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72 Hour Kit Warning

By August 15, 2007

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I received the following email from someone who had a sticky experience with their 72 hour kit:

"I opened and checked my 72 hour kit (it has been more than two years) and my poptop cans of fruit had exploded and covered all my other items with sticky goo. It seems that the top seals are not as strong as a normal can because my tuna and spagettios were FINE!"

Update: Michelle shared another warning in the comments of this post:

"I found that Jolly Rancher candy melts and gets all over everything. We had our 72 hour kits in the garage in a #10 can and I went to check on how well they were holding up, well my J/R melted all over everything and it was just a big sticky mess."

Another warning was given in comment #11 about not using mint flavored gum!

So you might want to replace any pop top cans with regular cans and take out any Jolly Ranchers. If you put regular cans in your 72 hour kit make sure to pack a can opener! Find more resources in the Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness category.
September 10, 2006 at 4:34 pm
(1) Kathleen N. Kelsey says:

Thank you for the pop up heads up. Our family group is reviewing and updating our kits so this is very timely info.

March 4, 2007 at 7:49 pm
(2) Cindy L. Smith says:

May I suggest to recycle your 72 hr. food kits every 6 months. Break them open and eat them during General Conference. The kids look forward to it and it keeps your kits recycled without waste, but make sure you have a new one first for your kit.

March 6, 2007 at 8:44 am
(3) Petra Ferrell says:

Most kits need to be checked on at least once a year. Some items such as water pouches and food bars have a shelf life up to 5 years but it is always safer to check and eat or drink it before it expires.

March 24, 2007 at 1:15 pm
(4) lds says:

These are great comments, thank you for sharing them. I usually put a note 6 months later in my calendar to remind myself to cycle the food.

August 10, 2007 at 10:27 pm
(5) Michelle says:

I found that Jolly Rancher candy melts and gets all over everything. We had our 72 hour kits in the garage in a #10 can and I went to check on how well they were holding up, well my J/R melted all over everything and it was just a big sticky mess.

August 15, 2007 at 10:11 am
(6) Rachel Woods, About.com LDS Guide says:

Thanks Michelle for sharing this with us! I added your comment to the original post so hopefully more people will see your warning.

August 20, 2007 at 2:14 pm
(7) Sid says:

I had a friend several years ago suggest that you update your 72 hour kits every six months and do it at conference time. So I started doing that and it works wonderfully. Every April and every October I check for leaks and expiration dates. If it will expire before the next conference then I take it out and use it right away and replace it with something fresh. I replace items that don’t have a date in October like instant oatmeal and hot cocoa mixes. Makes it very easy!

August 24, 2007 at 7:25 pm
(8) Katrina says:

I found out that the packaged crackers and jerky also do not last long. We think if you take it out of the original package and put it in shrink wrap it might last longer.

August 28, 2007 at 1:52 pm
(9) Rachel Woods, About.com LDS Guide says:

One good idea I received by email is to “consider investing money into emergency food bars, MRE’s, and mountain freeze dried foods… they are specifically designed to hold up to outdoor temperatures and have a shelf life of up to 5 years.”

September 7, 2007 at 12:55 am
(10) Ali says:

I do NOT recommend beef jerky in a kit that you are sealing in a #10 can. My MIL gave us kits as gifts (LOL). Later, I opened them to recycle what I could, eat what we could, etc… EVERYTHING smelled & tasted like teriyaki beef jerky – even the Jolly Ranchers absorbed the taste (as well as the granola bars, hot chocolate…). LOL – Live & learn!

April 15, 2008 at 7:27 pm
(11) Tamara says:

I’ve noticed some 72-hour kits have sticks of mint gum in them,but it causes EVERYTHING in the #10 cans to taste like the gum. Might not sound like a big deal, but believe me you will have trouble eating beef flavored top ramen if it smells like peppermint!!

April 15, 2008 at 7:29 pm
(12) Tamara says:

Also, I noticed a lot of people complaining about spoiled food?? Are you people rotating your kits?? They are not meant to last for more than 6 months. If even that long. Always remember to rotate!! And only put foods that you will eat, so that when it comes to rotating them you will enjoy them and not just toss them out!

May 16, 2008 at 11:27 pm
(13) Kathy Cotton says:

Here is another suggestion: Don’t buy a soap like Irish Spring or other strong smelling soap because some of your food stuffs could take on that taste….I speak from experience….lol.

August 1, 2008 at 4:53 pm
(14) Julie says:

I think a space bag that you can suck the air out of with a vacuum would work great in making your 72 hour kit clothing take up less room, I haven’t tried yet but it’s on my to do list!

August 27, 2008 at 6:36 pm
(15) sue b says:

I live in NC which is always hurricane-prone. I suggest using a separate container for soaps, toothpaste etc. from your food container. I put sugar/creamer/salt/pepper/soups etc, things like that in ziplock bags (each separate); I use ziplock bags for anything that might leak; keep candy, crackers, etc. in ziplocks. I also put toothpaste, mouthwash, soaps, etc. in them also.

As for using the storage bags you suck air out – I’ve found that they all manage to leak – air gets back in!!!!!

I also check everything every 6 months and rotate the canned goods anyway. That way I know for sure, if it’s needed, everything is fresh and ready.

God Bless!

September 4, 2008 at 12:03 pm
(16) Rachel Woods, About.com Latter-day Saint Guide says:

These are great ideas, thanks for sharing them!

September 24, 2008 at 11:49 am
(17) Molly says:

Another rule in rotation is to remember the food service FIFO/ First In First Out when storing anything. You can use a permanent marker to put the date of purchase on each item, that way you will be sure you use it before it goes bad.
As for rotating things I like the every 6 month idea. Although I’m not LDS I like the October/April time span because my birthday is in October so it will be easy to remember. Or you can use the month you started and count forward 6 months and mark it on your calendar.
I agree also about storing non food items separately from food items. Remember too if you have strong smelling bath soap it will make your clothes smell too!
I’ll be preparing for 2 adults and 3 small children age 6 and under.
Since I’m in south central TX where the summers are hot, humid, and several months long, my emergency food storage will be beneath the bunk bed I sleep on where there is air conditioning. Oh yes, don’t put any kind of chocolate candy away as it will melt even quicker than the hard candy.

