20 Things You Will Need To Survive When The Economy Collapses And The Next Great Depression Begins

by | May 10, 2010 | Emergency Preparedness | 12 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This article has been contributed by the The Economic Collapse Web site for your reading pleasure.

    Today, millions of Americans say that they believe that the United States is on the verge of a major economic collapse and will soon be entering another Great Depression.  But only a small percentage of those same people are prepared for that to happen.  The sad truth is that the vast majority of Americans would last little more than a month on what they have stored up in their homes.  Most of us are so used to running out to the supermarket or to Wal-Mart for whatever we need that we never even stop to consider what would happen if suddenly we were not able to do that.  Already the U.S. economy is starting to stumble about like a drunken frat boy.  All it would take for the entire U.S. to resemble New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina would be for a major war, a terror attack, a deadly pandemic or a massive natural disaster to strike at just the right time and push the teetering U.S. economy over the edge.  So just how would you survive if you suddenly could not rely on the huge international corporate giants to feed, clothe and supply you and your family?  Do you have a plan?

    Unless you already live in a cave or you are a complete and total mindless follower of the establishment media, you should be able to see very clearly that our society is more vulnerable now than it ever has been.  This year there have been an unprecedented number of large earthquakes around the world and volcanoes all over the globe are awakening.  You can just take a look at what has happened in Haiti and in Iceland to see how devastating a natural disaster can be.  Not only that, but we have a world that is full of lunatics in positions of power, and if one of them decides to set off a nuclear, chemical or biological weapon in a major city it could paralyze an entire region.  War could erupt in the Middle East at literally any moment, and if it does the price of oil will double or triple (at least) and there is the possibility that much of the entire world could be drawn into the conflict.  Scientists tell us that a massive high-altitude EMP (electromagnetic pulse) blast could send large portions of the United States back to the stone age in an instant.  In addition, there is the constant threat that the outbreak of a major viral pandemic (such as what happened with the 1918 Spanish Flu) could kill tens of millions of people around the globe and paralyze the economies of the world.

    But even without all of that, the truth is that the U.S. economy is going to collapse.  So just think of what will happen if one (or more) of those things does happen on top of all the economic problems that we are having.

    Are you prepared?

    The following is a list of 20 things you and your family will need to survive when the economy totally collapses and the next Great Depression begins….

    #1) Storable Food

    Food is going to instantly become one of the most valuable commodities in existence in the event of an economic collapse.  If you do not have food you are not going to survive.  Most American families could not last much longer than a month on what they have in their house right now.  So what about you?  If disaster struck right now, how long could you survive on what you have?  The truth is that we all need to start storing up food.  If you and your family run out of food, you will suddenly find yourselves competing with the hordes of hungry people who are looting the stores and roaming the streets looking for something to eat.

    Of course you can grow your own food, but that is going to take time.  So you need to have enough food stored up until the food that you plant has time to grow.  But if you have not stored up any seeds you might as well forget it.  When the economy totally collapses, the remaining seeds will disappear very quickly.  So if you think that you are going to need seeds, now is the time to get them.

    #2) Clean Water

    Most people can survive for a number of weeks without food, but without water you will die in just a few days.  So where would you get water if the water suddenly stopped flowing out of your taps?  Do you have a plan?  Is there an abundant supply of clean water near your home? Would you be able to boil water if you need to?

    Besides storing water and figuring out how you are going to gather water if society breaks down, another thing to consider is water purification tablets.  The water you are able to gather during a time of crisis may not be suitable for drinking.  So you may find that water purification tablets come in very, very handy.

    #3) Shelter

    You can’t sleep on the streets, can you?  Well, some people will be able to get by living on the streets, but the vast majority of us will need some form of shelter to survive for long.  So what would you do if you and your family lost your home or suddenly were forced from your home?  Where would you go?

    The best thing to do is to come up with several plans.  Do you have relatives that you can bunk with in case of emergency?  Do you own a tent and sleeping bags if you had to rough it?  If one day everything hits the fan and you and your family have to “bug out” somewhere, where would that be?  You need to have a plan.

    #4) Warm Clothing

    If you plan to survive for long in a nightmare economic situation, you are probably going to need some warm, functional clothing.  If you live in a cold climate, this is going to mean storing up plenty of blankets and cold weather clothes.  If you live in an area where it rains a lot, you will need to be sure to store up some rain gear.  If you think you may have to survive outdoors in an emergency situation, make sure that you and your family have something warm to put on your heads.  Someday after the economy has collapsed and people are scrambling to survive, a lot of folks are going to end up freezing to death.  In fact, in the coldest areas it is actually possible to freeze to death in your own home.  Don’t let that happen to you.

