Three Items Every Prepper Should Have That They Probably Don’t

A sillcock key, sharper, and charcoal – must-have items

If you are new to prepping, or even if you have been prepping for some time, chances are you don’t have these three great items in your prepper supplies.

Whether you are looking to prepare for a natural disaster or if you’re just trying to make sure you can handle any problem that comes your way, there are three unique items that you should have in your emergency kit.

What are these three mysterious items that you need, you ask? They’re quite simple objects, really – a sillcock key, a pencil sharpener, and activated charcoal.

These might seem like very ordinary items that aren’t really worth your time, but at the end of the day, what you have on your person can make a real difference. Whether you need to access water, build a fire, or help someone who’s been accidentally poisoned, having these three things can get you out of many sticky situations.

So let’s take a look at each one of those a little bit further, and see why they are must-have items for preppers.

Prepper item #1 – The Sillcock Key (water access)

The average human can survive three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. While we often have these needs met, occasionally, we find that we’re unable to access some of these resources when we need them most. As preppers, this what we are ready for.

Water, in particular, is an invaluable resource. We need it to stay hydrated and healthy, but we also use water to cook and clean or to decontaminate dirty wounds in a medical emergency.

Finding water in the urban area – While water is often available, we can’t always access it. Next time you are outside, take a look at the exterior walls of commercial or public buildings in your area. You’ll probably start to notice that many of them have restricted water spigots.

Malls, office buildings, and even rest areas on the highway usually have these water spigots, which means that there’s water available, you just can’t access it.

But, what if it’s an emergency? What if you find yourself in a disaster type scenario and REALLY need water?

Accessing water with a Sillcock Key – Luckily, after reading this article, you would have your 4-way Sillcock Key – an ingenious little device which can open tamper-resistant hose bibs and let you access that restricted water in an emergency.

Typical 4-way Sillcock Keys include four female ends that fit a different square valve stem in one of the following commonly found sizes: 1/4″, 9/32″, 5/16″ and 11/32″.

Do NOT use this tool unless you are in a true emergency. Otherwise, you will probably break multiple laws just going up to a random building and taking water as you wish.

Check out this video to see how quickly a Sillcock Key can change your situation and provide lifesaving water if you are in a true emergency!

Since water is such a high priority in our daily lives, and this tool is so small and inexpensive, I keep one in my car with my everyday carry EDC kit and one at home in my bug out bag.

Prepper item #2 – A standard pencil sharpener

You might not be in elementary school anymore, but a pencil sharpener should always be part of your EDC kit.

Most preppers carry a lighter and a set of waterproof matches, just in case they need to make a fire. But, think about it – you might have something that can light a fire, but do you always have the right things to light?

Why would you use a sharpener? Yes, you can shave down wood into tinder using a great knife (if you have one handy) or you might be able to find some small twigs, but nothing you can carry can make kindling as easily as a pencil sharpener.  Look at how quick and easy it can be to start a fire with pencil sharpener shavings in the video below!

If that wasn’t good enough, consider this: a pencil sharpener is cheap and weighs nearly nothing. They take up little space in your bug out bag and can make reliable kindling in a matter of seconds. Plus if you carry a small golf pencil with you, too, you won’t even need to search for kindling.

Pencil sharpeners are incredibly convenient ways to start fires reliably and easily whenever you need it most. Be sure to include a pencil sharpener in your EDC kit or bug out bag so you’ll never have to struggle to start a fire again.

Prepper item #3 – Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal has been around for a long time (10,000 plus years), but only recently has its benefits and uses regained the attention of the masses.  Activated charcoal is a very basic compound that comes from ancient medicinal practices.  It is the byproduct of burning a carbon source like wood or coconut shells.

Why is activated charcoal good? The final product in activated charcoal is highly absorbent with millions of tiny pores that capture, bind, and remove poisons, heavy metals, chemicals, gases, etc.  When someone takes activated charcoal, the drugs or toxins they ingested bind to the charcoal, which helps the body get rid of it and prevents further complications.

For preppers, activated charcoal is a key tool to keep handy in case of an emergency, or if medical help is not quickly available.  A variety of situations could benefit from activated charcoal such as poisoning, stomach flu (I can attest to this personally), digestive relief from gas or bloating, accidental drug overdose, alcohol poisoning, etc.

If you live in a rural or remote area, having activated charcoal readily available can make a major difference in an emergency situation by providing a first response before professional medical treatment can be administered.

While it’s not a cure-all substance for all poisonings or overdoses, activated charcoal can be a life-saver. Every prepper should carry activated charcoal and know how to use it to help people in need.

Before you buy activated charcoal, you should do some research to learn when it should be used and when it ought to be avoided. It’s also important to note that someone who has taken activated charcoal for a suspected poisoning or overdose should still seek further medical attention at a hospital.

That being said, proper use of activated charcoal can and does save lives, so it’s an excellent addition to any EDC kit.

Over to you…

Do you have any other items you keep in your supplies, whether it be your EDC kit, bug out bag, or home supplies, that you find no-one else has? Let us know in the comments section below to help the other preppers reading this post.

This guest post was contributed to The Prepping Guide from Aaron at The Simple Prepper, which is a survival blog devoted to making prepping easy and fun. If you would like to send in your own submission, get in touch with us through our submissions page.


  1. Irideon


    So what am I missing here? If there is a natural disaster and my house loses water all I have to do is go six blocks away to the school and it’s going to have water? Or go another two blocks and then there’s office building and it will have water? I don’t think so. Yes now you have my email address.

    • That’s definitely not all you should have! A good place to start would be at least a month’s worth of food and water and some basic supplies kept in the home.

      These are simply items that are to add to a bug out bag or survival kit and that most preppers might not have. They definitely do not replace the need for other survival essentials.

    • Those water spigots are connected to the building’s entire water system. Unless someone beats you to it, there is going to be ample water left in the pipes to provide you with enough for a few days.

  2. Peter Marcano


    Cayenne Pepper. Great for clotting blood.

  3. Erin


    Plastic coated gardening wire – super lightweight but rather strong…I always have a 1-2′ in my EDC and lots more in my BOB. My husband doesn’t “get” my prepping, but he has asked for some of this wire countless times (join suitcase zippers before checking a bag, create a zipper “hold” when one broke off and in a pinch it could probably be used to bind someone’s wrists or logs to create a shelter)

Let me know your thoughts on this topic!