September 26, 2008 at 11:24 am
(18) Shanna says:

Thank you so much for all the wonderful information. I am making each of my 6 children a 72-Hour kit, as well as one for my husband and one for me, for Christmas. Things are getting a little troublesome and this year all we are doing for Christmas is emergency supplies and school needs. That is it.
Thanks again for the great tips as some of the items metioned above I was going to pack…i will rethink my supplies.

September 27, 2008 at 1:50 am
(19) Judy says:

We just made it through IKE. (14 days without power). Things that work for us; I had all of the food supplies for our kits in one area of our food storage. It contained only food, water and milk we liked and use. I replace items when they are use or move them to items use daily when I buy item to replace food storage. i.e when I buy tuna, I take it from the 72 hour kit and move it to regular storage and put the new in the 72 hour kit. Remember some people (men) eat more that a small can of tuna on crackers. To keep supplies fresh you can also send some of the item in school lunches. All non food items are in backpacks with a list of food that should be place in it if asked to leave. Also don’t forget you pet water and food. It was wonderful not to have to wait in line for hours for food and water. We also had a small generator that we switched the freezer and friege. Food storage was great after the 72 hours. The stores didn’t have any items that had to be cold and bread was gone quickly. The stores near us didn’t have any fresh produce. Having a gas grill in the back yard help with the cooking (you can bake rolls on them).
Hope you only need your kits for General Conf. Judy

September 27, 2008 at 2:13 am
(20) Judy says:

Also some good information on the boxes given out during Ike. I didn’t have to go to a POD for food or water but help take food and water to senior who needed help. A one day supply in a box contain the follow items:
Breakfast cereal bowl, fruit cup, pop tart(2), granola bar or nutri grain bar or raisin or sunflower seeds 1 box of milk, Lunch can entree of tuna or chicken or ham salad or bar b que beef 7.5 oz. hamburger bun or 4 crackers or 6 bread sticks, 1 fruit cup, 1 pudding cup or cookies, pringle chips (or other chips) or cheese crackers or peanut butter crackers. Dinner 15 0z. or two 7.5 oz. entree which could be Breans & Franks, Ravioli, Lasagna, Beef-A-Roni, Chili Mac, Sjpaghetti, Beef Stew, Chicken & pasta, 5 oz. Vienna Sausage, or Red Beans & Rice. 1 fruit cup, 1 cookie or pudding cup other item in the kit were 1 mint, 2 moistened towellete, 3 cutlery kits. Kits were in a small box and should be stored at room temperature.

October 1, 2008 at 2:32 pm
(21) lds says:

Wow Judy, thanks for sharing some of your experience/expertise with us. What a great resource your food storage and 72 hour kits must have been for you and your family while you were without power and going through this!

Were you able to stay home the entire time or did you have to evacuate at all?

October 1, 2008 at 3:01 pm
(22) lds says:
October 5, 2008 at 8:54 pm
(23) Christian R. says:

I have a tip that I stole from Nalgene. While looking a Nalgene’s website for some new BPA-free water bottles. I found want I was looking for and also noticed they sold first aid kits and other misc kits inside Nalgene bottles. Great idea! Now I know what to do with all of my old polycarbonate waterproof bottles. Use them in my 72-hour kit to seal and protect the essentials and goodies. I am planning to put copies of all my docs in one for example.

October 6, 2008 at 2:25 pm
(24) Ronna says:

We did a test for an Enrichment night activity. We had 3 families in our ward live on their food storage for 2 weeks and then report back. I was one of the lucky ones who got to do it and report. It was a great lesson on the things I needed more of (like pet food). I encourage everyone to try it out before you need it!

October 7, 2008 at 9:56 am
(25) Amanda says:

I want to say thank you ladies for sharing this knowledge. I am a young mom of 3 children and I really dont have any experience in food storage. I am now trying to start a food storage and a 72 hour kits. I am excited and nervous all bunched together. I know that this is what has to be done. Thanks for giving me great ideas.

October 13, 2008 at 2:41 pm
(26) Shane says:

Great comment thread. We have been revamping some of our emergency prep stuff(72 hour kit, camping survival kits, food storage, etc) this weekend. Came across this website while looking to see what was new in the area. We have 7 children from ages 16 years down to 1 month. I have been thinking about doing the test mentioned above to see how well we would d0. I was thinking doing a 2 week and then a 4 week test… both would be no power and no trips to the store. My only limitation would be potential gas for my work vehicle for the 4 week run, but if it were a real emergency, that would not be a factor.


October 15, 2008 at 4:46 pm
(27) Gwen says:

One great way to store the 72 hr kit is in a large vacuum sealed bag (seal a meal etc) Our kits were done up that way and when it was time to rotate, I gave them to the guys going back packing with the Scout Troop. It fit easily in the backpacks and kept the food dry when the canoes tipped.

October 17, 2008 at 6:33 pm
(28) Chris Ruggles says:

The best thing I found for 72 hr kits, is just to buy a small one in a back pack or bucket. Mine are all good for 5 years. They contain water, food bar and other neccessities. It prevents needing a can opener, icky sticky messes and it get the job done, cheap and easy. I found mine at http://www.marlenesmagic.com


October 28, 2008 at 5:11 pm
(29) Wendy says:

These are great ideas. We put small boxes of raisins in ours and they got all yucky and leaked all over everything.

November 17, 2008 at 3:17 pm
(30) Becky says:

We have 6 people in our family, and have 7 backpacks that we use as our 72 hour/emergency evacuation kits. Each family member has their own backpack filled with what they need to survive for 3 days – the extra backpack has all the first aid, and the extras that are not needed in each backpack. That way you seperate the food from the first aid – good idea. Also, we have ziplock bags separating most things. The kids had fun – and we rotate and USE the 72 hour kits at conference – the whole weekend is “72 hour kit food only” – that has really helped us figure out what works and what doesn’t. Remember also, that you should also plan for emergency evacuation – that is why backpacks are a great idea. We also have a family rubbermaid bin that we can live off of for 1 week that can be thrown in the back of the van if needed.

