Emergency Survival Kit: What Supplies You Need for an Emergency | The Old Farmer's Almanac

How to Make Your Own Emergency Survival Kit

Primary Image
Emergency backpack equipment organized on the table. Documents, water,food, first aid kit and another items needed to survive.
Photo Credit

What Supplies Do You Need for an Emergency?

Print Friendly and PDF
No content available.

Keep the following supplies in your emergency survival kit, and you will be prepared for any adverse situation! 

An emergency survival kit is essential for unforeseen crises. From natural disasters to unforeseen accidents, having a well-equipped kit ensures you’re prepared for any situation. It provides critical supplies, like food, water, first aid items, and tools, offering a lifeline when traditional resources may be unavailable. Preparedness is key to survival.

Have these items prepared in survival bags—portable bags, such as duffels or backpacks, that are used solely for holding emergency supplies. Store survival bags in an easily accessible place. If evacuation is necessary, be sure to follow the directions of local authorities.

Food and Water for Emergencies


  • You should have a three-day supply of non-perishable food, including ready-to-eat canned goods. Try to choose high-energy foods, such as granola, dried fruit, nuts, protein bars, and jerky. Avoid overly salty foods, like chips and pretzels, as they will make you thirsty. 
  • Be sure to have a manual can opener on hand, as well as eating utensils. 
  • Prepare for any special dietary needs of your family.
  • It’s also possible to buy freeze-dried foods or meal kits in bulk, which are specially made and packaged for use in emergency situations.
  • Review your food supplies occasionally and eliminate anything that has exceeded its “use by” date.


  • Keep on hand a three-day supply of water. You should have at least one gallon of water for each person, per day (more is preferable). To ensure safe drinking water, it is recommended to buy commercially bottled water.

Health and Safety Supplies

  • First Aid Kit, including non-prescription medication and antibacterial gel.
  • Be sure to stock extra prescription medication and any other special medical or sanitary needs, such as extra diapers and formula for babies.
  • Tissues, paper towels, and toilet paper can also come in handy.
  • Be sure to check out our tips for health emergencies as well.

Clothing for Your Survival Kit

  • Plan accordingly for the climate you live in. Layered clothing can help you stay warm and dry. 
  • Include at least one complete change of clothes for each person.
  • Be sure to think about socks and appropriate (waterproof) footwear, as well.

Survival Tools for Emergencies

  • Flashlights, with extra batteries (or mechanical, squeeze-type flashlights)
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Paper and pencil
  • Signal flares
  • Extra cell phone battery or battery packs
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Pocket knife
  • Nylon rope
  • Duct tape
  • Cash

Important Family Documents

Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container.

  • Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
  • Photo IDs, passports, social security cards, immunization records
  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit card account numbers and companies
  • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
  • Photocopies of credit and identification cards

Check out what you should have in your car safety kit as well. Plus, find out what to do when the power goes out.

Do you have any other suggestions for emergency survival kits? Let us know below!

About The Author

Catherine Boeckmann

Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprising that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann

No content available.