15 Survival Items that Will Disappear from Store Shelves when SHTF

I think we have all seen by now just how quickly stores will empty of basic but vital supplies. Food, water, fuel and more will all disappear in an incredibly short period of time.

Hopefully, as a prepper, you already have plenty of supplies on hand, and won’t have to endure the mad scramble of humanity as they swarm into stores all across town.

However, if you are coming into the prepping game a little late in life, or just facing an unfortunate setback where you happen to be without supplies for any given reason, you’ll have to brave the crowds of panicked shoppers just like everyone else.

That means your emergency pit stop could be a matter of life and death depending on the situation. Knowing what is most important, as well as what is most desired by other people in this situation will help inform your decisions, and prioritize what is most needed.

In today’s article we are bringing you a list of 15 crucial survival items that will disappear from store shelves in the blink of an eye when SHTF.

Act Fast!

So, let’s say you’re one of those people that, by bad luck or a lack of preparation prior to this point, don’t have any survival supplies on hand at the onset of an SHTF situation or immediately preceding it.

Assuming you are able to disengage from whatever you are doing at the moment, the answer is to race to the store and try to stock up on what you’ll need for the duration.

As mentioned above, there are an awful, awful lot of people who will be doing the same thing. Traffic will intensify quickly if it isn’t already at total gridlock. Store shelves will be picked clean shortly thereafter. Things will likely look like total bedlam.

This means you need to think and act quickly if you don’t want to go home empty-handed. Prioritize!

Think about the nearest store that you can get to reliably that is most likely to have everything you need. This could be a well-stocked corner gas station and mini grocery, or it could be a nearby big box department store or grocery.

When you are pulling up, if you are familiar with the store start planning your route according to the most crucial supplies, saving the less important items for later.

And don’t go thinking that you’ll be able to wait out the surge and get a restock from the back room or anything like that. Most modern departments in grocery stores are entirely dependent upon multiple, daily deliveries to keep their shelves stocked, and there is usually precious little goods backstocked, if any.

So fasten your seatbelts, grab your notepad, and let’s get started!

15 Survival Items that Will Vanish from Store Shelves

toilet paper roll

Toilet Paper

This first item should need absolutely no preface. Whether it was right, wrong or indifferent I think the entire world knows that toilet paper will be hotly contested and hoarded next time any calamitous event of any consequence occurs, or is just threatened to occur.

And while it is true that you don’t need toilet paper to survive, it is one of those things that make life a lot more bearable, not to mention more sanitary.

You can make your situation, whatever it looks like, a lot more pleasant when it’s time to do your business if you have a good supply of toilet paper on hand. Everyone has their favorite brand, but that won’t be so important one of the circumstances as actually having it.

Make sure you get to it quickly and grab a large pack that will last you, and consider that larger families use this stuff up a whole lot quicker than a couple or an individual.

Not for nothing, toilet paper might make for good bartering currency down the line in a long term survival scenario where society has partially or completely collapsed.


There are no two ways about it. Modern life runs on batteries. disposable and rechargeable, large, small and every size in between, batteries are responsible for powering our vehicles, our personal devices, tools, remotes, and so much more.

Even some vital quality of life items such as hearing aids or insulin pumps depend on batteries.

Most seasoned peppers know that many important pieces of survival gear depend entirely on batteries to function, including flashlights and electric lanterns, GPS systems, firearm optics and more.

The demand for these items will be intense in the run-up to an SHTF situation and that means you’ll need to grab what you can as soon as you can.

Give yourself a leg up now by inventorying your most needed tools and devices and committing to memory or a checklist the type and quantity of batteries that they require.

If you really want to make your life easy, streamline your device selection so that you’re only buying one or two types of batteries outside of specialist sizes for things like hearing aids and the like.


Dealing with the onset of a legitimate survival scenario might be a good reason to start drinking, although you probably shouldn’t as you’re going to need all of your wits about you. That isn’t why we are heading to the liquor aisle, however.

As it turns out, alcohol is one of the very best items you can keep on hand for trade purposes, as those who are alcohol dependent or just greatly desire some stress relief will trade just about anything to get a swig of their favorite vice.

Generally speaking, stronger is better because it is more portable and provides better bang for the buck.

Not for nothing, and a real pinch strong liquors can be used as improvised antiseptics and anything that is strong enough to ignite when put to open flame can be used as an accelerant or a fuel by itself.

