72-Hour Emergency Kits

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72-Hour Emergency Kits...what to pack and why to pack it. This is a great list!!

Well, hello friends!

I’m doing something a little out of the ordinary today, so bear with me. {Tomorrow, I’ll be posting a new recipe, so stay tuned for that!}

Is it just me or are there more and more horrible things happening in the world these days? Like, I can’t believe some of the stuff I read on the news–> natural disasters galore. The leaders from the church I attend encourages it’s members and really anyone anywhere to be prepared for emergencies and practice self reliance. I know it’s not just my church that does this. Lots of people are putting these sorts of emergency kits together so they have a backup ‘just incase’ plan.

It’s pretty much a scientific fact that anything that can go wrong will go wrong and it’s best to just expect the worst…and be prepared for it 🙂 So I got my little family of 4 together and we put these emergency kits together one Monday night. It took me a few days to track everything down that I wanted to include, but once everything was purchased, it only took about 30 minutes to throw it all together. Easy peasy!

So, here’s what I put in mine:IMG_01121. The Emergency Binder

If you look at the top of this post, you’ll see a white binder tucked into the top of our bag. That is our emergency binder filled with all our important documents we’d need incase of emergency. In my binder you will find:

  • cash in small bills {we have $100, but are slowly building up to $200}
  • names and phone numbers of relatives, doctors, pediatricians, close friends, insurance agents, bank account numbers, homeowners, auto, personal insurance policy numbers, utility company numbers
  • copies of birth certificates
  • copy of marriage license
  • copy of deed to our home
  • copy of passports
  • social security numbers
  • copy of car insurance ID cards
  • medical insurance cards
  • copies of military ID’s
  • copy of my permanent resident card

All of these copies are in plastic protector sheets and organized by person. All of my documents are in one section, Gord’s are in another, etc. etc.


I also quickly wrote out the expiration dates of the foods in our packs. This is an easier list to check instead of digging through the entire food bags to replace the items.

*I also set an alarm on my phone to check & replace all the food in October 2014 and April 2015…once every 6 months–>because I’m seriously forgetful.*72-Hour Emergency Kits...what to pack and why to pack it. This is a great list!!

2. Food Packs

Now, onto the food. This is what you’ll see in our pack if you were to open it up right now. Some food is portioned out into bags, some is not. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

Also, Brooke had a ball labeling everything with her name.

Brooke + sharpie = heaven.72-Hour Emergency Kits...what to pack and why to pack it. This is a great list!!

The name of the game with these food packs is:

1. to last you 72-hours comfortably. That’s probably a given.

2. Calories, calories, calories! This is the one time where fat content and prepackaged foods is a very good thing. You’re trying to survive until help arrives/you find help else where.

3. little to no food preparation needed. I purposely packed foods that were ‘grab-and-go’…meaning you don’t have to do anything to them to eat them, just open and enjoy. I also did pack a few items {like hot chocolate and soup} that require water. But that’s it! ‘Just add water’ is as far as I go.

4. Full tummies = happy families.

I think I packed more than I probably needed, but it’s better to have too much than too little. Plus, I figure if the time comes when we have to use our packs and we do have an excess, we could pass it along and help someone who might need it more than us. 72-Hour Emergency Kits...what to pack and why to pack it. This is a great list!!

Our Adult/Child 72-Hour Emergency Kits included:

  • 1 pack beef jerky
  • 2 packs instant oatmeal
  • 2 envelopes hot chocolate
  • 2 fruit cups
  • 1 pudding cup
  • 2 energy bars
  • 2 fruit snacks
  • 2 cereal bars
  • 3 packs peanut butter/cheese sandwich crackers
  • plastic utensils

72-Hour Emergency Kits for Babies...what to pack and why to pack it. This is a great list!!

Blake has his own baby version of these 72-hour kits I threw together too because he doesn’t eat exactly what we eat just yet, so here is the modified version.72-Hour Emergency Kits for Babies...what to pack and why to pack it. This is a great list!!

Baby 72-hour Emergency Kit included:

  • 4 packs pureed baby food
  • cheerios
  • 2 cereal bars
  • 2 fruit cups
  • 2 fruit snacks
  • 1 pudding cup
  • 2 instant oatmeal packets
  • formula + bottles {not pictured, but packed elsewhere}
  • plastic utensils

72-Hour Emergency Kits...what to pack and why to pack it. This is a great list!!

At the bottom of our bag, we have also included:

  • 4 cans soup
  • 2 packages powdered soup
  • 8 juice boxes {capri suns}
  • 8 gatorades
  • 8 V8’s

We also have bottled water in a different pack too. Don’t forget lots of water 🙂

72-Hour Emergency Kits...what to pack and why to pack it. This is a great list!!

