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- An emergency kit is something you should have around, in case an unexpected dangerous event happens.
- You can make your own, or purchase a preassembled kit that has everything you may need.
- The Sustain Supply Co. Four-72 Emergency Survival Kit is our top choice because it not only covers the critical needs like water, warmth, sustenance, and first aid, but it also has lots of redundancies.
Statistically speaking, it’s unlikely that you will ever find yourself in a situation calling for an emergency preparedness kit, but it’s that word “preparedness” that’s the operative. Normally, you can count on fresh water from the tap, warmth, and shelter provided by your home, food at arm’s reach in the fridge or pantry or a short drive down the road to the grocery store, and medical aid a quick phone call away. But now and then … you can’t.
Should a disaster strike, whether in the form of an earthquake, tornado, civil unrest, a major storm, or what have you, you may well find yourself cut off from outside help, relying on your wits and depending on the rations and supplies you have on hand. If that ever happens, you’ll be glad some rations have a multi-year shelf life, and that your supplies include first aid materials, light sources, fire starting tools, and other such essentials.
One reason many people fail to adequately prepare for an emergency situation is that they overestimate the circumstances required to temporarily disrupt the standard function of society. Something as simple as a ruptured water main could leave you without access to safe drinking water or a major power outage could render all the food in your fridge and freezer spoiled within a day.
In short, it’s not the zombie apocalypse that’s likely to see you breaking open the emergency prep kit, but instead, a storm that brings trees down across your street, barring your access to commodities and preventing authorities or medical personnel from finding their way to you. In the event of a more pronounced emergency that forces evacuation – such as raging wildfires, a hurricane, or a terror event – you’ll also be glad you planned ahead.
But remember, buying an emergency preparedness kit is only the first step in readying yourself and your household to respond to a crisis properly. As my chosen emergency prep kit comes from Sustain Supply Co., I reached out to the brand for some insider insight. I spoke to Brent Stern, founder of Sustain, who offered some sage advice for making the most of your kit.
“When you’re in a stressful situation, your ability to problem solve is going to be diminished,” Stern said. So he advises people to not only procure supplies but to study what they have. “Take some time, at least a half hour, to go through your kit. Know what’s in there and where things are in the bag. And put some cash in … and any prescription drugs or specific first aid needs” you or a family member might require.”
Ultimately, according to Stern, “a good survival kit gives you the ability to be self-sufficient.” The emergency prep kits on our list each allow you and a small group to do just that, fending for yourselves for a few days as you wait for the restoration of civil support systems in your area or else hike your way to a safer region.
Here are the best emergency kits you can buy:
- Best emergency prep kit overall: Sustain Supply Co. Comfort4 72-Hour Emergncy Survival Kit
- Best emergency kit for severe weather: ER Emergency Ready Tornado/Hurricane Survival Kit
- Best low-cost emergency preparedness kit: Ready America 2-Person 3-Day Emergency Kit
- Best emergency kit for evacuations: Emergency Zone Urban Survival Bug-Out Bag
- Best compact emergency preparedness kit: Aootek Emergency Survival Kit
Updated on 04/18/2019 by Les Shu: Updated prices, links, and formatting. Added additional related guides relevant to emergency situations.
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best emergency prep kit overall
- Sustain Supply
Why you’ll love it: The carefully curated Sustain Supply Co. Comfort4 72-Hour Emergency Survival Kit overs basic needs and offers redundancies in critical areas such as hydration and warmth.
I chose the Sustain Supply Co. Comfort4 72-Hour Emergency Survival Kit as my family’s emergency preparedness kit because after looking at many different options, it seemed to be the most thoughtfully curated option. There is simply nothing in this kit that feels superfluous, and there is no glaring omission, either.
Many survival kits have items like toothbrushes and hair combs that might make morning ablutions more pleasant but that really aren’t imperative for survival during an emergency. In other words, that means they are just extra weight. The Comfort4 kit, on the other hand, is stocked almost exactly as I would have built up a kit from scratch.
When I got the founder or Sustain Supply Co. on the phone, I learned how they pulled that off. Brent Stern explained that they used Amazon analytics to determine which prep/survival products people tended to buy at the same time and then made the leading choices of discerning shoppers the products they included in the kit.
Thus the Comfort4 comes stocked with foods that may have a 30-year shelf life, but they actually taste good once rehydrated and cooked. It includes more emergency drinking water than you will find in almost any other emergency kit. The kit also has all the basics, like first aid supplies, fire starters, emergency blankets, a razor sharp knife, and more. But toothpaste and a hairbrush? Not so much. If you feel you need those to survive, you tuck them in yourself.
