- A pre-packed emergency kit helps you stay prepared for an unexpected natural disaster, power outage, or storm.
- Many kits are designed for specific uses like being highly portable or holding up in severe weather.
- Our top pick, Sustain Supply Co.'s 72-Hour Survival Kit, covers water, food, first aid, and warmth, as well as crucial redundancies.
Though it's unlikely you'll find yourself in a situation calling for an emergency preparedness kit, preparedness is the operative word. Should a disaster strike in the form of an earthquake, tornado, civil unrest, a major storm, or something similar, you might find yourself cut off from outside help, relying on your wits and whatever rations and supplies you have on hand.
If this does happen, rations with a multi-year shelf life and any supplies included in a first aid kit like light sources, fire-starting tools, and other such essentials could be literal lifesavers. But remember, buying an emergency kit is only the first step in readying yourself and your household to respond to a crisis properly.
It's important to remember that being in a stressful situation impacts your problem-solving, so it's vital to take the purchase of an emergency kit seriously and to know exactly what's in it. If you already own one, take some time to make an inventory list of what's included and where exactly it is in the kit. We also recommend storing some cash and some specific first aid items a family member might need.
Above all, you need the kit to allow you to be self-sufficient for whatever amount of time you're relying on it. With that in mind, we compiled the following guide to the best emergency kits currently available. Though we've not been able to legitimately test each one during an emergency situation, we've included picks that have been deeply researched or that we've been able to spend even a little bit of time with in-person.
Here are the best emergency kits:
- Best emergency kit overall: Sustain Supply Co. Comfort4 72-Hour Emergency Survival Kit
- Best for natural disasters: Black Hawk Survival 2-Person Deluxe Survival Kit
- Best for severe weather: Complete Earthquake Bag
- Best budget: Ready America 2-Person 3-Day Emergency Kit
- Best portable: Monoki First Aid Survival Kit
Updated on 2/18/2021 by Rick Stella: Selected the Black Hawk Survival Kit as the best for natural disasters, added links to other Insider Reviews emergency preparedness coverage, checked the availability of each recommended kit, and updated the pricing.
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.
Pros: Thoughtful and comprehensive curation, included rations actually taste good, comes with plenty of water and its own filtration system
Cons: Quite expensive compared to other options
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's no glaring omission, either.
Many survival kits have items like toothbrushes and hair combs that may make mornings more pleasant but aren't entirely imperative for survival during an emergency. In other words, that means they're just extra weight. The Comfort4 kit is stocked almost exactly as I'd have built a kit from scratch.
When I got the founder of 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 and that actually taste good once rehydrated and cooked. It includes more emergency drinking water than you'll find in almost any other emergency kit, too. The kit also has all the basics, like first aid supplies, fire starters, emergency blankets, a razor-sharp knife, and more.
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 though it's on the heavy side, if you're with other adults, you can spread the weight around or pass the backpack from person to person as needed.$179.10 from Amazon
Best for natural disasters
Black Hawk Survival's 2-Person Deluxe Survival Kit offers a versatile collection of emergency essentials like food and water but also comes stocked with crucial extras like waterproof matches, emergency sleeping bags, and N95 safety masks.
Pros: Enough supplies to support two people for up to 72 hours, everything comes packaged into seal top bags, can come in a roller bag-style kit or a waterproof dry bag
Cons: Seal top bags don't come pre-labeled, so you'll have to dig through the kit when you first get it to see where everything is
Fully stocked emergency kits aren't exactly inexpensive, so the one you buy should not only have enough contents to support multiple people, but it should hold-up across multiple use cases, too. Black Hawk Survival's aptly named 2-Person Deluxe Survival Kit does exactly this, and even comes packed in an easy-to-haul, easy-to-store wheel bag.
The kit is split into seven basic categories: Food and water, light and communication, shelter and warmth, hygiene and sanitation, first aid, tools, and other (think notepads, small pencils, infectious waste bags, etc.). Doing it in this way not only assures that you can quickly glance at the list to make sure you're covered for literally anything, but if you keep a running checklist, you're able to replenish contents more easily.
