Prepping in an apartment ( Cheap & Easy )

Prepping in an apartment is a lot different than prepping in a house, with a house you have a lot more options when it comes to prepping and not to mention a lot more space. There are a lot of people living in apartments, and in bigger cities, it is not unusual to have roommates due to the high cost of living and rent. On top of that, the likelihood of your roommate being a prepper is fairly low.

One of the most useful items which you should get for apartment prepping are water bricks as these occupy a lot less space than water bottles, my personal recommendation is to get water bricks which are actually stackable, as even most rigid water bricks are not stackable Click here to check it out on

Most people who have roommates pay half of the rent and they live in one room, while the kitchen and bathroom are shared, which is not ideal no matter if you are a prepper or not. One of your biggest challenges in an apartment will be space if you live in the New York area than you have a lot less space than someone who is living South. Stockpiling food and water will be a challenge especially if you do not get to an agreement with your roommate.

If you have never stockpiled food and water for more than a couple of days than you will probably be amazed at how much food you would need for even a short period as a month. If you have to store all that food and water in your bedroom then you will probably be sleeping on top of them, not the ideal situation. If you are wondering if staying at home during and SHTF is a good idea or not, then check out my recent article Staying home during SHTF ( Can you? ).

Common ground

Your first goal should be to come to an agreement with your roommate if you have one, if not consider yourself very lucky. As the main problem with prepping in an apartment is space you will need to be able to use the shared space for stockpiling all the necessary food and water. Odds are that in case of an SHTF you will share your food and water with your roommate, even if he is not a prepper and he didn’t contribute to the buying of supplies.

On the other hand, if you can not use the common area like the kitchen to stockpile your prepping items than you have no other alternative than to stockpile everything in your room, and with some creativity, you might find different ways how you can fit more items in your room without cluttering it too much.

Make a budget

Without a budget, you will spend a lot more than you need to. Prepping is all about the slow and steady accumulation of different goods, not panic buying as much as you can. Everybody’s budget will be different, but if you are smart at shopping you can maximize every penny that you have. The best approach towards a budget is to make a monthly budget, now I am not saying that a certain percentage of your paycheck should go towards this budget, as life will throw you several curve balls and you will probably not be able to keep this budget in check.
What I am saying that if you set aside $20-40 every month with which you will buy food and water will have significant results in just a couple of months.

Start with food and water

I see far too often beginner preppers who start buying some tactical flashlight in the first month of prepping, don’t do this. Your first goal is to ensure your survivability with food and water after that comes everything else. Once you have plenty of food and water than you can think of buying some gear. Think of it like this, no matter what happens you will always need food and water, so it is rather pointless to get some tactical flashlight as the use of this will be highly situational, instead aim for things which you will often use.

Water filters

No matter how much water you will store it will not last forever, in this case, you will have to think about how will you get freshwater and how will you filter and purify it. In case of an SHTF situation you will not be guaranteed that water will flow from your tap, so make sure that you know a couple of places form which you can get fresh water.

Make a bugout bag

No matter if you are prepping in your apartment or not, you should always have a bugout bag, as you never know when you might be forced to leave your apartment. The contents of your bugout bag should contain enough water and food for at least 72 hours, and other survival items like compass, flashlight and so on. Just think of your bugout bag as being a backup plan, and something that you can just grab without packing any additional items in it as it has to be always ready to be used. If you want to know which premade bugout bags do I recommend then check out my recent article Best premade bug out bag ( Top 21 ).

Have a bugout plan

The problem with stockpiling a lot of food and water in your apartment is that you might not even have the chance to use it. In some cases, you might be forced to leave your apartment and this is why it is crucial not only to have a bug out plan but a bugout bag also. Just think about what you would do and where you would go in such a scenario if you have a set goal like getting back to your home town then make a detailed plan.

When you are making this bug out plan take into consideration if you will travel on foot or with a car, how far re the points where you can get additional food and water and so on.

Maximize your storage space

Your first goal is to try and maximize your storage space as best as you can, no point in getting hundreds of water bottles as in the same space which they occupy you could store more water if you are able to maximize the space. For water you can find water brick containers, these are extremely easy to stack one on top of each other and you can easily rotate when you are adding new water bricks. The same goes for food, don’t get around food buckets, get square ones as they do not waste any space.

