Could Beautiful Emergency Kits Convince More People To Prepare For The Worst?

Less than two inches wide, this well-designed kit squeezes a radio, raincoat, lantern, drinking water, whistle, and a plastic medicine case into a sleek, waterproof, floatable tube.

I live a block from a fault that is statistically overdue for a major earthquake, at the bottom of a mudslide zone, and next to a park filled with fire-prone eucalyptus trees. But–even though I keep meaning to–I still haven’t bought an emergency preparedness kit. And my tiny studio apartment doesn’t have much room for one.


Most Americans are at risk of some type of disaster–hurricanes, earthquakes, ice storms, tornados, floods, the meltdown of a nearby nuclear plant. But only about half actually have an emergency kit at home. Like me, many of us live in a state of happy denial.

Would we be a little more likely to buy a kit if they were better designed? From similarly disaster-prone Japan, the Minim+Aid, by designers at Nendo, is a skinny kit that “includes the bare minimum necessary for a city-dweller to make it to a place of refuge during an earthquake or other disaster.”

Less than two inches wide, the design squeezes a radio, raincoat, lantern, drinking water, whistle, and a plastic case that can hold medicine into segments that screw together into a sleek, waterproof, floatable tube. The hand-cranked radio can double as a charger for a smartphone or the lantern, and the tube doubles as a cup. The whole thing is designed to come along if you need to leave quickly. As the designers’ website says:

Slimmer and more compact than conventional emergency kits, it’s easy to carry and can also be worn over the shoulder using the included strap. The design makes it easy to keep it near the entrance and ready to go at all times–just leave it in the umbrella stand or hang it from a coat hanger.

And unlike a bulky bug-out bag, it’s something that people might actually want to leave on display. If Nest can make people lust after smart thermostats through better design, can the same thing happen for emergency kits?

The design was unveiled during Tokyo Design Week and will be released in Japan in 2016.


About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley, and contributed to the second edition of the bestselling book "Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century."