What to Pack in Your Emergency Bag (for the Southern California Wildfires)

Our hearts are so heavy today. Wildfires are burning through our southern California cities and leaving a blanket of smoke and ash behind. We live in horse country, over 130 horses have already died and over 65 structures have already burned to the ground…

The exact numbers of loss are unknown at this point, but this information was provided/updated through CBS News 8 at 8:30 AM on 12/8/2017

After just a few hours, the Lilac Fire consumed over 2,500 acres of land and it’s still burning. I felt it necessary to put a quick article together with emergency pack necessities for you. If you do not have an emergency pack or go-bag yet, please take advantage of this list right away. Get packed and get ready to go. If mandatory evacuations are ordered suddenly, you need to be prepared. And you need to have an emergency pack in the car.

This is my personal list of emergency pack essentials for any situation that urgently forces my family out of our home, and the goal is to keep us fed and clothed for at least 3 days. Yes, the list is comprehensive, but it’s important to be prepared for anything. If the electricity goes out, you will wish you had flashlights and headlamps. If the babies get sick, you will wish you had the right medicine.

Pack your bags now, so that you can be prepared for worse-case scenario.


Remember: clean water, food, and basic medical supplies are your lifeline in an emergency. Even if you don’t have anything else prepared, make sure you have a few gallons of water, some snacks, and a small medical kit in your emergency pack.

This list contains affiliate links. All proceeds from these affiliate links will be donated to the fire relief work here in San Diego County. Thank you for your support. You can read my full disclosure here


Basic first aid kit
Baby Tylenol and Advil
Adult Tylenol and Advil
Benadryl or other allergy medication
Cortisone cream
Gauze and bandages
Prescription medications


1-3 gallons of water
1 case of bottled water
These water purifying tablets
This water purifying straw (over 6,000 5-star reviews)
Packaged/dried fruits
Packaged crackers or chips
2 cans of beans
2 cans of veggies
2 cans of fruit
2-4 packages of ready-made rice
2-4 packages of mixed nuts or almonds
6 packages of sealed tuna or fish
6 packages of sealed oatmeal pouches
Candy or gum


1 package of diapers (per child)
1 package of baby wipes
1 small can of formula
1 baby bottle (per baby)
1 pacifier (per baby)
1 baby toy or soother
1-2 outfits for each child (one size up)
1 pair of socks (per child)
1-2 baby blankets
2-4 cloth diapers and reusable wipes
Rash cream


1 outfit per adult
2 pairs of socks and underwear per adult
1 phone charger/electronics charger
1 pair of eye contacts and solution, or glasses
Phones and electronic necessities


3 packs of batteries (AA, AAA, D)
headlamp light
Lighters and matches
Newspaper/book/fire starter
Duct tape
Dust/surgical masks
Screwdriver and pliers
Small hammer
Pocket knife
Light blanket
Bug spray
Bleach and peroxide (in sealed container)
Small trash bags


2 rolls of toilet paper
toothbrush for each family member
1 tube of toothpaste
1 travel size shampoo and conditioner
1 travel size bottle of body wash
1 sealed travel bottle of lotion or coconut oil
1 razor with new blades
1 box of feminine products: tampons, pads or pantyliners
Hand sanitizer
Brush/Comb/Hair ties


All birth/marriage certificates
All social security cards
All medical cards
List of emergency phone numbers


-Plastic bags (for trash, dirty diapers, or dirty laundry)
-Dawn dish soap (for cleaning messes or dirty laundry)
-Plastic bowls, cups, and utensils
-$50-$100 in cash (including some dollar bills and quarters)

A few things to consider:

Our hope is that we don’t actually have to use these emergency packs, so don’t worry if you don’t have every single item on the list. Just make sure you have a first-aid kit, a few gallons of water, and an exit plan.

This list focuses on immediate need and preparing for minor injury, but that is it. My goal is to have my family fed and clothed for about 3 days in the face of an emergency, most likely until we can return to our homes or get ourselves to a safe retreat. If you’re preparing for something more extensive, make sure to double or triple the items on this list and consider adding a few more of your long-term wants and needs.

Use backpacks if you can, because they’re easy to carry and the strength of your shoulders can manage most of the weight. I have this large duffle bag with a carrying strap for our clothes and toiletries, and a large backpack for the heaviest items, like the canned food. A water-resistant hiking backpack like this one is ideal.

If you live in North County San Diego and have livestock or horses, the livestock evacuation center is at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. You can call (619) 236-2341 for assistance.

I’ll be keeping my followers up to date on local news through my Twitter channel here. Our thoughts and prayers go out to our local police men, firefighters, volunteers, and all those in the line of fire.

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