You never know when disaster might strike, or what form it may take. In honor of September’s National Disaster Preparedness Month, here are the top ten items to keep in your emergency kit or bug-out bag.
1. Water: While not necessarily “gear,” water is an absolute must-have when it comes to emergency preparedness. Experts recommend 1 liter per day, so try to pack enough to last you around 3 days. Try a collapsible water container like the Nalgene Wide Mouth Canteen for extra storage, or a water filter so you can collect water from your surrounding environment.
2. Food: Once you check water off your list, you’ll need food before nearly anything else. To keep your pack as light as possible, try stocking up on freeze dried meals. Mountain House 48-Hour Emergency Meal Kit is a compact option that provides enough food for 2100 calories per day. This keeps your food store lightweight and easy to transport, in case you need to get out of dodge!
3. Flashlight: In the case of a power outage or nighttime trek, you’ll need to make sure you protect your visibility. Try the Olympia Z500, a very powerful and feature-rich flashlight at a more affordable price point for entry into the high performance flashlight category. The light has five modes: high, medium, low, strobe and SOS for emergency situations. It’s made of a water resistant aluminum body, so you can take it nearly anywhere.
4. First Aid Kit: It’s important to keep yourself and your loved ones safe physically, so make sure you have critical first aid items on hand. Choose a portable first aid kit complete with essentials to treat cuts, scrapes, pain, swelling and more. The American Red Cross Deluxe Family First Aid Kit comes with more than 100 items to treat an injury at home or on the go.
5. Solar Batteries and Solar Panels: These items offer portable power that you’ll need with the security of solar recharging. The Olympia SP56 is a very compact and lightweight solar recharging station that includes two high efficiency solar panels enclosed in a rugged, water resistant case.
6. Shelter & Bedding: Whether you’re hunkering down at home or heading out with your bug-out bag, make sure you have the right bedding to keep you warm and dry. Even a basic tarp is a helpful item to keep out rain and wind, and you may want to purchase a space blanket like Cabela’s Original Space All-Weather Blanket for additional protection and comfort.
7. Two-Way Radios: Radios can help you communicate with loved ones in the case of disaster. Consider the Olympia R500, which offers up to 45 miles of range, is waterproof and even floats.
8. Personal Documents and Money: If you need to leave town due to disaster, carry copies of your personal identification and other important documents like wills and contracts. Store cash so you’ll have access to funds to purchase items such as gas or food.
9. Headlamp: While a flashlight is your go-to lighting tool, a headlamp can serve as an ideal addition when you need two free hands. The Explorer Series of Headlamps offer four high-powered options ranging from 80 to 550 lumens. The headlamps offer three to five modes, depending on the model, including high, medium, low, strobe and SOS.
10. Weaponry: Whether you prefer a gun or a multi-purpose knife, it’s a good idea to have some type of weapon on-hand for protection. If things really go south, you’ll be able to protect yourself and your supplies, as well as prepare food. Try the KA-BAR BK-22 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife, which is a solid, heavy-duty field utility knife that can handle nearly any survival task.