We've picked out some of the best survival kits on the market and compiled them in a list for your perusal. Sustain Supply Co's Premium Family Emergency Survival Bag is one great example. The bag contains all the necessities a family of four would need for a 72-hour period. In case you're at a loss where to start, we've attached a buying guide and expert recommendations in emergency preparation.
The following lineup contains the best survival kits you can conveniently get online. It has kits focused on survival gear, family-focused bags with food and water supplies, or those filled with first-aid items for emergencies.
|Dimensions||20 x 16 x 14 in.|
|Dimensions||12 x 9 x 20 in.|
|Dimensions||6.3 x 4.3 x 1.9 in.|
|Dimensions||13 x 8 x 19 in.|
|Dimensions||8 x 6.5 x 5 in.|
Complete 72 Hours for 2 People
|Dimensions||11 x 10 x 22 in.|
|Dimensions||12 x 8 x 6 in.|
|Dimensions||7.87 x 4.92 x 2.75 in.|
|Bag material||Not provided|
|Dimensions||4.33 x 2.76 x 1.57 in.|
Sustain Supply Co.
First My Family
Premium Family Emergency Survival Bag
Complete Earthquake Bag
Survival Gear and Equipment
Premium Disaster Preparedness Survival Kit
250 Pieces Survival First Aid Kit
Earthquake Bug Out Bag Emergency Survival Kit
Survival First Aid Kit
First Aid Kit Survival Kit
Emergency Survival Kit
Mark 1 Survival Kit
Everything a Family Needs in One Location
An Emergency Kit for Earthquakes and More
Survive With the Right Tools
A Reliable Base If You Want to Add in Your Own Tools
Prepare for Emergencies With a Fully-Loaded First Aid Kit
Reliable, Branded Products Put Together by Veterans
A Multipurpose Kit for First Aid and Fishing
Preparedness Even for the Rain
Packs a Lot of Unconventional Survival Goods into a Candy Tin
|Weight||27 lbs.||16 lbs.||Not provided||17.91 lbs.||1.9 lbs.||20 lbs.||3.25 lbs.||1.54 lbs.||Not provided||6.24 oz.|
|Dimensions||20 x 16 x 14 in.||12 x 9 x 20 in.||6.3 x 4.3 x 1.9 in.||13 x 8 x 19 in.||8 x 6.5 x 5 in.||11 x 10 x 22 in.||12 x 8 x 6 in.||7.87 x 4.92 x 2.75 in.||Not provided||4.33 x 2.76 x 1.57 in.|
|Bag material||Water-resistant||Water-resistant||Waterproof||Water-resistant||Water-resistant||Water-resistant||Water-resistant||Waterproof||Not provided||Water-resistant|
Choosing a survival kit can be a daunting task with a lot of components to consider. So many, in fact, that we asked Lisa, a “survival mom,” for some help sifting through all of them, leaving you with the right kit in hand.
Introducing our expert
Motivated by an unsettling news headline in 2009, Lisa Bedford began digging around the internet for information about how she could protect her family. She sorted through mountains of information and began her "prepping" journey. She runs her own site, The Survival Mom Blog, where she writes about survival, preparedness, and more.
Honestly, most bags are water-resistant but not waterproof. They’ll repel some splashing, which is good enough for walking through some drizzle. But if you live in Louisiana, for example, and expect to get stuck during a rainstorm, we recommend looking for something waterproof.
If you can’t find anything waterproof, at least look for a bag where the contents are individually wrapped or sealed or made of some other watertight material.
Next, if your kit comes in its own backpack, make sure it’s easy to carry for long stretches of time. That means checking the straps and seeing if they’re sturdy and padded enough. If you are going for a pouch-type kit, ensure it can attach to your backpack easily and securely or slip it in your bag without taking up too much room.
On top of backpacks and pouches, survival kits can also come in a plastic bin or bucket and duffel bag, to name a few. These storage methods are versatile and can be used for other purposes such as bathing, washing dishes, or collecting water with a bucket-type kit.
Most backpacks are made of heavy duty fabric, but look for very sturdy stitching and seams. Imagine dragging that bag along a sidewalk or dirt path. Will it hold up under very rugged treatment? My own bag is from Flying Circle, whose products I highly recommend.
