Whether you bought your gun for self defense or just for fun to shoot at the range, all first-time gun owners should make sure to have some of the same essential equipment. Part of being a responsible gun owner is making sure you protect yourself as well as others when using your firearm. Whether it’s for practice or a worst-case scenario, each of these accessories are a definite must for all gun owners. And the good news? Most of these accessories (if not all) won’t break the bank.

Regular accessories:

A cleaning kit – Not cleaning your gun regularly will increase the risk of damaging your firearm, or at the minimum potentially causing it to malfunction or misfire. That can be very dangerous. If a casing chips when you fire it, debris can slowly build up in the chamber of the gun — which needs to be properly cleaned. It’s important to have a good gun cleaning kit with a variety of options, and it’s even better if you can find one specifically for handguns or your type of gun. Read our previous article about cleaning your gun here.

A good holster – This is a must for any gun owner who bought a handgun specifically for concealed carry. Not only is it important to have a good holster that keeps your gun safe and hidden, but it’s also important to have a holster that’s comfortable enough you won’t mind wearing it for extended periods of time. There are even holsters specially designed for hiding in purses and special concealed carry clothing, too. This one is definitely not to be overlooked.

A good quality safe – While a safe might not be on the top of your list if you are a single person living alone, it can still be a good idea for added protection. If you live with other people or your family — and especially if you have kids — a gun safe is a must for safety purposes. Want to know more information about safe storage options at home? Read our previous article here.

Extra magazines – It’s always a good idea to have a few extra magazines ready to go. You might not ever need them, but for the safe of being extra prepared it can be a good couple of useful accessories to have around. Some people carry an extra mag when they carry concealed just to be safe. If anything, it makes for easier loading during practice at the range!

Extra ammo – This might be a no-brainer, but it’s a good thing to say anyway. You don’t want to accidentally run out of ammo when you need it, or get too low! That’s especially true in a self defense situation. Still, how disappointing would it be to go to the store only to find that they’re sold out of your favorite bullets? In general, it’s best to keep some extra just in case.

For shooting at the range and for target practice:

Protection for your eyes and ears – You have some options here, but you’ll definitely need a pair of glasses or goggles and some earplugs or earmuffs for when you practice shooting your firearm. Even if you don’t go to a shooting range specifically, it’s still a safety best practice to cover your eyes and ears when shooting a gun.

Targets – While ranges sometimes have targets to purchase when you go to practice, it’s also best to bring some of your own. If you do you’ll have a variety of different types of targets to keep changing things up, honing your skills, and keeping it from getting repetitive and boring. If you aren’t planning on going to the shooting range to practice then it’s definitely a good idea to have some targets to pin up outside, like if you’re practicing in the country outside city limits. Just make sure you know your city and state laws before you do.

Range bag – It’s always a good idea to have a dedicated space for all your gear! A range bag is essential for keeping all of your shooting equipment in one place. Keep your targets, goggles, earmuffs, and more ready to go. It will make life so much easier than having to re-pack a bag every time you go out shooting.

While not essential, here’s 2 more bonus accessories:

A sight – First off, a sight can be super beneficial when you’re just starting. They aren’t always too expensive and can improve your aim and response time when used correctly. Even pros use sights, so it’s usually worth investing in if you have the time and money.

Insurance – Insurance for using your gun, also called concealed carry insurance or firearm liability insurance, isn’t *quite* an accessory per se, but I do believe it is essential for all carriers who have a gun for self defense purposes. There are lots of different insurance companies, policies, and even memberships that cover (or at least support) gun owners if you ever have to use a gun in self defense. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to drop in legal fees if I had to defend myself. Even if it’s in self defense, there’s likely to be initial repercussions…so it’s definitely better to be safe rather than sorry.

At the end of the day, making sure you have all of these accessories will keep you fully prepared and ready to go. If you’re new to owning a gun, make sure to add these essential gun accessories to your inventory — they will definitely be worth it!

A responsible gun owner needs to be on top of everything. You need to know how to shoot your gun, how to clean and store it, your state laws for when and where you can carry it, and more — and there’s no room for error when it’s not only your safety involved, but also the safety of others.

Ultimately, you have to be responsible — and that means knowing the ins and outs of your firearm. So what are some ways you can improve your firearm knowledge, accuracy, and awareness?

You can always go out and just practice at a range on your own, sure. But the checklist below is a great starting point for understanding the direct actions you can take to educate yourself about gun use, safety, and ownership. Use this checklist to help you get started, and become the most prepared gun owner you can be.

