DIY Emergency Kit

With regular large scale disasters already common in North America, it’s a good time to talk a bit about disaster preparation and how a 5 gallon bucket can help provide some good physical insurance against a catastrophic situation.

diy bucket emergency disaster kit

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A well designed emergency kit will contain the best bits of modern technology and healthcare. IT should be designed to secure you in a variety of disaster scenarios, while remaining portable enough to take with you if you need to evacuate.

Since this is a website about buckets, we are designing a sample kit that fits neatly in a 5 gallon bucket. You could also use a backpack, but you won’t get the benefit of an airtight, waterproof seal.

Do I Have to DIY? What about Pre-Made Kits?

Great Question. Obviously the simplest option is to just buy a prepackaged emergency kit from a company that makes them. Most of them are crap but there are a few gems if you’re willing to hunt for them. Click here to read my cheeky opinions on different emergency kits, including some actual high quality ones.

Better Yet, Assemble Your Own 5 Gallon Emergency Kit

Building your own kit gives you a real intimacy with it. You know exactly what’s in it and how to use it, because you did the legwork to put it there. If you add something that you don’t fully understand how to use, you can learn that skill long before the flood or earthquake event.

Secondly, putting together your own kit means you can custom tailor it to what’s important for you, your family and your community. For example, my family is cursed with a lot of deadly allergies. So all our first aid kits have an EpiPen. Your family may not need one. Best to have your loadout all figured out before an actual emergency.

Finally, assembling supplies yourself saves you money. You’ll be able to include many household materials you already have, and you can get a better deal on the items you do need to buy by cutting out the middleman.

The DIY Disaster Preparation Bucket

This sample emergency kit comes from a friend and is published with his permission. This is a beast of a kit. There’s a ton of great stuff in here and I’m going to list every single item you see here so you can make this exact emergency kit for yourself.

Keep in mind that this kit is one person’s collection of items that work best for him. It’s the right kit for my friend but it might not be the right kit for you. You should always tailor your emergency kit to what’s important to your family for emergency survival in your area.

emergency kit in a bucket with contents

Free Tools for your Survival Kit

Several people in the comments section have mentioned this company that periodically gives away a certain quantity of their survival tools. Typically you just have to pay shipping and handling.

These are my favorite three tools they frequently give away. None of these take up much space at all so they are perfect for the 5 gallon emergency kit.

Credit Card Multitool

This is such a useful tool it is actually included in the high-end “Get Home Kit” we reviewed on our pre-packaged emergency kit review article.

It’s a knife, it’s a wrench, it’s a ruler, it’s a can opener. Even if you never get around to building your 5 gallon bucket emergency kit, having one of these in your wallet (or purse) secures you in a lot of different situations. Here’s the link to get one free.

Everstryke Match

Don’t get me wrong, standard wooden matches are a miracle invention. Fire on command!

But matches have their downsides. For starters, they become useless when wet, you gotta keep buying em, and for a long-term supply, they take up a lot of space. The Everstryke match is good for 15,000 strikes – that’s enough to replace 50 big boxes of standard matches. Not bad at all. In case you were wondering, it’s a “wet match.” That means it uses lighter fluid, but you can still use it to spark a fire to life without the fluid. It’s quite versatile.  These are also free, but there is a limited quantity.

Hybeam Flashlight

Lights up a huge area, but only weighs 2 ounces. It’s really remarkable how much brighter and battery efficient modern flashlights are.

Every emergency kit needs at least one flashlight, so you might as well get one of the best, and you might as well get it free.

Organizing your 5 Gallon Emergency Kit

The bucket emergency survival kit is divided into a few broad categories to keep the supplies organized:

  • General Supplies
  • Hygiene Supplies
  • First Aid Kit

Every item is listed in detail in a printed contents document. On the back is a list of important phone numbers such as relatives, insurance companies, local law enforcement, fire department, etc. emergency-kit-5-gallon-bucket-list Don’t forget the date! This helps you remember when the bucket was put together so you can keep track of all your expiration dates.

A good emergency survival kit can easily last 5 years or more, but not everything inside will be good for that long and may need to be replaced periodically. Again, the EpiPen example – they only last about 20 months from the day they are made. Replacing an expired EpiPen could be a life or death matter!

Download the List: 5 Gallon Emergency Survival Kit

The rest of this article will be a list of the contents of the bucket. Download this list in an editable Word .doc format by clicking here:

5 Gallon Bucket Emergency Survival Kit.doc

What about Food?

Humans usually need at least 2,000 calories every single day – which adds up really fast. Depending on your anticipated needs, you may want one or several food-geared buckets in addition to your emergency supply kit. I have some ideas on the pre-packaged emergency kits article I mentioned earlier.

General Supplies

I’ve put purchase links on some of the more unusual items that you might not find at your neighborhood hardware store.


  • glow sticks (12 hrs)
  • flashlight (see above)
  • liquid candle
  • matchbooks
  • mylar thermal blankets (link)
  • hand warmers (link)
  • AM/FM radio
  • whistle and lanyard
  • sewing kit
  • blank notebook
  • pencils
  • extra batteries (for flashlight and radio)
  • zip ties
  • P-38 can opener (link)
  • trash bags
  • N95 dust masks
  • duct tape
  • small tarp
  • paracord (link)
  • safety goggles
  • split leather gloves

Hygiene Supplies

Hygiene supplies are packaged inside their own separate bag. These basic supplies should look familiar – it’s similar to a toiletries bag you might take on vacation. hygiene-supply-kit

  • bar soap
  • kleenex
  • floss
  • baby shampoo
  • hand lotion
  • sunscreen
  • toothpaste
  • toothbrushes
  • feminine hygiene pads
  • comb
  • toilet paper
  • washcloths

First Aid Kit

The first aid box is packaged with a list of contents taped to the inside of the lid. Moist towelettes and antiseptic towelettes and latex gloves kept on top so you can clean your hands before digging through supplies. first-aid-kit-contents

  • basic first-aid guide
  • moist towelettes
  • antiseptic towelettes
  • latex gloves
  • acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • ibuprofen (Advil)
  • aspirin
  • diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • loperamide (Imodium A-D)
  • burn cream
  • sting relief towelettes
  • hydrocortisone cream
  • triple antibiotic ointment (Neosporin)
  • cough drops
  • earplugs
  • instant ice pack
  • tweezers
  • nail clippers
  • scissors
  • digital thermometer
  • cotton balls
  • waterproof adhesive tape
  • gauze rolls
  • gauze pads
  • moleskin
  • band-aids
  • butterfly bandages
  • ace bandage
  • triangular bandage
  • hand sanitizer
  • Q-tips
  • petroleum jelly
  • RAD sticker (personal radiation dosimeter) (link)
  • potassium iodide (radiation emergency thyroid blocker) (link)

Additional Items Suggested by You

These pieces of kit weren’t included in the example bucket build above but are listed here by popular demand. (links will open in a new browser tab)

Find more great suggestions on what to include in an emergency kit down in the comments. See also: more ideas for prepping with 5 gallon buckets.

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397 thoughts on “DIY Emergency Kit

          • another great way to start a fire-cotton ball saturated by vaseline. keep some durologs on hand.

          • I also read to save your toilet tissue rolls and the lint from your dryer. Place the lint inside the roll and if you needed an emergency fire, this would be a good starter. Wouldn't be good for indoors, but in case you're caught outdoors. on said:

            The food suply kits they show on the christian shows that are made to last for 25 years or so are very expensive. I’d like to know how to dry my own food with at least a few years shelf life. Any ideas?

          • Suggestions for food storage….you do not have to dry your own food….go to a bulk barn style store….they have everything there….loose and in bulk for. …dried Vegs…beans….rice.

            Good luck

          • Another way is to save some dryer lint. To fill a snack ziplock bag I would need about about week’s worth.

        • Tampons and Maxipads are not good for first aid. They have a chemical that prevents blood from clotting. You could bleed out if you use them.

          • I have heard different from Paramedics in Arizona…they carry them and I think your a lil off…We carry them in our first aid kits…They stop bleeds…Not cause Bleed outs!

          • Complete bullshit. No where on the box does it makes this claim and it would be illegal and dangerous to not list it. Someone on blood thinners could die. I have never once heard this other than here. Again complete bullshit

          • Need proof of this anti-clotting claim. Only facts I found from research regarding chemicals added to some of these products are deodorizing perfume, & the pesticides used while growing the cotton filler. Though pads are not “sterile”, the use of them on top of a sterile layer would work great for emergency control of bleeding. Such use has been taught & practiced for emergency use for decades. And as anybody knows: in life or death situations, you use what you have.

          • Yeah right, how many women do you know that “crash and bleed out” because their tampons and pads prevent clotting.

            Think before you speak jackass.

          • I agree with the maxi pad theory. I had a surgical wound on my inner thigh and the Dr’s office used a maxi pad as a bandage. Covered the whole wound. I continued using them as the wound got smaller and even went to the think panty liners later. I now have them in my first aid kit. They make wonderful emergency bandages.

          • Professional football players use tampons to stop nose bleeds.

            Women don’t bleed out because the period is not a gushing wound.. and the tampon is not used in this instance to stop the bleeding. it’s used to control the “fallout.”

            My personal doctor, and the ER staff says that a tampon or maxi pad, in an emergency, is the best thing(s) to use. Of course if you have better, use better… but they should definately be included in the first aide kit.

          • menstrual blood does not clot because it contains the sloughed off lining of the uterus…it is unique that way. pads have the same powdered gel stuff they use in disposable diapers (which are great for large wounds )

          • No such chemical in pads or plugs. If you want to take your chance with an open bullet wound, or other gushing wound, by all means go ahead. Some pads have chem to pull moisture like diapers but not plugs. They both are made to simply absorb blood.. period (no pun intended,well, maybe)

          • Actually menstrual blood does clot, the body releases an anti clotting chem, but if the flow is too heavy it doesn’t always work and it can clot

          • When I was little I sliced the bottom of my foot on a fishing trip. My dad wrapped a maxi-pad around it to stop the bleeding. That was 50 years ago and I survived any chemicals in it.

          • I’m sorry to see the comments of Jackass and Bullshit here geesh perhaps this is the information this person had and was misled and instead of being so hostile perhaps as the many posts claim can inform her not beat her up for her limited knowledge. Information can be shared civilly not so judgmental geesh. Sometimes all of us can be wrong one time or another and I sure wouldn’t want to be jumped all over like those two comments did. Wow Just because we are not face to face this person has feelings whether they are right or wrong, just gleen what you can and be kind please! Your comments were disturbing to me as a reader!!

          • Thank you Deborah! You wrote the same words I was thinking, before I took the time to write them. It costs nothing to be kind, yet we hide behind the anonymity of the Internet and make unkind remarks and judgements about one another. A civil discussion and perhaps a citation or two of professional sources to back up our opinions would prevent the sniping that this simple subject has caused. Small minds convinced that their’s is the only viable opinion and look at the brouhaha that ensued – for shame!

          • Tampons do not have an anti-coagulation chemical in them. Most are cotton, or cellulose (wood) pulp, and AGM (the super absorbent gelling material that swells up when wet).

          • They are used for women who are actively bleeding after child birth and during their periods so this claim makes zero sense.

