72 Hour Kits Revisited: Part 2 of 2

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In Part 1 of 72 Hour Kits Revisited, we talked about supplies to have in your 72 Hour kit, along with some great reader tips to think about when building your kits. Today we’re talking about something we all LOVE….FOOD! We’ll also be talking about things to consider for special circumstances or situations like pets, kids, and babies.

We’ve been asked a couple of times for pre-made menus and each time we’ve gone to prepare them, we’ve stopped because we can’t please everyone 🙂 We decided the best way to help you plan the food for your kits was to do 2 things. The first is to give you a personal meal planner worksheet. The second is to give you a long list of foods people have suggested, then you can fully customize your plan. PLEASE – DON’T GET OVERWHELMED. – THIS POST IS LONG – WE KNOW, WE COMPILED IT! Just use it as a guide and press forward. Here we go:

This worksheet can help you get your thoughts down on paper. Print it out, fill it out with foods your family will eat, then you can place the menu plans in your 72 hour kits. It’s a good idea to place the menu plans in your kits so you don’t forget what you had planned to eat when the time comes.

There are a lot of different ways of eating out there! Some people want healthy, some want no cook meals, some want meals you don’t have to rotate, there’s allergies to consider and ages. We polled our readers and got some ideas. See which category, or categories you fall under and pick foods from there.

-Granola bars (vacuum sealing them makes them last longer)
-Chocolate candy/chips
-Dried fruits/dehydrated fruits
-Tuna pouches (already packaged from store)
-Wheat crackers for the tuna
-Raw almonds
-Hot cocoa
-Fruit drink mix
-Raman noodles/cup a noodles
-Jerky (though salty will make you more thirsty)
-Pouches of soup mixes (potatoe, brocoli, chicken noodle) just add water
-Canned: spaghettios, raviolis, tuna, sardines (can be eaten cold) (figure I can put 1 can in each bag to supplement food rations, so nobody has to carry a -bunch of heavy cans (the cans have the pull tops so no need for can-opener – we’ve been told these can explode when you open them, so be careful)
-Peanut butter
-Small jar jellie
-Small container honey
-Banana chips (the potassium in them can help with muscle soreness if your are using muscles helping people in a disaster type situation)
-Protein powder
-Gatorade (you’ll need electrolytes)

Emergency Food Bars (i.e 3600 calorie bars)
MRE Meals (check out the options at Emergency Essentials and Shelf Reliance)
MRE Meals can last up to 25 years – remember to store water and cooking fuel
-Beef stroganoff
-Chili mac
-Breakfast skillet
-Chicken and rice
-Chicken ala king

-Instant oatmeal (none of those colored frankenmeal ones – just maple, cinnamon, or organic varieties)
-Foodsaver bag of 3 days’ worth of dehydrated apple chips (with an oxygen absorber to extend shelf life)
-Bush’s baked beans, 8 oz. pop top (This is used as a cooking vessel to heat other foods – wash and save this can after use.)
-Pouches of “squeezy fruit” baby food (Plum Organics, Ella’s Kitchen, or Happy Baby – found online, Target, or Babies/Toys R Us)
-Pouches of big kid squeezable applesauce
-Chunk light tuna in water (This fish contains much less mercury than the white or albacore.)
-2-3 foil packets of mayonnaise and relish (to make an impromptu tuna salad)
-Shelton’s Chili (Delicious and additive-free! Two kids can share a can.)
-Cascadian Farms kid size peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars
-Resealable bags of dried fruit or large raisin boxes
-Yummy Earth lollipops and/or a small bag of Surf Sweets gummies
-Lunchbox size packs of crackers such as Late July
-Laughing Cow cheese wedges (They do not require refrigeration.)
-Reverse osmosis filtered water, each with a small rock of Himalayan pink salt added in order to re-mineralize the water.
-Crystal Light Pure (sweetened with stevia and sugar, all natural flavors and colors)
-Packet of Emergen-C

-Lundberg Rice Cakes
-GF Granola (like Bakery on Main)
-Beef Jerky
-Can of Chicken or Tuna
-Mary’s Gone Crackers
-Dinty Moore Beef Stew
-Hormel Chili
-Canned Fruit
-Fruit Leather
-Fruit Roll-up or Fruit Snacks
-Boxes of Pacific Almond Milk
-Peanut or other Nut Butter

