Saturday, April 16, 2011

Preparedness Challenge #5 (72 Hour Kits)

It's much more fun to prep with the idea of staying at home, but the reality is you may need to evacuate and fast! Do you know what you'd grab? What would you leave behind? And here's the rub... you're going to be flustered and unable to think clearly. Think you could pull it all together in 5 minutes or less? I couldn't, unless I had planned ahead.

72 Hour Kits go by various names: BOB (Bug-Out-Bags), ALICE (Advanced Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment), and GOODY (Get Out Of Dodge, Y'all) are all aliases for kits you would take with you to leave your home quickly. What goes into these bags varies as well, but there are things you should consider when putting a kit together. And depending on where you live and what kind of crisis you are prepping for will determine what goes in your bag. Those living in the city may need a few things that rural folks won't and visa versa. 

Consider what you'll put your supplies in before you begin. If your kit is for your car, a bucket will work, but if you think you'll have to walk out, you'll need backpacks. Keep in mind how much each person can reasonable carry while hiking, climbing, and walking over obstacles.

My goal here is not to be detailed, but rather to list categories for your consideration and to get your mind working on ideas. If you have infants or toddlers, you'll need to add additional items such as disposable dipers, etc. It will help if you think of a camping trip where you're roughing it. And don't forget your pets or animals. Have a plan! We had a fire up on one of the mountains here last summer and people had to get their livestock out fast and take them someplace. 

Packing List

1. Water. Pack some water, but also have something that can purify water that you can find wherever you are. Don't depend on FEMA or the Red Cross to always be there purifying it for you. Have some tablets or something as a back up.

2. Food. Your goal here is to keep calories in everyone for fuel. A few snacks for the kids are fine, but you can't carry too much. Consider MRE food bars that are designed specifically for this purpose. 

3. Clothing. At least one change of clothes per person is necessary. Also, pack several pairs of extra socks in case feet get wet. They can also be used for temporary gloves along with hand warmers. Each person should have a bandana or two as well for covering the face, keeping hair back, etc.

4. First Aid. If there is a crisis going on, there's a good chance someone may need first aid. If not your family, someone else. And because getting medical help might be difficult or impossible for a few days, knowing what to do and having some supplies is necessary. Don't forget that if someone is on prescription medication, you're going to need to throw that in at the last minute. Keep a paper in the top of the bucket with a reminder of what to grab.

5. Hygiene. Dental care, feminine hygiene, deodorant, and soap are all important, but don't forget to include some baby wipes for quick clean ups when water is scarce as well as some hand sanitizer. In a crisis situation, disease can spread rapidly!

6. Protection From The Elements. This could include temporary shelter, rain gear, and starting a fire. Don't get overwhelmed with this; check into some sites such as USA Emergency Supply to see what they are recommending in terms of light weight gear.

7. Must Have From The House. This category would include information from your hard drive such as family photos, banking and billing information, insurance records, home inventory, etc. Also, you should have your passports, copies of birth certificates, and other important documents.

You can pull these items together yourself, but you must be diligent to actually get it done and complete or it won't do you much good. Periodically you will need to update it to replace items that might expire. I suggest that as you use up something in the house, purchase a replacement item and then trade it out for the one in the kit. Keep an inventory of list of your kit inside it and once or twice a year be sure you go through it to update anything you may have missed or to include things you might need.

Another good idea is to include emergency phone numbers of family and friends, some cash, a roll of quarters (for vending machines and such), a couple of maps, any evacuation procedures, and a phone number for the highway department (to find out about road closures, detours, etc).

I know I haven't been exhaustive, but having some of this is better than not having anything. If you find that you're packing out, you really will have to be selective and think survival, not so much for comfort.

How I Prepared This Week

You guessed it... I worked on my 72 hour kit. I'm not done, but I did make some progress. I need to order some water and food bars as well as collect some document copies. Oh, and back up the photos. I've been intending to do that for ages. Time to finish that task! 

I'm posting a photo to prove I actually got it started! Seriously, I need you to hold me accountable. I actually have a bit more, but I lifted some of it out for you to see inside. Perhaps I'll post a list when I get it finished. 

