When it comes to selecting a bag for an emergency kit, many of us veer in the direction of tactical looking backpacks, or any type of backpack at all. And, it’s no wonder. A good backpack will have multiple pockets and pouches to help organize your gear and supplies, they can be carried on your back, leaving hands free, but they aren’t always the right solution for every scenario.
Here are a few non-traditional containers for your bug out bag or emergency kit that maybe you haven’t considered.
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.
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!
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. A product like the Bucket Backpack would provide an alternative way to carry the bucket longer distances.
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.
Inexpensive, can easily see inside the tote, and lightweight. Not heavy duty, though, if your evacuation includes trekking through the wilderness.
The waterproof lining could be very helpful, especially if you have small kids and/or a baby.
Not lightweight but could be very useful for protecting fragile items.
Metal bucket with lid
I have this one and it’s definitely a multi-purpose container.
A storage locker, preferably one with wheels
Be sure to the buy “contractor” bags. These are amazingly resilient, stretch a bit as you stuff more into them, and are very cheap. They would be useful for packing soft things like bedding, clothing, and sleeping bags.
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.
When planning for an emergency evacuation, 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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