Emergency kits come in all shapes and sizes, filled with all types of food, water supplies, shelters, and tools. But what is the right type of emergency kit for you? Building your own emergency kit is as simple as one, two, and three. For $10 or less apiece, you can arm yourself with the right products to help you meet your most basic needs in an emergency.
1. Food & Water
- Survival food packages like the Mainstay 3600 calorie bars work well because they are lightweight, compact, and delicious—they taste like cookie dough. Unlike traditional energy bars, these are formulated to withstand extreme temperatures and still last for 5 years. Keep them in your car, boat, RV, or inside your emergency kit at home. For only $7.50, these bars give one person enough calories for 3 days, or three people for a single day.
- Purified water in compact sizes can also be a good fit for adding to a backpack. Bottled water is a popular option, bottled water packages are prone to leaking and require frequent rotation. The 8 oz. Aqua Blox comes in sturdy packaging that is designed to keep your water safe for 5 years with the convenience of a juice-box-style package and straw. The water also comes purified, not just filtered, so it is contaminant free. Six of these blox would be sufficient drinking water for one person over 3 days for about $5.
- Filter Straws can treat natural water sources that you come across to allow you to find and treat water rather than carrying it. Simply suck water through the filter straw to remove common germs. If the source is frequented by humans or livestock, however, this filter would likely not provide the required protection. Cost is about $10.
- Emergency ponchos pack up tight and are lightweight, yet provide substantial coverage to keep more of your body dry. Staying dry dramatically increases our comfort, making the emergency poncho an affordable and practical (about $1) addition to any kit.
- Portable Tents are another way to provide shelter—or even just to mark an area as your own. Unlike traditional tents, a tube tent is inexpensive, lightweight, and packs incredibly small to fit inside of your kit without forcing you to leave other items out. It is so light because of its simplicity – no poles, no stakes, just a tent wall. The tube tent is an 8 ft. long tube that shelters two people for about $4.
There are two simple ways to stay warm in cold weather: 1) keep more of your own body heat, and 2) generate heat around you (campfires or heaters).
- Many of us use blankets and sleeping bags to retain more of our body heat. Emergency sleeping bags are made of a high-efficiency reflective material that retains up to 90% of your body heat. They can be stored in very small spaces and only cost about $4. I’ve experienced a night in one of these bags and was very grateful I had it.
- Having portable heat sources can keep your body from shutting down from loss of warmth. Disposable body warmers (larger versions of commonly-known hand warmers) provide heat for up to 20 hours and take up very little space. Their small size (and price – about $1 each) allows you to add several to your supplies.
- Even if you aren’t a boy scout, you can start a fire with Emergency Essential’s various offerings of matches and strikers. One of my favorite options is Stormproof matches. Unlike conventional matches, these stay lit much longer to help you start a fire. Even if the matches get wet or the weather is windy, Stormproof matches will get the job done. You can buy a box by itself (about $4), or with a weather proof case for about $6. Check out the video on the link to see how amazing they are.
See? Easy as 1-2-3. We have even set out to help you get started with the Basics Emergency Kit. This pre-made set includes many of these basic items and costs just about $20. This kit includes food, water, a poncho, 3 body/hand warmers, an emergency sleeping bag, a whistle, a lightstick, and an 18-piece first aid kit.
With these basics, your emergency kit is off to a great start and can help protect you in a crisis. As your kit continues to grow, you can add more durable items to your supply, expanding it to prepare you for whatever the future may hold.