As grim as a topic as it is, the threat of a nuclear blast occurring in this day and age is a real thing. It’s wise not to be ignorant to this fact and consider what your emergency plan should entail god forbid a nuclear survival scenario arises. Surviving a nuclear blast and the nuclear fallout that immediately follows is no easy task, but with the right preparation and know-how you and your family can stay both safe and healthy.
Whether you are in a major city or somewhere more rural, the after effects of a nuclear weapon detonation can be far ranging and not always predictable. Nuclear “fallout” is a term used for the mixture of radioisotopes that result from splitting atoms when a nuke is detonated. Radioisotopes get mixed in with debris that is blown into the atmosphere from the initial explosion. Heavier particles will rain down close to the blast, but lighter debris can linger in the atmosphere and be carried far from the blast zone by winds. Without getting too complicated, the radioisotopes “decay” very rapidly and in doing so emit gamma radiation. Gamma radiation is a form of light that is invisible to us, and also highly deadly to our biology. Being exposed to this sort of radiation can do serious damage to your body’s cells and also hinder your body’s capacity to heal itself — otherwise known as acute radiation sickness. Shielding yourself from the initial assault of radiation is absolutely key to remaining healthy in the short and long term.
Shelter is the single most important thing following a nuclear blast. Materials with high density like lead are the best for blocking radiation. Having a shelter surrounded with lots of soil is also a good option for staying as radiation-free as possible. If you don’t have a legitimate nuclear fallout shelter or know of one close by, holding up in a basement is probably your next best option because of the dirt and sand between you and the radiated surface.
For more information on what to do in the event of a nuclear blast and the fallout that follows, here’s a link to the Ready.gov page highlighting the important factors on how to be informed about and prepared for a nuclear strike.
There’s two phases of a nuclear survival scenario to consider — the immediate aftermath of the blast in which nuclear fallout is at its most deadly, and the following period of disarray and widespread crisis that is bound to ensue. If you and your family want to be truly prepared for the worst, then you’ll have to think big picture about what survival items you will need. Of course items like radiation pills and food rations are a must have — but what about staying healthy and safe weeks or months after a nuclear fallout scenario with no aid?
We’ve put together a top ten list of some items that you’re definitely going to want to consider owning in order to remain healthy and ready to act quickly when the opportunity to get out of the danger zone arises. This list could contain a hundred items — so we’ve chosen a somewhat broad array of gear meant to get you thinking about what sort of stuff you’re going to need for your nuclear survival kit. Maintaining good health, securing reliable communication to the outside world and being prepared to venture out into the nuclear wasteland when the worst of the fallout has passed are all crucial for persisting through a nuclear disaster.
Think about things like your immediate surroundings, community, local climate and potential evacuation routes when reading through this list. Really consider what you will need in order to endure a few weeks of fallout and the following trek to safety. The time to prepare is now — not when a nuclear threat suddenly becomes imminent.
1. FoodBrick Stackable Food Storage Container, 3.5 gallon
Having a secure stockpile of nutritious foods is one of the best things you can do in a nuclear fallout scenario. Remember that venturing outside soon after a nuclear blast is a HUGE no-no because of radiation exposure, so remaining in your shelter while the worst of the fallout passes is essential. Make sure you have enough food and clean drinking water stored to stay hidden away in your shelter (or basement) for at least two weeks. Radioisotopes dissipate pretty quickly, so although the radiation threat is still very much present weeks after a blast, it will be FAR lower than the first couple of days after the explosion. It’s all about minimizing your exposure to radiation while it’s strongest — and then fleeing the area quickly as soon as it’s safe to. Check out our Top 5 Best Emergency Food Storage Containers list for a look at some other food and water storage options.
The FoodBrick stackable storage container is a seriously effective approach to preserving rations and food items. Each unit has a three and a half gallon capacity and is totally stackable — it’s like legos for all of your emergency food supplies! Made from the makers of WaterBrick, this unit will make a great addition to your fallout shelter or pantry. WaterBrick is an excellent choice for emergency water storage, and stacks compatibly with this unit for a really effective and space saving approach to storing your food rations and clean water. Check out the video below for a demonstration on how easy these units store and stack. There’s a wide mouth on each unit, so you can fit a lot of different food items within — but these containers are probably best paired with dry bulk food. For those emergency preppers who have a designated space or shelter for preserving survival rations, the FoodBrick and WaterBrick combination is a seriously effective and affordable option in emergency preparation. Remember to eat high protein foods sparingly if you only have a limited water supply — your body requires more water to digest proteins than it does to digest carbohydrates.
