Where to Find Supplies After SHTF

Locations to Look for Supplies After the SHTF

Where to Find Supplies After SHTF: Some may think, “I’m a prepper; I won’t need to hunt for supplies. “I already have everything I need.” Maybe. Maybe not.

Even if you’ve been preparing for years, you may have overlooked a few details. Even if you don’t forget anything, you can find yourself in a circumstance where you need something you didn’t expect.

What happens if your shelter or vehicle is damaged? You may need to look for parts.
What happens if a critical piece of equipment is destroyed? You may need to look for a substitute.
What happens if your mother’s prescription pills are lost? You may need to hunt for substitute medications.
What if you had to admit a pregnant woman or a parent with a young child? You may need to look for infant formula.

These are just a few ideas I have. Once you’ve seen them, you will consider dozens of situations.

The point is, you may have to scrounge for supplies once the shit hits the fan. You won’t have a choice if someone’s life is at stake. But before I describe how to scavenge, I’d like to clear up any confusion about the distinction between scavenging and looting.

Where to Find Supplies

Scavenging Is Not Looting

Following Hurricane Katrina, we all witnessed videos of people racing down the street with jewellery and devices. Were they scavengers or looters? That is quite evident. Looters are not hunting for items they need to survive; they simply take advantage of the circumstances.

Looters are aware that someone will miss the stolen stuff. They know the owner would ultimately return and discover what’s missing. For these reasons, looters are no different than other robbers.

Scavengers are different. They only look for things after the world as we know it ends, and they only take what has been discarded or is unlikely to be noticed.

Sometimes, you must skip meals or take medicine, but it’s acceptable if someone needs it to stay alive. Taking food or medicine directly from someone else’s hands is another thing.

I know some legalists who believe that stealing is stealing regardless of the circumstances, but morality is more than a list of do’s and don’ts. Frankly, individuals afraid of ethically ambiguous situations will fare poorly if the SHTF.

Send A Scout

If you know the region you want to search, send a scout equipped with binoculars, a radio, and a rifle.

Scouts should use binoculars to monitor the area for a few hours to ensure that no one is living there and that no bandits are waiting. It may sound paranoid, but some people become extremely dangerous when there are no police to keep them under control.

You don’t want to get robbed or killed when scavenging for supplies.

The radio allows your scout to stay in touch. If the place is compromised or not worth the effort, the group’s leader can direct the scout to return or check another location. If you lose communication with your scout, you’ll know what’s wrong and can send reinforcements. The reinforcements must exercise caution so as not to stumble into any traps.

It should be obvious what the scout’s gun is for.

When assessing the terrain, the scout should note any barriers that could cause more trouble than they’re worth. Examples include barbed wire fences, tall walls, ditches, and waterways. All of these factors may make it difficult or risky to bring supplies back.

The scout should check to see if bombs or earthquakes have destroyed any structures. You don’t want the climbing stairs to collapse or a ceiling to fall on your head while you dig through the rubble.

If you have local maps, study them carefully to determine all the routes into and out of the area you want to search. Plan your journey carefully, and have other routes if your primary route is closed off.

Before searching for a location, you and your group must consider the expenses, benefits, hazards, and rewards. Is what you’re looking for essential to save someone’s life, or is it just something to make you feel better?

Make a plan.

Once you’ve selected where to go and what to look for, you must choose who to send. Never send anyone alone. They may have twisted an ankle or something and require assistance returning to camp. Also, significant barriers or supplies may require at least two people to move.

Remember that one person is much more likely to be robbed or killed than two or more. Ideally, you would send multiple personnel, but this depends on how many you have available. You do not want to leave youngsters unsupervised at your camp.

Your group should bring a toolset, a scavenging kit that includes bags, cordage, lock picks, cutting tools, a syphon, water jugs, and other supplies. I also recommend carrying respirators and goggles if the air is dusty or smoky.

If you have multiple regions to search, you must pick the order in which you should do so. It’s best to start further afield and work your way back to camp to avoid wasting energy transporting supplies further than necessary.

If you know the heaviest objects will be in a specific location, go there last. If scavenging your area will take several days or weeks, buy a map and mark the spots you seek to avoid mistakenly visiting the same site twice.

Post-Apocalyptic Supply Hunt

Where to look?

Pretty much everywhere! Here are some potential targets and what you might discover within them.

Automotive Shops

You’re more likely to find the part you need here than at a department shop. It is true now and will be confirmed after the SHTF.


Look for any food, tools, or other essentials under the trunk, seats, and glove box. Additionally, auto components could be helpful. Suppose any member of your crew is mechanically inclined. In that case, you can use the upholstery as insulation and a bed, the wiring as cordage, the mirrors as signalling equipment, and the batteries as power sources and engine parts for your car.


I realise that taking materials from a church is completely bad. However, it is not theft if you are in an end-of-the-world situation and the church has been utterly abandoned. Churches that provide meals to the needy may have ample canned goods in the kitchen and closets.

Distribution Centres

Most people will go to food stores first, so it will take longer to clean the warehouses. Even so, some details may have been overlooked. Also, look out for the semi-trailers. You might discover nonperishable foods and other goods.

Fire stations

You might find food, supplies, and clothing. Furthermore, the fire engine includes a tank containing hundreds of gallons of water, which must be filtered.

Gas Stations

These will likely be picked clean, but you never know. It is worth a look.

Government Buildings

Most federal installations use commercial-grade solar panels. You might also locate backup lighting and emergency supplies.

Grocery stores

These will likely be picked clean, but you may locate food in less prominent locations, such as behind shelves, displays, and cash registers. Also, the restrooms, offices, stock area, and loading dock must be inspected.


This should include enough food, clothing, and medical supplies. Check every single closet and drawer.


Check everything—rooms, garage, basement, attic, backyard, storage sheds, garden (if there is one), etc. The water heater holds up to 70 gallons of drinking water. Better still, look for homes with swimming pools. Look for metal mailboxes, which can be turned into wood stoves.


Inspect abandoned boats. They usually have emergency meals, communication equipment, fishing gear, and firearms.

Office Buildings

Look for vending machines in break rooms, food, and small tools on workstations. Most rooms should have fire extinguishers, and the janitor’s closet should contain cleaning supplies.

Pawn shops

You’ll discover guns, ammunition, and other random items if you’re lucky. You might even uncover functional devices, like walkie-talkies or a ham radio.

Pet stores

If your pets are still healthy, a pet store may allow you to continue feeding them without giving up any of your food. You could eat it yourself, but I would only advocate it if needed. There are no FDA rules for pet food; overeating can make you sick.


These are probably going to be empty, but check anyhow. A few cans or bags of food were overlooked. However, anything stored in the freezer will have gone wrong.

Retail stores

See “Grocery Stores” above. Consider bringing non-electric entertainment, such as books, cards, board games, or sports equipment.


Schools contain many items, including tools, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, cleaning materials, and possibly food in the cafeteria. If you have time, you can open the lockers and check them. Specific snacks may have a lengthy shelf life.

Self Storage Facilities

It may be worthwhile if you have the time to pry open all of them. You’re unlikely to locate any food or perishable stuff, but you might come across some clothes, essential gear, and equipment.



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