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The Necessary 72 Hour Kit

by Jeff

I have been into emergency preparedness for more than 14 years.  It all started when a family member asked if we wanted her friend’s #10 cans of wheat.  It wasn’t just a few cans either.  We accepted and have since added to it again and again.

As part of our preparedness plan, we have a well stocked 72 hour kit.  This kit is not a “go bag”.  Don’t get me wrong I like go bags.  I have one at work, ready to go!  This is more than a get there from here kit.

Regardless of the disaster or calamity, we plan on sheltering in place.  This may also be the plans of most of you as well.  We can’t all afford a “doomsday bunker”.  For us, our food, supplies, animals, and garden are all at our home.  I know that in any event, we can survive there.

What happens if you have to leave?  Are you prepared to walk away from your home?  There are some incidents where we may not be able to stay and “ride out the storm.”  I think about hurricane Katrina, or the tornado that hit Joplin, Mo.  If my home is at risk of being destroyed, we’ll have to leave and leave in a hurry.  You need supplies to go, you need a 72 hour kit.

Many of us might be able to survive with the likes of Bear Grylls, but I have no plans on skinning a snake in order to urinate in it, so that I can hydrate later.   Sorry not going to happen!

The first kits that we made were not much more than your typical “go bags”.  A few MRE’s, water, first aid kit, etc.  As we have spent time working on our preparedness plan, and our supplies, we’ve added a lot more.

For most of us, during an emergency, or in survival mode, relying on the government for help really isn’t in our plans.  That’s why we became self sufficient in the first place.   If you plan on using their help, I understand. Whether you think it’s right or wrong, it’s not for anyone else to decide.  You have to decide what’s best for you and your family.  Whatever you decide, during any disaster you have to expect that the government will get involved to some degree or another, if you need their help they will arrive.  With that though, you can’t expect them to show up right away.  You have to assume that it will take a few days for any help to arrive.  This is the purpose of a good 72 hour kit.

Here is what my family has determined to be important to include in our kit:

Food – we decided to use MRE’s to accomplish this.  They have a good shelf life and are compact enough to fit into backpacks.  Some other options are canned goods, dehydrated or freeze dried food.  We also added energy/ granola bars and extra MRE sides for snacks.  Water bottles are also included; we keep these next to our kit, but leave it out so that we can rotate it.



Seasonal Clothing – In order to make our kit low maintenance, we added winter clothing and extra shoes, in addition to or summer clothes in the kit.  That way we don’t have to scramble to gather those items in a hurry.  They can be bulky, so we used “space bags” to vacuum out the air and compress them to fit.  As a reminder, if you have kids, you will need to periodically upsize the clothing in the kit.



Tents – depending on the situation, we may or may not have a place to stay, if we can get to a friend or relative’s home, great.  If not, we added several small, inexpensive tents, enough to fit everyone.  Depending on the size of your family or size of the tent, several may be needed.

Survival items – Some of these items go without saying, but a good first aid kit is a must.  Also fire starters, maps and compass, signal mirror, and whistle.  We included several flashlights into our kit, but a few of them are the windup flashlights, that don’t require batteries.  They also have the ability to generate power to charge a cell phone.  If you do have battery powered flashlights, extra batteries are extremely important.    An ax/hatchet and hand and feet warmers were also included to ours.  We also added chem. lights.  If by chance we are walking away from our home, and doing it at night, I have a bunch of chem. lights that I can hook to each of our kids backpacks, so that we can easily identify them in the dark.


Personal Hygiene Items – toilet paper, toothbrushes/paste, feminine hygiene items, deodorant.

Money – we don’t know what is going to happen, or if the emergency we are in will be the end of civilization, or the collapse of our financial system.  What you have to assume is that your credit/debit card may not work.  Having cash stored in your kit, just might become one of the smartest decisions you make in your 72 hour kit preparations.

Some other items to consider adding – tools, copies of your birth certificates/ social security cards, Fishing/hunting supplies.

Because of the size of our family, our 72 hour kit is quite large.  We have opted to distribute the kit into small backpacks for each of the kids to carry, and a couple of duffle bags.  The duffle bags do have wheels, in case we have to walk away from our home.


Whether you are a “master prepper”, or just getting started, a 72 hour kit for you and your family is a necessity.

In closing, let me just say this, I hope and pray that all my preparedness efforts are done in vain.  I hope to never have to use any of these resources that I have stockpiled.  I hope that none of us has to.  We prepare for the day we hope never comes.  I believe that one day that day will come, I pray that it doesn’t.

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