If you’re interested in owning some more portable food storage containers, check out these heat sealable mylar bags. These are a good option for storing rations and also can be taken with you when you receive the word that it’s time to flee your shelter and travel to safety.
Price: $17.00 per unit & Free Shipping on orders over $25 (36 percent off MSRP)
2. Motorola 23-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair)
After a nuclear attack it’s highly likely that nobody in the vicinity will have use of their cellphones, or even landlines. You’re going to need a way to maintain contact to the outside world while you’re holding out in your shelter. Another thing to consider is when you do finally emerge from your fallout bunker to get to safety, it will be very wise to have a form of communication with your family or whomever you’re traveling with. The aftermath of a nuclear blast could be really dangerous for a lot of reasons — people who didn’t prepare well enough or at all might start taking supplies and rations from others by force. It’s frightening to think about, so all the more reason to be able to communicate with your loved ones when and if you wander from your shelter. A couple of walkie-talkies could be a HUGE lifesaver in terms of receiving both good or bad news from within your band of survivors, or from other prepared survivors on the same channel.
These rechargeable two-way radios by Motorola are a reliable and effective approach to securing a form of communication with the people in your vicinity (up to 23 mile range). These are pretty high quality units at a very reasonable cost. These walkie-talkies are rechargeable, so you wont need to carry batteries around with you in the nuclear wasteland if you’re also carrying a power bank or this crank powered radio There’s 11 weather channels (7 NOAA) with alert features and 22 channels so you can stay tuned in to any important information being broadcasted. Considering there will very likely be no other forms of communication following a nuclear blast, these units will no doubt prove incredibly useful if you need them.
Price: $118.95 & Free Shipping
3. The Ultimate Survival Medicine Guide: Emergency Preparedness for ANY Disaster
Knowledge is power. In the aftermath of a nuclear blast, you can definitely expect problems of all sorts to arise both within your shelter and outside it when you venture out. Having some informative guides and handbooks to assist you with things like medicine, survival skills, and securing safe water and food could be the difference between life and death.
Even the most capable survivalists could use some help sometimes, so its really worth having some literature on hand to help you with things like setting a broken bone, or purifying contaminated water with minimal equipment. Remember, when someone in your group of survivors suffers a nasty burn or begins to fall seriously ill, there won’t be any hospitals open or even a google search available to assist you. You’re going to need a small library to support you in surviving. The best way to ensure you and your family stay healthy is to not have to rely on anyone — so set yourself up for success with some valuable handbooks.
This is a highly reviewed handbook to do-it-yourself emergency medical treatment that is praised for its clear and effective descriptions and instruction. The authors, Joseph and Amy Alton are medical professionals who have put together a really quality handbook here. Some other reading material definitely worth owning in a nuclear fallout scenario might include the “Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide: Food, Shelter, Security, Off-the-Grid Power and More Life-Saving Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living” by Jim Cobb and “The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide” by Daisy Luther. Be prepared and have the answers to all the survival questions you might have on hand and ready to assist you.
4.LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Clean water will no doubt be a seriously valuable commodity in the aftermath of a nuclear blast. The best way to prepare for this fact is to have at least a week or two of water stored within your shelter. Eventually, it will be time to evacuate your fallout shelter and get to safer, less radiated ground. When you receive the word that it is time to flee the danger zone and make your way to safety you won’t be able to take much water with you considering how heavy and cumbersome it is.
The LifeStraw shouldn’t be trusted to make water from within the nuclear fallout zone safe to drink due to radiation — but as you travel from the affected area towards safer, less radiated territory this unit could save your life. The idea is to pack enough clean water with you to get out of the most radiated areas and then when your water runs out have a portable filter to provide with clean water as you distance yourself from the blast zone. Who knows how far you might have to trek before receiving any real aid. Masses of people might be walking the highways out of major cities all at once as radio broadcasts instruct them to, so competition for water could be high. Having the ability to stop and drink from a pond, stream or even puddle could save your life. For some detailed information on harvesting, treating and storing water in an emergency scenario, check out The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide by Daisy Luther.