I also picked up several packages of matches (the kind that strike anywhere) and my husband brought home some more firewood. Not bad for one week!

Please share what you did this week to prepare! Write a post and then link up or leave a comment below.


  1. I keep a big rolling kit in the basement for bugging out, complete with food, hygiene and what my daughter refers to as "emergency lovies" (stuffed animals).

    I keep a smaller kit in each vehicle, built into a metal coffee can, with snacks, juice pouches, candle, matches, toilet paper, etc. One thing I learned the hard way: if you pack a candle in your emergency car kit, UNscented pillars are the way to go....otherwise your trailmix tastes like cranberry candle.

    This week, I added some evaporated milk, assorted olives and baking soda to my food stores and picked up more clothes for Isaac next winter (sweatshirts for 1$ each!). I also ordered mylar bags and cranberry bushes to add to the landscape.

  2. Hi you used a bucket.Those buckets come in handy also for water or a makeshift

    This could drive one insane thinking about what it takes to truly survive.We live 2 hrs from the coast...and we should always have plenty of notice on leaving.But with the dry and extreme heat here in Tx. right now our ememrgency could be get out for fire.They evacuated a town 2 nights ago with 1700 families in it and told them they had 5 minutes.Luckily the winds changed at the last minute and all were okay.Listening to the interviews with the was so sad.(Wow...what do you grab....I didn't know what to pack.)People just don't get it!! They need to prepare and stayed prepared!!
    Thank you for doing this Challenge.I love seeing how others think and what else I could use.

    Cindy from Rick-Rack and Gingham

  3. For the preparedness challenge this week, I learned about the difference between Tahitian, Madagascar and Mexican vanilla beans. We purchased some Madagascar vanilla beans for making homemade vanilla extract. We added a few items to our pantry stock and purchased some extra beeswax from a local beekeeper. (My husband uses beeswax as part of the process for protecting the leather on his work boots.) We also began talking about the must have items to include in our 72 hour kits, including a copy of the hard drive on a thumb drive and small items of very special significance to us. Our current home is largely surrounded by the national forest, and fire is always a concern. Amy, thank you for providing such a great list of items to include in the 72 hour kits!
    Does anyone know of a good source for brown bottles? I have been reading through the Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, and I need to locate a source for brown bottles to use for some of the herbal remedies.

  4. haha 72 hour bags have been on everyone's brain i guess! this week that's what we did too!

  5. I ordered an emergency radio/charger/flashlight and a 100-Hour Plus candle. I've decided to focus mainly on preparing us to stay in our home in the event of loss of electricity, communications, etc, and these are two things we didn't have on hand!

  6. Always a good idea to be prepared. click here and here!

    I put your button on my blog. I LOVE the pic of the chickens and plan to get my own laying hens very soon! I understand that Rhode Island Reds have a quiet temperament. I'm going for birds that don't try to kill me when I enter the chicken coop!

  7. Cranberry Morning, I have never had a problem with my Rhode Island Reds. In fact, other than my buff orpingtons, the RIRs are my favorite. They have a good personality and are a bit spunky, but I've never had one be overly aggressive. In fact, my RIR that is still alive is the only one that really lets me pick it up and stoke it without going bonkers. I think it depends on how much you handle them when they're young. But if you want a calm bird, go with the Oringtons. They're also duel purpose and can be used for meat.

  8. I need to add the dog's food to my bug out bag. This week I finally got around to ordering the Tattler resealable canning lids. Now if there's a financial crunch. I'll still be able to can without worrying about the cost of lids.

  9. 72 hour kits must be on everyone's mind! Hopefully this will inspire me to get it done!

  10. This week I added quite a bit to my food storage- 50 more pounds to the grain category as well as some honey and other misc. pantry items. I also made my first batch of homemade yogurt & yogurt cream cheese which was really fun. Great post about 72 hour bags- I hope to make more progress on that this next week. I love how this challenge is motivating me to get prepared. Thanks- April

  11. Thanks, Amy. I was wondering about RIRs.

    We live out in the country (3 generations of country living) and we're wondering where it is the city people plan to evacuate TO if the time should come. I think that vanilla extract is going to be the very least of their problems. I found this article about the coming global food crisis to be interesting.

