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When you think about packing up items to help you survive a natural or human-made disaster, you often think of backpacks. And there is good reason.
Backpacks are sturdy, lightweight and, with multiple pouches and pockets, they allow you to stow a large number of essentials. They come in expandable widths and sizes to fit even your smallest family members. And the best part is that with a backpack, your hands remain free.
However, let’s face it. Some essential survival items won’t fit in or attach to a backpack. Others are just too heavy. Here are some factors to consider when choosing an alternative container to hold your survival supplies:
- Durable material
- Sturdy construction
- Colors and designs that don’t stand out
- Heavy-duty zippers and snaps
- Secure lids
- Portability for the physical abilities of each family member
This article will offer suggestions for alternative containers you can use for your survival kit. You may find that you already have some of these containers around the homestead and can simply repurpose them as survival kits.
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If you’re a reader of this website, you already know how useful five-gallon buckets are. Here’s another use you can add to your list – survival kit. These buckets are durable, portable, and strong. Be sure to get the food-grade kind if you will be carrying and storing food in your buckets.
2. Rolling Suitcase
Suitcases are designed for travel, so using one to hold your emergency supplies makes sense. Choose luggage with four sturdy wheels and strong handles. You might consider suitcases that double as backpacks.
3. Duffel Bags
Duffel bags come in a wide range of sizes and can expand to hold a large number of supplies and gear. Some also double as backpacks.
4. Under-Bed Containers
Check the home storage section of many stores, and you’ll find under-the-bed containers that have wheels. These sturdy, roomy containers can stack if need be, and they work well in the trunk or bed of a truck.
5. Lidded Plastic Storage Bins
Every family is a little different in what they need on hand for an emergency. You’ll find plastic storage bins in various sizes and colors to suit your needs. Some are transparent so you can see the contents inside, and some have wheels for easy movement. Look for lids that latch securely. You also may want to check out the Rubbermaid ActionPacker.
6. Wheeled Trash Can
If you are bugging out with a trailer, you may want to consider a trash can on wheels as an alternative container. These lidded cans can store and keep your items safe until you get where you are going. Although they can be heavy to maneuver when fully loaded, their wheels help you move them to your desired location.
7. Heavy-Duty Trash Bags
Speaking of trash containers, you can’t go wrong with having a box of black heavy-duty trash bags as alternative survival containers. Look for contractor trash bags for the best strength. These bags work well for storing blankets, clothing, sleeping bags, and other soft items. They stow nicely in the trunk and under and around feet in the back seat of your vehicle.
8. Milk Crates
Plastic milk crates are strong, stackable, and versatile. Plus, you may be able to find a grocery store that will give them to you at no cost.
9. Diaper Bags
Every new parent learns how to store baby essentials in all the compartments of a sturdy diaper bag. If your baby is all grown up, you can give your old bag new life as a survival kit.
A toolbox is an excellent choice for storing and carrying fragile items that you may need at your bug-out destination. You can find sturdy, handles toolboxes made of plastic and metal and in many sizes and price points.
11. Messenger-Style or Crossbody Bags
People with back problems may not be able to carry a heavy backpack. A solution is a crossbody strap that helps distribute the weight.
12. Rolling Coolers
Although they are designed to help you transport food and cold drinks to the beach or pool, rolling coolers can also work well as survival containers. They are sturdy, waterproof, and roomy with tight-fitting lids. Another strong point is that coolers don’t attract attention as much as other containers in a tense situation. Look for coolers with lids and get ready to roll.
13. Space Bags
Space bags (also called compression bags, space saver bags, and vacuum bags) are a way to compress some of your items so that they take up less room in your container. You can use these bags to store coats, blankets, sleeping bags, and other gear in your vehicle trunk when it’s time to get on your way.
Keep in mind that you can combine several of these ideas as you plan for an emergency evacuation. For instance, each member of the family can have their own survival backpack in case you have to big out on foot, and you can put other essentials in some of these other multi-purpose containers in your vehicle.
Also, these alternative containers are helpful for storing things you will need if you are sheltering at home in an emergency. The most important supplies are enough food and water for each member of your family – including pets – to last for several days.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), here is a list of other supplies to have ready in a bug-out bag or container. Most assume power is out and the internet is down.
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Dust mask
- Local paper maps
- Manual can opener
- Books, games, puzzles, and other activities
- First aid kit (including prescription medication)
- Hygiene supplies
- Pet supplies
While you may have all these items in your home, you may not have time to gather them in a fast-moving emergency such as a fire or a flood. By packing them in a ready-to-grab bag or container, you’ll have the peace of mind that you’ll at least have some essentials if you need to get out with only minutes to spare.
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