15 Non-traditional containers for your bug out bag/emergency kit
A rolling suitcase on wheels. Look for sturdy wheels because if one breaks off, you’ll be carrying that suitcase. Not fun! Some of these suitcases also have backpack straps.
- A Rubbermaid container with lid. You select whichever size suits your needs and space. These are a good choice because the bin itself can be used to hold water, kindling, and a lot more.
- Under the bed storage container – Mine fits perfectly in the back of my Tahoe and the transparent plastic lets me see the contents.
- Trash can on wheels. These hold a lot, are very sturdy, and have an attached lid. They will also be heavy and difficult to load into a truck. However, if a trailer is part of your bug out/evacuation plans, you could store a trash can, fully packed, in the trailer. Include a box of heavy-duty black trash bags to keep the interior of the trash can clean if you ever have to use it for actual trash!
- Space Bags – Great for use with softer items, such as blankets, coats, jackets, and pillows.
- 5-gallon buckets with lid – Again, these buckets have multiple uses besides holding your emergency kit contents.
- Multiple milk crates – My husband swears by these! They are extremely durable, stack easily, but do not have lids. They’re also free if you can find a grocery store that will give you one or more.
- Military duffel bag – Soft-sided means you’ll be able to shove this bag behind and between things, and they come in several sizes. Their muted colors are also a plus.
- Ziploc Flexible Tote – Inexpensive, can easily see inside the tote, and lightweight. Not heavy duty, though, if your evacuation includes trekking through the wilderness.
- Diaper bag. The waterproof lining could be very helpful, especially if you have small kids and/or a baby.
- Tool box – Not lightweight but could be very useful for protecting fragile items.
- Metal bucket with lid
- A storage locker, preferably one with wheels
- A messenger bag with shoulder strap – Anything with a shoulder strap will leave both hands free and might be easier to carry than a backpack for someone with back problems.
- A fisherman or photo vest – Obviously this won’t carry as much as these other containers, but with all the multiple pockets, you could keep the most essential items close at hand.
Unless you are single and will be evacuating alone, I recommend dividing the contents of your emergency kit into 2 or more different types of containers. For example, a 5-gallon bucket can hold food and cooking supplies and will provide an emergency toilet, a large water container, and a handy tote for firewood. Then use a Space Bag to hold sleeping bags and cold weather clothing and finally a large backpack for everything else. You’ll have 2 multi-purpose containers and a backpack large enough to hold all the essentials in case you have no choice but to continue your evacuation on foot and have to leave the bucket and Space Bag behind.
When choosing your containers, keep in mind that they might be in for a pretty rugged future. Look for:
- extremely durable fabrics
- sturdy construction
- heavy-duty zippers, snaps, or other closures
- colors that blend in
- non-tactical appearance. This may cause you to look too prepared and a potential target.
- tight fitting lids
Also keep in mind the different ages and physical capabilities of your family members. Even young kids can carry small backpacks, easing the load for parents and teens.
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