Here are a few things you can do to become a responsible gun owner:

Learn the basics…and then don’t forget them.

The biggest step you can take at the beginning of your gun ownership journey is to know the universal basics of gun safety. Make sure you’ve got them down, and then don’t forget them. Unfortunately, even seasoned gun owners mess up the basics — a lot of times the stories we hear on the new are because people don’t follow 4 simple rules.

The following 4 rules are from Jeff Cooper, and have been accepted as the basic, universal 4 rules of gun safety. They are:

  1. Treat every gun as if it’s loaded.
  2. Never point a gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire.
  4. Be sure of your target, AND what is behind it.

In addition to remembering the 4 rules, it’s also important to familiarize yourself with the different types of guns out there. Read about them, watch YouTube videos, ask friends about their opinions and preferences, etc. If you’re a new gun owner, it will give you more insight into what makes your gun unique. As a prospective gun owner, it will help you narrow down the differences between types of guns and various models to help you pick out which ones you would likely be most comfortable with. Don’t forget to learn how to clean your gun too! Read our previous article here on the gun cleaning basics.

Take a gun handling class.

if you don’t yet own a gun, going to a gun handling class will give you valuable experience that you can use to help make a purchasing decision. If you’re a new gun owner, most introductory gun handling classes will allow you to bring your own gun in and practice with it, which will help you get the hang of your new firearm under professional instruction. No matter where you are in the purchasing process, taking a gun handling class is essential for understanding simple mechanics, vocabulary, and gun maintenance and cleaning. It’s also good for simply being able to ask any questions you may have with the assurance of getting a professional response.

Practice.

You know the old saying, already — practice makes perfect.

You have to practice not only to improve your accuracy (although that’s huge), but also to feel more comfortable using your firearm. There is no supplementation you’ll find for practicing. Go out, shoot it, get the feel of it, work on your aim, and always remember the basics of gun safety.

Take a self defense class.

Now this suggestion might sound a little non-gun related and you might be wondering why it’s on this list. The truth is, though, a lot of people own a gun but don’t have the skills required to protect themselves from an attacker who might attempt to take your gun away from you. Taking a self defense class — especially one specifically for gun retention — will help you prepare to fully defend yourself if an attack ever occurs. If an attacker ever successfully takes your gun away from you, it’s most likely bad news — so don’t let that happen! Learn to defend yourself so your weapon can never be used against you.

Invest in a quality gun safe.

If you live alone, you may not necessarily need a gun safe unless you want to purchase one as an extra precaution. But if you live with other people or your family, having a gun safe is very important — especially with children around. Even though you know the people you live with, accidents can happen.

A gun safe is all about keeping your firearms from falling into the wrong hands. Those “wrong” hands could be the accident-prone hands of a kid, a dumb guest who is trying to be funny, or a burglar who eyes them in your house.

Make sure to get a quality safe that can’t be broken into easily or simply carried away and opened later. Another good rule of thumb is to always educate your children of the dangers of firearms. You can possibly even tell them about your safe so they know where it is, even if they don’t have access. Want more examples of safe gun storage? Read our previous article here.

Get a certification or license.

Most certifications require some form of test, and that testing usually involves both questions and in-person range shooting for accuracy. Getting a certificate or license, like a certificate of completion for an advanced pistol course or a concealed carry license, will help prove your dedication and the level of seriousness you associate with using and owning a firearm. Honestly, it’s also a great way to get more instruction and practice, too, and you can never get enough of that.

Renew your license and training.

As you progress in your firearm proficiency, one of the later steps you can take is to continue to renew your training and licenses. Like I mentioned earlier, actually practicing and using your gun is one of the most important things you need to do as a safe, responsible gun owner. Just because you “mastered” the basics doesn’t mean you can’t improve, and just because you were good once doesn’t mean you won’t fall out of practice (and skill). Continually using your firearm will also alert you to any problems or changes that may come up over time, both with your gun’s functionality and your own preferences.

Being a responsible gun owner means taking responsibility for the power and danger you keep with you. In order to maintain and use a gun safely, always remember the gun safety basics. Know how to handle your gun specifically, and practice with it consistently enough to feel comfortable. You can never learn too much or practice enough when it comes to firearms — especially when you’re using your own.

Stay proficient, confident, and prepared!

