16 Items To Help You Hunker Down in Comfort

SurvivalWoman SurvivalWoman  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
16 Items To Help You Hunker Down in Comfort

Anyone who lives in hurricane country knows that hunkering down is a way of life when a big storm is predicted.  As a matter of fact, in the southern United States, hurricane parties are common.  When a hurricane is eminent, friends and family gather in a storm proof area, bringing food, drink and amusements to help while the time away until the storm passes.

According to the Urban Dictionary, there is even a game called “Hunker Down”:

Hunker Down game is a game played at hurricane parties. You watch the weather report and every time the weatherman or news guy says “hunker down” you take a shot. By the time the electricity is out, you don’t even care any more.

Okay, that may be an extreme and may be making light of a serious situation but still, during most emergencies we should be able to hunker down in our own homes, surrounded by the items that we have put in place to insure our comfort and safety.

Teddy Bears for Comfort

In the preparedness community, hunkering down is typically referred to as “bugging in”.  To me, staying in your home for an extended period of time while waiting for the danger to pass makes good sense.  Unless a situation is dire (and the local authorities say it is time to GO), I simply cannot imagine leaving familiar surroundings for parts unknown.

With this in mind, today I would like to share with you a list of items to include in an emergency comfort kit.  These are items that you probably already own although they are likely spread throughout your home in one place or another.  Today we are going to gather these items together and store them in a bucket, large plastic tub, or even a box so that we can get to them quickly when the call to hunker down arrives.

Note: This list assumes all of your regular preps (food, water, first aid and such) are already in place and accounted for.  With that in mind, let’s have some fun with this.

16 Items To Help You Hunker Down in Comfort

Below you will find a list of 16 items to help you hunker down – or bug-in – in comfort, whether in your own home or someone else’s.  The  list is in no particular order and most certainly is not all-inclusive.

1.  Coffee and Hot Chocolate

Can you imagine anything more comforting than a hot cup of coffee in the morning and a warm cup of hot chocolate at night.  Of course this assumes that you have emergency cooking gear in place (camp stoves, butane burners, fire pit, rocket stove).

2.  Bar Soap

If you have ever gone 5 or 6 days without a shower, you will appreciate the need for some bar soap and a washcloth to keep you fresh while stuck in your bug in location.  Liquid soap is nice – and it has many uses – but bar soap is more compact and will last a lot longer in an emergency.

3.  Deodorant

As with bar soap, some deodorant will help insure that the others in your group enjoy your company.

4.  Toothbrush, Toothpaste and Floss

Are you detecting a recurring theme here?  Personal hygiene will make you feel better and in the case of a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, will prevent dental problems from festering and giving you problems in the future.

5.  Shaving Gear (Guys)


6.  Makeup (Gals)

Ditto x 2.  But more than that, I would by lying if I told you that looking good was not important, regardless of the circumstances.

7.  M&Ms

Now we are getting serious.  Everyone loves M&Ms and they store well.  Seal them up in a mason jar and they will be consumed before they get stale.  Guaranteed to solve chocolate cravings!

8.  Spirits

Pick your poison.  Mine is cheap red wine (so that I can make Survival Sangria with my freeze-dried fruit) and the Survival Husband’s is Grand Marnier (he has expensive tastes).

9.  Board Games, Playing Cards, Crossword Puzzles

These things are typically buried in the back of a closet somewhere.  When the time comes, who wants to go on a search and rescue mission?  My favorites are Ticket to Ride, Mexican Train, Rummy Cube and Sudoku.   What are yours?

Crossword puzzles can be great if you are good crossword solver. If you have a lot of people with you then you can share crossword clues and do a single crossword together.

Board game classics like Clue, Monopoly, Chess, are great but remember to include some games that people of all ages can play if you have young children in your household.

10.  Pen and Paper

Some of my best ideas have come from making notes by candlelight.  Create a journal, make lists or simply write for the sake of writing.

11.  Coloring Books and Crayons

Not just for children!  How long has it been since you have tried to stay within the lines?

12.  A Teddy Bear

I still have a teddy bear.  Do you?

13.  Paperback Books

Although you may have plenty of ways to charge your electronic devices and gizmos, an old-fashioned page turner will take you back to simpler times.  Plus, when you are done, you can pass the book along to one of your companions.

14.  Blanket or Down Comforter

Staying toasty warm when the heat is off requires a blanket or comforter.  It is even more fun if you have someone to share it with.

15.  Warm Socks or Slippers

Like cuddling up in a blanket, padding around in warm socks or slippers is a lot more comfortable than wearing shoes. Why not?

