Priority Items to Stockpile Before the SHTF

I have read many blogs, websites, checklists, and forums, and what I see missing from the priorities to stock, are ammo and batteries. These items should be stockpiled in large quantities. You cannot possess too much ammunition or batteries. They can be used and bartered.


I often ask preppers how many batteries they have and if they need more. The most common answer I get is "Yeah, I'll get a few extra". I cringe when I hear this because if everything goes down you're going to need much more. Why? Because if the supply line is cut you will not get replacements for many years, if ever. How many do you need? How long do rechargeables last? You may have others that require batteries so you may need to supply them or barter them out. Think about what they will be used for.

Let's talk about the different types of batteries. See this page first to know more about them. Think about all the different items that require batteries. Flashlights, penlights, headlights, AM/FM radios, shortwave radios, hand held walkie talkies, digital cameras and trail cameras, toothbrushes, wireless mouse, remote controls, security systems, and what size batteries and how many each unit takes.

Make a list of what size batteries are needed. AAA, AA, C, D are common with AA and AAA being the most popular. Forget about Alkalines. They are not rechargeable and once gone, they are gone forever. Almost all rechargeable cells are Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMh) and can be recharged over a thousand times. Older rechargeables were Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) but are all but extinct because Cadmium is too dangerous for the environment. Rechargeables have a nominal voltage of 1.2 volts where Alkalines are 1.58 volts. Be aware that C and D chargers are scarce so you should use the adapters shown below available on Amazon. See RicksLinks for links to batteries, chargers, and adapters.

If purchasing new cells, look for the LSD (low self discharge) batteries. They claim they will hold the capacity of 70-80% if stored on the shelf for a year.

Don't forget you will need an adequate charger or chargers since they may not last forever. Also solar panels to power the chargers. There are many types of chargers. Some are trickle chargers, and some are smart chargers. Trickle chargers very slowly charge the batteries and are not as hard on the batteries but must not be used all the time. Solar panels should have a 12 volt and 5 volt USB output connector. Panels should be capable of at least a half amp output but preferably a 2 amp output at 5 volts. The panel should output at least 40 watts to get the best usage.

A fair, standard, not smart charger is the Powerowl ZN826E. It will charge up to eight cells of different size and chemistry. It is not a rapid charger but is easier on the batteries and will take longer to charge. It is powered by a 5 volt USB cable. It is shown below.

Smart chargers analyze the battery, determine its chemistry and hard charge the batteries safely. You may notice they may get a little warm but not too hot to touch. Some will cycle the battery (discharge and recharge) so it will reduce any possible "memory effect". This may take all day in some cases. Some even smarter ones will display the actual capacity in milliamps when complete and the time it took to recharge them. These are the best but sometimes, depending on the battery condition will take all night to complete.

An example of a good smart charger is the Astrolux VC-04 shown below. It will charge almost any single cell, one to four at a time of mixed size and chemistry and runs off a 5 volt USB source.

Since AA batteries are the most common, and C and D size are not, and since C and D chargers are much bigger and scarce, and since the better AA batteries have a larger capacity, it might be a good idea to buy adapters to use AA's in place of C and D cell electronics. These are available on Amazon and are pretty cheap. See Rickslinks for more information.


Ammo may become a valuable commodity besides keeping you safe. Get as much as you possibly can. How much? You will be surprised when I say you should have no less than 50,000 rounds per caliber. Think about the numbers: Just qualifying, zeroing in your gun, and staying proficient, you could use maybe 200 rounds. You and/or your family may go through 1000 rounds in one training session. In a gunfight or defending your perimeter you could easily go through 1000 rounds. Defending your home from marauders, rioters, etc., you could burn through 2000 rounds. If you had 20 major confrontations, there goes your 50,000 rounds. What happens if you need to share your stock or barter for other needed items? You could go through many more thousands of rounds so don't stop at 50,000.

Ammo is recyclable. If you save the brass, you could reload them if you had a good reloading press, powder, primers, and bullets.

What calibers should you stock? Primarily for the guns you now have. If you don't own a gun you can still stock ammo because it can be used as bartering items. Stock up on common calibers such as 380, 38SPL, 9mm, 45ACP, 40SW, 5.56, 308. Cash may not be available or inflation will make cold cash useless.


Copyright 2022 by Rick C. Ver 0.11 April 4, 2022