There’s lots of advice you can find on ways to survive in the wild once you’ve gotten lost, but what if the advice you were given isn’t the best? If fact, some advice — although the person probably meant well — should never be followed, especially if you really are in the wild and struggling to survive. You can’t afford to follow bad advice in a life-and-death situation.

Unfortunately, all of the “advice” below has actually been promoted or even slight ingrained culturally as best practice. I have personally heard all of these at one time or another, whether that’s from friends wanting to go on hikes or extreme survival tv shows.

But here’s something simple to remember: don’t follow it. Don’t follow any of this popular or na├»ve advice if you’re stuck in the wilderness. Think again, and stay alive!

Here’s my list of some of the worst survival advice I’ve heard:

Follow a river…or birds…or anything, back to society. Try to find your way back!

Contrary to what a lot of people think, it’s actually best if you stay put so people can find you more easily. Cities aren’t always downstream, and birds don’t always fly toward water. The closer you are to the trail you accidentally left or the group you accidentally strayed from, the better the odds that a search and rescue team will find you. Finding your way back on your own may sound like a good idea and work once in a blue moon, but you’re more likely to just get even more lost. So just stay put! Read our previous article about staying alive by staying put for more information.

If it’s “safe” and/or small, you can swim across a river if you have to instead of finding a way around.

This is a big nope. One — unseen undertows. Even in small rivers, you can get sucked down. Maybe you won’t drown, but you could hit your head on a rock or be swept away, lose your supplies, and get even more lost. And two, you’d be wet. And wet you should not be. Hypothermia kills, and it is usually a slow way to go.

Running water is okay to drink.

No! You never know what has been in the water, whether it’s stagnant or flowing. While running water is loads better than stagnant water, what if something dead is laying upstream? Or there’s fecal matter in it? Or bacteria? No. Don’t drink running water unless you boil it first or have a filter. Read our article about common backcountry bacteria to learn more.

You can drink your own urine to stay hydrated in extreme cases.

Please don’t ever do this. Technically, you can do it…but you shouldn’t, because it won’t have the best outcome. Drinking your own urine will actually make you more dehydrated because of the high concentration of toxins and uric acid within it — which is why it’s exiting your body in the first place. Drinking it will end up making you thirstier and you’ll need even more water to flush out the toxins you just drank again.

You can use moss as a directional reference to find your way back since it grows on the north side of trees and rocks.

There’s one problem here, though — moss doesn’t always grow on the northern side. Moss is a plant that grows depending on dampness, shade, and sun — not a specific direction. While this is a popular saying or belief, don’t follow it unless you want to get even more turned around. It’s best to just carry a compass with you to figure out your directions. If you don’t have a compass, use the sun and stars!

If you do decide to try to find your way back, try to cover as much ground as possible.

This might sound like a good idea, but it’s actually not. You should always try to conserve your energy in a survival situation, no matter how good making progress sounds (which is sort of relative anyway because if you’re lost you have no idea if you’re making progress). If you accidentally pick the wrong way to go — or even if you pick the right way — being exhausted with limited resources isn’t a good indicator for successfully making it back. Exhaustion is deadly. Conserving it is just as much of a useful resource as food or shelter.

If you are with a group, split up your supplies so the weight is evenly distributed. You don’t need all of your own survival gear.

This is a tricky one because there is some truth to carrying the minimum amount of weight you can get away with. If you’re carrying too much, it will slow you down and wear you out. And like I mentioned earlier, exhaustion is not your friend. The problem here comes with a scenario where you accidentally get separated from your group. If you’re lost, what if you aren’t the one who has the extra water, or the water filters, or the Mylar blankets, or the food? Not a good scenario. You can’t carry everything of course, but you should always carry your own survival pack with various essentials just in case.

Carrying your phone is enough to keep you from getting lost.

Maybe this is obviously wrong to you and carrying backup forms of navigation/communication is just common sense. I hope so. But to all the people out there who think that a phone is a cure-all for almost any scenario — please have more than just your phone. Just like any electrical device, what if it breaks, gets lost, loses power, or has no signal? No matter what resource or piece of supplies we’re talking about, it’s always best to have a backup if you can.

The main thing to remember is that when you’re lost and trying to survive in the wilderness, taking risks is not what you want to do. You want to say alive, and you want to be found. That means staying level headed, using your resources, thinking ahead, and playing it safe.

Having the necessary medical resources after a physical injury can mean the difference between life and death in a survival situation. If you aren’t close to any medical help, your survival could depend on how well you’re able to use the resources around you to your advantage — including various types of plants.

