An emergency kit is a generic term for a collection of survival gear and usually consists of a portable container like a backpack, bucket, or bin of gear that can be grabbed at a moment's notice to solve the problems common during an emergency. The gear inside the kit may be necessary for survival or comfort in the face of challenging events. A general emergency kit may address the common situations in a region (i.e. hurricanes in the South).
An emergency kit contains gear like tools, communications devices, food, water, temporary shelter, light sources, fire starters, and more. The gear may be specific to an individual's needs, specific to an emergency type, or general for use by anyone.
A number of companies make ready-made emergency kits. We compare the top pre-made emergency kits here. Pre-assembled kits are a great way to get started with your preparedness efforts. They can be affordable and have just the right gear to take care of your needs when the train comes off the rails.
We used to list the numerous emergency kit companies but they come and go so often it's hard to keep the list current. So, we decided to describe the types of companies so you can be aware when shopping.
Quality Gear vs Price
There is a direct correlation between the quality of emergency and surival gear and the price. The market has become a commodity market, meaning vendors have a hard time charging a premium margin for their product because there is so much competition from one product to the next.
Companies are able to charge customers for the cost of manufacturing, marketing, and some overhead as well as a tiny margin for profit. What does that mean for us as a consumer? We're literally getting what we pay for in most cases.
We used to feature emergency kits from a high volume emergency kit manufacturer. They were one of the most affordable kits on the market. Then, we decided to buy one of the kits to try it out. All of the gear was sub par and I wouldn't trust it for 72 hours. The kits produced such a false sense of security.
We decided to build our own kits for our families. We bought only gear we would rely on and it added up pretty quickly. The multi-tool alone cost more than the entire survival kit from the cheap manufacturer. Once we had a high-quality kit, we realized we had spent quite a bit.
We sought to test numerous products and we found that without question price and quality were tied together.
A lot of the current backpack kits sell for under $100. It's hard to assume any of the gear is reliable at that price point. The kits we tested all had sub-par supplies. Examples:
You may have a low budget - we get that - gear costs a lot. We still recommend building your own kit over time. Here's how to start: Emergency Preparedness for Beginners
Follow the checklist on a monthly basis and you'll have what you need.
Some companies offer quality emergency kits with quality gear and supplies. Plan to spend a few hundred dollars. They are handy because they save you the time of building your own over time. However, they may not have everything you need.
We still recommend downloading your preferred emergency kit checklist so you can verify you have everything you need.
We realize there are a number of factors that determine how prepared you are: budget, experience, common emergencies in your area, etc. Here's what we recommend for getting started with your survival preparation:
The key is to get started and build up your resources over time. Keep your emergency needs in mind and eventually you'll have a kit that's got all the right gear.
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3 Most reviews are based on personal experience from one of our content editors. Some are based on research and the opinions of other reviewers.