I love these powdered soup mixes. You just add water and heat.

So, that’s it for the food. Don’t forget toiletries! 72-Hour Emergency Kits...what to pack and why to pack it. This is a great list!!

3. Personal Items

Don’t forget to pack:

  • toothbrushes for everyone!
  • toothpaste
  • shampoo + conditioner
  • deodorant
  • pain medicine plus any prescription medicine, if necessary
  • first aid kit {packed in a different bag}
  • wipes
  • diapers {in a different bag}
  • antibacterial hand sanitizer {not pictured, but in the pack}
  • feminine hygiene products

72-Hour Emergency Kits...what to pack and why to pack it. This is a great list!!

For the baby, I packed:

  • extra pacifiers {because you can never have too many!}
  • baby lotion
  • baby wash + shampoo
  • diaper cream
  • again, don’t forget the diapers!

In our other bag that has our water and the diapers also includes changes of underwear and clothing for the whole family. I didn’t want to spend money on new clothes initially, but then I thought “duh! Go to a second hand store!” so I headed over to Goodwill and found warmer clothes, pajamas, blankets and t-shirts for all of us for less than $20. Score.

Keep in mind to purchase larger sized clothes for your kids!


Other extras you could include in your emergency kits if you have room could be things like:

  • gum
  • games
  • cards
  • toys
  • coloring books and crayons
  • matches
  • flashlights
  • stuffed animals
  • disposable camera {to record damage}
  • candy

So, yeah. That’s what is in mine. We still would like to add a few more things to it, but for now that is where we stand.

Hope that helps some of you with yours OR even gets you thinking about putting one together. It’s nice to have peace of mind, even if you end up never having to use it 🙂

Do you have a 72-Hour kit? Tell me what is in yours!

Am I missing anything from mine that I missed? Let me know!

Have a great day, friends! {New recipe coming up tomorrow!}

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100 Responses
  1. Linda

    Your ideas are great. We did this right after 9/11. I also included 6 large trash bags in mine. Folded, they take up little room and can be used in lots more ways than hauling trash (ponchos, ground covers, and if you include duct tape in your kit, they could be made into an emergency shelter, My husband also included some rope, a screw driver, and a hammer. In an emergency situation, these could be invaluable.

  2. Patricia R.

    I would add chargers for electronics if you might have access to electricity. Also a spare set of keys for vehicles, house etc. I know from experience that it can be hard to replace either of these…

  3. Ann Richardson

    It’s a great kit–thanks so much for sharing so we can be motivated to do a better job with our own personal preparedness. I did not read thru all the comments as they were numerous, but wanted to add a few things I have in mine that you don’t.

    Some sort of treats — hard candy, Skittles, chewing gum, etc. A treat can ward off melt-downs like nothing else.
    I would also include some small games — tit-tact-do, playing cards, a ball or Frisbee, matchbox cars, tiny dolls or stuffed animals, etc.

    I have $$ in mine, but it is not kept in the pack itself but in a fireproof safe that it is also easily assessable.

  4. Leslea Lehoucq

    I didn’t read all the comments to see if my concern was contained there, but I would be afraid to have copies of birth certificates, social security numbers, etc. stored somewhere where someone who might break into my house could get to it. What a nightmare of identity theft issues could arise from this. I’m trying to think of an alternative to keep that info without exposing it to potential theft….

  5. Linda

    Your 72 hour prepper bags are awesome!! I love the food choices and the hygiene choices. The smaller “sample size” bottles work great for packing. I also included in ours, a compass, whistle, hand crank fire starter tool, multi-tool, swiss army knife, first aid items, batteries, flashlight, and battery operated radio. A hand crank radio would be great. Unfortunately, we still need the copies of our documents, but I do have the originals gathered & placed in a Ziploc bag. We also need to pack our clothing changes. The kids just grow so fast!
    Thanks for all the great ideas in your list!

  6. Brenna

    Socks. Lots of Sock. My dad was very into being prepared and also told me socks were the most important thing to have. They will help you stay warm and protect your feet. In the military it is always with there soldiers.

  7. Allison Cawley

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I’ve been thinking about putting together and emergency kit for my home too and this is great advice to keep in mind when I get around to it (which will be AFTER my wedding next month in Charleston!) 😉

    I’m glad to have seen your website on here. I just launched my own blog, http://www.peachfullychic.com and I’m excited to always read other inspiring blogs like yours! Thanks again!


  8. yeni

    Other good food options include tuna kits, which now come with crackers and mayo to make your own mix, and believe it or not Chef Boyardi products are great for this. These can actually be eaten without heating.

  9. Amy

    This may sound silly after all the wonderful additions already added but a comb and some ponytail holders. If you are washing your and your daughter’s hair, you’re probably going to need to comb it out.

