Make 72-Hour Kits

How To Make 72-Hour Kits

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This post is all about how to make 72-hour kits that will last for a very long time. The food will be in a separate bag because as you know it goes bad, as in rancid. I keep my OTC medications separate as well. Boy does my FoodSaver work great for making bags that I can actually see through.

Please be careful where you store your 72-hour kits/bug-out bags. Heat is not kind to storing things in garages or your cars. Of course, if you live in cold areas, you will be just fine. These pictures are from when I lived in the desert.

In case you missed this post, Urban Survival Class: How to Make a Bug Out Lanyard

Jan reminded me in a comment that things can go bad in the heat. She is so right, I have been a chick who has always been prepared, but I realize some people are new to storing things for the long haul, as in preparing for an unforeseen emergency.

Please be careful where you store your emergency preparedness items, heat can destroy so many things. Please get in the habit of checking your “stuff” every six months in the house, the garage, and the car. Rotate is the name of the game. Check dates, and rotate, replace, or toss in the garbage.

I store my 72-hour kits in my garage with a list I keep in a clear zippered bag that I have put in my kit/storage bag and also in Mark’s to keep everything dust-free. I have water stored right next to them with the water ready to grab and go.

My food storage is in my emergency food pantry in the house ready to pick up and load in the car if the roads are driveable. I store it in a zippered bag as well. I have some PRINTABLES for you below. I wrote this several years ago, so I’m updating it today.

How To Make 72 Hour Kits

How To Make 72 Hour Kits

Stored in Bags

Garage Storage

Water Storage

These are the water jugs I prefer. Water Bricks are my favorite because they have handles. I store these in clear sweater bags in my garage, ready to grab and go.

Mark 72-Hour Kits

You can see the hose that is lead-free to fill my water containers with clean pure water. I add this Water Preserver because I only have to rotate the water every five years. I have the blue bottles: Berkey Sports Bottles in each 72-hour kit to purify our water if needed.

I also have cases of Blue Cans. Yes, they are expensive but they store for 50 years and they have a coating in each can so the water will never taste like metal.

Blue Can Water These are perfect for a college student or an elderly family member to have stored for emergencies. I found the cheapest place to buy these is at Brownells. If they are out of stock, sign up to be alerted when back in stock. I buy the 12-ounces 24 cans to a box. They stack so easily.

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Trust me, they are worried about surviving if they can’t leave their campus or care center. They come in 24 cans to a sturdy cardboard box. That’s all I wanted for Christmas in 2016. Water in cases from Blue Can. I call them my “set and forget water.”

I can picture myself enjoying sipping every last drop after a disaster. Yep, indeed it’s the best tasting water. I ship these to my daughters for gifts. It’s all about survival in my opinion.

Make 72-Hour Kits

I printed these on cardstock and placed them in page protectors. This way I never have to look again at what is in each of our 72-Hour Kits outer plastic bags (Mark and my kits) that keep our kits dust-free. Large Storage Bags and Medium Storage Bags

Make 72-Hour Kits Updated




Work gloves

Personal unit: shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, shave gel, a bar of soap, liquid soap, sewing kit & lip balm

Basic unit: LED flashlight, batteries or a solar flashlight, poncho, paper, pencil, water purification tablets, garbage bags

First aid kit: safety pins, first aid book, 2 triple antibiotics, burn cream, non-latex gloves, gauze pads, butterfly bandages, aspirin, Ibuprofen, antacids, alcohol prep wipes, non-aspirin products, and any other products YOUR family requires for any special medical or other need. (*Please note, these I keep in a separate bag and I do rotate them to have fresh ones in my car, house, and 72-hour kit.)

Can opener

Toilet paper

Metal cups with silverware

N-95 masks


Goal Zero Solar flashlights

Safety Goggles

Latex-free gloves

Surgical kit with scissors


C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team) notebooks

Stethoscope kit and airway punch

Hand warmers

4-in-1 tool

Duct tape

Berkey sport bottle

Signal mirror


Multipurpose pocket knife

Cash: small bills like ones and fives

These are also printed in colors and attached to my sheets above to remind me again to grab these items:







FSM FREE Printable Emergency Binder Download  Please be patient for it to load and the PDF document should show up on your computer on the bottom left side of your laptop or computer monitor. Once the document finishes loading it will be ready to click and print. I prefer printing it on cardstock, and it’s actually in color if you want to print with a color printer.

I hope I never have to leave my home for evacuation purposes, but Mark and I are prepared to grab and go. Please think of it this way when you make 72-hour kits. These are designed for 72-hours, but you may be gone for 2 weeks. Just giving you the heads up. You do not want to be a family that walks into a school, church facility, a Red Cross tent with nothing in your hands. If you do, you will be waiting to receive food and water. Keyword, waiting. I refuse to stand in line, I’m prepared. I hope you understand you must be prepared to take care of your own family.