There are thousands of plants you can find in the wild that have medicinal properties, and some of them can be applied topically to treat wounds and injuries with phenomenal effects. Gaining a better understanding of the medicinal properties that some of the most common plants found in the wild have will enable you to use your surroundings to your advantage, helping you treat an injury and ultimately boosting your chance of survival.

The great news is that some highly beneficial plants might be even more common than you think! Each of the 4 plants listed below can be applied topically to treat physical injuries and are relatively (if not very) common throughout the United States. If you’re stuck in the wilderness and get hurt, look around for them!

Plantain

While also the name for that banana-like fruit you see at the supermarket, plantains are also a type of plant. It’s very common, and most people actually think it’s an unruly and annoying weed.

Where to find it: Plantain grows almost anywhere in the United States, in natural and urban settings alike. Look in meadows, lawns, or even between rocks and gravel.

How to identify: The easiest ones to spot will have circular/spoon shaped leaves and feel slightly rubbery. If you decide to use plantain leaves, just make sure you’re not taking it from a place that has possibly been sprayed with pesticides, like the side of the road.

How to use: Crush the leaves with some water (or chew them up) to form a poultice, then put it directly on the wound. You can also keep the leaves whole, soak them in water, and then wrap the leaves around the affected area.

Benefits: Helps keep the injury from getting infected and inflamed. You can use it for any type of injury, but it’s particularly great for treating venomous stings from various creatures like bees, wasps, and even scorpions! It will aid in pulling the venom out of the area. Keep in mind though, it’s generally not strong enough to help treat snakebites.

Read our previous article to find out more about the plantain and all its benefits.

Yarrow

Yarrow is also called “staunchweed” because of its fantastic ability to slow and stop bleeding. It’s medicinal properties are widely recognized, and it’s even been known to be used by soldiers and medics in combat.

Where to find it: Yarrow grows virtually anywhere in the United States, although it’s more likely to be found in meadows, fields, and at the edge of forests.

How to identify: It has a thin stalk with groups of small white flowers. Some variations produce other colors of flowers like yellow or pink, but white is typically the most common. Yarrow usually grows in patches, and is 1 – 2 feet high.

How to use: Crush both the leaves and the flowers to make a poultice, then apply it directly on the wound.

Benefits: Slows down bleeding and prevents infection. It is also antimicrobial. Yarrow is particularly effective for wounds that are freely bleeding and won’t slow, or for fresh injuries to prevent significant blood loss in the first place.

Wild Sage

Sage is useful for much more than just cooking! There are lots of varieties of sage, the majority of which have been used for hundreds of years by Native Americans. The familiar smell may help you identify it, although wild sage is actually not the same as culinary sage.

Where to find it: The plant that people typically associate with the name “sage” is found mostly in the southwestern United States, but there are actually well over 60 different kinds of sage all over the country. Wild sage specifically, also commonly called “white sage,” can be found in western Washington and Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, and even the majority of the midwestern states in the Great Plains region. It thrives in slightly dry/very dry climates and is commonly found in open spaces including meadows, prairies, plains, foothills, and high desert.

How to identify: The leaves are usually green or a white, grayish-green with a slight softness or fuzz to them. When flowering, the flowers bunch in a column and can be shades of purple or blue. It has a naturally appealing spell that can be recognized as a spice from cooking.

How to use: Crush (or chew) to make the leaves into a poultice, then apply directly to the wound. For insect repellant, simply rub the sage leaves themselves onto your skin.

Benefits: Prevents and kills infection when applied to a wound. It’s also a great helper to combine with other medicinal plants to fight off infection! Sage also repels insects when rubbed directly onto skin.

Calendula

Calendulas are nicknamed the “pot marigold,” even though marigolds and calendulas are actually separate types of flowers within the same scientific family. Keep in mind that finding a regular marigold will NOT have the same medicinal effects as an actual calendula flower.

Where to find it: Calendulas prefer sunny places, but can also grow in partial sun. They are commonly found in fields and meadows, and because they grow in almost any soil type, they can be found across the country!

How to identify: The flower is usually a bright yellow or orange and looks similar to a daisy but with more petals. Sometimes it will look similar to a marigold depending on the exact species, but should have fewer petals than a marigold and aren’t bunched as closely together.

How to use: Crush the petals and mix with a little bit of water, or chew up the petals, to make a poultice. Apply directly to the affected area.

Benefits: Helps wounds heal faster by increasing blood flow, which helps scabs form and skin knit back together. It basically encourages new skin growth!