        • Tampons and other feminine products are not sterile. They are bleached and have a million terrible chemicals in them that could cause rashes, blisters and other skin issues that you would not want on top of having a wound.

          • I personally know a gentleman who was out logging and the chainsaw kicked back on him, cut his leg, knee to upper thigh, and a chainsaw cut is abt a 1″ wide cut, not like a knife cut. the other guy in the woods working a short distance grabbed several feminine pads and placed them on the wound and wrapped the leg with duct tape. He then hauled the hurt man to the hospital. The drs all said that it was quick thinking. That happened abt 20 yrs ago and the loggers in this area all carrie the pads and duct tape. And if they were so full of all these chemicals your talking about would be causing women the same blisters and rashes and skin issues.

          • Would you rather be dead from bleeding out but germ and organism free, or alive and maybe needing antibiotics? Sounds like a no brained to me.

          • Sanitary napkins and tampons are not sterile, true, but once you open something that is sterile it no longer is either. These things are clean and that is important. Our air is full of bacteria, which is not a bad thing, what is bad is getting bacteria into places it does not belong and allowing it to grow. Therefore, we want things clean, which reduces bacteria and the probability of infection. Our bodies can tackle the bacteria, fungus, etc. in low numbers to prevent infection – but remember the life is in the blood and if you bleed out the immune system can’t help you there. Thick clean pads of any kind are essential to stopping bleeding, then you worry about bacteria.

      • knife, flint, bleach, peroxide, family meds, dehydrated foods , nuts, map and depending on where you live a 5 dollar snake bite kit, and crayons will burn for 30 min

        • Crayons actually burn between9 and 15 minutes depending on brand…lesson learned by pissing off my ex girlfriend and her son by burning up 3 different boxes of crayons….which I did replace for the boy just for the record …..but this whole 30 minutes idea from a crayon is a load of crap

          • We tried it with a cheap crayon and it lasted almost 9 minutes. Not ideal but it dis produce quite a bit of light.

          • I’m curious, did you try all regular little crayons or were any you tried the big fat ones? I would expect the fat ones to last longer since they have significantly more wax (guessing maybe each fat crayon has at least as much wax as 4 regular crayons). Also wondering if the original poster meant burnt as a candle (using a wick and glass container to pool the melted crayon wax), or burnt by just lighting them on fire directly. More info needed please :)

    • I just went through alot of the replies and would add the following – instead of putting otc pills in ziplock bags, go to a dollar store or Wal Mart and get a few bottles of each. Include kid formulas and baby tylenol, ear ache drops, cold eeze etc and one or two bottles of stuff you can either give (a few pills as needed) to individuals you find yourself sheltering or traveling to shelter with; because it’s the right thing to do, to create good will, or to trade for something you might need that you forgot or have ran out of. Maybe you are not prone to migraines, allergies or need an epi-pen but someone else might. At these stores otc generics are cheap and these pill bottles are all very small and light weight, and could prove invaluable. I would also have some seed packets in ziplock bags or old pill bottles in case the situation becomes long term. There is a lot of good info in the comments – some from people who went through actual disasters and shared their experiences.

      • $ Store is great, after a roadside emergency I bought 1$ large plastic table cloth – red, and wrote large ‘HELP’ on one side with foam applicator black shoe polish. Also takes up no room in hiking pack also to sit upon for lunch. At this price you can have several for other purposes.

        By the way I also carry prescription pain medication in case of serious injuries where pain could lead to shock. Also at the $ Store buy Anbisol type numbing ointment to use when you take kids splinters out or other minor but painful scrape or cut that needs cleaning out to dull the pain.

  1. ** Also the bucket can be used as a floatation device in an emergency. Put a lid on, lower it down in water, and the air inside will float you.

  2. The bucket itself is a wonderful survival tool (carry water, make a water filter, for gathering and foraging, portable potty, and lots of other uses). So why not double your ability and set a bucket in a bucket. Would take up about another three inches of space and double your carrying capacity.

    • Use small aluminum stockpot with bail instead of extra bucket. Haul and boil water and cook. Store in it and around it in bucket.

        • The extra bucket can provide an extra inch or two or storage since the bottoms dont touch together this I see as good space to hold an extra fire kit with a large coghlans ferro rod which I actually prefer over my light my fire rod, a folding knife or 2 decent folder can be had for 4-5 bucks harbor freight, some fat wood, a box of bday candles and even a backpackers first aid kit I’m going with the extra bucket as my b.o.b. has a couple of containers to boil water

          • Yeah the 2 bucket idea is great, but, the heavier bucket can jam in the empty bucket. You need something that won’t crush or break in the bottom bucket. Plus you would need some way to carry the two together. And what do you do with the extra lid? Buckets are great for the house or vehicle but impractical on foot. For the get out of Dodge they are great as a cache container as long as they are protected. By the way, those industrial strength trash bags come in handy too.

          • Instead of regular Birthday Candles, use the Can not blow out Birthday Candles….they will light back up, if the wind is blowing….

    • I have a suitcase carrier with wheels and a bungie cord – this was pre-wheeled suitcases!! Still have it and now it will be bungied to the bucket. I will also be on the look out for more in the event I need to “pull” more than one bucket at a time.

      • They still make wheeled carriers for hauling suitcases/car seats/whatever through the airport. Might take a bit more hunting, but they exist. (And are very handy with car seats.)

      • if you go on line to fishing supply store they make a bucket trolley with big wheels that’s easy to pull and easy to store but im sure it could be made at home just look online for the basic concept if anyones been near the ocean you’ll see fisherman on the beach with these trolleys

        • ok you guys are making this bigger and bigger , now extra bucket , wait now I need a trolley ? the next thing will be a wife to haul it … Keep it simple and as small as possible :)
          back to 1 bucket

      • Great ideas guys!!! My addition to the bucket would be vinegar for cleaning properties and also kills lice if need be. Also a diy baggie of dry shampoo ( corn starch based babypowder) also useful to prevent chaffing, and a piece of chain with an S hook to hang a pot over a fire to cook or boil water.

  3. I have crank flashlights and emergency band radios….(both can also use batteries). We also threw in a pack of individually wrapped sanitary napkins in the first aid portion-great sterile bandages! Small jar of vaseline: lip and skin moisturizer, lubricant on metal or plastic….and a small container of cornstarch/baby powder-anti-chafing-removes sand without water.

  4. Super glue and oral gel or the generic benzocaine are must haves in my e-kit. Benzocaine can be used as a topical anesthetic and super glue can be used for everything including a liquid bandaid. :)

    • Regular super glue has toxic chemicals in it. It is not the same compound used in hospitals and found in kits. Get the stuff designed for sealing small cuts – about the same price and safer for you.

      • Regular super glue will work. Been used as far back as Vietnam War. It may burn and not be ideal at allowing as efficient healing but it can be used in an emergency. Prefer durabond but this glue will work.

        • Have a plan. I could survive in the city same as in the country if prepared. I don’t mean a zombie apocalypse! :) First if I worked in an 8 story office building I’d find an office closet to stash a case of water, some energy bars and a set of gear in a backpack. Basically the same as in the country, waterproof matches, knife, cord, small tarp, etc. Second I’d memorize the floor plan, elevators, stairwells, etc. Even in the worst situation of roving gangs and no outside assistance I’d have a decent chance. In that case I’d block the lower stairwells with office furniture and collect & inventory assets, additional food, fuel, water, weapons and so on!

          • you can only survive in the city short term, the masses of people alone trying to survive per sq mile will cut your chances down. there will be no food source for the long term. So if you’re in the city when the SHTF get out quick – have a plan that takes you to a remote area and be self sufficient. And Alaska Boy above – Country girls will survive!

          • It is true what you said, city surviving is to a degree possible! A guy named just Selco [from THE forum] have described in intimate detail what it was like to survive the Bosnian war inside a big city, with military all around that bombed them. Selco [I think] stated that the worst place to be would be suburbs, and he now have a collective farm with friends. Because a lot of people died in fighting eachother, suicide and so on, there were just enough food and firewood for most.
            None will regret reading it, and you will love your food and safety every moment.

      • “Linda”
        First you need to realize that their are hundreds of scenarios to prep for. “Zombie Apocalypse” is probably going to be the last one on your list, right after “attack of the killer chickens”.
        First thing you need to look at is the situation you are responding to. Natural disaster, terrorist attack, war, social breakdown, economic collapse, government overthrow.
        Start a list of all the possible things “you” feel you need to respond to. After you get that list you need to come up with a game plan on how your going to respond to “each individual threat”.
        Are you staying put, running home, running across town, across the country, across the border? (remember that main roads will “ALWAYS” be the worst idea for travel. imagine rush hour, but with everyone going one way, and scared angry and confused).
        Plan your route if leaving. Get a local street map, and highlight your best routes. (travel them BEFORE SHTF). Get your game plan synced with whoever or where ever your running to.
        A bug out bag is almost a necessity if your serious about this. (well whats in a bug out bag? millions of possibilities…read the forums for all kinds of nifty ideas…but the only thing I will suggest is back up medication if your on any).
        OK…self defense…well, are you trained in self defense? If yes, then you may be able to fend off attack bare handed. But usually the bad guys are always more ruthless. Are you going to use a weapon? bat, knife, handgun, bazooka? Have you trained with that weapon? Dont just buy it and stick it in the closet/trunk. Train with it and get comfortable with it.
        The main thing is plan ahead….plan, plan, plan.
        It will be too late once something happens.

          • Plan your escape. Plan a backup plan. Then, Plan for it not to work. Your plan to evacuate will always interrupted by mass chaos. I hate getting stuck in regular rush hour traffic. Multiply that by (take a guess). If rush hour only has 20% of the population moving through, and those are usually going different directions, consider 100% trying to get out in the same direction, disobeying traffic laws, and panicking. If you are downtown, unless you get the message 10 minutes early, you’re stuck.

        • ACTUALLY, “zombie apocalypse” is one of the best things to prep for, the way i like to think about it is: if you prepare for a zombie apocolypse, you pretty much have all situations covered (if you do it right) and its also an entertaining way of getting people in the mindset to prep, its the way i started out, zombie apocolypse means lawlessness, destruction, fire, erratic human behavior, lack of resources, lack of communication, etc. basically its the “endgame” scenario in which all bad things happen at one time, so if you cover that, your essentially covering all the bad things that would happen during it, and if only a couple of those things happen in a more likely scenario, well, its best to have the other supplies and not need them than it is to be in that bad of a situation and not have the supplies because you thought it couldnt happen, you could also think about all the drugs that are in circulation and what they do to people, a lot of drugs basically turn people into “zombies” i know and have heard of many an officer that tried putting down an assailant with shots to the body only to be surprised when they keep on coming at you due to the effect of the drugs on the body, they dull the senses causing a lack of pain so the only way to put them down and protect yourself would be to treat them as a zombie “aim for the head” i know its brutal, but in situations like that i would much rather it be them than me, and in a SHTF type situation, you can guarantee that drugs will be a problem and people these days have no respect for other human beings, so defense is an absolute in any situation, you and your family come first!

