Best Prepper Gear: Big Items to Save For

Best Prepper Gear: Big Items to Save For

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As the holidays approach, you could ask friends and family to help you get some of the things you need. Even if they can’t buy the item for you, maybe they could give you cash to help you save for the best prepper gear! But, even if you can’t get a little help over the holidays, these items are definitely worth saving up for. 

Best Prepper Gear

Best Prepper Gear: Big Items to Save For

As a prepper, we tend to buy a little at a time when it comes to food, water, hygiene products, and other needs. However, there are some bigger items we should consider saving up for as well! Here is the best prepper gear to save for:

#1 One Year Supply of Long-Term Survival Food

You may be stocking up on food, but food that can be stored for 25-years gives you peace of mind. When storing food with expiration dates, we have to rotate and continue what we are doing to have the total inventory we need.

If you can get the long term food storage at the price you target, you have your emergency supply in a strong position, and can still gradually add more. A one year supply of food that lasts 25-years can be quite pricey though. 

The food shown above is what I put in a Zippered Sweater Bag to go with my 72-hour Kits. I keep my food in the house to protect it from the heat in my garage. Some of the packages that I have in my stash I found out that Thrive life no longer sells. The Thrive Life cans are the pantry size cans they sell.

#2 Water Filter System

Clean water is a necessity for survival! This Big Berkey Countertop Water Filter System is something I would recommend. What I love about this is it’s electricity-free, meaning I can use it even if I don’t have power. 

#3 Food Dehydrator

Along with canning what you grow in your garden, you should also consider dehydrating some of it. Dehydrated foods make great snacks throughout the day. And, having your own dehydrator is much cheaper than buying dehydrated foods from the store. The Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrator is one item to put on your wish list! 

Read More of My Articles  How to Emergency Prep for a Winter Storm

Related: How to Dehydrate Food with a Dehydrator

#4 Solar Generator

As long as there’s sun, you can have power! Seriously, you never know when you could be without electricity. Backup generators are always a great idea! I want a solar-powered one, just in case.

This Yeti Portable Power Station along with these panels is a great investment. Additionally, I would suggest not only having a portable station, but one specifically for your home. This WindyNation 200 Solar Kit is another one to save up for. 

My friend, Matt, who I have a lot of respect for suggested these two gas/propane generators.

I’m looking to purchase a Champion after the first of the year. It’s a dual fuel propane/gas with ease.
Propane is much safer and easier to store. I’ve had a Briggs and Stratton generator for years that has even survived a rollover crash where it tore off the motor mounts. It’s tough and reliable.

#5 Wood Burning Stove

When I was younger, this is how we heated our home. Now, most of us use a natural gas furnace to heat our home, but what happens if the gas runs out? Or, if we have no electricity to run our furnace fan? This Ashley Hearth Wood Stove can heat up to 1,200 square feet. 

#6 Crossbow Best Prepper Gear

Guns are great for hunting, but they are also kind of loud. If you are looking for a quieter and more discreet way to do your hunting, this Barnett Whitetail Hunter is at the top of any preppers list. 

#7 Ferro Rod

Ok, this one really isn’t that expensive. It’s actually pretty cheap, but I had to put it in here because we may not think of it. If you don’t have matches or a lighter, it can be very difficult to start a fire for purifying water or cooking your food. This Ferro Rod fire starter is a very useful tool to have. 

#8 Best Prepper Gear Sun Oven

I love my Sun oven. In fact, I love it so much, I wrote a post: 101 Reasons Why I Recommend a Sun Oven.

Read More of My Articles  Hygiene Tips for an End of the World Scenario

In my post, I have recommended the All American Sun Oven.

You can cook basically anything you would cook in your kitchen oven in a Sun Oven. And, if you get one now, you can start saving on your utility bills. 

#9 Butane Stove 

We need an indoor cooking source as well as an outdoor cooking source. Check out my post: Alternative Cooking with Butane Stove to learn how useful it is. Snatch it up on Amazon. Don’t forget to get extra Butane fuel

#10 Chainsaw

If you are thinking about having a wood burning stove, you may want to also invest in a chainsaw. It’s a great way to get your firewood. I would recommend getting a good stockpile of firewood so it can dry out before any SHTF scenario. 

