Introduction to Emergency Survival Kits

No matter where you live, an emergency survival kit is one of the most important items you can have on hand. Natural disasters, accidents, and other unforeseen events can occur at any moment. When they do, it’s essential to be prepared with the right supplies and equipment. An emergency survival kit is a collection of the necessities that can help you cope in difficult times.

This guide will give you an overview of everything you need to know about creating and using an emergency survival kit. We’ll cover what items to include, how to assemble it, and tips for making it cost-effective. We’ll also look at car emergency kits, animal emergency kits, and how to get help when you need it. By the end of this guide, you’ll be prepared for almost anything.

What to Include in Your Emergency Survival Kit

When creating your emergency survival kit, it's important to have the essential items that will help you to survive in various circumstances. This includes items for sustenance, shelter, communication, and warmth. Depending on the situation, you may also need items for hygiene or entertainment.

The following list includes many of the key items to have in your survival kit:

  • Food – Be sure to include non-perishable items that are easy to prepare such as canned goods, energy bars, nuts, and jerky
  • Water – Consider keeping a gallon of clean water in your kit that can last up to two weeks
  • First Aid Supplies – Such as bandages, medical tape, pain relievers, tweezers, and antiseptic wipes
  • Tools – A multi-tool, knife, flashlight, whistle, tarp, and duct tape can be handy in many scenarios
  • Cloths and Blankets – Pack some extra sets of clothes, a hat, gloves, and blankets to keep you warm
  • Fire Starter Kit – Matches, lighters, flint and steel can be used to start a fire
  • Emergency Shelter – A tent or other protective covering can provide a safe place to sleep
  • Communication Devices – A cellular phone, radio, and flares can be used to signal for help

In addition to the basics, you may also want to include personal items, such as family photos, medication, and contact information. Customize your kit to meet your needs and the needs of your loved ones.

How to Compile Your Emergency Survival Kit

Being prepared for an emergency is essential. In order to have the best chance of survival and recovery, assembling a thorough emergency survival kit can be immensely helpful. To make sure your kit is complete and meets all of your needs, follow this guide for useful steps to compile your emergency survival kit.

  • Start by gathering supplies that you already have in your home. Flashlights, batteries, matches, and first aid supplies are some of the most basic items you can collect.
  • Next, identify items to purchase that are necessary for an effective emergency survival kit. These can include non-perishable food items, as well as extra clothing and camping equipment.
  • Make sure to store your kit someplace safe and easily accessible. A portable storage container is ideal for convenience and portability.
  • Keep your kit updated with additional supplies and “check-in” on it regularly. This includes replacing expired food items, battery packs and other potential hazards on a regular basis.
  • Stay informed on the latest recommendations for emergency kits by reading blog posts and other resources that provide information on current needs and best practices.

These steps will help ensure that you have a complete emergency survival kit that is up-to-date and stocked with the necessary supplies. Make sure to review all of your items periodically and update as needed, so that you are always prepared in case of an emergency.

Survival Kit Stores

No matter where you live, buying an already assembled survival kit can be a convenient option to have on hand in the event of an emergency. Buying from popular outlets like Walmart, Target or Amazon can provide reliable products with affordable prices. But don’t forget about checking locally in your area for smaller stores that may even offer better deals!

When shopping for a pre-assembled emergency survival kit it is important to pay attention to the details. Look at the list of items included in each kit and make sure that they match your needs. Read the reviews associated with the product and compare prices between different vendors. Make sure to also look at the size and portability of the kit, as this will affect how easy it is to transport it in an emergency.

In addition, other sources such as secondhand stores or online auctions can be great for finding discounted prices on pre-assembled kits. Be sure to check expiration dates on individual components and inspect them for any signs of wear and tear before making a purchase.

Building Your Own Emergency Survival Kit

Having your own, personal emergency survival kit is an essential part of being prepared in the event of an emergency. Assembling your own kit gives you the ability to customize it to fit your specific needs and budget. Here are some tips to help you build a comprehensive, quality kit from scratch.

Essential Items

When building your own emergency kit, the first step is to decide what items are necessary for your safety and comfort. This could include, but is not limited to, items like a flashlight, batteries, a firestarter, emergency blankets, first aid supplies, food, water, and shelter components. Think carefully about what items you may need in a variety of situations, such as extreme weather conditions, a power outage, or an evacuation.

Gathering Supplies

Once you have finalized your list of essential items, start collecting the necessary materials. You can purchase the items new at a variety of stores, or you can get creative with repurposed materials. Many items can be found around the house or salvaged from thrift stores. For instance, old clothes can be repurposed into emergency blankets. In addition to physical items, consider compiling important documents that are easily accessible, such as copies of legal documents, insurance policies, and contact information.


