Coronavirus Special Coverage

A collection of news posted throughout the week for those that want signal, not noise.

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What preppers are stocking up on for COVID-19

We recently covered the massive shortage of preparedness foods, and now other shortages have probably hit a store near you. Namely hand sanitizer and toilet paper, which are in short supply around the United States.

Because part of what we do at The Prepared is evaluate and recommend products — there are no ads or fees, we just make a commission when you click and buy our recommended links — we have insight into what people are buying.

Masks and other protective gear

Respirators and filters are the most popular category items among readers of The Prepared, with sales of these surging massively since late January as interest in the novel coronavirus and the situation in Wuhan, China started to pick up.

Reusable respirators like the 3M 7501/37081(AAD) reusable respirator, 3M 7502/37082, and 7503/37083 are all popular among our readers but are all out of stock until at least April.

If you already have a respirator, you’re in a bit more luck, as two of the top sellers: the 3M 2091 P100 particulate filters, which fit into compatible masks and the 3M 60926 gas/vapor cartridges are both in stock. Since both are rated at P100, they’re both excellent choices, assuming you have a compatible respirator.

Disposable respirators are also popular, like the 3M 8293 P100 disposable particulate cup respirator, a standalone disposable respirator, but don’t bother: they’re now going for over $400 on Amazon.

Some of you are apparently ready to go full hazmat, as DuPont Tyvek painter suits are also popular with our readers. Those are starting to run out of stock, so beware of inflated prices.

Rounding out the list of most popular preps are standard items like hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes (both increasingly hard to find), and nitrile gloves, which are always good to have around.

Water and storage

Alongside protective gear, many readers are buying sensible water-storage solutions like the Reliance Rhino-Pak (sold out on Amazon), the Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer, the Scepter 5 gallon military water container (sold out on Amazon), and the collapsible Water Storage Cube (also sold out on Amazon). The 2L Cnoc Outdoors Vector 2L water container, which can attach to an inline filter with a 28 mm thread, is popular with our readers and still in stock. While water supplies have been unaffected so far by the coronavirus outbreak, water is such a survival essential that you don’t want to take chances.

Of course, you also need a way to clean your water as well, and such products are hot items. Readers are buying the Sawyer Mini filtration system, Survivor Filter, 100-packs of Aquatabs water purification tablets, Potable Aqua germicidal water purification tablets, and for the super serious, 55 gallon water preserver concentrate, which is actually just overpriced bleach. Likewise, survival straws like the LifeStraw and the HydroBlu Sidekick are popular.

Most of these are pretty solid picks, but one left us baffled: Vitaminwater XXX. Our best guess is that people are buying it in case they get sick and need the electrolytes.

Medical equipment

Speaking of baffling purchases, apparently readers are stocking up on Go, Dog. Go! Best Nest Fertility Formula for Men (I had to read the description closely to see if it’s a supplement for men or dogs). We’re guessing you fellas are anticipating being locked up for a long time. Also on the list was Bio-Quinone Q10 Gold, which has a number of uses, but it’s also one of the ingredients in Go, Dog. Go!

More sensibly, readers are stocking up on things like the Caroune ear and forehead thermometer (unfortunately sold out) and the CHOICEMMED Sky Blue finger pulse oximeter. Both of these items can be helpful for monitoring your health state if you get sick and need to know when to seek medical attention, especially when the medical system is taxed to its limits.

Readers are also buying more advanced medical items like this nasopharyngeal airway tube, which isn’t a bad thing to have if you know how to use it!

Rounding out the list are standard prepper medical items like bandages and stop-bleeding kits, which are good things to have on hand, but don’t have much to do with coronavirus. However, again, if the medical system in the United States is stretched past capacity like in Italy, you might be on your own in the case of a medical emergency.


There aren’t many surprises here: people are stocking up on food, and most of the items are what you’d expect. Things like cans of black beans, peanut butter, dry milk, canned chicken, sardines, rice, Mountain House emergency food kits, and electrolyte powder.


Rounding out the list are general prepper items like the Ryno-Tuff portable solar charger, books like the SAS Survival Handbook and Just in Case: How to be Self-Sufficient when the Unexpected Happens, Tape King professional grade duct tape, SOL Quik Fire Starters, the Novoo 10000 mAh portable charger, Energizer LED headlamps, the Fallkniven DC3 diamond knife sharpener, Red Cross emergency weather radios, and — most importantly — the Rakuen titanium spork.

What have you been buying to prep for coronavirus? Anything interesting or unusual? Let us know in the comments.


    • SpaceSnaxxx

      Can we as a community build a list of alternatives to some of the out-of-stock items? What are some alternatives that people have seen in the PacNW?

      If no sanitary wipes: try a high-concentration alcohol, Everclear is the purest spirit with the highest [EtOH].

      If no toilet paper: make a DIY bidet! You might even enjoy it…

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    • Adelaide Masters

      Wait. . .don’t preppers already have all this stuff? The people who are panic-buying are the UNprepared.

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      • SpaceSnaxxx Adelaide Masters

        “Having stuff” should never be a reason to not have a reliable backup. This is a great opportunity to show people how to be creative.

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      • Meghan Adelaide Masters
        [comment deleted]
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      • Meghan Adelaide Masters

        Speaking as someone who definitely contributed to the stats in this article, it’s because I’m an only-slightly-more-prepared-than-average, lol. I started reading here about two weeks ago when I first started getting nervous about COVID-19, and it’s meant I’ve been about 5-10 days ahead of the panic shoppers in my city. I’m like the last person out of a collapsing temple, only instead of treasure I’m holding onto, like, jars of peanut butter and a fresh box of Mucinex. At any rate, I’m extremely grateful for the knowledge consolidated here!

