72-Hour Kits

Every emergency agency in the country recommends having a 72-hour kit (adult kits) 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 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:

  • Water for at least three days (1-4 gallons per day per person), water purifiers and water purifier bottles (like Sport Berkey Portable Water Purifier)
  • Food to last for at least three days: 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.
  • 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. 
  • Ax/Shovel combo
  • Baggies (all sizes)
  • Batteries (all sizes-rotate yearly)
  • Bible/Scriptures
  • Bee Sting & bite kit
  • Blanket–solar is thinner
  • Pillow
  • Bleach (household chlorine–nonscented)
  • Books
  • Bung wrench/Gas shut off wrench
  • CASH-small bills/coins (if we lose power, ATM’s won’t work; credit/debit cards won’t work)
  • Can opener (non-electric)
  • Canned stove
  • Candles/glow sticks
  • Cards or small games to play
  • Chapstick/lip balm
  • Chargers in case we have electricity
  • Coats/Jackets/Sweaters/Extra Clothes & Shoes
  • Coffee Pot, pitcher, container
  • Cooking pot, griddle or fry pan
  • Cooking stove of some kind/fuel/fire starter/striker
  • Compass
  • Contact lenses & supplies
  • Cotton Swabs/Kleenex Tissues
  • Disinfectant
  • Duct tape
  • Emergency sewing kit
  • Fingernail clippers/nail file
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First Aid Kit
  • Hand Warmers
  • Flashlights (preferably solar or crank); don’t forget batteries (store batteries outside the flashlights to keep them fresh)
  • Garbage Bags
  • Glasses (extra pair of eyeglasses)
  • Gloves/Latex or non-latex
  • Hair brushes/combs
  • Hats, gloves/scarves
  • Headlamp
  • Hearing Aid, plus batteries
  • Imodium/Anti-Diarrhea medicine
  • Instant milk (chocolate would be good as well)
  • Ipecac (check with poison control if possible)
  • Hot pads, dish towels/rags/dish soap
  • Lanterns/compact lights
  • Latex/Non-latex gloves
  • Masks N-95 minimum
  • Matches (waterproofed)
  • Mess Kits
  • Mirror
  • Scissors
  • All Purpose Knife
  • Mosquito Spray
  • Personal Hygiene (tampons, pads, feminine supplies, etc.)
  • Post It Notes/pencils/pens/crayons
  • Radio/crank and or battery type (pack batteries)
  • Rain Poncho
  • Rope
  • Safety pins, several sizes
  • Shaving cream, shavers (disposable)
  • Solar lights
  • Sunglasses
  • Temporary toilet and bags
  • Thermal Underwear
  • Thermometer
  • Toilet Paper, shampoo, hand soap, baby wipes and hand sanitizer, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, tweezers
  • Tools
  • Tent(s)
  • Umbrella
  • Utensils, plates, cups, silverware to cook and eat with
  • Vaseline
  • Wet wipes-lots…they might be our only shower
  • 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)
  • NOAA Weather Radio
  • Work Gloves

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



8 thoughts on “72-Hour Kits

  • January 3, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    I’ve got a start…pretty much a great first aid kit – I need so much more and you sound so level headed – love it!

    • January 3, 2019 at 4:53 pm

      Hi Terri, thank you for stopping by! Everyone starts with a little here and there. Keep prepping! Linda

  • November 23, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    About batteries….you recommend rotating out yearly. Why? All the name brands I see on the market say they will hold their charge for up to 10 years. Seems ok to me. and I notice you say “some items” to be on the list. That’s great because this would be too much for any two adults to carry all at once. Water purification tabs would be less bulky and heavy than bleach. And who will carry a “temporary toilet ” when they have a heavy pack on their back? Not to be harsh because a lot of this stuff one will need, but how much of it for 3 days? A good utility knife? Ok, but I would rather have a good belt knife from a reputable manufacturer….may cost a lot more but it will go the distance. And one can buy compressed towels on Amazon fairly inexpensively. I think I got 500 for 15$. Good for all types of chores.

    Anyway, I cruise thru you pages from time to time and have come across good stuff, and this is too so keep up the good work. And I’d rather you didn’t store this anywhere.

    • November 23, 2019 at 5:48 pm

      Hi Lewis, I wish my batteries would last more than six months where I live. The dry desert air kills my batteries. I love those compressed towels, they are awesome. I keep some in my car. I just like to suggest different things at different times to help people get prepared. Thanks for your comment, Linda

  • March 18, 2020 at 12:19 am

    Thank you for the information with the coronavirus going on now. My family will be prepared.

  • February 26, 2022 at 5:24 pm

    Our main plan is to bug in and in that case, most of the following would be carried to the basement. I use a rolling duffle bag for a bug out bag that hubby and I share. I have clothing that can be layered for 3 days, we each have jeans or sweats, short sleeved t-shirts, long sleeved t-shirt, sweatshirt, zippered hoodie sweatshirt and underware packed in packing cubes. In the winter, we keep our heavy coats on pegs next to the door with scarf, hat and gloves stored in the sleeve, making them easy to grab. We also have several of the mylar blankets. I have 2 types of small camp stoves with cookware. Then we have other assorted necessities…. medications, raingear, several types of flashlights, and hygine kits for each of us. We have space to toss in things we may need depending on why we are leaving the house. I have old medicine bottles with change, ones, fives, ten and 20 bills. I think each bottle has $50 and I have one for each of us.

    We keep our food in a soft-sided cooler similar to this one https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trail-12-Can-Soft-Sided-Cooler-Blue/709693782?athcpid=709693782&athpgid=AthenaItempage&athcgid=null&athznid=si&athieid=v0&athstid=CS004&athguid=LMmXTQQexKZbOf-B7xWk-vlBSxlDTulXQjH9&athancid=null&athena=true

    Inside we have canned foods, oatmeal packets, some homemade backpacking meals (I like The Backpacking Chef and Yummy Life websites) with dehydrated and/or freeze dried foods. Most require you to boil water and add the ingredients and stir. The Backpacking Chef says he uses a 24 oz food thermous and adds the meal and then the water. I may get one of those for each of us.

    In the front pocket of the cooler we have a zippered kit with knife, fork, spoon, straw and chopsticks, I am able to fold a bandana to go in each kit, in addition we have two sizes of sharp kitchen knives with sheaths to protect the blades.. In the top zippered area I have half a dozen emergency bars, plus a mesh bag with two stainless steel plates and cups. In the mesh side pockets, I have a couple of dish towels, extra bandanas, and such. Everything fits and works perfectly. (We have a second cooler that we use as a picnic basket when camping.)

    If we have to evacuate, I would be gathering all this and taking it to the front porch while my hubby is either getting it in the car or hooking the truck up to our camper. Our camper has a solar panel that will provide us with some electricity when camping off the grid. In our truck, I have a small emergency duffle bag with a first aid kit and other items. We also have my mobility scooter in the back of the truck, plus a side storage box that has my husband’s tools.

    Just before Christmas, we adopted one of my foster kittens. I need to add his needs to the duffle bag. We do have a litter pan and bag of litter, plus some bowls and food for him in the basement. (We live in tornado land and from April to the end of October, we are ready to go to all the time for that.) We need to get things ready in the camper (since the cat will go camping with us) and the truck.

    • February 27, 2022 at 5:50 am

      Hi Topaz, I LOVE LOVE LOVE your bag and the contents. I can tell you have thought it through. Having a cat to love will help many of us get through any anxiety-filled days. I love it! I hope everyone reads your comment, it’s a good one. Thank you, Linda


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