    #5) An Axe

    Staying along the theme of staying warm, you may want to consider investing in a good axe.  In the event of a major emergency, gathering firewood will be a priority.  Without a good tool to cut the wood with that will be much more difficult.

    #6) Lighters Or Matches

    You will also want something to start a fire with.  If you can start a fire, you can cook food, you can boil water and you can stay warm.  So in a true emergency situation, how do you plan to start a fire?  By rubbing sticks together?  Now is the time to put away a supply of lighters or matches so that you will be prepared when you really need them.

    In addition, you may want to consider storing up a good supply of candles.  Candles come in quite handy whenever the electricity goes out, and in the event of a long-term economic nightmare we will all see why our forefathers relied on candles so much.

    #7) Hiking Boots Or Comfortable Shoes

    When you ask most people to list things necessary for survival, this is not the first or the second thing that comes to mind.  But having hiking boots or very comfortable and functional shoes will be absolutely critical.  You may very well find yourself in a situation where you and your family must walk everywhere you want to go.  So how far do you think you will get in high heels?  You will want footwear that you would feel comfortable walking in for hours if necessary.  You will also want footwear that will last a long time, because when the economy truly collapses you may not be able to run out to the shoe store and get what you need at that point.

    #8) A Flashlight And/Or Lantern

    When the power goes off in your home, what is the first thing that you grab?  Just think about it.  A flashlight or a lantern of course.  In a major emergency, a flashlight or a lantern is going to be a necessity – especially if you need to go anywhere at night.

    Solar powered or “crank style” flashlights or lanterns will probably be best during a long-term emergency.  If you have battery-powered units you will want to begin storing up lots and lots of batteries.

    #9) A Radio

    If a major crisis does hit the United States, what will you and your family want?  Among other things, you will all want to know what in the world is going on.  A radio can be an invaluable tool for keeping up with the news.

    Once again, solar powered or “crank style” radios will probably work best for the long term.  A battery-powered until would work as well – but only for as long as your batteries are able to last.

    #10) Communication Equipment

    When things really hit the fan you are going to want to communicate with your family and friends.  You will also want to be able to contact an ambulance or law enforcement if necessary.  Having an emergency cell phone is great, but it may or may not work during a time of crisis.  The Internet also may or may not be available.  Be sure to have a plan (whether it be high-tech or low-tech) for staying in communication with others during a major emergency.

    #11) A Swiss Army Knife

    If you have ever owned a Swiss Army knife you probably already know how incredibly handy they can be.  It can be a very valuable and versatile tool.  In a true survival situation, a Swiss Army knife can literally do dozens of different things for you.  Make sure that you have at least one stored up for emergencies.

    #12) Personal Hygiene Items

    While these may not be absolute “essentials”, the truth is that life will get very unpleasant very quickly without them.  For example, what would you do without toilet paper?  Just think about it.  Imagine that you just finished your last roll of toilet paper and now you can’t get any more.  What would you do?

    The truth is that soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper and other hygiene products are things that we completely take for granted in society today.  So what would happen if we could not go out and buy them any longer?

    #13) A First Aid Kit And Other Medical Supplies

    One  a more serious note, you may not be able to access a hospital or a doctor during a major crisis.  In your survival supplies, be absolutely certain that you have a good first aid kit and any other medical supplies that you think you may need.

    #14) Extra Gasoline

    There may come a day when gasoline is rationed or is simply not available at all.  If that happens, how will you get around?  Be certain to have some extra gasoline stored away just in case you find yourself really needing to get somewhere someday.

    #15) A Sewing Kit

    If you were not able to run out and buy new clothes for you and your family, what would you do?  Well, you would want to repair the clothes that you have and make them last as long as possible.  Without a good sewing kit that will be very difficult to do.

    #16) Self-Defense Equipment

    Whether it is pepper spray to fend off wild animals or something more “robust” to fend off wild humans, millions of Americans will one day be thankful that they have something to defend themselves with.

    #17) A Compass

    In the event of a major emergency, you and your family may find yourselves having to be on the move.  If you are in a wilderness area, it will be very hard to tell what direction you are heading without a compass.  It is always a good idea to have at least one compass stored up.

    #18) A Hiking Backpack

    If you and your family suddenly have to “bug out”, what will you carry all of your survival supplies in?  Having a good hiking backpack or “survival bag” for everyone in your family is extremely important.  If something happened in the city where you live and you suddenly had to “go”, what would you put your most important stuff in?  How would you carry it all if you had to travel by foot?  These are very important things to think about.