Trust me when I say that legions of panicked buyers who are consumed by visions of doom and gloom will be cleaning out the party aisle on the double, so act quickly!


Pretty much everywhere in the United States, save perhaps the most gun restrictive locations, you’ll find ammunition on store shelves in abundance, even if it is just a variety of cartridges intended for hunting rifles.

It goes without saying that many of your fellow shoppers have guns of their own, likely at home, and will be thinking about all the things that will go wrong after the rule of law collapses. That means they’re going to be raiding the ammo counter with a vengeance.

Whatever kind of firearm you have at home, and I do hope you have one, it is time to pick up some extra ammo. Get to the sporting goods counter as quick as you can and get a box or two at the least.

Note that beggars should not be choosers under the circumstances. You might not have your preferred manufacturer or load to choose from, but that is okay as most commercially sold ammunition, even if it is a little shabby, it’s good enough to function in most firearms.

Face Masks

Whatever you might think about the efficacy of face masks, there is no denying that a high quality respirator or even a disposable particulate mask is effective at keeping some airborne dust and debris out of your lungs.

Major disasters have a way of directly causing or leading to destruction and the outbreak of fires, two things that can significantly degrade air quality.

Over time, inhaling contaminated air is going to degrade the function of your lungs, and usually spells serious long-term health problems. Don’t let this fate befall you and your family by stocking up on face masks and respirators as appropriate.

You can usually find these in the hardware aisle, one place where you hopefully won’t have too much competition. Make sure you get the best ones that you can, and if you purchase a respirator with replaceable cartridges grab a pack of spare cartridges while you’re there.

Baby Care Items

Every parent knows that babies require an awful, awful lot of full-time care and that means a boat load of supplies and provisions.

If you have a little one at home, you’ll be competing with dozens and dozens or hundreds of other parents who are in a mad scramble to stock up on the same baby items.

Diapers, wet wipes, baby food and medicines for rash and other typical infantile elements will be moving fast, and that means you’ll need to be faster if you want to get your fair share.


Normally I would advocate grabbing these even if you don’t have a baby because they make for valuable trade fodder or you could get them to give to a neighbor or someone else in your network in the future, but under the circumstances it’s probably best to leave these behind for parents who are in desperate need.

Disposable Gloves

Disposable gloves are a commonly forgotten but important prep for any kind of disaster situation.

All sorts of emergencies entail getting your hands dirty, sometimes involving biohazardous body fluids, nasty chemicals and other messes that you really, really don’t want on your skin and even more importantly you don’t want cross-contaminating everything You touch afterward.

Most disposable gloves will do fine here, but you’re always better off going with a sturdy nitrile glove for best performance and to minimize the chances of any kind of allergic reaction, a rare but not entirely unseen problem with latex disposable gloves.

Unless you have humongous, manhole cover sized hands, typical one size fits all gloves will do fine, and make sure you grab ones that are powdered for easy donning if you are able.

two propane tanks
two propane tanks


Out of all the various liquid fuels that you can make use of during a survival situation, propane is probably one of the best.

Useful in a wide variety of applications, highly energetic and, most importantly, extraordinarily shelf stable propane works just as well at operating a backyard barbecue grill as it does a portable camping stove or a salamander space heater.

Now, propane might be tricky to get your hands on easily and efficiently under the circumstances we have described above. Nine times out of ten your large propane cylinders or barbecue tanks are locked up in a cage or otherwise kept in secure Storage and require employee interaction to open them.

Maybe you’ll be able to get one of these larger cylinders and maybe not, but if you can’t, you can get the smaller camping sized bottles freely in the outdoor gear section. Combine these with an adapter kit and you can hook them up to devices that typically require a larger cylinder.


You might be under the impression that your local gas station never runs out of fuel, but this is far from the truth.

Gas stations, like seemingly every other outlet in our modern society, are completely dependent upon regular, scheduled deliveries of gasoline from tanker trucks to refill those vast underground silos where they house it.

Under the circumstances, you had better believe that everyone with a motor vehicle is going to be filling up as quickly as they can, and likely several spare cans besides. This means that you’ll need to grab gasoline pronto.

You can avoid having to choose between supplies and gasoline by keeping your car above half empty at all times. In case you can’t, you might luck out and be able to grab gas at a station that does not currently have a line before moving on to the grocery store or elsewhere.


