Prepping must-haves: 10 Essential items that will keep working even after an EMP attack
By Darnel Fernandez // Oct 18, 2019

The threat of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack is surely one of the scariest potential disasters the U.S. could face today. A successful attack could send the nation back hundreds of years, changing society as we know it. Even the sun has the capability of blasting the Earth with an EMP through solar storms. (h/t to


EMPs target solid-state electronics, meaning that any item that relies on an electronic circuit will stop working. The electrical grid will go down and a vast majority of things you rely on today will be as useful as a glorified paperweight. If SHTF, how prepared would you be to handle the aftermath? (Related: Surviving EMP threats: The prepper's guide to modern EMP protection.)

A post-EMP survival kit

While most devices will be rendered useless, stocking up on these 10 non-electronic items may help you survive in a post-EMP world.

  1. Knives. Unsurprisingly, knives remain to be one of the most versatile survival tools available in any prepper's arsenal and they don't even need electricity to work their magic. You can use them to cut kindling and firewood, help start a fire, open cans, cut bandages and many more.
  2. Faraday cage (and whatever you put in it). Named after the inventor Michael Faraday, this device is simply any container that can shield the contents from an electromagnetic field. Even something as mundane as a metal garbage bin can be used to protect essential electronics inside. While there isn't a guarantee that it would fully protect the items, it's still better than having no chance at all. Also, it would be wise to invest in a solar charger to charge the electronics placed inside the cage.
  3. Bicycles. Most cars will be rendered non-functional by an EMP blast, making a bicycle the most reliable mode of transportation. They do not require electricity and can be modified with attachments such as trailers and baskets to make bugging out or just general transportation a breeze.
  4. Bicycle air pump. Having a bicycle is cool and all but it all goes downhill once your tire flattens. A hand-powered air pump will help you get back on the road quicker than outright replacing the tire. Additionally, these pumps can even inflate car tires in case you do find one that works post-EMP.
  5. Hand tools. In addition to knives, any tool that doesn't require electricity will be vital to survival. Having axes, shovels, wrenches, and hammers on hand may let you handle any survival situation.
  6. Manual water pump. In a post-EMP world, finding clean water will be an issue. Even with access to a well, all the water will go to waste if all you have is an electric pump. Having a manual water pump available will alleviate this problem.
  7. Can opener. Most preppers have a stockpile of canned goods available if SHTF. However, not having a can opener to open them will make eating much more difficult. While knives can be used to open cans, make your life easier by using a regular non-electrical can opener.
  8. Lighters. If SHTF, cooking and lighting may become an issue if you don't have access to fire. Make sure you've stockpiled a decent amount of disposable lighters and waterproof matches.
  9. Books. Having the means to stop boredom can save your sanity in a world without the internet (or pretty much any other electronic device). Books can not only give you entertainment but also give you valuable knowledge needed to survive. If you don't have very many books in your possession, it might be in your best interest to change that.
  10. Guns and ammunition. Security will be one of your top priorities in a post-EMP world. Lands will become lawless and you need to find a way to protect yourself from raiders. Guns and ammunition don't need electricity to function, making them ideal for protection. Always remember to keep up with gun maintenance and stock up on a large ammunition supply. If you really want to go old-school, you can even make do with a bow and arrow for silent take-downs.

No matter how you look at it, an EMP attack is bad news all around. Nobody knows how long it would take before the grid comes back on; if it even has the chance to restart at all. Surviving in a post-EMP world is difficult but definitely still possible, if you come prepared.

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