#11 Bread Maker

Another great device is a bread maker. You will need electricity for this device, but you can start saving money by making your own bread at home. 

#12 Wheat Grinder

If you have all the right tools, you can grow your own wheat and make your own bread. This Country Living Hand Grain Mill is great for off-grid living. My favorite is the NutriMill Wheat Grinder

Best Prepper Gear for Christmas

Even if you can’t get the bigger items, you can always use more smaller items. If you are looking for other items to get for friends or family, or you need a guide to send your friends and family, check out some of my other posts:

Best Prepper Gear: Big Items to Save For

Final Word

When it comes to the big items, they aren’t necessarily a necessity. However, they do make life easier especially if SHTF. Additionally, many of the bigger priced items can actually make your utility bills lower throughout the year.

A wood stove cuts down on electricity or gas bills, sun ovens cut down on your gas bill if you have a gas stove in the kitchen, and if you use a solar generator you can cut the cost of your electricity.

What I love about these items is that I don’t have to wait until disasters hit to use them. I can use them in my life now. 

What would you add to this list? What is something you are saving up for right now?

Share it with me in the comments below! Before you buy big-ticket items, make sure you have what you need in food and water! Water and food are critical to our survival. May God Bless this world, Linda

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  1. I’d add a regular generator. Every year I encounter numerous 3hr to 3 weeks power outages based on tornadoes, ice storms and drunks hitting power poles.
    I’d also add night vision. Winter days are 50/50 on light/dark so it makes sense to not cut yourself to half capability.
    Quality firearms. This doesn’t necessarily mean brand name high dollar but quality along with a supply of ammunition, mags/speed loaders and spare parts like spring kits.

    1. Hi Matt, I do not have a generator, what brand would you recommend? I realize there are different sizes. But based on your expertise, which one should I recommend? Thank you!! Linda

      1. I’m looking to purchase a Champion after the first of the year. It’s a dual fuel propane/gas with ease.
        Propane is much safer and easier to store.
        I’ve had a briggs and stratton generator for years that has even survived a roll over crash where it tore off the motor mounts. It’s tough and reliable.

  2. We have most of these. Need to check closer and see what we need to add. We do have the dual fuel generator as well as a gas one. We have a metal building that we’ll be putting up for the generators. We have a 250 gallon propane tank, so we’ll probably be using it the most. We also have a wood stove, which can be cooked on. It’s not installed, but I do wish it was. I love the smell of burning wood especially in winter.

  3. Great topic, thanks for the article. Here’s what I’ve bought as big ticket items over the years to add to my prepping supplies that weren’t on your list:
    A can rotation system. I bought a customized Harvest 72 with all small rows to allow a LOT of supermarket sized cans to be store in first-in, first-out slots. Saved me a lot by no longer throwing out forgotten cans from the back of a regular shelf. I store my #10 cans on regular shelves since they have such a long life and aren’t as big of a deal to keep organized.
    Propane smoker. I got a Masterbuilt smoker that only needs propane – no electricity required. It goes up to 350F so I can even make it do double-duty as an oven for some items in a crisis.
    Pressure canner. My All American Pressure canner lets me can low acid foods like chicken and ground beef in a safe manner. Can still be used for anything a water canner can be used for, but the higher pressures possible in a pressure canner gives me more flexibility.
    Standby generator. My priciest prep, but well worth it. Generac 20kW standby generator with 200 amp automatic transfer switch. The large transfer switch let us power the entire circuit panel for the house thus not forcing us to pay an electrician to separate out critical loads onto a daughter panel. Now when I go on a trip I don’t have to worry about the sump pumps losing power during a storm, since I know the generator will keep everything running whether I’m home or not. And since it’s connected to the natural gas utility lines I don’t have to worry about refueling it. Of course in a long term event that might not be working, but the Generac has the option to switch to propane tanks, assuming I can get access to those post event (just requires flipping a setting on the generator, no new parts.)
    And I know you mentioned the All American Sun Oven in the article, but it’s such an awesome prep I wanted to mention it here again. 🙂 Great to have an option to cook without using fuel or heating up the house.
    Really appreciate these articles, thanks!