    #19) A Community

    During a long-term crisis, it is those who are willing to work together that will have the best chance of making it.  Whether it is your family, your friends, a church or a local group of people that you know, make sure that you have some people that you can rely on and work together with in the event that everything hits the fan.  Loners are going to have a really hard time of surviving for long.

    #20) A Backup Plan

    Lastly, it is always, always, always important to have a backup plan for everything.

    If someone comes in and steals all the food that you have stored up, what are you going to do?

    If travel is restricted and your can’t get to your “bug out” location immediately do you have a Plan B?

    If you have built your house into an impregnable survival fortress but circumstances force you to leave do you have an alternate plan?

    The truth is that crisis situations rarely unfold just as we envision.  It is important to be flexible and to be ready with backup plans when disaster strikes.

    You don’t want to end up like the folks in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  You don’t want to have to rely on the government to take care of you if something really bad happens.

    Right now the U.S. strategic grain reserve contains only enough wheat to make half a loaf of bread for each of the approximately 300 million people in the United States.

    How long do you think that is going to last?

    Now is the time to get ready.

    Now is the time to prepare.

    The United States economy is going to collapse and incredibly hard times are coming.

    Will you be able to survive when it happens?


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      1. Great basic article, I wish my family and friends would heed the advice. Even if my friends and family think I’m walking around with a tin foil hat; I try to make sure they get the info.  When your friends and family are unperpared it puts the prepared at risk, because most of us will take extreme risk to save our loved ones. I urge everyone to forward the artical to your friends and family even if they think your nuts. Being able to care for, minister to and defend your family, will really be all that counts.

      2. Mac,

        This question is related to the article above  and also the article you posted on May 4th EMP Threat: Within 1 Year 9 out of 10 Americans could be dead.    

        The question is this:   If a person owned a auto manufactured before 1975 (without electronic ignition systems) would this auto be un-affected by electro magnetic pulse?    If I recall a discussion I had with a friend some 20 years ago we were discussing this over a few beers and he told me autos with older (pre electronic ignition systems would be operable as would the older vaccum tube radios and TV’s in such a event.      Am I right in the estimate of 1975 being the transition period in the case of the auto ignition systems? 

        I welcome any feedback from you or your subscribers as to what older products might survive a EMP attack so these could be considered as supplemental to the (20) items listed above.

        That old pick-up truck or tube radio might be a really valuable survival asset.   Please advise.        

      3. Patriot — I am to the point now where I just cover my tin foil hat with my Don’t Tread on Me trucker cap and keep it all on the down-low… Though my close friends/family respect my opinion, most don’t believe that any serious threats are out there. Nowadays, I don’t discuss my prepping, or even this web site, with anyone I don’t know well. I may throw some feelers out there, usually starting with something like the US dollar and inflation and how prices might sky rocket, and see where it goes from there… Though it may not ever happen, I figure most preppers have considered the scenario and would run with the conversation… 99.9% of the time, it ends there. While we are storing for charity as recommended by James Rawles, I definitely shy away from telling anyone I have emergency supplies… Though I may be a little nutz, there’s no sense in having others confirm it for me.. heh.

        Paul, you ask a great question. And to be honest, I do not know enough about car electrical systems, or electricity for that matter…. I don’t think EMP will knock out basic electricity in your car, i.e. the light being powered by your car battery or one of the old school vacuum tube radios… Where the problem comes into play, from what I understand, is the more complex systems dealing with ignition and fuel injection — perhaps not even so much with the ignition system as the fuel injectors… Basically, if you have an onboard computer that cannot be bypassed for your car to run, then it has the potential to break down with EMP.

        This would be a great article to put together, as I have not yet found a comprehensive guide. I am not necessarily looking for specific car models and years, but would be focused more on the EMP vulnerable components.

        This forum thread was informative:


        This one is as well — there are several electricians/mechanics who go into detail here:


        Personally, when I scrounge up the cash for another car, I am going to go old school truck, like I mentioned before. Of course, I will do some more research — I’ve always wanted one of those 70’s Broncos… something with muscle and steel… that’s what I’m lookin’ for.

        I’ll hit up some mechanics over the coming weeks and see what I can come up with. My main issue with putting together information on this particular topic is that 1) The government reportedly did tests and did not find vehicles to be as susceptible to EMP as we might think 2) I don’t know much about cars. So, I would hate to give out incorrect info on this, because it’s a significant investment compared to, say, a box of freeze dried food and a water filter.

      4. Thanks Mac,

        Once you get a confirmation from the mechanics let us know.  I was thinking about buying a good used late model pick-up soon but would rather have an older model that is ‘EMP proof’ when and if you get confirmation of same.   