  10. Nikole

    Make sure the diapers are sealed up air tight as they will turn hard and unusable if exposed to the air for too long, I made this mistake when trying to save diapers from one kid to the next.
    You might also save your favorite pictures, important information on a flash drive so if the paper gets wet/damaged you have a back up that takes up very little space.

  11. Judi Abbott

    Didn’t see Duct Tape mentioned (could have missed it) but it has many uses. My tiny backpacking stove is in my emergency kit as is pair of lightweight walking shoes, and down jacket and fleece top and bottoms.

    Never occurred to me to make copies of insurance papers etc.


  12. Katie @ The Surly Housewife

    What a great thing to do for your family 🙂 I’m such a boob. When I read emergency kit, I was thinking zombie apocalypse so I was thinking “you don’t need to worry about insurance!” Duh. She is talking about a real life emergency. I think I watch too much Walking Dead lol. I haven’t made emergency kits for our family (although I should) but my thoughts for preparing go with the survival mantra “3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.” Great post! I am sure you have inspired many to do the same 🙂

  13. Margaret

    Here in Queensland Australia they tell you to pack these for cyclones. Add eye protector glasses, eye moisturizer drops & mozzie repellent. Those emergency alfoil blankets take up less room. Notebook & pencil. A backpack is better so you have free hands. Its so good to see you making an effort as its o easy to become complacent. Thanks for all your great psts!

  14. Karen Thomson

    Hi – small pan to heat water and a handled mug/bowl to put heated items in. I appreciated the information about the lint and the vaseline to start a fire. I did not know that.

  15. Colleen

    I have one question, this is an excellent idea and I intend to put one together myself, my question is you have packaged soups, hot chocolate, you have packed water, and how are you going to heat it? Should we include bowls etc?

    1. Lauren

      We have a small coleman stove with a pot…probably should have mentioned that in the post! We also have some disposable bowls, lots of wet wipes and garbage bags packed too.

  16. Jeannette

    this is a great share!!! it has me thinking about making my own. it’s just my hubby and i so packing an emergency kit shouldn’t be too difficult. thank you for sharing this.

  17. Jenny

    Depending on the circumstances, you may need a method of heat for cooking the oatmeal, etc.. A small camp stove should do the trick. Here’s a small version: http://www.campingsurvival.com/fopocost.html

  18. B

    Sanitary napkins. I know I’m a tampon girl myself, but the thick ones could also be used for medical purposes as they do absorb blood well.

  19. Kellie

    I have always kept an emergency ‘kit’…but…my ‘kit’ is for much longer than 72 hrs. I have gone thru many tropical storms and hurricanes and have been without power for up to 2 and a half weeks. I have everything from a portable stove…a ton of batteries in multiple sizes….battery operated fans, radio, clock and games….a hand crank can opener…a large ice chest…I have a solar cellphone charger and a converter that plugs into my car cigarette lighter to charge my laptop and portable dvd players….plus water and canned food as well as dry goods……..trust me when I tell you that I am set lol. Of course when I hear about a storm coming I buy more food and water plus ice. I live alone so I have to look out for myself…no one else is gonna do it lol.

  20. Roberta Collins

    This may sound silly, but with all your personal information in one place, aren’t you afraid of identity theft if someone should steal the bag?

    1. Sydney

      I was thinking the same thing about all the personal info. I probably wouldn’t include my SS#. Where are you storing your emergency kit? I always think what if we can’t get to it?

  21. Megan {Country Cleaver}

    So many great ideas!! Ben and I need to get an emergency kit set up – and we need to pack stuff for Huck, too!! Even puppies need emergency kits – like 72 hours of food, his own meds, an extra blanket, water dish, and his dog license, tags/chip codes, and his vet numbers too!

  22. Kirsten

    Heavy duty work gloves for at least the adults! You may need to be moving debris. Also look into the 10 essentials for hiking/camping/back country, while not exactly disaster preparedness, they can be a real help nonetheless.

  23. Betsy

    You have the bottled water for everyone, which is critical, but here’s another insight courtesy of my co-workers who lived through the ’94 Northridge earthquake (and the San Francisco one in ’89). Make sure you have more water on hand if your disaster disrupts water lines, thereby disabling the toilet from flushing and re-filling with clean water. Your home (or evacuation area) may be safe and habitable, but without running water, and 3 (or more) days of unflushed toilets for a family is, um, eww.

  24. Susanne James

    I also leave our bike helmets in basement. Tornados and head protection is needed. I found old ones at Goodwill that will work in a punch.

  25. Kathy

    Love this idea! As an Independent Herbalife Distributor, I would include our own products, but especially our meal replace shakes that are water soluble. Perfect nutrition for everyone.

