Build Your Own Emergency Kit

Why make your own Emergency Kit?

Most ready-made kits contain water and emergency food (which are cheap) and a couple of very low quality items, and they charge a lot of money for it. By building your own kit, you can save money and buy what you really need.


In this website


I have done a lot of research on how to build a great emergency kit with quality items that are a must-have in case of emergency, but that you can also use regulary around the house, or for hiking, camping, road trips or other outdoor activities.


Unlike other websites that provide enormous list of supplies, I selected the most important items and I listed them all here for easy purchase. Please refer to the links in the resources section for more detailed list and full emergency preparedness.

What is in this kit?


You will find here the basic items organized by section: essential tools, comfort and first aid, documents and cash, food and water, a few optional items, a bag to pack all this.


I have found most items to be cheapest on Amazaon (full list here for easy purchase) but you should be able to find most of them in your local hardware store as well.


Use this as a guideline, but based on your own situation, you should adjust the content of your emergency bag.


Essential Tools

Mini Emergency Radio

Etón ARCFR160R



No need for the more expensive bigger models. This unit works just fine. It very small, but with a solid feel. There's a solar panel and a hand cranck, as well as a USB plug (for example to recharge a phone) and a flashlight.


Flashlight (hand crank)




You will never worry of running out of batteries. his one will never fail you. Plus you can use the USB plub to charge your phone. A must-have when you go camping as well.

Coast V2

LED Flashlight

Coast V2



You also want to have a solid traditional LED flashlight. I've owned this model for years. Very bright, always useful around the house or outdoor.

Black Diamond Gizmo Headlamp


Black Diamond Gizmo Headlamp



One more flashlight, but maybe the most useful item. Keep your hands free and see!

Amazon Basics Batteries AAA

Spare batteries

Amazon Basics Batteries AAA (20 pieces)



This stack of batteries should get you through a few days with no power. Both flashlights above use the same AAA battery size.

Cyalume SnapLight


Cyalume SnapLight (10 pieces)



Keep a few of these in your car as well.

Victorinox SwissTool RS


Victorinox SwissTool RS



This is a great tool that I've owned and used for many years. It is a bit pricey, but it can be used in any situations, just remember to place it back in your emergency bag. A regular Swiss Army knife is a great affordable alternative for around $18.

Fire Extinguisher

Fire Extinguisher

Kidde FA110 Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher 1A10BC



You probably already have one. A must-have here in San Francisco with a wooden house and a risk of post-earthquake fires.


Comfort and First Aid

First Aid Medical Kit

Adventure First Aid 2.0



This kit is good for 2 to 4 persons. Useful to bring along on trips or vacations

Rain Poncho

Emergency Zone®



So cheap, why be wet? Perfect also for hiking or camping. Splips easily in a backpack.

Thermal Blankets

Quake Kare Emergency Thermal Blankets (4 pack)



4 blankets for $9. Keep 2 in your cars and 2 in your emergency bag.

Fleece Blankets

Imperial 50 x 60 Inch Ultra Soft Fleece Throw Blanket



Not an essential item, but these fleece blankets are well built, fluffy and comfortable (and cheap). If you ever need them, you'll be glad to have them. I keep two in my emergency bag, and use them for other occasions.


Wet Ones Big Ones Antibacterial Wipes



These wipes are great. More than once, they replaced a shower while camping. I re-order them as I use them.



Prescription medications

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Spare pair of prespription glasses

Contact lenses and cleaning product

Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items



Documents and cash

Contact Sheet and essential documents


If you ever have to leave your house in a hurry, you want to have all your essential documents with you. For a full list of recommended documents, check this link.

I recommend preparing a contact sheet with emergency contacts: family phone numbers and address, doctors/hospitals, etc...

Water proof Document Holder

ALOKSAK Water Proof Dry Bags (9" x 6" 3pk)



Keep your passport, birth certificate, wedding certificate and other essential documents dry and safe.



How much cash you want to keep is up to you. I decided to keep $100, in small notes. In case of a city power outage, I want to be able to buy food, drinks and other necessities until help comes or power is restored.


Optional Items (but nice to have)


G&F 2302L Premium Leather Palm Gloves



These gloves are sturdier and better built than the cheap gloves that you may pick at your local hardware store.

Waterproof matches

Coghlans Waterproof Matches 10 Pack



These matches work well even when fully immersed in water.


Rothco 550lb. Type III Nylon Paracord (50 feet)



I just keep that in my emergency bag, but it's ready to use as well for anything around the house.

Duct tape

3M 1260 Scotch Pro Strength Duct Tape



Another item that I would have anyway around the house, but that I keep in my emergency bag.

Other optional items


Paper and pencil

Garbage bags



Pick these around your house and store some in your emergency bag .


Food and Water

Emergency food

Datrex 3600 Emergency Food Bar - 3 Day/72 Hour Bar



These rations are light weight, approved by U.S. Coast Guard and have a 5 years shelf life. We stack better tasting stuff and some canned food in our pantry, but having some food in the emergency bag is a good idea.


Datrex Emergency Water Packet - 3 Day/72 Hour Supply(12packets)



The recommended amount is 1 gallon per person and per day. We keep a couple of big plastic jugs of water in the house, but you should also have some water in the emergency bag in case you have to leave the house. These pouches are convenient. Don't forget water for kids and pets.


Babies, kids & pets

Don't forget to pack essentials for your little ones:

  • Pet food and extra water
  • Baby food
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Some toys


Emergency Bag

Kelty Basecamp Duffle



And finally a bag to pack all this. Any sturdy duffle bag will do. I like this Kelty bag because it comes in various sizes (depending on your needs), it is very sturdy and fairly inexpensive. The medium or large size is enough for the content of this list, but you may want to choose an even bigger one if you add more items.

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