Whether it’s your first child or your fourth, sending your new college student to school can be nerve-wracking. If you’re concerned about your student being prepared for the unexpected, you need to get them an emergency kit, or a few items that they’ll need to have handy if the worst happens.
We searched out the best emergency kit ideas for everything from natural disasters to car trouble that are helpful to have but won’t take up too much space in a dorm room or college apartment. You’ll rest easier knowing your child is equipped with the essentials they need should an emergency strike.
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Our Top Picks
- Best First Aid Kit: First Aid Only All-Purpose Kit – $18.52 at Amazon
- Best Roadside Emergency Kit: Everlit Survival Car Emergency Kit – $64.95 at Amazon
- Best Natural Disaster Emergency Kit: QuakeHOLD! Evacuation Essentials Plus Kit – $8.50 at Amazon
- Best Splurge Emergency Kit: The Prepster Two-Person 3-Day Emergency Kit Bag – $395 at Amazon
- Best Weather Radio: Puiuisoul Emergency Weather Radio – $39.99 at Amazon
The Best Emergency Kit Ideas
1. Best First Aid Kit: First Aid Only All-Purpose Kit
Starting our list of must-have emergency kit ideas is a classic first aid kit. These are, of course, essential for everyone — your student included! This emergency kit is compact, waterproof, and packed with 298 pieces of first aid necessities. From ibuprofen to bandages, your student will be prepared for whatever bumps, bruises, or other minor injuries come their way.
2. Best Roadside Emergency Kit: Everlit Survival Car Emergency Kit
While you might have gotten over the initial fear of your student being behind the wheel, it’s a whole other story when they’re away from home. The good news is you can feel confident about their roadside safety with this Everlit Survival Car Emergency Kit. It comes equipped with a tire inflator, 12-foot jumper cables, a flashlight, and much more that will be helpful in times of car troubles or accidents.
3. Best Natural Disaster Emergency Kit: QuakeHOLD! Evacuation Essentials Plus Kit
Of course, you don’t want to think about serious emergencies affecting your loved ones, but natural disasters happen in some areas more than in others. If your student is attending school in an area at risk for an earthquake or flood, we highly recommend giving them this QuakeHOLD! Evacuation Essentials kit. It has everything your student needs to get through a power outage and other dire situations. It features a 12-hour light stick, an emergency whistle, a survival blanket, and more.
4. Best Splurge Emergency Kit: The Prepster Two-Person 3-Day Emergency Kit Bag
The Prepster kit is ideal for parents (or students!) who prefer to over-prepare—and for anyone who doesn’t mind spending a little extra for peace of mind. These kits are made to sustain two people in emergencies for up to three days and come with ample emergency water supplies, food supplies, candles, and much more. Plus, we think the bag is pretty stylish.
5. Best Portable Charger: Anker Nano Power Bank
When the power is out, they’ll still need to keep their phone charged! A portable charger is something most college students could use in their day-to-day lives anyway, and the Anker Nano Power Bank is compact and plugs right into the bottom of their iPhone 15 with the foldable USB-C port. There’s an additional USB-C port to charge other devices, and it has a 5,000mAh capacity to offer quick charging. Just be sure to remind them to charge the portable charger before the storm.
6. Best Survival Cards: Disaster DeckEmergency Survival Cards
Knowing what to do during a disaster is key. That’s why we love the Disaster Deck emergency survival cards. They are the perfect informative tool for students who may be unfamiliar with the protocol for emergencies and provide clear, detailed directions about how to handle everything from hurricanes to heat waves. The cards are compact and durable, and they are easily stored in a dorm-sized desk or drawer.
7. Best Emergency Blankets: Swiss Safe Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets
If you’re looking for emergency kit ideas to build your own for your student, an emergency blanket is an absolute essential. The Swiss Safe Mylar thermal blankets are designed to maintain 90% of a person’s body heat and have multi-use abilities such as working as tourniquets, tents, arm slings, and more.
