Emergency Preparedness: 72-Hour Kits Introduction

Alright! I think it’s time to get going on some emergency preparedness again! We’ve already covered the number one priority– getting out (out of your home, or town) safely in an emergency. So now let’s look at the next most important aspect: having life sustaining means with you when you have to get out– a.k.a. 72 hour kits.

What is a 72-Hour Kit? Quite simply, it’s a kit designed to sustain life for 72 hours if you are forced to leave your home.
Keeping that in mind, there are lots of ways to put together a 72-hour kit. It really is just going to be whatever fits and suits your needs and style. Some people use the ‘garbage can’ method, which is where they get a large (new) garbage can and use it to hold their family’s 72-hour supplies. This is not my method of choice because it seems a large garbage can would be rather difficult to pack up into your car (unless you have a truck), if you needed to take your 72-hour kit on the road. And since that is one of the main purposes of a 72-hour kit (being able to just grab it and go), I try to steer clear of the garbage can concept. But to each their own. I know my parents have a garbage can full of supplies as well as one of my sisters (and they make sure the garbage can has wheels to help with mobility), so there you go. You could also use suitcases, duffel bags, backpacks, backpacks on wheels (double bonus!), small buckets, or HERE is a fun and frugal idea for making a pack using an old sweatshirt. And you can mix and match as well. Again, it’s just whatever is going to fit your needs and style.
My personal favorite option is to use backpacks. They’re portable and easy to carry, each family member can have their own (which helps to distribute the weight of the supplies), you can customize the size of it to fit the family member (so your little child isn’t trying to carry a huge weight around), and their shape and flexibility is conducive to being stored in small spaces. The only downside I see is that most are not waterproof. So you may want to have a large garbage bag available to cover it if you’re forced to use it out in the rain.

You’ll want to store your 72-hour kit in a place that is very easily accessible so that you can just grab it and go (you may need to keep that in mind when you choose your 72-hour kit container): a coat closet near the front door; a hall closet; next to (or under) each family member’s bed; in the garage near the car; in the car… these are all good options.

So to give you an example (and maybe get some ideas going) here’s how we do our kits in our family: Hubby and I both have our own backpack and then our two little girls currently share one additional backpack, with each pack containing essentials like food & drinks, protective covering items (i.e. poncho, etc), small personal equipment items (i.e. can opener, eating utensils, flashlight, sippy cups for the kiddos, etc.), personal supplies (toothbrush/paste, soap, diapers, etc.) and medications, and then personal documents. We keep these kits in our respective vehicles, and I keep the girls’ pack in my car as well. We keep these in our cars (along with some blankets) because they contain the very basic elements of survival, and we want those with us wherever we are. If we’re at home, the car is at home too (and hence our kits are there with us as well). If we’re out traveling, the kits are in the car with us. So we’ve always got some basic survival essentials with us no matter where we are.
Then, in addition to these, we have a big family backpack for keeping our main equipment (i.e. butane stove and fuel, solar shower, camp shovel and mallet, etc.), along with extra food & drinks, personal supplies, and documents. (We got a big, sturdy, hiker-type backpack for that one.) We also have a 72-hour clothing kit (3 days worth of clothing for each person) that we keep in a duffel bag. These two kits we keep in our home in the front coat closet where it’s easy to grab on our way out the door. We also have our sleeping bags and other useful camping items in that closet as well, so we can grab any of them that we may want/need as we exit the house. And that’s it!

That’s our system in a nutshell. 🙂 If you don’t already have a system down for your family, hopefully this will help to get some ideas flowing for what will work for you. Next week we’ll talk about what should actually go IN your 72-hour kits and work on getting that started.

So your challenge this week is to think about what style will best suit your family’s needs and then go out and get those containers (backpacks, trash cans, whatever) so you’ll be ready to get going!


6 thoughts on “Emergency Preparedness: 72-Hour Kits Introduction

  1. foodinsurance.com says:

    72 hour kits are very important. I have a friend who was in Chile a few months ago when the earthquake occurred. Thanks to 72 hour kits they had down there she was able to survive and come back home safely. So we should all be prepared because we never know when or where we can be in a natural disaster. Thanks for your post!


  2. Harley Settlemire says:

    We’re a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with valuable info to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our entire community will be thankful to you.


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