Wednesday, April 25, 2012

72 hour kit {Bug Out Bag}

This week I've been working on finishing up our 72 hour kits. I call it my bug out bag. Basically, it's a 72 hour kit, which if necessary, can be thrown on and carried if there is some sort of emergency. We live in Colorado, so I have packed this bag according to things I might need in Colorado. If you live in, say, Florida or Hawaii you might pack differently. Also, if you have babies, you'll need to pack accordingly for that: diapers, baby food, etc. However, I think most things I have will apply to pretty much anywhere. So, what do I have in my Bug Out Bag? Let's take a peek, shall we?

First, let's go over some of the basic tools that I have in my bag.


1. Binoculars so you can see over the river and through the woods, of course...

2. Gerber Multi-tool. Basically...a pocket knife which also folds into pliers and has other "accessories" such as screw drivers, mini saw, various other blades, etc. I made sure it was a good brand, because if my life depended on this knife, I sure as heck wouldn't want it to break on me.

3. A knife sharpener...don't want a dull blade!

4. A compass with magnifying glass (also included with this but not pictured is a Colorado map, so include one from wherever you live!) Um...and know how to read a map. ;)

5. Extra Batteries (for the walkie talkie and flash light)

6. LED Flashlight: I recommend LED flashlights because the bulbs last about 100,000 hours, whereas an incandescent bulb will burn out around 40 hours. LED flashlights are also more rugged and drain batteries 3 to 5 times slower than regular incandescent flashlights. They cost more, but it's worth it. I know I sure as heck don't want my flashlight going out in the middle of the night while trying to find camp. We all know that this is when Bigfoot attacks. *shudder*

7. Walkie talkie. My husband has the other one in his bag, so we will be able to communicate with each other in case we get separated. Make sure you have your stations set right and you know how to use them."Marco!"....."Polo!".....

8. Waterproof/windproof matches

9. Flint firestarter...just in case the matches don't work or I run out.

More camp basics:

1. Roll of toilet paper and Germ-ex wipes: Because...well...when you gotta go, you gotta go.

2. Camp cookware and utensils

3. Folding camp stove

4. Portable cooking fuel (Sterno). So, basically, you unfold the stove, light the fuel, put it in the stove, and cook on top of it. And you don't have to worry about building a fire or anything.

*Here's a link to a folding camp stove with cooking fuel on Amazon.

See? Easy Peasy.

5. Work gloves.

6. Gerber camp axe: because the mini saw in my multi-tool just isn't going to cut it. Literally.

7. Tarp: can be made into a shelter (I'm still searching for a good tube tent that isn't the same thickness of Saran Wrap!!!)

8. Rope: a necessity!

9. Winter hat because as much as 45% of your body heat is lost through your head!

Personal Care Items

1. Mascara. Because even if I'm in the woods, I at least have to have mascara on to feel like a human being.

2. Travel size shampoo, conditioner and lotion.

3. Travel size soap. Because I don't want to stink.

4. Kleenex

5. Body powder: also helps if you are chafing!

6. Diaper wipes: These are for if you need to freshen up and no water is available.

7. Feminine products. Because Mother Nature doesn't care where the heck you are.

8. Chapstick because I would die without it.

9. Bug Spray

10. Sunscreen

11. Travel size deodorant

12. Travel toothbrush and toothpaste.

13. Mini sewing kit. You know one of your kids is going to get their shirt ripped on a tree. It is inevitable.

14. Folding hairbrush/mirror and hair ties.

Keeping Warm and Dry

1. Emergency blankets...I got the more durable kind. Hopefully they will hold up to wiggly little kids better!

2. Hooded poncho: never know when it may rain.

3. Marker, paper and tape: leave notes to help people find you, etc. And duct tape is just flipping awesome and you should ALWAYS have some with you. ;)

4. Trash bags: these are all kinds of useful. Use them as back up ponchos, use them to keep your stuff dry, use them as extra liner to sleep on. You can even use them to collect rain water or make a solar still.

*What's a solar still? It's a great way to collect water in emergencies. Click HERE to learn more!

Drinking Water
*Just because most people can live from 3-5 days without water doesn't mean we should!

1. Actual ready to drink water bottles. Can you believe it!?! Now, remember that a gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds. While water is very important in a survival situation, so is being able to actually stand up and walk.

2. Flavored drink packets just in case I have to use the water purification tablets and the water tastes funky.

3. Water bottle with built in water filter. This water bottle filters out 99.9 % of Giardia Lamblia and Cryptosporidium cysts. VERY IMPORTANT!!! Never drink out of rivers, lakes or streams. Unless you want to be vomiting out of one end and more unpleasant things coming out of the other end.

*want one? Here's a link to them!