While these four plants are some of the most common medicinal plants you can find in the United States, keep in mind that no plant grows absolutely everywhere. It’s best to know some regionally-specific plants closer to where you live in addition to knowing common plants widely found across the country.

Plantain, yarrow, wild sage, and calendula are so beneficial and commonly found that it’s good to be familiar with them, though, especially since all 4 can help keep you alive if you get hurt in the wilderness and don’t have access to modern medical care. And honestly, they can even help fight infection and stop bleeding if you’re NOT in the wilderness. Plants that are this ridiculously beneficial and easy to use are always worth knowing.

Interested in common edible plants to compliment your knowledge of common plants for treating wounds? Read our previous article here.

If you’re a prepper, you know it’s important to prep for multiple scenarios. You should definitely have a bug-out bag ready to go if you need to leave your home, and you should always have proper survival gear if you’re out in the wilderness. But prepping for being stuck at home is just as important, and may be more likely than other emergency situations.

In a pandemic, natural disaster, an extended power outage or beyond, it’s important to have the supplies you need to survive if you have to hunker down. It’s widely known that stockpiling at least a decent amount of non-perishable food is a good idea, but what else should you include in your stockpile?

This list is for all non-food items that you’d need a decent amount stored up to truly be prepared. Here’s a list of non-food essentials you should keep in bulk supply:

  1. Water: In any form (or multiple ones), make sure you have extra water. Bottles, gallons — even water filters. Keep several water filters just in case.
  2. Medicine: This goes across the board for any type of medicine, but make sure you have extra pain relievers, decongestants, cough drops, flu medicine, and more. If you predict an emergency is coming in advance, try to get several months worth of any prescription medication as well.
  3. Paper products: This includes anything disposable you may use. Toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, and actual paper to write on or use for fires. Make sure you have lots.
  4. Pet food/products: It’s not just you who needs supplies to be prepared! Keep an extra few months of pet food, kitty litter or bedding, and various medications your pet may need. They’re family too.
  5. Feminine products: If forgotten about, this would make for a very terrible length of time. Yes, you could likely make do, but don’t underestimate how quickly you can go through your hygiene products. Remember to plan accordingly if you have multiple people to consider.
  6. Alcohol: Not only would some extra alcohol lying around help pass the time or possibly ease some stress, but it can also be used for lots of other purposes. Make your own hand sanitizer or disinfectant or even use it to numb the pain if you’re injured and need some sort of homemade medical attention. If anything, you can always use it as a tradable good, too.
  7. Batteries: Most people have a battery drawer already, but make sure to stock up on various kinds so you can power all sorts of useful gadgets or tools you may have.
  8. Fire starters/fuel: It’s good to have various options here, just in case. We’d recommend some staples like propane for a camping stove, BIC lighters, lighter fluid, tinder, wood, and charcoal. Fire is a necessity if you’re without power, both for heat and for cooking. Get enough supplies and options to feel comfortable if one way doesn’t end up working or malfunctions for some reason.
  9. Candles and flashlights: The long-lasting candles are what you’d want. And really, any form of light is worth stocking up on. That means candles, flashlights, or even lanterns.
  10. Baby products: Don’t forget to stock lots of diapers or invest in some reusable cloth ones instead. Any sort of baby food or formula is also a necessity.
  11. Cleaner/disinfectant: Anything you’d need to sanitize surfaces and keep yourself from getting sick, you want. And one usually just won’t do. You need cleaners and disinfectants in bulk, including wipes, sprays, and bleach.
  12. Seeds: In the slight chance that our society collapses and grocery stores are closed indefinitely, you should have a variety of seeds to start a garden. Your stockpile will only get you so far, so having a source of food is a necessity. Read our previous article on why heirloom seeds are best for more information.
  13. Soap: It’s obvious that everything should be cleaned, not just your surfaces. Including a bulk supply of soap for hand washing and showering, dish soap, and laundry soap/detergent is a must.
  14. Tarps: Tarps can be a multi-purpose tool for lots of situations. They’re waterproof, they can help hold things together, and they can help transport individuals or objects.
  15. Duct tape and hardware: Having a variety of hardware is definitely of importance. If you’re faced with a leak or repair, you’ll likely have to address it yourself. Stocking up on things like duct tape, nails, screws, and more makes it more likely you’ll be able to fix the smaller problems yourself. While most of us don’t have bigger, professional equipment or resources, having enough of the basics can help you get by. You probably won’t need tools themselves in bulk, but the hardware? Definitely.

