Prepping Items You Can Find at Thrift Stores

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Maybe you’ve been interested in stocking up on supplies in order to be prepared if a disaster were to come your way, but you feel as though it’s something that you can’t afford? And you’re absolutely right to question what’s needed and whether can you afford them. Prepping costs do quickly add up, but that doesn’t mean that you should give up.

Related: Prepping Items You Should Buy Used

Believe it or not, you can head to your local thrift shop and probably find several of those items that you’re looking for, while paying only a small fraction of the amount you expected. Here are some prepping items that you can find at your local thrift store or flea market. 

Finding prepping items at the thrift store isn’t something new, it’s been around for ages. If you haven’t purchased my book, here it is: “Prepare Your Family For Survival” by Linda Loosli. I thank you from the bottom of my heart if you have purchased it. I hope you find it helpful as you go through the preparation journey.

Prepping Items You Can Find at Thrift Stores

Camping Gear

You’ve struck gold if you stumble across camping gear that’s barely been used. Many of you already know that tents and camping stoves aren’t cheap when you buy them brand new, but at a thrift shop, you’ll feel like you’re pretty darn lucky! 

Medical Equipment

What happens if you’re having to get around on foot, but are dealing with an excruciatingly painful sprained ankle? You certainly won’t be going anywhere too far. You may score big on medical equipment or supplies that can come in handy the next time you visit a thrift store or a local flea market.

Don’t hesitate to pick up a set of crutches or a wheelchair because you never know when you’ll need them.  


It’s a no-brainer why you’ll be needing several of these. If you can’t find any decent ones at your thrift shop, there’s sure to be a huge supply of them at your local flea market. 


You’re going to need a number of tools to get the job done after a disaster strikes. Do some hunting for screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, and other handy tools while you’re there. 

Read More of My Articles  How To Be Prepared For An Economic Collapse

Woodcutting Tools

You may even get lucky and run across an ax handle or an old chainsaw that just needs a tune-up. You’ll need these to cut down wood to create a shelter, build a fire for warmth and cooking, and to clear the roads and yard covered with debris. 


Knives will be extremely important, especially if you wake up one day living in a post-apocalyptic world. Make sure that you have a handful of them in case one breaks or becomes too dull. They’re also a critical weapon if you are put in a situation where you have to defend yourself or family members.  


Flashlights are an item that you shouldn’t have too much difficulty tracking down at your thrift store. They’re super cheap, and if you visit at the right time, you may even come across one or two heavy-duty ones as well. 


Following a disaster, it’s extremely important to know what is going on all around you. If you find a small portable radio, don’t let that deal slip you by. 


Take a look in their cookware section and see if they have a cast-iron skillet that you can purchase. Though you’ll be paying a little more here than on other items, they’re versatile and can last forever. Pay close attention to other cookware essentials that can be used over a fire pit.  

Kitchen Tools

Can-openers are an important item that every prepper should have. They may even have a meat grinder or food dehydrators and sealers that you’ll be needing. Consider electric units and manually operated ones since you might not have power.

Sewing Supplies

Sewing supplies can come in handy for a number of different uses. You’ll need them not only to repair clothing, but for suturing a wound or to use for fishing. You may thank yourself later for gathering extra needles and thread, as well as zippers and buttons. 

Rain Gear

On those wet and rainy days when you’re required to be outside, you’ll need rain gear such as boots and ponchos to keep dry. Just be sure to steer clear of heavy trees and fences that can tear or snag your gear.  

Winter Gear

Another group of items that you can find there are hats, gloves, and winter jackets. They even have snow pants on rare occasions. The best time to start looking is during the summer, where they’ll be at their cheapest. 

Read More of My Articles  What You Should Buy At Thrift Stores

Hunting and Fishing Gear

When you’re able to track down camouflage clothing, it’s usually something that’s barely been worn, especially when a hunter decides that they’re no longer wanting to use it. You’ll pay only a small fraction of what you would if you were to buy them at a place like the Bass Pro Shop.

You can even track down old fishing rods, reels, tackle boxes, and many other types of fishing gear.    

Gardening Supplies

On occasion, you may find rakes, shovels, and even manual tillers that can be used on your self-sustaining vegetable garden.  


Boots can be very expensive, especially considering how often you find yourself wearing them. But you’re going to need them if you’re ever left out in a winter snow storm.

If you find a pair when you’re visiting, double-check to make sure that the soles have held up and that there aren’t any cracks or holes. You don’t want water getting in there and making your feet miserable. 


After the power has gone out and it happens in the dead of winter, you’ll wish you had several more blankets. After all, you can never have too many.

Not only can they be used to keep your family warm, but you can wrap up supplies with them and tear them up and use them as bandages if you absolutely need to.  In case you missed this post, 6 Reasons To Store Blankets

Books, Card, and Board Games

Don’t be left without any entertainment and fun after the power’s gone out. Thrift shops are loaded with this type of stuff, and you’ll only be paying only pennies on the dollar for them. 

