A friend of mine lives in Northern Idaho and recent cold weather and a windstorm had her living without power. They had to figure out how to stay warm during a power outage for 10 days! With the cold weather and storms moving in, I’ve had several people inquire about a preparedness list and ask what’s in my power outage kit. There are the main essentials you’ll want to consider when preparing for a power outage: light, warmth, radio, charging a cell phone, hygiene, food, and water. I personally don’t keep food and water in this kit because I keep it in a different location, but it’s accounted for. I also don’t keep hygiene items in here. I have a separate hygiene kit that is kept near the power outage kit. The list of basic essentials doesn’t all need to be in your kit as long as you have a plan for it. Below is a simple list of 9 items that should be in emergency kit and where to store it.
What Should Be in Emergency Kit:
1. Indoor Propane Heater
Mr Buddy is safe for indoor use and heats up to 450 square feet. It has an auto shut-off if: it’s tipped over, if the pilot light goes out, or if it detects low oxygen levels. Click here to see 5 emergency heating options.
Click here to see a comparison of power outage lights.
3. NOAA Radio & Flashlight
My preferences of an emergency radio are:
- digital station finder
- crank & battery power source
- battery life indicator
Read more about this emergency radio here.
4. Battery Bank/ Phone Charger
Smart phones and handheld devices take a big battery to charge. Battery banks are a quick and efficient way to charge these devices. You’ll need about 10,000mAh to fully charge two smart phones. See an example of this here.
5. Cooking Stove
You’re going to need a way to cook without electricity and some easy meals that can be cooked using only one cooking pot. The first day without power is fun. You get to eat the ice cream before it melts in your freezer and have cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (before the milk goes bad). The next couple days you eat through the soup, crackers, bread, and snacks in the house. About day 4 of no electricity, that’s where people start to panic because they haven’t prepared. For meal ideas, see item 8 on this list. I use Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove because it uses the same fuel as the Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove heater.
Matches can light the cooking stove and the propane heater if the igniter were to fail.
These are back up for the radio and the heater. For my kit, I need 6 AA batteries and 4 D-cell batteries for the heater.
Next three items are not stored in this kit but should be mentioned.
Some examples of easy meals are oatmeal, soup, tuna on crackers, peanut butter on pancakes, chili, pork & beans, and pasta box meals.Below are emergency meals that last 30 years, unlike typical boxed and canned food that goes bad after 5 years.
Storing water should be rotated by adding fresh water routinely. Click here to learn more about it.
10. Hygiene Supplies
Where to Store Emergency Kit
You’ll want to keep your kit in a place where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate too much. This will prolong battery life which is said to diminish with every 15-degree increase or decrease.
- coat closet near the entry door.
- in your off-grid room
- basement (stacked on totes or on a shelf to prevent water damage)
- under a coffee table
Power Outage Kit Dimensions
- 16 inches tall
- 22 inches across
- 16 inches wide
- weighs 24 lbs
Items also in the power outage kit but not listed above:
- two extra propane tanks and (seen in the picture above)
- a hose which allows the heater to connect with a twenty-pound propane tank
- Mr. Heater storage bag – the bag is sold separately
Originally posted in Nov. 28, 2015. Updated and reposted March 7, 2017.