What Should I Include in my 72 Hour Kit?


72 hour kits/Bug Out Bugs are designed to grab and go in the case of a natural disaster or emergency situation. The object is to have enough food and equipment to survive for three days.

You most likely won’t be comfortable, but you will survive.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post with food requirements for your 72 hour kit. You can find it here.

This post is for all the other miscellaneous stuff you should include in your kit.

What to include in a 72 hour kit

How should you carry your 72 hour kit?

Personally I recommend a back-packing backpack. They are ultra comfortable and designed to hold a lot of gear. I do have friends who use regular suitcases and I even have a friend who uses plastic bins. Do what works for your situation.

I use my old hiking backpacks, but you can often find good deals through Sierra Trading Post, SteepandCheap or REI Outlet. I’ve also found good backpacks locally at Army Surplus stores and Goodwills.

 Clothing & Bedding

  • At least one change of clothing and footwear per person.
    • Personally I like to have a pair of good zip hiking pants that can be worn as shorts or pants like the Columbia Convertible Pants. I also include a sports bra, tank top and regular shirt.
    • I always pack plenty of underwear and socks. I can wear the same clothing for a few days, but draw the line at socks and underwear. I prefer heavy duty hiking socks like Goodhew Merino Wool Hiking Socks or Thorlo Coolmax Light Hiker Crew Socks.
    • I use a pair of old running shoes or hiking boots.
    • I keep my clothing in an old dry bag just in case it does rain.
  • Rain gear (this isn’t a big issue in phoenix, so I typically just toss in a cheap Survival Poncho).
  • Blanket or sleeping bag – in the interest of space and because I live in Phoenix, I use these Therm-A-Rest Tech Blankets for my kits. I also keep one in my car and can’t tell you how many times it has been used – I love this product.
    • I also keep an extra Sol Survival Blanket just in case. You can find the Mylar blankets for cheaper, but they tear very easily and won’t stand up to multiple uses.
    • My sleeping bags are also stored in my garage for quick and easy access in an emergency.
  • Cold weather gear – hat, gloves and thermal underwear
  • Bandana – These can be one of your most useful tools. I typically stash a few of them throughout my packs.


  •  Toilet Paper – I store mine in a zip lock bag
  • Moist Towelettes – I also store these in a zip lock bag so they stay fresh once they have been opened.
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Dental Floss, deodorant, shampoo/conditioner
  • Washcloth
  • Hairbrush and for the girls hair ties
  • Soap or liquid detergent
  • Feminine Supplies
  • Wag Bags/Poop bags These are specialized bags we use for long camping trips that are designed specifically for this purpose. Yes it is disgusting, but they are a life-saver when you don’t have other options. I recommend a few extra zip lock bags for double protection. Your nose will thank me.
    • It is also a good idea to have a large plastic bucket with a lid in your home with cat litter. Line the bucket with a garbage bag prior to use for easy cleanup. I don’t keep this in my to go kit, but have it at my home just in case the power and water go out.
  • Chlorine Bleach – can be used to cleaning and water purification
  • Hand Sanitizer

 Tools and Miscellaneous supplies

  •  Flashlight and extra batteries – personally I prefer something like the Petzl Tikkina II LED Headlamp. Having your hands free makes life so much easier.
  • Candles/lanterns
  • Mess Kit – Plate, Bowl, Cup and utensils. If you read my food post you know that I like to keep my food very simple. If you have followed my food recommendations the only item on this list you need is a spork.
  • Can opener or multi-tool like the Leatherman New Wave Multitool – personally I don’t use cans in my kits, but definitely like the idea of having a good multi-tool. These tools can be expensive, but this is one area you really don’t want to skimp on.
  • Tent – I don’t keep my tent with my kit. I have it easily available in my garage to grab if needed. I do however keep 2 small tarps with 100 feet of paracord and 25 feet of climbing webbing in my kit.
  • Pliers (can be replaced with multi-tool in some situations), shut off wrench, duct tape, super glue, pocket knife
  • Waterproof matches/kindling/flint & steel/lighter
  • Jet boil or another simple method of heating water. For space I prefer the backpacking canister stove systems like the DragonPad Canister Stove. If you go this route make sure and include a cup for heating.
    • Water purification method if you are unable to boil water. Personally I want to be able to do both. I use my trusty Katadyn filter, but love some of the new gravity filters on the market. I just haven’t found an excuse to buy one yet.
  • Map of local area and GPS Unit. I know it is old fashion, but make sure you have a paper map. You can’t count on your phone or even the GPS unit to work.
  • Whistle and hand-held mirror. I know a lot of people who also include 2 way radios.
  • Radio with access to NOAA weather reports. Personally I prefer the kind with the hand crack and solar powered options. Either way, make sure and include extra batteries.
  • Trash bags and multiple zip lock bags in a variety of sizes.
  • Solar Charger – This is the one I use. It has kept my phone and Ipad juiced up on multiple occasions, but isn’t going to run your laptop.
  • First Aid Kit – I need to do more research in this area and put together a good kit that is actually useable instead of the cheapo ones I keep buying.
  • Leukotape – This is the best athletic tape I’ve found. It is significantly better then moleskin. I use it for hot spots and taping up wounds. It will stay on your skin for days if applied to a dry spot. I seriously love this stuff and keep some in my car, purse and all my first aid kits.
  • Cash (I recommend at least $100 in small bills), Credit Cards, Identification Documents
  • Pen and Paper

Most important – Water, water, water.

You need a minimum of 1 gallon of water per person per day for drinking, food preparation and sanitation. One gallon of water is 8 pounds, so plan accordingly.

This definitely is not an all inclusive list, but is a good starting point.  I know it seems daunting, but I’ve found that if I just purchase a few items a month I don’t get overwhelmed.

Please let me know if you have any additional recommendations or products I should try.

Photo Credit – Joe Ross






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