1. Water and Purification Supplies
You can live 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, and only 3 weeks without food (and it won't be fun). You can stock some of the liquid itself or basic supplies like purification tablets or water filters. We are even working on some ways to safely catch and store rain water, and that may soon be ready in our Members Area.
2. Stored Food
The next most important necessity is food. And you may want to buy more food than you think you will need. Why? It can be currency. Yep. If the store shelves are bare, you can save your neighbors life, and possibly trade for other critical items you may need during a time of crisis. If you live in the U.S., you need to read what my friend, Frank Bates, has to say about food storage and survival. It turns out, FEMA has been stocking up, and so should you. Click Here to read more.
If you are out side of the U.S., you can still buy food from a pre-made survival food supplier, and have it shipped to you via freight cargo to most destinations. However, you will first need to set up an account with a shipping agent. This is free to do, and there are many good ones out of Miami. I recommend Four Star Cargo for Caribbean, Central, and South America.
Never, ever tell anyone, not even your grandmother, that you have food stored at your house. If you ever need it - it won't be there because when people are desperate, ethics go out the window.
***Update: I recently recieved an email that there are actually 37 common grocery store goods that always sell out in crisis. For the whole list, click here.***
3. Guns, Bullets, and Ammo
Sorry for those of you who are anti-gun, or who live in a country where they are not "legal." (Follow your local laws). But in times of crisis - people are desperate, and that is why it is so important that you never reveal that you are prepared. Also, bullets and ammo disappear in crisis time. And the government will not be there to save you (think Hurricane Katrina) so you must protect yourself. If you are not comfortable with a real gun, try a tazer, pellet gun, or flare. Also, ammo makes great trading currency.
4. Vices: Cigarettes, Wine, and Coffee
Now, while these are not going to help you physically survive, they will serve as excellent currency when ATMs no longer work, or when the dollar eventually collapses. As I write this, the Federal Reserve just announced QE infinity. Using these simple vices to bargain with neighbors can keep you afloat until things get back to normal.
5. Matches, Lighters, and Gas
This is a no-brainer. But if you haven't thought about it, you may not be stocked up. Since fire brought us out of the stone ages, I don't have to explain why these items are important. Make sure you have strike anywhere matches, and make sure they are in a DRY place.
If things go on for a while, it can be very important to have open pollinated seeds, that will allow you to save seeds year after year. You can store a boat load of seeds in a small, cool, dark, and dry space. I have had luck finding these at local farmers market. I also believe you can get them online via eFoodsdirect.com.
Ideally you should choose emergency supplies that do not require batteries like hand-cranked radios and shake flashlights. Other people may not have had this foresight and find themselves needing batteries. I see deals for large quantities of them on sites like Woot.com and Amazon.
8. Toilet Paper, Wipes, and Disinfectant Towels
Water may be hard to come by for a while, so for all of those "clean up" needs you will have stock up on wet wipes. You can use Clorox wet wipes to clean your dishes, other facial wet wipes for basic facial and hand cleansing, and baby wipes for toilet needs. Also, make sure to keep some hand sanitizer around.
9. First Aid Supplies
Unfortunately, many people may become injured during an emergency. Basic supplies like bandages and aspirins can help treat injuries and comfort those in need.
10. Non-Electric How-To BooksMy wife recently purchased a book called "Kitchen Medicine" . I haven't read it, but she said the authors describe the wealth of healing and emergency remedies that can be found in your kitchen. How-to books like this are important for covering the things that come up that you haven't thought of. But remember, they must be a hard copy, actual book. Ebooks won't work if there is no electricity.