prepare for next year’s winter. You’ll need the firewood for the furnace and wood stove.
If firewood is a no-go, you need other ways to stay warm inside your home. Store enough fuel like propane for your gas stove. You should also have a camping stove that uses smokeless fuel tablets. A solar oven will also come in handy even if it’s winter.
4. Fire Starting Tools
You need some way to get your stove or furnace going. Stock up on waterproof matches, lighters, and fire starters. Store some tinder, too. You’ll need them to start a fire a lot faster. You should also learn how to start a fire without these tools. This is a basic survival skill that everyone should know.
5. Lighting Tools
Store candles, flashlights, headlamps, and portable lanterns. Get hand-powered, battery-operated, and solar-powered versions of the lighting tools. This will help ensure you’ll never have to spend a moment in the dark. Remember, winter storms and extremely low temperatures can take down the power grid. It’s best that you’re prepared for prolonged power outages, too.
6. Warm Clothes
You probably have them already but you should double-check if your winter clothes are still usable. Take them out this fall so you can give them a good wash before you need them. Buy new ones if necessary.
Make sure you have warm clothes in your bug out bags and other emergency kits. If you’re out on the road when a snowstorm hits, you’ll be glad you packed extra winter clothes in your car emergency kit.
Make sure you have thermal underwear, pants, long-sleeved tops, sweaters, jackets, and trench coats. Don’t forget your beanies, scarf, bandana, gloves or mittens, wool socks, winter boots, and earmuffs.
Whether at home or outdoors, you should have a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, wool blankets, thermal blankets, and beddings to keep you warm. Aside from using beddings to directly cover your body, you can also use blankets and pillows to block the cold seeping through the door. You can use them to seal off hallways and stairways, too.
It’s easy to store beddings at home but you should always have them in your car and bug out bags. In case you’re stuck in your car in the middle of a winter storm, the wool blankets, sleeping bag, and other beddings will help keep you warm and safe from hypothermia.
8. Body Warmers
In extremely cold weather, you’ll need more than winter clothes and blankets to keep you from ending up like a popsicle. In fact, you’ll need all the help you can get especially if you’re stranded outdoors. Stock up on body warmers and hand warmers.
You should also know that you can use things around you to help insulate your body. Look for leaves, grass, foam, plastic bags, crumpled newspapers, and other materials that will create insulation packets when you put them between your layers of clothes.
9. Common Household Stuff and Personal Items
With the weather uncomfortably cold, you’ll want to stay home during the winter months. Lessen the need to go out by stocking up on basic everyday items you need at home.
Start with personal hygiene products like shampoo, conditioner, bath soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, deodorant, toilet paper, paper towels, and feminine products.
You’ll also need cleaning products like laundry soap, dishwashing soap, bleach, toilet cleaners, and garbage bags. Don’t forget to load up on batteries of all sizes. For pet owners, make sure you have enough supply of pet food, kitty litter, medicines, and other items your little friends will need to get through winter.
10. Survival Tools
Any emergency kit needs the right survival gear. Each tool you keep in there serves a purpose when emergency strikes so make sure you have different kinds of survival tools at home, in your bug out bags and everyday carry kits, as well as in your car emergency kit.
Some survival gear that comes to mind includes a pocket knife, multi-purpose tool, paracord, duct tape, and non-lethal self-defense weapons like a tactical pen and pepper spray. Some tools you specifically need in winter include a shovel (get one for your home and one for your car), roof rake, sidewalk scraper, snow blower, ice scraper, snow brush, and cleats for when you have to walk on snow or ice.
11. Communication Tools
As mentioned, a severe winter storm or extremely low temperatures can take the power grid down. When that happens, you don’t have an internet connection or even electricity to charge your phones and other devices. Make sure you have other ways to contact people, especially family members, emergency medical services, and the local authorities.
Aside from having extra battery packs for your phones, you should also have a solar charger. This way, you can still charge your phone as long as the sun is out. HAM and CB radios are a better way to communicate when electricity and the internet are down.
You also need to stay up-to-date with what’s happening around you. An emergency weather radio will continue to give you updates on weather disturbances and other news. Get a hand-crank radio that can also be powered by batteries and solar energy.
12. First Aid Kit and Medicines
No one likes going to hospitals even for regular checkups. It’s even worse if you have to go when the weather’s too cold and the roads are dangerously slippery. For minor medical emergencies, you should be able to take care of them with the help of a first aid kit and some first aid training.
Make sure you have everything you need to treat different kinds of ailments and injuries. You should also stock up on medicines, especially prescription drugs. You don’t want to be rushing to the pharmacy when the weather and road conditions are really bad. Ask your doctor how you can purchase enough to last the winter.
13. Backup Power Sources
If your area often experiences power outages, you should really think about getting a backup power generator. It may be clunky, noisy, and expensive but it’s a must-have if you can’t afford to lose electricity. Make sure you have ample fuel for your generator.
The better option is to invest in solar energy. It may be expensive to have solar panels installed but it’s definitely worth it. Not only will you save money in the long term, but you also don’t have to worry about blackouts since you’ll have a dependable power source called the sun.
15. Fuel for Vehicles
Fill your tank whenever you get the chance. If you’re running low, there’s a possibility that the fuel lines will freeze, which will cause lots of car issues. You may also find it hard to get to a gas station during winter so it’s best to lessen the times you have to gas up. If you wish, you can store extra fuel at home. This has some risks attached to it, obviously.
Staying at home can get a bit lonely. Since you have no choice but to avoid going out in winter, you should stock up on things to do. Get yourself some new books or a new video game for when you’re not that busy. Activity books, crossword puzzles, coloring books, jigsaw puzzles, and board games should keep everyone entertained.
Hopefully, this short list of emergency supplies to stockpile for winter is a good start to your winter preparedness adventure. There are certainly more things you can store to make sure you’re ready for the cold months. Discover more tips about winter survival and emergency kits at Gentleman Pirate Club.