When "systems" fall, what's your Plan B? Now is the time to prepare!

Building an Emergency Kit and Bug-Out Bag for Any Situation

Whether it's a natural disaster, power outage, or unexpected evacuation, having an emergency kit and bug-out bag ready to go can mean the difference between life and death.

5/2/20243 min read

First aid kit
First aid kit

We all see what's going on in this world and it's not a good vibe. Some have that gut feeling that something horrific is about to come upon America...I know I do. I also know that I need to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. This is why whether it's a natural disaster, power outage, or unexpected evacuation, having an emergency kit and bug-out bag ready to go can mean the difference between life and death. So, let's talk essentials and how to personalize your survival gear to fit your unique needs.

Understanding the Basics: Emergency Kit vs. Bug-Out Bag

First things first, let's clear up the confusion between emergency kits and bug-out bags. While they serve similar purposes, they're designed for slightly different scenarios.

An emergency kit is your go-to stash for short-term emergencies. It's typically stored in your home or car and contains essentials like food, water, first aid supplies, and important documents. Think of it as your "stay put and weather the storm" kit.

On the other hand, a bug-out bag is your grab-and-go survival bag for when you need to evacuate quickly. It's packed with supplies to sustain you for at least 72 hours and is portable enough to carry on foot. You'll want to keep it easily accessible in case you need to leave your home in a hurry.

Essentials for Your Emergency Kit and Bug-Out Bag

Now that we've got the basics down, let's dive into what you should include in each:

Emergency Kit Essentials:

  1. Water: Aim for one gallon per person per day for at least three days.

  2. Non-perishable food: Stock up on canned goods, protein bars, and dry snacks.

  3. First aid kit: Bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary medications.

  4. Flashlight and batteries: Opt for a durable, long-lasting flashlight.

  5. Multi-tool: A Swiss army knife or similar tool can come in handy for various tasks.

  6. Emergency blanket: These compact, reflective blankets can help retain body heat.

  7. Whistle: In case you need to signal for help.

  8. Copies of important documents: Think IDs, insurance policies, and emergency contact information.

  9. Personal hygiene items: Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and menstrual products.

  10. Cash: In case ATMs are inaccessible during a power outage.

Bug-Out Bag Essentials:

  1. Lightweight tent or emergency shelter: Shelter is crucial for staying safe outdoors.

  2. Sleeping bag or emergency blanket: Stay warm and protected from the elements.

  3. Water filtration system: Ensure a clean water supply wherever you go.

  4. Portable stove and fuel: For cooking meals on the go.

  5. Fire-starting supplies: Matches, lighters, or a fire starter kit.

  6. Navigation tools: Map, compass, or GPS device.

  7. Extra clothing: Pack layers to stay warm and dry.

  8. Personal defense items: Pepper spray, a whistle, or a small weapon if legal and appropriate.

  9. Cash and coins: In case electronic transactions aren't an option.

  10. Entertainment: A book, deck of cards, or other portable activities can help pass the time and boost morale.

Customizing Your Kits for Different Scenarios

No two emergencies are alike, so it's essential to customize your kits to fit your specific needs and circumstances. Here are a few scenarios to consider:

  • Natural disasters: If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, earthquakes, or wildfires, focus on sturdy shelter, extra water, and fire-resistant supplies.

  • Urban emergencies: For city dwellers, consider adding a respirator mask, tools for urban survival (like a pry bar or bolt cutters), and a plan for navigating congested streets.

  • Medical emergencies: If you or a family member has specific medical needs, be sure to include extra medications, medical supplies, and a detailed medical history.

Top Pre-Made Emergency Kits and Bug-Out Bags

For those looking for convenience, there are plenty of pre-made options on the market. The pre-made options takes the guess work out of wondering if you have the right essentials in your bag and kit and allows you the opportunity to add more with ease. Here are my five top picks for each:

Pre-Made Bug-Out Bags and Emergency Kits:

  1. Emergency Zone Urban Survival Bug Out Bag - Price: $189.99

  2. Sustain Supply Co. Premium Emergency Survival Bag/Kit - Price: $299.00

  3. Ready America Deluxe Emergency Kit (4-Person) - Price: $139.99

  4. Redfora Complete Earthquake Bag - Price: $149.99

  5. Wise Company Deluxe Emergency Kit (2-Person) - Price: $149.99


In uncertain times, having a well-stocked emergency kit and bug-out bag can provide peace of mind and potentially save lives. By including the essentials and customizing your gear to fit your unique needs, you'll be better prepared to handle whatever curveballs life throws your way. So, take some time to assemble your bag and kit and remember it's always better to be over-prepared than caught off guard. Stay safe out there!