College Students

College Students Survival Kits: The Ultimate Guide

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In the event of an emergency, it is important to be prepared. For college students, that means having a survival kit on hand at all times. This guide will help you put together the perfect college students survival kits for your kids while they are away at school.

Why Do College Kids Need Survival Kits?

Every year, millions of young people leave home to go to college. For many, it is their first time living on their own. While most adjust quickly to their new independence, some find the transition to be a bit overwhelming.

This is where survival kits come in. A survival kit is a collection of essential items that can help a person get by in an emergency situation.

College students need survival kits for many of the same reasons that people in other parts of the country do: power outages, bad weather, and natural disasters can all disrupt life on campus.

In addition, college campuses can be congested and difficult to navigate, making it hard to get help when you need it. A well-stocked survival kit can help students with any number of emergencies, from a power outage to a hurricane.

College Students Survival Kits: What to Put in Your Kit

As many of my grandchildren headed off to college, I started thinking about everything they would need to get by, and it dawned on me that I needed to make a college student survival kit for each one of them. Here’s what I put in each kit:

Toilet Paper

The more toilet paper, the better. A college student can never have too much toilet paper. In addition to toilet paper, paper towels are a plus.

Menstrual Supplies

Young ladies that are heading off to college are going to need plenty of feminine products to get them through the year. Make sure to ask them what brand they prefer, and consider getting a menstrual cup.

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Fever Reducers

Let’s face it; being in a dorm or apartment with a bunch of other people is sure to spread germs. Make sure to put Tylenol, and/or Ibuprofen in your college survival kit.

Anti Diarrhea Medicine

This one is almost too embarrassing to talk about, but it is essential for a college student’s survival kit. Be sure to include Imodium AD.

Cough Syrup

Cough syrup is another one of those things that no one likes to talk about, but it can be a lifesaver when you are sick. Be sure to include cough syrup like Robitussin in your kit.

Cold Medicine

In addition to cough syrup, cold medicine is a must for any college student’s survival kit. Be sure to include both day and night-time cold medicine.

First Aid Kit

You can buy a first aid kit at any drug store, or you can put one together yourself. Be sure to include band-aids, gauze, medical tape, antiseptic wipes, and cotton balls. Or check out my First Aid Kit post for more information.

Flashlight or Lantern

With power outages being common on college campuses, a flashlight is an absolute must for any college student survival kit. Be sure to get a flashlight that is rechargeable and has long battery life. Or consider this Goal Zero Lantern.


Everyone knows that you need to drink eight glasses of water a day, but college students often forget this important rule. Be sure to include a water bottle and plenty of bottled water in your kit.

Food & Snacks

While most college campuses have dining halls, there are times when they are closed or the food is just not appetizing. Be sure to include non-perishable food items and snacks in your kit.

These are the things I send with my grandkids: freeze-dried fruits, strawberries and pineapple, peanut butter, jam, canned beans, and other canned food that they will eat and rotate. If the stores are closed or the roads shut down, they will have food for a week or two.

Can opener

If you are including canned food in your kit, be sure to include a can opener. They won’t be able to open those canned goods without one.

Berkey Sports Bottle

There is limited space in a dorm or shared apartment for all the water a person would need if a disaster strikes. That’s why college kids must have a way to purify water. Berkey Sports Bottles are a great place to start.

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Mini Office Supplies

Mini office supplies are a necessity while in college. Make sure to include scissors, a stapler, and some scotch tape in your kit.

Sewing Kit Bag

Poor college kids don’t always have money to go buy a new pair of pants. You can make a small sewing kit that includes scissors, thread, needles, a needle threader, safety pins, pins, and a thread remover.

Emergency Hand Crank Radio

In the event of a natural disaster or another emergency, it is important to be able to stay tuned to what is happening. Be sure to include an emergency hand crank radio in your kit.

Laundry Items

They can wash their underwear in the bathtub if the power is out. So, make sure to put laundry soap, fabric softener, a laundry basket, hand towels, and rags in the kit.

Emergency Blankets

Emergency blankets are a must for any college student’s survival kit. Be sure to include at least two in your kit along with a Swiss Thermal Mylar Blanket.

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is a must for any college student’s survival kit. Be sure to include at least two in your kit along with dish soap, hand soap, toothpaste, and toothbrushes.

Car Emergency Kit

Many Freshmen can’t have a car on campus, but if they live off campus, they will need a car emergency kit. I suggest the Lifeline Emergency Kit.

Solar Powered Phone Charger

In the event of a power outage, a solar-powered phone charger will come in handy. Be sure to include one in your kit. Many college kids forget to charge their phones until it’s almost dead.

Personal Information

Although your college student may keep all their contacts on their phone, they need a hard copy. Include contact information, two pictures of themselves, and some small bills of cash.

Other Items To Include

In addition to the basic necessities, here are a few items that can make life easier for your college kiddo.

  • Crock Pot so they can cook in the dorm.
  • Tupperware dishes to store leftovers.
  • Essential Oils
  • A bus pass so they can save money.
  • A recipe book with their favorite recipes
  • Extra batteries
  • Stainless steel camping set
  • Garbage bags-get in bulk at Costco

College Student Emergency Resources

In addition to the emergency supplies, you should also include resources in your college students’ survival kits that will help them in the event of an emergency. Here’s what I recommend:

Final Word

As you can see, there are many things you should include in your college students’ survival kits. Be sure to tailor the kit to your student’s specific needs and wants.

What other items would you add to a college student’s survival kit? Let us know in the comments below!

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One Comment

  1. In addition to the preparations you advise, I think that if you can get the future college students attention and can talk with them a few times before they go off, it would be helpful to impart a bit of knowledge and maybe give them a few lessons or even give them a book on some of the more advanced areas of prepping.

    This way if there is an emergency, they’ll have a better idea of what to do and hopefully avoid putting themselves into danger or not having supplies or items they might need. Maybe you can’t be there or go get them, but they’ll be able to stay as safe as comfortable as possible if they know what steps to take and care for themselves.

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