Emergency Kit and Outdoor Recreation Essentials List
submitted by Denis Korn
For most people, planning for emergencies is similar to planning for a camping trip or any other outdoor adventure. The biggest difference is determining whether to plan for camping away from home or in your own residence – or perhaps both. The equipment to include in your emergency kit or camping supplies list will be very comparable. Differences and variations will generally depend upon the severity of the emergency and the length of time you anticipate for your emergency scenario. Long term emergencies and explorations will require more extensive planning and provisioning.
Important questions to answer as you do your planning:
- Are the equipment and supplies necessary to fulfill your needs going to be selected based on how cheap they are, or will you purchase items based on quality, value, and reliability?
- What are the repercussions or benefits from the choices that are made? Who is affected?
- What chances are you willing to take with inferior and inadequate provisions?
These suggestions focus on basic necessities and are not intended to be an exhaustive and detailed list of all choices, as each person or group has their own special requirements and needs. While there are numerous options to choose from in each category, you can use this guideline of essentials to ensure you have evaluated all the possibilities given the scenarios and circumstances for which you are preparing and provisioning, whether for preparedness planning or outdoor adventuring.
Be clear about the time factors, persons involved, and situations that you anticipate will occur in an emergency or an outdoor experience. Knowing this information is crucial to stocking the appropriate items in the appropriate quantities. Proper provisioning is about safety, health, protection, comfort, and peace of mind – for not only yourself but also your family and friends.
If you anticipate having to relocate, have your transportable supplies in one or two easily accessible carriers, especially if you must leave in a hurry.
* Large duffle/canvass bag
* Lightweight suitcase
* Wheeled device
Water is an obvious necessity for everyone. Know what water sources are available to you during an emergency, at home or in the outdoors. Plan accordingly and don’t hold back preparing for this essential category.
* Water purifier/filter
* Purification tablets
* Separate containers for dirty and treated water
* Multiple containers depending upon situation
* Specially packaged water
Numerous options are available. This category must be accessed carefully depending upon the length of time of the emergency or outing, as well as the severity of circumstances you anticipate might occur.
* Bars (granola, energy, protein, life-sustaining)
* Freeze-dried/dehydrated foods
* Canned foods
* Boxed foods
* Bulk foods
* Ready-to-eat foods
4. Food preparation
If you must relocate and plan on cooking or heating water, consider lightweight and efficient equipment.
* Cookware kit
* Water/food bottle
* Hand operated can opener
5. Fire starter/matches/lighter
Be prepared for any situation and the possible need to start a fire, especially if weather conditions are severe.
* Flint/magnesium starters
* Waterproof tinder
* Windproof high quality lighters
* Matches in a waterproof container
When your health and survival during a medical emergency is at stake, you don’t want to rely on cheap or inadequate medical supplies. This is an important category to thoughtfully evaluate. Don’t forget medications or products needed for those with special medical conditions.
* Quality kit
* Essential medications
7. Personal hygiene/sanitary supplies
Depending on individual circumstances and your location, it is vital to prevent any problems that might arise from unsanitary conditions. Take precautions to ensure a disease free environment. The length of an emergency and living/camping conditions require different approaches to personal hygiene.
* Personal hygiene items
* Feminine hygiene items
* Treated towelettes
* Sanitary toilet provisions
* Plastic bags
Clothing is essential for warmth, comfort, and protection from insects and the elements.
* Proper clothing for the elements and possible weather conditions
* Appropriate shoes/boots
* Rain gear
* Cold weather gear – layered clothing
It's important to use shelter for protection from insects and the elements, as well as for warmth, sleeping, comfort, and privacy.
* Tarps and any necessary ropes
* Plastic sheeting/large plastic trash bags
* Sleeping bag/bivy bag
* Emergency/regular blankets
* Insect netting
It is important to keep informed during an emergency with friends, family, and appropriate governmental agencies and emergency organizations. When in an outdoor environment, unsettled weather considerations necessitate weather alert radios. Avoid a sense of isolation during serious emergencies.
* Radios – hand cranked, solar, batteries
* Two-way radios
* Cell phones and chargers
* Signaling devices
* PLB (personal locator beacon)
* Weather alert radios
This is an essential category to address when anticipating any situation where you may be in darkness. Light provides not only a sense of security and comfort, but also the ability to see clearly and act accordingly if emergencies happen in the dark.
* Flashlight – hand cranked, solar, batteries, LED and regular bulbs
* Lantern – hand cranked, solar, batteries, propane/mantel, candle, LED and regular bulbs
* Strobe light
* Extra batteries/power source
Numerous unforeseen situations or just routine conditions occur during an emergency or during an outdoor adventure. Be prepared and secure with quality tools.
* Multi-use tool
* Repair tools
* Rope/wire/bungee cords
* Fishing/hunting gear
* Duct tape
* Plastic bags
* Sewing and repair supplies
* Weather condition instruments
13. Emergency instructions, guidance, support, back up
Important and accurate information can not only be helpful; it can be life-saving. Researching reliable and trustworthy information sources is a vital component to preparedness and outdoor survival planning. Establishing family communication and reunion plans is also essential for security and peace of mind.
* Medical information
* Emergency/survival information
* Edible wild foods publications
* Essential personal documents
* Phone numbers and addresses of friends, relatives, and emergency organizations/agencies
* Spare keys
* Instructions on meeting and/or communicating with family and/or friends during or after an emergency
14. Solar/storage/hand cranked power devices
A reliable power supply can be crucial in an emergency or for various outdoor recreational activities. Many valuable communication, radio, and lighting devices require power. Currently there are a number of dependable solar, storage, and hand operated units available to power your electronic devices.
Items requiring power sources:
* Electronic devices
It is impossible to know for certain what circumstances might exist during a serious emergency and for what duration normal financial activities will be disrupted. Access to electronic funds or use of credit cards may not be possible. Cash or barter may be the only means of paying for goods or services.
* Cash in smaller denomination bills
* Smaller items for barter
16. Personal security
Each individual must decide the extent to which they will provide protection for themselves and their families from physical harm by others or wild animals.
* Bear repellant
17. Special needs
This category must not be overlooked if you, other family members, or friends have special needs and require individual attention.
* Personal items specifically required by special needs individuals
* Medical items and prescriptions – consider having an adequate supply on hand in the event of a prolonged emergency
* Special foods or other items for children, elderly, disabled
18. Transportation support
An often overlooked category, specific transportation support must be assessed, especially for longer duration emergencies or for outdoor activities where the transportation devices are critical. Evaluate these options, determine which ones you will utilize, determine what you will need to ensure safety, comfort, repair potential, and adequacy to handle the transportation of your provisions.
* Motor Vehicle
* By foot