72-Hour Emergency Kit

January 13, 2014, by Ken Jorgustin


EVERYONE should keep a 72-hour emergency survival kit in their vehicle. No excuses.

Why? Because if you unexpectedly have to evacuate or get away for any reason, or if you are unable to return home, your 72-hour emergency kit will provide you with the essentials that you might need to survive for up to 3 days.


WHEN You Might Need A 72-hour Emergency Kit

Hurricane warning and you must or should evacuate.
Forest fire is threatening your neighborhood.
Earthquake damage in your region prohibiting you from returning home.
Winter snow or ice-storm has stranded you away from home.
Tornado has destroyed your neighborhood and all you have is in your car.
Vehicle breakdown while traveling in remote location.
Accident sends you over embankment where no-one see’s you – you’re trapped.
You’re out camping, hunting, fishing and simply need more food-water.
Tsunami warning has been issued near you.
Nuclear accident, detonation, or dirty-bomb in your region.
Martial law is declared and you’re bugging out to your survival retreat.
Grid down in your city and you’re bugging out.
The economic collapse has come and you’re escaping the looting and rioting.
SHTF scenario (pick any…)


WHAT Food Should I Store In My 72-hour Emergency Kit?

There are many opinions and recommendations for what to keep in a 72-hour emergency kit. Logically, there is no absolute right way. In fact, many who do have such a kit will often readjust it from time to time for the season or changing circumstances. The basic goal is to simply keep enough food, water, and basic supplies to cover a 3-day period.

How much food?

The short answer is, store approximately 6,000 calories (3-days) of food for each person who would most likely be traveling in the vehicle. In addition, store 1.5 gallons of water (the minimum requirement) per person for the 3-day period, which is about 12 typical size water bottles.

Ideally you want foods that are calorie dense to save space, especially if you find yourself having to walk with a backpack.

Choose a variety of foods that do not require cooking, or those already cooked (canned).

For the vehicle, consider keeping your foods in an appropriate size ‘cooler’, which will help keep the internal temperature more stable (keeps out the extreme heat or cold). 

Food ideas…

Power-food-energy bars – 200 calories
Chocolate bars, hard candy (quick energy) – 200 calories
Canned beef stew – 400 calories
Canned meat (Turkey, Chicken, Beef Brisket) – 400 calories
Peanut Butter jar – 3,000 calories!
Beef Jerky snacks – 70 calories
MRE’s – calories depend on meal

Change out your food every six months due to probable exposure to excessive temperature extremes, condensation issues, and to use good food rotation.


OTHER Items For 72-hour Emergency Kit

A list of additional non-food items to be included with your kit could become a long one. The challenge is to consider each item’s ‘need’ or usefulness along with it’s weight and space requirement. Bear in mind that you might be traveling on foot.

First Aid Kit
Toilet Paper
Blanket and/or sleeping bag
Backpack, rucksack
Cord, paracord, etc..
Rain gear, Poncho
Seasonal jacket, hat, gloves
Sneakers or walking shoes or hiking boots, extra socks
Spoon for civilized eating 😉
Can Opener for canned food
Stainless steel bottle for boiling water
Water purification tablets and/or portable filter
Maps of the region and a compass
Flashlight, headlamp, and batteries
Lightstick (bend-and-shake)
Portable radio
Lighter, matches, firestarter, tinder
Signal mirror
Mylar foil ’emergency blanket’
Notepad and pen in Ziploc bag
A Plan – phone numbers, pre-planned destination options

I cannot overemphasize enough… having a plan AHEAD OF TIME. Decide on several optional destinations (versus the scenarios) and write down their address and phone numbers. Know how to get there without GPS! Make reservations immediately if and when you need to. If you’re heading to Uncle Joe’s rural farm, let him know, and be sure that you would be welcome there 😉