Starting a survival stockpile is one of the most daunting tasks for beginner preppers, especially if you have no idea where to start. The important thing is to do it before SHTF, not when things are already going south.
The following items are versatile and can be used for many purposes. You can even use some of them for trading for other supplies. (h/t to UrbanSurvivalSite.com)
Aluminum foil – Use aluminum foil for cooking food or collecting rainwater. If you're lost in the woods, you can use its reflective surface to signal a plane or vehicle for help. You can also use it as a makeshift sharpener for dull scissors. Smooth out a sheet of foil, fold it in half a couple of times and cut it. After cutting the foil for some time, the scissors will be as good as new.
Ammunition, air rifles, BBs, pellets – These weapons can be used for hunting and self-defense. You can also stock up on smaller weapons like slingshots.
Baking soda – Baking soda can be used for more than cooking. Baking soda is a non-toxic ingredient that can be used for cleaning, deodorizing and even brushing teeth.
Bandanas, baseball hats, cotton handkerchiefs – Hats will keep the sun out of your eyes while the hankies and bandanas can be used as makeshift protection from smoke.
Batteries – Opt for rechargeable batteries that work with a solar battery charger.
Buckets, lids – Stackable five-gallon buckets are best for storing supplies. Use food grade containers for food supplies.
Cash or precious metals – After a large-scale disaster, your debit and credit cards may become useless. Have emergency cash and precious metals like silver or gold on hand so you can buy supplies.
Coffee, hot chocolate, tea – These items may not be essential to your survival, but having them in your stockpile can give you a sense of comfort during an emergency. If you don't like coffee, hot chocolate and tea, you can use them for bartering.
Cotton socks, hooded jackets, shirts, thermal underwear – If these items are on sale, stock up on them. They're also perfect for bartering.
Duct tape – Duct tape is a versatile item that deserves space in your stockpile. You can use it to patch up your gear or tools.
Entertainment – When SHTF, you can boost morale among the adults and entertain kids with toys, board games, story books, coloring books, crayons and other items.
Feminine hygiene supplies – If there are women in the group, they'll need feminine hygiene supplies. Even if you don't have women in your family, other preppers will barter for them when SHTF.
Firestarters, lighters, matches – You'll need fire for cooking and staying warm. Store charcoal and lighter fluid for easier firestarting.
Firewood – Stock up on firewood, especially if you live in an area with a cold climate. Store firewood properly to ensure that it burns well when it's time to use it.
First aid supplies – Common first aid supplies like burn ointment, bandages, pads and wound cleaners are a must-have when disaster strikes.
Fishing poles, fishing line – Fishing gear is essential for finding food in a survival scenario.
Garbage bags – You'll need large trash bags for waste disposal. Garbage bags can also be used as makeshift raincoats or for waterproofing your gear and supplies.
Gardening tools and supplies – Stock up on simple hand tools for gardening and seeds if you plan on growing your own food or bartering when SHTF.
Hardware supplies – You'll need the following items for your toolbox: nails, nuts and bolts, screen patches and screws. Glue and small hand tools like hammers, pliers and screwdrivers should also be included in your stockpile.
Infant supplies – When SHTF, baby formula and disposable diapers will be valuable commodities.
Manual can openers – Get manual can openers and save some for backup. Use extra ones for bartering.
Non-perishable food – Different kinds of survival food will last for months or even years if you store them properly in your stockpile. Check your supplies regularly and rotate items as needed.
Pet food – If you have pets, stock up on their needs as well, like food and their favorite toy. They will also need their own go-bags if you plan on bugging out.
Soap, personal hygiene items – Soap is cheap and easy to store. You'll need them for personal use or trading.
Water filters and purifiers – You'll need water for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing. Stocking up on extra water filters and purifiers is also a great tactic if you plan on bartering with fellow preppers.
Beginners and experienced preppers alike should stock up on these items before disaster strikes. There's no such thing as too many when SHTF.