Building A Blackout Kit

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Building a Blackout KitSo you’ve got your bug out bag or BOB, you’ve squared away your EDC or Every Day Carry and you’ve packed your INCH bag (I’m Not Coming Home)…

Did you know there is another pack that is just as, if not MORE important? One that you absolutely must have in your home that I bet many of you don’t have?

It’s called a Blackout Kit or BOK for short and it is a vital prep you should undertake.

What is it?

First up a blackout kit is going to be cheaper to build than your bug out bag, it will contain only a few items and it will be small enough to take up little space and it won’t get in the way.

So what’s all the fuss about?

Well, imagine having all those preps, food, water, sanitary items and weapons. Now imagine the power going out across town and it’s dark.

I don’t just mean the ‘turn the lights off’ kind of dark, I mean really dark. The kind of dark you only get when you go hiking in the wilderness.

Absolutely zero light pollution, the power is out right across town as far as you can see from your bedroom window.

You will obviously have a list of priorities, if you have children, that may entail making them feel safe. Making sure pets are tucked out of the way so they don’t get under your feet.

Grabbing the backup gas or solar generator to get the refrigerator and freezer going again.

This is all good stuff. However there is one vital step required before any of this.

You need to see where you are going. In pitch darkness that will be difficult. This is where our blackout kit comes into play.

How Does It Work?

It is meant as a first action device. Something that can help you get to your preps, make safety checks and then go about your business.

Think about it, what good is having a generator in the garage if you can’t find your way to the damn thing in the first place without tripping over the garden hose and smashing your knees on the concrete?

So we need a way to bring calm back to the situation and other family members. This is what the blackout kit does.

It is a way for you to get from being plunged into darkness, to a relaxed and stress-free state in as little time as possible.

What it isn’t

It isn’t something that will cover every eventuality. It is designed for one thing only and that is a power outage.

It won’t contain emergency food or weapons or even clothing.

It isn’t designed to last for days on end or allow you to live off the land.

What items to include?

This is an example list of what items I have in my blackout kit. The total cost for a kit like this using items from Amazon can be as little as $30-$40 – a small price to pay for such an important and overlooked prep.

  • Chem-Light/Glow Sticks – A great source of light, especially when working or just to provide some light to a room and preserve batteries.
  • Torch – Most obvious items and is a must to get to the circuit breaker and the rest of your prep items.
  • Batteries – AA and AAA for the torch and headlamp!
  • Head Lamp – When working you may need both hands
  • 9hr Candles – These will burn much longer than those small tea light candles and they provide good light
  • Matches – To light the candle, start the wood burning stove or light your alcohol stove
  • Lighter – As above
  • Emergency Contact Numbers (Laminated) – Water, power and gas companies, friends, family and neighbors
  • Hand Warmers – If in winter, working with cold hands is tough
  • Pocket Screwdriver Set – To replace a circuit breaker or switch
  • Pliers – As above
  • Leather Work Gloves – Helps against cold and sharp metal objects
  • Resqme Escape Tool – To break a window if you need to escape
  • Small Knife – Always handy to have and many uses
  • Multitool – As above

Of course there are more items that you could add and it may vary from season to season. If you are in the depths of winter, where the possibility of a power outage is increased, you can add items that your may need.

All of the items in the list above are designed to be both small and light weight. Your blackout kit should weight no more than 2-3 lbs and be easily carried.

Packs

For those of you who love your gear, the pack you choose to store your gear is important. We all have put favorite brands and features and what works well for one may not for the next person.

Here are a selection of packs well designed for this kind of application.

  • Snugpak ResponsePak – one of the most popular packs for a blackout kit and EDC. Lots of compartments, small but with enough space for a large Maglite and has a long carry strap for across the body/fanny pack carrying.

The Snugpak Response Pack
  • EDC Outdoor Organizer – a small back measuring 25 x 20 x 7cm with lots of pockets and straps for attaching items.
  • Maxpedition Gear Beefy – well know brand and used heavily in the prepper and survival community. The ‘Beefy’ measures 6.25-Inch (L) x 8.75-Inch (H) x 2.5-Inch (W) and has a front mesh pocket and velcro pouch for easy identification.