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The government may take days, weeks, or months to bring you a case of water if they can even get the water soon enough. Please do not depend on anyone but yourself. May God bless the civic clubs, churches, and schools to teach people to be prepared because they are not doing a very good job right now. If they are, people are not listening.

Thank you so much for those of you that get it, you are prepared, thank goodness. I love you for that. Linda

Here are the lists I designed years ago. You will pick, choose, and add what YOU and each family member need in their 72-hour kits.

How To Make One For-Adults

How To Make One For-Children

How To Make One For-Small Pets

My Food Storage Bag

Food Storage Bag

Contents In The Bag

Contents of Bag

Because I have updated this post from many years ago, these products are probably no longer available. Here’s the deal, I did not want to delete these food items, because you can add “cans’ of these foods to a box or bag to grab and go. Just rotate them every year. I have seen short-term freeze-dried fruit in packets at Costco, that’s a great option for one year.

You may have seen the tuna with crackers, those are great. You can see where I’m going with this, I’m sure. Substitute the food your family will eat.

My 72 Hour Kits-Fruits:

2 pineapple pouches-5 year shelf life

2 banana pouches-5 year shelf life

1 blackberry pouch-5 year shelf life

2 strawberry pouches-5 year shelf life

2 seedless grapes pouches-5 year shelf life

My 72 Hour Kits-Vegetables:

2 sweet corn pouches-5 year shelf life

1 green bean pouch-5 year shelf life- only the pantry can is available today

2 potato dices pantry cans-25 year shelf life

1 freeze-dried zucchini pantry can-25 year shelf life

My 72 Hour Kits-Protein & Milk Products:

2 baked potato cheese soup pantry cans-8 year shelf life-Only available in pouch size today

2 broccoli cheese soup pantry cans-8 year shelf life-out of stock-substituting baked potato soup today

1 strawberry yogurt bite pieces in a pantry can-25 year shelf life

2 cooked white chicken meat pantry cans-25 year shelf life

2 shredded Colby freeze-dried cheese pantry cans-shelf life 20 years

1 instant black beans-pantry can

The approximate total for these food items is $249.35 plus tax and shipping. (PRICES FROM 2015) Remember, this is 13 days worth of fabulous food. I wanted 13 days because I know there will be people who have not prepared for any disaster.

Final Word

If my neighborhood must evacuate and go to a shelter like a school, or a church, I will have a little extra to share. I must say, please be prepared because I cannot feed the whole neighborhood. I would need a semi to drive there. Just saying.

And do not count on the government to have water and food waiting for you at the school, church, or shelter. It might be days or weeks before anyone can deliver water, food, or anything else. We are responsible for ourselves and our families. No excuses.

With the exception of the soups and the yogurt bites, these are only vegetables, fruits, meat, and cheese. All you need is water. The advantage of freeze-dried products is that you can eat vegetables, fruit, yogurt bites, and meat right out of the can. Of course, the soup would taste better with hot water, cheese and veggies added. May God Bless this world, Linda

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  1. Linda, you know that I love all you do for us! I do worry about you saying these can be stored forever. Many items on your list will go bad sitting in a garage. Things like medications and lip gloss and non latex gloves and first aid supplies all rot in temperature and time. Also batteries and rechargeables must be swapped out or recharged at least every six months, if you want to depend on them working. As usual, your lists are great, I just worry about the usefulness of many items stored in a garage. Stay safe!

    1. Hi Jan, you are so right, I am republishing without the word “forever”, my idea was to fill them with the correct items and the only things that need to be replaced is the food every six months or so. When I wrote that post, I lived in the desert and my garage was insulated. When I say insulated the temperatures would still get up to 110 degrees in July anyway. I do have to careful how I write things because some people who are new to preparedness need to be aware of the heat and the damage it does in the garage or in our cars. Cars in the desert are even worse than our garages in some cases. I’ve been reworking that post as we speak. Thank you so much, Linda

  2. Interesting. The bag is a constant growing and shrinking object depending on weather. I have cold weather add ons. I have cold compress packs and extra water options for heat, my old prescription sunglasses and a floppy hat.
    I don’t worry too much on hygiene but focus more on medication, denture cream, female hygiene products, extra glasses (usually the old pair you replaced) collapsible cane and specifics to the individual when I build the kits.
    I’m also more focused on defense with a larger blade capable of camp task but also as a weapon, spare mags or ammo for an EDC, military steel rod cleaning kit so I can unjam a case or use it on any caliber because small will fit into large. I have gas mask or respirator options. Some emergencies involve violence.

    1. Hi Matt, oh my gosh, I forgot about denture cream, my dad would have needed that. You are so right about the bag growing, I could never put everything I need or want in one bag. The larger blade is one thing I need to work on. You are amazing but you know I have so much respect for you. You rock as as always. Linda

  3. I’ve always had a prepper mindset, I think, even as a child. I always watch disaster movies, cheesy ones on Amazon, too! As dumb as most of them are, a person can pick up “some” ideas/knowledge from them at least…or at least what NOT to do! (i.e., never, ever turn your back on the body!)

