11 Cheap Survival Supplies That Will Be Valuable During SHTF

Prepping can be so darn expensive, and it’s one of the main reasons many folks refuse to start their journey to preparedness.

Well, we don’t blame them. Stockpiling a year’s worth of survival supplies and survival tools will most likely screw up their finances.

But if you just think outside the box, you won’t have to spend your precious Benjamins on expensive gear. There are many dirt-cheap items with excellent survival uses.

Here are 11 affordable things that will be valuable during TEOTWAWKI:

Plastic Tarps

A plastic tarp is one of the most versatile and inexpensive emergency essentials you’ll ever own. Use it as a survival shelter, to collect rainwater, or as a temporary seal to patch up a broken window. A tarp can also protect your other survival supplies from harsh weather.

Matches and Lighters

Learning how to start a fire is an essential survival skill every prepper should master. However, it won’t hurt to store a box of matches and a pack of lighters for TEOTWAWKI.

These survival supplies won’t break the bank and usually get a flame going fast, so it makes sense to stockpile them in case you have zero luck starting a fire the traditional way. They’re great as backups. But remember to keep matches away from wet surfaces to avoid damage and lighters away from ignition sources like electrical sparks and static electricity to prevent a possible house fire.

Also, you might wanna stash away extra boxes of matches and a few packs of lighters for trading. Many folks will do anything to have these in their possession during challenging times, like a severe winter without power.


After a major disaster, your environment will most likely be teeming with trash, harmful chemicals, and other nasty stuff. You can fight the germs and bacteria by squireling away some disinfectants. They aren’t expensive, so we don’t see why you shouldn’t add them to your stockpile.

Alcohol, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes are excellent additions to your list of survival supplies. They’re must-haves for maintaining personal hygiene, specifically your hand hygiene, if running water isn’t available when S hits the fan.

Another common everyday item with survival uses is household bleach—it effectively kills germs on any surface around your home. 


Besides diseases, power outages will also be common after a wide-scale disaster. Batteries will be lifesavers in this kind of scenario. Your flashlights, radios, and other battery-powered SHTF gear will eventually run out of juice, so keep a few of them in your cabinet or survival kit.

Cooking Oil

Cooking oil isn’t only great for, well, cooking. It has many excellent uses for survival, too, like the following:

Face Masks

face masks are essential survival supplies, even when there isn't a pandemic

Ever since the pandemic hit, face masks have become the ultimate EDC gear folks can’t leave home without. But even without a virus plaguing the world, they’ll still be valuable when SHTF. For example, an N95 mask can help stop you from inhaling harmful smoke that can inflame your lungs and airway.

Plus, face masks won’t cost you much money and only take up a little storage space. You can store ‘em in your get home bag and bug out bag and stash away a few boxes at home.


In a post-SHTF world, hospitals will be barely operating, and there’s a high chance you or one of your family members can sustain disaster-related injuries. The pain may be excruciating, and the situation will be highly uncomfortable, especially if it takes longer to find help or treat the injury.

This scenario is why you should include pain medications in your list of survival supplies. Painkillers like Tylenol, Aspirin, or Advil will help reduce the ache of these injuries, so pop a few of them in your first aid kit before things go south.

Pack extras as well in case folks in your area are looking to trade an essential survival item you might need for pain meds.

Duct Tape

Used for sealing, patching, packing, and repairing, duct tape is one of the survival supplies you’ll be glad you included in your stash. It has become a multipurpose item that can do the following:


If there’s one SHTF gear you shouldn’t forget to include in your arsenal, it’s a tactical flashlight. Why? It’s packed with features and is indispensable in emergencies. Flashlights are more than just an alternative light source; they have other incredible uses that can save your life, too. Here are some ways a tactical flashlight can help you:

Sewing Kit

Not every prepper would think of adding a sewing kit to their collection of survival supplies, but it’s honestly an essential kit for SHTF. Your bug out bag, tarp shelter, or sleeping bag might need fixing, so a needle and thread will undoubtedly come in handy. You can also use the needles in your sewing kit to remove splinters or sew up an open wound.

A sewing kit is suitable for bartering, too, since it isn’t on top of everyone’s checklist of survival supplies. Folks won’t realize they need it until their tent rips and they have nothing to shelter them from the rain, so stockpile extra sewing kits at home.

Disposable Gloves

It’s a given that tactical gloves are vital SHTF gear and should be in your stockpile.

But don’t forget about cheap nitrile or latex gloves. These survival supplies will protect you from getting infected by pathogens and viruses when you take care of a sick or injured family member, clean up your house after a flood, or toss out the garbage.

Final Thoughts

While these 11 cheap survival supplies aren’t even half of the necessities you should include in your stockpile, they still serve as a great starting point for prepping for disasters and emergencies. Remember—you can always add more items as you go depending on your personal needs.

What other affordable yet useful survival supplies did we leave out? Let us know in the comments!

Advertising and Affiliate Disclosure

We put a lot of effort into all of the content on tactical.com. We are able to provide this content for free because we earn money for advertisements on this site. We also earn small commissions for sales generated via our affiliate links. While these commissions do earn us income, they do not cost our readers anything additional. Clicking on our ads or links helps support our staff and we sincerely appreciate your support.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.