But there’s another reason I chose the Sustain Supply Co. Four-72 Emergency Survival Kit both for my own home as well as for the top pick on this list: redundancy. The kit comes with two lanterns, two flashlights, and multiple chemical snap lights (AKA glow sticks). As noted, it comes with a lot of drinking water, but it also has a water filter included. It has enough fire starting supplies to make more than enough fires for the three days for which the kit is designed to sustain four adults.
Yes, it’s expensive. But your safety is priceless. And yes, this kit is kind of heavy, but if you’re with other adults, you can spread the weight around or pass the backpack from person to person as needed.
Currently, the Sustain Supply Co. Comfort4 has a solid 4.4-star rating on Amazon. A customer named Carl appreciated that the bag came stocked with “the highest quality items,” while an owner named Sandy said she would “sleep better at night knowing [her family] had this kit.”
The product review experts from Ezvid called the Sustain kit a high-quality option stocked with “tasty rations [and a] water filtration” system. An EmergencyPlanGuide.org write up appreciated the “addition of a small camp stove,” an item not found in most such kits.
Pros: Thoughtful and comprehensive curation, included rations actually taste good, comes with plenty of water and with filtration system
Cons: Quite expensive compared to other options
The best emergency kit for severe weather
- ER Emergency Ready
Why you’ll love it: When a storm drops buckets of rain on your home, you’ll be glad you have ER Emergency’s waterproof bucket filled with all the supplies you need to ride out the storm.
The ER Emergency Ready Tornado/Hurricane Survival Kit is designed to help people safely shelter in place during a serious weather event. For an area prone to wildfires or earthquakes, get yourself a backpack emergency kit. If the natural disaster most likely to ravage your hometown is a hurricane, flood, or some other event involving a whole lot of water, though, then this is the kit for you.
The ER Emergency Ready Tornado/Hurricane Survival Kit packs all of its supplies into a rugged and watertight bucket, so even if your home is flooded, your survival gear won’t be damaged. Along with the gear you’d expect in any good emergency prep kit, like first aid supplies, a flashlight, and some rations, this kit also has several tools that will become of paramount importance during severe storms.
These include a utility shutoff tool that can help you turn off an at-risk or ruptured gas line or water pipe, a crowbar that could help force a damaged or swollen door or window, and work gloves and face masks that can help keep you safe in unsanitary conditions.
What’s missing here, though, is a good fire-starting tool. ER Emergency Ready included decent matches, but those will run out in time, so toss in a fire starter kit of your own for good measure.
A buyer named Jerry says that the ER Emergency Ready Tornado/Hurricane Survival Kit has “everything you need to survive for a few days,” and he speaks for many emergency preparedness kit owners when he adds that he “hopes [he] never needs it!”
In an article from PrepareMag, a reviewer called this kit “effective and reliable” for use surviving during both “man-made and natural catastrophes.”
Pros: Packed in watertight bucket, ideal for areas prone to flooding, comes with several multi-purpose tools
Cons: Not readily portable
The best low-cost emergency preparedness kit
- Ready America
Why you’ll love it: The Ready America 2-Person 3-Day Emergency Kit has the basics you’ll need to shelter in place or cover some ground for a few days.
There are some notable items “missing” from the Ready America 2-Person 3-Day Emergency Kit. It lacks a flashlight or lantern, with the only light source being two chemical light sticks. There is no blade or tool of any sort. And there is no fire starting gear, not even a lighter or a pack of matches.
But here’s the thing: The basic necessities needed for survival don’t actually include a light source, a cutting tool, or even fire. They amount to hydration, nutrition, and protection from the elements, and this low-cost emergency prep kit has you and one other adult covered on those fronts.
The pair of emergency blankets and ponchos can keep you relatively warm and dry even in harsh environs, the food and water rations will keep you sufficiently nourished, and the first aid kit will help with most minor medical issues.
So while basic, the Ready America 2-Person 3-Day Emergency Kit is sufficient to check the “Prepared” box off your household to-do list. I recommend you go ahead and add a light, a pocketknife, and some storm matches, though.
With hundreds of reviews posted, this affordable emergency kit enjoys an admirable 4.3-star rating on Amazon. A gentleman named Todd called it a “cheap, easy way to get a bag that meets… worst-case situation” needs. A buyer named Sam found the kit “very good for the price.”
Pros: Great low price, high visibility backpack, covers basic needs
Cons: Lacking several key items, backpack itself is low quality
The best emergency kit for evacuations
- Emergency Zone
Why you’ll love it: If you have to leave the area ASAP in the wake of an emergency, you’ll be glad you have the ready-to-roll Emergency Zone Urban Survival Bug-Out Bag on your back.
Sometimes you can see trouble on the horizon. Hurricanes don’t exactly appear out of thin air, for example. But at other times, disaster strikes without warning. Earthquakes come to mind as events that don’t give you the heads-up.
