Let’s be honest, after what we have seen over the past few years, picking up a survival kit in case of an emergency is just good common sense. Whether you’re camping, going on a cross-country road trip, or if you live in an area prone to natural disasters, emergency survival kits could save your life or help you save another person’s life. COVID-19 has shown us just how vulnerable we are to supply chain disruptions, and since then we’ve experienced wildfires, record-breaking heat, widespread power outages, floods, and more. And if the shocking images from the massive and deadly earthquake in Turkey and Syria do not have you considering your safety needs, nothing will. For all these reasons, we recommend keeping emergency kits at the ready.
So, whether you foresee needing to survive a hurricane, earthquake, or electrical blackout, it’s past time to build or buy an emergency survival kit for your home and/or car. Just make sure your kit has everything that you’ll need in a disaster situation.
To help you gather the right supplies, SPY has been hard at work testing the best emergency kits. We’ve also been reviewing a lot of portable power stations, and these tools can help you stay on the grid even when the power goes out. Finally, we’ve also spoken to survival experts about what it takes to live off the grid, if only temporarily.
Below, you’ll find a list of essential supplies for any survival kit, prepackaged emergency kits, and potentially useful items that you add to existing kits. We also have information on the best emergency survivor kits for different disaster scenarios — since your needs for surviving an earthquake are slightly different than for a hurricane.
What Should I Include in My Survival Kit?
According to the Red Cross and Ready.gov, a well-stocked survival kit includes:
- Water (One gallon per person per day)
- Emergency food supplies (Three-day supply for an evacuation or two-week supply for home use)
- A flashlight
- Battery-powered or crank emergency radio
- First aid kit
- N95 or KN95 Masks
- Seven-day supply of both prescription and non-prescription medication
- Multi-purpose tool
- Hygiene items (toilet paper, feminine products, moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties)
- Emergency blankets
- Maps of your local area
- Cell phone chargers (solar chargers are most useful)
- Copies of personal documents in a waterproof canister
- Emergency and family contact info
- Cash (for gas, supplies, or in the case of a widespread ATM outage)
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
In addition, we recommend including the following items in a disaster kit:
- Toys for children and/or baby supplies
- Pet supplies and food
- Emergency whistle
- Hand sanitizer
- Matches (In a waterproof container)
- Duct tape
- Plastic sheeting
- Sleeping bags
- Fire extinguisher
If it’s starting to feel like you’d need an entire bomb shelter to keep all of these emergency supplies, then we know how you feel. Rather than collecting each of these items one by one by one, you can save time and money by buying one of the best emergency kits instead.
Where Should You Store Your Emergency Prep Kit?
After you’ve acquired your survival kit, you’ll need a place to store it. Where you store your emergency kit could mean the difference between life and death, depending on how quickly you need to flee to safety, or whether you’re in your car or at work when disaster strikes. In general, Ready.gov recommends using the following guidelines when deciding where you’re going to store your emergency kit:
- Choose a place that’s easily accessible at home, and make sure every member of the household knows where it is
- Store it in a clean, dry, cool place that’s unlikely to be exposed to the elements
- Make sure you’ve got a car emergency kit in your vehicle, in case you’re driving when disaster strikes
- Make sure your kit is always ready to go, in case you need to grab it and leave quickly
We’ve searched high and low for the best survival kits of 2023, and we’ve tested some of these kits first-hand. Hopefully, you never need to use these supplies, but in case of an emergency, you’ll be glad you have these survival kits on hand to keep your family safe and secure.
1. JUDY Mover Max Emergency Preparedness Kit
BEST ALL-PURPOSE KIT
With items handpicked by emergency preparedness experts, the JUDY Mover Max Emergency Preparedness Kit is one of the most lauded options on the survival kit market. We named this kit one of our favorite products of the year in SPY’s 2021 Man awards because of how much we trust JUDY. It includes everything you need for two people in any disaster situation. Inside the bag, you’ll find three pre-packed boxes to provide you with first aid equipment, warmth, food, water, safety tools and emergency communication devices during a disaster. Each of the life-saving items fits securely inside the waterproof bag made from high-visibility TPE fabric. This is one of the best all-purpose survival kits for 2023, and it’s great for shoving into the back of your closet in case of an emergency.