December 3, 2008 at 1:20 am
(31) Todd G says:

We recommend using ziplock bags for some items, like Jerkey, I have dbl bagged so it does not flavor other items, and also chewing gum, i chew mint so I do not want it flavoring stuff.

I love the idea of the Rubbermaid bin.

January 23, 2009 at 9:00 pm
(32) Cindy says:

I like the 1 week supply in the rubbermaid tote. I would love to know what they put in it

February 9, 2009 at 5:11 pm
(33) lepeka says:

can we get the contents listed for the 7 day rubbermaid bin that #30 Becky mentions… that is a great idea. Now days we really need to be ready for ANYTHING. thanks

February 10, 2009 at 5:29 pm
(34) lds says:

I emailed Becky to see if she would send me a list of the food/supplies she has in her Rubbermaid bin. If so I will post them on the site!

February 11, 2009 at 10:57 pm
(35) y2caitlin says:

We lived through Ike too and found a lot of shortcomings in our supplies. Our Dove soap bar made everything smell and taste like it’s scent even though we double bagged it. Any recommendations on a soap that is less scented that we can store in our bin?

February 14, 2009 at 8:22 am
(36) Barbara says:

I teach Community Disaster Education for the American Red Cross, the Medical Reserve Corps and Community Teamwork Inc. I found your comments and suggestions regarding what does and doesn’t work in the 72 hour kits very helpful and plan to add them to my workshops. Thank you for being prepared. I wish more people would realize it COULD happen to them.

February 16, 2009 at 10:57 am
(37) Todd says:

Try to take foods that do not take water to prepare, I see so many 72 hour
kits with things like, instant oatmeal, hot chocolate & soups. The water should be for
drinking & take vitamins & protein bars. I also take a bottle of fiber, not only is
fiber needed but it also swells for a full feeling. I came across what is called
Lifecaps. They are a capsule that has everything needed to survive without food with
the exception of water. It is full of vitamins & minerals plus Iodine. Anyway, you take
three of them a day & drink water. I can actually take enough food in one backpack to
las 6 months because of these little Lifecaps, protein bars, fiber & water. I will run
out of water in a week so I do carry a small filter & a couple of those straw water
filters that filter the water as you suck.
You do not always have the ability or time to heat water to make soup or oatmeal. Anyway,
after I bought 25 bottles I found a coupon code & bought 75 bottles more. The coupon code
is… healthcap It will get you 33% off. There are also sites that have those filter straws
that are cheaper than any of the stores around here. (SLC) I think they are a really good
idea along with some purification pills. I cannot remember the sites off the top of my head
but you can Google for aquamira filter straw. Aquamira is the manufacture but do not buy
off there site because I have found them for almost 1/2 what they want on their own site
on other sites. Good luck, Gods speed & get serious about your bug out bag!
Todd in SLC

March 14, 2009 at 4:42 pm
(38) GirlsNGlasses says:

Thank you for this post. I’ve gotten a lot of helpful advice. Since the previous poster didn’t respond, I’m posting a link to my 7-day emergency menu. It’s packed in 2 Rubbermaid totes with a third devoted to eating and cooking utensils, the stove, hygiene products, etc.

I hope it’s helpful.

March 15, 2009 at 1:52 pm
(39) Todd says:

Since I have received so many emails, I am thinking of putting together an extensive list
of items that should be in your 72 hour kit & Bug out Bag.The most important thing you need
is water & since you cannot carry much water, you will need a small water filter. I carry
a small pump water filter that will filter out 99.999% of micro-organisms. I also carry a
straw type filters that filter as you suck through the straw. Just in case I also carry a
bottle of purification pills. Second you need nutrients & the best source of nutrients is
life caps, not only are they pure, real food, easy digestable & you can live on life caps &
water alone, they are light & easy to carry. Great for children & adults, they have all the
vitamins & minerals including iodine to sustain life. When a tragedy or emergency hits,
people do not realize the importance of water, vitamins & minerals during stressful situations.
Fatigue & illness occurs because of lack of nutrients & water. Most of the time the hunger
is not there because of the stress. YOU NEED TO REMEMBER TO TAKE GOOD VITAMINS & DRINK WATER
IN AN EMERGENCY TO STAY HEALTHY & HELP YOURSELF & OTHERS. What is the first thing you do in
an emergency situation on a plane, you put the oxygen mask on yourself then take care of others
around you. First thing in an emergency, you should take life caps & drink water before you do
anything else. You cannot do yourself or anyone else any good if you fall due to stress.
Many elders & children die before people realize they need more than double the vitamins & water
during a stressful situation than during a normal day. Elders & children die because of lowered
immune systems during emergencies.
Please find good water filters, purification pills & get some life caps at lifecaps.net. Type in
“Heathcaps” as your coupon code to save 33%. I did a Google search to find the straw type filters.
The straw filters are made by Aquamira, but do not buy off there site, I found them for 1/2 the price on
other sites.

March 28, 2009 at 1:21 am
(40) Geof says:

I looked up the life caps out of curiosity, seems like a good product, but certainly shouldn’t be the forefront of your disaster survival kits. One could survive on nothing but life caps and water for theoretically a great period of time, but with out intake of calories, you risk starvation. Not to be mistaken with malnutrition, they are two different afflictions. Starvation occurs when the body isn’t getting enough calories, and starts to canibalize body tissue, specifically fats and proteins. Calories are your energy and are required for normal function, with is absolutely crucial in a survival situation.

While it would certainly be a good idea to add the life caps to your 72 hour kits, survival kits and/or storage, it should really only be a last resort in dire situations where proper food isn’t available.

Adding a bottle of multivitamins to supplies is favorable to relying on life caps. If food, even food with low nutritional value, but high caloric content, you can take the multivitamins, and have them be effective in preventing malnutrition. Vitamin C is particularly important for preventing scurvy, which can be deadly and rather gruesome. You can go down to your local walmart and pick of a bottle of centrum complete or its generic counterpart for about $12 and $6 respectively, the large bottles come with 300 one a day pills, so they can last a good while.

As a side note, MREs, while they can be rather expensive are very good for these situations, as they require no water, and can be stored for quite a while. If necessary they can also be broken down and you can separate some of the not so necessary items and then vacuum pack them to conserve space.

