10 Last Minute Preps When a Disruptive Event is Brewing

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
10 Last Minute Preps When a Disruptive Event is Brewing

Back in the early days, before writing about any one aspect of prepping, I had to do a lot of research.  Online resources were meager so there was a lot of trial and error involved as I formulated my own preparedness strategy. Sadly, as I look back, there was considerable error. Who knew?   The good news is that  the school of hard prepping knocks has taught me a thing or two.  This is especially true when it comes to last minute preps.

Now that I am lot smarter, I thought it might be fun to put on my thinking cap and come up with a list of ten last minute preps that could be put into place if I had a modicum of warning that a storm or other disruptive event was brewing.  There are two parts to this list, things to do and things to buy.

10 Last Minute Preps When a Disruptive Event is Brewing | Backdoor Survival

Things To Do

1.  Top Off Vehicles with Fuel

I never let our two cars go under half a tank but even so, 100% full is always a better option than 50%.  Hopefully I will get wind of the pending event soon enough to beat the crowds.

2.  Do the Laundry

It is not that I hate doing laundry but rather I get lazy about it.  It is not unusual to have to do six loads at a time, simply due to procrastination.  Given a brewing storm, you can bet the laundry will get done and while I am at it, the bedding will also get changed.

3.  Inventory Prescription Drugs

With my Ammo Can First Aid Kit already stocked and set aside, I will want to do a quick check on prescription meds and if necessary, get them refilled.

4.  Charge All Electronic Devices

Compared to six years ago, my home is overrun by electronic devices.  Three Kindles, three iPads of varying ages, and four laptop computers, and two iPhones make up a motely crew of electronic devices that hold a wealth of both reference material and amusements.  All can be charged using portable solar devices (which are pretty darn cheap these days), but if I am stuck indoors for any length of tine, solar is not going to help.

5.  Set Out Spare Lanterns, Flashlights, and Batteries

Why wait until the power is out before digging out your emergency light sources?  As I say this, I am confident in the knowledge that I already have a flashlight in every room of the house as well as a portable lantern.  Still, this would be a good time to check to ensure their batteries are fully charged.

6.  Gather Fresh Biomass

Rather than use up my back stock of charcoal and wood, I would prefer to burn the odd branches, twigs, leaves I find on the ground.  They work perfectly in both my Solo Stove and EcoZoom rocket stoves.  Plus, biomass is free for the taking.

Things to Buy

7.  Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

As an experienced prepper I have a good supply of freeze-dried fruits and vegetables.  But once a #10 can or pouch is opened, the 25 year shelf life is reduced to one or two years.  For that reason, if a short term disruptive event is predicted, I will want to pick up fresh vegetables and fruits that require no refrigeration and can be eaten raw.

The nice thing about fresh fruit and vegetables is that most last-minute disaster shoppers will be hitting the packaged and canned goods aisle.  Let them. I am already well-stock with canned goods and want as much fresh stuff as I can get.

8.  Wine and Spirits

Not everyone consumes alcoholic beverages but here in my household, we do enjoy a nightly glass of wine or a cocktail .  That said, I do not stockpile spirits to any great extent due to space considerations.  My pre-event checklist would definitely include bottled beverages of the alcoholic type.

9.  Paper Plates and Disposable Cups and Eating Utensils

Water may be at a premium and where as I will want to use stored water for drinking and hygiene, using it for cleanup is not high on my list of priorities,  Instead, I am going to want disposables.  It might be a good idea to pick up extra trash bags as well.

The goal is not to have to dig into long term emergency preps unless absolutely necessary,

10. Dark Chocolate

You are going to be stressed so accept that.  Get yourself some chocolate – okay a lot of chocolate – and ride things out while indulging in your favorite chocolate treat.  If chocolate is not your thing, then perhaps some cookies or graham crackers or just this once, some seriously unhealthy packaged caramel corn.

Additional Reading:  6 Useful Preps You May Not Have Thought Of

The Final Word

Some of my selections may have surprised you but that’s okay.  They were meant to inspire you to come up with your own last minute prepping strategy.  Why not sit down right now and make up your own list and share it with the rest of us.?

Just don’t forget to include the chocolate!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Here are some items included in my own preps that I find essential to both short term and long term preparedness.

Solo Stove:  I personally own four solo stoves including the large Solo Stove Campfire.  They are compact yet well-built and perfect for cooking off-grid with just a bit of biomass.  They come in varying sizes so you can choose the one that is right for you.  For more information, read my review here.