-Prepackaged precooked meals (like the indian dishes that can be found in mylar bags in the ethnic foods aisle at the grocery)
-Cliff bars
-Lara bars
-Nut bars
-Vitamin B12 tablet
-Bar of vegan dark chocolate
-Peanut butter
-Nuts packaged in food saver bags
-Seeds packaged in food saver bags

-Cereal bars
-Peanut butter
-Pudding cups
-Fruit cups
-Fruit roll-ups
-Cans of vegetables
-Pork and beans (can eat cold)
-Granola bars (vacuum sealing them makes them last longer)
-Chocolate candy/chips
-Dried fruits/dehydrated fruits

-Tuna pouch
-Chicken pouch
-Canned peas, carrots
-Crasins, & other dried fruit
-Fruit snacks or other candy treat type things
-Cheerios in vac sealed bag
-Canned fruit (mixed, pears, peaches, apple sauce)
-Bottle & Single serving milk packets
-Granola bars
-Hormel complete meals – chicken & rice or turkey & mashed potatoes

-Instant formula
-Plenty of diapers or cloth diapers
-A travel package of wipes
-3 cotton/flannel wraps, and 2 muslin wraps.
-Baby food
-Small comfort toy/s.
-Clothes – and plenty of them!
-Ziplock bags. These work great for storing used diapers or anything else that is dirty, or clean for that matter.
-Bulb nose syringe and saline
-Infant tylenol/motrin.
-Desatin or other diaper rash cream and travel-sized baby powder
-For detailed information on these items- visit this post

-Small Backpack or Bag
-Paper, Coloring Book
-Crayons, Pencils
-Travel Games- Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Checkers
-File Folder games
-Crossword book, Sudoku book
-Card games- Go Fish, Old Maid, UNO

CAT KIT (alter for other pets):
-1 gallon of water
-1 plastic gallon jug filled with dry food
-1 12 pack box of wet food packets
-1 small bag of treats
-Small litterbox
-Litter scoop
-Plastic gallon jug filled with kitty litter
-Small plastic trash bags for scooped waste disposal
-Mini pet first aid kit
-Vaccination/vet records
-Color photo of cat
-Extra collar w/contact info
-Leash and harness

– Plastic utensils
– Paper plates
– Small cup
– Tin can for cooking
– Matches
– Can Opener (if needed)
Fire starter packets
Wing tip stove and fuel pellets
Stove in a Can
Backpacking Stoves
Sterno canned heat

We posted this in Part 1 for people who want to buy Pre-Made kits. You may chose to do a combination of putting together things you already have and buying things you don’t already have, or doing a custom purchase kit.

Shelf Reliance

Create a completely custom emergency kit for your family using their Emergency Planner.

  • Laurie Nissen Schnabel

    One thing i did not see listed is a three day supply of medications needed. During an emergency, running out of needed meds could make it a dangerous time. I refill my prescriptions a few days before i run out. I then put the extra in a separate vial. While going 3 days without cholesterol meds would be ok, heart, diabetes, and other hypercritical prescriptions will be needed. We also keep an epi-pen because of food allergies. You can buy small packs of benadryl and many others over the counter.

  • Useretteunknown

    Thank you for thinking of us vegans! 

  • Vacuum food sealer is a great help for me as a mother which can preserve the quality of the food products even if they are transported to one place to another.

  • Jcbruce_80

    Personally, I would not put the Laughing Cow cheeses into a 72 hour kit. It actually says right on the labeling that you should refrigerate it after purchasing, and the sell by date of the one I have now, which I only bought about a week or two ago, is in May. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t want to have to worry about rotating anything in my 72 hour kits more than once or twice a year.

  • Camille

    Thank you SO much for the gluten free options! I am in the middle of putting together our 72 hour kits and most of my family has to eat gf, so this was very helpful!

  • ann

    New to this site. I loved the 72hr kit, we had coleman water jugs and made some substitiutions to make it all fit. We were able to put chicken and beef bouillon cubes as well as tea bags in with our kits and instead of hard candy we got the vitamin c fortified coughdrops . We did fit everything else but the can of stew and added as well individually wrapped prunes for potassium instead of banana chips or dried fruit. Our kids like prunes!