I think we can all be amazed at the water filter created by LifeStraw. This could be the most practical and crucial piece of survival gear on this list — because nothing is more important than clean water in a survival scenario. A seriously cool recent innovation in safe water filtration, the LifeStraw has changed the game for both packing and consuming water while trekking or enduring situations where clean water is scarce. For just $20 you can safely drink from freshwater sources in confidence. Some landscapes in particular are ideal for owning a LifeStraw if there’s an abundance of river water or lakes in your area. The LifeStraw removes a minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction) and even surpasses EPA standards for water filters. Without employing iodine, chlorine, or any other chemicals, the LifeStraw is designed to filter up to 1000 liters of contaminated water throughout its lifespan. I even read some customer reviews that claimed the lifespan of their LifeStraw was more than doubled by attaching a regular coffee filter to the end of the device with a rubber band — pretty smart!
For such a reasonable price it’s in my opinion totally worth owning a bunch of these units in case of a disaster scenario where clean water is an issue. These could also be a seriously valuable item to trade with other survivors for equipment or rations you might not have. There’s free shipping on this product on orders over $25, so you save come cash by buying a few of these. Here’s an additional item to check out for treating water that might contain radiological contaminants while you’re still in the danger zone — a filtration straw by Seychelle capable of filtering 25 gallons.
Price: $17.99 & Free Shipping on orders over $25 (28 percent off MSRP)
5. Esky Hand Crank, Solar Powered Emergency Weather Radio (FM/AM/NOAA) With LED Flashlight
Here’s a multi-purpose survival item that could come in handy in quite a few ways. Radio communication will likely be one of the only ways to effectively communicate in a nuclear fallout scenario. Having the ability to stay tuned in to what’s happening in your local area will be absolutely key to keeping yourself and your family safe. It’s maybe the most important item on this list considering the aid or assistance you might miss out on in a survival scenario where you have no radio. For some additional Emergency radio options, check out our Top 5 Best Hand Crank and Solar Powered Emergency Radios list.
This unit is particularly capable as an emergency radio because it can be self-powered by the included crank and also charged by solar power or by a micro USB cable. There’s a power bank for charging other USB compatible devices and a powerful, 50 lumen flashlight included, so this unit has truly been made with a disaster scenario in mind. This radio is impressively lightweight and compact at only 8 ounces, so it can come with you when you need to leave your shelter. One minute of cranking will give you up to 20 minutes of radio time or 30 minutes of flashlight power. It’s a portable power bank that if treated with care will provide you with unlimited juice for your devices. Stay tuned in to what’s happening from within and outside of your shelter and don’t miss any updates or announcements on the situation.
Price: $20.99 & Free Shipping on orders over $25 (58 percent off MSRP)
Buy the Brolar Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio with 2000mAh Power Bank, Flashlight, Reading Lamp and Survival Fire Starter here.
6. Anker PowerCore 20100 – Ultra High Capacity Power Bank
Here’s another power bank option that packs a pretty good punch. It’s not rechargeable by solar or crank power, making it less versatile as a survival item than the radio previously listed, but provides you with a good bit of power off of one charge. If you’re trekking through the nuclear aftermath and relying on electronics to keep you safe and informed, then you oughta have some back up juice for your devices just in case. The Anker PowerCore 20100 20000mAH High Capacity Power Bank provides you with the extra charge you might need for your phone, GPS, camera or whatever else. At just 12.5 ounces and highly portable, this unit has enough power on one charge to charge an I-phone 7 almost seven times, or a Galaxy S5 five times. Pretty impressive stats.
Anker includes a micro USB cable, travel pouch and an 18 month warranty with this product if you find it to be defective. For those disaster preppers who want to ensure their phones will remain usable or their GPS units will continue to navigate, the Anker PowerCore is a great preventative measure. Keep a few of these charged up and tucked away somewhere safe. A nuclear weapon when detonated can create an electromagnetic pulse effect, or EMP. In the event of an EMP, electronics can be damaged or rendered useless, so store this device as far removed from the potential blast zone as possible — ideally buried in your fallout shelter. The same goes for any other electronic devices you have in your nuclear fallout kit.