        1. Yes Linda, that is the link to the current sales page.

          I customized mine with all small can rows, or as they call it soup can rows. then I bought extra dividers so I could squeeze in all sorts of cans, like tuna, and those small mushroom pieces cans. That and Campbell condensed soup cans are a lot smaller than veggie cans or Progesso soup cans…. I have a picture of my partially filled rack that I can share. Linda, I am sending it to your yahoo email, hopefully that’s ok.

  4. Linda,

    I agree with Matt (usually do) but I’d want to make sure the generator will deliver a pure sine wave so it doesn’t mess up my computer.

    I’d also add a couple of really big ticket items to save for. A whole home, off-grid power system (solar, wind, micro-hydro), including the capability to power your well pump if you have a well. A well, pump, and cistern, for those who don’t have a well. Meanwhile, build a rain catchment system and store as much water as you can.

    1. Ray they make them. “Clean Power (less than 3% THD)” specifically for electronics. They’ve got remote control start model etc.

      1. Matt, as far as generators go I wouldn’t buy one that didn’t have a pull starter (aka recoil starter) in addition to any other starting system. If we got him by an EMP or a Carrington Event the maunal/pull starters would be the only thing that worked to get them going.

          1. Matt, it’s a good looking unit, and I get that it gives more watts per buck than most others. I’m just not sure how good a 3-year warranty is, given it’s made in China and I try very hard not to buy anything made there. Have you considered turning your car into an emergency generator?

            I’m writing an article about this right now, but here’s a few links that will give you the basics.



            And then there’s this company that puts everything together for you.

            Take care, my like-minded friend.

        1. Yeah Ray I’ve actually got several power inverters.
          My pickup came with a place for a second battery setup so I bolted an ammo can to it and carry one under the hood.
          So what American made duel fuel generator are you alluding too?

          1. Matt, I’ve been looking for a generator that was Made in the USA for the better part of a decade now. Several claim to be made here: Briggs & Stratton, NorthStar, Winco, Gillette, and even a few Champion generators make that claim. But even the best of them (in my opinion NorthStar and Gillette) use Honda engines. Some Honda engines, like some Honda cars, are made in the USA and that’s cool because at least then we a supporting American jobs. Unfortunately ALL of them are more expensive than the Champion generator you linked too in your post.

            At least Champion Power Equipment is a USA owned company and it’s generators are designed and engineered in Milwaukee, but they are assembled in China. To their credit they opened an assembly plant in Jackson, TN in June 2020. So, it appears as though they are trying to bring jobs back to the USA and for that they get kudos. I haven’t yet discovered how the Covid pandemic is affecting their Tennessee plant, or even which of their products they make there.

        2. Yeah I looked at Northstars at Northern Tool and several others. Northstars are expensive and don’t even include the needed battery. What I’ve found with other brands supposedly American, though the parts look remarkably the exact same, is 2-3 times the cost and a 1-3 yr warranty which Champion has a 3yr.
          A 1 yr warranty is laughable.
          B&S is international and you don’t know where it’s built.
          The money issue will stop me. I’ve gotta have enough for the hookup too. I can’t start at 2-3K before the electrician shows up and still gotta buy a battery

          1. Matt, I agree with you about the warranty duration. I have a solar gennie I built myself, and a whole home solar system, but it’s not off-grid yet. (Workin’ on it, but my God those batteries are expensive). I have a Honda 2000 eu also. Gotta love those Honda engines.

            The first few years we lived in AZ we had power outages every time we got a thunderstorm. Since I use a CPAP when I sleep, backup power was a must so I got the little Honda mostly to run the CPAP machine and our fridge and freezers. I wasn’t worried about running lights, TV’s, computers or even a furnace. IF it was the depths of winter we have a fireplace I could get going, but out home is well enough insulated that even when it gets down in the 20’s at night, and it rarely goes lower than that, our home holds a liveable temp. If it was mid-summer, when we may be lucky to get down into the low 90’s at night, I’d probably fire up the Honda to run the AC while my solar generator took care of my CPAP.

