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The Adhesives and Glues Every Prepper Needs

Avatar for Samantha Biggers Samantha Biggers  |  Updated: October 19, 2019
The Adhesives and Glues Every Prepper Needs

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Glue is an important thing but it often gets overlooked until it is needed the most. Having a variety of glues and adhesives on hand is a wise move for any prepper.

Glues and adhesives are not expensive preps to keep on hand. Just throw a tube of this or that in your cart once in a while and store it well and you will have a good selection on hand.

In general, I would try to buy good name brands. When you want something to hold you don’t want a variety that someone has cut corners on to save a little money.

A few uses for glue you may not know about:

  • Glues can help reseal items that you use often. Even a water bottle or canteen can be repaired with a little bit of glue.
  • Tents are notorious for getting small holes and seams eventually need to be resealed. Brushing or dabbing on some glue can make your tent watertight and usable.
  • The ends of ropes and fabrics can be protected from fraying and unraveling with a little bit of carefully applied glue.

Weaker glues serve a purpose too and are sometimes preferable, but this article is going to concentrate on glues and adhesives that offer a very strong bond or sealing capabilities. For those that just want some basic glue for light-duty, a big jug of Elmer’s Glue is one inexpensive option. Hot glue guns are not recommended because they require electricity. That is not to say you shouldn’t consider hot glue for some projects during good times, but stockpiling a lot of hot glue is probably not going to be that useful. I suppose you may be able to melt the glue over a fire but that seems like a big hassle to me and possibly a huge mess.

Alternative Glues and Substitutes

I wrote an article detailing very basic glues and recipes for making your own chemical-free alternatives. It is important to be realistic about what a homemade adhesive can do compared to an advanced polymer. For those that are interested in homemade glues and glue substitutes, here is a link to my article.

Super Glue and Super Glue Singles

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Matt found some single-use super glues at a discount store called Fred’s. We thought these were pretty neat because it means you can just open and use a little at a time rather than opening a whole tube or container for a small job, only to have it dry out or thicken before you need to use it again.

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That is not to say that you should not have some big tubes as well. Some people have even used Super Glue for emergency wound closure. This is an example where a small single-use tube could come in handy when it is critical to close a wound and there is nothing else available to quickly handle the situation.

Baking soda can be applied to large cracks and gaps in a surface and super glue applied over it to create a strong material that is watertight.

Expanding Gorilla Glue

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This is very useful for filling in smaller spaces and gaps while creating a very tight bond. As the label says, it bonds virtually everything and expands to 3 times its size to make sure gaps are well filled. Of course, you can sand or trim excess after it dries. Just remember to use this glue lightly so that you don’t get a ton of waste and excess expansion.

Liquid Nails

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My main experience with Liquid Nails is using it to glue down subflooring on a house or tool shed. If you want a strong floor that doesn’t squeak then you need to use nails or screws but also some Liquid Nails. It creates a tight bond that eliminates the squeaks that can be really annoying, especially as a new house or building is settling on the foundation. It can be hard or even impossible to get a floor to stop squeaking if you skip this step initially.


This is useful for waterproofing and sealing but it is also useful for sticking things together. The bond is not always the greatest if force is applied but it serves a purpose.

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Some silicones come in a small tube but your biggest bang for your buck is to get the type that can fit into a caulk gun and have a few caulk guns on hand. A case of silicone doesn’t cost much and can do a lot during an SHTF situation.

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Everyone needs a tube of Goop. This stuff is amazingly tough and long-lasting. When my husband Matt was a teenager he drilled out a youth-sized Dixie Slammer metal baseball batt and filled it with water. The hole was filled with Goop. The batt was forgotten in storage for years and then we got it when we moved to our place. Well, that water and Goop are still in there and it is still a great non-lethal weapon.

Shoe Goo

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Some of you are not aware that when I was a teenager in Washington state, my passion was skateboarding. I was homeschooled so I was done with work at a certain point. I would spend hours and hours each day practicing. As a result, I had need of Shoe Goo. Skateboard shoes were really expensive to a kid like me. At $70 a pair, I tried to find the marked down styles for $30-$40 when I could but I still always repaired them with Shoe Goo. I could get a bit of extra time out of them and honestly back in the day, it made you look like you were a little bit hardcore to have worn your shoes out like that. Oh, how we are when we are young.

Now on to the present. During a long emergency or SHTF situation, you may need to keep your shoes going a little bit longer than you are accustomed to. Shoe Goo comes in an aluminum tube that you have to poke a hole in the end in order to dispense. This means it is well sealed and as long as you don’t puncture the metal, it should stay shelf-stable for quite some time. The Shoe Goo I have always bought comes in a cardboard and plastic carton too so you have quite a bit of extra protection from punctures if you store a few tubes for a long emergency.


