Survival tips: 8 Places to scavenge for supplies after SHTF
By Zoey Sky // Sep 16, 2021

In disaster movies, survivors often scavenge for supplies in abandoned homes or grocery stores. While it makes sense to search these places for supplies, in a real-life survival scenario these locations would be the first ones wiped out if a lot of people were unprepared before SHTF.


If you're worried about where to find more supplies in a post-SHTF world, check out the eight locations detailed below. (h/t to

These locations are less obvious choices for scavenging but if you check them carefully, you may find tools or food and other supplies that will help you survive after disaster strikes. Be alert while scavenging and always search with a trusted friend or two so you can protect each other if you encounter other people who aren't willing to share.

Note that you can probably scavenge in these places after disaster strikes. Don't risk your life entering private property when things are normal.

Office buildings

Office buildings will be abandoned quickly after SHTF. The good thing is, they’re also gold mines for scavengers.

They’re not as obvious as supermarkets, but offices will have lots of useful items:

  • Search kitchen areas where staff usually store food and make drinks. You might also find food and bottled water.
  • Search through desks, drawers and cupboards where office workers tend to keep their snacks.
  • Vending machines will be full of chocolate, chips and bottled or canned drinks.
  • Check conference rooms too. Companies usually provide employees or clients with bottled water during meetings.

Aside from food and drinks, you might be able to find other supplies like first aid kits with medical supplies at offices. Lastly, check the toilets for paper towels and toilet paper.

You can also grab some stationary supplies like paper and pens for entertaining or home schooling children.


After SHTF, head to schools for useful supplies.

First, check the school kitchen for food and cooking equipment. You might also find snacks and bottled water in the staff room and teachers’ offices.

Schools will also have medical equipment and some medications. Check the nurses office for medical equipment. If there is no school nurses office, you might find medical equipment stored elsewhere, like in the school office. Look for first aid kits in different areas throughout the school.

When facing a long-term disaster scenario, some form of education will be important. Scavenge at schools to get equipment and books so you can educate your children after SHTF.

Storage units

Storage units are a mixed bag. After SHTF, head to industrial buildings offering self storage.

Some people use storage units to store extra furniture or to clear out their garages. You might find useful items like clothing, tools and equipment in storage units.

Additionally, you might find furniture for your bug-out location. Even if you don't need more furniture for your home or hideout, you can use furniture as materials to fortify your property.

Get wooden furniture and disassemble them for materials to increase your home security, like wood for boarding up windows.

Farm buildings

Exercise caution before scavenging in farms. If the farm isn't entirely government ran, the owner might still be in it.

If this is the case, do not try to loot it. Instead, ask politely if they have extra supplies to spare or if they need your help with chores in exchange for food. You can also try to barter with them.

If the farm is abandoned, search it for animal feeds, medications and water tanks. Check vehicles for fuel that you can use for your own car.

Keep an eye out for seeds and fertilizer that you can use to grow your own produce in a home garden. Lastly, check every nook and cranny for tools and equipment.

Pet stores/retailers

Stop by a pet store to scavenge for pet food, treats and toys for your pets.

If you're desperate, you can also eat pet food. Otherwise, get some food and supplies for your pets.

Car dealers and workshops

Car dealers may not be the first place to scavenge after SHTF, but you can find some useful items in them.

Car dealers sometimes provide drinks for their customers, so you may find bottled water and some vending machines with snacks. Check the workshop for tools that you can use to repair your car or equipment.

Marinas and RV parks

People often spend the holidays or long weekends at marinas and RV parks. When SHTF, these places might be a source of longer lasting food and drinks.

Check abandoned boats and RVs for food. You might also find supplies at a small shop or office on site, like more food and drinks.

Boats and RVs will have first aid kits so keep an eye out for medical equipment. These places could also contain portable off-grid cooking equipment like bottled gas connected to a small cooker that you can remove.

If you have a bug-out car, check smaller boats for petrol and bigger boats for diesel. There might also be jerry cans at the marina for transporting fuel easily.


You probably won't find food or bottled water at a junkyard, but it's worth searching one if you need various tools and materials for home and car repairs.

In a pinch, you might be able to find materials for makeshift weapons at a junkyard.

Other unexpected places to scavenge after SHTF

Here are other places you can check for supplies if you don't have any luck with the options listed above:

  • Amusement parks will have food, water, first aid supplies and various tools.
  • Feed supply stores will have animal feed that might provide enough nutrition until you find better sources of food. You can also just use the feed for your own livestock, if you're keeping any.
  • The local fire station will have lots of first aid supplies, tools and water. Check the fire engine's main tank with tens of thousands of gallons of water. Filter the water if you plan on drinking it.
  • Check abandoned vehicles for supplies like batteries and fuel.

When SHTF, scavenge places like offices, schools or RV parks for supplies. Conduct your search with someone you trust so you can keep an eye out for other looters.

Go to for more tips on how to scavenge for supplies safely after SHTF.

Sources include:

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