Packing an emergency kit? Think about using your camping gear

Packing an emergency kit? Think about using your camping gear

Are you organizing an emergency preparedness kit after the recent series of shakers? You should be.

But before you run out to buy pre-made go-bags, which are flying off the shelves at local outdoors stores right now, think about creating your own by re-purposing some of your outdoor gear.

“Camping gear is perfect for earthquake and other disasters,” Will McWhinney, a local Sierra Club leader who has taught a wilderness skills course for two decades, wrote in an email. Water purification devices or tablets, portable stoves, stable food, headlamps, tents and sleeping bags, emergency blanket, sturdy footwear, warm clothes and other items you usually take camping are perfect for your DIY survival kit.

Here are a few more items you might have on hand for enjoying the outdoors — and are perfect for doing double duty if disaster strikes.

Boots are good and sturdy footwear to have in a disaster, even if they’re old and the soles no longer offer traction on trails. Keep them under your bed with a pair of socks for quick access.

Whistles “are one of the best bang-for-the-buck items you can have with you in an emergency or survival situation,” according to They provide a shrill, loud sound — louder than your voice could hold up over time — to get the attention of rescue workers or anyone else. Most backpacks have one built in on the sternum strap.

Flashlights are essential to keep near your bed and pack in your kit. Headlamps with LED lights provide a steady beam of light and free up your hands for other tasks. Just remember to pack extra batteries. Also, throw in an item that runs on solar power and can be recharged by the light of day. We like the Luci inflatable lantern.