72 Hour Kits for Families
My whole family (me, my husband, my sisters, parents, everyone!) is currently on an ’emergency preparedness’ kick. Can you blame us? Look at the world around us! It seems that everywhere I look there is turmoil and unrest. Our neck of the woods hasn’t been hit with any natural disasters recently, but I better knock on wood, cause I’m sure our day is coming. When I see pictures of families with no homes waiting for relief it only makes me want to prepare more for the worst. I don’t believe in getting all crazy and obsessive, but I do believe in being prepared. It at least helps me to sleep a little better at night!
The first thing that was on my mind for emergency preparedness was 72 hour kits. If disaster strikes or we have to evacuate for some reason, it’s not gonna matter much what I have in my home. We will need something to grab quick! 72 hr kits work great for grab ‘n’ go during an emergency. I’m ashamed to admit that it has taken me so many years to finally get these together. I kept putting it off because it just sounded like a hassle and too much work. Well, I’m pleased to announce it really doesn’t have to be that way! My husband and I put our packs together in one night and didn’t break a sweat! I’m gonna make this really easy for you. Here we go!
Back packs. You need something to put your 72 hour kits IN. If you’re tight on money, you can use backpacks you have lying around or even check your local thrift store for some high quality, gently used ones. We bought our backpacks here when they had a black friday blowout and only paid $5 each. They are awesome! Just make sure you can carry them easily and that they are big enough to carry the essentials. (The purple backpack is mine because I have back issues and it has wheels (: Make sure the back packs you choose can actually be carried by everyone in your family including kids. My husband will have to carry our 2 yr olds back pack if we end up using these in the next 3 years.
Water. You have a lot of options here but keep it simple. You can just throw some mini water bottles in your bag or you can buy water pouches. We chose the latter because it was easier to distribute the weight and they don’t need to be rotated as much. We also included water filters. Life straws are so great because they are small and they will even filter water out of a dirty puddle if needed!
Food. Think light weight and high calories. You can buy the high calorie bricks (we kept those in our vehicle for emergencies) which will definitely keep you alive, IF you can choke them down 🙂 but I wanted some relatively good tasting food. We packed the following: granola bars, applesauce cups (pouches might be better), Ramen Noodles, MRE’s, Fruit Leather, etc. Freeze dried meals like Mountain House are also great because they have a longer shelf life and you don’t have to rotate them every six months. If you’re the kind of person that you know will never get around to rotating the food in your packs after you’ve made them, this might be the way to go. Just remember to pack extra water to compensate!
Fuel. If you are packing food that needs to be warmed up, you will want some kind of cooking source. Since it needs to fit in your backpack, keep it small and simple! We have a Sterno Folding Stove that we keep in the emergency bag in our trunk. Stove in a can and a folding pocket stove are also great options!
Light. This was one of my favorite categories in our 72 hour kits because there are just so many cool choices out there. You can buy LED flashlights, lightsticks, or one of my favorites, an inflatable Solar Lantern!
Warmth. This one is a toughie because you obviously can’t fit a down comforter in your backpack so we did 4 things. We included a space blanket in each pack, we bought sleeping bags that we keep by our packs to throw in the car, we keep wool blankets in the back of our van, and we also packed hand warmers in everyone’s bag. Hopefully, between all these things, we’ll stay warm. Also remember to either buy some cheap plastic ponchos (we bought these) or big garbage bags that you can use to keep dry in wet weather. It’s a lot harder to keep warm if you’re WET!
Clothing. Clothing can take up a lot of room too but I made sure to pack everyone at least 1 extra outfit, Name%20Your%20Linkwarm wool socks, and an extra pair of shoes. That way, if the outfit they are wearing gets wet, they have a spare. You can also include warm gloves.
Shelter. We have a tent in our garage that we can throw in the car if needed, but we also included these emergency tents in each of our 72 hour kits.
Hygiene. Remember, these kits are to keep you alive, not keep you beautiful 🙂 I packed feminine supplies for me, diapers and wipes for the youngest, and the basics for everyone else (tissue, toilet paper (1/3 of a roll that has been flattened to fit better in pack), toothbrush, comb, and soap. I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but you get the general idea, right? As you can see I also threw in some Emergen-C packets, which has nothing to do with hygiene, but also a great thing to add to your packs!
Emotional Comfort. This is where I start throwing in things specifically for my kids. In a time of emergency, kids can be scared or easily traumatized. Having items in their packs to help comfort will help to ease stressful situations. I recently wrote a post on Double the Batch on how to make 72 Hour Kits for Kids. Any of the ideas from that post would also be great to add to your child’s 72 hour kits.
CASH! In an emergency, ATM’s and card readers will most likely be down and cash might be your only way to buy anything. If funds are low, just start out with $10 or $20 and slowly add to it each month.
First Aid Kit. There are several ways you can do first aid kits. You can buy them pre-made. Name%20Your%20LinkHere are some great options if you want to do that. You can also make your own. You can also make or buy one big first aid kit for mom or dad to carry and/or make smaller little first aid kits for everyone else. Regardless of how you do it, here are some things I felt were important to include in ours:
- Essential Oils. I only included the ones I felt were most important: Lavender, Purify, Peppermint, and On Guard. This 4 oils will take care of most everything (bites, burns, bacteria, fevers, etc.)
- N95 Masks in case of air contamination.
- Medications. I have a low thyroid which requires medication every day, so I have included that. Make sure to include anything your own family needs.
- Pain reliever/fever reducer (advil, tylenol)
- Name%20Your%20Linkbandages, ointments, gauze pads, Name%20Your%20Linkcold packs, tweezers, Name%20Your%20Linkscissors and a hand sanitizer.
Like I said before, I’m sure there are things I might have forgotten. If you have other great ideas for making 72 Hour Kits for families, please comment below and share! Best of luck in your preparedness efforts!