What Should I Put in My 72-Hour Survival Kit?

Written by The Ready Store

72-Hour Kits are the most basic and best thing to start your emergency supply with. It’s a basic item that’s a great starting point to prepare your family for any disaster that would cause you to evacuate your home. Everyone needs a 72-Hour Kit containing necessary supplies to immediately sustain oneself in the event of a natural disaster for a minimum of 3 days.

It should be put together in a practical manner so that you can carry it with you if you ever have need to evacuate. It is also important to prepare one for each member of your family who is able to carry one. These kits can be purchased already assembled online (which generally gives you a price break depending on what you want in your kit), or you can put one together yourself. If you purchase a pre-made kit, there is usually room enough in the bag for you to add more of your own personal items.

When preparing your 72-Hour Kit it’s important to make sure that everything is up to date at any given time. A great recommendation is to mark your calender about once every 6 months to check to see that everything is current and up-to-date. When checking your kit, make sure your water, food, and medications haven’t expired, your clothes still fit, batteries are charged, and all personal documents and credit cards have not expired.

I’ve put together a list of important items to keep in your 72-Hour Kit:

FOOD AND WATER (Remember that these items cannot be cooked or refrigerated.)

  • Protein/Granola/Calorie Food Bars
  • Crackers/Cereals (for munching)
  • MREs/Canned Food (Remember that cans can leak/explode)
  • Candy/Gum (These items could melt, so it’s best to keep them in a zip lock baggy)
  • Water (1 Gallon/4 Liters per person, drinking water can be found in water boxes or pouches)


  • Change of Clothing (short and long
  • sleeve shirts, pants, socks, jackets, etc.)
  • Undergarments
  • Rain Coat /Poncho
  • Emergency Heat Blankets
  • Lightweight Tent


  • Flashlights, Lanterns (Battery, Solar, or Crank powered)
  • Extra Batteries
  • Flares
  • Candles
  • Light Sticks
  • Water-Proof Matches


  • Can Opener
  • Dishes/Utensils
  • Shovel
  • Radio (with batteries or solar or crank powered!)
  • Pen and Paper
  • Axe
  • Pocket Knife
  • Rope
  • Duct Tape


  • First Aid Supplies (make sure you know what it is in it and how to use it!)
  • Toiletries, Feminine Hygiene, Folding Brush/comb etc.(Roll of toilet
  • paper—remove center tube to easily flatten into a zip-lock bag)
  • Sanitary Supplies (mini hand sanitizer, soap, shampoo, dish soap, etc.)
  • Immunizations Up-to Date
  • Medication (Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, asthma inhalers, children’s medication, etc.)
  • Prescription Medication (for 3 days)

PERSONAL DOCUMENTS AND MONEY (Place these items in a water-proof container!)

  • Scriptures (Miniatures are lighter)
  • Legal Documents (Birth/Marriage Certificates, Wills, Passports, Contracts)
  • Vaccination Papers
  • Insurance Policies
  • Cash
  • Credit Card


  • Infant Needs (if applicable)
  • Small, Lightweight toys and games for Children (For calming effect, comfort, and entertainment)
Updated March 5, 2009


  1. Preparedness Pro wrote:

    Great list. Mine would definitely include a firearm and ammo to have on one’s person for self defense purposes.

    August 31st, 2009 at 2:26 pm
  2. New Mexico Zombie Squad wrote:

    Build two extra kits to use for bartering or helping others. You may be able to trade a $100 backpack for a new car or truck!

    January 3rd, 2011 at 1:16 pm
  3. Ron wrote:

    I like New Mexico Zombie Squad’s idea of creating or having two and useing one for bartering or helping others.

    This article is very informative, I especially like the way the lists are written.

    January 3rd, 2011 at 11:13 pm
  4. Steven J Frame wrote:

    Help to design and build a Scout lead emergency response team lead by 12 year olds.

    I am completing a Fundraising proposal for my ward to allow us to have a one day AUCTION to raise money for a new Troop Website (with an em prep focus) and SCOUT trailer and to be able to have half the trailer dedicated to camping and half to Emergency Preparedness.

