What Do You Need To Survive An Apocalypse?

What Do You Need To Survive An Apocalypse?

The entertainment industry is rich with stories about the ultimate destruction of humanity and the desperate struggle of the remaining humans to survive — usually in a world ridden with zombies or in a post-war scenario. If you watched movies like ‘The Road’ or TV shows like ‘The Walking Dead’, you would know that surviving is no easy feat. Though unlikely, it does not hurt to know what to do in case an apocalypse happens.

What do you need to survive an apocalypse? To survive in an apocalypse, you will need a renewable source of food and water, weaponry, apparel, survival tools, medication, transportation, shelter, communication devices, hygiene supplies, storage, and something to keep you from suicide.

A Must-Read: What Are The Best Survival Tools?

Whether it is a deadly plague, a zombie outbreak, another world war, or an economic meltdown, the list below covers the essential items you need to survive them. It is best to prepare now so you will have a better chance of survival. These are the items that you should buy:

Essential Items For Survival

Food and Water

Surviving an apocalypse demands a lot of physical exertion, so do not be surprised if you gas out early.

An average person can survive without water for about three days, and 45-61 days without food (as long as you are properly hydrated). Since a person surviving an apocalypse is not an ‘average’ person, expect the days to be lesser. One of the first items that you need to store is lots of water. Store as much as you can or at least find an abundant source.

Food is hard to come by — especially if you are nomadic and not growing your food. Not only that, but a lot of foods are also perishable. In an apocalypse, securing nutrient-dense foods that have long shelf lives are very important. MREs, Canned beans, peanut butter, hardtacks, and granola bars are great examples of this.


Unfortunately, canned goods will run out. Once the places you’ve been scavenging from have depleted its supplies, it is time to grow your food. Not only will this give you fresh vegetables and fruits to eat, but you will also have a long-term solution to avoid starving to death. This only works best if you have a secured shelter.

Food processing/Cooking

Camping Stove

You will need a lightweight and portable stove to cook your food anywhere, like TOMSHOO Camping Stove.

What Do You Need To Survive An Apocalypse?

You will need fire, especially when you take shelter in the woods. You may bring matches and a lighter. However, in case they get wet or run out, a firesteel like Texas Bushcraft Fire Starter is a life-saver. Grind them against each other until they spark and start a fire.

What Do You Need To Survive An Apocalypse?

Cooking Pot And Utensils

Have a pot, pan, or a portable mess tin you can use for cooking meals. Bring along necessary utensils as well.

Water Purification Supplies

It is not enough to just find a water source. You also need to ensure that your water is safe for drinking. Pack some iodine tablets or other agents that can chemically disinfect water. A portable filter like LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is a convenient alternative for these. If things get rough and you are not able to take hold of any of these, you can as well bring water to a boil even if it takes up a lot of fuel. You can also fill plastic bottles and leave it under the sun (solar disinfection), but it will take you a day or more.

What Do You Need To Survive An Apocalypse?


During the apocalypse, you may be dealing with wild animals and threatening forces that will compel you to defend yourself. Make sure to carry a weapon that you know how to use. You may prefer a rifle of some kind or a pistol as a sidearm. Just make sure your guns are equipped with belts, holsters, magazines, and ammunition. If you do not have or want to carry guns, at least provide yourself with a machete, large knife, or even a hard stick such as a baseball bat.


Wear a long-sleeved shirt and some pants, especially when the climate requires. This clothing protects your skin from the sun, predators and treacherous terrains. Also, grab a pair of boots or even tennis shoes because you may be running in a sprint any time.

Depending on the situation and if applicable, you may also be equipped with armor, personal protective equipment such as gloves and safety glasses, camouflage suits and night vision, rain gear, and life jackets.

Survival Tools

Cordage and Adhesives

Ropes are extremely useful for any situation. If you are stuck in a building, you can use your rope to get down from a window. For hunting animals, a snare trap can be made with a rope and a thin sapling. You can also make a pulley system if you are transporting heavy loads. A strong rope is a must-have, so make sure you find a good one. You can also get duct tape or super glue; they may come in handy at times.

Cutting/wood Processing Tool

Get yourself equipped with a hatchet, ax, knife, machete, or anything you can use for chopping and digging. SOG Tactical Tomahawks are lightweight and heavy-duty, and can perfectly help in your woodworks. A hobo tool or multitool is also a great item to have, so get one if available.

What Do You Need To Survive An Apocalypse?

Maps/navigation equipment

Knowing where you are can save your life and help you plan your next move. Once the grid goes down, your trusty phone will be useless, and you cannot entirely rely on GPS. Using a compass, such as AOFAR Military Compass, reading a topographical map like Rand McNally 2020 Large Scale Road Atlas, and triangulating your position on it will make sure that you are not walking around in circles and wondering why you cannot progress at all. Bonus points if you know how to read the stars, too.

What Do You Need To Survive An Apocalypse?