Final Word

Just because these items are on my list of prepping items that you can find at your local thrift store, does not guarantee that all of these items will be there. It may require you to be patient and visit often in order for you to find what you are looking for. 

While you’re there, think about how you could use these different types of items for emergency purposes. What are some neat prepping items that you’ve already stumbled upon that you’d be willing to share? I’d love to hear from you.

I hope you’re able to find some of these prepping items at a thrift store near you. May God Bless this world, Linda.

Copyright Images: Thrift Store AdobeStock_48826431 by trekandphoto 

12 thoughts on “Prepping Items You Can Find at Thrift Stores

  • December 10, 2020 at 7:47 am

    Canning supplies like water bath canners, jar lifters, canning jars can frequently be found at thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales & estate sales.

    Garden Wagons, bicycles, trailers that attach to a bicycle for carrying small children can often be found, too.

    Candles…..tons of candles, holders & even decorative oil lamps inundate thrift stores around here.

    • December 10, 2020 at 9:08 am

      Hi BDN, my grandkids often buy clothes and modify them to fit. It brings me so much joy! And save so much money! Life is good if we can save money!! Linda

  • December 10, 2020 at 8:08 am

    These are great ideas. I love thrift stores and garage sales!

    • December 10, 2020 at 9:00 am

      Hi Tiffany, I love thrift stores and garage sales too! It’s all about saving money! Linda

  • December 10, 2020 at 8:22 am

    I regularly shop at our local thrift stores. I have even found prepping books at them. I also shop at the Dollar stores for different items. I have a backpack I bought new at the beginning of the school year, several years ago. Hubby has one that has rollers on it. He used it when he was working. If/When we travel again, we’ll be using backpacks and carry on luggage. It’s much easier than trying to find luggage on a carousel. Faster, too.

    I have a total of 3 backpacks. My travel one is pink, the others are black. In a bug out situation, I don’t want to stand out.

    • December 10, 2020 at 9:02 am

      Hi Deborah, if we can save money we will do it! The pink backpack! LOVE it! I have a black one, but I would LOVE a purple one. I would never use it but it sounds awesome since purple is my favorite color!! Linda

  • December 10, 2020 at 10:50 am

    LOL Pink is my favorite color. That’s why I have a pink one. I’ll use it for traveling.

    • December 10, 2020 at 10:55 am

      Hi Deborah, I almost bought a purple one but I didn’t. I regret it sometimes, but I knew I wouldn’t use it. I love hearing pink is your favorite color! Linda

      • December 10, 2020 at 11:11 am

        I’ve seen numerous people carrying backpacks. I guess they use them for a purse. Mine is a little large for a purse though. You can use if for a picnic if you go on them. There are many uses, but I don’t think of them right now. LOL Old age is the pits.

  • December 10, 2020 at 10:59 am

    I regularly shop at thrift stores and have found a number of really great bargains.

    One thing I would caution when looking at tools – if it is an electric tool or a chainsaw – if you don’t have any expertise in repairing these things, use caution. My local thrift shops do have a way to test out the electric tools like saws, drills, etc. but no way to check out a chainsaw or other “engine” type tools. So you might be looking at spending quite a bit more to get that chainsaw repaired if it IS repairable. Case in point: my husband, years ago, bought a really nice chainsaw at a garage sale. The seller lied about it still working but said there was no gas in it so we couldn’t try it out. Hubs bought it and brought it home – I think he paid $20 for it but that was like back in the early 90s! He put the requisite fuel/oil in and tried to start it. Nothing. Left it sit for a day or so, still nothing. He was not mechanically inclined so he took the thing to a friend and the friend said there must be something seriously wrong with it. So he took it to a repair shop and it ended up costing us $60 to repair. So, that bargain turned out to be not so much a bargain – still less expensive than a new one but still, be aware that you may not be getting the bargain you thought!!

    Also, on some of the camping equipment, you may not be able to check a tent or sleeping bag out thoroughly so that is also a concern. I saw a cute backpack that I thought about getting for my 7 1/2 year old granddaughter but on inspection, there was a zipper that was stuck, one of the seams was not secure and it looked like there might be more work than it was worth! I don’t like replacing zippers so there is that!! LOL. Still might have been a good deal if I had zippers just lying around!

  • December 16, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    I got real lucky and picked up a pull behind bike trailer for $10. Cheap because of the flat tire. One patch repair kit later and it was good as new.
    We live in a very small county (30k people) but it also has dozens of state parks, lake, and skiing within 20 miles. We get 10’s of thousands of visitors a year and they are great at taking their one and done supplies to our thrift stores.

    • December 16, 2020 at 6:29 pm

      Hi Cher, wow, that was a great buy!! That can be used for so many things!! I love hearing this!! Thanks for sharing!! Linda


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