Save money on your preps by looking for these 13 items at thrift stores
11/06/2019 / By Zoey Sky / Comments
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Save money on your preps by looking for these 13 items at thrift stores

Preppers are patient, resourceful, and thrifty. If you don’t mind walking a bit, visit thrift stores to find cheaper prepping gear with only a bit of wear and tear.

If you’re not sure what to look for, here are 13 useful items that you can buy at thrift stores. (h/t to

Extra backpacks

Buy extra backpacks if you’re preparing bug-out bags (BOBs) for your family. You probably won’t find high-end rucksacks for your main BOB, but the bags you can get at thrift stores should be fine for the bare essentials.

Spare tools

It’s good to have a high-quality set of tools at home, but if you have extra money, why not buy a spare set? You never know when you’ll need a replacement for your hammer or saw.

Keep an eye out for gardening items and tools, such as:

  • Hand tools for digging and planting
  • Heirloom seeds
  • Splatter screens – use the screens to air dry seeds that you want to save for the next planting season
  • Spray bottles of various sizes
  • Watering cans


You may find used items that need cleaning or new cookware still in boxes that you can use at home, for cooking or bugging out. Look for Dutch ovens, iron pots, and skillets.

Canning jars

If you preserve food at home, you may find canning jars and other kinds of canning equipment in thrift stores.


You can find different kinds of clothing in thrift stores.

The best time to shop for clothes is after Christmas, which is when people often donate unwanted or unused gifts. Look for winter clothes during spring to save money on boots, gloves, hats, and winter coats.

Hunting clothing and gear

The end of the hunting season is a good time to look for cheap hunting clothing and gear like binoculars, camouflage clothes, and hunting hides.

Camping and hiking gear

Camping and hiking gear such as camp stoves and tents that have only been used once can be found in thrift stores. Alternatively, you can find older items that were recently replaced with newer gear.


You can find lots of old books in thrift stores, which you’ll need to entertain yourself when SHTF. Look for cookbooks, DIY guides, or survival books, too.


If you need candles, head to the nearest thrift store that might have tons of unwanted, gifted candles.

Ask around if the store has bags of stubs or broken candles that you can get for a couple of dollars. Melt broken candles and recast the wax into fresh candles.

Vintage wool blankets

Wool blankets are comfortable, but they’re becoming unpopular since they are also very bulky, heavy, and slow to dry. However, preppers know that wool blankets are durable, fire-resistant, and good for providing insulation, even when wet. (Related: The many survival uses of wool blankets.)

Board games

If you have kids at home, you can use board games to keep them entertained during an emergency, like a power outage. Even the adults can play board games when they’re bored.

Look for old favorites like Monopoly or Scrabble so the whole family can pass the time in a fun way while the power is out.

Discarded jewelry

You won’t be wearing jewelry when SHTF, but you can use broken necklaces and single earrings for trading. Look for items made of gold, silver, or precious metal that you can barter with when society collapses.


If you can’t find buckets at a thrift store, ask around. You need a lot of buckets in a post-SHTF world. These versatile containers can be used for storing bulk goods or for carrying water.

Save money on prepping gear and tools by shopping at thrift stores.

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