Let me start by saying that the 72 hour kit is highly overrated. The idea is a kit with all the items you need to survive for the first 72 hours after a disaster in a portable container of some type in case of evacuations, etc. Here’s the main problem with this idea: Who is coming in 72 hours to save you? How do you know they will get to you before your supplies run out? If you watched coverage of the Christmastime Indonesian tsunami or Hurricane Katrina, you saw first hand that it can take over a week for the government or other relief agencies to get to the hardest hit areas. Could you live that long on what’s in your 72 hour kit? So I like to call my kit an Emergency Kit and have not limited it to 72 hours worth of stuff. I have kits for me, my husband, and each of our kids (the youngest’s stuff is packed in my kit for now, but it’s about time to get her her own pack).
Commercial kits are usually a good starting point. DO NOT buy a kit off the shelf and put it away and expect it to be any use to you in an emergency. You need to specialize your kit to your circumstances. Here’s what’s in mine:
In Mine/3 yr old’s:
- Water filter
- Water purification tabs
- Bottled water
- Firestarting goods–matches, lighter, dryer lint firestarters, sappy sticks, magnesium firestarter thingy
- Shake flashlight, solar/crank radio
- Razor blades, small wire, rope, fishing line/hooks, sewing kit, empty gallon ziplocks
- Change of clothes and thermals for each of us
- A pair of old but still good hiking boots tied to the outside
- Vacuum packed fleece baby blanket (if you were a kid would you honestly feel comforted wrapped in a crackly emergency blanket?)
- Poncho, emergency blanket, compass, whistle
- Pencil, paper, deck of cards
- First Aid, sanitary wipes, purell
- Sunblock, insect repellent
- Hand warmers
- Leather gloves
- Toiletries–soap, contact solution and case (I wear them), backup glasses, toothbrush/paste, etc.
–A note here, my dad used to fly overseas and the airline would give him travel size stuff–works great for these packs.
- Toilet paper
- Feminine hygeine since I know what time of the month it will be if disaster strikes ;) You men won’t need to pack those–although it’s not a bad idea to add some to your first aid, they’re real good at stopping heavy bleeding!
- Gerber tool
- Power bars, MRE’s, Mountain House meals, survival food bars (probably too many, but I know I have a real low tolerance for missing meals and still being worth anything especially when doing any physical exertion. And I’m also packing extra for the young’uns that can only pack so heavy a pack of their own.
- M&M’s–there’s no survival without chocolate
- Important documents on a thumb drive
- Mini scriptures
- Cash (small bills/change)
That about covers my pack, dad has the stove in his, so hopefully we’ll be together :)
It is all packed in an internal frame standard hiking backpack. Nothing fancy, but enough support that it wouldn’t make for needing back surgery if I had to pack it somewhere.
When my kids were babies I had formula, bottles, baby cereal, bowls, baby spoon, and diapers in there.
My 7 yr old’s pack (9 yr old’s is similar):
- Change of clothes plus thermals
- Small stuffed animal
- Poncho, emerg. blanket, small rope, matches, candle, fire starter sticks
- Flashlight, lightsticks, whistle
- Pencil, paper, scissors, flagging tape
- 1 MRE, tuna and crackers, 5 power bar/clif bars, candy
- Bottled water
I put all theirs in those backpacks with wheels to make it easier for them to pack them.
Now, I don’t know if my pack is overkill, but I am the mom and were it just me I may be able to cut it down a bit, but it’s not. Plus the more I research the more I find there’s things I don’t have in there that I could see being very useful.
I hope to never have to pack it all out somewhere–if I had to haul all that stuff plus the three little ones we wouldn’t get too far. I need a handcart! I hope to be able to stay in my home, then I’ll have the rest of my resources to pull from also.
The kids all have red clothes and the flagging tape–I want to be able to find them–not sure if this is the best if others are looking for us, but I’m thinking standard natural disaster and trying to find my kids in our town/area if they are separated from mom and dad.
I use my foodsaver vacuum packer to pack all the clothes, blankets, diapers, etc so there’s more room in the pack and they’ll stay dry until they are needed. That’s why my kids’ packs have scissors in them–so they can get to their clothes.
And the packs all have a name tag on them with name, parents names, address, allergy information, etc. It’s also a good idea to have a family picture in each pack so in case one of you is missing the others can show people who to look for–I need to update our picture and print one for each pack.
Keep preparing! Angela
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Wow. You are making me feel very unprepared.
I love the M&Ms sidebar comment — there's no survival without chocolate. Amen, sister! I've learned to "can" chocolate to I can have my stash in an emergency, too! :D http://tinyurl.com/lgqv4z (#7)
So I was wondering if you've found other things you would add to this list? I'm currently working on updating our Emergency packs.
You are awesome!
Sorry, but I’m a single guy and don’t have access to a lady who could answer this comfortably. I do a lot of hunting and the feminine hygiene product sounded like a good idea for severe bleeding stoppage. I do know there are different kinds of products here, so you would you be able to recommend something more specific. I know I’m going to look silly buying this, so I don’t want to buy the wrong thing and have to go back again! :)
There are two basic types–tampons and pads. Tampons are tube shaped and designed to be worn internally, so they catch the blood flow before it leaves the lady’s body. You don’t want those for stopping blood from a wound.
You want pads. Pads stick in the underwear and catch the blood flow as it exits the body. Pads come in varying thicknesses and varieties. You want regular or heavy flow pads in either regular or long length. Pads with “wings” are designed to wrap around the edge of the panty to help secure them in place. It won’t matter if the ones you get have “wings” or not. You can even get overnight pads–these are usually longer and thicker than the others, but they’ll be a little bulkier to pack around. Don’t get the Always Infinity–they are designed a little differently–not quite what you want for wound blood stoppage.
I’d go with Kotex or Stayfree regular pads. Even the generic brand would probably work. Hopefully that wasn’t too much information for you! And I’m sure you’re not the only man who’s had to buy pads–I know because I’ve sent my husband out for them before. ;)
Tampons work great in a pinch for nose bleeds. The things they use in the hospitals and doctors offices are basicly the same thing. A ER nurse once told me about it.
A small pack of tampons can be useful, just in case of piercing wounds or gunshots. I’ve heard they can be inserted in the bullet holes. Just saying :)
Michelle McQueen says
I love this idea…never thought about this…thanks.