The next part of building your emergency kit is organizing and packing the items. This includes finding an appropriate container to hold everything. Use small, airtight containers for food and medications, and store items together that are related to a particular task, such as keeping fire starters in one pouch and first aid supplies in another. Additionally, make sure to clearly label each item and its use.


Finally, it is important to regularly check and test your emergency kit. Make sure all the items are in functioning condition. If a product is past its expiration date, replace it. Consider physically testing the items in your kit as well. Try out your fire starters, flashlights, and shelter components to ensure they are working correctly. Finally, review the documents and contact information included in your kit and update any necessary information.

Cost-Effective Alternatives

An emergency survival kit doesn't have to be an expensive investment. In fact, there are plenty of ways to save money while still assembling a high-quality kit. Here are some cost-effective alternatives to consider:

  • Shop around for the best prices. Whether you decide to purchase items separately or opt for a pre-assembled kit, be sure to compare prices and shop around for the best deal.
  • Take advantage of sales and coupons. Look for deals at your local department store, sporting goods store, or even online. Coupons can also help you save money when purchasing key items.
  • Compile a list of essential items before shopping. Knowing exactly what to buy ahead of time will prevent unplanned or impulse purchases that can end up being costly.
  • Reuse existing items. Utilizing items you already have saves time and money. Make sure to inspect them for any damage before adding them to your kit.
  • Purchase in bulk. Buying in bulk often results in discounted prices, and having extra supplies on hand is never a bad idea. Just make sure you have enough storage space.
  • Search through dollar stores. Surprisingly, you can find great items for your emergency kit at your local dollar store. Be sure to check out items that don’t require electricity, such as flashlights and lighters.

With a little bit of planning, you can save money and assemble a comprehensive emergency survival kit. Just remember that taking the time to compare prices and look for deals will pay off in the long run. Happy shopping!

Storage Solutions for Your Emergency Survival Kit

Once you have compiled your emergency survival kit, the next step is to find an appropriate container to store it. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or expensive – in fact, the simpler the container, the easier it is to access and transport. You should choose something that is durable, waterproof and easy to carry. Here are some suggestions for storage containers for your emergency survival kit.


Backpacks are ideal containers for emergency survival kits because they are designed to comfortably carry heavy contents over long distances. When selecting a backpack, try to find one that is both lightweight and well-made, with features such as extra pockets and padded shoulder straps. A larger backpack gives you more storage space, while a smaller one is easier to carry and manage.

Duffel Bags

Duffel bags are simple storage containers that are often used for travel and sports. They are usually made of sturdy material, making them suitable for emergency kits. Make sure to select a bag that is adequately sized for all your items, and look for features like heavy-duty zippers and adjustable straps.

Plastic Totes and Containers

Plastic totes and containers are lightweight and affordable options for emergency kits. The biggest downside is that they are less durable than other types of containers, so it might be worthwhile to invest in a higher-quality one that can withstand the elements. Alternatively, you can buy several cheaper totes and place them into a larger plastic bin for protection.

Add-Ons to an Emergency Survival Kit

When building an emergency survival kit, it is important to think beyond the basics. As well as essential items like water and food, as well as tools like a flashlight, there are a few other convenient items that can be added that won't cost much money and can make all the difference in an emergency.

You don't necessarily have to buy these items in a store – you may already have them in your home, or you can find them lying around with a bit of creativity. That makes it easier and cheaper to build a comprehensive kit.

Suggestions of Add-Ons for an Emergency Survival Kit

  • A battery-powered radio
  • Extra batteries
  • A pocket knife
  • Matches
  • A tarp
  • A fire starter (such as cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly)
  • A whistle
  • A dust mask
  • An emergency blanket
  • Rope
  • A first aid kit
  • A compass
  • Emergency contact information
  • Garbage bags

These add-ons provide extra comfort and convenience during an emergency. Make sure you add them to your emergency survival kit, and don't forget to periodically check these items for damage and replace old supplies.

Car Emergency Kits

A car emergency kit should be tailored to the needs of the individual, but there are some essential items that everyone should include in their kit. It’s important to have a toolbox and basic repair materials, a first aid kit, a flashlight and spare batteries, drinking water, blankets, jumper cables, flares or reflective triangles, a fire extinguisher and a map.

The key differences between a car emergency kit and a home emergency kit are portability and space. Car kits need to be as compact as possible but still contain the necessary supplies. Finding the right storage solutions such as dry bags or small trunks is important to ensure all the items stay safe and dry.