16.  Essential Oils

The last item on my list is a selection of essential oils.  My favorite soothing essential oil is lavender (see The Miracle of Lavender Oil: 25 Amazing Uses for Survival).  Not only does it smell heavenly, but lavender, as with many other essential oils, can be a stress reliever and will bring a sense of calm to one’s soul.  Other good essential oils include rosemary, clary sage and rose.

The Final Word

Emergency preparedness is serious business.  Having the right stuff and the right skills can be a deal breaker when it comes to survival.

On the other hand, we all need to lighten up sometimes.  By writing this article I want to give you permission to indulge yourself.  Think about the things you would miss the most if stuck at home for a week or two.  These are the nice to have items, not life or death items, do it or die items.

The list I have provided is mine.  Yours may be different.  Care to share an item or two from your own list?  Here is the deal.  As soon as it is published, I will randomly select one comment to this article and send that reader a copy of my soon-to-be published e-Book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.

Now how cool is that?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Bargain Bin: Remember this rule of thumb: first purchase what you need to get by and later, as budget allows, add the extra items that will enhance and add dimension and depth to your existing survival gear.

Ticket To Ride: I love love love this game.  It is a bit pricey but still, it is less than a dinner out for two at a modest restaurant.  The entire family will get hours of fun from this popular board game.

Bicycle Canasta Games Playing Cards: This timeless classic will keep the entire family occupied when the power it out. Playing cards or board games should be in everyone’s preparedness pantry.

Pressman Original Travel Rummikub Game: I purchased this travel version for a recent trip and we whiled away an entire rainy afternoon playing.  (I lost most rounds).

Mexican Train Dominoes:  You can purchase this set or simply use a set of dominoes that you already own.  Instructions can be found on the internet such as here:  How to Play Mexican Train.

NOW Foods Lavender Oil:  Lavender oil is my personal favorite.  It can be used in salves and skin lotions  or directly on the skin, right out of the bottle. It has a sweet, balsamic, floral aroma which combines well with many oils including citrus, clove, patchouli, rosemary, clary sage and pine. Its benefits include balancing, soothing, normalizing, calming, relaxing, and healing.

Top 14 Essential Oil Set: This well-priced set included Bergamot, Clary Sage, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Patchouli, Peppermint, Rosemary, Spearmint, Orange & Tea Tree.

Quikclot Sport Brand Advanced Clotting Sponge: A must for any first aid or emergency kit, Quikclot Sport stops moderate to severe bleeding until further medical help is available.

Israeli Battle Dressing, 6-inch Compression Bandage: This is another inexpensive, yet critical item for your first aid kit. Combat medics, trauma doctors, and emergency responders all recommend this Israeli Battle Dressing (IBD) for the treatment of gunshot wounds, puncture wounds, deep cuts, and other traumatic hemorrhagic injuries.

Solo Stove_21Solo Stove: Emergency Survival Stove: The Solo Stove is perfect for cooking beans and rice using just a pot, some water and biomass as fuel. A step up is the EcoZoom Versa. Remember when I spoke of redundancy? I have both plus a Volcano II collapsible stove. I suppose you could say that going hungry is not high on my to do list.

Chemical Light Sticks: Pick your size (length) and pick your color. Just be aware that if color does not matter, some colors are cheaper than others. Be sure to read Lighting Your Way With Chemical Lighting.

Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Don’t let the price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these and feel that these lights are worth double the price. Using D-cell batteries, the Dorcy floodlight will light up a dark room or a dark stairway in an instant. I can not recommend these enough.



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61 Responses to “16 Items To Help You Hunker Down in Comfort”

  1. I would include a musical instrument such as a guitar, harmonica, or my personal favorite, a mountain dulcimer. You don’t have to be good, just entertaining.

  2. The first several listed items related to hygiene are must-haves because they’ll be among the first things to be sold out at the stores and likely among the hardest to get. Lay in your supplies now.

  3. I will be putting together a “hobby kit/package”. I’m a wood carver (VERY amateur), but often have too many irons in the fire to sit and just carve.
    I would put all the items needed for one small project in one box. At the end of the “storm” I might have a completed item!!

  4. The Hunker Down Game made me laugh out loud, so I would echo the addition of a sense of humor and joke books. But I MUST have my furry, soft socks to feel truly comforted.

  5. I would have a comb (or brush), pony tail elastics, a mirror, and fingernails files/implements. I use them everyday and would miss them..

  6. I would have tea, and my knitting and crochet projects. For my kids I would have extra toys on hand that they haven’t seen before as well as kid level games and crayons with paper also candy and food they were not allergic to. My husband would need the coffee.

