Essentials For A Urban 48 Hour Bag

In our unpredictable world, it’s essential to be prepared for unexpected emergencies that can disrupt our daily lives. Whether it’s a natural disaster, power outage, or any other unforeseen event, having a well-prepared 48-hour emergency bag can make all the difference in ensuring your safety and comfort until help arrives. We will attempt to guide you through assembling a comprehensive 48-hour emergency bag tailored for urban living, ensuring you have the essentials needed to weather the storm.

Before we go any further, we aren’t saying that you must follow the list like the Bible and this isn’t the end all be all. Heck if you have kids your bag should have different items in it from theirs. This is just a basic guide.

So, why does one need a bag if they live in an urban environment?

Well, find someone in the New York City area that lived in the areas where Hurrican Sandy did the most damage. Ask them if they wish they had an emergency bag.

I actually ended up going up there with a small group to help some of the churches serve their communities. Less than 24 hours after the storm we jumped in a box truck loaded with generators and supplies and headed north.

I actually used my bug-out bag knowing we’d only be there a few days. Everyone knew they had to bring their own personal supplies because the supplies were for the locals. We were leaving they weren’t.

Let me tell you…Life Straws rock and I used every bit of my kit. Who knew a portable $8 solar-powered LED light could come in handy?

One other thing, this is just a basic list, my kit and your kit are going to be different and that is ok.

The Essentials

Water: Water is the most crucial element for survival. Include at least one gallon of water per person, per day, for drinking and sanitation purposes. Consider compact water purification tablets or a portable water filter to extend your supply.

So I use the original Life Straw, it just works, just make sure you have a cup or something. I do have a small water purifying kit for food prep. But the dang the Life Straw just works.

Food: Pack non-perishable, high-energy foods such as energy bars, canned goods, dried fruits, and nuts. Opt for items with a long shelf life and easy-to-open packaging. Don’t forget a can opener.

Yes MRE’s are a great option. Personally, I hate them. I use freeze-dried meals, hence why I carry a small water purifying kit and a cup. But yes there’s one MRE in the pack (🤢).

First Aid Kit: A well-stocked first aid kit is essential. Include bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, scissors, tweezers, and any prescription medications you or your family members require. Also, my family likes to include clotting agents like Bleed Stop.

This is my wife’s department she’s a nurse. We all carry a small kit but, she has the big first aid kit.  

Flashlight: Include a durable flashlight with extra batteries. Consider a headlamp for hands-free operation, which can be especially useful during nighttime emergencies.

Also, little solar-powered LED lights can really make a difference and they are cheap. They can light up your surroundings giving you a little more security. 

Portable Radio: A battery-powered or hand-crank emergency radio can keep you informed about the situation and provide vital updates from local authorities.

When we arrived in NY there was no cell service and local officials were swamped. The radio came in handy.  

Communication: Include a fully charged portable charger for your phone and a list of important phone numbers. A whistle can also be helpful for signaling for help.

Jackery makes tiny portable charges. Have them & keep them charged. We use walkie-talkies as well in case we need to split up. 

Clothing and Bedding: Pack a change of clothes, including sturdy shoes, gloves, and a hat. Include warm blankets or sleeping bags if needed, as temperatures can fluctuate during emergencies.

Don’t forget emergency blankets. I have these things everywhere (my cars, bags, etc) they are cheap, small, and can be used for all sorts of stuff. Plus, you can hand them out if you want to. 

Personal Hygiene Items: Don’t forget personal hygiene items like soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and sanitary supplies. Pack any necessary prescription eyewear or medications.

You can get pretty gross pretty quick, hygiene is a must. 

Tools and Supplies: You can consider including multi-tools. I’m not a big fan. But that’s me.

I like a good knife, breaching tool, hatchet, and a few other tools. Duct tape is essential (it isn’t but I don’t go anywhere without it lol). 

Important Documents: Make copies of essential documents like identification, insurance policies, and medical records. Store them in a waterproof bag or container.

This is really important if you have to leave your home. You don’t want to leave your important docs at home should looting break out and you want to keep them safe. 

Cash: Keep some small bills in your emergency bag for potential use if ATMs are inaccessible.

Remember, no electricity or cell service = no Venmo, Apple Pay, or ATMs. 

Maps: Include local maps of your area and any evacuation routes. Familiarize yourself with these routes in advance.

Also, teach your kids (if you have them) how to read a paper map. 

Entertainment: Include items like playing cards, books, or puzzles to pass the time and alleviate stress during the emergency. That’s not really my thing.

I carry a small mini-solo stove, now. They are only six inches high and weigh about 1.5lbs. Man, that thing is great. I believe sitting around the fire is the original TV. So for morale, I’ve included a little mini-solo stove. Since you are in an urban environment starting a bonfire may not be ideal (disclamer: don’t start a fire indoors). If you can safely start a fire boy are they a pick-me-up. 

Personal Comfort: Don’t forget personal comfort items such as prescription glasses, a favorite stuffed animal for children (or a toy), or any other items that can provide emotional support.

If you must use your bag that means something happened. Anything that can help alleviate stress is paramount. 

Consider individual needs and circumstances when building your emergency bag. If you have pets, include pet food and supplies. For infants or elderly family members, add baby formula, diapers, and any necessary medical equipment. Tailor your bag to the specific needs of your household members.

Do remember though, that you (and your kids) must be able to carry your bags so don’t go crazy.

Once you’ve assembled your 48-hour emergency bag, remember to periodically check and update its contents. Replace expired food and medications, update documents, and refresh water supplies. This maintenance ensures your bag remains reliable when you need it most. It’s one reason why I used my bag for my trip. It was time to rotate stuff out.

A well-prepared 48-hour emergency bag can be a lifesaver during urban disasters or emergencies. It provides the essential supplies and peace of mind to help you and your loved ones through a challenging situation until local officials can provide assistance. By taking the time to assemble and maintain your emergency bag, you’re taking a proactive step toward ensuring your safety and well-being.

Hopefully, you’ll never need the bag but boy you’ll be glad you have one if you do.

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