If you make sure to have these essentials in your stockpile, you’ll be much more prepared for a survival scenario. A stockpile will be the difference between struggling to survive and being able to provide for yourself when you’re unable to rely on outside help or resources.

While this list is a great starter for bulk supplies (or supplies you’ll at least need multiples of), don’t forget to stockpile single items you might need along with an adequate supply of food.

Society’s digital advancements have definitely made some parts of our lives easier. But when it comes to preparing for the worst, we have to take into consideration a period of time where you may not have a working cell phone, signal, internet connection, or electronic backups.

If you’re looking for a general emergency preparedness rule of thumb, it’s simply this: it’s important to be as prepared as possible for any situation — and that means having physical backups to make sure you always have access to the information you may need. No matter what type of disaster you’re preparing for, having physical copies can be more than simply handy. In some cases, they can be lifesaving.

Here are 7 tools and resources you should make sure to have in physical form, just in case you don’t have access to any working digital signal:

1. A map

The importance of having a map cannot be emphasized enough. GoogleMaps is handy and will help if you have service and a phone, but what if your phone breaks, or it gets lost, or cell service and internet go down? The list goes on, and a map is definitely a necessity. Make sure to have a map of your immediate location and state itself, although having a broader atlas wouldn’t hurt either. Keep in mind that dated editions or versions might not show fully accurate roads and landmarks, so try to have a more recent version if possible.

2. A compass

Having a compass isn’t any new type of survival suggestion, but it’s worth reiterating on this list too. The digital accessibility of today has made information, gadgets, and useful tools abundantly available — including compasses and other survival tools. IF you use the compass app on your phone, great. I’d still recommend having a physical one, though. Not only will a physical compass save your phone’s battery charge, but it will also always work. And that’s something a phone just won’t do.

3. A small collection of reference guides

There’s no way you can know everything — not even everything on a single subject or topic. Carrying a few small reference guides or books on important topics is a great idea for giving yourself a leg up in any survival scenario. It’s also highly beneficial to carry reference guides for areas you aren’t well-versed in. If you’re good at fishing, don’t bother with a fishing guide. Instead, invest in a guide about herbal medicine derived from commonly found plants or one about immediate first aid techniques for various types of injuries.

4. A list of medications, prescriptions, allergies, or other important health information that you may store on your phone or computer

Immediate and tangible medical information will come in handy in an emergency scenario where you’re able to escape to an unaffected location. If you have all of your prescriptions and medical info in hand, you’ll be able to get true medical care much more easily. It can even be lifesaving in emergency situations, making all the difference if you or a member of your family is incapacitated and needs immediate medical care away from home.

5. Phone numbers, addresses, and other contact information for family, doctors, disaster relief companies, etc.

Having a list of contacts and safe spaces, both personal and professional, will help prepare you for any scenario where your phone (and all of the info on it, including your contacts) is out of the picture. It’s very unlikely that you’ll have all of your friends, family, or any potentially helpful contacts’ numbers memorized. Maybe it’s also unlikely that you’ll need all of those phone numbers, but if you’re in a situation where you do need one and you don’t have it? You’d be kicking yourself. Be prepared!

6. Important documents like birth certificates, house deeds, social security cards, and more

While this may take some more preparation, it’s a good idea to have all important documentation you may need in one general space. It will make it easier to gather that information in case of an impending emergency where you may have some advanced notice (albeit maybe a short one), like a wilfire or flood. Oftentimes, these types of documents are forgotten in a panic as a person tries to gather valuables and other survival necessities. If you have the time, including important documents should definitely be on your list.

7. A deck of cards, games, or a book or two.

Books and games can help relieve boredom and improve your mental health, giving you a break from the stress of your situation and allowing you to relax (even if it’s just a little bit). If you’re waiting for help or are in the aftermath of an intense natural disaster that knocks out water, power, or more, you’ll definitely want something to occupy your time.

Digital and electronic copies are definitely not to be forgotten, but there are scenarios or instances where it might not do you justice. If you have a family, the amount of important information you need during a crisis, attack, or disaster can rise exponentially. If you didn’t have access to a working phone or wifi, or the internet goes down altogether, would you be able to remember everything you need? Would you have the proper documentation to get you by?

Each of these are worth keeping in your emergency supply, bug-out bag, or at least easily accessible in case of an emergency — and it’s definitely worth checking or updating once or twice a year.