It is also important to consider the terrain you travel through and the possibility of colder temperatures. Additional items to consider for car emergency kits could include a few energy bars, a multi-tool, antifreeze and a windshield scraper.

Animals and Pets

Your furry friends need just as much emergency preparation as you do. Don't forget about them in the event of an emergency. Many materials that are applicable to humans can be used for animals too, but there are some items that are unique or specialized.

If you have a pet, make sure you include food, water, medical supplies, and other items specific to the type of animal it is. Some items may include:

  • Collar, tags and leash
  • Carrier or crate
  • Blanket/bedding
  • Medication, if necessary
  • Any necessary documents (i.e. vaccination record, pedigree, etc.)
  • Food and water (see “What to Include in Your Emergency Survival Kit”)
  • Toys and treats
  • Extra litter and/or waste bags
  • Cleaning products

Depending on the animal, you may need additional items and resources. Additionally, there are organizations and businesses that specialize in creating kits specifically designed for pets.

Sharing is Caring: Connecting with Others in an Emergency

In an emergency, it can often be helpful to reach out for assistance. When considering your emergency survival kit, it is also important to think about ways to connect with people who may be able to offer assistance. Technology has made it increasingly easier to do so, and there are a few key ways to make sure you have the resources to reach out if needed.

  • Keep your cell phone charged and back it up with a backup power source.
  • Have a list of emergency contacts memorized or stored in your cell phone.
  • Have a list of non-emergency numbers (e.g. poison control) that can be accessed without the internet.
  • Consider investing in a device that can transmit distress signals in cases that may require assistance from search and rescue teams.
  • Create a plan with family and friends on how to stay connected in case of an emergency.

Having a plan in place to stay connected in case of an emergency can give you some peace of mind and allow you to remain aware of what’s going on around you.


The need for an emergency survival kit is not to be taken lightly. Having a comprehensive and well-prepared kit can be the difference between life and death in an emergency or disaster situation. With this guide, you now have all the information needed to assemble a kit tailored to your needs.

Creating an emergency survival kit is a simple and affordable way to help ensure your safety. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can rest assured that you are well prepared for any dangerous situation.

Be sure to stay up to date on any changes or updates related to improving your emergency survival kit. And, don’t forget to reach out to your family, friends and contacts to let them know you have a plan and are prepared if anything should happen.

Questions and Answers about Emergency Survival Kits

  • Q: What are the essential items to include in an emergency survival kit?
    A: The essential items to include in an emergency survival kit are a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, whistle, multi-purpose tool, manual can opener, waterproof matches, basic first aid kit, pen and paper, map of local area, water purification tablets, dust mask, garbage bags and plastic ties.
  • Q: How to I create my own emergency survival kit?
    A: To create your own emergency survival kit, you should start by determining what types of emergencies you should prepare for and then identify essential items needed for those situations. Next, find a container to store the items. Additionally, you should gather the necessary items—including coping tools, medications, important documents, food and water supplies, clothing and hygiene supplies, among others. Once you have everything, ensure that all of the supplies are well organized and easy to access whenever you need them.
  • Q: Where can I purchase pre-assembled emergency survival kits?
    A: You can purchase pre-assembled emergency survival kits at outdoor gear retailers, online stores and major department stores like Walmart and Target. Prices will vary depending on the type of kit, its quality and the retailer.
  • Q: What are some cost-effective alternatives to creating an emergency survival kit?
    A: Some cost-effective alternatives to creating an emergency survival kit include purchasing items individually instead of as a set, buying items in bulk when possible, using existing items in the home, searching for sales and discounts, and using generic brand products.
  • Q: What type items should be included in a car emergency kit?
    A: Items that should be included in a car emergency kit are a first aid kit, water bottles, granola or protein bars, jumper cables, flashlight and batteries, paper towels, blankets, flares, a toolkit, maps, cat litter (for tire traction), and fire extinguisher.
  • Q: Are there resources for survival kits that are applicable to animals?
    A: Yes, there are resources for survival kits that are applicable to animals. You should include pet food, leashes, first aid kit, medicines, waste bags, and vaccinations secured in an air-tight bag as part of the kit.
  • Q: What is the best way to store an emergency survival kit?
    A: The best way to store an emergency survival kit is in either a lightweight and durable container, such as a duffel bag, backpack, lidded plastic storage box or camping storage bin. The storage container should be large enough to hold all of the necessary items and should be check periodically to ensure that the supplies are still in good condition.