Owners like the included bag’s styling, which doesn’t scream “emergency.” Decent quality supplies, users report. Bag has enough room to pack extra supplies or clothing. Crank-charge flashlight/radio is a nice plus.
Backpack is a little bit small and the straps are somewhat narrow. Toothbrushes seem cheap. Unlike everything else in the bag, toilet paper is not in waterproof packaging. Varied expiration dates on packages in kit.
Owners feel the kit is adequate for a short-term survival situation. Decent quality pack, with some extra room for additional items, which we recommend you add in case of a major disaster.
Dust mask and gloves are low quality, and first-aid kit is inadequate, owners report. Water packs tend to leak, soaking other items (thus losing their benefit).
A decent kit with most of the essentials to help in the short-term after an earthquake. Whistle, goggles and heavy-duty gloves are nice additions, users note.
Backpack is not waterproof and zipper breaks easily. Reports of water boxes leaking on arrival. Owners feel included food and water isn’t enough to sustain four people.
Included backpack has plenty of room for additional items, and is easier to carry with the chest strap that is included. Pocket stove is a nice plus.
Food is in four-person servings only, rather than one-person. Only enough water for a couple of days, not five. All food must be rehydrated, requiring more water. Some owners are turned off by the pungent mothball or vinyl smell of the package.
Fairly compact kit that stores easily in the car trunk or corner of the pantry. Experienced users feel it is a good starter earthquake kit. Sturdy carrying handle. “Nothing felt like a throwaway to bulk up the bag,” one user noted.
Water containers look like juice boxes, some owners feel, with only just enough water to get by on. Reports of water containers broken or leaking on arrival.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
No one likes thinking about natural disasters or other emergencies that might put your family at risk, but ignoring the possibility won’t keep you and your loved ones safe. Being prepared is the best way to ensure that your family is as safe as possible no matter what might happen.
If you live in an area that’s prone to earthquakes, an earthquake kit is an invaluable to have on hand. A good kit should contain everything a family needs to survive for a few days, in case help can’t get to you right away after a disaster. You can build your own earthquake preparation kit, but purchasing a pre-made version is often easier, cheaper, and safer than assembling the pieces yourself. But that’s only if you choose the right kit with all the proper supplies — and that can be tricky if you’re not exactly sure what a well-stocked earthquake kit should contain.
At BestReviews, we can help make the shopping process a little easier. We don’t accept products from manufacturers, so our recommendations are completely unbiased. We also conduct field and expert research to examine the top earthquake kits on the market more closely, which allows us to pass along all the info you need to choose the best kit for your family. Choose from our top picks, and for general info on choosing an earthquake kit, continue reading our shopping guide.
If you live in an area classified as high risk for damaging earthquakes, an earthquake kit is a must-have to keep your family safe. Earthquakes occur most frequently in Alaska, California, Nevada, Hawaii, Washington, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Oregon, but Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, and Tennessee are at higher than average risk as well.
You don’t necessarily need to live in an earthquake-prone area to purchase an earthquake kit, though. These kits can come in handy for any disaster, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding.
Pre-made earthquake kits are often cheaper than purchasing the essential items individually as well, so you can save you money.
While it’s possible to purchase the individual components for an earthquake kit on your own, it can be somewhat difficult to keep track of all the supplies, which may lead to you forgetting key items. A kit has all the items you need in one place, so you don’t wind up without an important item during an emergency. Kits are often cheaper than purchasing the essential items individually as well, which can save you money.
The food and water included in the kits are usually more shelf-stable than items you’d buy yourself, and are shelf-stable for as many as five years. That means you don’t need to replace the food and water as often as you would with a homemade kit.
Keep a list in your earthquake kit with the contact info for other family members, so you can get in touch even if you don’t have access to your cell phone.
Earthquake kits are available in a variety of sizes, in terms of both how many people a kit accomodates, and how many days the supplies will last. In most cases, you’ll have to choose between kits for two people and kits for four people, depending on the size of your household.
Emergency management organizations like FEMA and the Red Cross recommend having supplies for at least three days, so choose a kit with enough supplies for at least that period of time.
You can find kits that provide enough supplies for up to five days if you want some extra peace of mind.
Most earthquake kits come in some sort of container that houses and protects the items. Some containers are as simple as a large bucket or clear, vinyl pouch. This type of container isn’t always the easiest to carry if you must evacuate your home, though.
Kits that come in a high-quality backpack are usually your best bet. They are highly durable and portable, so if you need to leave your home, you can easily take all of your supplies with you.
Make sure you choose a kit with a backpack that has some empty compartments or pockets. That allows you to add personal items to the kit, to ensure that you have everything you need if an emergency occurs.
