Hurricane Shopping List – 40 Items to Buy Before a Hurricane

Hurricane Shopping List

Hurricane Shopping List

According to the National Hurricane Center, the official start of the hurricane season in North America is June 1st to November 20th with the majority of the most powerful hurricanes coming between mid-August to the end of October. Follow this hurricane shopping list to get ready before a hurricane hits.

Your hurricane shopping list should include water, non-perishable food, safety supplies, pet food, baby supplies, plastic sheeting, rain gear, paper towels, duct tape, flashlights/candles, hand sanitizer, and a basic tool kit.

If you make sure that you have this general list of supplies, you should be fine in any hurricane. Keep reading to get a full hurricane shopping list.

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The Supplies You Need so You’re Ready for a Hurricane

When you’re getting your hurricane shopping list together, you need to look at all of the things you may need during the hurricane through the time that it will take for you to get power back, debris is cleared from the roads and local stores are up and running again. Sometimes this is almost as soon as the storm has passed, but other times it can take up to a couple of weeks before things are back to normal. Plan for the worst-case!

What should you stock up on before a hurricane?

When you’re getting ready for a hurricane, your shopping list needs to have certain key items on it. At a minimum, you need to make sure that you have one gallon of water per person per day and enough non-perishable food to last until local stores can get power back, repair any damages and start getting shipments in again.

FEMA suggests keeping at least a three day supply of food and water. If you want to really be prepared you should have at least two weeks of supplies since it can take this long to get power back on and everything up and running.

The minimum shopping list for a hurricane:

  • 1 gallon of water per person/per day (One case of 16.9 oz bottles of water is just over 3 gallons)
  • water for pets
  • non-perishable food
  • food for pets
  • baby formula
  • battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • NOAA weather radio
  • flashlight
  • extra batteries
  • first aid kit
  • whistle to signal for help
  • baby wipes and garbage bags for personal sanitation
  • wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • manual can opener
  • cell phone and charger

Download this list as a PDF file.

This is the absolute minimum amount of supplies that you should have on hand to be ready for hurricane season.

What are good non-perishable food items for a hurricane?

Canned foods, dried goods like cereal and pasta, energy bars and granola bars are all great to store for a hurricane. I recommend keeping a variety of foods that are easy to eat and don’t need to be prepared because it keeps you from having to cook.

Cooking requires you to have grills, camp stoves or some other way to cook that you don’t need to worry about if you just buy prepared food. Stoves are also one of the most common forms of fires during natural disasters. House fires are dangerous under normal circumstances and they’re even more dangerous when the fire department is not able to get you or could be delayed for a long time.

Preferred foods for a hurricane:

  • dry cereal
  • canned fruits
  • canned vegetables
  • canned juice
  • ready to eat canned soups and meats
  • canned pasta
  • canned beans
  • peanut butter
  • bread
  • bananas
  • apples
  • oranges
  • crackers
  • nuts
  • granola and energy bars

Consider adding some snacks to your shopping list. Sweets are a great comfort food and can really help when you need a physical or mental “pick me up” during a disaster.


What should be in a hurricane survival kit?

If you’re doing more than just running out to get enough food and water just before a hurricane hits, I’d suggest putting together everything on the lists below. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just grab stuff from around your house and put it all inside a large tote or in one closet where everyone knows where it’s at.

Don’t forget about your animals! Make sure that you have enough food and water for all of your pets. If you’re going to evacuate you need to take them with you. They depend on you to take care of them.

Shopping list to build a Complete Hurricane Kit:

Plan for food and water for 14 days (2 weeks) to cover you through the possible outage of services.

  • 1 gallon of water per person per day (One case of 16.9 oz bottles of water is just over 3 gallons)
  • non-perishable food
  • battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • NOAA weather radio
  • flashlight
  • extra batteries
  • first aid kit
  • whistle to signal for help
  • baby wipes and garbage bags for personal sanitation
  • wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • manual can opener
  • cell phone and charger
  • prescription medications
  • pon-prescription medications
  • glasses and contact lens solution
  • infant formula
  • bottles
  • diapers
  • diaper rash cream
  • sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • fire extinguisher
  • matches in a waterproof container
  • feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • paper cups
  • paper plates
  • paper towels
  • plastic utensils
  • paper and pencil
  • books
  • games
  • puzzles

Other items to add to your kit:

  • important family documents
  • change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • cash

Download this list as a PDF.

