The first thing you’ll need is a weather resistant backpack to store your items in. Something that’s easy to carry, as comfort matters if you’re going to be carrying it for days at a time.
Here’s a list of items to consider adding to your kit. It’s your choice what to add and what not to, but remember that it’s always better to be over prepared than under prepared.
WATER & FOOD
First and foremost, you will need enough water and food to last you at least 3 days.
3L of water per person: you’ll need at least 1L of water/person/day. More is better, but the more water you have the more difficult your kit will be to carry. Find the balance that’s right for you.
3 days worth of non-perishable food: you’ll want food that can be stored for long periods, are easy to prepare, and are high calorie and high nutrient. Some ideas are protein bars, granola bars, peanut butter, beef jerky, fruit cups, raisins, crackers, ramen noodles, etc. If you want to go fancy you can go with MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) or freeze dried food.
A mess kit: disposable plates, cups, forks, knives and spoons to eat and drink with.
Garbage bags: for cleaning up. They can be used as ponchos as well.
Ziploc bags: to save leftovers with.
Water purification tablets: if you need any extra water.
3oz of gel fuel: for cooking if the power is out.
A compact camping stove: they can be a bit expensive and heavy, but if you have some extra money and some extra hands it can be helpful. It can make cooking and boiling water easier.
TOOLS & EQUIPMENT
Next, you’ll need various tools and equipment.
A battery powered radio: have a backup set of batteries. It may be your only way to find out what’s going on during an emergency.
An LED flashlight: brighter and more efficient than regular flashlights. Go with yellow or white, the brightest colors. Have an extra set of batteries as well.
Swiss army knife: many potential uses.
Strike anywhere matches: place in a waterproof case, with a piece of emery board for striker.
Pencil and notebook: for taking notes, writing down information.
Sewing kit: to fix clothing and gear.
Compass: for navigation if you’re on the move.
Candles: for light if the power goes out.
Mirror: for grooming and treating wounds that are difficult to see.
Whistle: for scaring off animals and signaling to others.
Plastic sheeting and duct tape: many purposes, such as sealing broken windows.
A map of your area: if you need to move.
Camping Gear: can be helpful if you live near a lot of wilderness or open spaces.
Gas mask: if you live in an area that could be a potential terrorist target, or could potentially face a chemical disaster, you might consider getting a gas mask.
Some personal and miscellaneous items to consider adding:
First aid kit: for treating minor wounds and injuries.
Copies of important documents: your passport, driver’s license, contact phone numbers, etc.
Medication: extra supplies of any medication you and your family might need.
Extra glasses/contact lenses: for anyone in your family that need them.
Personal hygiene: shampoo, soap, toothbrush and paste, disinfectant, tissues, etc.
A warm blanket
A poncho: to stay warm in the rain and snow.
Emergency cash: have some extra cash on hand, for food, lodging, etc.
Place the items in your bag, and store somewhere that’s out of reach, but can be grabbed easily in an emergency.
If you’re interested, check out my site for more specific kits, such as wilderness survival kits and pocket-sized survival kits.
Good luck and Stay prepared!