            I’ve already purchased some components I’ll need to use my car as a backup generator. With a big enough inverter I could run both AC units as well as required appliances without worrying about having to refill a generator tank. My little Honda will only run for about 4 hours without a refill and my solar generator batteries about the same before they need recharged. I need to hook up more batteries to that thing. As much sunshine as we get I could probably keep double the number of batteries I currently use charged.

  5. Fantastic post! The only thing I would on which I would comment is that I prefer a propane burner rather than the butane one. The one pound propane cylinders are available many more places than the butane fuel. Some dollar stores even have the one pound propane canisters. Another plus to the small propane canisters, you can purchase one with a kit that can be refilled from a larger propane tank. Also, there are brass caps that can be purchased to cap the propane canisters between uses to assure no leakage from a partially used canister. Just my 2¢ worth!

    1. That first sentence should have said “The only thing on which I would comment . . . . . ” My fingers get ahead of my brain at times. LOL!

    2. Hi Harry, great comment. I always recommend the butane one because that’s what I used to teach classes on food storage. I can use it indoors if I crack the sliding glass door. Your tip on the brass caps is awesome! Oh, and the dollar stores rock! Thanks for the reminder! Linda

      1. Sorry, but you are talking to retired oil patch here. I worked in the natural gas processing portion of the industry for a large part of my petroleum career. Not to be sarcastic, but propane does not leak more than butane. Both depend on the maintenance of the containment vessel whether it be large tank, small tank or small canisters. One of the reasons there are more propane leaks is that there are many more folks using propane in portable situations than butane. And almost all RVs use propane while none use butane. And, many people are negligent in maintaining storage of either. Other than my career experience, I have stored numerous small tanks and canisters of propane without a single leakage incident. But, I know how to maintain storage containers and detect potential problems with them. The major problem with propane occurs with the small canisters after people use part of the canister and then remove it. This can cause the seal to seep minute amounts that can add up in an enclosed space. That’s why I recommend the brass caps to be used on partially spent propane canisters. They will stop these minute seeps until you use it the next time. Sorry, for the long explanation, however, IMHO your statement is not correct. If people handle both gases properly, there is no more danger with propane than with butane.

        1. Thanks for sending the detailed response. You are talking to a bit of a scaredy cat here, tend towards being safe, and of course I read “somewhere” that propane is more volatile than butane so that stored tanks could “seep.” I’m not familiar with the brass fixtures but will try to educate myself on that. Sometimes my “safety” alarm tends towards paranoia! Again, greatly appreciate your detailed response. Be safe and well!

          1. Yes, Monica,
            A lot of people do not take proper care of any fuel storage devices. But, then, when they have an issue they shout out scare tactics. LOL!!! I use the brass caps on all of the one pound canisters of propane that I store. This precludes any seep from the seal between uses. I even use them on the brand new ones as soon as I bring them home. And, of course, they are reusable from one canister to the next, so they are a good investment if one wants to store the propane canisters. Here is a link where they can be purchased on Amazon:
            I hope Linda does not mind me posting that link.

  6. Since I live in an apartment, a generator of any kind is sort of out of the question as is storing propane and gasoline. I do have a solar generator for my phone/tablet but it is small and where I live, we have way more dark cloudy winter days than sunny. So, I keep them charged now by using my electricity. I have a hand crank/battery operated/solar radio that can also charge my phone. I haven’t used it for my tablet so not sure it would handle that. I have long term as well as short term food storage and feel confident that all things remaining the same as to me being the only one using that food storage, I could easily last for 6+ months and more like 8+ months if I really conserve. Each month I add more short term (i.e. daily food) preps that I rotate into my daily menus. I have a Berkey Travel system – I went smaller since I live alone. I have numerous ways to start a fire – matches, both strike anywhere and strike on box, Bic type lighters, the long lighters, ferro rod, and flint and steel (the old fashioned kind). I also have a fire making kit that I created with dry tinder, char cloth, pitch wood, homemade fire starters (dryer lint and wax) and some small dry kindling.