          • and always double tap the bad guy either with a bullet or knife the knife is quiet but it can be personal the second bullet give away position plus waste a round you might need later

        • Funny you should mention killer chickens. Guy in Montana ended up with them big as turkeys. Metal feeders lasted 1 week, killed the cat, busted tv camera lens. Last I heard he was looking for a corporate buyer. Wonder what ever happened to his idea for chickens that would survive the winters up there without special housing? Can you imagine them loose in the wild?

      • Where do you think all the people from the city are going to go? The suburbs! The country! Which will be overcrowded with refugees and no better off. Food will be scarce and people will be all over property they don’t own. It won’t be pretty no matter where you are.

        • Warren is right. I lived in Alaska for ten years. Still have a place outside Anchorage and a cabin on 40 acres on the Kenai Peninsula. I have been prepping since the 80’s.

          My husband and I are in the Midwest to use the VA here. We are trying to finish our medical and dental needs to get back there ASAP. I am originally from Long Island, NY. If you are prepping there you might as well stock up in the same meds they put dogs to sleep with. You don’t have a chance. It is too crowded, the gun laws are insane, the locals are either clueless or gibsmedats.

          I you are serious about living get out of the cities and into a place away from population areas now. Better yet establish a community on land of like minded people and prepare together. It is very hard to survive even now truly out in the bush. My husband and I built a 16×20 cabin mostly on our own and it nearly killed us in our early 50’s. But we did it. We lived through two brutal winters off the grid before coming here. The only brightspot is supplies expensive there are cheap here. Harborfreight comes to the door every month. I shop the awesome deals. If the SHTF before we are back and settled in a cabin on our property with our supplies we do not expect to survive a true catosrophe. And, my husband was Ranger/SF for almost 21 years and saw what he calls the crapholes of crapholes all over the world. He has helped set up refuge camps and saw the horror of lawlessness.

          Sorry for the doomer opinion. Just my insight from living in NY to Alaska. City to off the grid. Doing without takes years to learn. Getting out of population areas needs to be done before everyone else gets the same idea, etc.

          • Right on Robin! Born and raised SE Alaskan here – got my 3 acres “out the road”. Putting in a road this summer and preparing to live out there. Berries, berries everywhere, fishing just over a ridge!

    • Then fill us in with you wisdom, that is what we are here for, to learn. If you are just flappin your gums, just shut up & go away.

      • Excellent point!

        It’s a combination of being “grounded” (aka- having your sh*t together), living in the present moment, and (ultimately) being spiritually prepared.

        Fear doesn’t help at all.

    • Dude- how about trying to be part of the solution, and not part of the problem. These folks are already scared, they don’t need that kind of feedback. If you can’t help, don’t hurt.

    • ROFL. You never know who will do what when it comes right down to it. The “most obvious” to survive could be the first to go and the one everybody though would bite it first could be the wild card and outlive everyone else. All you can do is prepare, then at least you will have done what you can and will stand a better chance. ……… Don’t forget the guns to protect what you have stockpiled. =)

      • In any SHTF situation there will be a huge casualty rate. Up to 90%. Get used to it. The key is to be one of the 10% who makes it. The key things to have will be food, guns, alcohol, and sex. All those things will retain value when money becomes worthless. If you have no principles, your path is obvious. If you feel otherwise, you should consider alignments with other principled people and plan accordingly.

      • Taylor, Taylor, Taylor. I think it’s obvious that what works for AK wouldn’t work in TX. In TX, you don’t have sled dogs do you? So when you tickle the keyboard, use some common sense and put something down that will further the process.

        • Dale, Dale, Dale if common sense were a prepper supply you would be out of luck. What was said, things are different all over. You need to supply for where you are, not where the “Pros” are. This is supposed to be to help each other, not tear each down.

          • See! All of you are fighting already! Nothing has happened yet (I believe it will) and you’re already at each others throat! We are ALL going to view things differently and there are aways those who think they are the only ones who know how to do what no one has ever done! Use what advice you can use from the forum and let the rest slide! I’ve got some great tips from here and I have also just shake my head at some of it!

    • 2 years in the bush makes you an expert? Wow… News flash even those living out in the “Bush” are going to have hard times in AK. Think about this. EVERYTHING is shipped from the lower 48, and stores up here are only running on 3-5 days of supplies. Who are you going to buy supplies/things from?

      So in other words where are you going to get fresh fruit and veggies? Carrots, squash, and cabbage are only going to carry you so far. Most of the fish are going to be killed off in the first years as someone upstream will die and by neglect of there site poison down stream. Most of the moose, and caribou are going to take a huge beating by the other 50,000 people in the back woods. (Yeah there are at least that many out there, do the math, and look at how much the bush pilots fly around out there.)

      So don’t get to delusional, or high and mighty there sparky. People all over are going to have a tough time. Those that already live on the fringe are going to find it even that much tougher.

    • i was born and raised in the mtn’s of vermont and i am a ” combat arms/combat trained vet ” i know full well wtf it will take to ” survive ” and how to ” survive ” even though atm i live in a large city i can and i will survive everything comes down to the will and the know how and training its one thing to just ” stock up ” on stuff but if you do not know how to use what you have then its worthless junk!!! yes i have 3 B.o.B’s and i am working on one for my car that will support my self and my wife for a min of 3 days 4 days if i push it now getting to wtf you said about ” we are all going to die ” well everyone will die at some point thats the facts of life some sooner then other’s i plan on being around for some time to come its the ones who are not prepaired that will die first then once the dust settles the rest will work things out one way or another

      • well said , I was born and raised in Philly . got out to the country and moved to Tx. Viet nam Vet 2 tours in Nam . A Marine and a father . .. Mike R. just said it the best ….
        Remember this also “Adapt, Improvise, Overcome “

    • warren explain why they are going to die…just saying that does not tell them a thing. Is it that you know what would help or are you just commenting to be critical with no explanation for your question?

      Live in Alaska

      • You’re all nuts! Look at that list! A pkg of 10 Kleenex? Who is that going to help? 1 roll of toilet paper? Worried about a toilet? Squat and go, put in some handkerchiefs or rags. Vaseline, car soap, and bandages. If you are bleeding out, it doesn’t matter what plugs the hole. How about a suture kit instead. Think about a real emergency. Some of you still don’t get the point.

    • You were ‘in the bush for 2 years in Alaska’? What was it in life that brought you to the bush in Alaska? Running from savage Eskimos? Polar bear trouble? Snowball fight with your big sister that got out of hand?

      • Try out the differnt crank lights and radio’s some do have batteries. Many do not. There are some that have similar to a condensor. It only stores power and releases it. Similar to what was used on old cars and other things. Some have radio light and sirens. Buy one or 2 and try them out long term to see how they will last. Try out all your gear so you know how it will work and last. Just a few ideas.

  5. I see two things that are not in here. Come on people! You NEED a knife and a fire starter. Doesn’t matter where you live those two things are essential!

    • They have matches in there, but that is only going to be good for a day or two. Most people I know can’t even start a decent fire with matches, let alone with anything else.

        • Pro-tip: You probably know about the residue that a clothes dryer produces. After having dried your towels, collect the residue and put it in a small can. The residue is really flammable. You can also dip cotton balls in vaseline. These are all great to get a fire going. You will still need something to get the fire started though, and a magnesium stick is a great tool for this. Light, inexpensive, and works regardless of temperature, humidity, and wind (unlike gas-lighters).

          • Experienced-tip from a beginner: I made some great fire starters that work fast and easy. I roll dryer lint in a used dryer sheet. Shove all of that into a toilet paper roll. Cover the toilet paper roll in Vaseline and then put it in a sandwich bag. This works really great and works fast with dry wood. But believe me from experience, if the wood is wet it does not work that good. In fact, it didn’t work at all. Maybe if we would have had a hand trowel or small shovel and dug a hole, filled it with dry leaves it might have worked because that could have helped with drying the wood out some but we didn’t have a trowel or small shovel in our kits. Lesson learned! I have since found that Insta-fire is water resistant and will even burn in snow. So your best bet is to get some for your kit.

      • Anna – Good point. This Summer we are taking our grandchild for a week and planning some simple basics to fire starting, building a solar panel from tin cans, fishing with string/hook/minimal bait, eating from a fire pit (the fish we catch) sleeping under the stars.
        Basics – I understand…..but it’s a start. Ideas are welcome to integrate into the weeks training with the youth.
        Now if only we could get our kids more serious.

      • Dot brooks is right about the corn chips being a good fire starter. Another thing that I think will help if the SHTF is knowing as much as you possibly can about natural medicines. If things were to get really bad for an extended period of time you can count on not being able to find conventional medicines anywhere. So knowing what plants could help reduce things like fever, or what can become a disinfectant, could be very helpful.

    • You can use cotton balls OR make your own homemade firestarter (dryer lint stuffed into a toilet paper roll). I have an altoids tin that I have converted into a stove (a mini stove that fits PERFECTLY in this!and you can use discarded sanitation wipes to help start fires too.

      But I think MOST people would want to use matches/lighter/starter kit and I would also put a knife in there too… even a small hatchet if it fits as well!

  6. Use a menstrual cup instead of pads. Made of silicone, they will take up much less space and are reused the whole period and can be just rinsed or wiped out until they can be properly washed. You buy it once and it lasts 10 years, so start using it now to learn how to use it so an emergency situation it will be no big deal. You save loads of money.

    • The menstrual cup won’t be the best idea if the conditions you are in are not very sanitary. It could be good if you have clean conditions and it works for you. A couple of pads in the kit would still be a good idea, just in case.

    • In my gunshot would trauma kits and my first aid trauma kit I carry several OB tampons for gunshot wounds. Fast temporary solution to prevent bleeding out until you can get to medical help or a position where you have some time to take care of the wounds properly.

      Also, an AR-7 (.22 cal) rifle is not a bad idea either. Along with some ammo and a handgun or two.

      • Tampons are a good idea. They originated in World war II for gunshot wounds. Someone brought them home wife got smart and wa-la!

  7. Check out some readily-available antibiotics intended for use in fish tanks. Sounds funny, I know…Google it, and learn. (Beats a painful death via infection).

    • I’m prone to sinus infections and the docs always give me amoxicillin. Between the visits and the scripts… it cost me a fortune. lol I wised up *years* ago and regularly order Fish Mox Forte. My brother in law is a pharmacist and he told me there’s NO DIFFERENCE between a prescribed 500 mg amoxicillan capsule and a 500 mg Fish Mox Forte capsule. Whenever I feel the infection coming on.. I just take the capsules for a couple days.. and ::POOF:: gone! No visits to the doc and no script needed! Get them at Revival Animal Health. [peruse the antibiotic section]

  8. You can also install a cushion on the top of the bucket to use it as a seat. It’s an afterthought, but we used 5 gallon buckets at girl’s camp to store things in and then turned them into chairs for around the campsite. Easily portable and helps if you need a rest. It still works without, just not as comfortable.

    • that is why she said get used to them now so you can use them later. Pads aren’t going to last very long while the cups last years. :P

    • I think I saw them at either Sam’s or Costco – didn’t have the fancy label but it was stocked – cost several hundred dollars (or more – might have been close to $1,00) I think – go to Lowe’s or Home Depot & the buckets are cheap & then stock it your needs.

