UPDATE: You asked, and we listened. The All-in-Four 4-Person Emergency Supply is now available!
A little while ago we learned about the Life Cube—an all-inclusive, inflatable shelter stocked with the necessary food, water, and gear to help a person survive the few days after a natural disaster occurs. The Life Cube, which weighs between 950-1100 lbs., is ideal to be airdropped into areas suffering from catastrophic events. However, although it is a great idea for mass emergencies and agency use, the Life Cube currently costs anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. For many looking to add an all-inclusive, portable shelter to their emergency gear, this may be a little out of their price range.
We were inspired by the Life Cube to create our own all-in-one portable shelter kit. Rather than focusing on agency use, however, our portable shelter kit focuses more on a personal/family level, only weighing about 71 lbs. and costing approximately $762. Here at Emergency Essentials, we have configured a list of items that would work as a basic all-in-one (or in our case, all-in-four) portable shelter. The all-in-four portable shelter consists of four bags with essential supplies divided among them. These items not only give you shelter, food, and water, but other basic supplies to help a family of four survive for three days after an emergency.
DIY All-in-Four Portable Shelter
First things first: Collect your gear. The following list describes what gear is needed to help four people survive for three days in an emergency.
Each pack gives you more than 2,800 cubic inches of space to hold all of your emergency supplies and gear while providing durability and expandable comfort to stick with you on all your travels.
This pack is a great way to include versatility to fit the needs of the owner. Wear the pack on your back, carry it by the handle, or roll it along the ground behind you. This is a great pack for people unable to carry a lot of weight on their back.
Good hygiene will help keep you healthy and safe during an emergency. This kit provides basic bathing, dental, and toilet hygiene needs for a family of four.
These simple-to-setup and waterproof tents give you 49-square feet each to spread out and enjoy a good night’s rest.
Just-add-water breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (plus sides and drinks) give you enough food to feed a family of four for 3.5 days.
We typically recommend a two-tier approach for treating your water: have a microfilter and purifier. Adding the Katadyn Hiker Pro and Micropur tablets will help provide you and your family with filtered, purified water while remaining compact and lightweight.
Made from Tritan™ plastic, these bottles give you get extra durability in a BPA-free bottle. These are perfect to take on outdoor adventures or to use along with a microfilter in an emergency.
This kit includes 397 pieces of first aid gear to help you survive every scrape, cut, burn, or bruise that you or a family member may get.
These lightweight, pocket-sized sleeping bags unfold to wrap you in a covering that will reflect 80% of your body heat, keeping you warm on cool nights.
These lightsticks are safe, reliable, and easy to use making them fantastic for families with children. Just bend, snap, and shake for a light source that will last up to 12 hours.
- Wavelength Emergency Radio Charger Flashlight with Handcrank
Keeps you up-to-date with communication services, provides 30 minutes of light (with one minute of hand-cranking), and charges your cell phone (including many smart phones).
Lightweight and reusable, an emergency poncho is a must-have to keep you dry from sudden storms.
Easily alert rescuers to your location with an emergency whistle.
This high-quality, BPA-free water container can store 2.5 gallons of water and collapses to easily fit in your pack. It even remains flexible in cold temperatures.
Use Sierra cups as bowls, plates, drinking cups, or as cooking and warming pans. Their versatility lets you get more done with less stuff to carry in your pack.
- 4- GSI Spoons
BPA-free, washable, heavy-duty plastic spoons can be used for every meal you eat during an emergency.
This super-compact stove is simple to use, fully flame adjustable, and stores easily. You don’t even need matches to light it. Requires a canister of Iso-Butane/Propane fuel, which can be purchased locally.
Stormproof Matches will help you weather any storm. Blow them out, bury them, submerge them in water, do it all over again, and these Stormproof Matches will keep relighting themselves for up to 15 seconds.
How to Build It
Once you’ve gathered all of your supplies, you just need to pack them.
Pack #1: Trail Hiker Backpack
- 1 Twin Peaks Mountain Trails Tent
- Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter
- 4 (6 inch) Green Lightsticks
- 24 Packets of food from the Gourmet 14 Day Supply
- 1 Tritan Emergency Essentials Water Bottle
- 4 Emergency Whistles
- 397 Piece First Aid Kit
To make your pack more compact, fit the lightsticks into the outside pockets along with the Wavelength Radio Charger Flashlight, the 4 Emergency Whistles, and the water bottle. The other items will fit in the main compartment of the pack.
Pack #2: Trail Hiker Backpack
- 1 Twin Peaks Mountain Trails Tent
- 20 Packets of food from the Gourmet 14 Day Supply
- 4 Emergency Sleeping Bags
- 2 Tritan Emergency Essentials Water Bottles
- 4 Emergency Ponchos
Fit the water bottles into the outside pockets. The rest of the materials should fit within the main compartment of the pack.
Pack #3: Olympia 18” Rolling Backpack
- 4 Packets of food from the Gourmet 14 Day Supply
- Reliance 2.5 Gallon Collapsible Fold-A-Carrier
- 3 Sheets (or 30 tablets) of Micropur
- 1 Tritan Emergency Essentials Water Bottle
- 2 large Sierra cups
- 2 small Sierra cups
- 4 GSI Spoons
- Warmth Emergency Kit
- Volcano Lite Stove
- Stormproof Matches
Pack #4: Family Sanitation Kit
The last “pack” is the Family Sanitation Kit which comes full of sanitation items for you and your family. About 1/3 of the bucket will still be empty for you to add additional or personal items too. The kit includes:
- 1 – 6-Gallon Bucket
- 1 – Bar of Soap
- 1 – Tote-able Toilet Seat and Lid
- 4 – Toilet Paper Rolls
- 1 – Box Double Doodie Waste Bags
- 1 – Epi-Clenz Plus Hand Antiseptic
- 4 – Fresh & Go Toothbrush
- 3 – ReadyBath Packets
Each pack is manageable to carry and there’s extra room in most of them for personal items.
Although the basic items will help you survive during an emergency, some people prefer to have items that may make their time in a crisis a little more comfortable. If you’d like to upgrade some of the items in your kit consider adding the following:
- Headlamps or flashlights instead of the lightsticks.
- SOL Escape Bivvy in addition to the emergency sleeping bags.
- One Month Supply of Water in addition to the filter. Instead of just adding a microfilter and purification tablets to your portable kit, try adding a one month supply of water. Water is priceless in an emergency and this item gives a family of four enough stored water to last for a week (drinking 64 ounces a day) in case a water source to filter from is unavailable.
*NOTE: Upgrading items in the kit will change the price and weight of the pack. It also may require you to rearrange and reassemble how the all-in-four portable shelter kit is packed. You can, of course, change the way items are distributed among the packs for redundancy in case you get separated.
To make carrying your all-in-four kit a bit more comfortable, or to add even more space, replace the Family Sanitation Kit (pack #4) with another Trail Hiker backpack, put the kit items in the pack, and lash the bucket to the outside of the pack using [paracord] or another rope.
Now that you’ve prepped yourself with all the supplies you need to help you and your family survive the days immediately after a disaster, try developing your survival skills with some of our Insight Articles:
- “Survival 101: Foraging for Edible Plants”
- “Hunting Snares: Types and How to Build One”
- “Know your Avalanche Safety”
- “How to Build a Fire”
- “First Aid for Wounds”