Although these heavy-duty bags are typically favored for emergency kits, in some cases a thin nylon backpack may be better because it’s lightweight. Not every person can carry a bag weighing 30 or 40 pounds when fully loaded, so keep in mind the importance of matching the bag to the person.
When it’s time to evacuate during an actual emergency, you won't be able to leisurely call over your shoulder, “Have we packed the toilet paper and the pink poncho?” With that said, make sure everything you need is already in the bag.
The next necessity is shelter-related items that will keep you warm and dry. This includes a poncho and emergency blanket (kits also come with sleeping bags and tents). Many survival kits, though, come only with thin blankets.
However, you can spend money on a compact, high-quality blanket and add that to your kit. You’ll also want to look for a fire starter and some kind of body warmer. Light is another necessity, whether it's an LED flashlight or ambient light to increase visibility.
It would help if you also had some first aid. Most of the included first aid kits in survival bags are pretty basic, including things such as alcohol wipes, gauzes, and bandages. If you're preparing for a major disaster or would be near sharp objects during an emergency, check to see if there are supplies for major trauma.
You can never go wrong with tools in your survival kits like a knife or cutting equipment to cut bandages easily, make firewood or prepare food. Other kits take it a step further and give you tools for fishing if the food would become scarce, and you need to take things into your hands.
I recommend SOS bars, available on Amazon and from survival-supply websites. These bars are intentionally high in calories and fat and nutritionally dense enough to provide energy. Don’t pack anything with chocolate since it melts; a mess is the last thing you want to deal with in a crisis.
The thin mylar “emergency blanket” included in many store-bought kits can be handy for signaling, catching water, and possibly as a ground cover. But for warmth, you’ll need first to consider your most important cold-weather defense—your clothing. Don’t rely on that fragile layer of mylar in cold weather conditions! Instead, for a little more money, consider an extreme-lightweight sleeping bag.
If you’re looking for extra insurance, you can also invest in a personal locator beacon (PLB), but you probably won’t find one tucked into your survival kit. Whatever signaling device you choose, though, make sure you know how to use it properly.
Here’s something a lot of people tend to overlook: personal hygiene. Soap can help you stay clean and away from harmful bacteria and viruses. If it’s not included in your kit, add it. If you can keep bad bacteria off your hands and out of your mouth, it might save your life.
For hygiene, pack a bar of all-purpose soap in a water-tight plastic container. You can use it as shampoo, body soap, hand soap, dish detergent, and even for your laundry. It’s cheap and extremely versatile. A roll of toilet paper with the inner cardboard tube removed can be flattened and stored in a plastic bag or a vacuum-sealed pouch.
For signaling, a whistle is very effective. Buy a high-quality, heavy-duty whistle, one that is not susceptible to freezing. You can only yell or scream for a short time, but a whistle will allow you to make loud, repetitive sounds to attract attention. If you have a mylar emergency blanket, it can be used to attract attention as a reflective device.
If there’s any chance you’ll be temporarily stranded near a river, lake, or ocean, you can use that to your advantage. On top of fishing, some water filtration system in the pack–whether it be a LifeStraw or purification tablets–will also afford you a ready supply of liquid. But not all will filter out harmful microorganisms.
Furthermore, rope or paracord is helpful anywhere, but it’s invaluable in the wild. You can use it as tinder, for rappelling, to carry stuff like firewood, to tie down your tent, or build a raft or shelter–the list goes on and on. Finally, for those that aren’t reliant on GPS technology, a map and compass will do you a lot of good.
If wilderness living and survival appeal to you, begin taking Bushcraft classes. That’s where you’ll learn how to construct shelters using only the materials provided by nature, start a fire without any fire starter, stay warm, stay cool in hot weather, tend to injuries.
An effective water filter, one that can guarantee safe drinking water in a wilderness setting, must be able to carry the water. A LifeStraw or a Sawyer Mini Filter are both good options. You’ll find DIY water filter instructions online, but a filter made of gravel, charcoal, and sand has no way of filtering out what is most dangerous—microorganisms that can cause deadly illnesses.