  • Maxpedition FR-1 Pouch – a little bigger than the beefy, this pouch can pack a lot of gear and is perfect for some of the more bulky items listed above.

The Maxpedition FR-1 Pouch.

Things To Make Your Blackout Kit Even Better

These are some nice to have additions to make your situation that much easier.

  1. Glow In The Dark Tape – Use on the outside of the pack and the torch handle
  2. Paracord Carry Strap – Easy to sling over your shoulder as you move in the darkness
  3. Spare Circuit Breakers – A quick fix is something blows
  4. Mobile Phone – Great to call the repair company etc
  5. UCO Lantern – Use in conjunction with the 9hr candles for a great source of lasting light
  6. Emergency Radio – For updates on the situation should it be a widespread power outage

Where To Store Your Blackout Kit?

The most logical place to keep your BOK is within reaching distance of your bed. If it’s daylight and you have a power cut, it’s easy to find your way to the circuit breaker and your preps.

In the middle of the night however, it gets tricky, so under the bed, in the nightstand or a drawer is perfect.

Even the bottom of the closet, where many people choose to store their BOB is an ideal choice.

Already have a blackout kit? Let us know what you keep in yours in the comments

Meet the Author

'Mountain Man' John

'Mountain Man' John is a Survival and Preparedness enthusiast who loves everything outdoors. He has a passion for learning anything and everything to help sustain his and his families way of life post SHTF. He frequently shares his knowledge on a variety of topics from his hands on DIY projects, learning new skills such as hunting and trapping along with reviews on his Survival related purchases - Prepping has been in his family for generations, it's in his blood. You can follow John by subscribing to his newsletter on the PrepperZine.com homepage, or by following him on Facebook.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Gramps Oct 5, 2015, 4:26 pm

    First, I have to say Thank You for all your usually great, well-thought-out articles. They are frequently loaded with good, useful information.

    BUT…

    This seems a bit over the top. All one needs is ready access to a working flashlight. From there, with flashlight in hand, one can round up the rest of that stuff. I always have a flashlight close at hand, day and night. I have one (or more) in every room and vehicle, and know exactly how to get to each one. None are buried inside a fanny pack or other baggage!

    As for the spare ‘circuit breakers’, I can see the need for spare fuses in an older electrical system (been there, done that, back in the day) , but the average homeowner is NOT capable of changing out a circuit breaker. Those who CAN do so certainly could and should have a spare or two on hand, but any who do not already know how to do that should LEARN how BEFORE stocking spares.

    [Anyone who needs to switch over their house to an independent alternative power source would, of course, know how to change a circuit breaker. I hope.]

    Best option of all: One can avoid a ‘total blackout’ situation by keeping a few inexpensive solar yard lights, fully charged each day, inside the house. I’ve picked up many over the years for outdoor use, for as little as 99 cents, and keep a few inside the house for nightlights . The top portion – the actual light and solar charger – can easily be removed from the stake, and placed in suitable locations inside.

    Some of the longest-lasting ones actually use replaceable AA or AAA batteries and even have On-Off switches on the underside! And, yes, those are among the ones I’ve gotten for 99 cents. I set mine atop small clear juice glasses, so the light is visible, but not glaring. It’s almost amazing how well they light up a room in the middle of the night. In a total blackout, they would really shine.

    Just saying….

    • Jacqueline Acevedo Mar 28, 2017, 4:38 pm

      Do you really want to be searching all over the house for these things, when you can have it all ready and set in a box or bag in a predetermined place?

  • richard1941 Dec 19, 2015, 6:06 am

    I have a 3 kW inverter that can attach to my car battery and a 50 foot extension cord that can go into the house. At least we can have electric lights, TV, radio, and computing, but heavy loads like the microwave oven are not feasible.