8. Best Shower Wipes: DUDE Wipes
If an emergency happens, there’s a high probability that no running water will be available. That’s why every emergency kit should include a package of personal wipes, like DUDE wipes. These high-quality wipes are unscented, hypoallergenic, alcohol-free, and paraben-free. Stock up on DUDE wipes and throw them in your student’s gym bag or hiking backpack to ensure freshness anytime.
9. Best Flashlight: Dorcy 55 Lumen Flashlight
A durable, reliable flashlight is a staple for college and emergency kits alike. The Dorcy 55 Lumen Flashlight is practical, compact, and utilitarian. We especially love it for its affordable price point, long-lasting run time, and that it can be attached to a backpack.
10. Best Multi-tool: Gerber Gear Multi-Tool Pocket Knife Set
Multi-tools come in handy for emergencies of any kind. This pocket knife set comes with 15 tools— including needle nose pliers, flathead screwdrivers, a can opener, and more — and a lifetime warranty. Put one in their emergency kit and tuck one in their dorm desk drawer because this is a versatile tool that will come in handy whether or not it’s an emergency.
11. Best Games: Coghlan’s Fireside Gaming Kit & What Do You Meme?
When the power is out, and students can’t use WiFi or their electronics, it might be considered an emergency! While adding games is an out-of-the-box emergency kit idea, it’s a great way to make your student’s time disconnected from the world much more manageable—no technology required. We recommend getting both the fireside gaming kit and What Do You Meme? To maximize variety.
Buy the Coghlan’s Fireside Gaming Kit:
Buy the What Do You Meme?
12. Best Emergency Charger: ERRBBIC Solar Charger
The reality is we walk around with one of our most useful emergency kit ideas on us at all times: our cell phones. Ensure your student has access to theirs no matter where they are or what situation they are in with this ERRBBIC Solar Charger. It’s waterproof, solar-powered, and compatible with all cell phones, so long as you have the correct USB cable.
13. Best Menstrual Products: U by Kotex Click Compact Multipack Tampons
Extra menstrual products are crucial for the female student in your life— especially in an emergency. Add a box of tampons to their emergency kit, so your student never needs to worry about being in a situation without them.
14. Best Electrolyte Replenisher: Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier
Electrolytes are crucial in emergencies to help energy levels and maintain clear thinking. Liquid I.V. is a revolutionary brand that mixes with water to quickly deliver delicious hydration. These drink mixes come in a variety of flavors, including lemon lime, passionfruit, and strawberry lemonade. Keep a box of Liquid I.V. in your student’s emergency kit, and consider sending them off to school with a few extra to help them recover from late nights out.
15. Best Emergency Snacks: CHOMPS Beef Jerky, IQBAR Protein Bars, and Justin’s Almond Butter Squeeze Packs
Emergency snacks are vital for energy and survival in extreme situations. Be sure they have some, and opt for non-perishable items so that you don’t have to worry about spoilage. Beef jerky, protein bars, and packets of almond butter all provide plenty of protein while still being tasty.
Buy the CHOMPS Beef Jerky:
Buy the IQBAR Protein Bars:
Buy the Justin’s Almond Butter Squeeze Packs:
16. Best Extra Batteries: Amazon Basics Battery Super Value Pack
Every emergency kit should include a stash of extra batteries to power items (like flashlights) that can’t be charged. This battery pack includes various sizes and will ensure that your student has plenty of power no matter how long the lights stay out.
Why You Can Trust Us
Hi, I’m Hannah Fierick, and I am a commerce and freelance writer for multiple publications covering tech and education. Having been a college student myself, I took into account what would have served me well in emergencies of all types while living in dorms and college housing.
I did extensive research for this article, reading up on emergency protocols and consulting expert blogs, publications, and reliable retailers. I read through verified customer reviews and took into account how these products could specifically benefit college students. The result is this comprehensive list of potential emergency must-haves we are confident in.
Prices were accurate at time of publication.