        In the initial EMP emergency a vehicle like this would be absolutely essential in rescuing family members in the city and bringing them to the pre-determined ‘family safe sites’ in the suburbs or the country.    Otherwise they would be be trapped and at the mercy of the environment they are in.   Not a good position to be in.   Women, children, and elderly relatives would be especially vulnerable to desperate or criminal elements in such a event. 

        Appreciate your follow-up on my post and look forward to your findings. 

      5. Comments…..Mac:  Perhaps #21 should be to have a few bucks in silver coins, which could become the currency of choice for small purchases.

      6. Just a couple suggestions…

        To store gasoline more than a few months, you need to add stabilizer, which is readily available.  Diesel fuel can be stored for years.

        Communications: Basic CB radios are cheap. In a crisis that’s anywhere short of all-out Armageddon, there will likely be someone monitoring the CB emergency channel (ch. 9). A CB is only good for several miles depending on terrain, but would be better than nothing if land phone and cell systems are down.

        EMP: electronic components can be protected by storing them in a faraday cage which is basically a box made of copper mesh with a really good ground. You can find instructions on the ‘net and it looks fairly simple. I haven’t built one yet, but I intend too. You could store a radio, spare car electronics, your xbox, your Blackberry 🙂

      7. My family thinks im crazy. I have been telling them for months now that they need to start preparing and take this serious. They just laugh it off.

        I have been storing  cornmeal, rice, and beans in 5 gallon containers. I use the mylar bags with the ziploc on the end. I also bought a 55 gallon water drum for starts. I also have bought several #10 cans of beans and rice. I also bought a few 5 gallon drums of sugar and salt for flavoring.
        Pasta is aslo a good storage food with a long shelf life.

      8. The worst thing about it, Tony, is that if the SHTF, they’ll be headed to your place for food, lodging and protection. I am sure many of us will find ourselves in similar situations, and thus, we should plan accordingly. As PO’d as I may be about it, I can’t turn away family or good friends.  I suspect most people feel the same way – that’s how we roll.

      9. Dennis, I totally agree. When traveling, I never leave home without a a roll of pre 1965 quarters – just in case. Each of our bug out bags, including the kids’, have silver quarters/halves in them. As depicted in the short film The Economic Collapse, if we’re talking about a collapse scenario that involves destruction of the US dollar or the failure of cyber networks that process credit card/debit transactions, then precious metals will become the first currency of choice very quickly – at least temporarily.

      10. I bought a steel army ammo can online as my Faraday cage. In it I have the following:

        1. 2 walkies
        2. corded telephone
        3. 175 watt inverter
        4. nickel metal hydride AA/AAA battery charger
        5. flashlight
        6. transistor AM/FM radio

        That’s it (that’s all I could fit into it actually). Now, do I actually need to protect all these from EMP? What good will the phone do if the phone lines are all down? I have no idea, but I do know all these parts I had lying around and I only spent $25 on the ammo can. Small price to pay for a “Plan B” that I hopefully will never have to use.

        By the way, no one knows I have this, and only my parents know about my food storage, which they attribute to me being “eccentric”. I’ll take eccentric over dead any day of the week.

      11. You people are AMAZING! A year ago we would have all been worried about straight jackets talking openly like this.

        I’ve kinda been a prepper all of my life. I don’t do unsustainable things. I don’t buy cars I can’t pay for. I don’t buy houses I can’t pay for. I don’t apply for jobs I can’t do. When I buy something, I think, “How will I service this and sustain it for the next 10 years?” Cars, motorcycles, everything. I think about the sustainability. How its built and how I can rebuild it. How much fuel it uses. Can I continue to get the fuel? All of that stuff. Honestly, its a bit of a burden, but, it has served me well. Keeping thinking about this stuff. Just thinking about it gets you half way there. You may be surprised how far you can get on your wits alone.

        I still go by the 3F plan: Food/Fuel/Firearms, everything else is secondary to you breathing. The stockpiling of those three items is essential. Keep up the good work, everyone! You make me proud to be an American!

      12. In response to the automobile (1975 and older). I have read that any semi-conductor is subject to failure in the event of EMP as was suggested.
        In older autos, the only devices in the systems were in the radio and alternator.  Any cdi or hei circuit will be rendered useless. The ignition coil must be switched on and off via a distributor with points and a capacitor in order to avoid engine failure.  John Moore has written about transportation in the event of this kind of disruption and advises against it due to ones vulnerability. In the event that you do move to your desired location and have to commute, carry provisions and a plan established with loved ones as to your intentions.
        If you want to store replacement diodes for the alternator, short the leads out and store them in a metal can that is earth grounded. Any electronics must be stored in a high permiable container that is grounded as well. Just keep in mind that communications will be scarce. Best wishes.

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