Wal-Mart – A Preppers Best Friend?

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prepping supplies at walmartThe other day as I was unloading the sacks from a trip to Wal-Mart, I got to thinking “Man, I buy a lot of my prepping stuff from there”. It got me to thinking about just how much stuff Wal-Mart offers for people like us. Love them or hate them, one thing is for sure. You can save a boat load of money shopping there as compared to other places that offer “Prepping supplies”. The only other place that can even come close to a lot of their prices is Amazon.com. But now that Wal-Mart.com offers free shipping to the store or .99 cent shipping to your home on a lot of other items, they’ve become a viable alternative to Amazon.

While I was waiting in the Auto Dept. recently, I thought I’d just take a walk down the isles and do a mental checklist of the things that Wal-Mart offers for Preppers and Survivalist. Here’s are just a few things I found in the few minutes I walked around and really looked.


I’m not sure if our Wal-Mart still limits Customers to six boxes of ammo at a time or not. But as I was looking through that beautiful glass case at all the choices of ammo, I couldn’t help to think that a person could spend a lot more at other places. I saw about 8 to 10 choices of different loadings for 22 long rifle, about a half dozen choices for 22 mag, 223, 7.62×39, 30-30 30-06, 357 mag, 40 S&W, 44 magnum and a lot more. They had every caliber and gauge of ammo that I would need. And in enough choices to keep me happy for a while ;)

It hasn’t always been this way. A few years ago Wal-Mart seemed to be getting away from carrying firearms and ammo. but early last year I read a report that said they were going to actively pursue the Outdoors market again. Since then I’ve noticed quite a few new offerings in our Sporting Goods Dept. However, my local store doesn’t sell firearms but I’ve seen other Wal-Marts in my area start to do that. Plus, they’ll order most long guns and not charge a fee. They have a good selection in their catalog also.

I do try and support my local gun shops, but when ordering the same gun from them cost me nearly $100 more than getting it from a Wal-Mart, well, that’s money I can’t afford to lose. Most of the local gun stores in my area charge $30 to $50 to order a gun. On top of that, most of these gun shops are already higher than Wal-Mart to begin with.

Shelter & Camping Supplies

My local Wal-Mart isn’t a Super Store. Since we live near a rural town, our Wal-Mart is one of the smaller stores. But it still has a huge selection of tents in the Sporting Goods section. Not only that, but it carries about 6 different types of camp stoves and most of the accessories that go along with them including filters, parts, mantels and fuel.

The same goes for Lanterns. A good selection of electric and gas powered lanterns. And knives, oh yeah, they have everything from a small folding pocket knife for a few bucks to some of the best SOG and Gerber knives you’ll find anywhere.

Tarps of all shapes. They got ‘em. Rope, yep, I found them there also. Even Mountain House freeze dried food. Backpacks, waterproof containers, sleeping bags for all seasons and camp tables of several different sizes just to name a few.

Food & Long Term Food Storage

If you saw my article on starting a long term food storage plan and the article on food storage tips, then you know that all of that food came from Wal-Mart. Even though I don’t get all my food from there, I do get a good amount of it from either there or Sam’s Club. Now that Wal-Mart will price match, it doesn’t make sense for me to drive an extra ten miles to try a save a few cents.

They even have most all of the items you’ll need to start your own Emergency Preparedness Plan.

Wal-Mart has a lot of what a Prepper needs when it comes to food for long term storage. They have just about all the canned food one would need. If you prefer name brand food like Green Giant or Del Monte, they have that. They also carry their generic brands which in many cases are canned by the same company that cans the big brand names. Many times in the same factory!

They also carry dried beans and peas in larger offerings. Although to be honest, I buy my pinto beans and rice in the 40 or 50 lb bags at Sam’s. I like adding a variety of beans and peas to my food storage. Since they’re cheap enough, I might throw in a bag of dried black eyed peas (YUM!) or Navy beans, Kidney beans or a half dozen other choices.

When I look real close, my little Wal-Mart also has things like evaporated milk, canned meat, bulk flour and sugar. There’s few things other than whole grains that you can find there.

Emergency Supplies and First Aid

During my little walk, I also noted the huge selection of supplies one could find useful in the event of a economic or natural disaster. Garden hoses, rakes, hoes, axes, chainsaws, etc. Their hardware department only includes one aisle and to be honest, I prefer a real hardware store over Wal-Mart because I can buy nails in bulk by the box. But Wal-Mart has a lot of different sizes of screws and hangers. The have picture wire which will make a great small game snare in a pinch as well as a securing materials if you run out of rope or bungie cords.

Trash cans can double as long term food storage containers or used to store water in a pinch (I’d use a liner if using the galvanized cans for a container). The rubber ones are pretty durable and could have a lot of different uses. Heck, I bet you could even use them for a Garbage can!

Not only that, they carry those plastic tubs with snap on lids. These are good for storing things you want to keep the bugs out and keep dry.

Over in the paint department, you’ll find your duct tape, super glue and five gallon buckets with lids. You’ll also find both plastic and canvas drop cloths, although the selection of the canvas ones are hit and miss.

Between the paint and pet departments, we have some household fans and of all things, Generators! Yes, gas powered generators. I think the largest they carry is a 2500 watt model, but some electricity is better than none!

The Pet aisles have pet foods (obviously) but you can also find activated charcoal (if your store has a fish department).

The Pharmacy aisle has darn near everything you need to make your own first aid kit. Alcohol and Peroxide as well as an assortment of anti-biotic creams and just about every type of pain reliever, itch reliever and stomach ailment you can think of! Don’t forget the Epsom’s salt! You can also get sutures, bandages of all shapes and sizes as well as things you’ll need to patch you up in a pinch.

Now I know some of you hate Wal-Mart with a passion. Although I’m not real fond of them myself (more than likely not for the same reasons you don’t like them), if one is thinking smart, they’ll not let their personal beliefs get in the way of common sense. Every penny I can save is a penny I can use to buy something else for my family to be prepared. And when it comes to that, I pretty much don’t care who has the lowest prices, if it’s close and I can get there without sitting in traffic for an hour, I’m there.

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