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6 Best Emergency Kits in 2023

Jan 22, 2024

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Though it's impossible to know when you'd need an emergency preparedness kit, the word "preparedness" is key. Should a disaster strike, you might find yourself cut off from outside help, relying on whatever rations and supplies you have on hand.

If this happens, food with a multi-year shelf life and supplies included in a first aid kit like light sources, fire-starting tools, and other essentials are literal lifesavers. But buying an emergency kit is only the first step in readying yourself and your household to respond to a crisis properly.

We compiled the following guide to the best emergency kits currently available. Though we've not been able to accurately test each one during an emergency situation, we've included kits that have been intensely researched or those we've been able to spend some time with in person.

Best emergency kit overall: Sustain Supply Co. Comfort4 72-Hour Survival Kit - See at AmazonThe 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.

Best for natural disasters: Black Hawk Survival 2-Person Deluxe - See at AmazonBlack Hawk Survival's 2-Person Deluxe Survival Kit offers a collection of essentials like food and water but also has crucial extras like waterproof matches, emergency sleeping bags, and N95 safety masks.

Best for severe weather: Complete Earthquake Bag - See at AmazonThe 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.

Best on a budget: Ready America 2-Person 3-Day Emergency Kit - See at AmazonThe 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.

Best multi-day pack: Decked x Uncharted D-Bag Emergency Kit - See at DeckedThe Decked x Uncharted D-Bag Emergency Kit is intended specifically to support two people for up to 72 hours — and its backpack-style design, comprehensive list of contents, and intuitive storage design provide everything it needs to do exactly that.

Best portable: Monoki First Aid Survival Kit - See at AmazonA first aid kit that's portable is easy to grab and go in times of need, and the 241-piece Monoki First Aid Survival Kit fits in a backpack, large bag, or can even be carried on its own with little trouble.

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

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 from Sustain Supply Co. is stocked almost exactly as I'd have built a kit from scratch.

Brent Stern, founder of Sustain Supply Co., told Insider that it used Amazon analytics to determine which prep/survival products people tended to buy at the same time and then made those leading choices the products it 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 as 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.

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.

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.

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.

Pros: Truly comprehensive in terms of contents, despite everything packing into one bag, it's easy to carry via its comfortable backpack straps, everything is clearly labeled in big fonts, highly durable and weather-resistant

Cons: Expensive

Though an emergency kit can take a variety of forms, its number one priority is to support its users — be it for a few hours or a few days. But when you start needing one to actually fulfill the latter, the list of worthwhile options starts to dwindle.

Then there's the Decked x Uncharted D-Bag Emergency Kit that's been designed specifically to support two people for up to 72 total hours. And after getting a look at one of these in person and combing through its extensive pack list, it appears likely to do that with ease.

Packed inside a durable, weather-resistant D-Bag backpack is almost anything you could want in an emergency situation. There's a roll of duct tape, a multi-tool and a knife, a fully stocked first aid kit and a couple air filtration masks, as well as things like hand warmers, an emergency shelter, and some waterproof gloves. It also has 12 200 calorie ration bars, a water filter, and stainless steel water bottle.

There's no need to worry about a lack of power access with this pack either. The D-Bag Emergency Kit also has a portable power station and jump starter, a crank radio, and a flashlight.

And although this seems like a ton of supplies to pack into the bag itself, each comes pre-packed in easy-to-read pouches that are neatly organized. This makes it easy to know exactly where and what is in the pack. A large front panel zips open and shut to allow for easy access to everything packed inside, too, and padded shoulder straps allow users to comfortably tote the thing around either as a backpack or slung across their shoulder.

This kind of comprehensive utility doesn't come without a steep price tag, however, as the Decked x Uncharted D-Bag Emergency Kit clocks in at $650. The price of an emergency kit shouldn't be boiled down to its actual cost as you'll likely forget all about how much you paid for it should the need arise for you to use it — and you shouldn't cut corners with something designed to literally save your life.

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.

It's important to remember that being in a stressful situation impacts your problem-solving, so the purchase of an actual emergency kit is a serious one — and having everything in one spot helps you avoid forgetting anything if you have to move quickly.

Familiarize yourself with what's in it and make an inventory list of what's included and where exactly everything is in the kit. We also recommend storing cash and any first aid items a family member might need.

According to the American Red Cross, the most important things to have in an emergency kit are a first aid kit, water, a flashlight, whatever specific medications you and your family needs, non-perishable food, personal hygiene items, and some sort of battery-powered radio (and batteries).

As mentioned above, it's also recommended to put some cash in an emergency kit, and you should also consider including things like multi-tools, an emergency blanket, and maps of your local area.

The exact contents of an emergency kit do also vary based on the number of people it needs to support, the type of emergency or disaster you might be dealing with, and your location.

For instance, if you live in an area with a high amount of precipitation, you'll want to make sure you have some sort of rain cover or poncho handy. And if the kit needs to aid a family of four, then a four-person or more kit is far better than trying to ration something meant for just two people.

Ultimately, the kit should allow you to be self-sufficient for whatever amount of time you need it and however many people are in your party.

You should keep an emergency kit wherever it's most accessible by you or a responsible family member. During an emergency situation like a natural disaster, power outage, or severe storm, you'll need to act quickly, and that includes being able to find and grab your emergency kit with ease.

Some examples would be to keep it on a shelf in a closest nearest an exit in your home or to stash it in your bedroom under your bed. You could also keep one in your car (or stored in a garage or entryway) though do keep in mind that if temperatures drop, any place that's unheated where it's stored runs the risk of freezing things like water.

Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals.You can purchase logo and accolade licensing to this story here.Disclosure: Written and researched by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our partners. We may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected].

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