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This can be used to repair a variety of tools and equipment. Plenty of people use it for repairs on the bodies of cars for example. A little goes a long way. J-B Weld makes a lot of different epoxies and sealants so I encourage you to explore the brand more.

Cascamite Powdered Resin Wood Glue

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This glue product is not one I have personally used but I could not help but add it into this post because it is a product that you mix with water to form a glue. This is appealing because it should stay good to use unless it gets wet. From what I can tell, it is a primarily UK product but it would be worth it to order some if you want a glue that is very shelf stable and strong.

Construction Adhesive

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This is a glue that most people are going to just want to buy in caulk style tubes or in squeeze bottles or small tubes that don’t require a caulk gun

If you want to really put back a lot of strong glue, then a 1-gallon bucket of construction adhesive may be the answer. This is a lot of glue and you will need to keep it well sealed or it will ruin.

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It may be possible to repackage it into smaller containers if you take care to do it well and are willing to pay the extra packaging costs. Personally, Matt told me that it is a terrible idea due to the potential for a huge mess. I tend to agree with him after thinking about it.


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Nuts, bolts, and anything that is threaded can benefit from the holding power of Loctite. There are different formulas and colors depending on just how strong of a hold you are going for. Blue is considered removable whereas the red version is for when you want a nut or bolt to be permanently held in place.

Loctite comes in small tubes that are easy to store and well packaged. You would be amazed at how much you need this stuff if you have to use tools and machines to get work done outside.

Titebond Wood Glue

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This company makes a lot of good glues for different purposes. It is one of the best wood glues out there. When we have done woodworking projects around here this is what we have used. You can get it in gallon jugs that are very easy to reseal and appear to stay good for many years after opening. If you clamp wood and glue it with this, you will not be able to break the bond without major damage to the wood if you can even get it apart to start with.

Working with wood is something that you are probably going to have to do during a long emergency even if it is just a minor repair to your furniture.

Gasket Glue

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If you need to repair engines, then gasket glue is what you need. This will allow you to get a good seal on things such as the head gasket on a small engine. Rebuilding head gaskets takes time but it can be done with the right tools and sealants. Matt has done this for several motors over the years and saved us a lot of hassle and money. It is hard to find good mechanics that actually want to do the work. I am sure some of you can relate to this frustrating fact. It is just going to get worse since there has been an effort to discourage hardworking and talented younger people from going into trades like automotive and small engine repair.

DAP Roof Asphalt Filler and Sealant

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This is a heavy-duty sealant but I have to warn you that it takes a full week to cure out. The results are great though. Don’t get me wrong you can use areas sooner than a week but you don’t want to have someone walking directly on it for a few days. Matt has used this to help seal around our doorways and the thresholds that in the past tended to collect more water than we would have liked.

Some glues work better on some materials than others.

Some glues and adhesives are better for metal or glass than others. That is not to say a glue will not work at all but the bond will likely be weak and come loose much sooner than if you get a glue that is specifically made for the job. That is why it is important to have a small selection of glues to choose from.

Epoxies are better for long term storage than many types of glue.

Since epoxies are activated by combining two parts rather than just being exposed to air, they are far less likely to go bad in storage. This means that you should have at least some epoxies in your preps for long emergency use and some other less shelf-stable but convenient glues.


Glues can get messy. For some glues and sealants just being careful and applying a thin line is the best rule to go by. For other types of glue, a brush is what you need to get a smooth and even application.


Clamping two items together can result in a stronger bond. C-clamps and inexpensive carpentry clamps that you can tighten down with a trigger mechanism are handy to have on hand. For really big glue projects you can get pipe clamps that offer a lot of force and can clamp together wide boards.

Cure and Dry Times

Many types of glue and epoxies have guidelines for dry to touch and total cure times. If you can wait for the total cure time for regular to rough use then you will be better off. Pay attention to what the label says for the best results. If you are in a rush, then you might want to pick something that has a faster timeline until it is usable.

Temperature can have a big effect on your drying and cure times.

Too hot or too cold can be bad for glues and epoxies. Check the label and add heat or find a cool place to glue as needed.

Realize the limitations of any bonding material

Any bond will weaken over time and with the stressors that are applied to it. Glue and epoxies cannot perform miracles. Watch out for cracks and fissures in a bond if you can see it. Remember that reapply a glue or adhesive may not work as well as you expect if you are just applying it over old glue and epoxy. You may need to sand or rough up a surface to increase the quality of the bond.

In some cases gluing may need to just be a temporary fix until more appropriate means are available. For example, using Super Glue on a wound may be a lifesaver but it is not necessarily a permanent solution to the problem.