Price: $39.99 & Free Shipping (50 percent off MSRP)
7. Minus33 Merino Wool Men’s Chocorua Midweight Crew
Here’s an item that might be overlooked by a lot of emergency preppers. Having warm, reliable layers and clothing in a survival situation could prove to be really important. If you live in a climate where temperatures can get pretty low, it’s wise to own some cold-weather layers in case you have to go without heat for an extended period. Another thing to consider is what are you going to wear when you venture out of your shelter to get to safety if temps are freezing? You’re going to want some lightweight and toasty layers to keep your body temperature stable without bogging you down too much. Wool is the superior material for keeping in your heat. Wool clothing will continue to insulate you even after getting wet, making it the ideal material to suit up in for long, grueling trips on foot. You never know how long and how far you might have to trek to safety after fallout has passed, so prepare for a serious voyage with some serious layers.
This thermal layer by Minus33 is a solid option for keeping warm without adding too much weight to your survival gear or on your person. This is a great layer to pair with a heavier jacket in order to keep your precious body heat contained during cold weather. This might seem like a silly item to include in a nuclear fallout survival list, but being comfortable and maintaining an even body temp is super important to your health whether you’re in or out of your fallout shelter. Other layers worth owning to go along with this thermal are a few pairs of durable and warm wool socks, as well as some lightweight thermal pants. Here’s a link to some nice quality women’s thermal bottoms and also a women’s mid weight thermal top.
Price: $48.99 – $112.50
8. S.O.S. Rations Emergency 3600 Calorie Food Bar
Your fallout shelter is going to need to be stocked with food rations. There’s a ton of options out there for food items that both store efficiently and provide adequate nutrition that could warrant a whole other list. Remember that high protein foods require more water to digest than carbohydrates when choosing what to stock your shelter with. I like these calorie bars by S.O.S. Food Labs because of their compact size and high calorie content. Ideally, you should store a variety of food items in your fallout shelter to maintain good nutrition, but these bars are a good staple for any shelter pantry. This product is U.S. Coast Guard approved for a five year shelf life under any climatic conditions, so this is a smart buy if you want to ensure you have some long-lasting survival rations.
Reviews of these calorie bars claim that the coconut flavor actually tastes pretty decent and that they will not provoke thirst. This $54 purchase gets you ten bars that are each good for three days of food for one person — a pretty great value. Check out these one, three and twelve month food supply kits by Valley Food Storage for a more long term approach to stocking up on rations. Storability, portability and nutritional value are the big three to keep in mind when purchasing rations for your fallout shelter or any emergency scenario.
Price: $55.56 & Free Shipping
9. Mr. Heater 4,000-9,000-BTU Portable Radiant Heater
Here’s one more item to consider for your shelter or home if staying warm is a concern where you live. A nuclear strike during the dead of winter in a cold climate area could leave a lot of people helplessly frigid when the grid goes down. Having a small and portable, yet effective heating unit like this could keep you and your family from getting dangerously cold. Also consider how if conditions don’t allow for a fire to be built how this unit might save the day.
This tent friendly space heater by Mr. Heater is an impressive piece of equipment. Campers and outdoorsmen of all kinds praise this heater for its reliable and consistent heat output, so it’s been thoroughly tested. When it’s just too savagely chilly outside (or inside) to maintain a safe body temperature, firing up a unit like this could help you come back to life. It’s highly portable, so if you need to leave the house in a hurry and endure exposure to dangerously low temps, this heater is small enough to come for the ride. It could be all the difference in securing a safe and comfortable shelter during an on-the-go survival scenario. This unit puts out 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs for spaces up to 225 square feet. The Mr. Heater has an auto shut-off feature if it detects low oxygen. The unit will also shut off if it tips over or if the pilot light goes out. I was skeptical about the idea of sleeping with a radiant heater in a tent or shelter due to safety concerns, but it turns out the technology is quite sound. All you have to do is connect this unit to a propane tank and then you’re all set to turn the heat on.
