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The Case for the "Good Enough" Emergency Kit

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Now I know what you may be thinking.  "What do you mean 'good enough'?".  There's a certain line of thinking in the emergency preparation community that says that you should only have the absolute best of every kind of item in your emergency kit possible.  Spare no expense, buy the "best" and you'll never be let down!

Don't be this guy.

I'm here to tell you that this kind of thinking can be incredibly counter productive when it comes to putting together your emergency kit, not to mention a kit that's good enough for you.  Here are some problems with that approach:

Piecemeal Due to Expense:

You see it all of the time.  Folks looking for advice on message boards and social media platforms asking for information on this or that particular item.  You'll quickly see self styled "experts" rain down suggestions that folks buy this $300 knife or that $200 flashlight.  The insinuation is that anything less will get you killed "when the balloon goes up".  What happens is that when the normal person starts seeing things like this, they get discouraged at the incredible expense that the "experts" foresee in this endeavor.  They give up.  Once you extrapolate this "best of the best" philosophy across the dozens or even hundreds of items needed for a comprehensive emergency kit, you're looking at thousands of dollars in sunk cost for something that you hope to never use for your entire life.

If they do press on, what happens is that they end up collecting bits and pieces of gear as they can afford/justify them.  Your timeline towards completion of having this "Uber" kit extends into infinity and you'll never get to where you need to be, which is "good enough".  

She'll be something when she's done in the year 2026.

Analysis Paralysis:

Anyone who's done comparison shopping online knows that selecting the "Best" of any given item can be an incredibly subjective and time consuming process.  These days there are so many options, brands and trim levels of every single imaginable product that coming to a conclusion can be all but impossible.  All of this work put into shopping and comparing so many different products can be disheartening and lead to you just throwing up your hands and saying "never mind" or "I'll just do it next month".   I personally went through this several times personally.  My own approach to emergency preparedness festered in the realm of "extra bottles of water and canned goods" for years due to this.

Too Good to Not Use:

Ok, for arguments sake let's say that you've managed to assemble your "Uber" kit against all odds and managed to keep your job and your spouse hasn't stopped talking to you.  Now you've got a $2,500 emergency kit for one sitting in your closet yet you're not supposed to touch it... ever.   What inevitably happens is you'll pull your $200 flashlight out of it because it seems like a waste to have it sitting there.  Your $300 knife would be great to keep in the car or take on your camping trip.  The next thing you know, you have only a partial emergency kit sitting in your closet because the gear was too nice to not use it.  There it sits now, stripped of important tools and supplies, unready if you need to grab it and go at a moments notice.  You can tell yourself that you'll know exactly where everything will be (in the garage, in your car, next to the back door) when something happens, but you won't really.

Alternate view of the fully stocked "Uber" emergency kit.

My Point:

Yes, finally, here's my point.  "Good Enough" doesn't mean insufficient, shoddy or inadequate. It means focusing on the mission at hand and not letting the concept of "Best" or "Perfect" get in the way of getting yourself ready for an emergency.

Worry less about getting the perfect item for every single slot in your kit.  Concentrate your time and money on two critical areas (lighting and tools) and you can hit the important bits relatively quickly.  Set yourself a budget to give you focus when it comes to what you can spend on which components.  When it comes to emergency kits, some items demand some amount of quality.  These days you get a lot of features and reliability in the mid-market brands.  This is why Echo-Sigma uses Four Sevens and Fenix brand flashlights in our kits.  Sure, you can spend three times as much but you wouldn't see any tangible benefit unless you mount the light to a rocket or a fully automatic rifle.

Some items for your kit can get away with being more utilitarian in nature without losing too much functionality or reliability.  Also, redundancy can play a key role in ensuring that you're not let down in an emergency as well.  You don't necessarily need that $50 Swedish fire-steel when you can have a Bic lighter, waterproof matches and a magnesium block for under $10.  Better yet, you can get a fine collection of over a dozen life saving items already put together in an organizer pouch for you for just $50.

Shameless Plug:

Echo-Sigma Emergency Systems has already put in all of this leg work for you.  We've designed kits that hit that sweet spot of utility, reliability, weight and affordability that is so very difficult to attain on your own.  You could spend weeks or months designing, purchasing, assembling and organizing your own kit but I guarantee you that you'll end up spending far more money and time if you tackle it yourself.  We highly encourage you to take a look at our offerings and see if there's a solution for you that we can help you with.

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