  7. Sorry, I have to disagree with the cosmetics, and even possibly the shaving items. I hardly ever wear ANY makeup, I seldom shave during the winter, and my hubby has had a beard since before we were married 35 year ago. (He does trim it; doesn’t quite go for the Duck Dynasty look!) Much more important things to spend my money on for prepping.

  8. hmm…..fav games are rummikube, 3-13 and polish poker (card games) and farkle. Also yarn and material for crochet floor rugs and toothbrush rugs or sewing in general. Books are a yes, too.

  9. IF I HAD to leave my house, my 3 cats would come with me. They are my ‘comfort’ zone! (plus they keep me warm!)

    • Cats: Definitely. Just don’t forget to hit up your vet ahead of time for some kitty tranks. Our cats freaked when we put them in a tent under the shade tree while tenting the house. They would not eat, would not drink. Kitty tranks saved them. Even so, I spent a lot of time with them. They were extremely upset, and cats cannot go long without drinking.

  10. Etch A Sketch – see who can make the best or worst drawings. The best part is there are no batteries needed. This is a perfect toy for people who like to doodle and it uses no paper

    Puzzles – several people can work on this while chatting

  11. Haagen Dazs chocolate on chocolate is one item I know that I would miss. Not something I would be able to put in my bucket (lol)but something I would miss. I would put my family’s daily devotions for children in my bucket. The memories I have from this book, reading to my children and now my grandchildren, could get me through worst of times…

  12. my posion would be diet pepsi. then chocolate of any kind. Gotta have my two cats and my dog, they give me love and keep me nice and warm. I agree on the cd & dvd player, or atleast an mp3 player. I hate shaving, so I would go without shaving (I only do it because my work requires me to). Plus I have to have my Sudoku books as well.

  13. I am both a Hurricane Andrew and Katrina survivor. I carry lots of cash, as many flashlights and extra batteries as possible. Lets not forget the TV or storm radio. Also I stock up on a little extra gas, bottled water and drink stixs,beef jerky, and any meds I may need for my allergies. I also load up all my ice chests and ice packs. First aid kit, important papers. Also books and candles. Fire extuigusher wouldn’t hurt either. And last but not least, disposable cameras! Great for insurance purposes and archiving the catastrophic event!

  14. I like this idea I grew up with hurricanes but now have to worry about tornadoes. I would have to have my shotgun just in case of unsavory types. I think I would try to stick to the non electronics and use it as family time.

  15. #1) A bible – good old printed version – even if you are non religious a bible can give you comforting reading, and read aloud can give comfort to others – also requires no power source!

    #2) Comfort foods! Canned peaches, candy you have sitting in the living room, poptarts, hot pockets – whatever you or others like to snack on, even if it usually is considered unhealthy!

    #3) Games – small board games, rubix cube, favorite toys – mostly for the children and pets, but us grownups sometimes need simple things to help us take our mind off of whats happening for a few minutes.

    #4) Pet food / toys / puppy pads / litter box (with air freshener!) for the four legged family members!

    #5) Remember to grab the toilet paper and facial tissues out of the bathroom on your way to your bug-in location (if not in your home – maybe a cellar or some place near your home).

  16. A Bible would be at the top of the list & a crank or solar flashlight to read.

    I would add marshmallows & candy canes for the hot chocolate. Also a box of Graham Crackers & candy bars for s’mores.

  17. Once again, Gaye, you are spot on.

    The comfort items you mention would go a long way in relieving the stress of an abnormal situation. Stress can lead to mistakes, which can have serious consequences. A cup of coffee, even instant, can help you relax a bit.

    Your comment about coloring books hit a nerve with me. A decade ago, while playing in the sandbox, someone sent us a collection of coloring books and crayons. They were almost as popular as the TV. At any given time, there would be one or two folks coloring. Granted, they were adult coloring books – not dirty, but adult subjects like Victorian Mansions, classic sailing ships, etc. – that are available at good toy stores. Very relaxing. Very entertaining in a quiet way.

    Personal hygiene is critical in an emergency situation. Having the ability to wash – your hands if nothing else – will go a long way in avoiding diseases or illness. Nothing worse than a case of the trots when you have other things to worry about. As for the rest of the stuff, you can think much more clearly if you feel good about yourself. If that means a shave, so be it. If that means putting on lipstick, ditto. I would avoid perfumes or aftershaves, though. They can be overpowering in a small area.

    If you are a smoker, I would suggest a bag of roll-your-own tobacco and papers. Much less expensive than regular cigarettes, and if you have to roll a cigarette every time you think you want a smoke, you will cut down on your smoking considerably.

