Hurricane kit essentials


Lee’s hurricane kit essentials will help you survive a severe  storm or a bad night in Bosnia.

Some say there are four basics needed to sustain life: air, water, food, and shelter. I say there are five. I add security to the list.  Without the means to protect yourself and your loved ones, you can easily lose your MREs, potable water filter or pup tent.

My newspaper recently published its 2013 Hurricane Guide. It’s chock full of good suggestions and ideas to help you ride out a storm, or make an evacuation easier.

There’s a handy list of disaster supplies that will help you create a hurricane survival kit, such as clothing and bedding, sanitation and hygiene products, food, tools and First-Aid gear. It is a good guide for building a well-stocked kit.

Here are some of my recommended hurricane essentials, which will keep you and your family safe:

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

Lee’s pistol rig consists of a thigh holster, four-mag ammo pouch and a dump pouch for spent mags.  Staff photo/ Lee Williams

During a hurricane or other disaster, you will need a firearm(s). Once you’ve selected your defensive firearms, you will need a way to tote ammunition.  The best place to carry ammunition is in your weapon and on your body. A box of 9mm in the glove box will do you no good when someone wants to take your vehicle and food supply. For handguns, I recommend a stout belt, magazine pouch, a quality holster and a dump pouch for spent mags. I like a thigh holster. It allows easier access in vehicles and won’t get in the way of other load bearing gear.

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

This chest rig can hold six rifle mags and still has room for additional items.  Staff photo/ Lee Williams

I prefer a chest rig for carrying rifle mags. It is lighter and less cumbersome than an ammo vest. The model pictured above will hold six rifle mags, and it has two additional exterior pockets and an interior pocket. My chest rigs are always full of loaded mags. They’re an easy way to transport ammunition to the range, and a great bug-0ut bag.

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

This Blackhawk! shotgun bandoleer can carry 55 rounds, allowing for a mix of buck, birdshot and slugs. Staff photo/ Lee Williams

A good way to carry shotgun ammunition is a bandoleer. It’s quick to don and doff, and simple to use. Note: buy a quality tactical product, not the $5 models designed to duck hunting. Also avoid the shotgun slings with shell loops. This will add unnecessary weight to the weapon, and can throw off your point of aim when it swings like a pendulum.

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

This London Bridge Trading Company load bearing vest can accept flotation panels, turning it into a PFD. Staff photo/ Lee Williams

I’ve never been a fan of load bearing vests. For me, they’re too “mall ninja.” When it comes to gear, less is more. Vests may look sexy, until you have to move in one. Still, they are popular with some gun owners. If you are going to use a vest as your primary LBE, plan on spending $300 more more. Stay away from the $50 vests sold at gun shows. These are fine for Airsoft, but they are far from mil-spec. I’ve been to several schools where one student always shows up in his cheapo assault vest. As soon as he puts a few loaded mags into the pocket, it usually rips right off the vest.


A pair of quality radios will guarantee you can remain in contact with your family if you have to separate. Staff photo/ Lee Williams

Part of the survival mindset is realizing you can’t count on anyone for anything. This includes the phone and cell companies. We have two sets of personal walkie-talkies, which we test regularly. Range is about a mile or more depending on conditions and terrain. These comms are absolutely essential if you need to evacuate in two vehicles.

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

A LokSak cell phone case will keep your phone dry and useable, in the lucky event the hurricane spares the cell towers. Staff photo/ Lee Williams

I am a huge fan of all LokSak products. They make durable water-proof plastic bags for cell phones, pistols, computers and rifles. I can attest to the durability of all models. They are currently in use with naval special forces of several countries. The cell phone model pictured above offers two layers of thick plastic, but it is thin enough that the phone can be used while sealed in the bag.

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

Two of Lee’s favorite sheath knives: both made by Columbia River Knife and Tool. Staff photo/ Lee Williams

My hurricane kit contains a good selection of sheath knives. Each has a different purpose.

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

SOG’s hatchet  was based on a design used by special forces in Vietnam. It is light, stout and handy. Staff photo/ Lee Williams

Few survival tools are handier than a quality hatchet. They’re great around the camp, and are also a serious defensive weapon.

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

A good selection of folding knives and multi-tools is an important addition to every hurricane kit. Staff photo/ Lee Williams

Rules for redundancy – one is none, two is one… – also apply to knives. A few good folding knives and mult-tools should be added to every hurricane kit.

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

Kukris, be they modern versions or the traditional Gurkha knife, are stronger and more efficient than machetes.  Staff photo/ Lee Williams

I don’t like machetes. They are usually made of cheap steal that dulls quickly. If you think you need a machete in your kit, consider a Kukri instead. They are more ergonomic than a machete and will hold an edge longer.

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

No hurricane kit is complete without a quality First-Aid kit. Staff photo/ Lee Williams

There are many outstanding off-the-shelf First-Aid kits available today. Make sure yours is trauma-ready. It should have a quality tourniquet and QuikClot.

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

The Otis firearms cleaning kit can handle multiple firearms, despite its small size.  Staff photo/ Lee Williams

Don’t forget that your firearms will be exposed to the elements and require maintenance. Otis makes a handy kit that takes up little room. Add a can of Break Free CLP and your cleaning kit is complete.

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

I have LokSak bags for every firearm in my hurricane kit.  Staff photo/ Lee Williams

The one constant of every hurricane is drenching rain. I have LokSak bags for every firearm in my hurricane kit. They are inexpensive and offer total waterproofing.

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

A mil-spec survival kit, such as this kit issued to air crew, is a good way to round out your hurricane kit. Staff photo/ Lee Williams

There are hundreds of survival kits on the market that will help you round out your hurricane kit. I like the mil-spec kits issued to pilots and air crew because they are small, compact and well stocked.

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

One magnesium fire starter is better than hundreds of matches or lighters. Staff photo/ Lee Williams

Lighters run out of fluid. Matches can get wet. A quality magnesium fire starter will last for years and operate while damp.

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

A quality night vision device can be used when white light is not an option. Staff photo/ Lee Williams

Night vision devises, monoculars, sights and goggles, are great during times when white light is not an option. If you are considering buying an NVG, buy American.  While the Russian and Eastern European models are less expensive, some require proprietary power sources, while others can actually emit harmful rays.

Staff photo/ Lee Williams

Boonies – the ultimate Florida hat. Staff photo/ Lee Williams

During a hurricane’s aftermath, you will likely be exposed to the elements for days or weeks. Proper rain gear is essential.

Let me know what’s in your hurricane kit.


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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  1. Pingback: Hurricane kit essentials, Part II - The Gun Writer

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