72 Hour Kits and Survival Bags Part 1

Posted: January 25, 2013 in Survival Knowledge
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No matter where you live you are faced with some kind of potential natural or human caused occurrence or disaster.  Most of us have been informed through print, video or word of mouth that we should be prepared for potential disasters.  One way to be prepared is to have the water, food, tools and supplies that will sustain you and help you remain safe during potential emergency situations.  FEMA suggests having 72 hour kits and emergency preparedness plans for instance.  Do some research on 72 hour kits and you will find a plethora of videos, blogs, reviews, sales and the associated opinions on which one is the best.  The other thing you may find is that there are other bags or kits known by other names as well such as BOB’s, GOOD Bags, EDC kits or bags.  This is a 3 part blog which includes the following.  Part 1 is an introduction to the various types of emergency kits, and survival bags.  Part 2 will explore an in-depth review of my own personal survival bag.  Part 3 will include information to help you determine which survival bag or kit would be the best fit for your needs as well as cover the recommended equipment to include.

Lets begin with 72 hour kits which are typically recommended for use after a human caused or natural disaster or weather related emergency.  The purpose of which is to sustain an individual or group of individuals for 72 hours as the name suggests.  A basic 72 hour emergency kit may include the following FEMA recommended items for one individual:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least 72 hours (3 days)
  • Food, a three-day supply at minimum of non perishable food
  • A NOAA Weather Radio that is battery-powered or hand crank operated with extra batteries
  • A battery-powered or hand crank flashlight or both and extra batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • A whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask in order to help filter contaminated air, plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation purposes
  • Wrench or pliers in order to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger.

The 72 hour kits may be either stored at a fixed location such as where you would shelter in place or portable such as in your automobile.  With the included 3 gallons of water for one person it does take a larger bag or container in order to store all of the items.  You have the option to build your own basic 72 hour kit or buy a ready-made one.  Should you choose to purchase one there are many kits and many company’s which sell them so do your research and make sure they include the minimum recommended items.   Once you have assembled or purchased your basic kit you may choose to expand/enhance your kit with additional items such as:

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers (if needed)
  • Pet food and extra water for them
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Important family document such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.  Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold weather climate
  • Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes.  Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant.  Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water.  Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Get Home Bag, BOB’s, GOOD bags, EDC or Survival Bags

A Get Home Bag is designed to help you get home from your work place or from somewhere within hiking distance of your home.  It is filled with the tools and equipment you would need to get you home safely.  A light weight backpack is best suited for this type of bag for comfort and duration of use.  The Get Home Bag is not meant for you to have to live off of the contents unless it is going to take you a day or more to walk/hike home.

BOB’s are either a Bail Out Bag or Bug Out Bag.  Bail Out Bag originated from the bags that military pilots kept survival gear within in the event they needed to bail out of the aircraft and survive on the ground.  Bug Out Bag is a more modern term for essentially the same thing.  GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bags are yet another name for them.  Regardless of which one you call it they are typically designed to get you out of an emergency situation and allow you to be self-reliant and survive for at least three days.  Inside the bag are the tools and equipment that help you survive.

EDC (Every Day Carry) bags carry the items you most likely need every day.  They typically have some of the same items as the bags described above but may also include things like pencils, pens, note pads, cell phones, chargers, cameras, laptops or tablets as well as currency.  Also note that there are personal EDC’s which are items you carry on you in your pockets or purse.  My swiss army knife is a tool I carry in my pocket every day hence it is an EDC item.  If you have a personal EDC your EDC bag will supply you with and supplement all of the items that you cannot carry in your pockets.
You may have noticed that there is some similarities between all of the kits and bags.  For instance the BOB or GOOD is similar to the 72 hour kits in that they typically will contain 72 hours worth of food.  The EDC may have some of the same tools and equipment as the others however typically does not have the 72 hour supply of food.  Through my research and my own experience I have learned that these kits/bags tend to evolve and remain as a work in progress.  In part 2 we will explore my BOB as an example and I will address the changes I have made to arrive at its current state.

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