Have a tent-like Kelty Salida Camping and Backpacking Tent or another shelter setup ready in case you need to stay away from home or other buildings and spend some days (or even months) outdoors. You do not want to freeze in the cold, especially at night time, so a groundsheet or sleeping bag should be included in your list. However, you may just bring along blankets, and that will suffice.


You may use any transit means available, just ready enough fuel for it to keep on working. However, petrol can wear out after a long time. Therefore, you may consider keeping a bicycle (preferably an Aluminum Fat Bike) that is in good condition and is properly functioning.


Make sure to set up a communication system that everyone in your close friends and family can communicate with one another. You need to work out how you will contact one other. You can use high-tech gadgets like your mobile phones, tablet, or portable radios like BaoFeng Two-Way Radio, provided that there are spare batteries and chargers (preferably solar). It is also wise to have back up power banks.

You may also use low-tech communication options and signaling devices such as whistles, sounds, morse code, and even paper and pen where you will write down your whereabouts and notes for survival.

Medical Supplies

First Aid Kit

You do not want a simple bruise or cut on your limbs to turn into a life-threatening injury, so make sure you have the supplies to clean your wounds. Store some soap and ethanol in your kit as they can effectively protect your body against infections. Get some bandages, gauze, and medical tapes, too.

Medication And Vitamins

If you or a close member has a specific sickness, make sure to stock their medications. If possible, store some vitamins, too.

Hygiene Kit

If you do not wish to get sick, maintaining proper hygiene is of utmost importance. It becomes even more crucial if the world is overrun with a deadly plague. Always have soap and water (or a disinfectant) near you and consider buying a hygiene kit. Knowing how to craft a soap goes a long way to your survival.



You will need a backpack that can carry all of this useful stuff anytime required. Choose a big, durable, and if possible, water-resistant bag like Mardingtop Molle Hiking Internal Frame Backpacks.

Water Containers

It will be inconvenient to carry along gallons of water especially when fleeing, so take a water container with a capacity of at least a liter. Jadedragon Military Canteen Water Bottle is a good option, but it will be great if you can find a stainless steel water bottle with a large mouth that can be used for boiling and cooking as well.

Food Containers

Proper storage of foods will save you a lot of resources if you choose the right containers. Consider buying food grade buckets with gasketed lids and ziplock bags to store food. It will be helpful, especially when you grow your food.

Additional Load-bearing Equipment

Shoving everything to your backpack will cut down your speed when you are in a situation where you need to get a particular item fast. Pack belts, bandoliers, or chest rigs are accessible enough to help you get your things faster.

Some Survival Skills You Need To Learn

Food Growing

Hoarding canned goods is not the smartest move. The foods you stockpile will eventually run out, and you will need a renewable source of food. That is why learning how to grow your food is a long-term solution for hunger.


Markets and groceries will eventually shut down so you will need to rely on what nature provides for food.

You need to learn the art of snare trap, fishing (or fly fishing), or shooting with a gun. Honing archery skills can be a great help too. People, animals, or zombies may see you as an enemy (unless some airborne elements cause the catastrophe), so better develop skills for offense and defense.


Walking and running may not be efficient, especially when fleeing. You need to have a quick getaway if you run into trouble. Being skillful in driving vehicles, especially bicycles, will take you to an advantage. You may run out of fuel for your car, but learning to drive a wide range of vehicles (in case you find abandoned ones) may be helpful for survival.

Physical Fitness

Whether you agree or not, high physical fitness is a crucial requirement if you want to survive in an apocalyptic world. Zombies will not give you a timeout when you are gasping for air after running 50 meters. The virus does not care when your friend has a weak immune system. You will be forced to leave most of your survival tools behind if you find your backpack too heavy. Do not wait for an apocalypse to happen for you to get up and exercise.


Coming up with useful things from the limited resources you have is one of the biggest keys to survival. Though you have prepared some important things beforehand, something unexpected can still go along the way. You may find a battery and use it to make a simple windmill that can generate your electricity.

Related Questions

Why cannot I just rely on the government to save me?

The government can’t provide everything you need. A lot of things can go wrong if you solely rely on the government for survival. The apocalypse may render the society and its system lawless and useless, and the government’s resources may run out. Therefore, it is safer to be self-sufficient.

How can I stay sane amidst the apocalypse?

Mental health is often overlooked compared to some aspects of survival. Talking to other people, reading books, or gardening will give you a sense of normalcy. When the apocalypse is wearing you down, remember that it is okay to relax and open a can of beer or two. Just do not go overboard.


Amidst fear and worry, disaster readiness helps you prepare for realistic scenarios and be prepared for the unexpected. It is always wise to be ready for the worst-case scenario. Survival involves being clever and practical and using things in ingenious and innovative ways. In whatever case you may be, there are things that you can prepare to give yourself the peace of mind that you can survive the apocalypse that may yet to come.