    I would also add a clock – a small, inexpensive wall clock. It will help you stay oriented in a disorientating situation. A quick glance will tell you how long it is to sundown, or that you haven’t seen so-and-so in a while, or that the news is on in 5 minutes. You might call it a touch of normalcy in an abnormal situation.

    Thanks again for a good, thought provoking article.


    • The coloring books “soupbone” refers to are made by Dover, which is easy to google. And don’t forget to get at least two of the biggest boxes (128) Crayons!! You cigar smokers get a box or two of your favorites-transportation systems have been and will again be disrupted by inclement weather. The interstate across most of Wyoming was closed for 3 days because of snow this year. And for God’s sake, please don’t build in an area that is subject to wildfires. Creating winds up 100mph and more, if you’ve watched California this year, there are million’s of dollars smoke from homes going up in smoke.Some people too. Forget the liquor-you need a clear head all the time in a natural or man-made catastrophe. That goes for the pot too.

  18. I’m also adding instruments to the list. The hubby strumming while the kids drum and shake a tamborine would make it seems like a normal evening at home.

    The kids also like to craft, so I think I’d add a few simple hobby crafting items or even small kits. The loom, socks puppet kits, beads…..

  19. A puzzle for everyone to work on while the power is out. Baby wipes so you can freshen up without using water. With hurricanes, you usually have plenty of advance warning, so bake some cookies or brownies to have on hand while the power is out. During Hurricane Ike, we had a generator but did not run it continuously. One of the funniest things I remember is my husband on his laptop by candle light. I had to remind him that while the generator was running, he might as well plug in a lamp! We were without power for 15 days after Hurricane Ike. We made it through just fine, while the 6 o’clock news was full of people saying, “poor me, I don’t have anything to eat!” We knew the hurricane was coming for at least four days. Plenty of time to get groceries, bottled water and gasoline for the generator. Apparently there are lots of people in the path of hurricanes who never went to Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts to learn the “Be Prepared!” motto.

  20. Pictures in an album…even a small album. How can this not make you smile and want to look forward to the future?

  21. I know I’m late to this party, but I just discovered this site — thank you for all of it!

    My family and I were forced to hunker in at our home in Monroe, CT, when Hurricane Gloria screamed up the coast. No electricity, a non-functional heater because the oil pumps require the grid to operate, and essentially unable to leave due to all of the roads being closed off from downed trees and power lines.

    We had a fairly easy time of it with food, water, a large of wood for the fireplace, oil lamps and candles and a hand-crank radio for news updates and a wee bit of entertainment — lessons learned from the times we lived in Florida.

    The single biggest comfort+entertainment+bonding+++ was, however, our books. We did not go off to a quiet spot to read our books in solitude — we took turns reading out loud to each other by firelight. It ‘s truly an awesome experience.

  22. I would love to print some of your articles, but don’t want to include all the “extra” stuff that accompanies it. Can you provide a clean, printable article also? Thank you.

  23. To Desert Fox:

    Select the text you want to print with your mouse, then right-click and click on Print. It should give the option to print “selection”. It will only print what you have highlighted with the mouse.

  24. It would definitely be a good time to “hunker down” and read a good book. I’m always misplacing my reading glasses, so I will make sure to have an extra pair stored away…

  25. “Shoe Goo” – it’s kind of like duck tape in a tube. Sure, you can fix shoes with it, but you can also use it anywhere you need a flexible or waterproof joint. Last thing I used it for was to fix my eyeglasses – the tensioner in the earpiece decided to give up the ghost, leaving me with no effective glasses. I filled the socket with shoe goo, jammed the two pieces together and smeared a light layer over the whole joint. It held together until I could get them replaced.

  26. I was “stuck” at home for 2 months this year due to an injury. Only got out to go to the occasional doctor appointment. I discovered that I have all I need with the exception of eggs. To me, eggs are a comfort food and even if I don’t eat them every day, if I run out I am stressed. I only went to the grocer 4 times in the 2 months so I would say I am pretty well set for a bug in – food and water stored; crafty things stored; lots of books needing to be read. If I have to bug out, I have my bags packed and ready to go. I always keep my gas tank topped off – don’t let it get below 1/2 a tank. I have a car emergency kit and working on upgrading it. I also have a place to go that is out in the country and a relatively safe place to park myself. My friend is also a prepper so we will be OK for the time being.

    Something that I would suggest after reading these comments: make sure you have a spare set of glasses. Keep up on your dental and vision doctoring. The last thing you want is to lose teeth or vision in an emergency. I have talked to my doctor about stocking up on antibiotics. He is thinking about it but did not have a recommendation on how to store it long term. I think if it is 1/2 strength it would be better than none in an emergency situation – am I wrong? Any suggestions on this and other meds for that matter?