    • If your town has a Firehouse Sub they sell the food-safe buckets with lids for 2.00. They get pickles in them & they clean them up before they sell them. The only thing is they are not always available. You have to be there when they are emptied. First come first served.

        • subway doesnt have pickle buckets anymore at least not in arizona…… why would you want to have EVERYTHING smell like pickles . that smell never comes out

          • most large grocery chains who make baked goods in-house have perfectly clean, sweet-smelling white buckets to sell used, once they use the frostings that come packed in them. No pickle smells there! I used to use them when I bought my dry beans by the gunny-sack full!

          • Also some of the smaller hamburger joints and bakeries are willing to give them to you if you ask nicely and are willing to deal with the pickle or frosting smell. I use several for dog food and other staples and one for my main BOB (Bug Out Bucket).

        • wash them, sit them outside in the sun open ed up for a few days, wash them again, worked for me. we use a couple pickle buckets to filter our water in also. you can do it. vinegar poured in to small dishes and set inside a musty old trunk or even down in a cellar until the vinegar dissolves, then clean dishes refill and set inside trunk under moldy furniture or in cellar whatever you are trying to take smell out of works. my antique buffet was ruined in a water leak overhead and inside it molded, granny told me to sit dishes of vinegar inside the drawers etc. and after two refills the smell was all gone. it worked. i don’t know, for the free buckets, just be a little more persistent, people.

      • If you have a 5 gal. bucket with no lid, check out “gamma lid”, found in most hardware stores. These have a ring that snaps on the bucket and the lid screws on to make a water proof seal.

    • Of course you can order buckets in many colors and gamma lids would be helpful also. But locally, I get my red (an white) buckets from Atwoods for about $3, lids are extra, has logo printed on them. Home Depot has orange buckets with logo, but I have also bought light blue, lavender, and aqua. I have seen white, blue and maybe yellow for sale at Walmart. I use buckets in my pantry for bulk items or extra protection in case a mouse gets in there. Different colors make for fast/easy identification.

  9. Vice grips, small crowbar/Wonderbar, leatherman tool, hammer/hatchet and of course, you’re already carrying a defensive tool, right?

    • that’s a lot of weight. if you have to carry all that, you’d need a tool belt of some sort too. you don’t want all that on the end of your arm. LOL

  10. I’d be scared to use ear plugs in an emergency situation unless I had someone guarding. even in a “shelter” I’d think I’d have to be scared of attack or theft.

  11. I have the greatest time reading comments. So absolutely diverse. Ok just my 2 cents worth to add to the chaos. Where ever there is land that will only support a limited amount of mammals. There is gonna be boundary issues. We are, and have been for a while now, Zombies. Maybe not literally but none the less. (The walking dead.) Have a good day all …. But the person who is willing to kill without hesitation is gonna grab your gear. :P

      • Or a good bow and about a thousand arrows and some extra strings… Not everyone is into guns or can’t use them for one reason or another and so bows, crossbows and the like can help fill in for the missing firepower. Besides the ammo is reusable once you recover it and if the arrows break, it’s easier to make new ones than to make new cartridges for a .45.

      • I always give my husband a hard time about the ammo addiction he has. He just keeps buying it, and buying it, and buying it. However, if the SHTF then the over abundance of rounds are gonna come in handy. No amount of guns are gonna help you if you ‘ain’t got no bullets’. In addition to the ammo you need training with your weapons….Gun + bullet + no skill = dead.

  12. I would also add some fish hooks & some fishing line. You can tie it to a long stick and have a fishing rod instantly! Pull some leaves back and find worms and there ya go! Instant bait!

    • Line fishing is the most inefficient method of gathering food. To seasonal, and hit and miss. (Hence called fishing and not catching.) :)

      By a small gill net and learn how to use it without breaking the local laws. (Most are not legal any more but if it is SHTF then I think there are bigger worries than someone illegal fishing. I hope)

  13. The Rule of “3’s”

    3 seconds without blood circulation.

    3 minutes without air.

    3 hours without proper clothing or shelter in extreme weather.

    3 days without water.

    3 weeks without food.

    I highly recommend buying a decent, inexpensive water filter/purifier.

  14. Are y’all packing for an emergency or a overnight camp out? No firestarter, no parachute cord and other supplies for making a shelter, nothing to catch or cook food, etc.
    Yes, Kelly, if I still needed such stuff, I would start learning to use “menstrual cups”. What if this emergency lasts months or years?

  15. I employee 5 gal buckets in my preps. with a large family I have a bucket for toiletries which doubles as an emergency porta-potty, one for hygiene and ne for each of my 2 dogs. My water and food needs are to great for 5 gal buckets alone so I use larger tubs in addition to say my Wise food buckets.

    • I love that you made buckets for your dogs. What kinds of supplies do you have for them? Obviously food, but what else that would fill up a 5 gal bucket for each of them?

      • Dog food obviously as well as two collapsable bowls, an extra harness and leash or two, a large bag of treats and some toys as well as a bag with any medicines that they might need and a muzzle in case I have to treat injuries and don’t want to risk her biting me. She also has her own “Barkpack” that helps with carrying some of the extras to be had on hand. The Barkpack includes her ID as well as medical records for us both and an extra inhaler for me (I’m asthmatic and she’s my service dog). You might want to laminate the ID and medical records or put them in a Ziplock bag in the top zippered compartment. For the more high tech hospitals, I also have an emergency medical flashdrive bracelet in case I can’t talk and there is a second flashdrive with the same info in Diamond’s barkpack. Not that it would be much use out in the bush but it helps to have some additional peace of mind if it is ever needed.

  16. 4 strike anywhere matches wrapped in cotton ball then dipped in wax will start a fire even in the wind. easy to carry in medicine bottles

    • metal bottle caps ,melt some candlewax and fill cap,put a piece of wick across the top and push it down a bit so it sticks into the wax,they are small and are great fire starters

      • And the bottle caps can be used as currency….B-) According to my sons game fallout: new Vegas.
        Some ladies and I are going to do a few buckets when I have done a bit much research.

  17. I bought the life straw. drink from any water source.. even scuzzy pond!
    hand crank/solar emergency radio with flash light and phone charger. currently use it for camping and the beach!
    I’d pack change of clothes, matches, 3 wick candle for light and small head source, gallons of water, and large wool blanket.
    I plan for somewhat long power outage in my home, not apocalypse…. yet.

  18. So the advantage of the bucket vs. a backpack seems to be the bucket itself. Isn’t there a collapsible bucket out there somewhere that could fit into a backpack? I love buckets too, but seriously they’re not that practical without a vehicle. Or with 2 buckets you could use that oxen thing and carry one on each shoulder. I predict a “Stow n go emergency bucket kit” ,specifically made for the person who has everything – except a bucket to drag it around in…

      • We have a backpack for everyone in the house(including one for the dog) incase we need to travel on foot etc. The back pack has a change of clothes, multi-tool, matches, a small first aid kit, etc.- mostly everything we would need to survive but on a much smaller scale not so in-depth. It wouldn’t keep us alive forever but hopefully provide till we could get to a better situation. However we also have a bucket which is much more stalked in the way of first aid and some other items we probably could live without if it were life or death. mostly I wanted the bucket because you can buy a “mock toilet lid” it is similar to a toilet seat, you can get the biodegradable waste bags that fit nicely in the bucket and use as a bathroom, which I think is the best option since it can be dangerous to defecate just anywhere because that could contaminate things like water and soil you may want to plant it later.

    • You can find collapsible buckets at Army surplus stores, Sportsman’s Guide and Cheaper Than Dirt online. Look under Military Surplus.

  19. Lots of good reasonably priced solar units that will also charge your phone (In case there are any towers still standing). Be fully aware that refilling the propane generators at remote cell tower sites is NOT a priority in an emergency. The sites will not work after the first week or so. Look up the Biostove on line. Neat unit, but pricey. Invest in a crank operated light, or a solar one. If you have kids, light when it is dark is just reassuring when the wheels come off your world. Please put a deck or three of cards in your kit. Once the batteries die on their game, the kids will want more entertainment. If you are worried about the coming emergency, whatever it is, then get a low priced but sturdy little RV/tent trailer and keep it ready.

  20. The thing I would change is I would buy Johnson Baby Head To Toe Wash and not just Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and Bars of soap…where are you gonna put those messy bars of soap after you start using them.

    • While liquid soap can be easy to use, those plastic bottles can leak or might lose the cap. A bar of soap can be set out to dry, or wrapped in your wash cloth or put in a soap box. Bar soap can also be shaved to dissolve in water to wash out socks/ underware, etc, can also be rubbed along a zipper to help it work better or on the bottom of your cookware for easier cleaning.

      • Or put the bar of soap in a knee-hi and knot the open end around a clip shower curtain hanger or carabiner. You don’t lose the soap, it dries between uses and you can attach it to the outside of the bucket or pack to dry while you’re walking.

        • If you get an antibacterial soap, it will replace the antiseptic wipes. Make sure it is well rinsed after use. I would keep it in a zip lock bag. The stocking is a great idea.

  21. I lived in the city, my edc: 2 micro flashlight, shower cap, small folder, lighter, bandaid, sharpie in red, 5ft cord (bright pnk), flashdrive (containg copy of personal important document), cableties, whistle, ziplock bags 3 differentsizes), 5ft ducttape rolled on to sharpie, blackberry, 8″ tablet, powerbank to recharge

    • A blackberry? an 8 ” tablet? You will be the first one we’ll find dead along the road somewhere. Please fill your pockets with beef jerky too…the wild dogs love it.

      • Major Gallon,

        If you don’t know that an edc is different from a bob then you need to do some more research.. An edc in the city will also be different from one carried by a rural person.

  22. I love the idea of 5 gallon kit, similarly I use ammo box that I got from range. Its air tight, durable, light, free, comes in dull OD milspec, easy to handle, floatable, and again durable.

  23. hello i just wanted to let you know that you dont have to buy a bucket if you ask the bakery department in a grocery store they will most likely give you some of the buckets they use for frosting they just throw them away i work at a krogers an that were i get my buckets from :)

  24. Hi. I put together the emergency bucket featured here. Lots of good points in this thread and great suggestions! Everybody’s emergency supplies ought to be individualized to anticipate your personal needs and the emergencies likely in your area. I put this bucket together for my brother’s family for a Christmas present. I live in a suburban area and a couple of summers ago there were some serious wildfires that necessitated immediate evacuation of entire neighborhoods. Thus the bucket was created. The supplies therein aren’t meant for long-term survival (probably only a couple of days, tops), nor for a walking bug-out. I meant it to include supplies useful for minor bugging-in emergencies like a power outage, or to carry easily to a car for a quick evacuation. I knew my brother had a emergency backpacks of 2 days of food and change of clothes for each member of his family already, so the bucket was meant to supplement that. I filled it with useful things that you might not think to collect when the fire department is telling you to get out in ten minutes. I admit, a bucket isn’t portable for long distances, but I chose a bucket over a bag because it’s waterproof, rodent-proof, and easy enough for an 8- or 10-year-old to carry a short distance. I tried to keep the weight down, so I didn’t include heavy tools although there was room for some. And I thought the bucket itself might come in handy in a worst case scenario if the sewer system ever failed (we live in an earthquake prone area) and it wasn’t possible to immediately get to a shelter with working sewer. (I saw several different brands of emergency potty buckets for sale when I shopped around for supplies and they all looked like overpriced, regular 5-gallon buckets with toilet seats attached. The waste chemicals that can be bought separately smelled very strong and I don’t think I’d like to store them long-term with any of my other supplies.) One thing I’ve since thought to add that hasn’t been mentioned in the comments yet is a deck of cards. Sometimes real emergencies involve lots of boring waiting.

