One of the big things that the Japan Earthquake brought home to me was my absolute unpreparedness for any sort of disaster or emergency evacuation situation. I spent a bunch of time online looking for pre-made emergency “bug-out” kits and while there are several decent ones out there I felt that they were all missing various things and decided in the end to make my own. I figure I will share the contents of my kit for other folks who might be interested in making one of if they have comments on things I should or shouldn’t have. Many items will have two links because I have explicitly bought two different brands in order to increase redundancy and reduce the impact of a bad product batch.
- Cash: One thing that ALL emergency packs fail to include is cash. While the exact amount is up to the individual, I’d recommend keeping both large and small denomination bills. Quarters might be something worth having at well though I haven’t put any in myself.
- Keys: House and all cars
- Papers/Documents: As a non-citizen I am very aware of the need for papers an am keeping a copy of our passports and various other immigration papers in a waterproof pouch. I also keep a Sharpie-written copy of important phone numbers with my documents
- Waterproof thumbdrive: We store a digital copy of all important papers (identity, accounts, property) on waterproof thumbdrives as well
- Food rations: Mainstay emergency food rations with low sodium content and a 5 year shelf life
- Water purification: Micropur tablets are supposedly the best tasting and most effective ones out there but takes 4 hours to take full effect. Iodine crystals are not as tasty but only need an hour and have an indefinite shelf life (if unopened)
- Water: This was one of the harder discisions to make. I considered going with the prepackaged water pouches but the cost and shelf life issues made me decide to go with simple one gallon supermarket jugs along with a couple of water pouches in each pack
- Medkit: should include the following – bandages, asprin, NSAID, bandaids, burn gel, antiseptic, haemostat (Quikclot), sunscreen, compression bandage, scissors or trauma shears, gloves, flexible splint, safety pins. I picked up one of these which includes a decent selection of stuff in a nice case with enough space to add the extras. I also have one of these harder core kits
- Knives/multitool: Knives and multitools are another thing that most commercial kits seem to miss out on. I picked up the CKRT Guppie(knife/carabiner/screwdriver/light), Tool Logic SLP2 (knife/flashlight/firestarter) and Gerber multitool (leatherman style)
- Glowsticks: 12 hour glowsticks from two different brands. I have 5 in each pack plus a few more in each car. I tested one of these and it worked great for 12 hours as promised
- Flashlight: LED type
- Fire source: Waterproof matches and a Firestarter (this particular firestarter sparks well but after 15 min I still hadnt gotten a fire going)
- Mylar blankets: Another thing that I put into my cars as well.
- Particulate Masks
- Duct tape: As all engineers know – “duct tape can fix everything”
- Gloves: Nitrile and work gloves
- Caps and Beanies
- Trash bags: Come in handy for storing stuff in a pinch
- Clothing/shoes: Warm and waterproof clothing with everything sized for the largest person in the house so that everyone can use any pack.
- Feminine hygiene products: Something us guys dont usually think about
- 12V to USB adapter: Plus USB charging cables for all your cellphones
- Carabiners: These are primarily to allow me to add other things to the bag if I ever need to
- NOAA Radio
- Adjustable wrench: This isn’t actually in the kits but is in the garage to quickly turn the gas shut-off valve if needed
- Doggy stuff: Poop bag rolls, spare harnesses and leashes, foldable water/food bowl
I am creating two packs with the larger pack stored upstairs near the bedroom and the smaller one in the garage. Each pack having pretty much the same things with the exception that the larger one has extra clothing and also has a pair of shoes each laced to the straps. The idea being that the upstairs pack will have to suffice if you have to run out from bed. The smaller pack has less clothing under the assumption that if you are downstairs you already have on some shoes and clothes – this also makes the pack lighter which is a good option to have. Additionally the upstairs pack is stored on its own shelf which makes it easy to find in the dark while the garage one has some bright tape on it for easy identification and has its own spot on the floor near the door.
I hope folks find this list useful and I would love to hear feedback about things I should or shouldn’t have.