  • Courtney

    I have a question. Do you have a list of items to put in a make-your-own first aid kit? I have seen those lists before from emergency preparedness fairs, but never saved any. I’m looking to put a first aid kit in our 72 hour kit, but none of the ones online seems comprehensive enough.

  • Vbrown127

    2 things.
    1) Whenever you have anything dehydrated, you must include extra water to rehydrate them.
    2) If you plan to use a can for heating, you must also add tongs that can handle the can without losing its grip, such as rubberized tongs. Or a heat proof glove(s). Otherwise you have to wait for everything to cool down, defeating to purpose of heating it up.

  • Mitchsmom

    Great post… nice to see whole foods (non-additive) suggestions!!!! Thx!

  • Tamra

    Thanks for the pet info. I have evac things for the cats, but this gives me a better checklist to put all together in a bin.

    Also, I put together 72 hr. food kits at a church function when I first started food storage and my dh brought something very important to my attention — weight! Those prepared canned foods and water bottles can really add up fast. We have 3 young kids and can’t expect them to carry that kind of weight, so had two options: 1) come up with something durable on wheels or 2) get lighter food. We did option 2. Remember, if you have to walk out very far, you don’t want a ton of extra weight, esp. on those who for whatever reason can’t carry very much.

    • janet

      We also have kids in our family and so to be able to get everything we needed in our kits and also deal with the weight I’ve come up with this solution: I use a suitcase on wheels to keep our food/water/etc. in. They have retractable handles which I keep retracted. Onto the handle I strap a sleeping bag (in its cover) with a bungee cord and I slip an old backpack onto the sleeping bag by its shoulder straps. We keep clothes/change of shoes in the backpack. The whole thing rolls easily around and we can grab it and go in an emergency. Even the smallest child can wheel around a small suitcase on wheels! (Maybe the small one could hold the toilet paper or other “light weight” items!)
      Good luck!

      • Camprunamuk

        You may need to consider better wheels for these bags.  My kids have taken those rolling bags to school, and several times the wheels gave out one or two months in, on nice sidewalk pavement.  My hubby had to put stronger tougher wheels on them and even then they didn’t last a long time.  I know you hope they will only be for 72 hours, but think about the terrain may be tougher.  What if 72 hours turns into much longer and those bags and the gear they carry become all you have left in the world?  Will they hold up long?  Take time now, to find tougher wheels so you have a chance they will last at least a few months.  Just my thoughts on what was a frustrating time during the school year where the kids had constant wheel problems, rebuilds and replacement bags.  These weren’t young kids beating them up, but careful college students who live at home and have their precious laptops in those bags.  In other words, they were careful.

    • kim

      They have school backpacks on wheels that would be easier to transport if they couldn’t carry them.

  • Jennifer W.

    Remember, when you’re in an emergency scenario, you generally need more calories, not less. 2300 calories or so per adult. Also, salty foods make you thirsty.

  • Jennifer W.

    Remember, when you’re in an emergency scenario, you generally need more calories, not less. 2300 calories or so per adult. Also, salty foods make you thirsty.

  • Another awesome post! Thank you for all of your hard work! This makes me feel like I could get all of our 72-hour kids (family of 6 with one more on the way) very easily and efficiently! One word of advice though…I’m not too keen on the cans with the pop top lids. I have heard horror stories of people using those in 72-hour kits and when they go out to rotate things the cans had exploded everywhere!! Everything was sticky and many things were ruined. I think they are great for your every day food storage that you go through regularly (I buy them often) but for 72-hour kits I think you are better off buying regular cans and having a manual can opener. Thanks again for all of your great work! I love this site!!!

    • Janet

      You can put poptop cans inside of heavy duty ziploc bags just as a precaution. That way if the poptop should e xplode the contents will be contained by the ziploc bag.

  • This is an AWESOME list! Thank you!

  • ctdaffodil

    We are a scouting family….that said we have 4 metal mess kits for the kids to use when they are going camping. I also picked one up at the church rummage sale for the bug out box….they aren’t even expensive at walmart or another box store. They nest into each other – usually come with a little storage sack (I made one for our bug out one from old jeans) they are just the right size to fit on small camping stoves or over a sterno one in an emergency. Like I said I have one for the family box. I also have a small coffee percolator – camping style in there too – same church sale – I took out the basket and left the stem – it makes for a good amount of hot water in a pinch, and has a lid to help keep it warm.

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