What if your household has more than two people? While we’re big fans of the JUDY Mover Max, this survival brand also has a family-sized kit called The Safe, which has everything your family would need to survive for 72 hours. Although it’s slightly more expensive than the alternatives, we think it’s well worth the investment. Or you can bundle the Mover Max and The Safe together in The Prepper System.
- Comprehensive kit for a variety of emergency situations
- Portable, made to be taken on the go if needed
- Waterproof, high-quality bag
- Supplies inside are organized by category, making them easy to find and use
- Expensive price tag
- Smaller kit can only feed a few people for a few days
2. YIDERBO First Aid Survival Kit
BEST FIRST AID KIT
This comprehensive first aid kit includes almost anything you’d need in the case of an emergency survival situation, with 241 pieces of first aid equipment, medical trauma supplies and multipurpose survival tools. You’ve got everything from multi-functional pliers to a fire starter to first aid equipment so you can treat injuries faster and safer in an emergency while you wait for other help to come. Throw this in your car, office, or kitchen, or add it to your pack on a backpacking trip for extra security. It’s Amazon’s #1 best-seller for camping first aid kits.
- Thorough first aid kit for treating a variety of injuries
- Small, compact and can be stored anywhere
- Case is protective and high-quality
- Only contains first aid supplies, no other survival equipment included
3. Redfora Complete Earthquake Emergency Kit
BEST EARTHQUAKE KIT
The Redfora Complete Earthquake Emergency Kit is a great alternative to the JUDY Mover Max. While the bag itself isn’t as high quality, this survival kit is a little more affordable. Inside, all of your supplies come pre-packaged into color-coded, resealable watertight bags, with containers for Food + Water, Hygiene, Tools + First Aid, Shelter + Warmth, and Light + Communications equipment.
If you live in an earthquake-prone area, you know how nerve-wracking it can be. There’s not always a lot of warning or time to prepare for powerful quakes and we’ve all got to do our part to gather supplies just in case. This kit from Redfora is designed for earthquakes, but it will serve you just as well during any type of disaster. Like the best emergency kits, it’s built for three days of survival for two people (sizes vary from one to six people). Supplies include 3,600 calorie bars, 24 water pouches, purification tablets, an extended emergency first aid kit, hand-crank flashlight, and 30+ hour candle.
- Comparable to JUDY Mover Max, with a more-affordable price tag
- Supplies inside are organized according to category, making them easier to find
- Backpack is designed to be taken on the go, can also be used at home and stored in a compact place
- Bag isn’t waterproof
4. Emergency Zone 72-Hour Kits
BEST FOR HURRICANES
If you live in a hurricane zone, it’s a good idea to have an emergency kit designed to deal with this type of disaster. The Emergency Zone 4-Person 72-Hour Kit boasts one of the best water packages we’ve seen in any emergency kit as it includes both water pouches and a Frontier Straw Filter to allow you to drink from any water source. The kit also features 1,200-calorie food rations for two people each day, playing cards, toothbrushes, and an emergency guidebook to give you all the knowledge you need to survive. In addition, it comes with survival gear such as a first aid kit, multitools, light sticks, emergency whistles, sleeping bags, and a tent.
- Excellent source of water in case of an emergency situation
- Contains enough food to feed four people for up to three days
- Also includes an emergency guidebook with survival information you may need to keep yourself safe
- Some users noted the food bars inside are heavy
5. Sustain Supply Co. Emergency Survival Kit
This survival kit is designed to get you through the first 72 hours after a natural disaster, as rescue crews work their way through the area to you. It’s equipped with enough food to last two people 72 hours, with an LED lantern, flashlight, fully stocked first aid kit, portable stove, and 12 servings of food. Since power outages are one of the most common aftermath effects of natural disasters, this kit has plenty of light sources and fire starters to get you through while rescue efforts take place. This large, durable backpack is water-resistant and designed to go with you if need be. Store a few additional items in the pockets, and grab this bag knowing you’ve got what you need to survive and will have enough nourishment to recuperate.
