Forget Your 72 Hour Bug-Out Bag You Need More

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Forget your 72-hour bug-out bag you need more. It’s quite simple, what we used to think was acceptable in a 72-hour bug-out bag or kit was okay. It’s not. Before anyone gets too excited let me explain my thinking.

In the last 15-20 years, I think a 72-hour bug-out bag or kit was the thing we all did. Well, we need to up our game, my friends. I have been looking online at some groups that have a list of maybe 20 items and it all fits in a gallon container. No water. WHAT? They called this little unit a 72-hour kit! Crazy, huh?

Yep, that’s what I said. I looked at some of the items on the list that filled the gallon jug with a handle, I would not eat 99% of the food items on the list. If I was starving, of course, I would have to eat it, right? But I would be so thirsty from all the sodium!

Okay, let’s get real here. If we have a disaster we will for sure need more than 72 hours’ worth of food, water, etc. I used to laugh when I would pass out my suggested list of emergency items for a 72-hour bug-out bag to classes I would teach.

I would joke that my list required a semi-truck. Just kidding, of course. By the way, we need to give a HUGE shout-out to our truckers who work 24/7 and work almost all holidays to bring us food, paper products, gasoline, and everything we see in our fabulous supermarkets. Thank you!! Our current lifestyles would take a real hit if the truckers didn’t do their part to make our economy what it is today.

Here’s my list, pick and choose the items you can’t do without in say 30 days. We need to step out of the 72-96 hour bug-out bag or kit right now. That amount of time is no longer realistic. Trust me, look at the news and you will see for yourself.

People are stranded a lot longer than that amount of time from different situations we see all over the country. Please do not count on the government, they may not reach you for days, weeks, or maybe even months.

You must be prepared for the unexpected today, not tomorrow. Please remember my book: Prepare Your Family for Survival: How to Be Ready for Any Emergency or Disaster Situation

Read More of My Articles  Quick And Easy 72-Hour Emergency Kit For Survival

Bug Out Bag (you need a trailer or you can bug in):

Every emergency agency in the country recommends having a 72-hour kit available to grab and go in an emergency. Be sure to update your kit every six months to a year, depending on the items you have in it.

Include the food you know you will eat and items that can keep you busy during times of inactivity. Be mindful of storing items that might leak, melt, or affect other items in your bag if they leak or break open (Ziploc bags might help with this problem).

Attach a tag to the kit or bag with your name, phone number(s), a tag to remind you to grab your prescriptions/medicines, and a tag to grab your emergency binder. Depending on the needs of you and/or your family, items you could include in your kit are:

1. Water for at least three days (1-4 gallons per day per person), water purifiers, and water purifier bottles (like a Berkey Sports Portable Water Purifier) to last for at least three months.
2. MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat); hot and cold ready-to-eat food packages; freeze-dried fruits and vegetables; and candy, gum, jerky, fruit snacks, raisins, fruit leather, granola bars, peanuts, crackers, etc.
3. Aspirin, Aleve, Ibuprofen, Vitamin C, cold remedies, Essential Oils, etc., antacids (for upset stomachs) Don’t forget Tylenol PM or something similar to use as a sleeping aid.
4. Ax/shovel combo
5. Baggies (all sizes)
6. Batteries (all sizes-rotate yearly)
7. Bible/Scriptures
8. Bee sting & bite kit
9. Blanket–solar is thinner
10. Pillow
11. Bleach (household chlorine–nonscented)
12. Books
13. Bung wrench/Gas shut off wrench
14. CASH-small bills/coins (if we lose power, ATMs won’t work; credit/debit cards won’t work)
15. Can opener (non-electric)
16. Canned stove
17. Candles/glow sticks
18. Cards or small games to play
19. Chapstick/lip balm
20. Chargers, in case we have electricity
21. Coats/Jackets/Sweaters/Extra Clothes & Shoes
22. Coffee Pot, pitcher, container
23. Cooking pot, griddle, or frying pan
24. A cooking stove of some kind/fuel/firestarter/striker
25. Compass
26. Contact lenses & supplies
27. Cotton Swabs/Kleenex Tissues
28. Disinfectant
29. Duct tape
30. Emergency sewing kit
31. Fingernail clippers/nail file
32. Fire extinguisher
33. First Aid Kit
34. Hand Warmers
35. Flashlights (preferably solar or crank); don’t forget batteries (store batteries outside the flashlights to keep them fresh)
36. Garbage Bags
37. Glasses (extra pair of eyeglasses)
38. Gloves/latex or non-latex
39. Hair brushes/combs
40. Hats, gloves/scarves
41. Headlamp
42. Hearing Aid, plus batteries
43. Imodium/Anti-Diarrhea medicine
44. Instant milk (chocolate milk would be good as well)
45. Ipecac (check with poison control if possible)
46. A few hot pads, dish towels/rags/dish soap
47. Lanterns/compact lights
48. Latex/Non-latex gloves
49. Masks N-95 minimum
50. Matches (waterproofed)
51. Mess Kits
52. Mirror
53. Scissors
54. All-Purpose Knife
55. Mosquito Spray
56. Personal Hygiene (tampons, pads, feminine supplies, etc.)
57. Post-It Notes/pencils/pens/crayons
58. Radio/crank and or battery type (pack batteries)
59. Rain Poncho
60. Rope
61. Safety pins, several sizes
62. Shaving cream, shavers (disposable)
63. Solar lights
64. Sunglasses
65. Temporary toilet and bags
66. Thermal Underwear
67. Thermometer
68. Toilet Paper, shampoo, hand soap, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, tweezers
69. Tools
70. Tent(s)
71. Umbrella
72. Utensils, plates, cups, silverware to cook and eat with
73. Vaseline
74. Wet wipes-lots…they might be your only shower
75. Whistles, Walkie Talkies, (test before you need them for distance) like Motorola Talkabout 2-Way Radios #MR350R/ FRS/GMRS Radio (22 channels, 121 privacy codes, 2662 Combinations)
76. NOAA Weather Radio
77. Work Gloves/Jose reminded me to grab socks, shoes, boots, and dryable clothing

Read More of My Articles  How To Make 72-Hour Kits

Final Word

REMEMBER, you would need a truck to “haul” all of these items, so check off one item at a time and pick the items that meet you and/or your family’s needs. These are IDEAS, just start collecting a little at a time.