Glue and epoxy can be used to help add strength to other methods of binding things together such as staples or nails. Anything that takes some stress off of another bonding measure is going to be helpful.

Glue and adhesives are items that will hold some value during a long emergency or SHTF

During good times we take it for granted that we will be able to get basic items even if the cost goes up or down a bit due to various factors. That is not how it will be during long events. At some point, the basic things we take for granted will not be available or they will be too valuable for some to afford. People may have to make choices like trading or buying food rather than some of the things that can make life a little easier.

You also have to be careful about buying or trading for products because there are plenty of people that will sell or trade items that are not what they seem. There are some sick people out there that are already planning on selling counterfeit goods. They have it all planned out and are pretty proud of the fact since they talk about it on social media.

What types of glues and adhesives do you keep on hand? Is there one missing from my post that I should know about?

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12 Responses to “The Adhesives and Glues Every Prepper Needs”

  1. Be advised that none of these products have a very long shelf life, even when unopened. (Thinking long term SHTF shelf life). Caulking(s) will last about 2 years unopened, Shoe Goop about the same and the glues are generally opened for immediate use and then hardened within a year. The powdered glue looks interesting I have to admit…
    Yes these are good products to have. The JB Weld, the RV gasket cement, etc. are all products that I have and use occasionally but at 62 years of age and a prepper for about 47 of those years (Thank You Mrs Beasly for making me read Alas Babylon in 10th grade) and working in the construction fields and 24 years Army (active and Guard/Reserve), I’ve grabbed too many tubes of this adhesive or that caulking and it was dried up…uugghhh! Buy it, use it…buy some more, hopefully, when you need it, it will still be pliable.

    • Rob, I was a bit stunned when you mentioned “Alas Babylon”. It was on our sophomore reading list in HS back in ’62 and I’ve not heard of many who have read it. Also, I completely agree with you on shelf life. I worked for GE Aerospace back when and was responsible for seeing that everything we used met the Mil-spec for shelf life. As you say, most were only good out to 2 years…not that they wouldn’t work after that, just no guarantee they would work as well so we had to pull them from stock after then. The Gov’t. auditors would pull random checks to insure that all stock shelf life was up to date. 🙂

  2. I have found that Shoe Goop is a good silicone sealer but RTV Marine grade Silicone sealer works better and will take abrasion better. The construction adhesives work great on just about any material as long as the two pieces being bonded together are clean. Over all good article makes you start thinking about what you will need during SHTF situations.

  3. For two part epoxies, squirt the amounts you need into a zip-lock bag. Then close the bag and knead the parts together without muss or fuss. Trim off a corner and squirt it out like a cake decorator. Works great.

  4. 100% incorrect about sticks of hot melt adhesives – a few in the bottom of your bag can be a lifesaver – never expires or deteriorates – heat the end and smear a quik DIY fix …

  5. FYI on tape. Duct tape is fantastic, but, it does not adhere to paper very well. Packing tape is your best bet for cardboard, paper or painted sheet rock. Apply the duct tape to the packing tape.

  6. Just be aware the two part Gorilla glue is VERY dangerous to dogs. My dog who at the time was still a puppy and very inquisitive, found and ate the packaged glue, which hadn’t even been opened yet. I called poison control for pets as I was very concerned for his health. Because the glue “expands” there is no antidote for it. So keep this one well out of the reach of any pet.

  7. Fingernail glue. Ever ripped a fingernail so far down you can’t cut it off until it grows some (like weeks. LOL) Fingernail glue and a thin/cheap bandaid cut to fit the area will keep you from catching the rip on every single thing in the world until it grows out enough to cut off the ripped portion. (and save you from so much pain, it’s so worth the expense)

  8. Years ago when “Goop” hit the market and came out with Shoe Goop, Marine Goop, Plumber’s Goop, etc., I called the company seeking the difference between the various “Goops”. According to the lady with whom I spoke, the only difference in the various “Goops” is the tube that Goop is put is. Yep, the same glue in different tubes for marketing, but it seems to work.
    I know the glue works. I’ve used it for years.

  9. An adhesive I’ve used is 3M’s
    Windoweld. I believe it is urethane based, and it’s only available in color black. It is exceedingly tough material when cured. Emphasis on ‘exceedingly’. My company installed sprayed on urethane truck bed liners. If anyone ever tore out a divot in a (black) bedliner, we would use Windoweld to spot patch it.
    If working with Windoweld, I highly recommend wearing disposable gloves. Getting Windoweld on your hands?Doesn’t matter how well you try cleaning it off, you’ll wear ‘black’ for days. And forget about getting it off clothing. This is the adhesive used in windshield replacements. It’s completely (100 %), waterproof and very chemical resistant. It also holds up well against fuels spills.

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