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Friday, May 7, 2021

Build Your Own Emergency Kit

By: Paul Kelly 

Murphy’s Law doesn’t care who you are; it doesn’t care when your rent is due, or how many Instagram followers you have, or even if it’s your birthday. It states the rules clearly: anything that can happen will happen. But there is a way to circumvent these harsh terms. Behold the mantra of the Seven Ps:

Proper prior preparation prevents piss-poor performance.

Life is all about preventing piss poor performance.

When most people think “emergency preparedness,” they go to one of two extremes. They either picture some guy from National Geographic’s “Doomsday Preppers” or they say something along the lines of ‘my mom bought a kit for that at Costco’.  

Today we’re going to strike a fine balance between stashing millions of dollars of kit in a nuclear bunker and buying the “happy meal” of emergency kits. We want to build something that is enough to cover basic daily accidents, but also has a bit more reach when things get nasty.

To help get the ideas flowing, here is a breakdown of categories your kit may include if you’re planning to hold out in your apartment for 3-5 days:


-Enough clean water for 3-5 days of drinking (consider other needs as well)

-10x1gal jugs = $5 (per person)

-If you need to get water over a longer period of time, consider a filter system (also for backup)

Life Straw ($20)

-Pump/UV/ Chem tabs ($20-$200)


-Try to hit 2500-3000 cal. per day per person. Nutrition will be the foundation of all your other activities, and you will consume more calories under stress.

-Long shelf life/high calories per ounce (Peanut butter, sardines, beans, etc)

-Can be as simple as an extra stash of canned foods

MREs can be good, but some sellers list expired MREs, and you should taste before you buy a case (some are better than others)


-I prefer AA flashlights/headlamps because the power source is easy to find


Maratac 2AA ($50)

Fenix E12 ($30)

Petzl Tikka ($22)

-Store spares with lights

-LEDs are better than incandescent


-Try to have 2+ methods for starting a fire

– Lighter, flint & steel, waterproof matches, 9v & steel wool, etc.

– The Peanut Lighter by CountyComm is a personal favorite (o-ring sealed) ($25)

-Lighter fluid

– Useful for warmth, cooking, disinfection of water & tools

-Consider a small backpacking stove like the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 ($35) and some fuel

-2x road flares if you really need to start a fire


-Don’t skip on this one

-Can be housed in a plastic box, can, or bag

-Sample Medkit:

-Non-adherent square gauze pads:




-Variety box of bandaids

-Quality trauma shears

-2x gauze rolls

-2x pairs latex free medical gloves with small disposal bag

-1 clean bandanna

-1 athletic wrap (elastic)


-2x large safety pins

-Multiple doses of Ibuprofen/Motrin/Benadryl/etc

-Neosporin/Antibacterial salve

-Medical tape

-Disposable lighter

-Small pen & paper (injury notes/other important info)

Tourniquet (optional, but recommended)

-5x zip ties

-10x alcohol disinfectant wipes

-1 small tube of superglue (developed in WWII as “liquid sutures”)

-Stash of prescription meds

-Permanent marker




-Razor knife

-Gorilla/Duct tape

-Backup power (solar, batteries, etc)

-Map of town & compass

-Small mirror

-Gorilla Glue

-Small sewing kit


-Nail clippers


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