Skip to main content

How To Make a DIY Emergency Kit

While proper prepping usually consists of surviving at home, you should recognize that there may come a day when that’s impossible. Should that day come, you will want to be ready with a DIY Emergency Kit. And one that will not cost you ‘the farm’. So what items and how much?

An emergency kit should cover the necessary equipment and supplies:

* Food  * Cooking * Water

* Mechanical and chemical water purifier 

* Firestarter * Shelter * Survival tools * Light

* First-aid kit * Hygiene items

* Communications 

All for about $100DIY Emergency Kit

Having an emergency kit is an important step to prepare and protect yourself and your family from various unforeseen events.

A DIY emergency kit is essential for short-term survival providing vital items for yourself, your family, or your homestead. It is a good idea to always keep your kit in a handy place, at the ready and known to everyone in your household. There might come a time when you will have to ‘bug out’ quickly.

Who Should Make a DIY Emergency Preparedness Kit?


First responders and other essential services personnel work their tails off to keep us safe, in touch, and happy. Unfortunately, they can’t be everywhere at once during a major emergency, such as an earthquake, the aftermath of a tornado, or civil unrest.

Police and ambulance response times suffer under the strain of need. Store shelves are bought out or looted in panics.

Floodwaters can’t be held back forever. By ensuring that everyone in your household has their own emergency bag, in addition to the preparations that you’ve made at home, you and yours will be better prepared to take care of one another when no one else can.

The idea behind a DIY emergency kit, ‘aka’ a bug-out bag, is to give you enough equipment and supplies to last for three days.

For each person.

That’s why many people refer to it as a 72-hour bag.

Three Emergency Kit Combinations Tested

I recently had the opportunity to look at some of the best bug-out bags on the market. These are all bags that were designed by “professional preppers.” They were all rather impressive in their contents – with a price tag to match.

I’ve got to tell you, a good bug-out bag is expensive. Mostly that’s because of what is in it. These bags all had a great selection of emergency and survival equipment, more than you’d actually need for 72 hours.

The three bags I looked at were:

* SurvialKit Ultimate 72-Hour Survival Kit – $189.95

* Echo-Sigma Bug Out Bag – $499.99

* 72bugoutbag PrepReady Ultimate Bug Out Bag – $899.00

If you think those prices are steep, you must not have seen the fancy ones. I saw some bug-out bags that went for as much as $2000 or more! The most expensive so far retails for $3,249.00.


So, what makes these so pricey? These prepacked bug-out bags all come in a high-quality backpack or equipment case. They contain enough food and water to last the three days, plus an assortment of survival equipment.

It’s the equipment that really drives the cost up. Quality survival equipment isn’t cheap. A good quality knife can easily run over $100. You can spend another $60 or $70 for a multi-tool.

Things add up quickly.

Are These Survival Kits Best

The other concern driving the cost of the equipment up is the weight. These kits use a lot of backpacking gear, which is all designed to be ultra-lightweight. You drive the cost up when you start getting tent pegs and pots made out of titanium to save weight.

I’m not going to say that any of these are bad; in fact, I’d say that they are all excellent, price aside. They all cover the necessary areas of equipment and supplies:

That’s a lot of stuff to put in one backpack, but these kits all do that and do it well. They vary in how they do it, as you can see from the difference in price.

Of course, the more expensive the kit, the fancier and harder the equipment inside. These companies aren’t ripping you off; they’re giving you a good deal for the equipment you’re getting, especially when considering convenience.

I have to say, though, these kits are overkill. While supposedly 72-hour kits, they have enough good equipment that someone with the right survival skills could live in the wild for months.

The only thing that keeps these kits from being enough to survive for months in the wilderness is having enough food and a few other consumables. That’s why I said someone with the right survival skills could live off them. They would have to be able to come up with food from the land.

A DIY emergency kit could be assembled for much less than these Cadillac kits. In fact, I’ll show you how to do that. I’ll give you everything you need so that you can build your own.

Picking emergency supplies up at Walmart or Amazon or right here on this site.

In the meantime, if you want to buy a pre-made bug-out bag, by all means, do so.

Buy the best one that you can afford. While that high-dollar survival equipment might be overkill in a short-term bug-out, there is no guarantee that you’ll need to survive for only 72 hours.

That’s the rub. Actually, that’s why I think these kits have such good equipment in them. The people who put them together assume you’ll have to survive for more than 72 hours.

If you think about it, that’s a good way to think.

Emergencies don’t announce themselves and give you an agenda; they just show up and mess up your life. Being prepared for everything should extend to a bug-out bag as well

Nevertheless, if you’re one of those that can’t afford a high-dollar pre-made bug-out bag, there is hope. I built my own fairly cheaply, and you can too.