First aid kit

When it comes to first aid kits you have two options, either get premade first aid kits or build it yourself. If you are new to this and you don’t know what to get than just get a first aid kit, usually these will have everything that you could need in case of an emergency. If you have some medical condition then you have to take this into the calculation and try to stockpile some medicine also.

Start a garden

Yes, you heard it right, you should start a garden if you have the space for it. Although you will probably not be able to grow enough food in your balcony or your apartment to keep yourself going or a long time, but you could use this as an extra food source, although a very limited one. One important thing that you will learn with an apartment garden is how to take care of crops, which might be very useful in a lot of situations.

Get a backpacking stove

In certain SHTF situations, you will probably lose access to many of the utilities. In this case, you should think about how would you not only cook your food but also how will you boil water. Having an open-source of flame is probably a bad idea indoors, but if you have a balcony then this shouldn’t be a problem. Generally speaking, most backpacking stoves use propane, which is probably one of the first items to go in case of an SHTF.

Instead, you should get a backpacking stove that uses denaturated alcohol as a fuel source, as denaturated alcohol is a lot easier to find and you will have an easier time finding it even during an SHTF situation.

Tool kit

There used to be a time where everybody had its own tool kit and oftentimes these were passed down from one generation to another. Nowadays most households do not even have a screwdriver, so get a small tool kit. Even if you don’t know how to use most f the items inside you will still be able to figure it out if you put some effort into it.


It is a smart idea to also invest in some security, maybe get a metal door if you can or set up something as simple as a doorbell camera. Thieves and looters will be often deterred with homes which do look like they have some kind of security, so you could even put up some fake cameras, although security cameras are soo cheap that you would probably be better off just installing a real one instead of a fake one.

Follow OPSEC

OPSEC is basically a term in the military which means that you should keep quiet about your prepping. If you start bragging around that you have all that food and water stockpiled to your friends, guess who is going to knock on your door once the shit hits the fan. As a prepper, your first priority is to keep yourself and family safe, well-fed and hydrated. During an SHTF situation, some people will be generous and sharing their supplies, although that is extremely dangerous, once you cant feed your family what are you going to do then?

Have a fire plan

One of the big problems with prepping in an apartment is the constant danger of fire. Most of your items will be closely packed together and a lot of items such as food are highly flammable. Once you stockpile more and more food and water you will inevitably block off some power outlets. Between the boxes and the wall oftentimes cobwebs will form and some excess dirt will start piling up, it only takes a faulty power outlet to set ablaze everything, so make sure to have a fire plan and a fire extinguisher.


One thing which a  lot of people seem to forget is how important cash is in an SHTF situation. Most people only use either their credit cards or debit cards for purchasing, but if the power grid goes down then you can not use them, so make sure that you have some cash with you all the time.

Have bartering items

If the SHTF situation is for an extended time or if it is wider in scope than you will have to barter with something as money will be worthless. Generally speaking, some goods and commdo\tyes will keep their prices such as gold, silver, and other precious metals. Now I am not saying that you should start buying gold bars, instead get a couple of silver coins as these will be probably the easiest to trade with, just stay away from junk silver. For more information about silver, check out my recent article How much silver should a prepper have (simple math).

Wool blankets

One thing that will be extremely useful is a wool blanket, especially if the SHTF situation is during the wintertime. My personal recommendation is to get several of them as these will keep you warm during the cold winter nights.

Communication devices

Almost everybody has a smartphone nowadays, and if you have a signal and internet then you will have no problem communicating with others. Although you might want to get some solar chargers just in case the power grid goes down.

Basic hygiene items

A lot of people simply forget to get enough hygiene items, once you are in a survival situation, hygiene becomes even more important. Small cuts and bruises can easily lead to infection if your hygiene is bad, so make sure to get plenty of toilet paper, toothpaste and so on. If you have a girlfriend living with you then do not forget about here monthly issue, and plan accordingly.

Washing your clothes

During an SHTF situation you will still have to wash your clothes, so get enough detergent or washing soaps. If you do not have a dryer than your main problem will be the lack of space where you can dry off your clothes. There are a lot fo different types of drying racks on the market, so get a couple of them which will fit in your room or apartment.

In conclusion

Prepping in an apartment will be somewhat more difficult than prepping in a house, mostly due to the lack of space and your inability to be self-reliant. Although with some careful calculations you will be able to maximize your space to store as much food and water as you can. As a backup plan, do not forget to also make a bugout bag, as you will never know when you might be forced to leave your apartment with all your food and water.

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