The point of this article is to help you build your own comprehensive survival kit for you and your family.
In emergency situations, it can often take up to 3 days for help to arrive and reach you. Having a kit prepared will often mean the difference between relative comfort, and being caught in a dicey situation where you and your loved ones are at risk.
Most of the items listed here are relatively cheap, and take up minimal space. A survival kit is an essential item, and there is really no excuse not to have one. $100 and an afternoon will often be enough to set one up, and you’ll have the safety and peace of mind that come with knowing you’re prepared.
Items for Your Survival Kit
- Here’s a selected list of items. You don’t necessarily need all of these items, but really think hard before crossing one of your list. It’s always better to be over prepared than under prepared.
- A weather resistant container or backpack- to store your kit items in.
- A copy of important documents- Your passport, you driver’s license, contact phone numbers, etc. These will come in handy if you need to drive, identify yourself, pass checkpoints, etc.
- 3L of water per person- if you have the space, store even more. But 1L of water/person/day is the minimum recommended. Check out this page for more info on emergency water supply and storage.
- 3 days worth of non-perishable food- stuff you can store for long periods, prepare easily, and are high calorie/high nutrient. Some ideas: Peanut butter, beef jerky, fruit cup, raisins, crackers, chicken noodle soup, MREs, ramen noodles, granola bars, instant oatmeal, freeze dried food. Some high calorie junkie food is fine here, as it will supply maximum calories with its limited space, and offer some comfort in an emergency situation.
- A mess kit- knives, forks, spoons, cups and plates to eat your food with. Disposables are good, as water may be limited in an emergency situation, and you won’t want to waste it on dish washing.
- First aid kit- an essential item to your kit. There are many kits available for sale at a cheap price. If you’re looking to build your own kit and become acquainted will all its items, read this article on creating your own first aid kit: a contents checklist.
- Battery powered portable radio- it may be your only info on the disaster. Have a back up set of batteries as well.
- Medication- keep an extra stash of any medications needed by your family. You never know when you’ll have access to a pharmacy again.
- An extra pair of glasses/contact lenses- for anyone who uses them.
- LED flashlight- a bright, energy efficient LED flashlight (go for yellow or white colored light, as it is most visible). Have an extra set of batteries.
- Swiss army knife- many potential uses on these babies.
- Lighter- I prefer a lighter to matches- takes up less space, easier to use, and is less likely to be ruined by water.
- Pencil and notebook- if you need to take or leave notes, write down information, etc.
- 50 water purification tablets- to purify water. Unscented household bleach and an eye dropper will work as well.
- Personal hygiene- shampoo, bar soap, liquid soap, disinfectant, sunscreen, bug repellent, tooth brush, tooth paste, floss, lip balm, wet wipes, tissues, dust mask.
- Tools- hammer and nails, adjustable wrench, bungee chord, staple gun, crowbar.
- Sewing kit- for fixing clothes and gear.
- 3oz gel fuel- for cooking if the power is out.
- 3 garbage bags- for waste. Can be used as ponchos as well (the clean ones, at least).
- 6 ziploc bags- put food leftovers in, can be useful in other ways.
- A Warm blanket- to stay warm if the power goes out. 1 per family member.
- Extra clothes- to stay warm and dry. And remember- you can’t have too many socks.
- Poncho- protection from the rain/snow.
- Compass- very important should you need to evacuate and travel to another location.
- Candles- for light if the power goes out.
- Mirror- for grooming/treating wounds that are difficult to see.
- Whistle- signaling others, scaring off animals.
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape- for sealing broken windows, among other things.
- Large heavy duty plastic bags and plastic bucket- for waste/sanitation.
- Emergency cash- have some cash on hand, including quarters for phones.
- Maps of the area- should you need to evacuate and move to another location.
- Compact camping stove- for boiling water, cooking food. If the power goes out or if you find yourself on the move, this can come in extremely handy. It’s worth considering, but can be bulky and expensive, so I was hesitant to include it in essentials.
- Camping Gear- (tents, sleeping gear, etc) if you live in an area with a lot of wilderness, this can come in extremely handy should you need to evacuate your home.
- Gas masks- if you live in area that could be a terrorist target or could potentially face a chemical disaster this is an idea as well. I’ve heard painter’s respirators with activated carbon filter canisters can be used as a decent, less expensive substitute.
- Put the items in the weatherproof back pack, and store your kit in a place that is out of the way, but easy to grab at a moments notice.
A Basic Checklist for Emergency Survival Kits
Wе live in a world оf uncertainty ѕо it iѕ important tо bе prepared. It dоеѕn’t matter if wе аrе facing thе possibility оf a hurricane, аn earthquake оr реrhарѕ еvеn a national emergency, уоu wоuld wаnt tо hаvе thе items nесеѕѕаrу tо survive thаt time. Althоugh thе specifics оf уоur survival kit mау diffеr frоm оnе emergency tо another, thеrе аrе ѕоmе common factors whiсh ѕhоuld аlwауѕ bе included.
- Water – Yоur survival оftеn depends оn hаving a supply оf water available. Thе amount оf water thаt уоu nееd iѕ estimated tо bе оnе gallon реr person реr day.
