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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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.ย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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!ย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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. Rachelle Lake

    I bought this round portable black toilet from Walmart. Inside it I have plastic bags with twist ties that fit. I store an old sheet with some clothes pins. I have TP and Lysol wipes to keep it clean. It all goes inside. You don’t know where your going so you need to be prepared. Also when your gas tank hits half full, go fill it back up on your vehicle. We learned from the great blackout in So. cal. (2011)The gas stations had long lines of people that could not get gas. It takes power to pump the gas. I would write down all your phone numbers in your phone in a small notebook. You may not be able to use your phone. A small tent and blankets or sleeping bags are great. I saw a small table at Costco for kids. I think it would be great to cook on. You could through in your car some camp chairs to. Now we need masks for everyone. Also shelters will not take you if you don’t have a carrier for your pets.

  2. Abby Fields

    This is a great list! The only thing I would add is to your emergency contact numbers. In my kit, I always include insurance and a 24/7 disaster restoration company. This gives me the number if my phone were to die or be left behind in a fire or flooding situation.

  3. DavetteB

    This is an Excellent starting place, esp. with focusing on what your family needs.
    Consider where you live and what kinds of emergencies happen. Hurricane & flood zones you need some Wellies or other boots and good ponchos (not just garbage bags). If you live in tornado alley a hard hat/bike helmet and safety glasses are more vital; where I live in AK wool socks and blankets, long underwear, and bug repellent are needed along with emergency batteries and/or a generator for keeping warm when the power goes out.
    Speaking of power, if you have elderly or disabled people in your family, make sure that your power company has them on the priority list for getting power restored (our last local outage, we only lost power for a day, but some areas were out up to two weeks). Include in your emergency binder the locations of your nearest shelters and places to shower if you need to evacuate.
    I have a disability, so I have a small pack on my rolling walker and my larger bag is a rolling travel carry-on size bag. There are scissors for opening the foil type packs of tuna and beef stew, and a can opener for the cans that don’t have pop tops. Every time I go to the store I get a paper soup bowl and plastic ware. If you have dried foods like beans or rice, be sure to pack extra water for cooking. Make sure you have foods for anyone on special diets – diabetic, allergies, gluten-free, etc. Coconut oil is a good oil to store as it has a long shelf life, and fat will keep you going longer than carbs. While it’s good to rotate your food, most food is good for long after the date on the package even if they don’t look as appealing. Ditto for medications and herbal supplements. vitamins would need replacing the soonest; try to get ones in dark amber or green bottles for the best shelf life. Throw in a few small zipseal bags of salt, sugar, and a container of garlic salt or all purpose seasoning – it can make those canned foods more tasty.
    If you have enough notice (hurricane, tornado, flood warnings) fill every possible container in your home with tap water, including your sinks and bath tub. It can be used for flushing the toilet and hand washing even if you don’t care to drink it. If you have a pitcher type water filter, keep extra filters on hand.
    I’d add coloring activity books for little kids, or even crayons and plain paper. I have a pack of UNO cards in a zipseal bag. Puzzle books and paperback books for everyone, one should be a first aid guide or scout manual. I also have a small Bible and notepad and pens in a zipseal bag; one can always draw or play hangman.
    For storage, again that depends on your emergency. Also depends on whether you have to shelter in place or evacuate. A small pack and shoes can be stored under each persons bed or in a bin in your room; the larger stash can be elsewhere.

    PS: I saved the article plus many of the helpful comments ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Jayne

    All of these backpacks can be kept in a new garbage container, that is only used for this purpose,
    that is placed in the garage near the entrance in order to grab and go.

  6. Cynthia

    Thank you for this post! I am motivated to put an emergency kit together NOW.

    Other items to consider are charging cables for electronics, solar powered charger (if electricity is out for an extended period of time), kids liquid tylenol and a thermometer.

    Also, scanning important documents (ID, birth certificates, etc.) and saving them on an encrypted USB drive may be a safer option to store important information. Paper copies are super handy and convenient, but that option leaves your personal data โ€œexposed.โ€

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  8. B. Kelly

    There is plenty of thinking going on here! Good for you all! I would suggest family pictures. Also, I had friends who would take their packs camping and live on them for 3 days. It helped them to rotate and to see what foods worked and what didn’t. Great ideas!

  9. Brian

    A means to find clean water, I use a life straw. $20 ish on Amazon. 72 hours of food is great but if you run out of water in the post 72 hours it gets really bad

  10. Jen

    The only thing we have added to ours is a small Rubbermaid bin with scoopable litter a ziploc bag with cat food, 2 collars and two leashes for our furry felines!

  11. Tori

    I’ve heard too many stories of mold in the juice pouches ๐Ÿ™ I would personally use a water bottle and the tiny drink mixes. Also, sunscreen. Prepaid visa/debit cards?

