Emergency Kit Picks Under $100

September 10, 2019
Filed Under: gear orientation

Prep picks under $100

Okay, how do I build an emergency kit?

The answer – it can be a little bit different for everyone. On medication? Make sure you’ve got a backup supply. Got pets? Make sure you include their meds (and foods), too. Got kids? Make sure you’ve got a deck of cards for go-to entertainment. The list goes on, but the key is understanding you and your family’s typical routine and identifying the small but powerful items that are critical to making that routine run smoothly.

One of the most universal elements of daily routine is our reliance on on-grid energy: from the phones we carry to the lights we flip on when we walk in the door, power flows through our activities almost invisibly – that is, until the grid goes down.

Here at BioLite, we can offer some useful advice on how to build your emergency kit with energy solutions that keep you safe and connected. Whether it’s building your earthquake kit or your hurricane go-bag, the following is a list of easy to use emergency items that, clocking in under $100, won’t break the bank:

Disaster Kit Picks: Under $100

LifeStraw Classic I $19.95

What is it?

An ultralight personal water filter, built in the style of a straw.

Why it's good for Emergency Preparedness:

  • On-the-go solution for safe water when barrels and gallons can’t move with you.
  • Filters out bacteria, parasites, and micro-plastics.
  • Clocks in at only 2 ounces and filters up to 1000 gallons of water – this tiny guy delivers a lot without weighing you down
  • BPA-free and comes in a sealed bag – perfect for storing in a bug out bag or your gear supply kit.

Stuff to Consider: 

  • Straw design means you gotta bring your own container or… drink straight from the source. The latter makes for a badass photo, but consider adding some sort of container to your emergency kit if members of the family aren’t so inclined to get on their belly (an inside-out dry bag totally works).
  • One person is drinking at a time – if you’re looking for higher volumes, consider the LifeStraw Family, or picking up multiple Classics if you’ve got a large group.


SolarPanel 5+ I $79.95

What is it?

An ultra-thin 5 watt solar panel with an on-board 2200mAh battery. It features a 360 degree kickstand and a built-in sundial to help you get the most power by orienting to direct sun quickly and clearly.

Why it's good for Emergency Preparedness:

  • When outlets and batteries are gone – the sun still rises.
  • 5W is enough to keep your phone, light, and power bank on a steady rotation of being charged and usable.
  • On the go? Store it outside of your pack and let the on-board battery soak up the power you’re generating – it’s enough for a phone charge.

Stuff to Consider:

  • Remember your connectors: In your emergency kit, make sure to stash charging cords with the right USB inputs for your phone, light, etc.
  • The sun still rises – but clouds and extreme weather can get in the way. If you know you’ll be in grey skies, consider supplementing your kit with alternative power-generating options like the thermoelectric CampStove.
  • If you hit some temporary clouds, not to worry: SolarPanel 5+ features auto-reconnect which automatically re-engages charging when sunny skies come back.

SunLight 4-Pack I $99.95 $89.95

What is it?

A 4-pack of 100 lumen solar-rechargeable lanterns. Features up to 50 hours runtime, white lantern mode, select-your-hue mode, and Party Mode (a smooth sequence through all colors).

Why it's good for Emergency Preparedness:

  • With self-recharging from the sun, they won’t run out like wax, gas, or batteries.
  • Kid-friendly alternative to candles; won’t melt or burn anything, plus Party Mode is a favorite.
  • Plastic housing won’t pop or deflate like other solar lanterns.
  • Kickstand lets you prop it up on tables or hang for overhead room lighting.
  • Flat, square design packs easily without taking up a lot of space in your kit - no awkward or bulky shapes to work around.
Stuff to Consider:
  • If you know you’ll be in grey skies, consider charging your SunLights via micro-USB with alternative power-generating options like the CampStove or with a power bank like the Charge 20.
  • You can also grab a solo SunLight.

HeadLamp 330 I $49.95

What is it?

A USB rechargeable 330-lumen headlamp that features spot, flood, full, red, and strobe settings.

Why it's good for Emergency Preparedness:

  • It gets out of the way: 3D SlimFit construction creates a front housing that’s only 9mm thick and sits flush on forehead. As GeekDad puts it “if you are trying to get close to something you don’t have to worry about accidentally poking it, and if you’re walking or running you don’t get [a] bounce effect.”
  • It fits both kids and adults.
  • Tilts down in four different settings so you can direct your light where you need it.
  • It frees up your hands to carry items (or kids) while walking in the dark, or take on a variety of everyday tasks we take for granted with overhead lighting (cooking, reading, resetting your circuit breaker, or even unpacking and utilizing the rest of your emergency kit).
  • USB-rechargeable means you don’t have to worry about carrying around extra batteries.

Stuff to Consider:

  • Throwing it in a pack? Use lock mode to prevent the light from accidentally turning on in your pack (press and hold the button for 8 seconds until it flashes red twice).
  • Need a mix of hands-free and overhead light? Pick up the HeadLamp Light-Diffusing StuffSack and transform your headlamp into a hangable lantern.
  • Make sure you’ve got a means to recharge it (solar panel, power bank, generator, etc).

PowerLight I $79.95 $59.95

What is it?

A rechargeable 3-in-1 Torch, Lantern, and 4400mAh power bank.

Why it's good for Emergency Preparedness:

  • Multi-functionality: it’s like a Swiss army knife of light and power. Need a flashlight to see what’s underfoot? Check. Need a lantern to shed some ambient light? Got it. Want to charge up your phone? No prob. Lots of jobs, very little mass in your kit. 
  • Over-headability: yeah, it’s not a word, but trust us on this one. The metal s-hook rotates 360 degrees and can turn your PowerLight into a hanging lightbulb, preventing awkward shadows and maximizing your lumens, great for if you’re trying to illuminate a common area.
  • Plug in the SiteLight Mini ($19.95) into the custom SiteLight Port and you can dim and control extended string lighting right from the PowerLight. Great for dark hallways or stairwells.

Stuff to Consider:

  • Once you use up the juice, do you have a way to recharge it if the grid is still down?
  • 450 lumens is a lot and often your eyes can adjust quickly - don’t be afraid to dim or use single panel mode to extend the PowerLight’s runtime.

Bonus Round: SolarHome 620 Shoutout I $149.95


We know, we know: this isn’t under $100. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t include it in our budget-friendly prep roundup because it offers so much functionality at a remarkable price point.

This solar micro-grid packs down to the size of a shoebox and sets up fast for multi-room lighting, charging, and FM radio. The system requires minimal installation, working easily with existing structures (for example your Control Box can hang off of a coat hook or nail in the wall). A crossover product from BioLite, the SolarHome 620 is already in use across hundreds of thousands of homes across east Africa, in use daily to bring off-grid energy to everyday life. We’ll let the 60 second overview take it from here:



WATCH: Everyday Carry Meets Emergency Ready

Erica packs up her backpack with pocket-friendly picks that offer useful light and power while taking up minimal space.


Looking for the full lineup of BioLite Emergency Kits & Gear? Visit the shop here.

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