    Not a big ticket item, but something all preppers should have in their stash: tarps and plastic. I have 6 different sized tarps (as long as they are in the original packaging, they are easy to store – not so much after being used!!) and I also have 3 rolls of different weight plastic (for windows, rain water catchment, etc). I also have several rolls of tape – painter’s tape for inside my apartment as well as duct tape for heavy duty use with both tarps and plastic. I also have several different kinds of cordage – paracord, sisal rope and cotton clothesline to name a few. What I have done with all of this is to create a “kit” for shelter, etc.

    1. Hi Leanne, I’m glad you brought up the lack of sunshine or dark cloudy winter days. I never recommend solar especially a Sun Oven to people who do not have a lot of sunshine. It’s not going to work. You were smart to get the travel Berkey water filter. We sometimes think we have to have the larger one but that one works the same but on a smaller scale. Which is awesome for one to two people. I love your comment because it brings so much knowledge to the table. We all learn from each other. Linda

    2. Hi Leanne,
      There is a Solar Generator (large size) that can be used in apartments. It is sold by Patriots Supply.
      That may not be the accurate name, but that is what I remember. It usually sells for around 1900. so it’s somethi g that you would have to save for.

      1. On my fixed income, it could take years to save enough to pay out $2K for a generator. I don’t have that many years left! LOL!

        Also, where I live, it would be hit or miss if we had enough sunshine to power a solar generator. During the winter it would most likely be a miss! We average 136 days a year with sunshine! So, I don’t think solar would be the best use of my money. In the winter we likely only get 2-3 days a month of sunshine. Beautiful day today though cold!

        1. Hi Leanne, I’m in the same boat as you. I opted for blankets, lots of blankets, but I do not get snow as we did up north. I remember looking at having solar installed, we wouldn’t live long enough to recoup the cost. But I’m good with what I have. Linda

  7. For cooking, baking the best thing to have on hand for use is an Apple Box Oven, hands down the best thing ever. Apple box ovens are easy to make and cheap the charcoal can be bought on sale around memorial day is the best time or the 4th of July. You can have 1 hot cooked meal a day for a year if you have 15- 15lb. bags stored, and you can store it in buckets to keep it dry, lasts forever or so far it has for me. Yes, you do have to use it outdoors, but in the summer months, it would save a ton of power not to heat your kitchen up to bake. I use a double long size to bake 5 loaves of bread at once. Goggle or check out youtube for yourselves it’s great. Add some cement board under it and you can use it on top of a table as I do so you don’t have to bend over at my age.

    1. Hi Kahne, thank you for sharing your idea about the apple box. I store charcoal in 5-gallon buckets with Gamma Lids. I buy the kind without the lighter chemicals. I love storing charcoal. Linda

      1. Yes it is the cheapest fuel you can store, but the baking in Apple box is so much fun, and cheaper to have on hand, after you have a box made up and the items you need to cook with all organized and learn how easy it is to cook with, then spend the money on a Sun Oven. JMO

        1. Hi Kahne, I think it’s a great idea! Dutch ovens are pretty cheap, especially at thrift stores if you can find them. I love hearing about ideas to cook food. It likes Leanne has made and used one as well. Linda

    2. I remember when I was a Girl Scout Leader – we made box ovens and always took them camping so we could bake. They are easy and inexpensive. I have found also that some cardboard boxes that alcohol comes in are also of a good size. I always used a baking sheet up on juice cans so as long as the baking sheet fits the box with some room around it for air circulation any box will work. I had one my daughter made in 2 or 3 grade and we used it at home and camping.

      Now I bake in cast iron dutch ovens but the box works well and doesn’t require as many $$ or as much care!

        1. I do love my cast iron! I have 3 DOs – 12 inch, 10 inch and 8 inch; I also have a griddle (round and perfect for tortillas), skillet (6 inch – I don’t do big meals so don’t need the bigger ones) and an 8 inch (I think) wok! Oh I also have a 1 pint sized cast iron DO that is perfect for melting butter in! It sits nicely on top of my charcoal chimney so the butter melts as the briquettes get hot!

          I do teach sometimes at our Women’s Primitive Skills weekend in May. We had to cancel this year and possibly next year depending on how the pandemic goes. I don’t teach “survival” skills but do teach things that were pretty common pre-pioneer.