Pet Hurricane Kit:

  • food
  • water
  • medicines and medical records
  • important documents
  • first aid kit
  • pet first aid reference book
  • collar or harness with ID tag and a leash
  • crate or pet carrier
  • pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, and household chlorine bleach
  •  picture of you and your pet together to help you document ownership
  • familiar items such as treats, toys, and bedding

Download this list as a PDF.

These lists were compiled from information from FEMA.

How much cash should I have during a hurricane?

The exact amount of cash that you need in a hurricane depends on the needs of your family. It’s really up to you to decide.

I recommend keeping enough cash on hand to cover a week’s worth of expenses and getting that cash in $5, $10 and $20 denominations. Cash will be usable even if the power is out or stores lose their connection to credit card companies.

Having lower denominations of bills makes it possible to buy lower-cost items when there may be no change available without having to pay $20 or more for a case of water or gallon of milk. 

How do you entertain yourself during a hurricane?

Don’t overlook the importance of having something to keep you and your family entertained during a hurricane! This can be really important if you have small children. Boardgames, card games, and other things to keep their minds occupied and off of the fact that a potentially dangerous storm is going on outside can make it much easier for the family.

Even after the hurricane has passed it’s nice to have something to do to pass the time. Most of us are so used to being able to watch youtube on our phones and having internet access that it can actually be really stressful to be without electricity.

Take this time to read some good books that you haven’t made time for or just sit with the family and actually talk!

Do you need a generator?

A generator is a pretty big investment, but it can be a lifesaver when the power is out for long periods of time. If you have any family members that require refrigerated medications (like insulin) or medical devices that need power then I’d suggest you read our article to determine what size generator you need.

Hurricane Facts – What You Should Expect

Knowing what to expect when a hurricane occurs can make getting ready for one a lot easier. There really is no cut and dry list of things that will work for everyone. We all have different situations that we need to deal with.

If you understand what may happen, then you can add or subtract from the hurricane shopping list above and tailor it to better fit your own needs.

  • Hurricanes are about 300 miles wide on average.
  • The eye of a hurricane is a relatively calm and clear area approximately 20-40 miles across.
  • The eyewall surrounding the eye is the strongest part of the storm.
  • Hurricane-force winds can extend outward to about 25 miles in a small hurricane and to more than 150 miles for a large one. Tropical-storm-force winds can reach up to 300 miles.
  • The right side of a hurricane is usually the strongest in terms of storm surge, winds, and tornadoes.
  • The path of a hurricane is very difficult to predict due to the unstable conditions that cause them. Don’t rely on the predictions to know if you’re going to be hit or not.
  • Hurricanes change size and direction very often. Monitor the radio or the tv to get the latest updates.

Hurricane categories and expected damage

CategorySustained WindsTypes of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds
174-95 mph
119-153 km/h
Very dangerous winds will produce some damage:
Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters.
Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled.
Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.
296-110 mph
154-177 km/h
Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage:
Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage.
Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads.
Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.
3 (Major)111-129 mph
178-208 km/h
Devastating damage will occur:
Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends.
Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads.
Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.
4 (Major)130-156 mph
209-251 km/h
Catastrophic damage will occur:
Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls.
Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed.
Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas.
Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
5 (Major)157 mph or higher
252 km/h or higher
Catastrophic damage will occur:
A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse.
Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas.
Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months.
Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Source: NOAA

The Honda EU2200i is our favorite portable generator for natural disasters.

Conclusion

Hurricanes are one of the most destructive forms of natural disasters, but having a good hurricane shopping list can make getting ready for one a lot easier. They knock out power, tear down trees, destroy houses and office buildings and throw debris across roads making travel difficult.

Make sure that you have at least three days of food and water for your family and pets. If you want to make sure that you’re well prepared for a hurricane you should aim for two weeks of food and water.

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