Ready or Not #5: 72 Hour Kits

72 hour kits. Yeah, that’s right, we’re going to talk about 72 hour kits. No, I’m not going to tell you what to put in them. Well, I might. Okay, I am, but basically you know the drill – anything and everything that you need to survive for three days, or as we like to say – 72 hours. What is it that is magical about 72 hours? To be quite honest, I really don’t know. I have heard that it is the amount of time that it would take the government, or other agencies, to activate and come to our rescue – so basically we are on our own for about 72 hours. I like the idea of the 72 hour kit, but I think that it gives us a false sense of hope in one respect. I’ll explain myself later on, but for right now let’s discuss the actual 72 hour kit first.

It has to be mobile. You have to be able to get to it and be able to move it when there is an emergency. That means that it is NOT a good idea to store it behind the Christmas decorations under the stairs and behind your water storage (you didn’t think that I would be able to fit that in did you – two gallons, per person, per day, for two weeks, hah!). A better place for it would be in the coat closet next to the front door or in a cupboard or the mud room by the back door. A garage would be a good place for it ,too. (I’m envisioning a relatively clean garage that has a place for everything and everything in its place.) You want to make sure that furry little rodents and pesky insects don’t take up residence in it, but you can get creative about how to protect it and yet get to it quickly. Maybe hang it on a hook near the garage door.

Next, again, it has to be mobile. This time I mean that after you grab it you have to be able to physically pick it up and transport it. I have heard of a lot of different and creative ways to transport 72 hour kits including the use of wheelbarrows. The most obvious way is to get a backpack. Easy, lots of pockets, can store enough food and clothes for a teenage boy out in the wilderness for a week (unless they bug out and go out for pizza on the third day, but that is 72 hours) and you can keep your hands free while carrying your load. My son keeps his Scout backpack packed and ready to go all the time. We have incorporated it as part of our 72 hour supply kit.

The other part of our 72 hour kit is a big sturdy bag, with big sturdy handles that I bought at Deseret Industries for $1.00. It isn’t as cool as my son’s backpack, but it holds my stuff. I can carry it, but it does require that I trade off hands because it is heavy. When my kids were small I made their own 72 hour kits inside school backpacks that I bought at D.I. for $1.00. (You can get really good deals there on bags.)

I have also heard about people filling five gallon buckets with lids and handles to carry their stuff. It would keep the contents free of pesky critters, free from water damage and also give you a place to sit when you are tired. (Some people say that they will use the bucket as a portable toilet, but that gives me the willies if I had to use the bucket to re-pack my stuff and move on. Maybe you could take two buckets.)

Old suitcases work well and even pillowcases with drawstrings work okay if you have nothing else. The big thing is that you can grab and go. As you build your 72 hour kit you will be able to upgrade things over time and you will eventually be able to get it set up like you want it to be, but what you need to do first is to START and you don’t need to start perfect, just start!

I don’t have space to tell you what to put in your kit this week, so I’ll do that next week, but what I want you to do is to get up, take a pillowcase, or sack, or bag and just start walking around the house gathering things that you think might be useful to take during a “grab-n-go” situation – matches, flashlight (not the one from the “Under the Bed Kit”, but another one), WATER, a roll or two of toilet paper, MRE’s from your pantry. Okay, most people don’t have MRE’s in their pantry, but maybe an unopened jar of peanut butter and maybe some utensils. UNO cards (with instructions, I don’t know how to play), an extra pair of scriptures, a survival handbook (depending on who you are, you might have to buy this item) and some socks — two pairs without holes.

Now you have started. You are probably nervous because you know that your kit is lacking. BUT YOU HAVE STARTED! Next week ,we’ll see how far you’ve gotten and what you need to add to complete it. Sardines sound good. Maybe I’ll go grab a can to supplement my 72 hour food plan.

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