    So this morning while everyone was shoveling snow here in Reno, I decided to cook sausage egg muffins for them. I have nice new knives from Pioneer Woman and wow, I’d forgotten new knives are sharp! Yup, sliced my finger diagonally on my left in finger which bled like a stuck pig. No one was in the house to help but I managed to get all my emergency supplies gathered up to doctor myself :o) My can of New Skin didn’t work! Now I have to replenish that. Hmmm, I wonder if it clogs up easily or just doesn’t last long even tho it was a real small can. But everything else worked fine. Couldn’t find the super glue so I used a butterfly before putting the bandage on and then taped it for extra measure . I’ve found Nexcare is a really good adhesive brand. Well, after that long story, the point is I had all my emergency supplies for this incident. It wasn’t bad enough for stitches, just painful and messy. However, I had everything necessary and readily available. I’ve saved everything I could from numerous family members hospital stays and have a good supply in the basement. I must say, tho, Linda, I’m soooo jealous of your garage/organized supplies! We don’t have a garage but a really nice cool basement. It would be nice to have things closer to throw in a vehicle should speed be an issue. I definitely need a better way of organizing/storing. We’ve been thinking about moving to Tennessee and just the thought of packing up that basement gives me nightmares. Matt from Oklahoma has the most best ideas ever! Way to go, Matt!

    I just love this site. I read it everyday, look for certain recipes and have printed off numerous lists and ideas. You go, Linda!

    1. Hi Robbie, you made my day, my friend!!! Now, I want to make a sausage egg muffin! Great idea to share with the hardworking shovelers!! It feels great to have the medical supplies you need when you need them. As you know I no longer have that nice organized garage. I will have to set up my stuff again, once this house gets built. Patience, it’s taking forever. Oh well, life is still good. Linda. P.S. I will be organizing everything all over again. But, then I love to organize stuff! LOL!

  4. Linda, most of the items in your 72 hour bag are things I hope every family keeps extras on hand, even if not in a bag. I would like to add an item for house/car/bag: a wind-up flashlight! Yesterday I woke to no running water. I have a well so that also means the problem can be many things (least to worst): well pipe heat tape failure, electrical problem , pressure tank failure, well stub-up freezing, or eek, my well pump.
    I’m in northern MN and it was nasty yesterday: 3 degrees, windchill -18, blowing and snowing hard. If I didn’t get the water running, I would have had frozen pipes throughout my house as I have a crawlspace, no basement. Ok, I’m lucky…my grandson lives with me and he quickly said he remembered about the heat tape thing, so he crawled under our home to check/re-set it. And that did the job.
    But, here’s why I mentioned the wind-up flashlight: he needed light to do this. We mostly use the flashlights on our phones. This worked ok for him but if we’d needed to Replace the heat tape, oh, much more light needed. Just in case, I pulled out my big flashlights. I had batteries still in the pkg but All were kaput. Been over 10 yrs since I got them, let alone needed them.. later, I remembered my wind-up one. It worked after only a few cranks. And, it is 15 yrs old, hadn’t been used for at least 5. Lol, I’d actually called a neighbor to borrow a big flashlight from him if we needed it. Chuckle, then I thought of the wind-up one. Hey, rotating/checking my batteries was something that got forgot. I used to have an emergency radio that also was cranked for power. Eek, my son dropped my old tv on it, so I don’t still have this. I need to buy 2 more crank flashlights and maybe another crank radio.

    1. HI Wendy, thank goodness for grandsons! I’m glad the heat tape worked!! I have a few of those wind-up flashlights, those were the first ones that came out for emergencies, I think!! Mine are all in the storage unit until we get this house built, I have solar ones with me. Great reminder about the wind-up flashlights!!! Linda

    2. I they have multipurpose flashlight/AM/FM/NOAA Radio (some with sirens) that are rechargeable with USB, crank, and solar, plus you can top of your phone too. I chose models that had multiple light options, hi and lo beams and reading light/motion sensor. I also put a reminder on my phone to charge them once a month. HTH

    1. Hi Peter, if you are talking about the packages in the bags, they are either sold out or no longer sell them. You can get “Pantry” size containers at ThriveLife. That’s where I purchased most of these. Be sure and check the shelf-life. Every company is different. Linda.

  5. To pack toilet paper smaller, pull the cardboard center out and vacuum seal. It flattens the roll really nicely and hardly takes up room in your bag. I have rolls in the car, to go bag, even in the stay at home kits.

  6. Vacuum sealing also works great for “soft” items like gloves, hats, even keeps plastic bags organized and tidy. If you seal anything “hard” like matches, don’t seal too tightly.
    I seal most of the stuff in our to go bags. It keeps everything dry and organized

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