We unboxed 4 premade earthquake kits, from $30 to $300

The Redfora earthquake bag.

(Dustin Snipes / For The Times)

The overarching theme with earthquake kits is this: The more money you spend, the more stuff you get. But not all of it is useful. This kit is efficiently packaged with a backpack and clearly labeled bags of supplies. In addition to two dozen 4.2-ounce water pouches and two 3,600-calorie food bars, you also get 20 water purification tablets and a hydration bag with a straw. The tablets purify water but make it taste and smell like chlorine.

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Local Matters: How to survive the Big One

The Los Angeles Times and KPCC/LAist are teaming up to show you how to prepare for and survive a major earthquake in Southern California. This online community forum is free to attend.

When: Thursday, June 24, 6 p.m.
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Who: Earthquake expert Dr. Lucy Jones, Times reporter Rong-Gong Lin II, Times columnist Patt Morrison, KPCC/LAist reporter Jacob Margolis, KPCC/LAist host Austin Cross

There’s a “tent” and Mylar blankets. The tent is a tube of thin material you fasten down at the corners and hold up by tying a rope to two trees or tree-stand-ins. It doesn’t hold its shape, but it does offer some shelter.

The first-aid kit, five-in-one whistle, multifunction tool, safety goggles and work gloves were all of pretty good quality and sufficient.

In the especially useful category, there’s a hygiene kit with a comb, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant gel, a tiny bar of soap and menstrual pads. These are things you might not think of in an emergency, but they’ll help you feel a little more normal. Also useful is the crank radio that doubles as a flashlight and charged my cellphone.

Some of the more unexpected items include a notepad, pencil and sewing kit. The number of adhesive bandages (more than 20) seemed excessive. Overall, this is a more than adequate pack for the price; like with many of the kits, it could benefit from additional water and food items.

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