As you know, we recommend that you build your own 3-day survival kit, and build one for each person in the family. That way you’ll know what you have and know you can trust it.
But we understand that shopping for items for your own emergency kit can take hours — even though we’ve tried to make it easier by putting selected items in our own Emergency Supplies Store. So it you just can’t find time to take care of this essential step, we suggest you start by getting a pre-made kit, and “improve” it as you go.
Three basics to look at when considering an emergency kit.
- What does the kit contain? Will it be appropriate for you and/or your family? Most kits have the basics, but you will want to add extras, such as more (and tastier) food, more water, matches or a fire starter, extra clothing, rain gear, something to write on – whatever it is you think you will need. Developing your own Checklist with family members is a great way to get them involved! Download our Emergency Plan Guide checklist and use it as a starter.
- What about the quality of the items in the kit? Of course, without seeing the kit in advance, you have to trust in the description offered by the manufacturer. It seems that in most cases, you get what you pay for. But ask these questions: Does the radio use batteries, or does it have a self-crank function? Is there mention of the shelf-life and date the food and water products were produced? Many customer reviews point in particular to the poor quality of the first aid kits – yet that is something easily remedied by adding or replacing items from your own home.
- How much does the kit cost, with shipping? A good kit is a heavy kit, so check carefully on shipping costs and delivery dates. Of course, it’s also a good idea to review any guarantees that are offered. And some kits, produced by outside manufacturers, are not eligible for Amazon Prime special services.
Here arefive items that do a good job of showing the range of ready-made survival kits. Note whether the pack is designed for a single person, for two people or for four when comparing prices. By the way, if you have a family, we recommend you look particularly closely at the last kit on the list. It is packed in a 5-gallon container, which is designed to become an emergency toilet. I mean it. In our experience — with emergencies on shipboard and elsewhere — the whole sanitary question is a huge one and these kits address it more effectively than the others.
You can own one or more of these packs within the next few minutes – and hopefully have it in your home BEFORE the next emergency hits!
|1. Life Gear LG492 Emergency Survival Kit Backpack w/Emergency Gear & First Aid Kit|
BEST ONE PERSON STARTER KIT. This kit is a grab and go kit for one person. It has a number of first aid and emergency items -- first aid kit, compass, all weather poncho, signaling mirror, writing pad and pen, waterproof document/cash bag, thermal blanket, leather working gloves, respirator mask, 4 in 1 LED Glow Stick, LED Flashlight with flasher and whistle, and hygiene kit -- packed in a water-resistant backpack.
The kit does NOT have any food or water; therefore it would need additions to make it truly useful. And while the light sticks are a good addition, the kit could use an emergency radio to round it out.
|2. Ready America 70280 Emergency Kit, 2-Person, 3-Day Backpack |
This kit is advertised as a 2-person pack. It appears to have minimum food and water supplies (with a 5-year shelf life): two 2,400 calorie food bars and 6 water boxes (8.45 oz. each). Emergency supplies are similar to the Life Gear pack above: emergency blankets, basic first aid kit (“33-pieces”), 2 safety light sticks. The pack also has 2 ponchos, dust masks, nitrile gloves, whistle and pocket tissues. Again, this backpack needs the addition of at least a radio.
|3. Mayday Deluxe Backpack- 4 Person Premium|
The kit description has more information on the quality of its food: “Food and water has a 5-year shelf life, U.S. Coast Guard approved.” The amount of water doesn’t seem adequate for a three-day emergency, but the kit does contain a vial of water purification tablets. Food comes in the form of individually wrapped vacuum-sealed blocks. A small tent is included plus four emergency blankets. Unlike the two kits above, this one has a battery-operated emergency radio. Other items include a flashlight, whistle, basic first aid kit and gloves.
|4. Ready America 70385 Deluxe Emergency Kit 4 Person Backpack|
BEST STARTER FOR 4 PEOPLE. According to the manufacturer, this kit contains enough emergency supplies to sustain 4 people for three days, as recommended by the American Red Cross. Each kit includes 4 water boxes, food supply, 4 emergency ponchos, 4 survival blankets, 4 12-hour lightsticks, 4 pair nitrile gloves, 4 NIOSH N-95 dust masks, pocket tissues, emergency whistle, leather gloves, Multi-Tool, 10 yds. duct tape, 4 pair goggles, 3 bio-hazard bags, premoistened towlettes, emergency communication plan/contacts, first aid kit that has 107 pieces, emergency power station 4-function (flashlight, AM/FM radio, siren, cell phone charger) and a backpack. The kit can be stored at home, at school, and at the office.
|5. ER Emergency Ready 4 Person Ultimate Deluxe Survival Kit|
LAST LISTED, FIRST CHOICE. According to the manufacturer, this kit is recommended by the US Dep’t of Homeland Security, approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, and meets Requirements of the International Coast Guard.
The 4 Person kit is designed for the home and contains a 72-hour survival supply of emergency food (bars), water (in boxes with straws, plus water purification tablets), lights (light sticks, candles, matches), radio/communication, shelter (4 emergency blankets, 4 ponchos with hood, an emergency tent, plastic sheeting and duct tape), sanitation, rescue items (whistle, dust masks, gloves, Swiss-style army knife, multi-function tool, nylon cord, survival guide) and first aid including potassium iodide pills.
It comes equipped with a Solar and Hand-Crank Powered NOAA Weather Band / AM / FM radio, flashlight, and USB device charger to charge your smart phone and other devices. The kit is packaged in a sealed 5-gallon container that can be stored safely anywhere inside or outside your home and can be used with included plastic bags and toilet chemicals for emergency sanitation purposes.
This kit carries a money-back guarantee and a “we’ll match the lowest price” guarantee – the only one in the list with such guarantees.
For even more information and a better idea of price range, check out these products from Amazon, too.
Whatever your choice, get kits for yourself and your family now.