Put all the things that need to be rotated together in baggies. This way you just GRAB a bag and switch out the outdated items.

Printable: FSM 72-hour kit adults

Food Storage Ideas

Please remember my book is available: Prepare Your Family for Survival: How to Be Ready for Any Emergency or Disaster Situation

FEMA: FEMA-Food and Water in an Emergency

12 thoughts on “Forget Your 72 Hour Bug-Out Bag You Need More

  • January 14, 2019 at 11:08 am

    Love your ideas! We keep an extra vehicle as the (BOV) Bug Out Van, an old Astro Van that still works great, but it’s no looker. All our BOBs which are really back packs are in there, fully loaded for a 3 day trip for a family. We test this out every once in awhile and go to a dry campground or spot to boondock to try it out. We test EVERYTHING. We regroup and perfect our list of things to take with us with each new trial. Then we think about what we were able to use around us (water source, timber, etc) and how that might be different in different situations. It’s a family exercise and gives us a chance to test more of what we have and we get creative about what we can do with what we have. It’s fun! If we had to leave the van, we could, but having the BOV is such a big luxury. It’s protection against the elements, animals and intruders. It’s a generator if we need the cell phones charged up. It’s an alarm (the horn) if we need to find help.

    • January 14, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      Hi Debbie, I love your comment! I would love to have a BOV (bug out van) a no looker would work for me too! I love hearing how you test it out, what a great idea and exercise for the family! Love it! Linda

  • January 14, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    72hr bag is just that. I hunt, hike, camp and have 20yrs military of living outta a bag.
    A bunch of stuff will suddenly disappear out that bag on day 2 of packing it on your back.
    You don’t need all that much. Stay alive and stay healthy. That’s it.

    If your not really using the bag then your doing yourself a disservice. Take a weekend and try even if it’s at home though I’d rather you carried it and braved a little weather.

    • January 14, 2019 at 4:18 pm

      Hi Matt, your comment nailed it! It’s good for 72 hours. Great comment, thank you! Linda

  • January 17, 2019 at 11:39 am

    The idea of creating kits is valid and of value to us, but I agree that the reliance (By the uninitiated) on a “72 Hour Bag” or “72 Hour Kit” or any other type of “bug out bag” is a mistake. Nobody can survive out of a backpack indefinitely as far as food, water and medications are concerned. Being ready is better than scrambling at the last minute, but the notion of having only two days of food and water means those who have them will starve and thirst on day 3 and be as desperate as those who didn’t prepare at all.

    I see the “ready bag” as your first response. We have our E.D.C. gear, our get home bags, bug out bags and then our never coming home bag to let us live in the wilderness or thru a post nuclear apocalypse. Ultimately we need to bug in or have a place to settle where we can fulfill our basic needs for as long as necessary. That’s why prepared people (Like you Linda) have plans (usually multiple plans) and try to learn useful skills, so our families are ready, able to adapt and our supplies are at hand and plentiful.

    • January 17, 2019 at 2:21 pm

      Oh, Frank, you nailed it again! I always LOVE LOVE LOVE your comments. I hope I can bug in because there are so few options, but I have a few ideas I can implement if need be. Like you said we need more than one bag. It’s interesting I never thought to call my plan of taking as much as I can if I will never return, but that’s what it is. It’s a never coming home bag. You and I know what’s expected of us and we make several plans to adapt to whatever may come our way. God bless this world! Great comment, Linda

  • January 27, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Hey, just found your site and read some articles, including this one. I see a lot of good recommendations for items to take with you, provided you have the room/ability. However, I don’t see any mention of changes of clothing, more specifically – socks. Nor do I see mention of light weight air-dryable clothing, which will be necessary if your hoofing it anywhere. As for your feet, if your walking/hiking/running to get away, your feet MUST be taken care of or you won’t get far. Just saying…

    • January 27, 2019 at 9:17 am

      Hi Jose, great comment! I have those items all over my website for different bags. Thanks for the reminder on this post, I’m adding them right now! Thank you so much!Linda

  • February 7, 2019 at 2:14 am

    Hi Linda,
    After reading your post and all your info, it reminded us to prepare something in advance. After reading your quote, “REMEMBER, you would need a truck to “haul” all of these items, so check off one item at a time and pick the items that meet you and/or your family’s needs. These are IDEAS, just start collecting a little at a time.”, I do search the internet and find the interesting page to share,

    • February 7, 2019 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Kathy, thanks for the tip. I had to remove the link because that site is not secure and could negatively affect my website. Thanks so much, Linda

  • July 14, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    A basic 72 hour bag IS a requirement and must be separately packed. IMO you should have the large amount of Bug In supplies, the packaged and ready to Bug Out supplies that will fit in/on your BOV, the 72 hour bag in case you have to abandon the BOV and walk and the always present EDC if you lose your bag.

    • July 14, 2019 at 5:28 pm

      Hi JJM, I have every kind of bag anyone would need after a disaster. Sometimes, I like to remind my readers they need more than just a 72-hour kit. I have seen plastic gallon containers filled with Slim Jims, and several odds and ends. Those would not be my first choice but the more someone reads about 72-hour kits it may sink in, I sure hope so. Linda


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