You probably already have several things sitting around the house to help you get started. Since necessity is the mother of invention, being able to see what you have on hand and how you can use it makes you a practical inventor.

So, let’s get inventive and see what we can do to create our own bug-out bag.

How To Make An Emergency Kit

I know I probably freaked you out a bit with those prices in my review of pre-made bug-out bags. If it makes you feel any better, they also freak me out. I couldn’t bring myself to pay that much for a bug-out bag.

In part, that’s because I built my own bug-out bag, and while it cost me a bit, it didn’t cost me anywhere near as much as those do. Even so, my bag isn’t the cheapest thing you can go with.

It’s intended for me to survive for quite a while in a crisis.

A bug-out bag is also known as a 72-hour bag since it has three days worth of food in it. You could just as easily make a five-day bag, but the standard that everyone goes by is three, often because of the weight of the food.

I also mentioned that all that equipment is expensive, especially the specialty survival equipment. You can save yourself a bundle by not buying all that. Of course, it isn’t worth having if you don’t know what to do with all that gear.

Your DIY emergency kit must provide everything you need to create shelter, keep you warm, get clean drinking water, and feed you.

You’ll also need some means of communication, a few basic tools, and a small first-aid kit.

You probably already have some of what you need, so let’s start with that.

Whenever you decide to build something for survival, list what you have. There’s no sense in spending money on something if you don’t need to.

You’ll need a backpack or other carry bag to start with.Bug Out Bag A gym bag will also work, although a backpack gives you the most versatility and ease of carrying. It will work if you have a backpack used for school or hiking.

The next thing to think about is food. Most bug-out bags rely on a civilian version of military MREs (meals-ready-to-eat). Those are expensive. You can make your own MRE version with a little judicious shopping in the local supermarket.

MREs need to be high energy and low weight. You don’t want canned goods; get as much dried or freeze-dried food as possible. Look for things like:

* Ramen noodles – add ingredients and make great soups

* Beef jerky – eaten plain or used in soups

* Meat in foil pouches (lighter than cans)

* Packaged dry side dishes, like Rice-a-Roni and potatoes

* Dry fruit and granola bars

Pick up an assortment of these types of items to package together to make your own meals.

The next thing to work on is water purification. I highly recommend buying one of the water filtration straws. You can get a good one for under ten dollars.

Ensure you have a canteen or a simple plastic water bottle in your emergency kit. Actually, you should have a couple.

You have to have several means of creating a fire. Get a lighter or some strike-anywhere matches for your primary method and a Ferro rod fire starter for your second. And you should have the knowledge and means to start a fire in wet weather.

A simple protective shelter is very easy to pack. All you need is a tarp and some lightweight line. Everyone uses a parachute cord (para-cord) because the real parachute cord is only 1/8 inch in diameter and will support 550 pounds. You can find para-cord in Walmart.

You can make a simple shelter to protect you from the elements with the tarp and the cord.

Add a couple of emergency blankets or a tac-bivy to your shelter.

It wouldn’t hurt to put some warm clothes in your bag as well, assuming you have the room. Emergencies do not always happen in warm and dry weather.

A sweatshirt, gloves, and a hat will go a long way toward keeping you warm. Get a rain poncho and wrap your clothes in it to keep them dry.

More Emergency Supplies To Consider

The next thing to definitely consider is a first-aid kit. Cuts and bruises are inevitable; you do not want to invite infections.

You can buy one but build a better, cheaper one. You’re not doing this to deal with sickness but to treat injuries effectively. You’ll need the following:

* Regular and large adhesive bandages

* Medical tape

* Sanitary napkins (for bandaging large wounds)

* An ACE bandage (for sprains and splinting)

* Antiseptic cream

* Pain reliever/anti-inflammatory

Ensure you put your first-aid kit in something waterproof, like a plastic zipper storage bag.

More Of What To Put In A Survival Kit

All right, you’ve got all the major stuff in your DIY emergency kit, but you haven’t spent all that much money. Now all you need is to add the miscellaneous and odd, and end items to finish that kit off

Those emergency supplies should include the following:

* A good knife

* Wire saw

* Lightweight camping shovel

* Small sewing kit

* Small fishing kit

* Compass and map

* Whistle and mirror for signaling

* Good flashlight and extra batteries

* Portable radio to hear the news

That’s it. If you shop carefully and use items that you already have around the house, you should be able to do that for under $100.

You may not have the latest and greatest of all survival gear, but you’ll have what you need to get you through the first few days so you can get to your destination; that’s what a bug-out bag is for.

And you will definitely be more prepared than most.

With your DIY emergency kit finished, you’re much better set for surviving if you have to leave your home.

But there’s something else you should have, basic equipment to keep in your car to survive.

With the right stuff, your car can become a valuable survival tool.

We will cover that in another post.


Verified by MonsterInsights