- Includes a personal stove, for heating up survival food rations
- LED lantern and fire starters mean you’ll have no shortage of light sources
- Backpack is water-resistant and includes pockets for quick access to key items
- Only contains enough supplies for two people; Sustain’s 4-person kit is currently unavailable
6. Ready America 70280 Emergency Kit
This two-person emergency survival kit has enough food and water to sustain two people for up to three days. With extra blankets, light sticks, safety gloves and more, it’s a great pack to have for new adventures. Throw in a couple of extra masks and gloves for good measure and this go-bag has everything you’ll need to evacuate your home in a hurry. Even though this emergency kit is cheaper than the alternatives, it still comes highly rated with a 4.7-star rating with over 5,300 reviews from Amazon customers.
7. INEX Life Car Emergency Roadside Assistance Kit
BEST ROADSIDE KIT
While your car breaking down may not be as dangerous as a natural disaster, it happens more frequently, and depending on the road conditions, it could be more deadly. This potentially life-saving kit from INEX Life is designed to help you get back on the road ASAP. It’s got crash warning triangles for warning other drivers, jumper cables for a quick start, a flashlight, window breaker, seatbelt cutter, highway warning vest, and other emergency supplies. If for some reason your car stops in the middle of the night, don’t risk reckless drivers not seeing you. Grab this roadside emergency kit and know you’re prepared for whatever you may face on the road.
8. JUDY The Pro System Bundle
This bundle from JUDY combines three of their major emergency survival products for a comprehensive kit that’ll cover you for a while. It includes a JUDY power generator, The Safe (JUDY’s largest kit) and The Protector, another huge emergency kit. The 1000W power station is noise-free, maintenance-free, and 100% pollution-free as well. The Safe is made with enough supplies to sustain a family of four for 72 hours, and The Protector comes with enough supplies for a family of six for the same amount of time. It comes in a rolling suitcase made for evacuating, if necessary, and all the supplies come organized for easy use. This bundle is heavy, but if you’re sheltering in place and need an emergency kit for home, it’s a great option for that as well.
Even at 30% off, this emergency preparedness kit is definitely an investment. But we trust JUDY products to hold up in a disaster. If you’re looking for absolutely everything you would need in a disaster — supplies, power, and sustenance — then this is the best all-in-one solution.
9. Pet Evac Pak
BEST FOR PETS
In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, it’s not just your safety you’ll have to worry about — your pets will need help, too. That’s why we recommend picking up a pet emergency prep kit in addition to your own human one. This Pet Evac Pak is a great choice. It comes with everything two large dogs would need to survive 72 hours, including food and water supplies, a slip lead, dog first aid supplies and even a rope toy among many more items. This company makes pet emergency packs for all sizes of animals, so you and your pet can be prepared for any emergency.
10. Preppi The Prepster Emergency Backpack
The Prepster Emergency Backpack is, as one reviewer puts it, “the only bag that will make you look cool and could save your life, too.” The fashionable canvas and leather bag is filled with everything you need to survive 72 hours in an emergency situation as well as a few luxury items to get you through in style. With such an extensive list of items, we can’t name everything here, but inside you’ll find everything from a multi-tool to a solar phone charger (with a universal charging cable included). Available upgrades include a satellite messenger ($250) and a solar charging panel ($99.95).
In addition to three days of water and food rations, there’s also a premium chocolate bar and Kusmi tea, too. Preppi hasn’t forgotten your beauty regimen either. They’ve included a Malin+Goetz essentials kit and a Marvis toothpaste and toothbrush. That might seem like overkill, but you’ll be glad you have these creature comforts if you end up in a temporary emergency shelter. This is the emergency kit to buy for people who want the best of everything, even in a disaster situation. Right now you can make this kit even more gucci with a free monogram.