    We will be happy to share with our friends and family, but even farms will have a limit of how many people they could support.

  12. I understand your concern. . Hopefully they have country cousins! Every family should have a plan as to where they will go if such an event ever occurs. Don't count on hotels - they'll be packed and not somewhere you want to be stuck for a long period of time.

    If your food storage is up to speed with the necessities, adding a few "comfort" foods is a good thing. A crisis can be emotionally traumatic for anyone, but especially children. Having some treats in your food storage is one way they realize that not everything is out of control.

  13. Well no bug out bags were put togrther this week, but we did get the greenhouse recovered. So meatbirds will be in there soon and little garden veggies will get a head start on the season. Friends are already asking about the coming tomatoe crop. It really is a joy to share the bounty with others. God so blesses each of us in His special way so that we can bless others. Thank you all for sharing your wisdom to help us prepare for whatever is in the future.

  14. What a great idea to put together a kit.

  15. Sometimes I feel like I will never be able to pull all of this together. But, step by step, as it is said.
    This week we worked mainly in the garden. My seed collection was not as complete as I thought. I got sticker shock at the stores we went to for plants! We made sure that we bougth heirlooms so that we could save seeds.
    For the bags, I include county maps of the area, free at the Chamber of Commerce, in case we have to walk home from a close area rather than away from home. Also, reading about drying fruits and veggies. I want to learn air drying of foods. Anyone out there had success at this?

  16. cranberry morning- we lived in brooklyn until last year and our plan was always to evacuate north for the most part. the evac routes that were near us were all headed more inland. our plan was always to head to more wilderness away from the city. in mahattan lots of evac routes go north or out to the boroughs- basically off the island itself....

    jane- thanks for reminding me about dog food! i should pack a bag for the dog too- we had one but never kept it up.

  17. While learning to make vanilla extract and purchasing additional beeswax is appropriate for the needs of our family and the extended family who will stay with us in the event of a crisis, I take the point of Cranberry Morning that these are probably not particularly helpful suggestions to others. She's right, I can offer something more constructive. About two years ago, my husband and I committed to lowering the cash needs of our family, improving our homesteading skills, and eating mostly what we grow and preserve or what my husband hunts. We are both self-employed, and, like many, we discover month-to-month if we can take home a paycheck. With the elevated gas and food prices a couple years ago as motivation, we wanted to improve our ability to withstand economic crises (personal or broader based). We purchased nine acres in a mountain valley about an hour from where we currently live. We have been building a small cabin on the land as we have the money for materials. We should hopefully be finished with the cabin this summer. Once our current home sells, we will have cut our monthly mortgage expense almost in half. Thanks to the valley breezes, a whole house fan and serious work on insulation, our summer electric bill should also be less. The land we chose is a combination of pasture and wooded mountainside, with a stream on the edge of the pasture. The property already had grape vines, pear trees, blueberry bushes, sour cherry trees, black walnut trees and ramps. We have added eleven heirloom apple trees, two blackberry bushes, asparagus crowns and several raised beds. Our vegetable garden is about 70 feet by 80 feet, and our gardening purchase this year was a harrow for the tractor.

  18. Stephany, that's quite a list of accomplishments. And I would like to add that acquiring skills is something that we don't always consider as part of preparedness, but knowing how to do things from "scratch" or own our own is a huge benefit. Even if you can't get access to certain supplies, just by going through the process of learning how to make things (such as vanilla) opens up your mind to processes and how things work so that you can expand that to other areas. We're such a helpless society today that as a culture, many don't even have basic cooking skills. This would have been unheard of prior to 1960!

  19. Some great tips to help me get my act together!

  20. Just a thought after reading Matthew 24 last week. Jesus was telling his disciples that when they hear that the abomination of desecration of the temple happens, that they should immediately run to the hills - NO stopping to get ANY supplies. This will happen to real people (The Jews). Such a sobering thought. Anyway, I was thinking that it is actually a privilege to prepare our emergency bags and in the event of disaster, a blessing to have them to use. This should be cause of thanksgiving that we can prepare for the uncertain days ahead...


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