Toilet paper, hand soap, and household disinfectants have flown off the shelves at multiple times during the pandemic, and warehouse clubs have become a first stop for worried shoppers. But even if they’re fresh out of Charmin, Costco and Sam’s Club have a lot to offer anyone who’s preparing for an emergency, viral or otherwise. From toiletries and food to more specialized supplies like generators, here are some safe-not-sorry buys to consider.
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Prices and availability are subject to change. Some items sold out online may be available in store or vice versa. Prices also may be lower in store.
Related: Don’t Miss These Perks of Costco and Sam’s Club Membership
$27 from Costco
No power? Don’t drain your smartphone’s battery by relying on its flashlight. These three pop-up lanterns store compactly when you don’t need them but provide up to 180 lumens of bright light when you do. They have four modes including an attention-getting red flash.
$14 from Costco
Chances are your old flashlight and radio run on ’em, so why pay more buying small packs at the supermarket when you can get 48 batteries for about 35 cents each?
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$29 from Sam’s Club
You can make your own first-aid kit, but paying for the pros to do it is a lot more convenient. This 106-piece case includes 19 products like bandages, gauze, ointment, and tweezers in a sturdy, mountable metal case.
$500 from Costco
The threat of stormy weather and extended power outages can feel a bit less daunting when you have an emergency power source on hand. This Firman generator runs on gas and comes with a battery for back-up. The 5-gallon tank provides 14 hours of power at a 50% load. It can be started from up to 168 feet away by simply pushing a button on the remote.
$68 from Costco
In this smartphone-dependent age, most of us have an external battery lying around, but can yours jump-start a car? This high-capacity battery comes with jumper cables that can do just that, plus it has a built-in flashlight and two USB ports for charging laptops, tablets, phones, and other devices.
$10 from Sam’s Club
Tuna will always be a popular pick for emergency prep: It’s cheap, it lasts, and it’s an easy way to add protein to pasta, salad, a sandwich, a pita — whatever you can dream up, really.
$10 from Sam’s Club
Instant oatmeal can be a winner even with the queasiest tummies, and it’s usually good for a year or longer. It’s also cheap and filling, making this 52-count variety pack a great choice for your just-in-case stash.
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$13 from Sam’s Club
Trail mix might just be the perfect food for emergencies: It’s shelf-stable, packs in plenty of protein and carbs, and mixes sweet and salty in a way that makes it way more appealing than digging into yet another canned good.
$45 from Costco
Non-perishable foods are a must for plenty of potential emergencies. Protein bars like this highly regarded Costco brand have a long shelf life and deliver a lot of energy despite their small size.
$80 from Costco
Prepping for the end of times? Then Costco has your back, in the form of this just-add-water emergency-meal kit. From scrambled eggs to lasagna, everything has a 30-year shelf life (just in case the apocalypse takes its sweet time).
$25 from Sam’s Club
It will cost you, but anyone who wants a no-muss, no-fuss supply of emergency food that can last for up to 25 years (not a typo!) can stock up on these kits. Each just-add-water, ready-to-eat kit has five kinds of food and feeds one person for three days.
$175 from Sam’s Club
These stackable, interlocking 3.5-gallon containers make storing an emergency supply of food and water a little easier. The four air-tight, moisture-resistant FoodBricks can keep food fresh for the long haul. The six WaterBricks resist extreme temperatures and can be frozen.
$32 at Sam’s Club
Don’t forget about Fido in a crisis. Warehouse clubs are one of the best places to stock up on pet food on the cheap, and reviewers love this formula made with wild-caught salmon as the first ingredient. (Got a cat? Remember the litter, too.)
Related: Easy Dog Treat Recipes That Will Save You Money
$200 from Costco
Telecommuting and e-learning will be a whole lot harder if your Wi-Fi isn’t up to snuff. This easy to set up system provides coverage up to 3,000 feet per plug-in, no matter how device-happy your household.
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$10 from Costco
When sickness is rampant, saving yourself a trip to the pharmacy for meds is a smart move. These two 500-caplet bottles will last and last, even for bigger families. Of course, also consider cold medicine, antacids, and other common over-the-counter needs.
Related: What Not to Buy at Costco, Sam’s, or BJ’s
$8 from Sam’s Club
If crowds have cleared the aisles of hand soap, it’s time to get a little creative. Dish soap is often gentler on sensitive skin — a nice bonus when you’re ramping up the hygiene.
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$18 from Costco
This 194-ounce jug of detergent that’s free of irritating dyes and perfumes can power through a whopping 146 loads of laundry. (That’s close to five loads a day for a month, if anyone’s counting.)
$12 and up from Sam’s Club
No one needs to sell parents of small children on why keeping an emergency stash of diapers is a good idea. Sam’s diapers are as cheap as 11 cents each, less than half the price of Pampers Swaddlers. Oh, and don’t forget the wipes and, if needed, formula.
$90 from Sam’s Club
Unless there’s a direct threat to the water supply, why pay for case upon case of the bottled stuff? This single-stage filtration system can remove lead, chloramine, chlorine, and 56 other unsavory things from your water, and each filter lasts for six months or 300 gallons.
$9 from Costco
At roughly 25 cents an ounce, Pantene is your best bet for stocking up on shampoo at Costco. This 38-ounce bottle (and its conditioner counterpart) should last several weeks and then some, especially if you use only what you really need.
Related: Beauty Products Worth Buying at Costco
$12 from Costco
It’s best to replace toothbrushes after you’ve been ill, experts say, especially if you have underlying health issues. With this pack of eight, you’ll have a ready supply.
Related: Smart Things for Singles and Couples to Buy From Costco
$18 from Costco
Stock up now (or on pads, if you prefer) and you’ll be happy to avoid a last-minute trip out of the house when that time of the month rolls around again.
$22 from Sam’s Club
Contact wearers, don’t forget to keep solution at the ready. This kit with two large 14-ounce bottles also includes two replacement cases (change them no less than every three months, experts recommend, and always rinse them with solution after removing your lenses).
$53 from Costco
Unchecked boredom can become an emergency of its own. This 2-pack of nostalgia games can help while away the hours, no electricity required.
Related: Fun Family Games to Keep You Entertained at Home
$55 from Costco
File this firmly under luxury, not necessity. But for parents with kids possibly home from school for weeks, any type of screen-free entertainment will be much appreciated, and this Lego set allows for hand-on play.