Also watch your protein and granola bars, many contain palm kernel oil, the only saturated fat that stays a liquid at room temperature. While it extends shelf life, bad fats can be detrimental in a survival situation, notably if these bars take up a great deal of ones diet in these situations.

April 7, 2009 at 4:17 pm
(41) Diane says:

We keep our 72 hour kits in backpacks in the house so they are never exposed to extreme temperature shifts… we also pull them out and eat them every April and October during General Conference. You guessed it, the next night at FHE we buy replacements and add another “big” item from our wish list– crank radio, purification kit, etc. Each fall we update the kids photos on an index card of emergency information. This has worked really well for us and the kids LOVE to snack on munchies all during conference and I love not being pestered for snack food while trying to listen!

April 27, 2009 at 4:42 pm
(42) darren says:

i’ve seen lots of great comments here. In response to #35, I use a scent free liquid soap for my BoB. I’ve found that “scent killer body wash” by the wildlife research center is the best. This is a multi purpose soap (bath, shampoo, hand washing, and disinfecting small wounds) that will not cause everything to smell like soap. simply dip the top of the bottle in melted wax and you greatly reduce the chance of a leak.
you might also look into waterless cleansing towels.
hope this helps.

June 12, 2009 at 10:55 pm
(43) Lisa says:

Im an not of the LDS faith but… I love all your ideas. Im in the process of doing our 72 hr kits, I have all food items packed into milk jugs (idea found on an internet site and cant remember which one) & anyhing that might melt or smell could be vac sealed into mason jars, of course you would need to be careful of glass breakage.

June 20, 2009 at 5:28 pm
(44) Christine says:

Kudos to Food Storage!! Moved to texas and finally used it for Rita and the worst of all Ike! I had plenty of food and water. I am getting ready to teach a 72 hour kit lesson and Thank you all for your comments! But what about adding a deck of cards or?? did you get bord? I sure did during Hurricane Rita! During Ike we had more than our share to do. Any ideas for entertainment?

June 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm
(45) adrian says:

ive read about 72 hours kit.im so lucky to have new idea of what the best things to do,i will try it for my family.thank you so much

August 3, 2009 at 1:33 pm
(46) Mike says:

“If you put regular cans in your 72 hour kit make sure to pack a can opener!”

–Make sure its not an electric can opener either.

August 21, 2009 at 12:58 am
(47) Joleena says:

these comments are really helpful! Thanks!! But man oh man.. these kits can get expensive! I am trying to pace myself by buying a few things at a time every pay-check.

August 24, 2009 at 12:58 am
(48) Talia says:

Excellent ideas. Something that I have just recently done with my 72 hour kits was to put them directly into my trunk. I have made enough for the amount of people in my vehicle and the same with all other vehicles in my family. When it comes to the time when they are needed you might not be at home or you might have to run out of home so fast that often times things get forgotten. dont take the chance of not having them there.

August 26, 2009 at 3:12 pm
(49) Angela says:

Foodsaver vacuum bags can help keep items longer (not all short term food is sealed well) Also great for keeping important items dry and bug proof, i.e. toothpaste…or even baby wipes (the refill) because they do tend to dry out under normal circumstances…even bottled items to prevent leaking all over…

September 9, 2009 at 3:56 pm
(50) Jayne says:

Great ideas. You might want to make several kits and keep one in the car, one at work, and one inside your house. Check with your children’s schools to see what preparation they have made. Diasters don’t always come when we’re at home. Also, regarding comments 39 and 40, if you regularly eat nutritously, going 3 days without vitamin C or iodine won’t be a problem. Do think about it for your year’s supply, though. Also, be sure to pack fun things to eat and do. My sister had to evacuate for the big fires in San Diego and said she was glad for fun snacks and games/books as the shelters get boring.

September 11, 2009 at 9:23 am
(51) Bill says:

You people are retarded. You can’t go 72 hours without your Genealogy Records?!? Or shampoo?!? I thought this site would be helpfull. Turns out thats not true.

September 18, 2009 at 3:32 pm
(52) Nathan says:

As a retired Marine, Medical Doctor and former Boy Scout, I try to always be prepared.
I use a food vacuum-sealer for all the items I store which may leak or melt (sweets, foiled bagged foods, a stack of six tuna cans, etc.). I picked mine up for $40, with two rolls for making any size bag I need, at a discount clearing store near my home. Use these and your stores will not be contaminated by a bad can or melted goo. I make a point to vacuum-bag ALL of the items in my medical kits. I can’t afford to not have those items damaged when there is no hospital availablee in a crisis.

September 23, 2009 at 11:52 am
(53) Joanna says:

Wow Bill! Slow up. We aren’t all as GREAT as you, apparently. So why don’t you let us know what you have in your 72 hour kit? Maybe we could all be enlightened by you and what you have to say. But this time try it with a bit more kindness and understanding.

November 9, 2009 at 11:15 pm
(54) Liane Lyle says:

Some of you are using zip-lock bags, but be forwarned that plastic does not seal like acrylic vacuum sealing bags do. Believe it or not, plastic does breath. Not much but enough to eventually lose it’s ‘zipped’ quality. Hence the circulation of odours, loss of freshness. As far as I know, bags made with a layer of acrylic, specially for vacuum sealing are the only ones that stay sealed. (I used to sell vacuum sealers-can you tell?)

