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Monday, January 31, 2011

72-Hour Kits

I don’t know if you’ve heard about the flooding, or fires that Australia has faced these last few years, but my cousins live there and during the worst of it, everyone is constantly on their toes wondering if they are going to have to evacuate. There are many times during natural disasters that families are given 15 minutes to get out of their houses and rush to safety.

In our church, we are encouraged to be prepared…to have 72-hour kits which are kits with enough provisions to survive 72 hours until help arrives in case of emergencies. Sometimes the idea of packing enough for your whole family for 3 days can be overwhelming, but it can mean the difference between life or death. But, it’s not only our church…the Red Cross and many other websites encourage each family to be prepared for any disaster.

For my family, we have 2 adults and 2 young children. Because my boys are so young, I have to be able to carry everything for myself and them if we have to leave in an emergency. I have a hiking backpack that is the perfect size for the 3 of us and my husband has his own 72-hour kit. If we had to suddenly run out of our house, I could sling the backpack on, carry C in one arm and hold K’s hand in the other. DSCN4863

In my 72-hour kit, I have the following:

  • Clothing for the three of us for three days including socks and underwear, according to the season we’re in.
  • A fleece blanket which can smush small and is really light
  • Wind up flash-lights (or you can have regular flashlights with extra batteries.
  • Toys for my boys…just a few McDonald’s toys so they can be distracted from whatever we’re facing if we have to use this kit one day.
  • A deck of cards
  • Feminine hygiene products to last 3 days (it would be just my luck to need these during a natural disaster!)
  • A roll of toilet paper sealed in a ziploc baggie
  • Diapers to last 3 days.
  • Food/snacks to last 3 days. This includes fruit snacks, granola bars, fruit cups, carbohydrate bars, etc. These will not keep us full, but will provide enough for us to survive 3 days. Plan on 2000 calories a day per adult)
  • Water and a water purifier
  • Matches sealed in a waterproof container
  • A first aid and sewing kit
  • A blow up pillow we got for free
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Rain poncho
  • Etc.

As I see things that would be nice to have, I consider how heavy they are and if there is room in my backpack. If you have older children, you can help them pack their own backpacks, making sure it’s light enough for them to carry. Use clothes that are too big or old clothes that you won’t miss…if you’re in need of them, it really won’t matter how they look.

This is not something that has to be perfect, but the more prepared you are for a disaster, the better off you will be. We all hope that we never need something like this, but I want to be ready just in case.

Grab food that is light, that you know your children will eat, especially if you have young children. If they are hungry enough, they will eat anything, but I’m hoping to never get to that point, even in an emergency. Buy things on sale and take note of the expiration date. Pack what you will need to survive.

Every 6 months, pull out your 72-hour kit and check what foods might need to be eaten before their expiration date, or what else you might need based on the current dynamics of your family. Mark on your calendar or set an alert on your iPhone to remind you to do this.

I highly encourage you to look at various lists of 72-hour kits and adapt them to your needs. Below is a list of links to compare.

I’m linking up to Homemaker Monday @ 11th Heaven’s Homemaking Haven, Market Yourself Monday @ Sumos Sweet Stuff, DIY Project Parade @ The DIY Showoff, Tip Me Tuesday @ Tip Junkie’s, Anything Related @ All Thingz Related and Unwasted Homemaking @ Don’t Waste Your Homemaking.


  1. HOw is your water packaged, how much do you have, and how do you carry it?
    I realized I will probably need a wagon to carry everything (especially the water) for my growing family of 4 children under 5 years old. though my oldest could probably carry most of her stuff.

  2. @ Jennifer...I think the smartest way to go for a family with as many kids as you have is to buy a good water filter. We have some flexible sealed bags of water in each of our kits bought from Emergency Essentials as well as a water bottle filled with water and sealed tightly. Water is one of the trickiest parts because it is so heavy...I've read that you'll just have to pack as much as you can carry. Something is better than anything right :)?

  3. Great idea, I've considered doing this a few months ago and I'm really thinking about it now! I would love for you to link this up at my lnky party :)!!!