My annualish post below on home and car emergency kits, something that
makes an excellent gift. Even if you and yours are all set, there's
always maintaining and updating your kits. Most of this post is a
retread; the one upgrade is an inexpensive, solar-powered lantern.
I've found that emergency kits make highly-appreciated gifts for friends and relatives, one of those things that are on everyone's to-do list but often don't get done. If the entire kit's too expensive, you can just give a car kit, or get a part (I suggest water and water purification) and upgrade over time.
If people have had kits for a few years then it's also time to consider replacing out the food. If you or someone you know uses camping food, you might switch out the old with the new a year or two before expiration, so you can use the food before it expires. Freeze-dried food will probably last longer than the expiration date, so you might replace the older stuff but hold on to it in case the emergency lasts longer than expected.
My emphases were making them easy for me to put together, easy for people with no camping experience to use, and ones that would last as many years as possible without needing replacement or maintenance. In return I was willing to pay more, be more bulky than the minimum possible, and have limited control over food selection.
- Water in plastic jugs, 3 gallons/person
- Chlorine dioxide water-purification pills (purifies 7 gallons) in case water goes bad (after 6 months, assume the water's bad), in case it's leaked away, or in case you need more water.
- Mountain House Just In Case Food Bucket, 1 per person or 2 for 3 people
- Hydroheat Flameless Heat 10 pack, 1 per person. Note that I'm unfamiliar with this product - the one I know, Mountain Oven Flameless Heating Kit, is currently available. I'll revise this as I learn more.
- Plastic silverware
- Emergency phone numbers/contact list
- MPOWERD Inflatable Solar Lantern, 1 per person. Maybe a cheap flashlight/headlamp too.
- Spare batteries in clear plastic bag so you can see if they've become corroded over time
- Plastic tarp and cord as a rain shelter
- Swiss Army knife
- Emergency shelter, 1 per adult
- Cheap or expensive first aid kit (I went with cheap kits from the local drugstore)
- Cheap rain gear, spare shoes and clothes
- Toilet paper (in plastic bag to prevent dampness) and trowel
- Hand-crank radio/flashlight combination (can also charge cell phones)
- Liter water bottle per person (enough to keep you hydrated for a few hours until you can find a water source)
- Water purification tablets (can disinfect murky water from ditches, and you might need to)
- Emergency shelter
- Small amount of long-lasting food (I found tins of honey-roasted peanuts that were good for four years)
- Cheap rain poncho
- Emergency contact list
- Shoes you can walk many miles in, if that's not what you normally wear
- MPOWERD Inflatable Solar Lantern, and maybe a cheap, tiny flashlight
- wool blanket (additional warmth, or traction under a spinning wheel in the mud or snow). Cheap space blanket is an alternative, but it won't give you traction.