Family members can become separated during an emergency. Be prepared by creating a plan for how to reach one another. Establish an out-of-area contact (such as a relative or friend) who can coordinate family members' locations and information should you become separated. Make sure children learn the phone numbers and addresses, and know the emergency plans.
At 70 years young I have survived many natural disasters. These include tornadoes, wild fires, earthquakes and many hurricanes. In each case the “government” did NOT show up within 72 hours! That is why I never recommend a 72 hour BOB. My personal BOB is packed with enough light weight food to last two weeks. To accompany these provisions I always carry snare wire and a light weight fishing kit. I also carry at least two books, a wild edible foods guide and a book on medicinal wild plants and how to prepare them. All of these should be used from day ONE. Reserve the food you carry in your BOB for those unlucky days when you can find nothing else to eat. You WILL last a lot longer if you do and you will not starve to death.
The Wise Food Company 56 Serving kit is an excellent addition to your bug out bags and home hunker down food supply. It includes 28 breakfast and 28 entry servings. The food packs have a 25 year shelf life. One container has enough servings for 1 adult (2 servings per day) for one month. You can buy multiple kits for your whole family. Just add boiling water and enjoy.
At 70 years young I have survived many natural disasters. These include tornadoes, wild fires, earthquakes and many hurricanes. In each case the “government” did NOT show up within 72 hours! That is why I never recommend a 72 hour BOB. My personal BOB is packed with enough light weight food to last two weeks. To accompany these provisions I always carry snare wire and a light weight fishing kit. I also carry at least two books, a wild edible foods guide and a book on medicinal wild plants and how to prepare them. All of these should be used from day ONE. Reserve the food you carry in your BOB for those unlucky days when you can find nothing else to eat. You WILL last a lot longer if you do and you will not starve to death.
The Emergency Preparedness Starter Kit is approved by the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. The American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, a volunteer committee of nationally recognized health care, aquatics, preparedness and educational professionals, helps establish and assure the scientific basis for Red Cross programs, products and public guidance. Council members’ contributions help ensure that the Red Cross is using the latest science, addressing current needs and is preparing for future changes.
So despite the impression many people got from my “50 Items” article, I don’t think you should pack your bug out bag with as many items as possible. In fact, I think you should check your bag for any non-essential items with a large weight-to-space ratio and remove them. To that end, here’s a list of survival items I’ve seen in various lists online that, in my opinion, you don’t really need in your bug out bag.
Large high quality water resistant backpack.  24 Mountain House food servings. 48 Datrex Water packs. 2 LED lanterns, 2 flashlights, Fully stocked first Aid Kit, 2 Bath wipes, 4 Emergency blankets, 1 Portable stove and cookware, 4 bows and utensils, 4 whistles, 1 Sawyer Squeeze water filtration system, 1 MoraKniv Knife, 1 Ferrocerium rod fire starter, 4 InstaFire tinder. 8 Cyalume Snaplights (glow-sticks).
Customize this list to what you need for the particulars of your family. There are many other things that you can add to the list that you may find helpful depending on the vehicle you may be able to evacuate in or the modes of transportation you may use, where your planned final stop might be, or whether you have extra bodies to help carry. Use this as a starting point for what you need to do for the basics and expand it as your family needs and as circumstances dictate.
The Wise Food Company 56 Serving kit is an excellent addition to your bug out bags and home hunker down food supply. It includes 28 breakfast and 28 entry servings. The food packs have a 25 year shelf life. One container has enough servings for 1 adult (2 servings per day) for one month. You can buy multiple kits for your whole family. Just add boiling water and enjoy.
As important as the size of the pack you choose is the comfort of the pack. Many of the packs that we reviewed have compression straps, extra padding, and other features to ensure that your body is healthy and able to carry what you need. In general, comfort is largely a balance between enough padding and a lighter weight so that the bag doesn’t hinder your ability to move efficiently. When you’re considering the comfort of a given bug out bag, you’ll also want to pay extra attention to how the pack’s hip belt is constructed.
That’s true, we do. It’s clear that we can’t carry everything to survive for a year or more on our backs and we count on our stash at point B. If it’s not there, we do the best we can, go to a FEMA camp or die. What are our alternatives? I think that most people will go to point B if they see the problem before it arrives (hurricane) but a surprise nuclear attack on Houston (in my case) would necessitate a quick exit along with everyone else still alive. As to ‘bring it’, I certainly would if a. I had an operational vehicle and b. the roads were clear enough to get around minor obstacles – I don’t and won’t have a two ton or half track at my disposal. If not of if my vehicle becomes untenable along the way, I’ll put on my boots and my BOB and do the best I can. As you say, there are many scenarios.
Canned ready-meals – Canned foods are ideal for a 72-hour emergency kit list because they are designed with a long shelf life. Canned items are inexpensive and available from almost every grocery store. Also, canned foods contain water which is ideal for keeping your food hydrated and long-lasting. You can even eat food directly from the can without an oven.
According to the Bug Out Bag Academy, the origins of bug out bags can be traced to the bags that many aviators in the military put together before missions. These were first referred to as ‘bail-out bags’ and they held items that would be critical for survival if a plane was shot down or experienced critical engine failure. Many WWII aviators actually carried gold or silver bullions in their bug out bags, as these were (and still largely are) considered the ‘universal currency’.
If you have small children and the elderly with you, you might need 2 or 3 changes for accidents and diaper changes. Be sure also to include any extra diapers and diapering equipment you might need. Small children might revert to pre-potty trained days because they might be scared or you can’t make quick potty stops as often as they need them. It might be time to think about a portable potty, too, because restrooms might not be readily available.

What is a 72-hour kit? It is a kit (sometimes referred to as a Go Bag) in a backpack or tote that allows you to live away from your home for up to 3-4 days in an emergency. It is different from a Bug Out Bag (BOB) as a B.O.B. is meant for the possibility of permanently living away from home. Your 72-hour kit is intended to allow you to escape an immediate threat, live for 3 (or 4 if you stretch it) days without relying on authorities or going back home (though sometimes, home won’t be an option if it is bad enough and that BOB will be a blessing).
Great read & outstanding list of items. Extremely helpful & very much appreciated. While I’ve found over the decades that there are usually several ways to accomplish most things, focusing on the core items/goal while adapting to the situations & environment an individual(s) find themselves in is crucial. You can have everything known to man & still have limited skills/experience leaving you vulnerable. You can have all the skills but arrogance & overconfidence can do you in. Applicable intelligence, balance in actions/approach to problem solving on the fly & practice with skills/preps can make the difference in most cases. So one has a 35 year supply of beans and rice, great to have no doubt, but who wouldn’t trade some of it for a coke and some M&Ms for normalcy occasionally? That may be just enough encouragement to get the companions/family through to safety. Again, it’s all a wag for the most part…do what preps you can, develop usable skills…plan, persevere & prevail. Fantastic prep checklist & ideas…thanks! Proverbs 27-17…As iron sharpens iron, so on man sharpens another!
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