With all the crazy, weird things going on in the world today preparedness has been on my mind a lot lately. When disaster strikes, it’s too late to try and get prepared. (Think toilet paper and 2020). This is why I’ve decided it’s important to have 72-hour kits on hand. I’ve made my so they are simple 72-hour kits. Simple and practical.
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At the beginning of 2020, we didn’t have any 72-hour kits. I had always wanted to have them, but they always felt like an “unnecessary expense”. My pantry was usually pretty well stocked, and we had a few long shelf items that I didn’t worry too much. I mean, I worried and wanted to have more but not enough to do anything about it.
And then 2020 hit. We all know what that means. I know we all have our own stories and experiences to tell about 2020. Part of my story is this: 4 days after my state shut down schools because of COVID, we had an earthquake followed by some smaller earthquakes. They weren’t big, just big enough to cause some damage to some buildings. The earthquakes mixed in with the pandemic, all within a few days, rattled me enough that I was determined to try and prepare as best I could for whatever may come my way.
I decided I wanted to have 72-hour kits for that “just in case” moment. So, I got to work and searched for what I needed to have in my own 72-hour emergency kits for my family. In my search I found that others have their own matching backpacks for their entire family. I didn’t want to invest in new matching backpacks, especially during a pandemic when I had no idea what the future held. Instead, I rounded up old backpacks. At the time, we were a family of 6. I was able to find 4 old backpacks that would work. I found another bag at a secondhand store and then I ended up having to use a duffel bag for my youngest.
We have since grown one family member, so I now have 2 duffel bags as part of our 72-hour kits. Use what you have. It’s more important to fill the bags you have than it is to have matching bags. If that’s something that you want, fill what you have and then you can look into buying matching bags.
If you don’t have any bags at home that are free to use, check a local second hand store. Just make sure to wash them!
I may eventually buy bags with more pockets and more support in case we do ever need them, but for now I use what I have.
Food for your simple 72-hour kits
For food, I wanted things to be simple. I knew right away that I didn’t want to have to carry 1 gallon of water for each person AND water for food. There was just no way. I made the decision to make sure the food didn’t need water, nor did I want to have to cook anything. If it were a true emergency, I don’t want to have to worry about having enough water or making sure I was able to warm food.
My first 72 hour kits contained soup, the kind you can easily pop the top off so I didn’t have to worry about can openers. Genius right? Nutritious and easy.
Now though, I’ve decided that I no longer want soup in my packs. The more I thought about it, the more I decided that my 72-hour kits needed to be a bit nutritious but also comforting. And cold, canned soup NEVER sounds appetizing let alone comforting. I have little kids, kids who can be picky eaters at time. I don’t want to be in the middle of some kind of emergency and struggling to get my toddler to eat something he isn’t used to.
My packs contain food that I keep in my pantry. Food that I know my family likes to eat, and will eat, but doesn’t require water or heat.
Think about calories
My current calories for food are around 1500 calories per person per day. However, that doesn’t include the snacks I’ve added to each pack so the calories are more than that. For my husband and older kids, I’ve added more snacks and food for meals for them since they usually eat more on the daily giving them even more calories per day.
Because of the type of food I have in our 72 hour kits, I have to revisit my packs every 6 months. The food isn’t long term storage food. I’ll switch out food, put new food in, and then I’ll put the food that I just took out of the packs that hasn’t expired (usually none of it has if I’m on top of it and check them every 6 months) in my pantry for my family to eat. Since it’s food I buy anyways, I know it’ll get eaten and there is zero wasting.
It’s recommended to store 1 gallon per person per day. That includes enough water to drink and for hygiene reasons. I’ve added bottled water to our kits but not a gallon. I have extra gallon containers of water by our kits so that we have the recommended 1 gallon per day per person.
I also included a Life Straw in each of our kits. One thing I’m considering of getting is a water bottle with a filter. One day I’ll get them but for now, I’m happy with our water and Life Straws.
Other items to think about
For kids, I do add in a stuffed animal and a small blanket to help with comfort. You can also add in small toys, coloring books with crayons, games or cards in the kits.
If you have babies, one thing that I feel is pure genius, is having ready to go formula. You can buy the formula in liquid form. No need to worry about having to carry enough water AND the powdered formula. (Yes, I just did discover this was a thing this year. I’m sure I knew . . . but never had a thought about it.) Don’t forget a bottle, pacifier, diaper rash cream, diapers, etc for your baby.
I also threw in a baby carrier, one that can hold my baby against my chest. With a backpack it may be hard, but the thought of holding a baby if I do have to walk somewhere all day sounds awful on top of everything else. Like I said, feel free to add or takeaway anything you feel fit.
If you have any disabled family members, or if any family requires special equipment or care be sure to take care of that as well.
Each kit contains hygiene items, flashlights and a few other random items.
Also, don’t forget your pets!
72-hour kit printable
Grab my 72 Hour Emergency Hour Kit printable here. It does have some links in the document that if you click on them, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I believe to be helpful.
Feel free to add anything to your own 72 hour kits, or take anything you feel isn’t necessary out. My list is a guide to help you build your own list that suites your family and the needs of each member of your family.
2020 showed us that when people panic, they truly do panic buy. (I’m looking at you toilet paper hoarders. . .) Don’t be one of those people to get a cart full of toilet paper from Costco. That’s not what you should. Each time you go to the store, buy something extra here and there of the things you use quite often. That will build your supply up and lessen the stress on stores when there is a true emergency.
I’m not an avid prepper, or professional of any kind, I don’t know everything or anything really, I only know what I believe will work best for my own family. For more information on how to prepare for emergencies, visit: Plan Ahead for Disasters | Ready.gov
Did I forget something? Do you pack something that I didn’t include? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you!
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