Recently by Tess Pennington: Teaching Kids How to Survive in theForest
Many prepping websites have multiple articles on 72 hours bags (aka: evac packs, bug-out-bags, blow out bags or survival kits). Every family should have a 72 hour bag ready, not because we should all run for the hills, but because there may be an unforeseen disaster where your family will have to make a swift evacuation. Certain disasters can occur very quickly such as fires, hurricanes and flooding. Having things in order as well as a plan in place will expedite the process of leaving as well as keeping things running as smoothly as possible. The main goal of having a 72 hour bag is to be equipped to survive. In this case, survival is dependent upon you. Therefore, the 72 hour bag should be pre-assembled and ready to go as well as have a 72 hour bag seperately for the vehicle.
Personally speaking, when I assembled my family’s bug out bags it took a few hours to run through the house getting all the supplies in order. If I was in a time sensitive situation, I would have forgotten half of the items I packed. It’s essential that your B.O.Bs (Bug Out Bags) are ready to go.
What To Put Into a 72 Hour Bag?
What would your family need for 3 days? Better yet, what items would you take out of your house that would save your life for 3 days? It does not really matter what type of bag is used to place your items in. Many people use duffel bags, backpacks and suitcases to store their gear in. However, many experts advise that the bag or container should be waterproof. For those with multiple people in their family, each person in the family should have their own 72 hour bag that is placed into a large plastic container. A bag or container with a carrying handle would be advisable if the container holds many items or is for a family. Some thoughts to keep in mind when preparing your 72 hour bag are:
- Have a plan in place (choosing the location, let family members know where your destination is, the contact information, a secondary destination, etc.)
- Keep the basic needs in mind: food, water, shelter, clothing, safety and communication.
- Try and find items that are light weight, functional and versatile so that carrying them in a container will not be a strain.
- Take your bag out and use it a few times to test that nothing is forgotten.
A little food can go a long way if you are creative enough. Find a stove to cook food in, and boil water. Try and find foods that are light weight an high in calories and have lots of energy. Have enough food for a 3 day period. Some possible food suggestions would be:
- Hard Candy
- Energy Bars
- Dried Fruits and Nuts
- Instant Oatmeal
- Granola Bars
- Powdered Milk
Some other suggestions for meals would be:
- Bouillon Cubes
- Instant Rice/Mashed Potatoes
- Dried Soups
- Camping Freeze Dried Foods
- Instant Pudding
- Powdered Drink Mixes (Tang, Crystal Light)
- Paper Plates, Cups and Eating Ware
Having a good water supply is more important than food. A person cannot go without 3 days of water so have a plentiful amount. At a minimum, each person should have one gallon of water per day. In an emergency situation, such as a natural disaster, water is one of the first items to disappear off of a store shelf. If you can pack more water, then go for it. Many feel that due to the bulky nature of water bottles, it would add too much weight for the 72 hour kits. Therefore, many carry 1-2 liters of water and have water purification tablets or a water filter on hand. Here are some ideas for carrying water:
- Individual water bottles in the pack, gallon jugs of water, etc.
- Collapsible water container
- Water filter
- Water purification tablets
Clothes in the 72 hour bag should be rotated every season and be appropriate to the environment you are in. Having items in your bag that can be layered is a great option.
- If it is the winter season: Pack all cold weather essentials in maintaining body heat: Layered clothing, warm hat preferably with flaps over the ears, waterproof pants, mittens, etc.
- Work Gloves
- Have at least one change of clothing in your bag and two extra pairs of socks.
- A good pair of boots (hiking or combat boots) with a deep trench in the sole.
- Rain Suit
- Hat to keep the sun off your face.
A shelter is to keep out the natural elements at bay as well as provide a warm place to sleep to maintain body temperature.
- Tents (lightweight)
- Sleeping bag
- Durable long lasting emergency blankets
- Tube tent (emergency shelter)
- Garbage bags can even be used for a shelter.
- Mylar emergency blankets
Having fire lighting gear will help maintain proper body temperature, assist in cooking food, and boiling water. If an emergency arises and you have to leave, you want to be able to have items on hand to make a fire to stay warm.
- Waterproof matches
- Magnesium Fire starters
- Cigarette Lighters