        (and for further proof of my newbie status, the first version of this which I appear to have accidentally deleted!)

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    • Scott Hall

      I have access to Hand Sanitizer in bulk if anyone is looking to stock up

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      • Chris Ferreira Scott Hall

        Just joined the site and there’s alot of great info being shared. Was wondering if we could connect on some hand sanitizer. My elderly parents have been unable to find any locally and they can’t drive too far either. Let me know how to connect privately to avoid taking up this comment thread.

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      • Scott Hall Chris Ferreira

        Sure my email is [email protected]

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    • NameIs Private

      I am not a “prepper”….it’s something I’ve always thought about but never did or never had the $$ to get into in earnest.  In Jan, I began to put things away and if I had zero access to a shop….I think we would be okay for a couple of months.  I’m beginning to see things vanish at an alarming rate such as flour, yeast, paper products (for a while of course), chicken breast, hamburger meat.  I couldn’t even find beef bouillon cubes today.  I literally only buy those every couple of months but I was hard pressed to locate any. (I did find some and purchased the last 3 bottles).  Today, after cooking a pot roast, I found myself pouring the leftover stock into a ziplock freezer bag.  I stood at my deep freeze staring at it and wondering “has it really gotten that bad”?  We are only in the early part of this so now I’m really beginning to get concerned.  I don’t want to go out and spend thousands….but I could.  It would wipe out our emergency funds.  Are we at the point where that is necessary??  Will it be okay to keep buying a double order of regular items each week or should I step it up?
      live been looking for a list of “items selling out quickly” or even one of hard to find items.  Food items.  That way I could focus on stocking these first.  I managed to put away flour and yeast before they began to get scarce but how much is enough?  That’s my biggest road block.
      they say “stock 2 weeks” then they say “stock 30 days”.  On SOME things I have enough for 3mo.  DH says I have enough spam, canned chicken and canned ham to last 6 mo if we were careful.  We have just left that stuff alone and have been eating as usual etc.  It’s an awful feeling not knowing “how much” is enough.  I have 4 in the home 24/7 but I have 2 older girls who won’t be at all prepared and one has a baby….so I’ve taken it upon myself to stock for a family of 8 (and all the extras for a baby).

      would u guys do a list of food…the items selling out fast or hard to find.  What to put away and how much to last for XX amt of time?  What items to build a good first aid kit would entail.  I’ve got basic stuff but do I NEED to buy things like suture kits and bleed stop?  😳.  We can’t get out a lot…..even to get necessities.  Those trips are far and few.  I have a 7yr old with leukemia and would rather just try to find some way to organize myself and have a better “prep” plan.  My husband laughed at me when I unboxed 6 things of pancake mix back in Jan.  We are almost through 3 of those and u can’t find it on a shelf anymore.  He stopped laughing.  Now he’s pulling out from the weapons safe and taking stock.   He tried to go buy more ammo and THAT is even sold out.  Thankfully we have more than enough for a few options.  Less for others.
      this all leaves me wishing we had done this sooner.
      If we get past all this unscathed…..I will never be left unprepared again.  I will put more effort into that for sure.
      thanks in advance for any advice.  Stay safe.

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      • Josh CentersContributor NameIs Private

        I’m sorry, that’s rough. Of course, we’re all in more or less the same boat now. Our family was prepared for a two-week shelter-in-place, and thankfully we were very overstocked for that, but there are definitely some things we wish we had bought more of, like flour, fats, cornmeal, etc.

        The best advice I can offer is to be persistent. My wife has been checking places regularly to order flour and cornmeal. We finally got lucky and I have 50 pounds of cornmeal on the way and some flour. I don’t advocate debt, but if you see something you need that’s hard to get, put it on a credit card if you have to. Debt is better than starvation.

        We all need to adopt a Great Depression mentality. That’s going to mean being creative in the kitchen and maybe eating some things we wouldn’t otherwise enjoy. I also recommend starting a garden and learning about foragable plants in your area, if you can.

        I’ll talk to my editors about an article about food items to stock up on, but we already have a guide here

        As far as what’s selling out, honestly, it’s pretty much everything it seems like. I even thought about buying wheat berries and a grinder to make our own flour, and you can’t buy either. When this thing is over I’m going to clean out the Lehman’s catalog.

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      • No debt.  We don’t even own a credit card.  That’s why we hold cash dear lol.  It takes a while to save it.  Years ago we cut up all the cards.  It would probably be smart to get at least one….based on what’s happening now. Sigh.

        We usually plant a half Acre garden.  I had a hard time even finding seeds!  I had to order from multiple places and still didn’t get a couple of our favorites.  I saw a stack of jars, lids sure gel and grabbed a few of each.  I should probably go grab some more.  I will check out the link u sent.  I’ve told my husband to start printing things for me at work.  We don’t ever use a printer so I got rid of that a while ago….now I wish I had it.
        we had 16 chickens but roaming dogs took out the entire flock this month.  We wondered if maybe the folks who kept them fed stopped during all this?  I’ve never seen them.  They may not survive an encounter with us next time if we see them.  I called animal control but heard nothing back.  We let the chickens free roam.  I’m going to have to locate more and keep them penned I suppose.  We have a male goat…I should probably get a female.  He was a rescue of sorts.  Never planned to have him.  We have enough land to be sufficient.  I just haven’t put it to good use.  How’s as good a time as any I guess lol.
        what do u store large amounts of flour and cornmeal in?  I have them in the paper bags they came in but I don’t want bugs.  (Flour bugs).  Put them in the freezer?

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