Storing and or traveling with propane might not be practical depending on your situation, so consider other alternatives for staying warm like this emergency fire kit by Zippo. It’s a very portable and waterproof capsule that contains the means to get a fire going with ease. If you have some experience lighting primitive fires than including a simple flint in your fallout shelter or survival backpack is also a wise move. Make sure you’re hitting all the bases with what you might need to stay safe in and outside of your shelter and don’t overlook your body temperature as one of the most important things.
Price: $69.84 & Free Shipping (13 percent off MSRP)
10. iOSAT Potassium Iodide Tablets, 130 mg (14 Tablets)
Of course every nuclear fallout kit needs to include Potassium Iodide tablets. Being prepared in the event of a nuclear disaster starts with keeping your biology safe. It will be key to your present and long term health in a nuclear fallout scenario to intake as little radioactivity as possible. Radioactive Iodine is probably the most common radionuclide that could be present following nuclear fallout. Your thyroid will take in and store this dangerous form of iodine if inhaled or ingested — greatly increasing your chances of thyroid cancer. The way these precautionary tablets work is that they essentially “fill up”, or saturate your thyroid with stable, non-harmful Iodide so any radioactive Iodide present will be processed and safely excreted by your kidneys. The idea is to occupy all the iodine receptors in your system with safe, non-radioactive Iodide so the dangerous forms of iodide present during and after nuclear fallout have “no space” to become absorbed in your thyroid. These tablets are packaged nicely and come at an affordable cost.
Each packet has 14 tablets, equaling 14 adult doses (daily). Newborns less than one month old should be administered about one eighth of a tablet, or 16mg daily. Children one month to three years in age should be given 32mg, or one fourth of a tablet daily. Children who are three years to eighteen years of age should take half a tablet daily, or 65mg. Adult sized children who weigh 150 pounds or greater should take the full adult dose of 130mg daily. In a nuclear fallout scenario where heavy exposure to radioactive Iodide is a serious threat, these doses will likely be recommended to be taken every 24 hours, but this medication is to be taken as sparingly as possible due to its potential side effects.
Ingesting Potassium Iodide can be dangerous to your health if you take the incorrect dose or administer the drug too frequently, so make sure to read instructions mindfully and have a good understanding of the drug before ingesting it. For more information on this drug check out this link. Everyone in the family should have a packet or two on hand in order to ensure their radioactive exposure is kept to a minimum.
Price: $8.35 & Free Shipping
11. EMDMAK Outdoor Survival Kit
Here’s a neat little survival kit that would make a great addition to any emergency supply kit or survival backpack. It’s impossible to know what sort of tools and gadgets you might need while moving from your shelter to safety, so consider owning an inclusive set of survival tools like this. I like this one in particular because of how tiny it is. This kit can fit in your hand — making it an ideal space saver. Remember, you’re going to need to pack rations and water, sleeping arrangements, clothing, medical supplies and likely much more, so trimming down on anything and everything when it comes to size is crucial. This kit has some practical tools that definitely might prove useful. There’s a wire saw, whistle, flashlight, compass, steel survival card and much more.
At less than $15 this is an excellent value set. Check out this professional grade emergency survival kit for a truly all inclusive array of gear. Part of preparing is being ready for scenarios you can’t even imagine yet. It’s unwise to purchase or pack things that will prove not to be useful, but with a kit that is compact and highly portable it’s absolutely worth including in your survival pack.
Price: $13.66 & Free Shipping on orders over $25 (28 percent off MSRP)
12. TACT Bivvy Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag
If you’re on the move for a few days on your way to a safe zone, then you’re going to need some sleeping accommodations. As mentioned previously, your backpack is going to have a ton of required gear in it, so saving space where you can is a must. This emergency survival sleeping bag is pretty incredibly compact, and virtually weightless at 4.8 ounces. Its waterproof, tear resistant and wind proof, so it’s up for a rugged journey. This isn’t going to be terribly comfortable, but it will keep your body temperature where it needs to be. This sleeping bag can be used alone or as a liner for another sleeping bag. It comes in a stuff sack, so it can be reused. If you pair this bag with a lightweight and compact hammock, you could have a pretty comfortable sleeping situation while on the move.