    • Great suggestion on the deck of cards! Cards probably are the most entertainment for the greatest number of people per ounce.

      • Coloring books and crayons will keep the kids busy and can double as candles if needed. I also have vitamins in our BOB’s…
        Bullets are so hard to come by.( I’m a single Mom of an 11 year old boy,) We have bows and arrows and Sling shots ( He and I have both learned to hit target really well) with marbles .Great for small game hunting or if needed ,protection. Is there a SHTF people connector? The rest of my Family think I’m crazy. I’m just trying to connect with someone that is in the same mind set , that can be of help to me. There is only so much that I can do alone…I’m old school, I have been canning all I can, and have enough food/water to shut -in, I worry about the protection factor….I’m in NC/ Va area…

  25. I have a go bag, but I’m thinking a bucket would be great to keep in my vehicle. I also have a hatchet, gun, and a taser. I’m not messing around. I’ve read through all the comments, taken notes and had some good chuckles. Seriously though, if you do not have anything constructive or nice to say – don’t say anything at all. You are just wasting yours and our time. Everyone is worried about carrying a bucket, goodwill has luggage with the luggage wheels, almost always. I’m totally rigging my bucket with wheels and a better back pack style strap. Good luck everyone. :)

      • An A.L.I.C.E. Pack frame with shelf is more than enough to carry a 5 gallon bucket and is also good when on water patrol if not carrying supplies. I currently have an EDC (get home bag) I carry everyday that can support me for two days with food water and means to make more water as that is critical in the South along with that is also my means of being defensive.. In my truck to SUPPLEMENT my EDC is a 5 gal bucket with additional items that will aid in making life more comfortable should i choose to take it with me if I have to foot it.. lets not fight among each other as to who will live or die.. we all will at some point lets just share and help each other until that day comes.. Keep your head up and your powder dry.. good luck everyone..

        • nice sentiment.. but when everything goes to hell it won’t matter. Bottom line. Do the best you can for you and yours, and pray for everyone else.

  26. Important to include a few days worth of prescriptions. Some have serious side effects if stopped cold turkey. another important item that only 1 person mentioned was copies of vital documents. That person has theirs loaded onto a flashdrive … very clever, minimal space required. Also, I think antibacterial gel is important if you’re not near a water source to clean hands. Someone noted it can be used as a fire-starter.

    • As soon as I read about storing important documents on a flash drive I immediately wondered how it would be used if the grid is down and computers are not useable.

    • I have several flash drives in my kit just because I like different stuff on different flash drives and it leaves room to add more. I am a genealogist so I have one for each one of my grandparents families information and photos, one for all my families personal information and our home, home and property content and car information, one for all my pictures and scrapbooking stuff, and one with all my survival, homesteading, first aid, animal husbandry, herbs, foraging and essential oil stuff on it.

  27. Instead of using 5 gallon buckets, I used an ice chest that had wheels and a pull handle. The top of the ice chest has a latch, too, so the top stays closed. It’s easier to move (I just roll it) and it also will allow for 2 people to sit on it. I was surprised that I didn’t have to get a HUGE ice chest, either, to hold what I needed. I have smaller rolling ice chests for each of my kids, too.

  28. Good luck all. My wife and I are both disabled and living in a nursing home. We will probably be among the first to go. May god be with you.

    • God bless you Steve. You brought me to tears with your honest and straight forward comment. No matter what may happen ,I will pray for you and your wife.

    • Don’t give up so easy. Many elders have knowledge of how to live back before we had all of the present day electrical devices. You could hook up with a younger group and your knowledge would be invaluable. One alone will have a hard time surviving. You MUST leave a big city or urban environment IMMEDIATELY! PERIOD! A small group will have a better chance of survival because you are going to have to have someone on watch at all times and be prepared and able (and willing to do whatever is necessary!) to protect your supplies. Starving humans will eventually become the greatest threat as time goes on in a prolonged or lengthy situation. I have already bugged out in a motor home to a secluded location (I carry A LOT more than a bucket load!) and we are assembling a group who have various experience, knowledge, and varied supplies. Securing our perimeter is our primary concern, everything else falls under that! Your mental attitude will either be an asset or your death. Stay strong and fight to live with your last ounce of strength. The longer you last the less people that are going to still be alive. After 3 months the majority will be dead if we simply lose power. Now in the case of a pandemic or major natural disaster there may be no chance for humanity to survive. In that case just accept the inevitable and care for and calm others (especially children) and make peace with your Maker. Being a Believer will be a strength and mental help if it truly is an end of the earth scenario. Good luck and God Bless, regardless of the situation!

      • I’m also disabled but I’m also in a Medieval / Renaissance recreation group which teaches a LOT of “off the grid” living skills so people might want to check those groups out as well as sources of inspiration and learning of the techniques that will be needed in a SHTF situation. One group I recommend is the Society for Creative Anachronism (, they taught me spinning, weaving and a number of other skills including cheesemaking, herbology and vintning and many times will have classes at the different events they have.

    • i will also be praying for those in your situation my new friend. sometimes the best things in that case will be that many have enough compassion they will pass your establishment by. except maybe for the drugs. here is hoping it never comes to that. or that there is some safe room to keep you safe and alive til things get better and can have order restored.

  29. The diva cup will last a while if you add a small pack of baby wipes for sanitizing them. That way if you are in an unsanitary event you can still clean your personal care products and if you can boil water that will also work. I agrew that you should still pack pads for medical reasons though.

    • My dad is a retired firefighter and EMT. He mentioned one time that all the trucks carried heavy flow pads to help with serious wounds. He said that it helped staunch the flow of blood.

  30. By all means have buckets, even an empty one on the outside of the stocked one.. But we also have a backpack for each member of the family, packed with the lightest but effective supplies possible. There are 2 bottles of water in each, just for temporary use on the 1st day.. Iodine or small container of bleach for water purification. Enough meal replacement bars for a week, dehydrated meal packets, etc.Also, those foil-ish heat retaining blankets and small fold- up plasticemergency tents. We’ve considered a gas mask per person in case of a chemical spill. Protective weapons, although nothing would be fool-proof in a mass attack. Having faced a home invader, I know that a very realistic looking gun can be enough to stop an attacker cold. Also have a taser, mace, and a knife. A leatherman knife too,. Some rope, duct tape, super glue. A month’s supply of prescriptions, restocked regularly. Antibiotics. Lightweight hand crank flashlight and small regular one. Matche. Ponchos. All fit in 3 backpacks. Items are divided up. Again, emphasis on minimum weight.

    • I haven’t done this yet but am going to add the following to my kit. I seen this on Youtube. You get a clear cup and lid like a cappuccino cup or something from McDonald’s or somewhere and put a hole in the bottom of it about a size of a nickel. Then put in a coffee filter in it then layer charcoal and sand until you get to the top and put in another coffee filter. Use the lid for storage. You can pour water through this to purify it. This is 3 ways of purification in itself but i would also be tempted to use boiling also. You can also store bleach in an empty visine bottle but make sure you label it good with a black permanent marker.

      Ratio of Clorox Bleach to Water for Purification

      2 drops of Regular Clorox Bleach per quart of water
      8 drops of Regular Clorox Bleach per gallon of water
      1/2 teaspoon Regular Clorox Bleach per five gallons of water
      If water is cloudy, double the recommended dosages of Clorox Bleach.

      Only use Regular Clorox Bleach (not Fresh Scent or Lemon Fresh). To insure that Clorox Bleach is at its full strength, rotate or replace your storage bottle minimally every three months.

  31. if you’re planning on a small emergency, tornado, fire, earth quake you might also think of keeping some cash in your bucket….atm’s and banks may not be available or if you are evacuated some place where you cant get to your bank you will have some cash for things you may not have thought of or run out of.

  32. When we had floods in Houston, we actually had to use our 72 hour kits. Here are a few things that we found. It is better to have something that you can carry rather than something that rolls. Especially for kids. there is no way we would have been able to roll anything though mud or ripped up cement and over all of the trees, branches, and other that was in the road. You don’t always have the luxury of being able to drive and sometime have to walk through a bit of water. One thing that we really wished we would have had…along with most others is Gold Bond. When you are wet or cant bathe or its hot, Gold Bond is like gold!!! We also wished we would have put in a little travel size of laundry detergent to wash out undergarments. Just a few thoughts.

    • Flashdrive is to be able to provide copies of documents, such as ID, policy #’s etc to get needed assistance from FEMA or other agencies. I would think that having a photo of family members, pets, your home as it is now would all be helpful. As well as brief medical records, important phone #’s. It is not meant for the all out disaster of the world, but for evacuations – perhaps fires, explosions, natural disasters, etc.

  33. It would be nice to hear from more people who have actually lived thru a disaster, like the last one who knows first hand what it’s like.

    • I am a broadcast engineer and kept radio stations on-the-air during and following several hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. I am also an experienced camper and taught outdoor skills. The experience that I gained was vital in surviving without electricity and other basic city utilities.

      1) Have a plan; Prepare buckets for 2) camping-style gear tool/equipment ; 3) cooking/eating utensils and gear; 4) camping gear such as a tent, tarps, rope, kerosene (hurricane) lanterns, a roll of heavy plastic, etc.; 5) long-shelf life canned, dried, and other easily prepared foods, spices, etc.; 6) first aid and life essentials (meds, toiletries, etc); 7) cleaning materials and supplies; 8) appropriate clothing, and 9) a footlocker for blankets, sleeping bags, etc Don’t forget such essential supplies as Citronella torch fuel (it is a bug repellant to use in the hurricane lanterns), batteries in waterproof containers (with dehydration packs to save them from moisture), flashlights, reading materials, survival manuals, a Bible, etc.

      ALSO, have a safe place to go, be it inland from a storm, a decent storm shelter from tornadoes, some PREPARED acreage for when SHTF happens for whatever reason.

      I also am prepared with a few weapons and ammo, including silent ones. After surviving THREE HURRICANES and their aftermath, I have no problem with carrying and using a weapon: already been there.

      I’m no longer on the Gulf Coast, choosing instead to return to The Southern Appalachian Mountains…..and the place where I can do what I have wanted for many years: build my own “city of refuge”.

      Buckets are GREAT because they can be used for

  34. Don’t forget an extra pair of eyeglasses, maybe even dark glasses (if you live in sunny area), strong gloves for moving aside debris, knee pads for those of us who can’t kneel comfortably.

