I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a 72 hr. kit (Bug Out Bag) prepared in case you need to evacuate your home quickly. A lot of people have said to me “Well, Shannon, I don’t live in a flood zone so I don’t need one.” You may not live in a hurricane prone area, but do you live in an earthquake area? What about fires? Last week a 2-block radius in my town was evacuated for 2 days because of a gas leak. I’ve heard of people having to quickly evacuate their homes in the night due to a bomb threat nearby. I, personally, had to use mine when I evacuated my home last year when Hurricane Matthew came through. You can read about my experience here.
Every human being needs a 72 hr. kit. I even have one for my pets! You can read the post on creating a pet kit here, and a baby one here. This post will be for adults, and you can do it in under $50!
I made my kit, and my husbands, for less than $50 each.
Here’s a list of what’s in mine:
• Food: $6. I went to the $1 store and spent $12 on food, then split it between my husband’s kit and mine. I bought:
Assorted nuts, peanut butter, hard candy, pop tarts, raisins, granola bars, oatmeal cereal packets, crackers, and dried fruit.
It doesn’t seem like a high amount of food, but the total daily calories came to about 2,000. You can go through the $1 store and find what you and your family will eat, just try to make sure that it’s somewhat healthy and high in calories.
Here’s a picture of what a daily meal would look like for me:
So breakfast would be peanut butter, a granola bar, and oatmeal. Lunch would be 2 different granola bars and a pop tart. Dinner would be a granola bar, crackers, and raisins. Keep in mind that this is for an emergency situation, it’s not designed to be big and elaborate.
• Flashlight: $5 in the camping section at Walmart. Keep the batteries in a separate zip-lock bag so they don’t ruin the flashlight if they corrode (speaking from experience).
• Toothbrush/Toothpaste/floss/Chapstick: $4 in the mini travel section at Walmart
• Hand sanitizer/bar of soap: $2 for both in the mini travel section at Walmart (I just threw in one from the hotel on my last vacation though)
• Feminine Hygiene products/hair ties: I just grabbed some that I had on hand
• Hot hands Hand Warmers: $3 in the camping section at Walmart
• Pocket knife: $5 in the camping section at Walmart
• Water: $3 for a case. This post by the CDC will walk you through how much water you need.
• Extra set of clothes/washcloth: Free! I just grabbed a pair of comfy pants, underwear, wash cloth, and a t-shirt that I never wear so I wouldn’t miss it.
• Rain poncho/emergency blanket: $3 for both in the camping section of Walmart
• Backpack: $5 from a thrift store
• Glow stick: $1 from the $1 store. It doesn’t produce a ton of light, but they can provide some fun as well as light.
• Deodorant: $1 in the mini travel section at Walmart
• Matches: $2 in the camping section at Walmart. You can put them in a Ziploc, but waterproof matches are even better!
• Gloves: $1 in the painting section of Walmart. They aren’t perfect at keeping out disease and what-not, but they will help in some nasty situations.
• Toilet Paper roll: besides the common use, TP can be used for cleaning up messes. I just grabbed a roll from my house.
• Emergency Whistle: $2 in the camping section of Walmart
• 21 Questions game: $4 in the game section of Walmart. You can throw a card game in if you’d prefer. Waiting until you can return home can be long and games can help with boredom.
• Ibuprofen: $1
• First Aid Kit: $1 in the mini travel section at Walmart
• Pen/Paper: I just gathered these from around my house
• Scriptures: I’m a religious person so I made sure to add a set of scriptures (Bible, Book of Mormon)
• Important Documents: Printed off paper of evacuation routes and local emergency shelters (ones that allow pets), laminated copy of my driver’s license to prove that I am who I say I am, and laminated picture of my family to prove my kids and pets belong to me if we get separated. I also have a list of contact numbers such as my renters/car insurance, bank number ( in case my card gets stolen), emergnecy lines, and family/friends.
• Cash: Small bills are best for vending machines and businesses whose power is out, so they can’t take cards and have little change. Every person is different, but you should have enough cash for gas, hotels, and food for 3 days.
• Medications: It’s good to have any extra medications that you might need in your kit.
TOTAL: $49. If you have more of these items on hand already then you can save even more!
These are items that you don’t NEED in your kit, but they might be handy to have on hand.
• Extra Phone charger: $20. Communication is really important during a crisis, so I would be so sad if I didn’t grab one on the way out the door. I added an extra charger to my kit to be on the safe side.
• Weather Radio: Weather radios are useful for not only listening to what’s going on without needing the internet, but with some of them you can charge your phone, or use it as a flashlight.
• Water Purification Tablets: These can be good to have on hand if you may be in a crisis where drinking water can be compromised.
• Razor: I’m not sure I’d be feeling the need to shave my legs during a crisis, but just in case I added a cheap disposable razor.
My Husbands Kit:
My husband has all of the same things as me in his kit (except feminine hygiene products), but he opted to have these added to his:
• Duct tape: It can fix anything, right?!?
• Small multi-use utility tool: A screwdriver, pocket knife, pliers, and can opener can be really useful.
• Sudoku: For those bored moments. You can get a little sudoku book at the $1 store.
• Ear plugs: He likes things to be completely quiet when he sleeps, so ear plugs would be a must for him if we ended up hunkering down in a shelter somewhere surrounded by people.
• Mask: It can be as cheap as a dust mask, or as expensive as a filter mask for illnesses. It depends on where you live and what you prefer.
That’s it! I know that it seems like a lot of work, and it might be, but it will be SO worth the effort to be prepared.
For you, my lovely reader, I have also created a printable shopping checklist with all of the “must have” items. I hope that makes it a little less daunting. Please don’t put off your kit any longer. Schedule a time, make a plan, and get it done! If you have kids that can help, then it can be used as a fun scavenger hunt activity to collect all of the items.
Here’s the printable:
Thanks for sticking it out to the end with me!