Emergency Backpacks (72-hour kits) made monthly in a year

Too many times I have been reminded by fellow bloggers that I should have an emergency 72-hour kit or bag ready for the members of my family. The idea is that in case of an emergency, both in or out of my house, I could grab these backpacks and survive with them for 3 days. I know it’s a smart piece of insurance. I get excited about it every time I read someone else telling me that I should get ready. Then I visit a few preparedness web sites, mentally add up how much it’s going to cost to get ready, and then I don’t.

There are “cheap” kits for $40 or $50 each that won’t have everything I need anyway. There are expensive kits that are–just that–expensive. The best way is to put everything together yourself, customized to your family.  It may be the most expensive option of all if you scrutinize what you’ll be spending, but it will suit your family’s needs perfectly.

So today I had an idea! My 2010 New Year’s resolution! I am going to assemble 72-hour emergency backpack kits for the four members of my family by doing a little each month for a year. The expenses will be spread out and I will have a well-thought-out, high-quality product in the end.  I found a checklist online and broke it down, month by month:

  1. DONE Secure and tag four backpacks for this purpose.  Two large adult packs and two small enough for the boys to carry.
  2. DONE Determine a place in the house where these packs can be kept at the ready, but far enough away from curious children that things won’t go missing, and warm enough that any water packs won’t constantly freeze and thaw with the weather.
  3. DONE Fill the packs with items from the checklist that are already available in my particular home without purchase and adjust the buy lists for the other 11 months accordingly.
  4. DONE Attempt to duplicate most small items in each adult pack in case just one of us goes with the boys.
What I probably have already:
  • DONE The backpacks
  • ALMOST A complete outfit of warm clothing, bagged in a quality ziplock into each backpack. Include cheap gloves and winter hat.
  • DONE First aid kits
  • Copies of important papers & documents.
  • Spare key to each car and the house
  • Extra pair of shoes for each adult. (Overkill?) Kids grow too fast to do this.
  • DONE Handheld GPS
  • DONE Snake Bite Kit
  • Add $20 cash to an adult kit.  Three $5s and 20 quarters in a film canister or similar.
  • DONE Hand warmer packs
  • Toilet paper
  • Add $20 cash to an adult kit.  Three $5s and 20 quarters in a film canister or similar.
  • Sun block
  • Insect repellent
  • Add $20 cash to a child kit.  Three $5s and 20 quarters in a film canister or similar.
  • DONE Pocket knife or multi-tool in each adult pack.
  • Add $20 cash to a child kit.  Three $5s and 20 quarters in a film canister or similar.
  • Instant cold packs
  • Sewing kit
  • Add emergency food to all 4 kits. Adult kits get “real” MRE food, child kits get high calorie energy bar meals (lighter to carry). Food will be shared together.
  • Add bagged water to all 4 kits.  Order everything from one place to save shipping.
  • Probably the most expensive month, move to a place on the calendar that best fits your budget, such as tax return time.
  • Get duplicate prescription meds, enough for a week.
  • Other meds (Tylenol, Benadryl, Vitamin C, etc.)
  • Water filter DONE and purification supplies.
  • DONE Whistle/compass combo on lanyard
  • Windproof and waterproof matches, flint block, tinder kit (dry, oily, candle)
  • Emergency reflective blankets
  • Disposable ponchos TWO DOWN, NEED TWO MORE
  • LED headlamp/flashlight for each person, extra set of batteries each. DONE
  • Chemical light sticks.
  • Personal comfort kits- toothbrushes, paste, small soap, razor, deordorant, sanitary napkins, handkerchiefs
  • Hard candy, mints
  • Pencil & pen, paper game book (sudoku, crossword)
  • Camping propane and tiny stove with tin cup?
  • 50 feet of nylon rope or 550 cord in adult packs, 20 feet in youth packs.
  • Small radio, preferably using same batteries as headlamp/flashlight.
  • Folding shovel
Every 6 months, or as remembered-
Rotate prescription meds.
Check kid clothes for fit
Every 2 years-
Check first aid kit and replenish
Check expiration date on sunblock, repellent and all food
Rotate all batteries
Adjust this list to suit your family size and needs.  Add and remove items, swap months, whatever…the point is that you’ll finally be doing it!  Get started!

5 responses to this post.

  1. As well as check kids clothes for fit, change kids clothes & adult clothes for the season.


  2. This looks like a great way to slowly, but painlessly stock up a set of emergency kits. When you are in an emergency, you will pat yourself on the back for having the means to stay alive and well.


  3. We stockpile food, water and ammunition for just such an emergency. Your plan is well thought-out.


  4. I like your plan. By doing it monthly you also can check on your emergency supplies.


  5. Posted by Leslie on February 20, 2010 at 10:22 am

    These packs are really shaping up…aren’t they!


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