          1. Hi Leanne, it’s so fun when you can teach others your skills. OH, that 8-inch wok! WOW! Oh, and the 1 pint DO!! Wahoo! It’s so fun to cook in cast iron. Linda

  8. We have a woodburning woodstove and I can’t imagine not having one. It gets pretty cold here in Northern Nevada. We’re too old to chop the wood ourselves so we buy 2 or more cords of hard wood (mostly almond, oak or walnut-we never bother with pine. It’s too messy, burns too fast and unevenly) every year and have either the missionaries or grandkids move and stack it for us. One thing I would like to mention is “if” you can even have woodburning stoves anymore. We live in the rural area of the county but on less than 1 acre. No one can install a new woodburning stove anymore. We were lucky when we built our house as we were grandfathered in and can legally keep our stove. Also, not just any woodburning stove is legal-it has to be Washoe County certified to meet the EPA standards, etc. That being said, I hope to never have to worry about NOT having a woodstove; we love it!

    1. Robbie – My daughter and son-in-law live in Seattle Washington. They also are grandfathered in because their house was built in 1930 or so. They have a fireplace that is not very efficient and are talking about getting a fireplace insert. Two things that I have noticed about Seattle and fires: 1) during the summer, you can burn outdoors in a fire pit in your yard but you cannot burn during the fall, winter and spring; 2) there are times when you are not allowed to burn even in your wood stove/fireplace. The reasons they cannot burn at times is that the air is stagnant and the smoke hangs very low to the ground. They get a lot of fog during the late fall, winter and spring so that keeps the smoke low to the ground as well.

      I live in an apartment so no wood burning for me. The last apartment I was in did have a fire place so there are times I wish I still lived there but…

      1. Ahhh…government burn codes! We have them in Reno, also. From November 1 through February 28, we have to know the daily burn code, i.e., green is ok; yellow, please don’t burn; and red, do NOT burn at all! Reno is in a bowl, surrounded by mountains and ick, but the air gets horrible in the winter! It’s like LA smog at times! Thankfully we get alot of wind and that blows out the stagnant air. With all the wildfires this season, we weren’t allowed any outdoor burning whatsoever so there went BBQ’s and our roasting marshmallows around the firepit with the gkids…which, incidentally is on a very large concrete patio. Sparks could still fly, so I get it. We were very diligent and obeyed all the rules. Hasn’t 2020 been the strangest year ever? :o)

        1. Hi Robbie, oh 2020 has truly been the strangest year ever. I love fire pits, we do have two of those. I miss using it. It’s not quite as fun with just Mark and me! LOL! Linda

      2. Hi Leanne, I used to live in Salt Lake City, Utah and the air was bad and still is. I don’t think you can burn up there. Not sure, but wow, the air is so dirty! Linda

  9. FYI you do not need cast iron pans for in the Applebox oven you can use glass pans or whatever that is oven safe, however, I do have cast iron bread loaf pans, which I use in the kitchen as well, the Sun oven you want to use thinner and the darkest pans you have, I have used an oven bag as well and cover it with a black towel. You can get by without cast iron unless you have to cook over an open fire, I have seen too many people buying all this stuff thinking they need it and they end up with so much stuff you can not store it all.

    1. Hi Kahne, I agree, I use glass and dark pans in my Sun Oven. I have never used an Apple Box. I like cast-iron Dutch ovens to cook outside in my front yard or back yard. It cooks fast and with very little work. I love to stack Dutch ovens as well. Now, I want to go outside and cook breakfast in a Dutch Oven! Linda

      1. I use my cast iron in regular daily cooking as well as take it with me when I go camping for the very reason Kahne mentioned – you can cook over an open fire. I have replaced all of my pots/pans with cast iron with the exception of a large stock pot.

        As I mentioned in an earlier reply, when I used a box oven, I used a baking sheet up on juice cans. Then I used regular oven save pans for my baking. I do think, however, that the versatility I get with my cast iron dutch ovens is to my benefit. I can bake in them, I can hang them over the fire to cook with as well.

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