Includes the essentials
Lacks bells and whistles
Underwhelming First-Aid kit
Bare bones supplies
These days, a natural disaster could strike any second, which is why more and more consumers are stocking emergency preparedness kits in their homes. Now, I’m one of them. I moved to Hoboken, New Jersey, right after Hurricane Sandy tore through and left the town flooded for days. My friends and neighbors told me to never overlook the importance of disaster preparedness.
So I tested out the Ready America 2-Person Emergency Kit. I wanted to see if this lightweight and affordable kit would have high-quality gear to keep my home prepared for disaster and my family safe in the worst of storms or earthquakes. I also enlisted my fiancé, an emergency and disaster medicine doctor, to rate the gear as well. Here’s what we thought.
Quality: Could be better
Given that this kit is significantly more affordable than its competitors, I wasn’t surprised to find that the quality of its ponchos and first-aid kit is lackluster. The products are good enough—they’ll keep me dry, fed, and, for the most part, safe during disasters—but it’s definitely not the highest-class gear.
This kit is significantly more affordable than its competitors.
Now, one thing that did surprise me were the 2,400-calorie food packs. Although they feel like packaged bricks, they actually don’t taste bad! They have a granola or graham cracker-like flavor and, according to the manufacturer, they last up to five years. This kit also has 12 4.2-ounce water pouches, although the food is (importantly) non-thirst-provoking—meaning I can save more water than I do with most dry granola bars.
Utility: Needs add-ons for an earthquake
If a severe earthquake were to hit, I’m not sure that the Ready America 2-Person Emergency Kit would be my go-to bag. It lacks most of the CDC-recommended essentials, including a rope, tent, waterproof matches, a knife, a portable radio, and gloves. It does have a few important pieces like dust masks, light sticks, and survival blankets, but this kit would definitely need some bolstering to really reach an earthquake-ready status, at least per the CDC.
Versatility: An everyday emergency pack
While the Ready America 2-Person Emergency Kit does come with some great gear—especially 72 hours-worth of food and water for two people—it’s not very helpful for serious or incapacitating disasters. For example, a tent (which other kits have) could make this pack useful in the aftermath of a tornado. Waterproof matches and even a flashlight could help with long power outages. But this budget-friendly bag is pretty bare bones. It’ll get you by, and it’s better than nothing, but you may want to add more gear to make your emergency kit complete.
Although it includes some great gear—like 72 hours-worth of food and water for two people—it’s not very helpful for serious disasters.
Speaking of needing more gear, I asked my fiancé for his thoughts on the 33-piece first-aid kit— particularly how it would fare in natural emergencies. He said this kind of small kit is great for travel, but if someone buys this for an earthquake or similar disaster, they’ll want more than bandages, antiseptics, and some medicines. He recommends investing in a better first-aid kit and tossing it in the bag, or at least beefing up the supply with necessary items like cold packs, splinting gear, tweezers, and shears.
Weight: Very portable
The one thing I noticed comparing the Ready America 2-Person Emergency Kit to other emergency kits is that it’s much easier to carry. Many other kits are very heavy, but this jam-packed emergency bag is easy to tote around without breaking my back. Even though this is in part because the kit’s included supplies are more limited, it still means that it’s especially easy to grab in the event of a disaster. You may just want to throw in some extra gear, first.
Size: Compact yet roomy
The Ready America 2-Person Emergency Kit is small enough that, if you’re on an airplane, it would fit under the seat in front of you. But despite its small size, this bag is surprisingly roomy. In addition to all the gear that comes with it, you can easily fit another toiletry-size bag or two to make it the perfect emergency kit to fit your specific needs.
Despite its small size, this bag is surprisingly roomy.
Price: A good deal
For around $50, the Ready America 2-Person Emergency Kit is a solid deal. I priced out each item in the kit, plus the backpack, and it totaled around $70. While you will need to add some essentials (like a tent) for this to be a true emergency kit, it’s definitely a smart, affordable starter kit.
Ready America 2-Person Emergency Kit vs. Protect Life Emergency First-Aid Kit
At first glance, the Ready America 2-Person Emergency Kit and the Protect Life Emergency First-Aid Kit (view on Amazon) look totally different. For starters, the Ready America kit is in a backpack while the Protect Life kit is a toiletry-bag-sized first-aid kit. They also have different focuses. The Ready America kit focuses on survival gear first, medical supplies later. The Protect Life kit is the opposite. Its focus is medical supplies with some light survival gear included.
However, while these kits’ specialty areas are different, they have a few key things in common—which I learned while testing them both. For starters, they’re compact and portable—the kind of bag you stash in a car trunk and forget about (until you need it). Also, they’re both starter kits; neither has everything you need in an emergency preparedness kit, but they’re affordable, though the Protect Life kit runs for less (around $20).
- Product Name 2-Person Emergency Kit
- Product Brand Ready America
- MPN 70280
- Price $49.99
- Weight 7 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 12.5 x 9 x 5 in.
- Color Red/black
- Material Nylon
- What’s Included Food bars (2), water pouches (12), survival blankets (2), 33-piece first-aid kit (1), emergency light sticks (2), disposable dust masks (2), nitrile gloves (4), plastic whistle (1), emergency ponchos (2), pocket tissue pack (1), backpack (1) Warranty: Standard warranty against manufacturer defects