  26. Ellen

    Thank you for the great post! What are the dimensions of the bag that you used (top of the post) and who makes it? Thank you!

    1. Lauren

      I actually got it sent to me…it’s a soft sided insulated cooler bag. Here’s a similar one: http://www.bonanza.com/listings/Soft-Sided-Cooler-Collapsible-Portable-Outdoor-Marine-Waterproof-Fishing-Camping/156897751?gpid=66342337381&gpkwd=&goog_pla=1&gclid=CKm44tyXz70CFY6Rfgod3qsApw

  27. Dena

    I like this idea…..my husband would probably think it was overkill, however. I am wondering where you keep them then………..i’d think in a closet or somewhere, but boy, my closets don’t have room………maybe the cedar closet in the basement as that is where we go for a tornado or is ground floor a better idea? Anyone have thoughts on this?

    1. Betsy

      I keep a big version (like this one) near a sturdy area near my garage, where I can a) still get access if the electricity goes off, and b) the garage door couldn’t fall in on it.

      I keep a small version (water bottles, granola bars, nuts, first aid kit) in my car, for two reasons. One, my car might be the only thing that randomly comes out unscathed. Two, back in college, I read about a woman whose car ran off the road in a snowstorm; she was missing for over a week and survived to see her rescuers using the blanket, the gallon of juice, and the deluxe pack of Oreos stashed in her car.

  28. Meegan

    A bar of soap, and fire starters (egg crate with lint and candle wax ), a pill bottle with strike anywhere matches) and the crank flashlight and radio, would be my suggestions. But otherwise great job. Love the photos

  29. rita kavanaugh

    This is awesome! Some items you might want to consider, are: a transitor radio, (i found a crank flashlight with a radio on it at a crank flashlight), a charger for a cellphone, extra batteries, a bit of lint covered with vaseline (for starting a fire) and a pocket knife. also some water purification tablets, and a small camping stove with a can of fuel might also be essential if there was no power. last thing would be a towel. incase you can wash, and none are available.

  30. Elsa G

    I have to start on ours too. Also don’t forget if you have pets in your family, they will need food and water too. I have a small chihuahua dog, Renny, that we treat like a member of the family and would never think of leaving.

  31. Linda

    I just cleaned out the emergency supplies that I had put together after 911. I had included an extra pair of shoes and socks, a waterproof jacket, and – a biggie- toilet paper. Down the line, I had added a non-battery radio (it winds up) and a couple of flashlights (batteries were packed separately in zip bags. I also discovered that I had included an emergency first aid kit and some dust masks. I hope that I never need this stuff, but It’s good to know that it’s there if needed. I guess once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout!

  32. Beth G

    I found that I needed to include a mid-grade first aid kit with all sorts of sundries like safety pins, matches, a length of rope and rain ponchos for all, etc. Also, what size bag do you put yours in? I find that a day pack is too small, but a duffle is a bit too big. Thanks for the great post! 🙂

    1. Barbara Morelock

      Try looking at back packs. Find one that works for you. You would get worn out shortly lugging a duffle type around if this were to become a real need. My brother walked the pilgrimage trail (520 mi) across Spain and they ended up with 2 back packs. His wife’s being smaller and lighter. I truly believe that other than the Zombie junk if a real huge emergency happened a lot of people would not have a clue of how to take care of their own family. Read Alas Babylon from the ‘the 50s and it would make you think. Talk to a Survive or Prepper store about water filters and things. So much would depend on what could happen. The first book in a series about the US going thru the electric going down was interesting because the man named and explained about what he kept with him and how to “walk home”. Just a couple of thoughts for you. I am 74 and know how much can happen you did not use to have to think about.

  33. Courtney

    SO great to be prepared – I need to do this like yesterday. My daughter has FPIES a rare food allergy so having something like this with her safe foods is essential.

  34. Katie

    Your food choices are pretty smart- it takes less energy for your body to digest carbs than proteins, and you could actually live off what you packed for a LOT longer than 72 hours if you had to.
    Is the binder in a safe place? I feel like that binder is identity theft all wrapped up in one perfect little package should someone break into your house and steal it.

  35. Meagan @ A Zesty Bite

    This is great and I think every family should be prepared for something. Love this and definitely will make a bag for our family.

  36. Emilee

    Do you pack any extra clothes in yours? You can certainly survive wearing the same clothes for a few days. And clothes are bulky. But I think fresh underthings and socks would be nice to have.

    We have 72 hour kits, but haven’t updated them in quite a while and it’s on our to do list. There are lots of lists of what to pack out there, but I appreciate the pictures of what exactly went in yours.

  37. Jen

    You might think about adding whistle to the pack. crazy as it sounds but usually after a disaster things are crazy and if one get separated they could easily blow the whistle