EcoZoom Versa: This rocket-type stove burns wood, charcoal and biomass. It is easy to use and fast. It will cook a pot of rice, as an example, start to finish in less than 20 minutes.  I actually own two.

Etekcity Portable Outdoor LED Camping Lantern – Collapsible:  I admit to owning a number of these collapsible lanterns. They use  30 different LEDS and are powered by AA batteries, including rechargeables.  Instead of a switch, you turn these lanterns on by extending the lantern from its collapsed condition.  There are many different brands available but I have not found much difference between them.  Shop by price.  As of this writing, the price is with free prime shipping. For more, choices, click here.

LifeStraw Family 1.0 Water Purifier:  The Lifestraw Family contains no chemicals, no batteries and no moving parts to wear out. It features a a high flow rate and is the perfect solution to your portable water purification needs – whether bugging in or bugging out. As much as I love my Berkey, it is finicky when it comes to the black filters, plus, it is very expensive.  Read my review here of the Lifestraw Family here.

Choetech 19W Solar Panel:  This lightweight and compact solar panel works great.  The two integrated USB ports are both rated equally so you do not have to fiddle around to see which one will work with your device. Learn more:  Charge Your Devices With the Choetech Portable Solar Panel.

EasyAcc Monster 20000mAh Power Bank:  This is a robust power bank that can be charged from your laptop, a wall charger, or a solar charger.  This one is beefy, with 4 USB ports that can be used at once.  It also appears to hold its charge for a long time.  I charged mine up then set it aside for a couple of months,  When I pulled it out of its box, it was still fully charged. A nice unit that comes in very handy when power is out.

MPOWERD Luci EMRG Inflatable Solar Lantern:  This is the original Luci EMRG Solar lantern. I have put mine through its paces and it is one tough cookie.  It has weathered both a wind storm and rain storm while hanging outdoors for a month.  Lightweight, waterproof and shatterproof, Luci EMRG provides ultra-bright, reliable light to guide your way indoors and out, through blackouts or extreme weather conditions.

Luci EMRG 250_18

Tac Force TF-705BK Tactical Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed: This is a great knife that is currently priced with free shipping.  Not only that, it is ranked as the #1 best seller  in both the camping and hunting knives categories.  The reviews raved about this knife so I bought one, used it, and and can recommend it.  See The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife.

Grabber Outdoors Original Space Brand All Weather Blanket:  I was interested in a re-usable emergency blanket so I purchased one of these based upon the excellent reviews.  This space blanket is definitely “heavy duty” compared to the cheapies (not that they don’t have their place because they do).

BaoFeng UV5R Dual-Band Two-Way Radio:  I own two of these and truth be told, need to practice using them more often than I do.  Something to keep in mind that if you are just planning to listen, you do not need a license.  Still, it is a good idea because it will make understanding the technical aspects of HAM radio a whole lot easier. Special Note:  BaoFeng and Pofung radios are one and the same.  Some newer units are branded with “Pofung”.


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34 Responses to “10 Last Minute Preps When a Disruptive Event is Brewing”

  1. I like your idea to do the laundry. It’s one thing that I usually don’t think of. You would think that I would since when our power was out for two weeks because of an ice storm our clothes washer would run on the generator but the dryer wouldn’t. We had the house festooned with drying clothes for most of the two weeks, LOL. I suppose that running the dishwasher and/or washing the dishes would be another similar item since both electricity and water might not be working for a while after a disruptive event.

    For people who don’t have multiple sources of water filling the bathtubs with water is another good idea.

    Depending on the time of year and the temperature getting some ice to extend the life of the food in your refrigerator and/or freezer might be a good idea, too.

    If you have a generator checking that the generator works and making sure you have lots of fuel for it should be added to the list. If you want to get a generator don’t wait until the disruptive event – most places will be sold out.

  2. My daily breakfast drink is unsweetened cocoa powder and hot water. Nothing else. My husband puts butter in his drink and I am thinking of trying coconut oil in mine. We look forward to this drink now that we are used to the taste.

    • actually, you’re following a time-honored tradition. when the natives in south america were the only ones using chocolate, they never sweetened it; in fact, they often added hot peppers to make it a spicy drink. i think people only started putting milk and sugar in it when the europeans came along.

    • Use pure gas and no worry–our 10 (5 ) gallon gas cans stay full for about a year.
      It is our mower gas so when a few ae emptied, they are refilled.

  3. Gaye,

    We have stocked up on penicillin based antibiotics, etc. But, my wife is allergic to penicillin and we cannot locate alternative sources for suitable antibiotics.