You don’t need me to tell you that food is a critical survival consideration. Although many folks often trot out the old line that you can go for several weeks without any food before starving, you must keep in mind that you’ll be badly debilitated both mentally and physically after just a couple of days with no or minimal food.

Food is fuel for working bodies and minds, and you must keep your calorie intake up so you’ll have the energy to do what needs to be done in order to survive.

You had better believe that all of your other competing shoppers know this instinctively and will be shoveling common grocery store fare into their carts as a result. You’ll do the same if you are smart.

As to what you should shop for, you want to Target items that are ideally shelf stable and ready to eat with no or minimal preparation.

canned beef vegetable soup
three jars of home canned beef vegetable soup

Canned goods, meals that come in foil pouches, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts and things like that. Stuff that you can simply open up and eat for reliable energy and nutrition, or heat up if you are able to make it more palatable.


Water is always a pressing survival priority because dehydration can strike comparatively quickly. Going even a whole day without any water can badly dehydrate you and that will lead to debilitating complications and death in fairly short order.

This is why any survival or prepping expert worth their salt will preach a water preparedness paradigm above most things.

Whatever kind of event has occurred, the likelihood of your public or private water system being compromised is fairly high. your access to water might be interrupted or shut off completely, meaning no water flows from the tap when you open it, or it might be contaminated by any number of nasty things you definitely don’t want to ingest.

A robust response to this problem is having alternate means to both source and treat water for safe consumption, but under the situation we have outlined above your best bet is to grab a large quantity of drinking water.

Bottles, jugs or whatever, make sure you grab it fast because it is going to go quicker than just about anything.


Soap might sound like the last thing on a list of survival essentials, but you would not be wise to underestimate its importance.

Washing your body, including your hands, is crucial for preventing the contamination of other people and possessions by germs, and you’ll be coming into contact with a lot of dirty, nasty and biohazardous things in a survival situation much of the top.

Greatly limiting or even eliminating this threat is as simple as washing your hands with soap and water, and making sure to periodically wash your whole body as normal even if you are only taking a sponge bath under the circumstances.

It is possible to go on at length about soap like anything else, but for our purposes the only thing that matters is that you have soap and know how to use it. Liquid, bar, whatever it will all get the germs off of you and help keep you clean.

Hand Sanitizer

Sometimes you won’t be able to access soap and water to wash your hands, but will still have a mighty need to nuke germs in order to prevent the spread of contamination. For the ultimate in portable germ killing efficacy, hand sanitizer, made with high test alcohol, is tops.

All you need to do is apply a generous dollop to one of your palms, then rub your hands briskly together in a typical hand washing motion taking special care to get between the fingers and under the fingernails, and you are all set.

This is another item that is all but certain to vanish pretty much instantly during the onset of a disaster since during a previous disaster involving an unspecified virus of unknown origin hand sanitizer bottles were hoarded like gold bars.

Even a modestly sized bottle should last you a long time especially if you’re using it as a supplementary tool to hand wash. A little dab will do you!

Hygiene Items

Hygiene items are yet another inclusion that might raise a few eyebrows at first glance. And although they might not be crucially important right away, taking care of your body over the long term it’s still important in order to prevent some show stopping maladies and diseases, to say nothing of unholy stench that will drive the people living with you completely mad.

A particular importance are specialized hygiene items for feminine care and certain medical conditions, so make sure you grab anything that you or your family requires for the purpose if needed.

Although not likely to be stampeded as rapidly as things like food, water and fuel these items will remain reasonably high on the priority lists of other shoppers.


Bleach is a survival superstar, not just a commodity for your daily laundry needs. When you seriously need to sterilize a hard, non-porous surface or even your own hands after handling something that is truly nasty, a strong bleach solution will do the trick.

Even more important to our needs, however, is the fact that regular, unscented, non-thickened chlorine bleach can be used to kill the harmful microorganisms hiding in contaminated water using nothing more than a few drops.

The ratio is fairly specific, so you’ll need a dropper or other precision metering device, but this is a skill that anyone can master with very little practice and a cheat sheet.

Hopefully this will be one item that most other shoppers won’t think of so there should be some waiting for you by the time you arrive at the store.


Just because you are late to the game of prepping or are woefully separated from your supplies does not mean you’re going to have to take your chances completely unprepared when disaster strikes.

If you act fast and have a little luck on your side, you will be able to snag these survival fundamentals before the herds of panicked shoppers get to them.

survival items to disappear in a crisis Pinterest image

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