72 Hour Kits Revisited: Part 1 of 2

Today we’re sharing ideas about making your own 72 hour kits, and then some options for purchasing them at the end of the post. 72 hour kits are useful for the first 72 hours following some type of emergency/natural disaster. Often times they are used in scenarios where you have to evacuate your home. If you could stick around your home, I’d hope you have more then 3 days worth of food- but that’s another story.

72 hour kits typically contain supplies for dealing with disasters along with food and water. Today we’re sharing a list of supplies and some great tips we got from reader submissions. Thursday we will be sharing food ideas, along with a planning guide you can use to customize the food in your kits to your families needs and tastes. Please note, we also recommend having your important documents gathered in either an emergency binder, or safe.

Here is a list of non-food supplies. This list is on our disaster kit’s page. You might want to take a closer look at that, but know that we’ll be updating it along with the food part of it after this week. The items in black are the items we currently have on the page. The items in red are new items we gathered from reader submissions.

□ supply of water (one gallon per person per day)
□ first aid kit and prescription medications
□ extra pair of glasses , or contact solution
□ credit cards and cash
□ change of clothes and sturdy shoes
□ battery powered radio, and extra batteries
□ blankets or sleeping bags, rain poncho, body warmer, glow stick, tarp to make a tent
□ list of emergency plan contact info
□ booster cables for car, car shovel, rope, N95 dust mask, working gloves
□ flashlight with batteries , or hand-crank flashlight
□ wind/waterproof matches, and candle, plastic trash bags
□ personal hygiene products (baby stuff, soap, tooth care, toilet paper, hair ties, wet wipes)
□ games, books, hard candy, toys
□ tire repair kit and pump, duct tape, swiss army knife, and over the counter medications, maps of surrounding areas, sewing kit, blank CD for SOS or signaling for help, whistle, multipurpose tool (screwdriver, knife, saw, pliers, can opener etc), PowerCap (baseball type hat with built in headlights)
*more about pets on Thursday

The following are some tips we thought were worth sharing, but couldn’t really put them in a list since they are more ideas about how to purchase, store, or accumulate your supplies. Read them – and thank you to our readers for sharing them.

PURCHASING: After you’ve come up with everything you still need to buy for your kit, break it up into a purchasing schedule. Purchase just 1 or 2 things each week for however many weeks it takes you. The point is you’ll be making progress, even if you can’t buy it all at once.

GRAB LIST(S): Instead of having just one grab list (things you would grab if you have to evacuate) have multiple lists- one for each family member. Tape those lists up on the inside of your front closet door. When it comes time to evacuate, anyone who is old enough can get their list and hurry. This will save time deciding who is going to grab what.

INDIVIDUAL KITS: For anyone old enough, make them their own kit. Have food, water, and clothes in each kit so in case of separation everyone will have their own stuff. Divvy up the remaining supplies among all the kits. Put the heavier stuff in the stronger member’s kits. Use backpacks, or rolling bags that are easy to transport. Lugging around big rubbermaid bins is HARD.

TRIAL SIZE TOILETRIES: There are sample sizes of shampoos, toothpastes, deodorants etc you can purchase for the kits. They are in the regular personal hygiene aisles at the store. No need to lug around big containers of those things. Another idea is to save the samples you get at hotels and put those in your kits. They always get thrown away anyways if you only use a small portion!

THRIFT STORE CLOTHING: It can be inconvenient and kind of wasteful to store regular usable clothes in your kits that stay stored in a closet while children outgrow them. Consider purchasing outfits at a thrift store for you kits. That way you wont have to feel bad about not using whole outfits while they still fit.

COLD WEATHER BAG: There are a lot of items you might want in your 72 hour kit if it were cold- but you wouldn’t want if it were warmer weather. Store all the stuff you would need in colder weather in a separate bag or container that you would grab and go in case of emergency during the winter. If it happened to be warmer, you could just leave it behind.