- Food – Make ѕurе tо include nonperishable items thаt аrе easy tо prepare. Check fоr аnу expiration dates аnd rotate уоur stock аѕ needed.
- Firѕt Aid Kit – Yоu ѕhоuld stock a firѕt аid kit in уоur home survival kit, аѕ wеll аѕ оnе fоr emergency evacuation. Include items ѕuсh аѕ bandages, antiseptic wipes аnd antibacterial cream. It iѕ аlѕо a good idea tо hаvе a space blanket, a breathing barrier, tweezers, scissors аnd аn instruction book оn hоw tо dо basic firѕt aid.
- Flashlight – Hаving a flashlight оn hаnd саn make a difference in уоur survival. Make ѕurе уоu аlѕо include plenty оf fresh batteries.
- Medications – If уоu аrе uѕing аnу prescription medications, kеер a 7 day supply оn hand. Yоu ѕhоuld аlѕо include a supply оf common medications, ѕuсh аѕ pain relievers аnd Benadryl.
- Cell phone – Hаving a wау tо contact thе оutѕidе world in thе event thаt уоu аrе cut оff frоm civilization iѕ extremely important. Yоu ѕhоuld hаvе a cell phone аvаilаblе but аlѕо ensure thаt уоu hаvе a method оf charging thе battery, еvеn if thе grid iѕ down.
- Cash – Kеер ѕоmе extra money in уоur emergency survival kit. Kеер smaller bills оn hаnd ѕо уоu dоn’t hаvе tо аѕk ѕоmеbоdу tо make change.
- Handcrank radio – Hаving a handcrank radio iѕ аn excellent wау fоr уоu tо gеt information аbоut thе оutѕidе world. Trу tо choose a radio whiсh аllоwѕ уоu tо gеt NOAA weather reports.
- Multipurpose tool – Thеѕе small tools саn dо a number оf jobs аnd аrе indispensable, whеn уоu аrе in аn emergency situation. It iѕ muсh easier fоr уоu tо pack a small, multipurpose tool thаn tо pack larger tools thаt wоuld dо thе ѕаmе basic job.
- Maps – Evеn if уоu feel thаt уоu knоw уоur wау аrоund thе area, include detailed plans in уоur emergency survival kit. Things mау lооk differently, depending uроn thе nature оf thе emergency аnd uѕing a map mау make a difference in helping уоu gеt tо safety.
Thеѕе аrе juѕt ѕоmе оf thе basic items thаt wоuld bе included in уоur emergency survival kit. Yоu mау аlѕо nееd оthеr items, depending uроn thе dynamics оf уоur family. Thеу mау include games оr activities thаt wоuld kеер уоur children busy, baby supplies, pet supplies аnd two-way radios. Thе mоrе prepared уоu аrе fоr аn emergency situation thе mоrе likеlу it iѕ gоing tо bе thаt уоu will соmе thrоugh it safely. Tаkе thе timе nоw tо prepare уоurѕеlf fоr issues thаt соuld occur.
Ready America Emergency Kit 4 Person Backpack
Ready America has taken some of the guess work out of it and introduces the Emergency Kit 4 Person Backpack. The items included in this kit is enough to sustain a family of four for three days. However, is it better than something you could put together yourself? Keep reading to find out!
Perhaps the most noticeable benefit of this kit is that it comes with enough supplies for a family of four to be sustained for about three days—this includes food and water that is approved by the US Coast Guard.
The kit also has emergency medical supplies that has been recommended by the American Red Cross. This includes items that can deal with injuries with 72 hours’ worth of product.
Also included with the kit you’ll have a power station that can be charged at an emergency station. The power station contains a phone charger, a radio, flashlight, and a siren.
What Makes it Different
When you look at other survival emergency kits available on the market, you might notice that they only provide you with enough stuff for one person. This particular kit can be used to care for the whole family for three days.
If you think you’re going to be in an emergency situation for longer than that, you could be proactive and get each member their own kit, as it will last for 12 days instead of just three.
As much as we want to say that this is a terrific option for survival preparedness, there are quite a few drawbacks that are associated with this product. The first and most notable is the fact that the food and water supply in the bag is not enough to sustain four people for three days. The kit only comes with four liters of water. The consumption rate for the food products indicate that the food and water will be gone much sooner than the advertised three days.
Another drawback is that the bag isn’t waterproof. Although it doesn’t render the product useless, it’s an inconvenience because if it does get wet, some of the items inside could become ruined or degraded.
Another drawback is that it is more of a first aid kit than a survival kit. It comes with a 107 pieces of first aid product, as well as goggles, gloves, a survival blanket and dust mask. Other than that, there aren’t any survival tools that generally go into a survival kit.
For this item, you will have to pay the hefty sticker price of just under $100.
Simply put, for the amount of money you are paying for a product that claims to be enough materials to last a family of four for three days, it isn’t worth the money at all.
Not only are you not getting the aforementioned three day supply of food and water, but you are getting more of an emergency first aid kit and not a survival kit. Yes, the products will help in an emergency situation, but you could do better building your own kit for the same amount of money.