11. Surviveware Waterproof First Aid Kit
BEST SMALL FIRST AID KIT
This first aid kit is waterproof and comes in a bag crafted using welded seams and a water-tight zipper. This means the bag is IPX7 waterproof and can be kept underwater for up to 30 minutes without damage. It’s therefore very effective in keeping out rain, sludge and other elements. Throw your phone or camera in it for safe protection on a boat trip or have it in your car in case of a flash flood or other natural disaster. Your medical supplies and other instruments will stay clean and dry in case you have to use them.
12. EVERLIT Tactical Backpack Survival Kit
Everlit Survival Bags are designed by U.S. military veterans to include everything you need to keep your family safe when disaster strikes. While many survivor kits contain multitools, a thermal blanket and first aid supplies, this kit also includes a hydration bladder. On top of that, the bag also comes with a with a 600D heavy-duty utility molle pouch and a shovel. Because you just never know. For an ultra-durable bug-out bag that won’t let you down in an emergency, EVERLIT has you covered.
13. Preppi GoBox 1-Person Emergency Kit
BEST FOR INDIVIDUALS
While many of the emergency survival bags featured here are designed for households with two to four members, a lot of people live alone. If you don’t want to waste money on extra supplies, then the Preppi GoBox was designed for you. While it doesn’t come with a durable tactical backpack, it does include the survival essentials you need to stay safe for up to 72 hours, making it a great emergency kit for home. Inside this compact box, you’ll find first aid supplies, energy bars, a flashlight, a space blanket, an emergency whistle, and more life-saving supplies. An optional solar phone charger/radio is an extra $50.
14. JUDY Starter Kit
BEST ON-THE-GO SINGLE PERSON KIT
We’ve already covered the Emergency Preparedness Kit from JUDY on our list, but the smaller Starter Kit also deserves some attention. Designed as a waist pack for hands-free portability, the one-person emergency kit has seven essential survival items inside including products for warmth, safety, tools, first-aid, and water and food, all selected by survival experts. Two mini-meals, two drinking water pouches, two emergency blankets, two ponchos, two glow sticks, one whistle, and a small first-aid kit will all help to keep users safe until they are able to access more survival goods.
Editor’s Note: As of February 11, 2023, this product is out of stock. But it’s such a popular brand we’re guessing they’re going to restock it shortly. We’ll be sure to update you when their inventory levels change.
15. S.O.L. Waterproof Scout Survival Kit
BEST FOR SCOUTS
The S.O.L. Waterproof Scout Survival Kit is a great accompaniment to a larger survival kit that packs a full offering of essential items. The compact S.O.L. is waterproof and lightweight, barely tipping the scales at only 3.5 ounces. All of the items in the kit, including a survival blanket, a button compass, a fire lite sparker, a rescue flash signal mirror, a howler whistle, duct tape, a sewing kit, and a fishing kit are all packaged in a professional quality RF-welded dry bag with a rolldown closure. The bag and its contents are great to take on short walks when on a camping or scout trip.
16. Be Smart Get Prepared 100 Piece First Aid Kit
SUPPLEMENTAL FIRST AID KIT
If you’ve ever watched a medical drama, you know that even hospitals can run out of first-aid supplies. Keep your own personal emergency room well-stocked with the Be Smart Get Prepared 100 Piece First Aid Kit. The 100-piece survivor first aid kit is one of the most comprehensive first aid kits available and features an extensive offering of products that cover small injuries sustained in the home and outdoors. Appropriate for use in offices and schools, the kit meets United States FDA regulatory standards as a medical device and has several compartments that make it easy to quickly find items even when users are in a hurry. The kit comes with items that are designed to clean, treat, and protect wounds and injuries, and uses only latex-free products for added safety. There’s currently an on-page 15% off coupon for this kit at Amazon.
