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Best Supplies & Food To Stock Up On Before A Hurricane

Best Supplies & Food To Stock Up On Before A Hurricane. Get your home ready for the storm and possible long power outages.

What Should You Stock Up On Before A Hurricane?

Living in Houston means that we have to be ready for possible Hurricanes and power outages.

In fact, during Hurricane Harvey, we spent most of 5 days without power and running water. So, I’ve gotten pretty good at stocking up the house a few days before big storms move through.

Luckily, we live about 60 miles from the coast. So, it’s generally safe for us to stay home during a hurricane. But we do have to be prepared. And, that means knowing what food to buy during a hurricane threat.

Here’s my go to list of supplies and food to stock up on before a hurricane so that we can safely stay home.

Image of a pantry stocked with food and large water storage containers. Text says "Food & Supplies to Stock Up On Before a Hurricane".
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Best Food to Buy Before A Hurricane

Any food that can just be eaten as-is or heated and eaten, is the best food during a hurricane. A food that you have to add water to make is second best.

Items that require ingredients that are refrigerated should be skipped, unless you have your fridge on a generator.

Here are some ideas for good foods to stock up on to get your home ready for a hurricane. If they’re actually foods your family will eat even if you don’t lose power, that’s preferable.

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables that don’t need to be refrigerated. Think about how you’ll cook certain vegetables before you buy them too.
  • Instant coffee, cappuccino, or tea. Grab enough little pots of non-refrigerated creamer to last a week.
  • Large Gatorade bottles, juice boxes or cans, and/or powdered drink mixes.
  • Dried fruits, assorted nuts, and dried meats.
  • Granola bars, protein bars, cereal bars, and/or energy bars.
  • Ready to eat non-refrigerated items like chili, soup, tuna, chicken, canned beans, canned vegetables and fruit cups or cans. Make sure you have a hand-operated can opener.
  • Peanut butter or other nut butters. And, jelly to keep kiddos happy.
  • Cereal, oatmeal, bread, grits, any boxed breakfast items you can eat without milk.
  • Dry Milk, if you really need milk, you can always mix it as you need it.
  • Pasta and Pasta Sauces.
  • Breads, muffins, breakfast pastries, rolls, baguettes, croissants, etc.
  • Some powdered mashed potato boxes and Velveeta macaroni and cheese boxes only require water.
  • I keep a dish of butter on our kitchen counter for toast. It stays good for a very long time without refrigeration. So, you can always keep your butter for cooking, if you lose refrigeration.
  • Keep spirits up and kids happy with pudding, cookies, fruit chews, and other items that are ready to eat.
Image of kitchen cabinets full of food to stock up on for a hurricane.

Storing Food and Drinks During a Hurricane

Be sure to keep your emergency food and drinks in a cool, dry, shady spot in your house, if you lose power.

If your home floods, NEVER eat or drink anything that has been touched by flood waters. They can be incredibly dangerous and contaminated with chemicals and bacteria.

On top of knowing which food supplies to buy before a hurricane AND where to store it, you’ll need to be able to cook some of it. Let’s talk about the options you have next.

How To Cook Food When You Lose Power?

Cooking indoors can get tricky when you lose power. If you have a gas stovetop, you can always use a match to light the flame. Then cook as you normally would.

BUT, don’t forget, you’ll need water to cook with and water to wash the dishes. To conserve water, I try to wipe pots and pans clean of food with paper towels. Then wash with dish soap and a little water.

You can safely use most butane stoves (like this highly-rated Chef Master) indoors. These lightweight stoves are generally used for catering events or camping.

Propane stoves, also common for camping, CANNOT be used indoors because they leak dangerous gases and fumes. Be sure to follow all safety requirements for whatever portable stove you buy.

Outdoor gas or charcoal grills are another great option for cooking when you have lost power.

Just be sure to have a supply of matches and whatever fuel source you might need.

Or, you can buy and hook up a generator, if possible. Get enough fuel to last a few days too. Just hook up the bare minimum to extend the fuel supply.

Maybe just the refrigerator, water well pump (if applicable), 1 AC Unit and lights and power in one room.

How Much Emergency Water Do You Need?

Of course, water is one of the main things you need to stock up on before a hurricane.

You really can’t believe how quickly you go through water when you can’t use the taps. You’ll need water for food prep, cooking, toilets (if you have well water), hand washing, dish washing, and bathing.

  • 1 Gallon of water per person per day is the standard rule for just drinking, food prep, and washing.

Have 2 weeks worth of water for every member of the family, just to be safe. So, for our family of 4, that’s 56 gallons of water total (4 gallons a day for 14 days).

I use these 6-gallon emergency water jugs to store water and these alkaline water drops to prep water for long-term storage.

Buy baby or hand wipes to use as hand cleaners to preserve water. And, frankly, you may need them if you can’t shower too.