Water can warp a door; an earthquake can jam it. Make sure the survival pack has secured you some kind of escape route–whether it be through a crowbar or glass-breaker. The latter is invaluable in a car, too. If you’re driving and flip into a lake, the water pressure makes it difficult to open doors. Seat-belt cutters, too, can save your life if the fastener jams.
Other nifty tools to have in your survival kit to expand its capabilities are multi-function cards, screwdrivers, and tactical pens. These are readily available in most survival kits of today.
To find high-quality, durable tools, begin visiting estate sales. Some of the best “made in the USA” tools were manufactured in the 1950s and 60s. Hand tools such as a claw hammer are versatile and should be part of your emergency gear. As part of your vehicle kit, purchase a multi-use tool, such as the OWL Car Window Breaker & Seatbelt Cutter.
Ensure everyone you normally travel with knows where this tool is and what is in your vehicle emergency kit. In a panic, no one is going to think, “Maybe there’s something in the glove compartment” while you’re watching the car fill with water. Everyone should know where the tool is and how to use it.
It is also equally important to ensure the survival kit has enough necessities for your family and loved ones. While most kits will tell you how many people they’re meant for and for how long, it won't hurt to do a full inventory check.
Even if there’s enough food and water, there might not be enough first aid to cover more than one traumatic injury or masks to cover more than one face. Double-checking the contents of your survival kits also eliminates the risk of possible missing items from the supplier.
If you’ve got more than enough supplies for everyone to use, but they don’t work, they’re useless and end up being a waste. This is where checking reviews for quality and examining everything in it beforehand pay off.
Every survival kit should be customized to the needs of yourself and your family or group. Consider ages, health issues, and physical condition. If a kit becomes too large and heavy, break the contents into one or two smaller packs.
This will allow the younger or weaker members to share the load but not be overwhelmed by a heavy burden. The more fit members can then add items to their own packs to help with redundancy or comfort—for example, more food, an extra water filter, or a better-equipped medical kit.
Make sure you know how to use everything beforehand. That means opening your kit as soon as you get it and going through everything inside. See, first and foremost, if there’s a first aid manual. If there are any tools or gadgets you’re unfamiliar with, check for instructions.
Survival kits meant for wilderness survival sometimes include information on finding shelter, searching for sources of water, and surviving on edible plants or something. Not only are they fascinating reads, but they could prove beneficial during real-life application.
If you buy a pre-made emergency kit, review all the contents as soon as you receive it. That supply gear is only going to help you survive if you know what it is, where it is, and how to use it! Shop carefully for your kit, as some of them contain poor-quality supplies.
For example, a flimsy multi-tool that breaks the first time you use it. If you’re depending on this kit to keep you safe and possibly save lives, don’t leave anything to chance. If you find yourself in a survival scenario in the wilderness, youʼll need to learn how to ﬁnd water and food sources. Learning how to forage for safe, edible plants or berries is invaluable.
There is no perfect go-bag on the market; therefore, you will most probably have to build on your survival kit. The following are common necessities left out of survival kits (because they’re not ubiquitous needs); consider adding them back into yours.
You might need to add pet and baby food, kid-sized ponchos, kid-friendly medication, prescription medication, sanitary pads for women, diapers for babies, and the like. Furthermore, jackets and changes of clothing are essential if the emergency is extended. These are only a few examples, and you can freely customize your go-bag accordingly.
A well-equipped survival kit is something everyone should own, but it’s not enough to just make the purchase! Take on the responsibility of customizing it to your personal needs. If there are medical issues, pack supplies, medication, and remedies for them.
Once you’ve purchased the kit, pull it apart and examine the contents. You don’t want to open your kit for the first time ever in the middle of a disaster and not know what’s inside or how to use it.
In line with preparing for emergencies, you might be interested in a few more add-ons to your survival kits, such as those listed below.
The best survival kit is the kind that sits in your closet, your car, or your backpack and gathers dust. The next-best survival kit is the kind that saves your life–whether you’re facing an evacuation or a crisis in the wild. Now is the best time to ensure you have a survival kit for both instances.
Though most emergency packs do include a first aid kit, it's always nice to be extra prepared. This first aid kit comes highly recommended by travel blogger Kathryn Hickl.
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