17. Protect Life Easy-Carry First Aid Kit
One of the biggest deterrents to carrying a survival bag or first-aid kit is its size and weight. Whether you are heading out for a casual afternoon hike or trying to fit a week’s worth of clothes and food into a single backpack for your next adventure, first-aid kits are often the first thing to go when trying to pare down items. That’s why we like the first aid kit from Protect Life, which is a truly pocket-sized kit that is still comprehensive enough to treat several injuries. Measuring only 7.5 x 5.2 x 1.5 inches and featuring 100 items, the survivor kit includes a tourniquet, CPR mask, blanket, and many other necessary basics like bandages, gauze and antiseptic towelettes. The compact and lightweight kit even includes items not often found in small first-aid kits, including scissors and eyewash.
18. Orion Safety Coastal Alert Launcher KIT
BEST FOR BOATS
Disasters don’t always strike on land. Boaters know that it only takes a few seconds for a massive storm, squall, or accident to turn a relaxing day on the water into a life-or-death situation. Whether you are spending time on a sailboat, fishing boat, or paddling in a kayak, safety should always be at the forefront of the excursion. This boat safety kit from Orion Safety includes all the minimum safety equipment you need for boating, so you can rest easier even in rough waters.
Also Consider: More Survival Essentials To Pack With Your Emergency Kit
While prepackaged survival kits could save your life, you should make sure to add anything else you think you’ll need in an emergency. As we mentioned above, that could include drinking water (if the kit doesn’t come with water), prescription medications, over-the-counter pain medicine, toys for your kids or pets and solar chargers. Many experts also recommend including a small amount of cash ($200-$1,000), just in case it comes in handy.
If you want to truly be prepared for anything, here are a few more emergency supplies you may want to keep on hand.
LuminAID PackLite 2-in-1 Solar Phone Charger Lanterns
A portable solar phone charger can help keep all of your devices charged whether you’re dealing with rolling blackouts or stuck in the wilderness. However, the LuminAID doesn’t just charge your phone; it also does double duty as a camping lantern to provide a little extra light in the darkness. This waterproof portable charger can provide 12 to 14 hours of light when fully charged.
Augason Farms Emergency Food Supply
Even some of the best emergency kits don’t come with food and water. This emergency food supply pail can’t fit into an emergency kit, but it’s great for storing in your home’s basement or storage closet just in case you need to buckle down for a while. We hope it never comes to that, but just in case it includes 11 different varieties of lunch and dinner, totaling 92 servings and 21,170 calories. The whole kit comes in a 4-gallon pail that’s watertight, and all of the food is easy to prepare in just a few minutes by just adding water. The shelf life for this kit is also 25 years, so you’re set for a while.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
The LifeStraw water filter is one of the greatest emergency hacks ever invented and is an essential addition to every survival kit. This personal water filter is incredibly easy to use. Simply dip the tip into a potential source of drinking water and suck. The filter inside the straw surpasses EPA standards and will allow you to clean 1,000 gallons of water. This compact design makes it easy to slip the LifeStraw into your family’s go-bag. Even the best emergency kits aren’t complete without a couple of LifeStraw water filters.
Legacy Premium Food Storage 5 Gallon 6-Pack
Another way to ensure you have enough drinking water to sustain you for the long haul is by prepping yourself with a handy water storage container. This set of emergency water tanks comes with six 5-gallon containers for a total of 30 gallons of storage capacity. (They’re also sold in 2- and 4-tank configurations.) Whether you want to ensure you have enough water while camping, or you prefer to fill it and keep it in your basement for when a severe weather warning hits, more water is always better than not enough.
HUHETA KN95 Face Masks
While the COVID-19 pandemic looks different than it did just a short year ago and mask mandates have dropped in most places, getting sick is still a possibility whenever you leave home. That’s why we recommend including some N95 or KN95 face masks in your emergency kit, if they’re not already included. HUHETA is one of Amazon’s house brands, and HUHETA KN95 masks come in convenient multi-packs. These respirators could also come in handy during a forest fire and other natural disasters that deplete the air quality.
