I want water, food, a red cross quality first aid kit, half a tank of gas at all times, firewood, some money, and a valid passport on hand. That is what every person should have on hand at all times. How many have that simple list covered?
Now for prepping. I went through Hurricane Sandy, and afterwards helped collect food for the waterfront victims by me. This one man gave me a bundle of stuff and I was very excited until everything was either "currently edible" or well past expired. His garage was filled to over throwing and everything was just stock piled. He never heard of rotating his stock.
Self sufficiency, in having enough on hand is a very good idea. If Romney had gotten into office I think Americans would be hearing a lot more about this topic.
I will never get caught without the basics, but whether or not I can hold down the fort for months like some people claim to be able to? I do not think I'll ever be there.
I also agree with Duffsmom in that people will want what you have.