  35. From someone who has went thru two major tornados.Last one was the April 27th,2011 tornado that tore apart several communities, and towns, Cordova and Sipsey. EVERYONE NEEDS AN EMERGENCY PREP. Always before bad weather or any kind of situation.Put gas in your car, pull out as much cash as you can. You will not have power. You will not have homephones or cell phones. And you possible will not have water. You will need to stay in place during severe weather. Unless it is your house that gets hit. I know keep flashlights batteries, oil lamps, matches, propane for the grill. I fill extra plastic storage tubs with water and put lids on them and stack in the bathroom. That is where you need large amounts for flushing toliet and bathing. I also have it stacked in the kitchen. Also have cases of bottled water. Tarps to put on roof in case of leaks. Plywood, rope, several gas cans and large coolers. These we used to ferry ice, food, fuel to our neighbors. The one thing everyone needed and actually, cried over was chainsaw oil. The one thing wehadwashelp to haul trees and food. Everyones freezers were defrosting. I do keep easy to eat food like protein bars etc, stckpiled. I never let my medicine go low either. You could not fill scrips. I had friends homes get hit by the tornado, and they lost family. My aunt’s cousin died. It has been a long road and looking back on that day, you realize what you can live without. I work in emergency services and everyone helped each other. That is what I saw in each situation. I personnally did not suffer any losses, but had to deal with my friends insurance company. You can file a claim, the groundwork, for another person just by name on policy, and address on policy at the local office. And lastly have more than one meeting time and place for family. We could not access many areasdue to trees and power lines down for days. Some places for almost a week.

    • I agree with you, I live in Florida and we get the Hurricanes. One thing that I found that has been a great help is something called I think it’s Bathtub Bob, It’s a giant, heavy plastic bag that go’s in the bathtub, and holds like 50 gals of water, it has a pump on it to get the water out. For those of you who don’t want to spend that kind of money, buy a new 55 gal trash can, clean it out, then wipe with bleach and air dry. Fill with water, and put the cover on it and you have 55 gal of fresh water to use, if you have a garage put it in there, then you can just dump it, as it will be very heavy.

        • If I can put my 2cents in, if u drink soda? get the plastic bottles, when mt clean and refill with water. if u have a freezer put layers of bottles to extend the cold in case power goes out 2 layers of bottles can extend the life of the frozen food for as much as 72 hrs. plus u will also have a source of drinking water stored.

  36. I realize there is limited space but essential oils can also be used to replace some of these things. My 2 would be lavender and eucalyptus. If anythimg, in a stressful situation something that could help you relax would be helpful if you have anxiety. I look at this as a 72hr kit and it is great! Totally redoing the one I have now! Thank you for posting.

    • I agree on the E.O.’s. As little space as they take, I would add Thieves and tea tree. And a bottle of GSE. My herbal warfare kit for everyday is Thieves, GSE, garlic and ginger. Antibiotic and antiviral. I cannot tell you how many trips to the Dr. and how many antibiotics this has saved me from . GSE will also purify water. Also, if you live in the Southwest, every part of the mesquite tree/bush is an antibiotic.

  37. I have one thing to add…a walking stick comes in handy, not only to assist in walking, but if you’re in a flooded area, manhole covers are likely to be off. I lived through the Johnstown flood of ’77 and remember someone falling into the current of one that was uncovered. A walking stick can be used in many ways, from poking the ground under water, using it for fishing,to self defense if necessary…use your imagination.

    Also, something like newspaper to use for kindling, aloe gel, compass, mirror (to check yourself for ticks, etc on your back; can also be used for signaling of course).

    • I use old, useless CDs for my signal devices. If you are signaling an airplane or ship, hold the CD up to your eye and find the airplane thru the center hole. If you can see it, it can see you. Also they don’t break like a glass mirror.

    • The walking stick is a great idea ad a great survival tool. Beside the uses noted, it can be used as a pole for a shelter, can be used over the shoulders to more easily carry 2 survival buckets. If another person in the group has one, they can be used as handles for making a litter. They can be used to extend your reach. A small packet with a screw in hook, screw in eye and screw in prod can make it more useful. It can extend your reach up by several feet and be used with a piece of cloth as a signaling device. It'[s uses are limited only by your imagination.

  38. I like this idea but the one thing for sure I would change would be the use of latex gloves in the first aid part. I keep Nitrile gloves, even though I don’t have a latex allergy, I might help someone else who does and the last thing I want to do is cause them more problems by exposing them to latex.

    Another thing I would ad is a CPR mask, even if you don’t know how to do CPR someone might be nearby that does & there is nothing worse than attempting CPR when someone is aspirating.

    One last thing on the medical side, I would put a small bottle of honey in the kit. Multiple uses for honey.

    Good job!

  39. One thing I would seriously consider is replacing the hard bucket handle with a soft one – Id use cord with a hosepipe handle. How to do this would depend on the buckets design, as ideally it would be better to have no leaks or holes in the body of the bucket.. But when it comes to carrying a bucket, nothing is worse than a non-flexible bucket handle.
    I would probably also attempt to make the handle double as backpack straps.

  40. One thing that is important to mention, but I might have missed, is that you need to check expiration dates on everything that has one (and some that don’t like moist towelettes which dry out) and replace the expired items before they expire. Emergency kits can get really expensive if you don’t rotate the contents with new and especially if you don’t actually use the items that have a shelf life.

  41. An earlier comment about planning for different scenarios makes a lot of sense. Lots of good suggestions. I’m in search and rescue and there are a few “musts” regardless. Check out the REI site for a list of “10 essentials”. In a major disaster where you can’t shelter in place, and you may only have moments to escape, everything has to be “grab and go”, including weather appropriate clothing and sturdy, broken-in shoes and a 2nd pair of socks. And don’t forget your critical papers. You want as little weight as possible without risking your health or safety. Think minimalist and multi-purpose. Google “ultra lite hiking or backpacking” for ideas. In a true disaster, it’s NOT going to be like car camping. Make sure you’ve mastered the use of everything you’re planning to include. Set up a tarp shelter in your backyard and spend the night in it. Trust me… it gets pretty miserable fast! Pack a couple of large, contractor weight trash bags. You can stuff them with leaves to keep you off the ground and they work as a poncho, too. You need to stay dry and manage your body temp. I love my light weight down jacket that stuffs into its own bag and my bivy sack. Sunscreen, bug repellant, hat, high quality multi-tool, and a way to navigate – you can’t always get a signal for the tech toys, even on a good day. When my son was younger, periodically we’d have a “stay-cation” over a long weekend and live out-of-the-bag and as if we had nothing else. As a result, we had a much better appreciation for what it would be like, could execute very quickly, and modified our stash based on what worked/didn’t.

  42. There no mention of a knife? A Swiss army knife or a multi-tool should be added. It has scissors, can opener, blades to cut stuff and other thinks that could come in dang handy. You could also add a small spool of fishing line and I would also add a small pencil sharpener. That can be used to make shavings to help start a fire

  43. A lot of very good ideas. Some one said water purification tablets. I watch Survivor man on TV and he never uses them? I was never in a disaster but I was in the army for 2 years. as a boy scout we were always taught to carry some fishing line, hook and compass.

  44. ( I lived for 2 years in the Alaskan bush. You people are all going to die, you know that, right?) I would have to agree with him, I live in a log cabin off grid in the Yukon for 20+ years now it is tough but would not change it. I do not mean to insult the ones that do not. But you can not live off a BOB or a bucket. So Train, Train, TRAIN. Same as Practice, Practice etc, lean DIY

  45. Every time I read these list, no matter who writes it, they leave out one of the most important items. Toilet paper!

  46. i am a beginner prepper. i want to prep for job loss first, then power outages, then weather related emergencies and then global collapse. I think you people should be working together instead of starting your own war in these comments. I thought preppers worked together as a team not against each other. guess I’ll just stay to myself prepping in my own little country home.

  47. To JD above. I am 50 and my sister is 55. We took what we had in our 72 our kits which was not much and did just what you suggested.

    One fall night, we decided to get our survival packs at 10:00 at night and go to the backyard and stay until morning, just using what we had in our packs. We made our own rule that once we walked out the back door that we could not come back into the house for anything until the sun come up. We couldn’t find any trees close enough together to put up our tarps for a tent so we had to cut a small tree down and then cut it into, cut the ends off and make another side to attach our tarps too. Our measly little rope broke so we had to tie shoe strings together and use them.

    My sister had not ate anything all day and she was about to starve so we decided to boil some of our water on our emergency can heater. It took 30 minutes for the water to boil but it finally boiled and we ate ramen noodles and a few crackers with peanut butter on them. The ground started getting damp and it was getting really cold. We forgot our jackets!!

    When we got through setting up camp with what we had and eating, it was 1:30 in the morning. We rolled up in Indian blankets and used our packs for pillows and my sister went to sleep but I could not sleep. I got scared because I heard wolves howling and because I was froze to death. I had to go potty so I went a little ways in the woods and had to use a leaf because we forgot toilet paper. My sister went straight to sleep and was snoring. I woke her up and told her I quit I gotta go in the house. She said good I couldn’t sleep either. lol

    When we got inside it was 3:00 am, I took a hot shower and went to bed in my warm cozy bedroom. Our families told us we were absolutely crazy but whether we are or not as yet to be seen. The next morning when we got up we made a list of things we wished we would have had over a cup of hot coffee. The first thing I wrote down was a tent, jacket, a warmer blanket and some padding under it!!

  48. Please do not use a tampon to plug a bullet hole it has something in it that keeps blood from clotting so it’s really not a good idea

    • This was so fascinating. I spent much of the night reading and I learned so much. I plan on taking notes then use them to start my own survival plan. I keep thinking about my 4 grandchildren.
      Thank you to all who contributed!

  49. also include some thin. wire for making snares to catch animals for food. its lightweight and dosent take up a lot of space .

  50. When not if…SHTF… I am minimally prepared, but I am not worried because my God shall supply all my needs…and if I happen to die, I am not worried about that either, I know where I will spend eternity and its definitely not here.

    • I agree. I’m interested in this article for short term emergency situations and have got gleaned some great ideas. But I really have no interest in living in a post-apocalyptic world. I’d rather be home with Jesus. I want to be taken out in the first wave of whatever or if it truly is the Biblical apocalypse foretold in Revelation, I am praying for a pre-tribulation rapture of the Believers!


  52. One thing I don’t see in anybody’s list is a recent photograph of all your family members. What if one of your children is away from home when SHTF, maybe at school or at a friends house. You would want to be able to show people a picture to see if they had seen your child. Also you should have a meeting place set up that all family members know about, such as by the swings in the park or the church across the street from the school.

  53. A great article, thank you for all the work that went into this. The pictures combined with lists makes it especially useful. A printed PDF would also be great!

    If you are storing an emergency radio and batteries, make sure you put them in an EMP bag. A plastic bucket will keep it nice and dry and handy, but an EMP bag will also protect from electric disasters. My two cents.

  54. Super glue for minor cuts. My daughter had several cuts that needed stitches but doc used derma bond…. I asked if it was super glue. He didn’t say say yes or no but gave me the look that told me yes. I’ve used it on myself and it worked great.

  55. A bunch of good advice. One thing if I may, turn the buckets into faraday containers. Copper mesh lined buckets and lids, just make sure that it becomes a completely enclosed cage when it’s closed.

  56. there is no survival tactic which will enable u to develop the mindset to survive…its like anything else…sum peeps better at “fill in da blank”…n with that said, u need to face up to the realistic notion, u probly wont survive. u may be better off joinin nwo facility. all dis preppin shit is jus that, shit. fa get about it…enjoy ea n every moment like its da last, cuz it may jus be….