Test the weight of your earthquake kit to ensure that you can comfortably carry it. If it’s too heavy, eliminate unnecessary items, or divide items between a couple of bags, so multiple family members can carry them.
Two of the most important components of an earthquake kit are food and drinkable water. If you’re trapped in your home for a few days, you need plenty of each to survive.
Most earthquake kits contain pouches of water, which are easier to fit in a backpack or other container than bottled water.
It’s also a good idea to choose a kit that includes water purification powder, in case you run out of packaged water.
Earthquake kits typically contain two types of food: nutritious food bars that don’t require any preparation, and dehydrated food packets that require mixing with water and heating. A kit with both types ensures that you’ll have food to eat even if you don’t have access to electricity, or some other means of heating water.
Nutritious food bars are an ideal component for an earthquake kit, because you can easily eat them with any preparation.
You may suffer injuries or be exposed to a variety of hazardous conditions, either during a disastor or while navigating conditions afterward. Your earthquake kit should provide all the safety gear necessary to keep your family safe.
A first aid kit is obviously a necessity to deal with any possible injuries. The kit should contain:
Antiseptic cleansing wipes
Hydrocortisone cream packets
Adhesive plastic bandages in varying sizes
Gauze pads in different sizes
Gauze roll bandages
First aid tape
Gloves, preferably non-latex
First aid guide
An earthquake kit should also contain gloves, dust masks, and goggles or protective eyewear to keep you from touching, inhaling, or exposing your eyes to hazardous substances or materials.
It’s a good idea to choose a kit with biohazard bags, plastic sheeting, and duct tape too, so you can contain any possible dangerous materials that may be in your home.
In case you’re trapped in your home and need to alert rescue crews, your kit should have an emergency whistle, too.
It’s important to have a designated spot for your earthquake kit in your home, so it’s easily accessible, and everyone in the house knows where to find it.
Electricity can easily go out during an earthquake or other natural disaster, so you should choose an earthquake kit with at least one flashlight and some light sticks to illuminate your home.
A small radio and the appropriate batteries also come in handy because they allow you to stay up to date on possible news alerts. Some kits include a wind-up radio. These are an excellent option, particularly if you have the misfortune of being stuck in one place for an extended period of time.
It’s also a good idea for the kit to have some sort of multitool that features a screwdriver, can opener, knife, and other blades or useful items.
While the electricity may be out at your home after an earthquake, it’s a good idea to have a spare cell phone charger in your earthquake kit to charge your phone if the opportunity presents itself.
You may not have access to running water, but it’s important to have some toiletries in your earthquake kit just in case. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and a washcloth are obviously important, as are a comb, razor, and feminine pads.
Some other items that come in handy in an earthquake kit include blankets, an emergency poncho, moist wipes, and rope.
When an earthquake occurs, you should drop to the ground, take cover under a heavy piece of furniture, and hold onto the item until the trembling stops.
Earthquake kits vary in price based on their size, container, and contents. You can typically expect to spend between $40 and $300.
For a kit with supplies for two people that will last about three days, you’ll usually pay between $40 and $60.
For a kit with supplies for two people that will last about five days, you’ll usually pay between $60 and $80.
For a kit with supplies for four people that will last about three days, you’ll usually pay between $140 and $180.
For a kit with supplies for four people that will last about five days, you’ll usually pay between $200 and $300.
The garage is often a good place to keep an earthquake kit because garages are usually built on a concrete floors, which provides more stability during an earthquake. That means your garage is more likely to be accessible after a disaster.
Items in your earthquake kit have a shelf life, so keep track of when they expire, and replace them as needed.
You should supplement your earthquake kit with personal items, such as prescription medicines and copies of important documents, such as your insurance policies and identification.
Q. What’s the most important feature to look for in an earthquake kit container?
A. Ideally, your kit should be highly portable, so you can grab it and go if you have to evacuate your home. That’s why kits that come in a backpack are so convenient. But it’s important to look for a kit that comes in a backpack or bag that’s water-resistant and tear-resistant, to ensure that it will hold up in emergency situations.
Q. What type of shelf life do the food and water pouches in earthquake kits usually have?
A. The shelf life of the food and water depends on the specific kit, so it’s important to read the manufacturer's instructions to determine when items expire. In general, though, water pouches have a shelf life of five years, while whole food bars and pouches typically have a seven year shelf life.
Q. What additional items should you add to a store-bought earthquake kit?
A. In addition to personal items, such as medication and documents, you may also want to add a change of clothes and some cash to the bag, in case you must leave your home. It’s also important to take your pets into account — make sure that you have food, water, a leash, medications, and any other items that your furry friend may need.
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