January 8, 2010 at 1:47 am
(55) Zia says:

i have a teenager and when we were all making our 72 hr. kits she mentioned that we should all have something fun in them. so we all put a favorite book, diary, a deck of cards, and a mini draw string bag (this containing a little bit of money, favorite letters from friends and family, lucky rocks, ect.) in our kits! i have found that whenever i think about the times that we live in, and the things we all might have to do i am glad that my daughter mentioned this for if we have to use our kits we will still be able to smile when we see things that we love!! :D

January 17, 2010 at 12:42 pm
(56) Rich says:

Many of the comments in this thread are very good! Thought I would add my two cents worth also. Duct tape is on most folks list for a 72 hour kit and can be very useful. My sons and I are hikers and are always thinking of constructive ways to reduce weight while still having needs met and duct tape is always on our packing list. We wrap the duct tape around our hiking poles for storage. I have seen some folks wrap it around naglene water bottles, use your imagination. Duct tape can be used for first aid, tent or shoe/boot repair, leave a note taped to something, etc.
The earthquake disaster in Haiti has renewed my interest in updating my families 72 hour kits.
It was interesting to read that some aid organizations were sending water and ‘tarps’ for shelter within the first day or two.
I am going to add a cheap free standing dome tent to our kits in response to this. Aid workers said there is not enough shelter and refugees were gathering in areas and many had nothing to shelter themselves with.
Considering shelter is one of the three basic needs of humans: food, water, shelter; it makes sense.
My boys and I use very expensive, very light weight tents for backpacking and I can’t imagine putting a premium quality tent in a 72 hour kit, but a cheap one from Wal-mart seems appropriate and are small enough for the purpose.
I say free standing for all non-campers that don’t understand it is often difficult or impossible to stake a tent in very rocky ground or a parking lot that may turn into a refuge camp, just fyi.
BTW, I am an Eagle Scout, veteran and am a federal officer and have been doing this sort of stuff all my life as have many other posters on this thread obviously have.
I have never had to use my 72 hour kit in an emergency but have used family emergency supplies during local short term disasters, ie. food, water & generator during prolonged utility service ourtages from weather.
I find the contributions from those who have actually used their kit in an emergency situation to be most valuable and request that any readers who have used their kits advise us on shortcoming or things that were of most value.
That is how we hike, we evaluate packed items after a trip or two and adjust the packing list based on needs and wants in reality and not just theory.
Hike your own hike!

January 17, 2010 at 2:36 pm
(57) Punk says:

The cans probably exploded because of being stored in a stuffy garage or like place. If you keep it in a dry, cool place, explosions shouldn’t be a problem.

January 19, 2010 at 2:39 am
(58) Sal says:

Pears soap will not smell.
Irish Spring soap is used by farmers to keep mice out of the barn.
We rotate like this: grocery store, to emergency food supply, to pantry, to kitchen. Always rotating, not a big deal every 6 months. Had a really bad time because we forgot to rotate and had to toss way too much out. Now it is a weekly duty, just like washing the bed sheets.

March 11, 2010 at 1:43 am
(59) wxwatcher says:

We need to walk over a mile to higher ground in the event of a sudden flood. Does anyone know of a bucket backpack that works?

April 7, 2010 at 1:33 am
(60) J says:

ROTATE CLOTHING – I thought it might be useful for those that have high climate changes in the year, to rotate the clothing as well (summer clothes added in April & winter clothes added in Oct.). I do not want to have winter clothes packed away in my 72hr kit, to wear in the summer! It would also benefit families with CHILDREN (since they grow so fast:)), to estimate the child’s growth in half a year and pack accordingly.
IDENTIFICATION – Earlier in this blog it was mentioned to have identification papers for children…..I love this idea and will use it, however I will also add a permanent marker to my kit, so that I can write important information on my children’s arms (especially for those that are too little to speak) in the event that they get separated from me or their papers/kits. I would rather have the marker on their skin for a long time, than to have them lost. (I think it would be best to put the names of the parents/guardian on the childs arm & a phone number, even though I believe that if an emergency happens, we most likely will not have cell service. Who knows maybe it will be after the whole ordeal is over that I am able to get my child back, but at least it would help make the reunion quicker.) I may perhaps write a phone number of someone I know who lives in a different part of the country [who most likely will not be affected by the same disaster as I am], that way they can be contacted and can know that my child is safe. Perhaps this person could be the reference point between all family members, in the event some get lost. If you do not want to write with permanent marker on your childs skin, then I would suggest something I found on line: http://store.safetytat.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=10&zenid=d034fa64948d0659f7381b8451a392d7
a tatoo that is meant for children. It wears away after a couple of weeks but it is water proof and virtually wear proof till then. It seams like it would work well.

May 4, 2010 at 3:24 pm
(61) Joan says:

When you get a new set of glasses, put the old ones in your kit–just in case.

May 30, 2010 at 1:09 am
(62) lilyspryte says:

I read through some of the comments on here, and some of them were very helpful. I rotate our food and clothes out at the end of every hurricane season (we are in SE Texas). We always pack some small toys and games for the adults and children in our family. I keep our 72 hour kits in backpacks in the master bedroom closet.

We evacuated for Katrina and brought our non-perishables in the pantry with us in a large tupperware tub along with our 72 hour kits. They were a life saver! Although we had power where we evacuated to, all of the stores nearby were empty and we would have had no way of getting food, drinks, or gas.

We sheltered in place for Ike, which I will admit was scary for us. It was my first experience with a strong hurricane, and our children were only 4 years and 18 months old. Not to mention we had just bought our house a week before the storm came through. Flashlights and portable radios with batteries were amazing for us when that came through, as well as taping the windows to prevent injury from wind possibly shattering windows. The fact that we had decent food storage was a comfort to us, but we did not have to use any of it.

Things that have helped me feel prepared:

We have all of our personal documents in an air-tight portable file cabinet

We always keep plenty of water in the house and kits, and potable water tablets in our 72 hour kits

We always keep an extra can of gas in the garage

We keep emergency supplies (first aid) in the car and in our home

We have herbal alternative meds in our first aid kits for mild injuries. Broad-leaf plantain can do amazing things to slow/stop bleeding and reduce bruising, and catnip tea can help break fevers and calm nerves. Yarrow can increase the medicinal properties of any herbs.

We packed gummy mutli-vitamins for the kids. They think they taste like candy, so it is easy to increase the amount given to them when our food might lack proper nutrients

We always coordinate with family and friends to have a communication system in place if we decided to shelter in place or evacuate. This reduces stress and concern over the welfare of those we love

We pray!

Hurricane season is almost here again and I will admit I am a little nervous. We prepared our kits again today and I feel much more at ease knowing that we will be prepared. The kids had fun picking out clothes and food, and I enjoyed watching them become involved!