  57. Be very sure to carry Cayenne Pepper in your packs.It can keep you from bleeding to death in case of a gunshot or other injury.Just poor Cayenne into wound and it will stop the bleeding.It will also stop a heart attack or stroke by adding 1 tablespoon to a cup of hot water and ingesting.

  58. I like your list but I was wondering if I could get a copy sent to me to print up. If that is possible, I would really appreciate it. thank you

  59. Native Americans survived for centuries in this great land using natural items and WORKING TOGETHER. People will have a harder time surviving alone, you need to find others whom you can trust, because I’m not good with electrical stuff, I’m not inventive, but I’m good at sewing and cooking over a fire and know a lot of wild plants…MOSS was traditionally used during a woman’s period to absorb and it’s antibacterial as well, so forget the pads people use what’s around you! And a knife is your number one item, but I agree a lot of people can’t start a fire without a fire starter so practice practice first!! Good luck everyone, I believe disease will be the next pandemic that will force people out of the city or governmental fall and anarchy. Why can’t we just all respect and love each other it’s not easy for any of us to survive our daily lives let alone a form of an apocalypse. Sad that people have to hurt each other and put others down.

  60. I agree with posters who talk about learning natural medicinals. We have started using essential oils for their healing properties and have had great results. I like learning what plants can be used just like prescription meds. Also someoil rinses kill sinus infections, garlic oil kills ear infections and strep. I could go on and on. Some of these oils have a stable shelf life of 8-10 years, and you only need a few drops.

  61. In my go bag I havea camelback,whistle,signal mirror,compass,ka bar knife,ductape,waterproof matches,firestarter,small portablestove with mess kit and fuel for stove,100ft paracord,couple multitools pen and notebook a deck of cards,a small inspirational book,a hat 3 pairs of sock underwear (soon to be a couple shirts and a good pair of jeans) couple ponchos,hand warmers, couple ace bandages,a nice sized first aid kit with snake bytekit(gonna be an epi pen) emergency fishing kit,couple flash lights,water purification tablets, couple bandanas,mechanics gloves, 3mre’s ,that’s it I think …for now anyways!

  62. Epi Pens would be an addition for our family as well; however, they do expire, so remember to keep track of the expiration date and resupply as needed.

    Was it really necessary to post an entire argument over the use of tampons? Really? Not every thought in a person’s head should be aired online.

  63. I read through the list and came up with just a few more items I’d add to the whole thing,
    1) old fashioned ball point pen and a pen knife (emergency trach)
    2) witch hazel – comes in small bottles and has numerous uses
    3) waterproof plastic bobble with 25-50 ft fishing line, a couple hooks, and a couple plastic worms, a few sinkers and a small bobber
    4) 1 qt pot and 2 collapsible cups – or one good old fashioned boy scouts traveling mess kit :)
    5) Bleach tablets (a bottle of 20 of them is an inch and a quarter by an inch and a quarter by 2 and half inches tall

  64. On Naked and afraid the three popular survival items are: Fire starter, a water boiling pot, a machete or hatchet. These people last twenty one days naked with only two of these items. : ) The bucket kit is a luxury kit.

  65. Thanks for all the good suggestions. I live in a CA earthquake area and my biggest fear is I will be at work and my kids at home 20 miles away. No phones, roads destroyed, how do I get to them?

  66. My husband and I more or less live in a big rig..being on the road 24/7 worries me non-stop. We keep water and food on the truck but we can only have so much weight. We’ll never know where we’ll be if or when all heck breaks out. Any suggestions??

  67. I’ve spent the last hour reading through all of this. I’m just getting started and I appreciate most of the comments. I do have a place where I can go and be safe. However, can I somehow get a list of “stuff” I should have? I can’t afford a camper, but I have a remote cabin in the woods. What else should I do?

  68. Great suggestions, lots of ideas here. A few additions:

    Make sure the bucket is food-grade. The orange Home Depot one pictured is not. You may want to store drinking water in it.

    Also, I’d wrap the AM/FM radio in alternating layers of aluminum foil and saran wrap that will protect in the event of a nuclear/EMP event.

  69. Even though you are using one of our product images as your main image on your article, it has been labeled with DIY even though SafeTkits and is a manufacturer and emergency kit assembly company in California. You can purchase ready made kits like the ones shown in the main article image directly from us along with supplies to further complete your emergency kit. Unfortunately even though our image is being used we did not see our company SafeTkit mentioned in the article and wanted to make sure all readers know where to get their emergency and disaster supplies. Thank you and be safe.

    • Thanks for letting us know! I see now that the buckets say “safetykit” on the side. I’ll make sure to credit your website with a link directly to where customers can buy the bucket safety kits right below the image.

  70. Another item that would be good to include, is a compact bow and arrows. If you are a good shot, then this can act as both a protective weapon and a weapon for food. but need to practice practice, practice. Be sure to work with the bow in different enviroments, such as screaming hot weather and freezing cold. Know how your body reacts to each when using the bow, also know if you can shoot decent when its really windy or rainy. Learn how to accomadate your aim for the weather around you. There are places all over the country that can help teach you this. just need to have the will to learn!

    • also if you can. make a slingshot . I haven’t heard anyone mention it. assembly is simple, cut a sturdy branch that is shaped in a Y. cut notches on the tops of your arms. get a bike tube for your ties (4) about the with and length of a good rubberband. (2) strands about 2 inches wide 12 inches long, and a thick piece of cloth preferably leather 4in long 3in wide then use your imagination to assemble. then you will have a lite weight hunting/ weapon with an endless amont of munitions in the for of rocks

  71. Not everyone is planning for the zombie apocalypse but for much more likely local emergencies. Our current plans are a 72 hr pack for temporary evacuation. A car kit for winter driving. Then for a winter lights out due to weather, so bug in, Longer term is an aim to become more sustainable, not particularly for the full world catastrophe, but for personal financial security. When the paid job unexpectedly goes, which it can very easily. Then knowing we can still eat and have a roof over our heads makes this type of disaster easier to cope with.

  72. Thanks for the bucket post! I need to make one for the car too, only with break-down-in-winter, supplies!

    For all you gloomydoomy types posting; this bucket is obviously a short term survival pack for something like a flood, hurricane, earthquake, not the end of the world. (You’d need a much bigger bucket harhar). I’d say it’s good for getting you to the relief tents.

    Btw did I skim over some type of water cleaning kit? That would be important as carrying water adds alot of weight.

    • Yeah the lifestraw is mentioned because it is very compact. A small camp stove would be a more primitive solution to cleaning water too.

  73. Something noted in the “kids need to know” article was a SLINGSHOT. if you are good, you can kill small animals with it. also with no bullets, a good weapon.

  74. Oh my goodness, thank you arch digger. Yes the idea for the emergency kit I’d to have preparation for a natural disaster. Here in Canada it could be a tornado, flooding or sever snow storm and being prepared to be safe for 24-36 hours I’d what I had in mind not Zombie apocalypse common people be realistic.

  75. I would like to add my 2 cents worth. My son researched all things survival related. Edible and medicinal plants, best wood for burning, how to build shelter, a fire , hunt/kill and prepare wild game and recipes ,first aid ..etc. He then printed it off and put it in a duo tang. This goes into our bucket. Sometimes fear and stress can make remembering everything you learned difficult. I think his idea was brilliant.

  76. i have lived off the grid in three states, including alaska for times of one to five years, i currently live in an area that looses power from two days to two weeks each year. keep three months food at all times and am accumulating more long term freeze dried food, as some family members are city dwellers. they have short term supplies and know to come here, we are off the highway and have acreage. i do not know how long anyone will survive a major disaster but there will be hard questions….how much can you share, how is what you have shared, how long before you can produce food to replace what you’ve used, mircro greens, turnips and radishes are fast producers, store some seed.) my best thought for a bob is buy an acre a rural area you can walk to in three days and start prepping there.

  77. I love the idea of 5 gal buckets and actually made them as Christmas gifts several years ago, not for end of the world but for the real need to prepare, WINTER IN THE NORTHEAST. I even padded the top and covered them with a ruffled skirt so they could be used as a hassock/footstool and not waste storage space. I know in an end of the world thing there is NO REAL WAY to prepare FULLY, and everyone has different priorities so a different list of basic (from get thru today to stockpile seeds)needs. Most people only need to plan a 2 week snowed in, flooded roads, so on. a stocked emergency bag will save time and frustration in a must evacuate situation and a well stocked pantry for a snowed in situation are something everyone needs. Understanding and planning for what if we could not get out and had no electric for 2 weeks is a question that would leave most people going duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh huh? bleach, and rotate it a few times a year, clean, disinfect, add to melted snow to make drinkable. Non electric heat options and an understanding of you will be cold but not frozen(face it better to do 2 weeks at 45 degrees then 1 day at 70 and 13 days at 30. be able to block off one room and only heat that and only for short times, layers and covers) keep a extra supply of toilet paper-bad enough to be on the “last” roll when you can go to a store, but when snowed in???, remember the water may not work, that means the toilet too. a couple of trash bags in a bucket(or right in the toilet) and a diaper/pull up will help confine the mess with out need to flush and help limit the odor. and easy to get rid of when tied tightly the diaper absorbs the liquid making it easier to deal with. medication ( especially in area that can have travel issues ) never get lower than a weeks supply, but rotate(always use the oldest first so the newest is what you have on hand) you can always talk to the Dr many will give you a few samples that can help you get that week or 2 cushion.
    I am lucky to live in a more rural area but near to small city/towns (less than 5 miles ) also less than 5 miles from a river but at a higher elevation so may not be a flood issue unless Noah returns! I do suggest a good book be added, I love Yule Gibbons : Stalking the Wild Asparagus , but any good what can be foraged guide for your area will work, especially if you have only ever bought veggies/fruit from a store.
    What most people have forgotten/never been taught is amazing,I remember my Dad talking about the Italian women bringing just bread to work in the spring and picking fresh dandelions for their lunch. So many things that everyone used to do that as we became more status conscious we stopped doing and several generations have never learned.

    ok enough rambling

  78. In the Police Academy we were taught that sanitary pads and tampons were excellent emergency bandage materials. In a crisis sterile items will be at a premium and blood loss is a critical issue requiring immediate attention. Sterility can be improved by passing a flame lightly over the surface, any charring will be inconsequential. I, and may of my colleagues, carried 2 or 3 tampons in our uniform shirt pockets just in case.

    • I knew this from when I attended a first aid seminar where at a local bicycle shop my husband worked at. The man giving the seminar on first aid (for hard core bicyclists) said he keeps a package of sanitary napkins in his car trunk at all times for to use as bandages. This was in the days before adhesive strips.

  79. Be sure to make some room for bottled water and non perishable food items in your emergency kit. Also, using a backpack to store items for an emergency kit is a wonderful idea that I found online about a year ago. Guess I need to put these ideas to use. Been meaning to start up emergency kits, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  80. People need to make plans for leaving big cities. you can’t count on the kindness of smaller towns or farms. they will not be trusting of those incoming. They will be protecting their own. know you have a to go place!

