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The Best Emergency Preparedness Supplies

Updated Dec 10, 2022
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Emergency-supply checklists are abundant across the internet, including recommendations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (PDF), the American Red Cross, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But those lists can be intimidating in their breadth and their specificity. In reality, for the most part you can assemble a basic emergency kit out of stuff you may already own. And there’s no such thing as a single kit that’s exactly right for everyone.

Reliance Aqua-Tainer 7-Gallon, the best water container for one or two people

Reliance Aqua-Tainer 7-Gallon

The best water container for one or two people
This sturdy, portable 7-gallon plastic jug has smart features, including a tethered air vent for easy pouring.
We recommend
Augason Farms 55-Gallon Water Storage Barrel, the best water container for more than two people

Augason Farms 55-Gallon Water Storage Barrel

The best water container for more than two people
This large drum, which is made of food-grade plastic, allows you to store an entire family’s supply of water.
We recommend
First Aid Only 299 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit (FAO-442), the best general-use first-aid kit

First Aid Only 299 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit (FAO-442)

The best general-use first-aid kit
This First Aid Only kit has all the necessary gear for treating minor scrapes, cuts, and burns (including an abundance of adhesive bandages), and it includes a decent first-aid booklet.
We recommend
Adventure Medical Kits Sportsman 400, the best first aid kit for more-advanced care

Adventure Medical Kits Sportsman 400

The best first aid kit for more-advanced care
The Sportsman 400 contains additional supplies for treating severe penetrating injuries and broken bones.
We recommend
3M 8511 N95 Cool Flow Valve Particulate Respirator, the best disposable respirator

3M 8511 N95 Cool Flow Valve Particulate Respirator

The best disposable respirator
Relatively comfortable, this mask filters out 95% of airborne particulates.
We recommend
Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer, the best hand sanitizer

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer

The best hand sanitizer
The coronavirus pandemic has greatly affected the ability to find Purell, our hand sanitizer pick. Rather than focus on former testing criteria, we think it’s most important to store extra of any brand that’s effective.
We recommend
Husky 42-Gallon Contractor Clean-Up Bags (50-Count), the best garbage bags

Husky 42-Gallon Contractor Clean-Up Bags (50-Count)

The best garbage bags
Husky’s 42-gallon bags are extra-thick, so they ward off punctures—which is important if garbage pickup is delayed and your full trash bags end up sitting in your yard for weeks or longer.
We recommend
UST 60-Day Duro Lantern, the best tabletop lantern

UST 60-Day Duro Lantern

The best tabletop lantern
This model is ruggedly built, powerful, and brighter than any other model we tested.
We recommend
Black Diamond Spot 350, the best headlamp

Black Diamond Spot 350

The best headlamp
Bright, durable, and long-running, the Spot 350 offers the best mix of the most important features at an affordable price.
We recommend
The Friendly Swede Emergency Easy-Grip Fire Starter, the best fire-starter tool

The Friendly Swede Emergency Easy-Grip Fire Starter

The best fire-starter tool
No backup fire starter we tested was as easy to use or created as many sparks as this model from The Friendly Swede.
We recommend
Instafire Fire Starter, the best fire starter

Instafire Fire Starter

The best fire starter
The Instafire burns hot and long, and a single packet can start multiple fires.
We recommend
Honda EU2200i, the best generator

Honda EU2200i

The best generator
The quietest, lightest, and most powerful 2,200 watt generator we tested is easy to start, and the Bluetooth app makes monitoring its power input simple.
We recommend
Midland ER310, tough, dynamic, and portable

Midland ER310

Tough, dynamic, and portable
With great radio reception, NOAA early-warning notifications, and a hand crank that effectively revives it, the ER310 is a durable, compact radio that doubles as a flashlight and charging station.
We recommend
Bestek 300W Power Inverter, the best power inverter for cars

Bestek 300W Power Inverter

The best power inverter for cars
More-sensitive gadgets may not function correctly while using this DC-to-AC converter, but a smoother converter costs $100 or more.
We recommend
BigBlue 28W USB Solar Charger, the best portable solar charger

BigBlue 28W USB Solar Charger

The best portable solar charger
This lightweight solar charger puts out a lot of power for the size. Plus, it has three output ports, to charge more devices at the same time than the competition.
We recommend
Duracell Quantum Alkaline AA Batteries, the best disposable batteries

Duracell Quantum Alkaline AA Batteries

The best disposable batteries
These batteries score highly in third-party tests for capacity and storage ability, and they have a 10-year shelf life.
We recommend
No-Spill 2½ Gallon Can, the best gas can

No-Spill 2½ Gallon Can

The best gas can
In our tests, this gas can had the easiest spout to operate by far, and it didn’t spill a drop when pouring.
We recommend
SurvivalKitsOnline On-Duty Emergency Gas and Water Shutoff 4-in-1 Tool, the best gas shut-off tool

SurvivalKitsOnline On-Duty Emergency Gas and Water Shutoff 4-in-1 Tool

The best gas shut-off tool
This simple but versatile wrench was invented for disaster response.
We recommend
Leatherman Skeletool CX, the best multi-tool

Leatherman Skeletool CX

The best multi-tool
A favorite of tool aficionados, the Skeletool CX has all of the essential implements you’ll likely need, but it’s also easy to carry and use.
We recommend
Shoreline Marine Emergency Survival Whistle, the best signaling whistle

Shoreline Marine Emergency Survival Whistle

The best signaling whistle
This cheap, brightly colored whistle proved louder and easier to hear at a distance than more expensive products.
We recommend
Duck Brand MAX Strength Duct Tape, the best duct tape

Duck Brand MAX Strength Duct Tape

The best duct tape
This duct tape adheres to pretty much any surface.
We recommend
Rand McNally EasyFinder, the best road map

Rand McNally EasyFinder

The best road map
EasyFinder maps are simpler to read than those in any other road atlas.
We recommend
Suunto A-10, the best compass

Suunto A-10

The best compass
This cheap, reliable compass is perfect for ameteur orienteering.
We recommend
Quick Dam Flood Bags, the best sandbags

Quick Dam Flood Bags

The best sandbags
If you have sand on hand, cheap polypropylene bags will do the job. But for city folk looking for hassle-free prep, “sandless” bags are the way to go.
We recommend
First Alert PRO5, the best fire extinguisher

First Alert PRO5

The best fire extinguisher
Easy to handle and effective against all types of common fires, this First Alert model exceeds the minimum recommendations for the home and is easy to find.
We recommend
Iris Clear Weathertight Totes, the best storage container

Iris Clear Weathertight Totes

The best storage container
This easy-to-carry container is the best water- and impact-resistant storage bin we’ve found.
We recommend
Rubbermaid 1191 ActionPacker, a tougher but heavier box

Rubbermaid 1191 ActionPacker

A tougher but heavier box
A larger, burlier box is a good choice if you want to be able to lock up your gear or throw it into a pickup bed and take it on the road.
We recommend

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