Trust me, comfortability should be your last concern in a nuclear survival scenario, but it’s also important to keep your body well rested so don’t rule out adding a portable hammock or sleeping pad to your survival pack if you can fit it. Another item you might consider for yourself or your family while on the move is a tent. Check out this recent list of inexpensive, but adequate tents for some insight on what sort of unit you might want to own in your survival kit.
Price: $19.97 & Free Shipping on orders over $25 (20 percent off MSRP)
13. FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel Multitool
Here’s a seriously righteous multi-tool worth owning for virtually any survival scenario. There’s a ton of gimmicky survival tools out there that are in reality not all that practical — this is not one of those items. This is definitely a good tool to own when you venture from your shelter that is both versatile and practical. This all in one survival shovel has a huge array of potential uses between all of its features. This compact and lightweight (1.2 pounds) tool includes a shovel, axe blade, serrated saw, hammer and length of paracord. There’s also an emergency whistle, magnesium fire starter, bottle opener and travel pouch included. T
his is a super compact unit that can fit easily into a backpack or in your vehicle. You never know what sort of survival scenario might require you to dig trenches, build shelters or start fires — this multi-tool has you covered on all fronts. Crafted with hi carbon steel and hardened aluminum, this is a tough piece of gear that’s built to withstand the elements. I can think of a ton of potential reasons to include this unit in your nuclear survival kit, and for only $60 this thing is bound to pay for itself if you really need it. While we’re on the topic of versatile multi-tools, maybe you have a need for a smaller, pocket sized alternative that still has an array of important features that could prove useful while making your way through the nuclear wasteland
Price: $59.00 & Free Shipping
14. Wolfyok Portable Stainless Steel Wood Burning Camp Stove
This stove is a very wise option for the survivalist who wants to leave the fuel canisters behind and save space in their pack for other gear. This lightweight (less than a pound) and highly portable camp stove can fit in a backpack easily, and doesn’t require the added weight of propane or butane canisters. Check out this unit from Solo Stove for another great wood burning camp stove option. If you’re going to be evacuating the radiated area to safety through spaces that provide an abundance of twigs, leaves and pine cones, then this stove could save you some serious space and weight in your bag. This is a great unit to add to your home emergency kit as well — because when fuel becomes scarce you’ll still have an adequate stove to prepare meals (assuming there’s somewhere in your shelter to have an open flame going).
All you need for meal making is a compact mess kit and you’re all set! Constructed from stainless steel, this five piece unit is corrosion resistant and will hold up to high heat just fine. The three arm pot support system provides a stable cooking platform for a pot or pan. Due to its small size, you cannot really effectively cook with a large pot or pan — but it’s large enough to cook with most cooking ware. If you’re looking for a real space saving stove that will perform without needing any fuel, then definitely check this one out. Another option in fuel-less portable cooking is using solar power — check out this highly portable solar oven for another solid survival option.
Price: $15.99 & Free Shipping on orders over $25 (47 percent off MSRP)
15. ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Backpack
Here’s an ideal backpack for using as your survival pack. This bag is designed for hunting expeditions, but it’s also perfectly suited as a survivalist pack depending on your needs. It’s a heavier pack at about seven pounds and built to accommodate gear such as firearms and ammunition/arrows. Depending on the state of things outside of your shelter, you may have incentive to bring along your firearms while evacuating the area as a safety measure. The unique fastening system employed for securing a rifle, crossbow or traditional bow could also be used to secure a wide range of equipment, making this a pretty versatile backpack. There’s an awesome array of pockets, pouches and strapping for packing tons of gear — so if you’re looking for a bag to truly load up then this is it.
The frame can be worn alone without the pack and used as a freighter frame, a pretty neat concept that could be used to accommodate a bunch of different loads. The idea here is to be able to load up the pack with the game you shoot in the wilderness — but having the option to use this pack as a bare frame could come in handy for a variety of reasons. The bag also loads from the top and front so there’s a lot of ways to pack and unpack it. For the prepper who wants to own a rugged, high capacity backpack, this option from ALPS is a great go-to. If every member of your family has a backpack with this amount of capacity, then you can leave your shelter carrying quite a bit of gear — the more practical equipment you bring the better your chances of staying safe. Check out our Top 10 Best Survival Backpack list for some other great backpack options.
Price: $129.99 & Free Shipping (19 percent off MSRP)