Use paper cups, dishes, napkins, and plastic ware as much as possible when the power is out. Washing dishes takes too much water.

Image of large emergency water storage containers and small water bottles.
I use the large 6-gallon containers for long-term emergency water storage.

How To Store Water for Emergencies Video

Watch this video for a step by step guide to getting your emergency water supply ready. Check out How to Store Water for an Emergency for more info about making an emergency water supply.

How to Store Water for an Emergency! With tons of answers to common questions. 👍

How to Flush a Toilet Without Running Water?

If you don’t have running water, you can flush the toilet by pouring enough water into the toilet tank. Most toilet tanks will need between 1 1/2 and 5 gallons per flush.

Newer tanks usually use less water. So try to only flush when necessary, if you know what I mean.

During our last long power outage, we dipped a large bucket into our pool. That water is safe enough for flushing toilets temporarily.

Make Sure You Have Everyone’s Medicine

If roads are blocked, you might not be able to get to any stores. And, if the power is out, pharmacies will have a hard time reopening.

During Hurricane Harvey, my husband had to go out and buy diabetes supplies for an evacuee shelter that ran out. So, plan for the worst!

Here’s medical items you’ll want to stock up on before a hurricane.

  • Prescription medicine! Get at least enough for the next month. You don’t want to be without.
  • Common over-the-counter medicines, like ibuprofen (pain reliever & anti-inflammatory), acetaminophen (paint reliever & fever reducer), and stomach medicines.
  • A fully stocked first-aid kit and various bandages.
  • Other medical supplies that you use regularly, like needles, catheters, testing supplies, etc.

Additional Supplies To Buy Before A Hurricane

  • A FULL TANK OF GAS in every one of the cars you drive. It might be hard to get gas for a while. And, even if you don’t go anywhere, you might need the car to charge phones or just sit in for some AC, car TV’s, and radio time.
  • Car chargers or battery-pack chargers for all phones and devices you’ll need.
  • A TV that works in your car. These are great if you have comfy cars and little kids that will be bored without power for days. Make sure to get DVD’s or to download movies for your car TV before the storm hits.
  • Matches to light gas stoves or grills outside.
  • Mosquito Spray. Mosquito’s can be pretty bad a few days after a hurricane hits.
  • Rain Gear for the whole family; coats, boots, hats, etc.
  • Batteries, batteries, batteries. These are critical for lights, radios, phones, etc. Those big ‘D’ batteries sell out first, when preparing for a hurricane. Keeping them on hand is always a good idea.
  • Flashlights or lanterns. I LOVE lanterns like this for lighting up a whole room.
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radios. I prefer battery-powered radio because I’ve had hand-crank that stopped working after a few years.
  • A small fire extinguisher. Storm damage can occasionally cause fires. It’s always best to have a fire extinguisher handy.
  • Enough cash to buy items while power and electricity might be out.
  • Paper towels, toilet paper, personal-hygiene items, and baby wipes. If you can’t wash towels and clothes, you’ll need a lot of paper towels.
Image of different sizes of batteries.

Will You Need Air Conditioning or Some Power?

Do you need a homemade AC too? Luckily, Harvey brought cooler air for us. Low 80’s during the day and about 70 at night meant we could sleep, barely.

But, if you know it will get hot and you won’t have power a DIY Air Conditioner that uses ice might be a solution for keeping one room cool enough for sleep.

Or, you can buy and hook up a generator, if possible. Get enough fuel to last a few days too. Just hook up the bare minimum to extend the fuel supply.

Maybe just the refrigerator, water well pump (if applicable), 1 AC Unit and lights and power in one room.

Some medicines need constant refrigeration, so plan ahead. Check the Ready.Gov site for more tips about hurricane readiness.

What Do You Need For Babies, Sick, Elderly, Disabled

Before the hurricane hits, think about babies, elderly, sick family, and disabled in your care.

Grab diapers, wipes, formula, food, and anything else you might need to keep a baby happy and healthy for a week or two, just to be safe. Getting to stores may be rough during and after a disaster.

And, if you have any sick, elderly, or disabled people in your home, make sure you have everything they’ll need to be comfortable and healthy during the hurricane and possible power outages.

If you do have family members that have a hard time getting around on their own, is it better to evacuate early, when you can do so safely and easily?

Hurricane Harvey was an unusual situation, but it shows that you never know what might happen. Homes that were never thought to be at flood risk were flooded. Those families were evacuated from their homes by boat.

What You Need For Pets During A Hurricane

You’ll also need to stock up on any necessary pet supplies for a few weeks.

Make sure you have the pet food they might need, kitty litter for cats, any medicine they need, and a pet carrier or leash in case of an emergency evacuation.

Don’t forget to bring your pets inside during the storm. Or, for livestock, be sure to secure them in a barn.


Grab the 16 page free printable version of these tips to get your home ready for a hurricane. This printable also includes my list of food and supplies to stock up on before a hurricane.


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