REI has long been a go to resource for outdoor activities, from camping to kayaking. They recently came out with a fully equipped emergency kit, suitable for keeping at home or in your vehicle. Let’s take a look at it.
The kit is contained in a basic backpack, brightly colored so it is easy to find in the back of the closet. The pack is of decent quality, though I don’t know if it would necessarily hold up to a several week hike through the wilderness.
The interior of the pack is divided into several sections, allowing for easy organization of the gear. I caution you, though, that when you open the pack, lay it down on its back first. If you don’t, you may end up spilling some of the contents, as I did when I first opened it.
The inside front flap also has several pockets.
I think the easiest way to break down the kit contents is to go section by section within the pack.
Inside the front flap, we have:
One pair work gloves, 4 light sticks, 50′ nylon rope, 6 antimicrobial hand wipes, a small tube tent, pencil, and two twist ties.
Then, starting at the top of the main compartment of the back and moving down through the sections:
The above shows 4 chemical hand warmers, 2 ponchos, 2 dust masks, a hand crank radio/flashlight, 2 rescue blankets, a 2.5 gallon collapsible water jug, 2 candles, and a multi-tool.
Two large packages of Datrex emergency rations.
A notepad, 2 biohazard bags, 2 9×5 ABD pads, 2 bottles eye wash, first aid manual, a small first aid kit, digital thermometer, 2 packets facial tissue, a roll of first aid tape, 2 pair nitrile gloves, and 2 cold packs.
That little first aid kit contains:
2 finger splints,
5 3 x 0.75 in. bandages
5 3 x 1 in. bandages
5 knuckle bandages
5 fingertip bandages
4 2 x 2 in. gauze pads
2 3 x 3 in. gauze pads
2 4 x 4 in. gauze pads
4 yd. x 2 in. stretch gauze
5 butterfly closures
3 sting relief wipes
9 antibacterial wipes
2 triple antibiotic ointment packets
2 burn cream packets
4 Cetafen® acetaminophen tablets
4 Nutralox® antacid tablets
4 Proprinal® ibuprofen tablets
2 Diamode® loperamide HCI antidiarrheal tablets
At the very bottom, we have 20 packets of water (not shown).
The REI Emergency Kit retails for $165.00 here on their site. It weighs just under 15lbs fully packed. A fair amount of that weight comes from the water packets.
As with just about any commercial survival kit, it is lacking in a couple of areas. There is nothing in the kit that will help you get a fire started, so you’re going to want to add strike anywhere matches, a butane lighter, and/or a ferro rod, along with ready-to-go tinder. While it has the 2.5 gallon water jug, there is nothing in the kit that would allow you to filter and purify water, so you’ll want to toss in that gear as well.
It lacks any sort of navigation aid or signal device as well. However, the kit’s intended purpose is more for sheltering in place rather than evacuating.
I do like the high visibility of the pack. If it is a true emergency, you’re going to be stressed so anything that will help you locate your gear quickly will be beneficial.
All in all, I think the REI Emergency Kit isn’t bad, but you should consider it only as a good start, not as a fully ready to go kit. As with any commercial kit, you’ll not only need to customize it to suit your individual needs but take each item out and get familiar with it. Know what your kit is capable of so you don’t run into surprises later.