PUT FRESH FOOD ON GRAB LIST: If time, circumstance, and space allow – grab any fresh food you may have and throw it in a cooler on your way out (if you are leaving in a car). You may really appreciate fresh produce in the first 24-72 hours of a crisis.

DIAPER BAGS PACKED: This goes for evacuations or everyday emergencies. Do your best to ALWAYS have your diaper bags packed with extra food, clothes, and diapers. If you’re in the habit of doing this all the time it could really save you in a REAL emergency (like those don’t happen daily with babies on the go).

IDEAS FOR ROTATION: Depending on how often your kit needs rotating (the foods you chose will dictate this), make it a habit to change them out at the same time each year. Whether it be Halloween (where you use some of the extra candy as comfort food), Spring cleaning week, April Fools Day (we did that last year so we wouldn’t be fools- we know it was corny) or any other time of year, get in the habit of rotating them.

COMMUNICATION: If in case you are evacuating and you expect your house to be in tact when you return, it’s wise to maybe leave a note about your where-abouts on a door. That way when people come looking to see if you are safe – they will know you are elsewhere.

Shelf Reliance

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

Food Storage Makeover: Disaster Kits

We’re so excited about our Extreme Makeover: Food Storage Edition project we are working on with Grandma Lori. We decided to start with getting her Disaster Kits put together. Disaster kits consist of a 3 day supply of food, water, and emergency items). As we went through our Emergency Preparedness worksheets we realized that they might not be ideal for every situation (including Grandma Lori’s). We came up with the following 3 options to discuss with her:

Inexpensive – if you have a lot of the first aid and emergency items on hand already and purchase food items in bulk at the grocery store
Flexibility – Freedom to choose foods for your 72 hour kits that suit your family’s needs and preferences
Time intensive – Inventorying your materials on hand can take a while, plus the added time of going to the store to purchase any items still needed
Hard to find – Some items may be hard to find if you don’t have a specialty preparedness store near your home

Convenience – No need to think or plan, everything you need is available all in one kit, including food and water and backpacks to carry it in
Expense – Buying everything new could potentially be more expensive then looking for good sales prices or using things you already have

Some good places to look for ready-made-kits are Emergency Essentials or American Family Safety.

Personalized – Some people like the kit for emergency supplies, but still prefer to put in real food for 72 hour kits
More complete – Any items not included in a purchased kit can be added in as a supplement
Consideration – Takes a little more thought then just purchasing a pre-made kit

If you are at the stage to be putting together your Disaster Kits you may wish to consider these three options. We will be going into more details on the three options in the future as we revamp our Disaster Kits page.

Make sure to stay tuned next Monday for the next video in this series to see what Grandma Lori decided on and to see the results of the first phase of her Food Storage Makeover!

More 72 Hour Kit Food Ideas

One of the first things we teach you when you are getting started with your food storage is to get an Emergency Preparedness Plan in place. This includes having a Disaster Kit containing 72 Hour Food Kits for every member of your family.

In our Getting Started section we have given a great example of how to make a 72 Hour Food Kit using a milk jug. We have always encouraged people to modify this kit to suit the needs of their own family and situation, but people have written asking us for more help with that. So we have come up with a few options which will hopefully be helpful for everyone. Pick the option that works best for you!

Detailed Instructions:

If you want it laid out for you step by step including a shopping list and contents list for one particular example of a 72 Hour Kit, follow our 72 Hour Kit milk jug instructions.

Create Your Own:

If you want to have more flexibility over your meal options, you can customize your kit using our new 72 Hour Kit Food Ideas worksheet. Follow the instructions and pick and choose what foods work best for your family.


Already Made:

For those of you who want the convenience of having a kit ready-made for you, we have been exploring some different options such as this 1 Person Safety Kit. We will be giving a more thorough review of these options in a future post so stay tuned!

If you have any additional items to suggest that work well for you please email them to us at info@foodstoragemadeeasy.net and we will compile them into an even more robust worksheet that we will incorporate into our Emergency Preparedness Plan and our Food Storage Made Easy Binder in the future.