    • Leal — regarding antibiotics:

      Sulfa antibiotics are a worthwhile addition to your kit. They are usually available as powders that have a very, very long shelf-life (as long as they are kept dry) and were the mainstay for field use in the 30’s and 40’s. Should your stock of “modern” antibiotics run out or go bad, you’ll have an excellent back-up.

  27. the key here is to have at least some of the things that bring comfort to you & those with you and make you feel human…be it the Bible, M&M’s or the fixin’ for chocolote chip cookies….yum yum…a bottle of Crown Royal…..those comfort items with help keep you & yours from going bonkers… remember stay cool…

    • I also love my Kindle, but in the ice storm a couple of week’s ago, since the power was out our router was out and the company we get Internet from also had no power. It never occurred to me that we would have no Internet access when we had no power. Our cell phones worked just fine, bu
      t Kindle content was limited to stuff I had previously downloaded. I have gotten in the habit of checking books from our library and using the “read in browser” option. I guess that is one more thing I need to add to my prepping for bad weather list: download some content before the power goes out.

  28. I must have my slippers and fuzzy socks. You can also make Battleship Shots with some shot glasses, 2 pizza boxes, a marker and your favorite drink. A round or 2 of this and you won’t care if the grid is down. 😉

  29. If we are talking comfort here let’s not forget a HERC oven. Why? because it bakes!!! Who wouldn’t feel better about their situation with a nice warm chocolate chip cookie in hand! You could bake inside in the comfort of your shelter with tea candles and eat fresh warm bread, roasted chicken, pies and cakes, If someone had a birthday you can still have cake! Comfort foods make all the difference in bare bones surviving and experiencing real peace and comfort and the ability to think clearly in a bad situation.

  30. When I was younger we experienced a major winter storm that shut things down for a long time. My baby brother was still in diapers and the disposables ran out so Mom had to use the hand towels from the bathroom for diapers. So I have cloth diapers,rubber pants and diaper pins in my preps. Cloth diapers can be washed and reused in an emergency.

  31. Wow, thinking about this makes me realize I need to lay in a supply of my dog’s favorite bones. He gets a new one around once a week/10 days. Sooner if I’m sick and need him to lay quietly on the floor for a few hours.

    My wife and I will have to shelter in place due to both of our disabilities. God forbid we’re stuck in our apartment building with a seriously bored dog! I wonder what the average shelf life of a bone is?

  32. Gaye, I am concerned that the thread thru the replies at least hint that everyone is prepping for a natural bad storm like some experience most winters, or others face in the spring tornado season. Over the years I have read your work I have felt you are preparing for a fare more serious and long term event. I don’t know if the story of the orchestra continued to play while the titanic sank is true, but it seems we may be doing something similar, will you please comment

    • Pat – To be perfectly honest, I feel that I am personally well-prepped for an act of nature. The consequences of an earthquake or tsunami or extended power outage in my area may not be pleasant, but I feel that I can handle the stress and put my mental and physical preps on autopilot if something like that were to happen.

      You are correct that I prep for a much more devastating and universal disruptive event. The global economy is quite fragile and some time, somewhere, we just might be blind sighted by a cyber attack including a man-made EMP or terrorist event. Am I am prepped for that? Not really.

      Yes, I can live off grid but like many, I have become so dependent upon technology as a way of life that I cannot begin to fathom the consequences.

      Doing the best we can is all we can do. Heck, given my age, something like this may not happen in my lifetime. I can only hope that through my work, the younger generations will get wise to the ways of the world, and prepare themselves for the possibility if not probability, that sometime within the next 20 years, life as we know it will change.

  33. Don’t forget a supply of your daily medications… and maybe some tranks for any nervous nellies.

  34. Unless you relish the idea of pulling your own teeth, I’d leave off the M&M’s. I’ve lost 5 teeth to that particular addiction. Once I learned what was destroying my teeth, I quit eating them and have had no more problems. If you must have something sugary, find something that doesn’t glue itself to your teeth, no matter how much you brush.

  35. Great list. In my hunker down supplies, I include a battery operated cd player so I can listen to music and audio books. And I also enjoy the game “Cards Against Humanity”- even in dire straits it will make you laugh.

  36. I found a cool little black book at a discount store full of things to do if the power goes off, for kids and adults (no, it doesn’t include THAT! lol).

  37. Is this a joke???? I’m staying in Panama City Beach, Fl for Michael so I was looking for help. Came across this bs article thinking it would help!

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