    What natural options are available?


    • Hi Nimbi,
      Astralagus, turmeric and oregano oil are wonderful immune boosters. For viral and bacterial illnesses Elderberry syrup, oregano oil and/or organic honey with sliced onions, garlic, ginger and lemons steeped in it is fabulous too. Let the honey steep for 7-10 days then strain out the sliced items. Take 1-2 teaspoons 2-3 times a day while you’re ill.
      There are many more wonderful natural herbs etc that can help your body’s own systems do their jobs. Buy a couple of highly recommended books on the topic and you’ll be amazed at what foods can do to help heal the body.
      I hope this helps.
      Please remember I’m not a doctor and you should consult one before taking anything new even if just to be certain the natural remedy isn’t contraindicated to any meds you might already be taking.
      I hope this helps.


    • Also search Google images for “colloidal silver”. One guy literally turned blue from taking it.

    • not just taking it., but an over the top excess amount of it, so please cut the uninformed s>it. it does not make sense to put the scare b.s. here because the silver solution does help with ones health when used sensibly.

  4. If you have family/friends who are seniors and not living with you, make sure you have spoken to at least one of their neighbors, that they trust, about how you can contact them or they can contact you in an emergency. If you have neighbors who are seniors make sure you know who they want you to contact after the 9-1-1 call. Or ask them where they would like to post the information i.e. the refrigerator door for emergency services.

  5. I have several weeks’ worth of water stored in my apartment…but if I knew about an imminent storm or other disruptive event, the first thing I’d do would be to fill the bathtub! I don’t think there’s any such thing as too much water, and filling the bathtub would provide an extra source of water for cleaning, washing and toilet-flushing. That way, I could use my bottled water exclusively for drinking and cooking.

    • And people with large families can purchase liners (like the WaterBOB) that allow you to store 100-150 gallons of potable water in a bathtub. Better ones come with a fill spout and a pump to get the clean water out into your bucket for use.

    • It is important to understand that the ‘100-150 gallon’ tub liners will hold only as much water as the tub holds, which is more like 30-40 gallons. We have a liner for our tub, but it is one of the low sided 1970s vintage tubs, and won’t hold a lot. Still way better than not, though: that would take care of bare minimum needs for two people for a week or two.

    • Good point. I always forget that my tub is larger than average with a huge fill pipe for a bathtub. (I can drain my hot water tank in just a few minutes if I just use the hot water tap…) So I guess doing a bathroom remodel with a jacuzzi/spa tub or an antique clawfoot tub could now be considered prepping. 😉

  6. I would add toilet paper and personal care items to the must haves and items for children if needed such as formula, diapers etc. These items will be missing from the shelves quickly so shop early.

  7. Could a “disruptive event” be the upcoming election…I’m afraid that’s going to be the event that, if we are thinking properly and reading the right news stories, we are getting a warning about. I’d take heed and get my preps in line…quickly. Although I do pray that I am wrong…

  8. Gaye, Having a last minute list at hand was a great idea for an article. You wrote it so it beautifully spelled out what you would do given some warning of a storm or worse. Unfortunately the article doesn’t help many of your faithful readers who came to prepping more recently and don’t have everything needed to survive for 3-6 months. I’d love to see you add a second list to this article to reflect what so many of the less prepared should plan on doing and buying.

    I am a dedicated fan of yours and have loved your extremely well thought out articles but I believe more was needed here.
    Keep up the fabulous work. You are appreciated!

    • JM,

      There’s no way that Gaye could realistically be expected to cram “everything you need to survive for 3-6 months” into one article. It wouldn’t be a single list or an article–it’d be a book! If you haven’t done so already, I recommend clicking on the “Archives” link at the top of the page and reading those articles which may be relevant to your situation. “20 Items To Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan” was the first thing I read when I discovered Backdoor Survival 2.5 years ago. I found it incredibly helpful, and it encouraged me to purchase those supplies ASAP and start thinking about what else I needed (water, gear, heat sources, etc.). You may also want to check out her “12 Months of Prepping” series, which is also linked at the top of the page.

  9. Nice, unusual take on preparedness.
    My four unusual preps, which I almost never see listed, are:
    – Recent dental checkup
    – Musical instrument preps (for me that would be saxophone reeds)
    – Fingernail clippers
    – Reading glasses

    • My wife and I recently purchased (on Amazon) reading glasses with built-in LED lights. They are fantastic! I’m ordering more!