June 25, 2010 at 2:09 am
(63) Anne-Marie says:

Great Ideas ppl! Im a LDS Young Single Adult in Perth Western Australia and have heard for years the importance of food storage and emergency packs but as no real disasters have happened we are quite lax and not many, including myself, have emergency packs. So myself and a group of YSA friends are planning a 3 day trek along a portion of the Bibbulman track in an attempt to make our packs and trial them to really see how well we can make up a pack and then to adjust as needed:) We hope to also learn survival skills and teach each other new things along the way and make it a fun trek along the way. A great idea for other groups out there, families, friends, YSA, Young Mens, Young Womens.

July 17, 2010 at 6:14 pm
(64) Jim Bless says:

If no one in the family is allergic to peanut butter, a 1 pound jar of crunchy or smooth makes a great addition. You can eat it out of the jar (make sure its plastic), and it is loaded with protein and fat to give you energy. If the 72 hours turns into a bit longer of an ordeal than you expected, it will defiantly make a difference. When emptied, the jar can be used to help filter water, but thats another story!

November 26, 2010 at 7:50 am
(65) Peter UK says:

Hi All,
What everybody has wrote makes interesting reading.
But also remember things like candles, gas lighter extra butane can, flashlight with spare bulb and batteries, a sharp locking pocket knife that will also open tin cans (used with care), gel hand warmers, water purification tablets (or non-scented bleach/chlorine -which can be used as 2 teaspoons to around 10 Litres of water and mixed, then left to stand minimum 30 minutes), I also carry a new recovery strap and shackles, new boot socks (British Army issue), and Army/Outdoor mess kit.
I also pack tinned baked beans, canned tuna, meat paste sealed in small jars, sealed crackers, boiled sweets (candy) and biscuits (cookies), as well as instant soup portions, bag of fresh coffee (sealed), sugar sachets (from Mc’D).
The list is endless and we’re limited by weight and space as in my view in an emergency I think – what if I would have to carry it, and unable guarantee on having the Jeep.
Don’t forget water and warm clothing, – remember we CAN survive on just ONLY water for 2 weeks, without it, we could die in 3 days.
God Bless us all.

December 14, 2010 at 10:16 pm
(66) Barbara says:

I am just starting on our 72 hour emergency kit, I am thankful I read here first what not to put into the kits, it would not be very good to fine a mess inside the kit.
What about money? I didn’t see anything about having money stashed in them? If there is a power outage and the AMT’s are not working you’d need cash for maybe gas or a hotel if your able to find one. Just a thought.

December 15, 2010 at 2:43 pm
(67) Rachel Bruner, Latter-day Saint Guide says:

Barbara: Thanks for your comment. Yes, money is listed under the “Personal Documents and Money” section and both cash and credit cards are included in the list of recommended items to store in your 72-hour kit, and should be placed in a waterproof container.

January 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm
(68) Raeval Evans says:

Another thing my family discovered, do not put in real fruit bars, we checked on our 72 hour kits and discovered they had slightly melted. They were still in their wrappers and not all over everything, but they were a big sticky mess to eat and did not taste very good.

January 17, 2011 at 10:12 am
(69) Rachel Bruner, Latter-day Saint Guide says:

Raeval: Great point, thanks for letting us know!

February 1, 2011 at 6:34 am
(70) paula says:

I’m not LDS so my 72 hour kit is mainly meant for winter emgergenciea. Anyway, I eat the food in my 72 hour kit during my yearly camping trip in the summer. 72 Hours of food is perfect for cold lunches and snacks for a week of camping. Wr only cook breakfadt and dinner while camping since it is hot at lunch.

Even if you don’t camp, you can swap out the food during any road trip. Just stop at a rest stop and have a picnic with your 72 hour food.

February 3, 2011 at 4:14 pm
(71) Rachel Bruner, Latter-day Saint Guide says:

Paula, thanks for your ideas for using your 72 hour kit and for keeping the food fresh. Using the food when camping in the summer is a great idea.

February 14, 2011 at 6:13 pm
(72) Sue says:

Another warning about 72-hr kits…be sure that if you plan to use peanuts as a snack that you get the prepackaged type. One year, we decided to be cost efficient and went for the pre-made trail mix in a large bag and put it into smaller bags for each of the children (even double bagged). When we checked on the kits (after 6 months) nearly everything in the kits smelled of peanuts. The things that were still good, didn’t seem as appealing to the children.

February 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm
(73) Rachel Bruner, Latter-day Saint Guide says:

Thanks for the info, Sue, that’s good to know!

March 11, 2011 at 7:26 pm
(74) Diane Hendrickson says:

Actually at a class we attended, the teacher pointed out that clothing should be the No. 1 item on your list. If it is cold, make sure you have enough warm clothing and blankets. Most think of water and then food first. But this teacher felt that the proper clothing should be thought about first. Everything I’ve read so far here sounds great, though, and I especially appreciate those who have actually had to use their kits. That is truly helpful information. Thanks.

March 17, 2011 at 1:17 am
(75) Lori says:

I have lived in 3rd world countries, and I think they really helped me to be prepared. I found that using bleach to purify water for longer than 3 weeks ate my stomach lining. I have filters & tablets in my 72 hour kit, but keep bleach for cleaning purposes. Handiwipes help. Trash bags can be used for all kinds of things. I pack work gloves & medical gloves and masks. People don’t always consider the clean up after a disaster. I have 3 sizes of flashlights because batteries/sizes become very rare. I also have a hand crank light. I keep a roll of quarters for laundry and a rope for laundry line. Pencil and paper for leaving messages or boredom. An address book and family photos for finding lost members. It’s hard to contact people if all your numbers are on a cell phone and there is no service. An extra cell phone battery & car charger in case it does work. We could relocate because we live near a RR track & hazardous material could spill. So we have school records, medical records reduced & copied front to back. A tarp and duct tape. A ball & foam bat for family time. Toilet Paper in a waterproof container. A solar shower. Hot water is what I missed the most. But the thing I needed and didn’t have after hurrican IKE was MONISTATE. It was very humid and we were outside cleaning up. I got the worst yeast infection of my life. Without power most pharmacy’s aren’t open. Now I keep a supply. All of the above is in a Tupperware (water tight/Air tight container) Tupperware keeps the bugs out of your food & it reseals. I also have a 72 hr kit. Stay dry, clean & relaxed. You’ll manage just fine.