Black Hawk Survival sends the bag with everything mostly separated into seal top bags and grouped together accordingly; the water is in its own bag, as are the food bars and utensils, toothbrush and toothpaste, and so on. However, the bags aren't labeled, so you may want to take a Sharpie to each one when you first open the kit.
As mentioned above, this kit excels in terms of versatility. It functions well as a quick go-bag but also can support two people over the course of 72 hours in the event of a natural disaster, massive power outage, or anything in between. There's even a deck of playing cards that depict various survival skills intended to educate you but also give you something to do during any downtime.
At $205, it's certainly not cheap but few comprehensively stocked emergency kits like this are (and you don't want to skimp on something intended to save your life). It's worth the investment and has more use cases than you'll (hopefully) know what to do with it. -- Rick Stella, health and fitness editor for Insider Reviews$144.94 from Black Hawk Survival
Best for severe weather
The Complete Earthquake Bag is designed to keep you safe and prepared during natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, or tornadoes, and features enough supplies to support at least four people.
Pros: Packed in a roller bag-style duffle, has enough capacity to support up to four people for several days, contains a large first aid kit, comes with mylar sleeping bags, food and water included is good for up to five years
Cons: Bag isn't waterproof which would make it susceptible to damage in the event of a flood
If the natural disaster most likely to ravage your hometown is an earthquake, hurricane, or flood, this is the kit for you. Featuring enough supplies for up to four people (variations of the kit can serve up to six, too), the Complete Earthquake Bag is a literal life-saver.
The kit packs all of its supplies into a portable duffle bag that features an extending handle and roller wheels, making it easy to grab and go (and using it like a roller bag is preferred when the bag is full of contents, too).
Along with a standard 107-piece first aid kit, it also features hygiene kits, a water carrier, 40 purification tablets, several high-calorie food bars, a 30-hour candle, and a hand-crank flashlight that also acts as a phone charger and radio. There are even hand warmers and emergency ponchos, as well as waterproof matches and four mylar sleeping bags.
Auxillary items like goggles, a sewing kit, nylon rope, and leather-palmed gloves are also included, allowing the kit to offer respite in a variety of environments and emergencies. Though the bag comes packed full with the included contents, there's still some room to include a few extras of your own. This could include personal medication, additional food, or extra pairs of socks, and the like.
Don't let the price tag scare you away either. For everything that's included, and how important it is to be this prepared in the event of a natural disaster, the Complete Earthquake Bag is an incredible value.$114.99 from Redfora
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.
Pros: Great low price, high visibility backpack, covers basic needs
Cons: Lacking several key items, the backpack itself is low quality
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's also no blade or tool of any sort and it lacks 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 keep you relatively warm and dry even in harsh environs, the food and water rations keep you sufficiently nourished, and the first aid kit helps with most minor medical issues.
Although it's 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.$40.99 from Amazon
A first aid kit that's portable makes it much easier to grab and go in times of need, and the 241-piece Monoki First Aid Survival Kit is easily stored in a backpack, large bag, or can even be carried with little trouble.
Pros: Features 241 pieces of first aid kit supplies, comes in an easy-to-transport waterproof case, a great companion to a larger emergency kit
Cons: Doesn't feature long-term emergency support supplies like food or water
A cumbersome first aid kit can sometimes make it hard to easily take it while on-the-go. With the Monoki First Aid Survival Kit, not only is it a highly portable emergency kit but it doesn't sacrifice any of the gear you'd need to rely on it in times of an emergency.
At 241 total pieces, this kit includes everything from medical gloves and bandages to a small pocketknife and multi-tool. There's even a pocket-sized flashlight, a compass, and a fire starter kit. Extra items like cotton swabs, fishing line, tweezers, safety pins, and a first aid blanket are also included.
The kit manages to stay small enough to fit into a roughly 8-inch by 5-inch waterproof container that easily fits into backpacks, bags, or gloveboxes (it's small enough to carry, too). This does mean it won't feature any extended support gear like emergency shelters, sleeping bags, or food and water.
Monoki's First Aid Survival Kit is inexpensive, too, costing just $36. So, not only does it pack the first aid supplies you'd need in the event of an emergency but it's a great value, as well. -- Rick Stella$23.99 from Amazon
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