  10. May I suggest searching flea markets/antique stores for old oil lamps? In the southeast they can be had for around $15. Try to buy those which still have a lot of wick in them.
    Lamp oil can be purchased at Walmart very inexpensively.

  11. Great article for short term events. But at the beginning of any serious event, once things sink into the general public’s consciousness, going near most stores will be dangerous as heck. If you do need to go out for last minute supplies just make sure you’re aware of your surroundings and if you have any bad feelings, take heed and flee! It’s much easier to deal with an event if you’re healthy than if you get injured….

  12. Sometimes the only way I can scrape up the motivation to do housework is remind myself that it’s actually a preparedness activity. If there was a bad earthquake, volcanic eruption, wind storm, flood, etc (all of which have happened at least once in my lifetime, living in the Pacific NW as I do), I might not have the water supplies to do dishes or laundry! I might not have the time or energy left over to do housework after dealing with a natural disaster, either!

  13. For me it would be beefing up the security of my home. I’m blessed to live in a neighborhood where my worry about a break-in or theft is low. But in a disaster, let’s face it, good citizens often go bad. I would be assembling items I could use to seal doors and windows closed among other home security measures.

  14. A couple of things we do when we get a hurricane warning:

    1) Draw down the frozen foods so they don’t spoil if the power goes out.

    2) Wash out milk jugs and juice jugs with hot water and soap, fill with water, and add them to the freezer. We usually have at least one jug in each freezer, but less food allows more ice. When ice passes it’s Use By date, you can drink it, or at least use it for washing.

    Milk jugs are no good for long term storage of water because they break down, but they are fine for short term storage, and for ice. We use them in coolers because when they melt, the water stays contained. We also throw a jug of ice in a cooler when going grocery shopping so all the chilled items stay that way on the way home. Especially useful if we have to stop along the way..

  15. Great post and great reminder to keep a cool head and prepare ahead of time. I especially like your recommendation to include wine or spirits and chocolate. That would boost morale for sure!!!

  16. Excellent article.

    Keep in mind that alcohol (the kind one drinks) is useful for more than relaxing or getting a buzz, so that’s a good idea even if you don’t drink.

  17. I use my washing machine for last-minute water storage. The tub is easy to fill and easy to use up when the emergency (hopefully) ends.

  18. If you live in an area that could be hit by a hurricane, after you fill your car and park it in the garage, grab some old towels or blankets, cover your back bumper and reverse your vehicle smack dab tight against the garage door, then lock the garage door with a padlock. Hurricanes change direction from basically south to north with a few variations added in, SE to NW or SW to NE etc.. By putting your vehicle tight against the door, the winds can not blow the door in (unless it’s a cat 5, then nothing will stop it)

  19. I am currently saving to make a “Berkey-style” water filter for every-day use as well as prep use. There are a few good videos on how to make them, I like the one using stainless steel pots. I have been filtering water for everyday use for decades.

  20. I’m just a “newbie,” but I stay prepared for natural disasters. I just rode out Hurricane Harvey in Houston and can say I followed almost all of these tips. (We don’t drink, so I skipped #8.) I had water and non-perishables stored well in advance, living in a flood-prone area, so had no problem grabbing fruit, veggies, and junk food treats at the store in the days before the storm.

    We didn’t even lose power, so we were able to cook plenty of home-cooked meals and leave emergency supplies untouched, even though many stores were closed for days. Great tip to invest in some perishable food – in a short-term disruptive event you may not lose water or power and can cook, saving those emergency supplies. Don’t assume stores will reopen immediately or even in a few days, or that you’ll be able to get around to them.

    I’d also suggest loading up on toilet paper and paper towels, even cleaning supplies. We got some chores done while locked in! (When we moved, I studied flood maps to ensure we were in a safe area, but that’s another story…)

    Stay safe and prepared. Thanks for the great blog.

  21. I would add “comfort food” after your “chocolate”….not everyone eats chocolate (cuz they are foolish? LOL) But most of us have a “go to” food in times of stress or instability….having your “stress” food, in ready to eat form, would make the situation a little easier to bear. (Cuz my stress food is popcorn, so I would grab a couple of bags of prepopped corn, instead of my usual microwave version)

  22. Love this article. I made my own list and posted it in my pantry. To your list I added… top off gas tanks, 5 gal gas cans and propane tanks; do laundry and run dishwasher; when buying fresh produce also get eggs, toilet paper, and dog food. Having a list handy really helps when you’re in a hurry. Thanks for the great ideas.

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