Photos by Bernie Carr and RECOIL OFFGRID Staff

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of our two-part Survival Packs for Kids web series, originally published as a single print article in Issue 35. Part 1 focused on premade/off-the-shelf survival backpacks for children, as well as considerations for personalizing them and training your kids on how to use them. If you haven’t already read that article, you can do so here.

DIY Kid’s Survival Backpack Build

After deciding what I wanted to see in a child’s survival backpack, I went ahead and assembled one myself. First, I collected items I already had in the house. Then, I shopped for a child’s backpack at our local Goodwill store. I soon found one that was the right size. Better yet, it looked new and still had store tags. I also purchased a few items at the .99 Only Store.

It took me about a day to search for items around the house, and another couple of days to order and shop for the rest of the items. I included six mini water bottles to save on weight, but I included a sport bottle along with a LifeStraw, which removes bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella and parasites such as giardia and cryptosporidium from water. During the initial stage of a disaster, water still runs from the tap but may have to be filtered for safety. The LifeStraw will serve as a good water filter and can be used with the sport bottle. I’d also go over how to use the LifeStraw with my child ahead of time.

Another area I deviated from the commercial backpacks was in the personal care area. I included sunscreen, lip balm, and insect repellent. These are optional items that you may want to consider.

Although my DIY survival backpack total cost less than my top pick from The Cure Inc., I have to consider that not everyone may have an extra flashlight, plastic poncho, or survival whistle. In addition, The Cure Inc. Children’s Survival Kit also included Mainstay Bars, which are higher calorie than your average granola bar, and a mini radio that I didn’t include. The prices for these items could add around $20 more to my cost, to total closer to $55. Factoring in the fuel I used picking up items and the time I spent assembling the kit, the decision isn’t as clear-cut as you might’ve expected.

Whether you decide to buy a pre-made survival kit or create it yourself, you’ll have taken an important step to help your child stay safe in the event of a disaster.

The Components

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ContainerSchool backpackGoodwill$6.99
FoodPack of 12:
Soft granola bars
Grocery store$3.99
Water6 4-ounce water pouches
LifeStraw
Sports bottle
.99 Only store
Amazon
Previously owned
$0.99
$14.89
N/A
LightFlashlight
Light sticks
Previously owned
.99 Only Store
N/A
$0.99
Shelter & WarmthFleece blanket
Plastic poncho
Small pair of winter gloves
Previously owned
Previously owned
Goodwill
N/A
N/A
$0.99
AirN95 dust mask.99 Only Store$0.99
Communication5-in-one survival whistle
(includes signaling mirror, whistle,
mini compass, firestarter flint and
storage container)
Previously ownedN/A
HygieneToothbrush
Toothpaste
Mini bar of soap
Pack of wet wipes
2 tissue packs
Antibacterial gel
Previously owned
Previously owned
Previously owned
.99 Only Store
.99 Only Store
.99 Only Store
N/A
N/A
N/A
$0.99
$0.99
$0.99
First Aid12-piece portable first aid kit
(includes 2 plastic adhesive bandages 3/4 x 3 in;
4 plastic adhesive bandages 5/8 x ¼ in;
4 gauze pads; 2 cleansing wipes)
.99 Only Store$0.99
Personal CareLip balm
Sunscreen stick
Natrapel 12-hour insect repellent (DEET free) wipes
Previously owned
Previously owned
Previously owned
N/A
N/A
N/A
Entertainment1 activity coloring book,
4 crayons,
1 children’s fishing toy
.99 Only Store$0.99

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