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No matter where you live, emergencies can (and do) happen. But whether it’s snow storms, tornados, wildfires, or hurricanes, the danger of serious emergencies can almost always be mitigated by investing in the best emergency supplies.
But choosing the right emergency gear — or just figuring out what types of emergency supplies you should have — can be tricky. To make things easier, we’ve created a checklist of the best emergency supplies to help your household stay safe in the worst-case scenarios.
What Are the Best Emergency Supplies?
When stocking up on the best emergency supplies, you’ll want to start by considering what needs your emergency stash has to meet. Namely, you’ll need food and water, first aid supplies, and light and heat. If you want to go beyond the basics, we also recommend adding power, shelter (like an emergency tent), and survival tools to your emergency supplies checklist.
No matter what kind of emergency supply you’re looking at — be it a multi-tool, a camping stove, or an emergency food supply — be sure it’s well-built and capable of staying in working order while shelved. The best emergency supplies can be tucked away and taken out months, if not years later, and still function properly.
Read on for a full checklist of the best emergency supplies to stock up on now.
1. Survivor Filter Pro
Best water filter
The most important thing to secure in most emergency situations is clean drinking water. One way to create an emergency water supply is to buy a water tank that you fill up if you know an emergency is on the horizon (i.e. if there’s a tornado warning).
But a more efficient option for securing drinking water is to get an emergency water filter, such as this Survivor Filter Pro. The compact rig uses a pump mechanism to suck up water, run it through a filter, and pump out 500 milliliters of clean drinking water per minute. It’s also very lightweight (half a pound), so you can transport it if need be.
2. Leatherman Wave+
A reliable multi-tool has always been part of our everyday carry, but they become absolutely essential when disaster strikes. Our favorite multi-tool is this Leatherman Wave+, which packs 18 tools in a small package, measuring just four inches when closed. Inside, you’ll find basics like knives, scissors, screwdrivers, and pliers, as well as some good extras like a saw and a wire stripper.
3. Judy Mover Max
Best Survival Kit
Survival kits are a great way to create an emergency supplies stash with just one purchase. Good examples include the Oprah-endorsed Judy Mover Max, which has water and food, safety and warmth, and tools and first aid — all in one ultra-durable, weatherproof backpack. It has enough supplies to sustain four people for 72 hours, and you don’t have to worry about grabbing multiple items during an evacuation.
4. Mountain House Classic Bucket
Best emergency food supply
Food supplies like this Mountain House bucket are another great item for any emergency stash. The bucket is filled with 24 nutritious freeze-dried food servings, which can be easily heated up by adding hot water. But the real draw with a food supply like the Mountain House bucket is its shelf life: The food will stay good for 30 years, guaranteed, so you can buy a bucket now and forget about it until it might be needed.
5. First Aid Only 298-Piece Kit
Best first aid kit
Everyone should have an emergency first aid kit in their home and/or car, especially in case of a widespread emergency. This 298-piece kit from First Aid Only is a great choice with all the basics for treating small injuries like cuts and scrapes, as well as some materials for taking care of serious injuries when real medical help isn’t immediately available. Despite its comprehensiveness, the case is easily transportable at about ten by seven inches.
Rhino USA Folding Survival Shovel
Best survival shovel
If you’re moving snow or surviving outdoors during an emergency, a reliable shovel is crucial. We like survival shovels, such as this one from Rhino USA, for any such uses. Made of ultra-rugged carbon steel, the shovel is foldable, lightweight (two pounds), and shorter than most for easy transportation. Plus, the head folds to become a pickaxe for, say, breaking up ice.
6. 3M Particulate Respirator
Harmful levels of smoke and dust are common in many types of emergencies, including wildfires and earthquakes. These N95-certified respirators from 3M keep your lungs safe from any such contaminates, filtering out non-oil-based particles. They also use 3M’s Cool Flow Valve technology, which reduces heat and humidity inside the mask. Overall, the mask’s design is ergonomic enough to wear for hours without feeling totally uncomfortable.
7. Champion Dual Fuel Generator
Best portable generator
Portable generators are great to have around for both serious emergencies and minor ones like, say, power outages when you’re working from home and need WiFi. We like this Champion Duel Fuel generator because it pumps out an impressive 3,800 watts of power, which is enough for household necessities as well as a few extras (like the TV, for example). It’s also compatible with propane and gasoline, offering 10.5 hours of power with a tank of propane or nine hours with a tank of gas.
8. Coleman Portable Butane Stove
Best camping Stove
If you don’t have access to a kitchen (maybe the gas and/or electricity are out), it’s a good idea to have a butane camping stove available for cooking. This affordable Coleman stove does the trick with a reliable, portable build and good temperature control. It makes efficient use of a single butane canister, burning on high for about 1.25 hours before it needs a replacement. It also doesn’t require matches to start — a big help in windy or wet environments.
9. Swiss Safe Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets
Best emergency blankets
Emergency blankets (a.k.a. space blankets) like these from Swiss Safe are an essential part of any emergency kit. When packed up, the two-ounce blankets measure just five by three inches. When you need some extra warmth in an emergency, the blankets can be unfolded to 82 by 52 inches. Once wrapped around your body, they effectively trap up to 90% of body heat while keeping out rain and snow.
10. Goal Zero Lighthouse Lantern
This powerful lantern from Goal Zero is an easy way to light up a whole room, tent, or campsite when the power is out. The light is adjustable up to 600 lumens (which is very bright), and the lithium battery can be charged three different ways: with a crank, with replaceable batteries, or with a USB charger. The clever design also features a foldable stand, a carrying handle, and easy-to-use buttons.
11. überleben Zünden Fire Starter
best Fire Starter
Unless you know how to start a fire with foraged materials, this tiny Ferro rod fire starter is a handy piece of gear for survival situations. The traditional fire starter rod quickly throws a 5,500-degree F spark when used with the attached striker — even if it’s wet or snowing outside. The striker also works as a tinder scraper, a ruler, a hex wrench, and a bottle opener (essential for that fireside beverage).