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Your Comprehensive Survival Kit List

Updated: Jul 24

Planning ahead is definitely not a waste of time, but nobody wants to pack a survival kit only to be left wondering if they have the right items and enough of them, to truly make a difference during a huge disaster. The following is a comprehensive list of valuable and practical components to include in your survival kit or evacuation kit. These items are based on recommendations from FEMA, experienced disaster experts, product research, and experience.


Backpack


A survival kit should be stored in a clearly marked bag or backpack, and stored in a secure place easy for all adults in the house to access. We recommended a backpack. Your disaster survival kit's main function is to provide you with the food, water, first aid, hygiene items, etc to sustain you for 3 days during an emergency, it can also serve as an evacuation kit. Storing the items in a quality backpack will make your 72-hour survival kit much easier to take along in an emergency.


There are many things to look for in a survival backpack. You can find extensive details in this guide to selecting a survival backpack.


Some main considerations are:

  • Heavy-duty straps

  • Comfortable fit

  • Capacity, 30 liters is generally plenty of capacity for a 72-hour kit however if you have a large family you may opt for more capacity or multiple backpacks.

  • Pockets/Zippers

  • The material of construction/Strength, 600D polyester is a common strong material for tactical and outdoor backpacks.

  • Is it water-resistant?

  • Easy to find (Some people may opt for a discreet backpack to blend in.)


Food & Water


Food and water are basic necessities. Store 3 days worth of non-perishable food. MREs and survival food rations are portable and have a long shelf life. These are great options because you know they will be there in a disaster and you can easily carry them in your emergency backpack. Water is harder to transport. It is a good idea to keep some sealed water pouches on hand for extreme situations, but a water filter or purification kit is a lightweight option that will provide a near limitless amount of drinking water assuming you can find a source.


Checklist:

  • You need a minimum 3 day supply of food. Each person needs 1200 calories/day minimum.

  • In order to cover your hydration, hygiene, and cooking needs of 1 person, you need one gallon of water per day. Store enough for at least 3 days.

  • A gallon of water is heavy. If you want your 72-hour kit to be mobile, include a water purification system. There are many portable water filters and purification kits available.

  • Include a portable water vessel. Collapsible water pouch, reusable water bottle, etc. Something that works best for you and easily fits in your kit.

  • Mess kit, stainless steel cup, utensils, etc. Lightweight and compact items to eat or prepare food

Survival Food & Water suggestions:

  • SOS food bars, not the best option for taste but they don't need to be to be prepared and keep for 5 years.

  • SOS water pouches, sealed and lightweight. These will not provide a lot of water but are perfect for storing in a car or taking along when hunting, hiking, etc.

  • ReadyWise freeze-dried food. This can be costly but with a 25-year shelf life this will take a lot of worries away.


Weather Protection/Shelter


Hurricanes, flooding, and other disasters can force you from your home or worse destroy it. Snow, rain, and cold temperatures can be life-threatening if exposed for long enough. The right gear in your survival kit will allow you to withstand the elements.


Checklist:

  • Reflective Sleeping Bag

  • Emergency Poncho

  • Tube Tent

  • Hand Warmers

  • Blankets

  • Change of clothes

  • Firestarter (matches, lighter, ferrous rod, flint striker, kindling, etc)


First Aid


There are many comprehensive First Aid Kits on the market. Make sure that they include most items on this list if not more. You can get 100-125 item kits very reasonably priced that will fit easily in a backpack. It is also advisable to keep a first aid guidebook in your kit. Taking a first aid course is also a good idea for anyone but if you don’t have time you can download a first aid app on your mobile device. The Red Cross has a great app that asks questions and can guide you through different scenarios, even with no cell service.


Checklist:

  • Bandages of varying sizes

  • Wound dressings

  • Adhesive tape

  • Antibiotic ointment

  • Antiseptic

  • Cold compress

  • Aspirin

  • Imodium

  • Roll of gauze

  • Non-latex gloves

  • Triangular bandage

  • Tweezers

  • Oral thermometer

  • Instant ice pack

  • Thermal blanket

  • Sterile eye-wash

  • Scissors

  • First Aid guide book

  • vaseline

  • moleskin

  • witch hazel

  • iodine

Hygiene


If you are forced to evacuate your home, things that you take for granted can become an issue. Don’t overlook hygiene when packing your emergency kit. Good hygiene is important for your health and morale. Imagine going for three days without a shower or toothbrush. These personal items can keep a bad situation from getting worse.


Checklist:

  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste - Oral hygiene can improve your morale and make a difficult time less stressful.

  • Comb

  • Razor

  • Shaving Cream - (Did you know that shaving cream can be used as a cleaner and can provide some pain relief from a sunburn?)

  • Shampoo

  • Soap Bar

  • Feminine Hygiene Items

  • Washcloth

  • Toilet Paper

  • Wet wipes

  • Sunscreen

  • Moisturizer/aloe

Communication


A whistle is an effective way to draw attention from potential rescuers. It does not way much so every kit should include one. A radio will keep you updated on the situation and an NOAA weather band radio gives you access to continuous local weather information. If cellular service is available a smartphone is obviously an invaluable tool in a survival situation. It makes sense to include a charger that works from solar power or a hand crank.


Checklist:

  • Survival Whistle

  • Radio - NOAA, Weatherband

  • 2 - way radio

  • Cell phone charger (solar, hand crank)

  • Signal mirror

  • Signal light

Light Sources


Many disasters involve power outages so a light source is essential for any 72-hour kit. There are many artificial light sources and each can serve a different function. Any that you can fit in your kit is probably worth having.


Checklist:

  • Glow Sticks

  • Candles

  • Flashlight

  • Extra batteries

  • Hand crank light

  • Firestarter (matches, lighter, Ferro rod, flint striker, kindling, etc)


Tools


No one can predict what is going to happen. The more tools and gear you can fit and carry without issue the better your chances of survival will be.


Checklist:

  • N95 Masks

  • Paracord rope

  • Work Gloves

  • Zip ties

  • Multitool Knife

  • Can Opener

  • Watertight bag

  • Sewing kit

  • Firestarter (matches, lighter, Ferro rod, flint striker, kindling, etc)

  • Hatchet

  • Wrench for shutting off utilities

  • Duct tape

Miscellaneous


Here are many options that may be considered "non-essential" however they can be very useful and depending on your situation they may be a high priority.

  • plastic garbage bags

  • aluminum foil

  • fishing kit

  • firearm/ammo

  • playing cards

  • photo ids

  • important documents/USB drive

  • Cash



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