The Emergency Zone Urban Survival Bug-Out Bag was designed for those situations when you find yourself with zero time to spare before you clear out of your home, office, dorm, or anywhere else that is suddenly unsafe to inhabit and unlikely to soon be fit for return.
The Emergency Zone Urban Survival Bug-Out Bag is ergonomically designed and comfortable to wear despite the 15 pounds of supplies loaded into the kit. Within the multi-compartment backpack, you’ll find all the gear and rations you’d expect, including food and first aid materials, water and ponchos, a multi-tool pocketknife, and so forth.
What sets this kit apart from the others isn’t so much the included items, but the bag itself. Though tactical in composition, the Emergency Zone Urban Survival Bug-Out Bag looks much like an ordinary backpack, easily blending in with the pedestrian traffic in any city. So if you are clearing out without wanting to make a scene, this is the kit to use.
Note that fire-making tools are absent here, so add some before the next bout of civil strife or natural catastrophe strikes.
The Emergency Zone Urban Survival Bug-Out Bag is a winner with owners, enjoying a 4.5-star rating at present. One buyer called it “higher quality than most survival kits,” while another appreciated the quality of the rations included.
A writer with The Survivalist Blog said that each item included “was of good to excellent quality.” A PreparedBee review appreciated the “discreet black backpack” and the range of personal hygiene products.
Pros: Backpack suitable for long hours of wear, subtle pack design draws no attention, good blend of survival and comfort supplies
Cons: No fire making tools included
The best compact emergency preparedness kit
Why you’ll love it: The Aootek Emergency Survival Kit is small enough to tuck into a glove compartment, kitchen drawer, or backpack, but it’s filled with key gear.
The Aootek Emergency Survival Kit is really more of a glorified first aid kit with some extra supplies added but said supplies could be the difference between an emergency situation being manageable and truly dire.
Among the hardware Aootek added to the first aid materials are two different types of multi-tool, a flashlight, a locking knife, a compass, a wire saw, and fishing gear. While the kit does not include any rations, that last item, the fishing tackle, might just enable you to catch some calories of your own.
While the Aootek Emergency Survival Kit also lacks fire making supplies, the saw and various cutting tools will make preparing your own tinder and wood easy enough. In the hands of a moderately experienced woodsman, this kit really will make an emergency situation more manageable. In the hands of the novice, it’s more like a fancy first aid kit, frankly.
That said, the compact size of this kit still makes it a decent choice for many people. If you live in a smaller apartment or are looking for a kit to keep in your car, office, or dorm, this little pack is a good choice. Just plan to toss in some iodine tablets, as one thing the Aootek Emergency Survival Kit lacks is water or filtration gear, and you’ll definitely need water if you plan to survive anything.
With more than a hundred customers chiming in on this compact selection, the Aootek Emergency Survival Kit earns a 4.5-star rating. On owner calls it a “bang for the buck survival kit,” while another calls it a “perfect survival kit for the outdoorsman.”
A write up from RedBackAviation called the Aootek Emergency Survival Kit a “good value for the money” that is a good choice for emergency prep or for use while “camping, hiking,” or on other “adventures.”
Pros: Compact size, low price point, good selection of tools
Cons: Lacks water and rations
Get yourself a first aid kit from our guide
- Be Smart Get Prepared
While you never want to need a first aid kit, should that need arise, you’ll be glad you planned ahead and kept some high-quality medical supplies on hand. The First Aid Only All-Purpose First Aid Kit is our top choice because it’s compact, carefully curated, and affordable, too.
We also like the Be Smart Get Prepared 250 Piece First Aid Kit for your office because it is OSHA and ANSI compliant and covers the first aid needs of up to 50 people, making it perfect for the office.
If you want a kit that will travel with you, the TripWorthy Compact Travel First Aid Kit is our favorite. Stash it in your car, truck, or boat, and you’ll be ready to face minor medical emergencies even when you’re miles from home.
If you are cut off from emergency services following a natural disaster or in times of civil unrest, you’ll be glad you have the Lightning X First Responder First Aid Kit.
Those who are on a budget will love the Coleman All Purpose Mini First Aid Kit because it costs less than a fancy cup of coffee, but it can help you treat all sorts of minor scrapes, scratches, bug bites, and more.
From a thick, hearty stew enjoyed on the summit of Mt. Whitney to rice and chicken scarfed down beside sacred lakes high in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains to mac and cheese enjoyed while car camping with my young son, I know firsthand how beneficial a hot meal can be when you’re far afield.
Fortunately, enjoying a great “real” meal while you camp, trek, or climb isn’t all that hard to do provided you planned ahead. None of the meals on this list require anything fancier than a pot, some water, and a stove (or fire) to prepare, and some don’t even require the pot.
Here are the best backpacking foods you can buy.