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Survival essentials: Items you’ll need to survive a winter power outage
By Zoey Sky // Feb 09, 2023

Even if you're an experienced prepper, you have to work hard to make sure you have the right supplies that will help you get through a winter power outage.

After all, when winter storms start sweeping across the country, they often cause power outages that can last for days or even weeks. Fortunately, if you start early you can prepare for winter power outages. (h/t to AskAPrepper.com)

Before SHTF, you need a supply of food, water and off-grid cooking appliances. You should also have some backup power options, but you need other items that can make a winter power outage more bearable.

Here are eight common but useful items you need to survive a winter power outage.

Board games

Board games may seem trivial but if the power goes out, the whole family will eventually run out of ways to entertain themselves. And even if you have backup power like a generator and tons of extra fuel, you don't want to use up your precious supplies to run a TV, computer or gaming console.

When SHTF, you can make your resources last as long as possible by being creative and thinking of other ways to keep each other entertained.

If winter power outages are common in your neighborhood, keep your family entertained by stocking up on different board games or card games. Even a simple deck of cards can entertain your family for several hours.

You should also get a book of rules for card games so you can review for different games while playing.


Modern shoppers rely too much on credit and debit transactions to buy their daily essentials. But during the power outage, you won't be able to use your cards.

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Fortunately, if you have cash on hand you won't have to worry about not being able to buy supplies for your family.

You should also keep in mind that you don't have to use up your long-term storage for survival supplies during a short-term power outage. Stay calm and buy whatever you need using cash at the nearest grocery store, which should still be open even during a power outage.

You also don't need thousands of dollars in your safe at home. You just need at least two hundred dollars or so in your wallet so you can buy some groceries if the power is out.

Avoid keeping a wad of fifties and hundreds in your wallet.

Instead, you should get smaller bills. The largest denomination should be $20, along with a lot of tens, fives and ones so local stores won't have to spend too long making change.

Glow sticks

You should have flashlights, headlamps and lanterns in your survival stockpile and blackout kits so you can safely navigate your home when the power goes out.

And while they may seem silly and not as useful as a quality flashlight, you should also consider stocking up on glow sticks because they produce light for hours and do not require extra batteries or emit fumes.

One downside with glow sticks is that you can't turn them off once you activate them and once they go out, they are useless. While glowsticks can also be used as a light source during a power outage, it's better to use them to mark obstacles in the dark, like a drawer that everyone bumps into on their way to the bathroom.

To save money, buy cheap glow sticks at the local dollar store in various sizes. Use smaller glow sticks that you can deploy for multiple uses.

Hang smaller glowsticks off obstacles that people may run into in the middle of the night.

If you have kids at home, give them glow sticks instead so they don't end up accidentally breaking or losing flashlights. You can also use glow sticks as night lights since they give off a soft glow rather than a harsh beam.

This ensures that your kids won't have to worry about their rooms being too dark during a winter power outage.

Another option is to use glow sticks to make a DIY flashlight. If you run out of flashlights at home, make a DIY mini-flashlight using a glow stick.

Carefully cut open one end of a cylindrical package, take out the glow stick and light it, then put it back into the package. The light from the stick will come out at the end of the package and form a dim beam, like a flashlight.

While this won't be as bright as an actual flashlight, it can be useful if you're trying to see something up close, like a book.

Hot drinks and a non-electric way to prepare them

The average American starts their day with a hot cup of coffee or tea. But many of them are also so dependent on electricity and modern convenience that not everyone may have a way to prepare coffee or tea during a power outage.

If you want to start your day with a cup of joe even during a winter power outage, make sure you plan to either have a power source for your modern coffee maker or get an off-grid method like a simple pour-over or a percolator that you can use on a camp stove.

You should also stock up on coffee, tea and hot chocolate so your family can enjoy a warm drink when the night is cold. (Related: 14 Alternative ways to stay warm without electricity.)

Manual tools

Some homeowners may rely on power tools but if you want to be able to repair any damages to your home during a winter power outage, you should get manual power tools and learn how to use them properly.

If your area is notorious for frequent winter power storms, your family needs access to manual power tools to repair any damage caused by brutal storms. This also ensures that you don't use up your limited fuel for your generator to charge your power tools.

Stock up on these useful manual tools for your off-grid tool kit before SHTF:

  • Bucksaws
  • Claw hammers
  • Hand drills
  • Hand planes
  • Handsaws
  • Screwdrivers
  • Wood chisels


As a prepper, you need to plan ahead and get supplies so your whole family can survive a winter power outage that lasts for several days, weeks or even months.

If someone in the family has any underlying health conditions that require medication, or if you have medications that you need to take regularly to maintain your health, make the necessary preparations so you have at least several weeks of prescription medications on hand.

It's also a good idea to stock up on over-the-counter meds before SHTF since it could be dangerous to run to the pharmacy during a storm that knocks out your electricity.

Plywood, staple gun, tape and tarps

A winter storm that causes a power outage may also leave holes in your home that needs to be repaired. If this happens, you will need your manual power tools and plywood, staple gun, tape and tarps.

You can staple heavy-duty tarps over broken windows or drape them over a damaged roof. Tarps can also be wrapped around areas where siding has been blown away or ripped up.

Additionally, plywood, staple gun, tape and tarps can be used to block any drafts that are formed once the power outage makes your home heating system unusable.

You can also get cans of spray foam to plug any gaps that you may find during a power outage.

Water pump

Winter storms can also cause flooding and large volumes of standing water that you may want to move to prevent damage to your home.

If you find that your basement or crawlspace is flooded during or after a winter storm, you will need a water pump, especially if you are in areas prone to flooding or near creeks, lakes or rivers.

Even clogged storm drains could form large pools of standing water that you need to redirect with a water pump. When buying a water pump, avoid electric pumps. Look for a water pump that is diesel, gas or hand-operated instead.

Like preparing for a regular blackout, you can prepare for a winter blackout by stocking up on necessary supplies and gear so you can provide for your family if you are stuck at home for days or months.

And if you are already prepared for most emergencies, like flooding or a snowstorm, you are almost done preparing for a winter power outage

Watch the video below to know more about the damage caused by winter storms in Texas this 2023.

This video is from the Sheila Lundie Productions channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Winter survival: Ways to stay warm when the power goes out.

Prepper must-haves: What to stock up on before a summer or winter power outage.

Emergency preparedness: How to survive a power outage.

Sources include:




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