Black Diamond Spot 350 Headlamp
While we feel like it’s always a good idea to stock up on flashlights (along with lots of fresh batteries), a well-fitting and adjustable headlamp is even handier. It provides easy and instant lighting while keeping your hands completely free to secure your belongings, set up sandbags, or cook your survival food supply, all of which could be absolutely essential in an emergency situation.
Insta-Fire Fire Starter Emergency Fuel
It may look like a fun game on Survivor, but rubbing your hands raw trying to start a fire or attempting to get those flames going in wet conditions isn’t exactly what we’d call a good time. That’s where these instant fire packs play a crucial role. These packs can be used directly on top of anything from water, to ice, to snow. Each pack can start up to four fires each, and once lit they’re pretty solid — even against winds of up to 30 mph.
BigBlue Solar Charger
If the power goes out or you’re stranded on the side of the road, use the sun to your advantage with this high-powered solar charger. It comes with triple USB-A ports to help keep all of your gear fully juiced up, but is lightweight enough so that it’s also portable and practical to take along on any camping or backpacking trip.
Duck Max Strength 240867 Duct Tape
In an emergency situation, duct tape is a surprisingly valuable tool to have at your disposal. In addition to patching holes and leaks you can create rope with it, use it as a bandage on blisters or wounds, make a splint or sling with it, wrap water pipes to keep them from freezing and even seal windows from hazardous materials. It’s always done everything, but in an emergency situation it could surprise you with how much it can handle.
First Alert PRO5 Rechargeable Heavy Duty Plus Fire Extinguisher
If and when a real fire occurs, the first thing to do is to get out. However if that’s impossible and you need to try and clear an exit for yourself, a reliable fire extinguisher may come in handy. They’re also great to have on hand when it comes to putting out smaller fires before they spread. This heavy-duty model comes with a 12-year warranty, so if you’re looking to top up an emergency kit that you’re keeping in a basement or a bunker, it makes a handy addition.
HEETA Waterproof Dry Bag
Keep documents, devices and any other important items secure and dry in the event of a water-based emergency with a waterproof dry bag. HEETA’s professional seamless technology and transparent, wear-resistant material ensures that no droplets get in, all while keeping your essentials protected and visible. It comes in five sizes so that you can keep all of your family’s gear intact, and features adjustable shoulder straps and a handle so that you can quickly grab it and go.
Prepara Mini First Aid Kit for Diaper Bag
A first aid kit is a great item to have in a diaper bag, but anyone who’s ever tried to put a plain bandage on a screaming child with a new boo-boo knows that not just any first-aid essentials will do. The Prepara kit is designed by a nurse and mom and includes 50 essential items from trusted brands. Just as important (according to toddlers), the bandages have fun designs and stickers are also included to help distract little ones while parents are administering first-aid.
Useful items like thermometer strips, wet wipes, tweezers, and nail clippers are also included in the kit, which is organized in compartments for easy access. The compact kit only weighs 6 ounces, which is good news since diaper bags always feel as if they’re filled with rocks. How can diapers be so heavy?
Jackery Explorer 300 Power Station & Portable Generator
SPY editors have tested and reviewed Jackery’s line of portable power stations. When combined with the company’s solar panels, these power stations instantly transform into generators. They could be exactly what you need to get through a disaster, and we highly recommend this brand’s products. After losing electricity in a disaster, the whole neighborhood will want to come to your house to charge their phones and devices. This power station is also useful for recreation such as camping and music festivals, and we think it’s an indispensable tool in any emergency. There’s currently a $30 on-page coupon for the Jackery Explorer 300 at Amazon.
Updates: This article was last updated on February 11, 2023. At that time, we updated pricing throughout, and replaced the Jackery Explorer 240 Power Station with the updated Jackery Explorer 300.