  81. Idk if anyone has added this, it’s a long thread, but it would be good to have a detailed book of your local plant life. What’s edible, medicinal and poisonous. We also have packets of fast growing seeds. May never need them, but just might need them. We have three children.

  82. Faith first. Through Him all things are possible. There is plenty to use in the bucket. Learn how to use the items, take first aid courses, get in shape and keep praying.

  83. Epi pen is good, but if you need an epi pen most likely you will need Benadryl or some kind of antihistamine also.

  84. I am a new prepper. I have 11 in my family. Do I make 11 buckets and fill each bucket with contents for 1 person or do I fill the bucket with enough items to accommodate a certain number of ppl? What is the best way to go as this article didn’t say how many of each item to include. Thx!

    • If you plan on having to leave your home in this planned emergency, I would imagine the number of buckets to make up would depend on the number of people able to actually carry them. If you’re just making them up to stick around the house, you can make as many buckets as you like.

      As for how many of each item; that’s completely up to you. Most people, when creating their first emergency kit (and I say first because it won’t be your last), usually strive to be prepared for a minimum of 3 days (hence, “72-hour kits”).

      Like many others, I have several types or layers of kits that I’ve put together, and the contents of the kits vary according to purpose. About 30% of the items overlap those found in other kits, but a little redundancy never hurts in situations like these.

      72-hour kits: one for each family member able to carry them. They’re in backpacks though; and they’re located at a place within the home that they can literally grab-n-go at a moment’s notice (in case of fire or something else eminent)

      Get-home bags: There’s one in each vehicle that can help get 1-3 people (size of my immediate family) safely home in case travelling in that vehicle isn’t an option (in case of grid-lock). This bag is in addition to the tote in every vehicle with other emergency items (flares, water, food, blankets, jumper cables, etc., etc.)

      Bug-out-Bags (B.O.B.’s): One for every person that can carry it. These are a bit more comprehensive and are a bit heavier to match.

      I.N.C.H. Trailer (I’m Never Coming Home): In the rare case I have the luxury of leaving with my vehicle (well-equipped off road vehicle), I have an expedition style trailer that I keep loaded with everything I could possibly need in a grim situation. It’s always ready to just hook-up and go. I justify keeping it around as it’s the same trailer that I use when camping.

    • We found screw on lids this summer, actually at Walmart. The lid is in two pieces: the outside rim snaps on to the bucket rim, then the center, which is nearly the same diameter as the bucket, screws on. They are waterproof, at least for rain, as we have put them to use in rain and hail.

  85. 2 important things I see left out on many lists is bug repellent and sunscreen. Also a small amount of mosquito netting..can easily be taped to a cap to keep bugs off your face. I also added to our list a can of Dermaplast. Can get at any drugstore or large chain store in the first aid area. Great for burns with a numbing agent.

  86. If storing battery operated devices that use disposable batteries, such as flashlights and radios, make sure to store the batteries separately, in their own bag.

    Murphy says that batteries left in any device will have leaked and corroded by the time you need to use it.

    I have seen it happen several times, with devices that were turned off, and stored for relatively short periods of time (weeks to a few months.)

    In my experience, Duracell’s were the worst offender, and as such, are no longer on my list of acceptable batteries for cache storage.. Sometimes the batteries tested good, but had still leaked all over the place..

    Another suggestion is to tape a package of lightsticks inside the lid of each cache, so that a light source is immediately available.

    In addition to dividing items by function, I like to divide expendable items into smaller bags suitable for a single day, a single person, or single use, so that a cache can be divided as needed, and a short duration event does not deplete the entire cache. For instance, disposable plates, utensils, paper towels, nitrile gloves, commonly used first-aid supplies, trauma pack, feminine hygiene, etc. I also like to create caches for short-term, 72 hour, and extended uses..

    I always cache water in a separate container, following an unfortunate incident when a 2 gallon water container leaked, and flooded the cache at the office, destroying most of the contents, and creating a mold monster in the process..

    For the same reason, I like to package everything in zip-lock freezer bags.

    Much as we love to hate single use drinking water bottles, they are my choice for emergency caches, as they provide a reusable container for each person, and limit the loss in the event of a container failure. They are also easy to cycle out on a regular basis.

  87. When we are out at hunting camp in Alaska, we also use 5 gallon buckets with tight fitting lids for refrigeration. Simply put a heavy rock in the bottom for weight, fill with food items, seal lid, and sink into a creek. If the water is swift, you may need to tie off the bucket with a rope.

  88. Replace the petroleum jelly with coconut oil. So many more uses. Can also cook with it. Also add tea tree oil. Also many uses. Helps keep rid of lice. Mix with coconut oil to clean face. add some lavender oil or lemon oil to help keep rid of ticks etc. Very small & lightweight bottles.

  89. I’ve heard that if you add a few drops of hand sanitizer that has alcohol in it, it will help build a fire. I tried it at camp once because people were having problems starting a fire, guess what….BINGO it worked. You could even put this on cotton balls.

  90. I purchased 3-5 gallon buckets from Orchard Hardware and Garden Supply in 2013 to put some household cleaning supplies in to transport to storage until I got my new place. I use them for other purposes now that I am in my new place, but I just checked the bottom of the and was please to see that they are food grade 5 gallon buckets as they have the HDPE 2 emblem on the bottom. I was surprised to see this but it makes sense since they can also be used to grow food that we can consume and Orchard also has a garden center.

  91. I saw comments about duct tape outside the bucket… That might work for a while, but I could see that getting beat up as the bucket was transported and also becoming affected by UV if left in the sun. When I go out to teach survival exercises to my cadets I have an old Subway gift card that is just wide enough to wrap duct tape around and it works great for putting your duct tape in your pocket. Gets a lot of tape on there in a lot less space even than your average wallet! I would then take that card shape and tape it to the lid of the bucket in this case for easy access when not in use

  92. Just a couple of corrections about EpiPens:

    – 20 months? The one we have expires after 12 months! Definitely check that expiration date.

    – Also, it’s important to know that the effectiveness of an EpiPen can wear off after a relatively short time (20 minutes or less). It’s definitely worth having one on-hand, but if you’re in a situation where medical help could be hours (or days) away, you can’t rely on one jab of an EpiPen to save you – you need to be hyper-vigilant about avoiding contact with things that could trigger an anaphylactic reaction.

    (Not trying to be a downer here, but as you said, this could be a matter of life or death.)

  93. Do any of you watch “Naked and Afraid”? Have you seen their SKIN?!? I’d pack gallons of insect repellent. Those poor people are covered in mosquito bites.

  94. We do this at the place I work.its a home for troubled teens but we do food , we check it every 4 months an up date all food , this is used in case of emergency only an believe me sometimes in the winter when the roads are really bad they use it .

  95. It would be helpful to list the expiration dates of medical supplies next to the item on the list.
    What about an emergency kit for your animals.
    The medical kit should have a list of each family members meds, strengths, etc

  96. not something to put in the bucket but rather keep with the bucket – a bucket wrench to open the bucket. I make laundry soap and some days it’s a bear to get the bucket open…

  97. I wandered onto this site looking for something else and read few some of the comments.

    You all might like to think about adding in some pouches of tobacco and rolling papers to your kits. Maybe you don’t smoke yourself but if there is one thing that the history of people-surviving-nasty-shit teaches is that tobacco or smokes is the best ‘currency’ going.

    Stored right tobacco will keep for centuries and after The Zombie Apocalypse strikes any smoker will trade his daughter’s virginity for a pack of Green Apple.

    And don’t forget, the Day After is when you finally realise that quitting smoking a decade ago was a bit of waste. Who cares about lung cancer when the world has gone to hell around you?

    Also tobacco has a myriad of uses besides smoking or trading.

  98. An ER Doctor friend suggests a roll of electrical tape. Waterproof, and stretches for use as compression to stop bleeding.

  99. Why carry two different sizes of batteries? Ditch the AAA requiring flashlight and get one that uses AA. AA batteries tend to last three times as long under similar loading as an AA battery. Put the batteries in a mylar pouch or some other container and rotate often — having acid from batteries over the rest of your survival stuff, well, sucks.

  100. Depending on your scenario:
    1) Signal mirror
    2) Compass
    3) Small fishing kit (hooks, line, weights & maybe bobbers)
    4) Knife big enough to sharpen sticks
    5) Map(s)
    6) Small solar panel or crank generator.
    7) Small pot for cooking/water purification
    8) Cellophane or other clear plastic for a solar still.
    9) Swiss army knife (phillips/slotted screw drivers, p38 can opener, pen-knife, saw, scissors, tweezers)

  101. I know this is an old post but i feel my comments may provide some use to people.

    I’m an Army Medic Similar to an UK paramedic or USA EMT.

    Sanitary pads are great, they are designed to soak up blood not stop blood flow and they are great at it.
    pop a sanitary pad over a wound and apply pressure, the wound and elevate it, it should stop bleeding, if not, you should be thinking tourniquet.
    But get some training, a Tourniquet may very well stop the bleed, BUT !!!!!!! you will most likely the limb (Arm / Leg) you put it on will need to be amputated.
    Training, Training, Training…. I cant say it enough.

    In my experience tampons aren’t worth it in a first aid kit, when soaked in a load of blood or fluid, they start to disintegrate, ask any woman that uses them.

    The Israeli type bandages are cheap simple to use and work to stop sever bleeds. I recommend having a look on YouTube to see how to use them, then if you feel you need them buy some.
    Quick Clot ACS or Celox Gauze are great and you don’t need to much training to use, they are simple & effective, not exactly cheap but its worth thinking about.
    For an idea for First aid kits look at AMP-3 website they sell excelent ready made kits or if you cant afford one, you will get a bunch of ideas too, The Doc that makes these has his own YouTube channel USNERDOC why not have a look.
    Final note Training, Get some

  102. There is a great deal of both good and bad advice here. Remember, “Fortune favors the prepared mind”. All the useful tools and gadgets listed here are useless unless you learn the skills necessary to survive. The most effective tool you have is between your ears. Training and determination to survive will make the difference. Plan your BOB carefully and research everything you can. People were surviving long before all the modern tools we have today but people today are unused to the conditions we can expect WSHTF. There are hundreds of good websites available to teach the skills you will need when, not if, the time comes. The time to learn is now. Having good tools and gadgets is great but you need to learn how to use them. Plan trips to wilderness areas and take the bare minimum you can. Learn to use what is around you. Food, shelter, clothing, defense. But, above all, determination to do what is necessary to survive.

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  105. Good God – – -all you males who have responded negatively and worried about a menstrual pad or tampon – – you are probably the least qualified to comment on their function or purpose. . They work for the intended purpose and quite frankly a whole bunch that your little minds cannot begin to invent or comprehend what else they might be useful for because they are a “woman’s” product. If you are bleeding profusely and need something to help with the wound – this would be the most useful and easy item to have on hand. You don’t have to bend over to need this in an emergency.

  106. If you have food vacuum sealer – you can seal packages of socks and underwear for yourself and infants/kids. This decreases the volume of these items and keeps them dry.

  107. Pingback: Survival Kit Ideen, die in einen 5 Gallonen Eimer passen | 5 Gallonen Ideen – Campingknoten Blog

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