March 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm
(76) Rachel Bruner, Latter-day Saint Guide says:

Lori: Wow, these are all great ideas with a lot of useful things to help prepare for an emergency. Thanks for sharing this with us.

March 20, 2011 at 6:16 pm
(77) Michelle says:

I think it’s a great idea to have a pair of thick hiking shoes and a fresh pair of socks in your 72 hour kit. In an emergency you may be walking over glass, and alot of times we’re just wearing flimsy shoes (especially in summer). A good pair of hikers can get you through some tough times.

March 29, 2011 at 9:38 am
(78) Lenny Brinkerhoff says:

For those things that you think might leak, put them in the Rubbermaid containers that snap down on all four sides. I have taken cans of soup with the top pop cans and if they broke open they stayed in the container.

March 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm
(79) Rachel Bruner, Latter-day Saint Guide says:

Lenny: That’s a good idea, thanks for sharing.

March 29, 2011 at 2:20 pm
(80) Donna says:

I remember during Katrina that everyone was wet and couldn’t get dry. I have since put my clothes from my 72-hour kit into vacuum-sealed bags. They take up less room and are ready warm and dry for whatever disaster may come my way. I pray it doesn’t, but if it doesn’t they will be dry.

I also faced the mint gum challenge a few years ago. I have since changed all the food in my kit and also the container it was in so the taste/smell was gone.

God be with us all.

March 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm
(81) Rachel Bruner, Latter-day Saint Guide says:

Donna: This is also a good idea. Wet clothes aren’t very useful, so protecting them from getting wet is a great precaution.

April 2, 2011 at 7:02 pm
(82) Jennifer Mulholland says:

We also check out 72 hour kits at conference. We usually do it between sessions on Saturday and try on clothes, check food and water, and update stress reducers for those who have changed their likes. It works out nicely and sometimes I get out of making dinner because the food needs to be eaten.

April 17, 2011 at 4:46 pm
(83) Brenda says:

do not forget to make your pets a 72 hour kit to


here is one site but you can google or as i use yahoo.

April 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm
(84) Rachel Bruner, Latter-day Saint Guide says:

Good idea, thanks Brenda!

May 5, 2011 at 8:09 pm
(85) Glen says:

I may have missed the comment about can openers, but THE can opener to carry/ have in your emergency kit is a P-38. I’ve carried one on my keys for 20 yrs. It never gets dull, it’s easy to use, and it’s very compact. Plus they are cheap. Most Army/Navy surplus stores have tons.

May 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm
(86) Rachel Bruner, Latter-day Saint Guide says:

Glen: Thanks for sharing this idea. I hadn’t heard of a P-38 can opener so I did a search for it online. What a great little tool! It is perfect for a 72 hour kit or other emergency kit. Thanks!

May 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm
(87) Carlos Barrera says:

Check with your local government’s emergency management dept. for the FEMA program Map Your Neighborhood. It explains the 9 things to do emediately after a disaster and helps you organize your immediate neighbors to deal with the aftermath since it may be days or weeks before regular emergency services can be restored.

May 18, 2011 at 4:46 pm
(88) Rachel Bruner, Latter-day Saint Guide says:

This is a good idea, thanks for sharing it with us, Carlos.

May 26, 2011 at 3:20 pm
(89) Holly says:

Everyone has had some great ideas!

Since my daughter is younger, I’ve kept her backpack so it is not to heavy for her to carry just in case she needs to carry it. She has her clothes, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a photocopy of her birthcertificate (the original is in mine and this is more for identification if she gets seperated from me), comb, a copy of her favorite storybook, a Barbie and some food items (small, non-heavy things) and a bottle of water. I also lamenated a card with the names and phone numbers of myself and her Grandpa (he lives nearby) as well as different family memebers in different areas of the country. To test the weight I had her put the backpack on and we took a walk down our street. As she gets older we put more food type items in her backpack and her bottle of water gets a little bigger. The majority of the food and water that she would need is in my backpack.

Another thing that I have done is made three of this kit for her. She has one at our home, one at her babysitter’s home and one at her Grandpa’s home. I work full time and I didn’t want to be caught at work during an emergency with my daughter at either her baby-sitter’s or Grandpa’s house but her kit is at home. Her babysitter just stores her kit along with her family’s kits and I’ve given her some extra food items and water since not all the items are in my daughter’s kit. We also have a plan in place for if there is an emergency and I’m at work and my daughter is at her babysitter’s home, so I can get to my daughter.

May 27, 2011 at 11:11 am
(90) Rachel Bruner, Latter-day Saint Guide says:

Holly: This is a great example of being prepared and personally applying the counsel to have a 72 Hour Kit for each member of your family. Thank you for sharing your example and ideas.

June 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm
(91) ross says:

love plastic buckets: we live in a sub zero climate,food and water in buckets stays in the house near the door,every thing else stores stacked in the garage one bucket has winter clothes one summer clothes grab the bucket that matches the season.we have a carrier,looks like a hand truck holds 9 buckets has wheels placed so that 3 buckets with water and food are behind the wheels to counter balance the weight of the other buckets tied on with rachet straps.tie on sleeping bags kids can ride on top.if you can take the car just grab the buckets put in car and go!!!

June 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm
(92) Laurel says:

I really like the idea of buckets. I have two backpacks to carry in the car at all times; but needed a 72 hour kit at the house. If we have to bail and have the car away from home we are good for a few days. If we have to bail in the car or on foot from home, we could wear the backpacks and pull the hand truck or load the buckets in the car, as stated.
Is the hand truck purchased and adapted or is it one that can be purchased? It sounds as though the platform is larger and perhaps placed differently than a regular hand truck. Thanks

July 15, 2011 at 9:52 am
(93) HikingStick says:

If you include a good multi-purpose pocketknife or multi-tool in your kit, you shouldn’t need to pack a can opener, as it should have one. I’m partial to the can opener design on the Victorinox model swiss army knives–I find it much easier to use than most others you’ll find out there.