    I would like to have you reply with your thoughts on HOW my TROOP of 8 scouts could be come the hub of Emergency Preparedness in our community. What things we could do in partnership with your company that would enable a bunch of scouts to become CERT team thought leaders and experts at helping families ACTUALLY get prepared.

    This might consist of getting our trailer designed right so we could help build 72 hour kits onsite….
    and building our website so we could provide each ward emergency preparedness specialist with their own replicating website page……and a way(constant contact) of sending out a monthly email that would drive them to their wards(our scouts website) page…..which would rotate monthly with a different type of order with a DEADLINE for getting a bulk discount. LIght and Heat in Jan, Beans and RIce in FEb, water storage and filtration in March….etc.

    If we can work together, the LDS church handbook says I cannot do a fundraiser with the purpose of making money helping people build their food storage, but I can build a replicatable and duplicatable model for helping scouts become the center for CERT, and Emergency Preparedness and Awareness that would result in helping families spend entire Saturdays in a parking lot at a church building kits, and identifying what their food storage should consist of.


    April 10th, 2011 at 10:06 am
  5. Steven J Frame wrote:

    Don’t forget Propane, Alcohol, Coffee, Smokes, tobacco, and anything someone is possibly addicted to at present….should bring a high trade value.

    Love the guns and ammo advice….got to be able to both kill for food and protect yourself when in a 3 day period all the store shelves are completely empty.

    April 10th, 2011 at 10:11 am
  6. Paige wrote:

    Well what I have in my is-

    paper & markers
    personal items
    knife sharpener
    toothbrush & toothpaste
    first-aid kit
    tabogan & gloves (it’s always cold)

    And i’m going to put food & water later…

    IS there anything else I need?

    December 2nd, 2012 at 7:46 pm
  7. Tonda Trumm wrote:

    Thank you ever so for you blog. Great.

    June 6th, 2013 at 3:24 am
  8. stlgunandpawn wrote:

    I really enjoyed your aspect on the 3 day survival pack. I recently went to Columbia South Carolina for a gun dealer and vendor show and came across Blackhawk tactical gear.I purchased 2 72 hour backpacks,one for myself and one for my wife.
    we’ve been adjusting and breaking in the packs so that there’s no surprises when you’re in a situation.I think everybody in America needs one or 10.
    like the idea of a barter pack,and of course the firearm for the situation myself and my wife have our CCW license.
    thank you looking forward to see more post on your page.

    July 21st, 2013 at 4:25 pm
  9. camden wrote:

    i like to roll my clothes. they consume less room.and dont ever use abox thanks!

    July 9th, 2014 at 8:36 am
  10. Em wrote:

    I really like this list. I’m fifteen and I live in Ohio, and one of NY best friends who is in the army gave me the idea. After about a good month of planning, I have a kit started and I have a few things on this list already. So far this is what I’ve collected.

    1 bottle of water (16 oz and reusable)
    1 can of chicken noodle soup
    A bag of peppermints
    2 mylar blankets
    1 emergency poncho
    1 waterproof flashlight
    Extra batteries for flashlight
    Metal silverware
    Small first aid kit
    75 ft of plastic rope
    A lighter
    Pair of work gloves
    Roll of toilet paper (did as they said with the tube)
    Duct tape
    Hand warmers
    A pocket knife
    A multitool
    A roll of fishing line

    October 21st, 2014 at 4:45 pm
  11. Dianne wrote:

    Just started re-builidng my BOB as my kids took all 3 of ours apart last year to go camping overnight and then lost all my equipment when a group of loosers started a fight with them and they took off. By the time they got back to the campsite, all my stuff was gone – now am doing a 72 BOB only for myself. I also have a LARGE 72 kit for my entire family of 7 in case everyone needs to come to my place and I have to feed everyone in an emergency. . . I have a lot of work to do but it will be worth it. I work on my food storage and preps regularly and with a family of 7 it’s a daunting task but I am sure somehow it will work out. Thanks for your site – this is amazing and I am learning alot more as I keep reading

    October 27th, 2014 at 1:03 pm

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