    As backup lighting, I keep a dozen catholic candles on hand. When buying these, press on the wax; it should be hard. If the wax is soft, it will not burn as long.

    Your cell phone can provide enough light to get to a real light source. Have an LED flashlight in most rooms, because you never know. In a blackout, you can bring all of the flashlights to one room where the family can gather and, will all of the flashlights, have almost normal lighting. Flashlights with a good momentary contact switch can be used to transmit text messages if you know the Morris code. You can learn the code in one day, it is no big deal. Also learn the rudiments of classical cryptography; my family standardized on an old German field code from WW I; it is secure for messages less than 100 characters.

    For extended blackouts, it is a best not to advertise that you have power when others do not; blackout curtains over the windows are a good idea.

    I dislike the chem glow sticks because they cannot be turned off and on like a candle. I have a Coleman lantern, but it STINKS, and will probably kill us with carbon monoxide if we use it.

    The last blackout here left plenty of light pollution from surrounding neighborhoods; darkness was not absolute.

  • Les Jan 12, 2017, 4:34 pm

    I also don’t see the need for such a blackout kit. I do like the laminated emergency numbers card & plan to make one this weekend & keep it by the phone so I know where it is. I keep several cell phone chargers (baattery, solar, & USB) at our living room charging station, in my purse, in my EDC & my BOB. There are flashlights within my reach in every room, including the bathrooms (I hang it on a hook on the inside of my vanity door). Every room also has either battery or solar powered lamps, pop-up lights, lanterns, etc. And if I totally run out of batteries & sun, I have a few oil lanterns decorating my space. I also have the plug-ins that are nightlights when we have power & emergency lights when we don’t. (Most of them are plugged into low outlets so the floor is lit up either way). I have 4 outside solar lamps staked right near my door so I can grab them if I need them.
    I keep all my tools, extra flashlights, headlamps, hand-crank flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, lighters, fuses, gloves, fire extinguisher, weather-band radio, small radio, etc. in a home tool center in the hall closet with easy access. AND the most important item, here in the hot south- lots of battery & usb powered FANS–tabletop, clip-on, personal body fans & misters, auto plug-in fans with the inverter, pet carrier fans, etc.
    It doesn’t cost a whole lot if you shop around (I’ve found great buys at my neighborhood thrift store on certain sale days) & make a weekly or monthly TO-GET LIST.

  • Robert Mar 29, 2017, 3:08 am

    Had 75% of this in the house scene the 50’s when the lights would go out quite often collected most of the rest lately while prepping .

  • Damn Dad Apr 2, 2017, 10:20 am

    i keep a whole bunch of stuff in mine.
    Such as
    -Activities (for the kids)
    – Keys to a safe (emergency food safe)
    -Portable chargers (about 18 of them, really useful)
    -USB ported Lights (these are super bright, using the portable chargers to turn them on)

    COuld go on 4ever, but eh

  • Wayne Cooper Apr 6, 2017, 7:35 am

    There’s a few of the additional ideas that i like, gitd tape across skirting boards seems like a great idea, don’t know why i don’t have a glow stick actually but the extensive amount of gear for a blackout seems overkill. My EDC has all my bare essentials for survival anyway so i will just be half duplicating it. Torch, batteries etc etc are all in there. I have a stash of candles for blackouts and my phone would more than suffice to get me there, plus a spare led torch at my bedside table just in case.
    Good recommendation on the response Pak snugpak​ though, this is my EDC bag and i love it! It’s compact, spacious and versatile. I barely notice i have it and i can carry it on my shoulder, waist or in my hand with no real discomfort, especially with a pad over the shoulder strap.
    I have it very specifically packed and that means that all important items are so accessable and easy to explain if you need someone else to go into it. I won’t list the inventory here but i have a tonne of stuff in there including torchs, chargers, playing cards, first aid kit, book, fire starting kit and more and still have enough room to fit in an 8 inch tablet as well as a game pad!
    While I agree knowing where items are is a must, i can locate everything i need using my phone without having a pack for them all.
    Love reading these by the way