Emergency Items that will Disappear First

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Eventually, everything that you can conveniently buy now, will be gone when SHTF if you wait too long. When it comes to determining which things will vanish first, we look at other major events to see what disappeared at the beginning of a panic buying rush.

Below, you will find Emergency items that will disappear first when SHTF. These are based on the items we saw disappear first during Hurricane Katrina, the Greece financial meltdown, the collapse of the USSR, and other disasters. 

Related: Emergency Preparations

Emergency Items that will Disappear First

Many of these items you should already have if you have been prepping for any kind of disaster. However, if you haven’t been prepping, these are the things you will need to grab FIRST when SHTF. Items are categorized by food, supplies, medicine & health, household items, and outdoor items. 


Food should be your number one priority and you should be stocking up on it before SHTF. Here are some of the things that will disappear first during the panic.

Related: Survival Food and Emergency Food Storage

  • Bottled water: This will by far be the very first thing to vanish. Read How to Store Water for Drinking and Cooking
  • Canned goods: Canned goods are a good bartering item and people will be shoving them into carts not caring what they are.
  • Rice, beans, wheat, flour, and yeast. These are the basic ingredients that will be traded in mass and hoarded. 
  • Milk: condensed, instant, and powdered milk will vanish from the shelves.
  • Cooking oils: These will be crucial for cooking and can be used to make lamps
  • Livestock: Livestock will become a hot commodity. They will be sold, hoarded, slaughtered and hidden quickly
  • Wild game: Local game will be shot and wiped out of your area quickly. 
  • Salt: This is a vital nutrient and is used to preserve meat. It was often used as payment or barter in earlier days.
  • Seeds: Most people will know they are going to need seeds to grow and harvest food. This is where I get mine from SeedsNow.
  • Jerky: Jerky and long-lasting meats will go quickly as they can be stored.

Food Supplies

Items that are needed to cook or store food will also go quickly. Here are some emergency items that will disappear first:

  • Charcoal: People without access to firewood will see this as the only way to cook their food. 
  • Water filters/purifiers: It will only take a few days and these will disappear. 
  • Cast iron pots and pans: These last forever and can be used over an open fire. You will need them. 
  • Canning Supplies: Jars, lids, pressure cookers, pectin, and other supplies will go fast since most stores don’t carry much of these anyways. 
  • Gardening Supplies: Seeds, books, tools, and fertilizers will go fast. 

Medicine and Health Emergency Items

When SHTF, it is only a matter of time before hospitals and care facilities shut down. This means you will be on your own when it comes to medical and health-related items. Here are some of the things that will disappear:

  • Hygiene supplies: Things such as shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, mouthwash, and deodorant will be gone. 
  • Toilet Paper: This is literally for when SHTF. 
  • OTC Medications: Everyone will be stocking up on Tylenol, Advil, cold & flu, and cough syrup. Expect it to be gone quickly. Read 35 OTC Medications You Should Store.
  • Vitamins and Herbal Supplements: Taking a daily vitamin could mean the difference between surviving and dying. 
  • First Aid Kits: Obviously people will want to be prepared since hospitals and medical facilities may shut down. 
  • Liquor: This is a great bartering tool, but it can be used medicinally and to make herbal medicines. 
  • Baby Supplies: Formula, diapers, cloth diapers, and other baby items will fly off the shelves.

Related: What You Need in Your Hygiene Kit

Household Items

Lots of household items are going to vanish within a few days of panic. Here are household items that will disappear first when SHTF:

  • Candles: Candles provide light and heat so they will go fast. Unscented and long-burning will be preferred. 
  • Bleach: Bleach is not only a household cleaner, but it can be used to purify your drinking water. You will want 4-6% sodium hypochlorite bleach. 
  • Knives and Sharpening Tools: Knives are versatile and crucial for survival. 
  • Backpacks: These are great for hauling, supply runs, and bugging out. 
  • Garbage bags: Not only are these good for garbage, but they can even be used for shelter if you are in dire need. 
  • Sleeping bags: When SHTF, you could be without heat. This means you will need items to keep you warm. 
  • Buckets and Containers: These can be used for everything including making a portable toilet. 
  • Glue, duct tape, nails, nuts, bolts, screws: Various uses
  • Weapons of all kinds: When SHTF, people go crazy. You want ways to protect yourself. 
  • Washboards, plungers, mop buckets. Mop buckets with a wringer work well for laundry. 

Outdoor Emergency Items

Since most places will be closed down when SHTF, people will spend a lot more time outdoors. Here are the outdoor emergency items that will disappear first:

  • Guns: Hunting will become a way of life and that means people will need guns. 
  • Flashlights: Electricity will most likely be gone when SHTF, so anything that offers light such as flashlights, glowsticks, or lanterns will go quickly. This includes batteries to go with them. 
  • Outdoor tools: Other items such as bows, saws, axes, hatchets, wedges, machetes, hunting knives, and sharpening stones will fly off the shelves. 
  • Fishing Supplies: Everyone can fish. This means fishing poles and supplies will quickly vanish. 
  • Animal traps: Trapping animals is a way to get food when you have none. Think rat stew…
  • Shelter Supplies: Things such as tarps, plastic rolls, stakes, duct tape, twine, nails, rope, hammers, and spikes will be grabbed early for a makeshift shelter. 
  • Gasoline Containers: When SHTF, people want to bug out. This means they will need lots of gas. Please keep your gas tanks 3/4 full.
  • Lumber and Wood: Building supplies will go fast. 
  • Outdoor attire: Coats, work boots, gloves, jeans, thick socks, and heavy clothes will be a necessity during the colder months. Look for wool or polyester. 
  • Wagons and Carts: These are a great way to transport things from one area to the next. 

Other Items that Will Disappear Fast

These are items that will go out fast as well but may not be a necessity. 

  • Prescription medications. Do you know how you will continue your medications without a pharmacy?
  • Duct Tape and Electrical Tape: It can fix just about anything.
  • Bicycles: Bikes will become extremely valuable as they will be the most efficient method of transportation.
  • Hand pumps & siphons:  For gas, water, oil.
  • Cigarettes: These good be a good bartering item, but salt is probably a better one.
  • Generators: The options include solar, gas, diesel, propane, and kerosene. 
  • Firewood: Seasoned Firewood seasoned for 6 – 12 months.
  • Lighters, matches, flint, and steel fire starters: They say to get 3 times more than you think you will need. 
  • Batteries: You will need these for flashlights and other essential items. Buy all sizes and try to find a solar-powered rechargeable option. Solar is even better.
  • Solar Power: A basic (and portable) system could be purchased for a few hundred dollars and can power basic necessities.

Related: Pandemic Supplies You Will Need For Survival

Final Thoughts

Luck favors the prepared. If you don’t have any of these items stocked, start stocking them today because when SHTF, there won’t be any left on the shelves. 

What items do you need to start grabbing at the store? Share in the comments below! Thanks for being prepared. May God bless this world, Linda

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