  12. Rachel

    This is great. I would highlight several things I’ve discovered from experience. Energy, carbs, protein Vs Sugar. Protein can give a fuller feeling without the highs and lows. Protein bars can be great. Hydration is more important than food. Mix both, even better. Beware of “just add water” in an emergency local water can become unsafe for various reasons. Including tap water. Travel toothbrushes can save on space. Wind up torch, radio, phone charges are a fantastic investment! Foil, tuct tape, veg oil are suprisingly versatile and useful. If in doubt imagine a weekend away camping.

  13. Pamela

    Love your kit! I am working on my Venturing Ranger Award and this has been a lifesaver. I would add some kind of mess kit. You have your plastic utensils, but maybe a metal cup so you can have a warm the soup, the hot chocolate. Also multi purpose knife, it can open cans, you can use it as a tool for first aid. Maybe a big black trash can, it can be use to keep your dry, warm as impro poncho or shelter and it take no space or weight.

    Also a good thing to do is learn a few thing. CPR+First Aid, Fire Building, swimming, etc.

  14. Name *jam

    I started our BOB’s yesterday, I’m using a backpack for each of us. Am also planning to use a suitcase with wheels for larger items. Will be getting an evacuation carrier for our cat soon from Walmart or Cabela’s. Don’t forget food & water for your pet. I have a small foldup stove [that uses canned heat], mess kits & very sturdy plastic eating utensils, that I found in the camping section @ Walmart.

  15. Ruby J

    If you have pets you should include a bag for them….food, treats, toys, collar and leash with tags, microchip them, maybe carrier for cats, small dogs. Also, vaccine and veterinary info. Gotta take care of 4 legged family members.

  16. Rylee

    Just what I was looking for!! Yay, thank you! We just moved to San Francisco and are newly married, so I’m wanting to make a couple packs. Just wondered what type of bag that was? Is it a suitcase? Thanks for your help!

  17. Cindy

    You might need a foil blanket, toilet paper, a flashlight, compass, water purifier, and maybe a radio. ๐Ÿ™‚ You’re awesome!

  18. Diana

    Some additional ideas…if there is room: Duct tape, emergency heat blankets (you can sometimes get them in the dollar bin at Target), pocket knife, matches/lighter, candles, radio (and extra batteries), solar or battery operated cell phone charger, feminine products, TP, Kleenex

  19. Kel

    Great idea, I like the USB and email ideas. That would be where I would put my most sensitive information rather than photocopies that can be used for I’d fraud. I would include photos of each of your family in case you are separated. More than one emergency blankets for each person. Posably including dark chocolate, it gives you energy plus there are known to help your mood.

    1. Carolyn @ Raspberries in the Rough

      Okay, I like the USB idea, but email is NOT a secure form of communication. You should never send sensitive info/documents over email; it can be viewed by a third party.

  20. Dena

    Lots of great ideas!! While having a copy of all of your documents with you I also would scan and attach to an email and then email to myself so I could have access to them electronically , if needed.

  21. Pennie.

    Waterless bath and shampoo products are a good idea, too. Also, waterfiltering/
    purification straws are essentials! Don’t forget, there may not be enough clean water available to rehydrate food, bathe and shampoo. One more thought, Capri Sun has flavored water pouches that take up less space and weight in a kit and free more pure water for straight drinking. Use them for oat meal rehydrating. Thanks to you and all your followers for great tips and motivation!

  22. Denise

    Lots of good ideas here. Thank you so much for posting this. I tried keeping myself warm at night with an emergency blanket once and could hardly sleep…just didn’t keep me warm. I keep wool blend blankets with our 72-hour kits. They say not to pack salty foods because they make you thirsty, but I like the idea of jerky. (l’d add some dental floss with that!) Thank you for the great ideas.

  23. Teri

    I love the waterproof cooler idea. I also learned from the Northridge, CA Earthquake that it is important to have $1.00 bills because people will tell you they don’t have change and you end up paying $20.00 for something that cost $4.00. After Katrina my family put together their own 72 hour packs. In it we included an emergency phone number of someone outside of our state. If you have been in an earthquake you know that you can reach someone outside the state before you can reach someone who lives in the same town. Our out of the state emergency contact is the person we call to report that we are OK and where we are. They then can tell everyone else when they call them. The candy is a great idea for kids and I use the snack size candies instead of the full size candy. Finally, I asked each of my kids at the time what they wanted in their kits, they all said a book and a bible to read. So we put that in each of theirs, this way they can trade the books with each other after they read them. As mentioned above, the large trash bags are a must and we learned that with Katrina to help keep people dry and their bags dry.

  24. Jodi

    Forgive me if I’m repeating something. Didn’t read all the comments. Make sure the canned items have pop open lids or pack a can opener. We always included a waterproof transistor radio and a map of our state with counties labeled so we could track storms. Also had a roll of TP. ๐Ÿ™‚