August 1, 2011 at 8:12 am
(94) Jo says:

Everyone is making wonderful additions or comments, however I have noticed one really important one being left out.
You all have toilet paper for wiping, but what about where to go? If there is no water for drinking, there won’t be any to flush a toilet either.
I keep a package of small trash can liners with our kits, along with an empty coffee can. use the bag to line the can with.
I also keep hand wipes with each kit, purchased for 1$ @ walmart. makes it a bit heavier, but worth it.

In the event of oh.. say ice storms that leave the power out for 8 days.. ahem… Heating good sized rocks on a grill, or wood fire, and placing them in a large pan will help to keep several people warm in a small room. and you can keep water on the rocks that will stay warm enough for instant oatmeal.

August 5, 2011 at 1:49 am
(95) June says:

#91 Ross: What is a hand-truck? Please describe and where it can be purchased. Thanks.

August 15, 2011 at 11:11 am
(96) Steven says:

Why store any perishable in a garage. Water perhaps. But why food?

I have lived in 26 states over the years and have found that the cool and dry parts of the country are nice places to extend the life of most types of emergency storage materials.

But still, we should consider storing all items in a environmentally-safe place. You know the basics: Cool-Dry-Dark if at all possible.

August 21, 2011 at 6:03 am
(97) Stephnie Clifford says:

Thank you for your great advice! I have always replaced the food in our 72 hour kits every new years day. I felt it was a good way to start out the new year, and you can always have a picnic on the family room floor while watching the New Years Day Parade! If your one of those people that like to do it every 6 months you can do it on the fourth of July also and take youir 72 hour kit to watch the fire works with.

August 29, 2011 at 8:51 pm
(98) John in VA says:

Re: Comment (75) Lori says “But the thing I needed and didnít have after hurrican IKE was MONISTATE. It was very humid and we were outside cleaning up. I got the worst yeast infection of my life. ”

Athlete’s Foot, Jock Itch, Prickly Heat, and Diaper Rash are also forms of yeast infections. To treat these conditions, apply a 50/50 mix of anti-fungal cream (Monistat/miconazole, Lotrimin/chlortrimazole, or Tinactin/tolnaftate) and 1% hydrocortisone cream (not ointment) with aloe. The anti-fungal kills the yeast, while the hydrocortisone helps with the redness/dryness caused by the anti-fungal.

Yeast infections need three things to grow: Heat, Moisture, Darkness. To help prevent these infections, wear loose fitting clothing, keep as dry as possible, and if privacy permits, “air-out” affected areas. Use an anti-fungal, corn-starch based foot/body powder on your feet (and private parts) twice a day. It’s a good idea to choose a powder with a different anti-fungal medicine in it than the anti-fungal cream in your kit. A particular strain of yeast might be resistant to one anti-fungal and not another.

For those of you that might find this a trivial matter, I’d suggest trying to walk any distance with a raging case of “prickly heat”, as it will be a life-changing experience. AMHIK.

Take care, stay prepared.

September 25, 2011 at 2:23 pm
(99) ross says:

must be having issues have left this 3 times,try again! A handtruck is what you use to move appliances,You can get them at lowes,try to get the biggest wheels and the widest apart.Some have 4 wheels so you could push it on a sidewalk or paved road,then lift up the one end and pull it in rough terrane.Mine is custom made so it is a little different.Keep prepping

September 30, 2011 at 2:21 pm
(100) Nancy says:

Must second an earlier post about cool, dark and dry for storing your food. I just opened 6 YEAR old food kits assembled in sealed mylar bags. Everything inside looked to be in perfect condition (obviously I threw out everything anyway–well except for one piece of butterscotch candy–no ill side effects yet). The pop top cans were still sealed. The hard candies still hard. The chewy granola bars still soft. Yes, the beef jerky scented the bag and some contents but not all. I believe our cool, dark, dry basement is what preserved the contents.

January 23, 2012 at 11:56 pm
(101) Jo says:

We have young children so we have our 72 hour kits ready to go but we also have an “IN CAR” kit that contains, spare clothes, toothbrush, paste, underclothes, contacts or glasses if needed, warm jammies, food, snacks, blanket, scriptures or religious book from other faiths (everyone need comfort in time of need,activities (mazes, doodlepad, sticker book (anything small). This helps so if we find our self in an accident or needing to stay emergency night somewhere we will have the items we need. Also good to have if you get in accident, your children will be taken care of when you can’t do it. It never hurts to be prepared. BTW- We keep the car kits in a duffle bag in the trunk- this does take up space of our 4 door car but we feel it’s best- .

ALSO: If you have room in an SUV or VAN, it may help to pack an extra for an elder or child whose family wasn’t prepared. I can’t imagine seeing another person suffer if I could help it (though it happens with big natural disasters). Good luck and way to start up blessing your family :)

February 28, 2012 at 9:39 am
(102) Prepper Patty says:

I live in the south and the summer heat is horrible on car kits. How do you keep them cool in summer.

April 7, 2012 at 3:28 am
(103) Mimi says:

I live in Arizona and yes, the summer heat is hot enough to fry an egg..(proven). I also have a difficult time keeping things cool. I think keeping the stuff in vacuum packaging (food in Mylar) is the way to go. Dry food definately stays dry in the desert! Keep it in a cool closet or basement/root celler if you have one. Don’t store perishable food in the car at all. Keep that stuff in a bucket or bag in a convenient location to grab on the way out the door. I really like all the great ideas everyone has offered here. My DIL and I are doing a Meals in a Jar project. I plan to keep mine in Mylar bags rather than jars. Jars are pretty, but they break and are to heavy to travel with. We are making these with all dehydrated or freeze-dried foods for those emergency times when a good cooked meal is necessary in short time or lean times. By making and packaging our own, we know exactly what’s in them…nothing artificial, or chemicals you can pronounce.

April 20, 2012 at 11:03 pm
(104) Rick Davidson says:

For car storage I use MainStay rations. Any ration used for life rafts should be fine. I get a new set every few years. Each little square is a meal(400 calories). They don’t make you so thirsty as do regular foods. I like the lemon cake version best. All other foods do NOT hold up well in cars. I know it is difficult to eat the same thing every day, but I would rather have food that I know will be good if somehow only the car survives a disaster.

PS you might want to try to leave a post here from internet explorer; mine won’t post without firefox.

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