I’ve Been Giving Everyone This Unexpected Housewarming Gift for 15 Years — and They All Love It

updated Apr 9, 2021
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Woman sitting on sofa in living room; opens received delivered parcel and feels happy.
Credit: Getty Images | fizkes

One of the most important (and exciting!) events in life is moving into a new home. Whether you’re buying or renting, upgrading or downsizing, each move signals an energy shift. A chance to change. A new backdrop for a whole new set of memories.

It’s a milestone worth celebrating, so whenever your friends and family cross their next thresholds, chances are you’ll want to mark the occasion with a thoughtful gift. You can’t go wrong with a standby crowdpleaser like a candle or a gift card, but why settle for a single when you can just as easily hit a home run? I’m going to let you in on the unexpected housewarming gift that I have given at least a dozen times over the past 15 years: The Ready America Deluxe Emergency Backpack. It isn’t exactly the sexiest gift, but it offers one of the most thoughtful things you could ever give: peace of mind.

First aid kits are a common enough household staple, but emergencies come in all forms, and sometimes Band-Aids and alcohol pads just don’t cut it. Rather than leave your loved one to scramble in a true crisis, this kit includes all of the basics to get them through it. Inside of the durable, bright red backpack, they’ll find a four-function power station (it’s a crank-powered flashlight, AM/FM radio, siren, and cell phone charger in one), a multi-function pocket tool, a three-day supply of food and water with a five-year shelf life, water purification tablets, a first-aid kit, survival blankets, dust masks, hygiene kits, and more.

Ready America makes a range of bags sized for different households, and I’ve given numerous incarnations of this ready kit over the years. It is always met with genuine appreciation, and one of my friends even caused some minor housewarming party drama when she was clearly more impressed with the ready bag than the fancy Tiffany candlesticks she’d just opened from another guest. And many happy Amazon customers agree. Said one reviewer, “I bought them as Christmas gifts, I thought my girls would think I was crazy, but oddly enough, They Loved It!” Another commented, “I have purchased two of these and they are in both of our cars in case we are traveling while the emergency occurs.” And while the backpack contains so many useful items, there is still plenty of extra room for your own personal necessities, from medication to charging devices. “I added a few things to customize for my and my dogs needs,” added another satisfied customer.

The Ready America emergency kit is the odd combination of a gift that people are at once thrilled to receive and hope they can throw in the closet and never think about again. Just remind them to set a reminder to replace the food and water in five years, because this backpack will likely be with them through their next move and beyond.

Buy: Ready America Deluxe Emergency 2-Person, 3-Day Backpack, $85.71 (normally $99.99)