Survival Kit List: Be Prepared for Anything with These Essentials

There is no anticipating when an emergency will happen, so it is important to make a plan ahead of time. Every family should have a communication plan, a shelter plan, and an evacuation plan so no matter what the emergency is, you know how to get in touch with other family members, where to go, and how to get there if it involves evacuating. One of the important things to stop putting off is to create a survival kit. Be prepared for any emergency with this survival kit list full of all the essentials you might need.

Survival Kit List: The Basics

As you go through the survival kit list and put together your kit, keep in mind that after an emergency you may have to survive for days after an emergency without power, water, the ability to get to a store, or contact other people. In order to really be prepared, you need to have food, water, and a number of other supplies at hand to last a few days, so this survival kit list is a collection of basic things your household may need in case of an emergency.

Keep in mind that depending on your family situation, like if you have small children, an elderly relative, or a nursing mother in your house, you may need more of certain supplies to meet your particular needs. A basic emergency survival kit list should include the following essentials listed below.

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Survival Kit List: Be Prepared For Anything With These Essentials
  • Water. It is recommended to have one gallon of water per person per day and to have several days worth of it for drinking and sanitation. Normally, a person needs about three quarters of a gallon of fluid from water and other beverages daily. Water is at the top of the survival kit list because after a disaster situation, clean drinking water may not be accessible. Your regular water source could be cut-off or contaminated. A person’s needs can vary depending on age, health, activity, diet, climate, and a few other factors like if a mother is nursing  or if you live in a humid climate. So if any of these factors apply to you, you may want to add extra water to your survival kit list. 
  • Non-perishable Food Items. Include several days worth of non-perishable food on your survival kit list because after a disaster there could be power outages that last for several days. You will want to keep canned foods, dry mixes, and other food items that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water, or any special preparation. 
  • Manual Can Opener and Eating Utensils. Those canned goods are no good unless you have a can opener. You will also want forks, spoons, and knives too. It is a good idea to have these on your survival kit list and add them to your emergency survival kit because while you may have these items in your home you may not be there following an emergency if you have to evacuate. 
Survival Kit List: Be Prepared For Anything With These Essentials
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  • Battery-powered Radio. You want to have a radio that can be powered by batteries handy in the event that there is no power after an emergency. This way you can keep up with the news and even be able to listen to music to take everyone’s mind off of things without draining your cell phone battery. If you are so inclined, it is not a bad idea to add an NOAA Weather Radio to your survival kit list. An NOAA Weather Radio links you to a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office with Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts, and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Flashlight. Probably obvious, but it is important to have a flashlight with your emergency supplies in case the power is out. Make sure this flashlight stays with your emergency survival kit and is not taken out one random weekend afternoon when you are doing work under the kitchen sink. 
  • Batteries. Another one of those items you need to have on your survival kit list if you want that flashlight and radio to work in the event of an emergency. 
  • First Aid Kit. A first aid kit is always something you should have in an emergency situation. Be sure to keep it stocked and check once a year that nothing in it has expired. 
Survival Kit List: Be Prepared For Anything With These Essentials
  • Whistle. Adding a whistle to your survival kit list may seem random and unimportant, but the reason you should include it is so that you have something you can use to call for help in an emergency if needed. As they say, you are better off being safe than sorry.  
  • Tarp and Duct Tape. Keep a tarp or even some plastic sheeting and duct tape with your emergency supplies in the event that you need to shelter in place and seal a room or area as a temporary protective measure. The reason you would have to seal a room would be to create a barrier between your family and potentially contaminated air outside. It also comes in handy in the event that you need to seal up a leak caused by a branch that fell or to cover up a broken window. 
  • Wet Wipes. Wet wipes are a great just-in-case item to include on your survival kit list. If the only water you have is what is in your emergency kit, use wet wipes to keep your hands clean. You can even use them to wipe down your body and freshen up. This way you can save the only water you have for drinking and cooking.  
  • Garbage Bags. Obviously, these can be used to collect your trash, but they can also double for other uses and turned into a poncho in a pinch or used as extra plastic sheeting. 
  • Cell Phone Charging Bank. In the event of a power outage, it is important to have a way to recharge your cell phones. Invest in a good fast-charging power bank. Be sure to also include a charging cable on your survival kit list too.

After you have checked off all the items on your survival kit list, assemble your emergency survival kit and store it in airtight plastic bags or in one or two containers that can be easily transported like plastic bins or a duffel bag.

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Survival Kit List: Additional Emergency Supplies

Along with the above items, consider adding the following items to your emergency survival kit list. Most of these items are not universally needed and are more based on your family’s needs along with a handful of additional supplies that could come in handy in an emergency.

  • Masks, Soap, Hand Sanitizer, and Disinfecting Wipes. Since 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people include items on their survival kit list that help prevent the spread of coronavirus, the flu, and other viruses. This includes masks for everyone in your family above the age of 2, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces.
  • Prescription Medication. In an emergency, it could be difficult to refill prescriptions or to find an open pharmacy, so it is a good idea to make sure to keep these organized and be able to add them to your kit in an instant. Include any over-the-counter drugs and vitamins that you take regularly in your survival kit list. Things like pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, and antacids are good things to include. Just be sure to check it all once a year to be sure that nothing has expired.
Survival Kit List: Be Prepared For Anything With These Essentials
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  • Prescription Eyeglasses, Contact Lenses, and Contact Lens Solution.
  • Infant Formula, Bottles, Diapers, and Wipes. If there is a baby in your house, be sure to have the basic items your baby will need for a few days.
  • Pet Food and Extra Water for Pets.
  • Copies of Important Documents. Keep copies of identification, insurance policies, and bank account records in a waterproof container.
  • Sleeping Bag or Warm Blanket. Include a sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person in your house. 
Survival Kit List: Be Prepared For Anything With These Essentials
  • Matches. Keep a large box of matches in a waterproof container – it could be a plastic container or just a zippered plastic bag. The waterproof container part is essential to protect the matches in case your supplies get wet.
  • Local Map. A paper map is a great thing to keep with your emergency supplies to preserve your cell phone battery in the event that you need to evacuate and need to navigate.
  • Feminine Hygiene Supplies.
  • Books, Games, Puzzles or Other Activities. Add small games, puzzles, cards, or other items like books and coloring books and crayons to your survival kit list for any children in your house to keep them busy.

It is easy to put off putting together an emergency survival kit. You always think there is plenty of time to do it. The problem is that emergencies typically do not give much notice. Luckily, your job is now much easier with this survival kit list. Build your list. Gather your items. Be prepared for any emergency with all the essentials you might need.

Check out Safeguarding Your Family & Planning for the Future in 3 Simple & Easy Steps.

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Survival Kit List: Be Prepared For Anything With These Essentials

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Michelle Frick
Michelle Frick
Born in Massachusetts, Michelle currently lives in North Carolina. She has two teenage boys who are growing up way too fast. Besides her love of writing, she enjoys running, practicing yoga, watching hockey, and cheering on the Boston Red Sox.
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