4. Water purification tablets: another good thing to always have with you, just in case.


Food seemed to be the most stressful part of packing my Bug Out Bag. Especially because I have 3 little kids. I wanted foods that were portable, had a long shelf life, and actually EDIBLE. I found that there were actually a lot of options for food. Here are a few!

Mountain House Freeze Dried Food

One bag of these runs around $6 and has 2 servings. They last a looong time. If water isn't an issue, these are great. They are super light weight and don't take up a whole lot of space. But if you aren't planning on having much water with you, I'd look at the other options. You have to add 2 cups of boiling water to these pouches. I think these sound pretty yummy!

Another very popular option is MRE's, or Meals Ready to Eat. These have a shelf life of about 5-7 years. (or longer, depending on the temperature they are stored at). I have a Brother-In-Law who was a Marine, and he said that these are actually pretty good. These run about $2.50 each, and each meal is 1 serving. You don't have to add water, just heat up the pouch, open it up and chow down. There are lots of different meals to chose from, as well as snacks, side dishes, and desserts! I got mine from
(I seriously love that place.)

Another option is just finding things at your local grocery store! This is an example of breakfast: Instant oatmeal, cereal bars, and hot chocolate. I got all of these things from Walmart! Keep an eye on the expiration dates, though.

These are more grocery store foods. (One of my lunches, to be exact!)
Tuna salad with crackers, granola bar, applesauce, fruit snack, and a crystal light energy water pack.

These Compleats are good, too! The shelf life is about a year, and they have lots of really yummy flavors! I'm planning on just dumping mine into my cookware and heating it up. I can only imagine how wonderful this would taste after a long day of surviving in the woods. :)

This is one of Kate's lunches. Mac & Cheese, applesauce and fruit snacks. Things I know she'll actually eat! And again, no water needed, and the Chef Boyardee things have a pretty good shelf life.

Medical Supplies

1. General First Aid Kit:
* Band-aids of various sizes
* antibiotic ointment
* thermometer
* triangular bandage
* eye rinse
*antiseptic wipes
*Calamine lotion (anti itch cream)
* medical tape
* Sterile gauze bandages various sizes
*Sterile gauze wrap
* acetaminophen and ibuprofen
*antacid tabs
* non-latex gloves (2 pairs)
* burn cream

2. Snake bite kit (sure hope we don't have to use it...)

3. Blister Care Band-aids

4. Masks

5. Various commonly used OTC medicines at our house: children's Tylenol, Mucinex packets, my Zoloft (yes...I need my happy pills!) and Whitney's inhaler. would be such a bad thing if we didn't have it with us!

6. ACE elastic bandage

7. First Aid Guide: In case I freak out and can't remember how to put on a Band-aid.

A few other things to put in your bag (I didn't take pictures of these...sorry!)

*an extra change of clothing
*important documents
*a portable handheld radio (the kind you can wind up by hand)
*folding camp shovel
* fun things for the kids: coloring books, card games, etc.
*scriptures and journal

Annnnnd, that just about covers it! Can you believe that all of those things are crammed into that backpack? ROCK ON. If I forget anything or add things I'll update as I go. Also, my kids each have their own Bug Out Bags, and they just carry the very basics. Otherwise, they would fall over and cry and we would never get anywhere. The end.

If you have any questions or suggestions, leave a comment and let me know! Hopefully you found this helpful. You don't have to get everything all at once, just little by little! I made a goal to get at least ONE thing for my pack every time I went to the store. Baby steps, my friends, baby steps. Baby steps to steps to the back pack steps to the camping section....hahah. :)

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  1. I absolutely love your 72-hour kits. I saw it when you posted it on your other blog and I am totally going to copy you :) My question is do you and your husband each have all of the items you listed you in your bags. Or did you split the items between your 2 bags? It would be awesome if you posted what each of your kids bags carried just to get ideas. I really appreciate you taking the time to put this together. It really helps people like me who have NO CLUE!!!!

  2. Another question....where did you get your bags that you put everything in. I want to get decent and sturdy bags but not have to pay a small fortune for them. Thanks for all your great advice!!!

  3. I'm so happy you enjoyed the post! My husband and I both have pretty much the same things in our bags. I will totally do a post on the kids bags! I'll try to get it up by the end of the week!

    We got our bags at a store called Academy, I don't know if they have one where you are...if not, go to! They have a great selection and lots of reviews on each pack. Ours are Kelty. The High Sierra ones are less expensive, but they have great reviews. Also, look for an internal frame pack, they are the most comfortable. Hmmm...maybe I should do a post on finding a pack! Hahah!

    Thanks for reading my blog! :)

  4. Thanks for all this GREAT info!! Scott has been hinting at this stuff for a while now and I'm thinking we should start getting prepared. Awesome blog, as usual. :)

  5. Natalie, I have a 4 and a 6 year old, and I'm looking for ideas on what to put in the kids' 72 hr bags. When you have time, I think there are a lot of folks out there who would appreciate that post on the kids bags!