In 2019 we saw a huge increase in natural disasters around the world. In this one single year there were 1,390 confirmed tornadoes, 12,919 earthquakes measuring above 4.0, major wildfires in Africa, North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, 8 major Pacific typhoons, and 18 named hurricanes with 20 tropical cyclones. As a whole, natural disasters around the world have been increasing and it is best to be prepared. Even if you live in a relatively safe area and do not necessarily have to worry about natural disasters, there are other events that you have to be prepared for, including man-made disasters.
In emergency situations, people fare much better than they would otherwise if they have a survival pack. These packs are referred to as 72-hour kits, bug out bags, every day carry bags, and more, but they all refer to a bag filled with items to help you survive in the case of an emergency. The contents of an emergency bag vary from person to person, but today we'll go over good things to include, as well as good bags to start with.
If you want a bag that can hold everything you'll possibly need for a multi-day disaster scenario, you'll want to look into the Paratus 3-Day Operator's Pack from 3V Gear. This bag offers almost 2,500 cubic inches of space, which will come in handy in a true disaster.
If you're looking for a smaller bag that still provides ample space, check out the Velox Tactical Assault Pack, also from 3V Gear. This pack provides over 1600 cubic inches of space, still giving you the room that you need for most emergency situations.
If you're looking for a smaller and more accessible pack, the Outlaw II Gear Slinger sling pack from 3V Gear is the answer you've been looking for. This is a sling pack, allowing you to access it without taking it off - simply swing it under your shoulder to your front and open it up!
Regardless of which bag you choose, your bag should be sturdy and durable because chances are you will be taking it through some rough conditions. You'll want sturdy zippers that will hold up to some abuse and MOLLE webbing is always nice, so that you can attach additional packs as needed.
MUST - HAVES
Yes, emergency kits vary from person to person, but there are some things that you simply can't omit. Humans can survive for 3 days without water, making it one of your highest priorities in emergency situations. There are a variety of ways you can carry water in a survival pack. You can pack water in water bottles and carry them, but since it's recommended to have one gallon of water per person per day, that will get really heavy really fast. Most experts recommend having some form of water purification available, such as a water filter, iodine, or water purification tablets. A container for transporting water is also handy, so you have access to water while on the go. You can save space and weight by going with a collapsible water bladder. Some of our favorite water filters are made by HydroBlu and come with collapsible water bladders as well as super light water filters that boast extremely long lifespans.
Another essential emergency item is food. The options have gotten better over the years, with freeze-dried meals quickly becoming favorites. These meals allow you to have your favorites on the go by simply adding hot water. Great options for on-the-go eating are trail mix, beef jerky, nuts, and protein bars. Take the weight of food into consideration when creating your pack, however. If you're going to be trekking for a while, it's best to take items that don't weigh a lot, because you'll be carrying everything you own.
First-aid kits are also an excellent thing to have in case of an emergency. If you don't have room for a kit with all the bells and whistles, ensure that yours includes band aids, alcohol for sterilization, cotton swabs, gauze, burn gel, and antibiotic ointment.
Important documents are also a good idea to have, so you can prove your identity and gain access to life saving supplies. A copy of all of those documents should go into your pack. Consider including your ID, passport, social security card, birth certificate, house deed, car title, proof of insurance, and/or medication list and information.
Other essential items include a pocket knife, a multi tool, fire starting equipment such as flint and steel or matches, a flashlight with extra batteries, a hand crank radio to listen to updates, a metal pot or mug to heat water, and a space blanket. Prescription medications, especially if you depend on them to live, are also critical. These items will help you to survive most, if not all emergency situations.
Also be aware that food and some medical items have expiration dates and need to be rotated. It's best to check your kit once or twice a year to ensure that the contents are up to date and replaced as necessary.
You can make your survival easier to experience by adding an assortment of other items, including some of the following. We definitely don't recommend you try to add all of these things to your survival pack. Take some time to analyze your potential situations and your area, and determine what makes the most sense for you.
- Credit card tool, such as this one
- Emergency candles - the ones that last for upwards of 9 hours
- Duct tape
- Emergency poncho
- Solar battery charger to charge phones and other devices
- Fish hooks and line
- Emergency lightsticks
- Dust asks
- Mini shovel
- Gloves - heavy-duty work ones as well as latex if you need to treat severe wounds
- Emergency whistle
- Playing cards
- Backup glasses or contacts in case yours break or get lost
- Maps of surrounding areas
- Baby wipes
- Feminine products, if applicable
- Diapers, if you have children
- Hand warmers - these come in extremely handy in cold environments
- Shaving cream
- Sewing kit
- Tissues or toilet paper
- Portable stove with fuel tablets
- Pain killers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- Medical tape
- Insect repellent
- Survival tarps
- Extra clothing
- Small notebook and pencil
- Cash or valuables for trade/bartering - a variety of denominations is a good idea as most ATM's will likely be closed
- Pet supplies, if applicable
- Copies of car and house keys
- Baby supplies, if applicable
- Lock picks
- Mace/pepper spray
- Survival knife
- Mirror - to signal for help, if necessary
- Garbage bags
- Hair ties
- Backpacking sleeping bag - these are ultralight and typically keep you warm in spring, summer, and fall
- Medical alert bracelets/necklaces/ID tags
- Allergy pills
- Location of doctors office/hospital/vet office written down so you know how to get there if possible
- Current family/pet pictures so people can help you look for possibly lost family members
- Pet friendly hotels and evacuation locations - most government shelters only allow service animals
- Warm socks
- Warm hats
- Tube tent
- Battery-operated watch
- Mini headlamp
- Moleskin for blisters
- Safety pins
- Condoms - if they aren't lubricated they can serve as emergency water carriers
- Dental floss
- Magnifying glass - helpful for starting fires and signaling for help
- Laundry detergent
- Hand sanitizer
- Small pair of binoculars
- Cigarette lighter
- Steel wool - can be used to scrub dishes, sharpen scissors and knives, tighten a loose screw, and start a fire
- Extra gas in gas cans, if you have a vehicle and the option to use it
- Military Shemagh, for warmth, blocking the sun and can be used to cover your head or face
- Extra pairs of under clothing
- Pocket guide to local plants, so you can know what is and isn't safe to eat
If you're interested in learning more about creating emergency kits or even just how to react in an emergency, check out fema.gov. This is a government website with all the information you could ever need about how to prepare for possible emergencies. Other helpful websites include ready.gov and the Red Cross. The Red Cross has a great How to Prepare for Emergencies guide on their site. A segment that many people don't think of is our older people and people with disabilities. Bankrate has a great article on preparing for emergencies with seniors and people with disabilities. You can read the article here. Combining the information on these websites with the information in our article will help you be as prepared as possible and giving you the ultimate in peace of mind.