72-Hour Emergency Bag
Natural disasters happen every year around the world. Some small - a house starts on fire, you get stuck in a snowstorm, a car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, or a storm shuts off the power for an indefinite amount of time. And some more major - a wildfire or flood threatens your neighborhood and evacuation is imminent, or a tornado or hurricane devastates your town. In any of these emergencies, it’s important to be as ready as possible.
To help you be prepared for disaster, we have a list of must-haves for your home disaster kit, or 72-hour bag.
The bag you use is important. You want to be able to organize items well in the bag, small and light enough to grab quickly, and not take up too much space. Make sure that it is large enough to store enough items for up to 3 days. A good size to aim for would be a 36 - 65 liter pack.
Sleeping Bag or Quilt
Staying warm in an emergency situation is crucial. While down sleeping bags and quilts offer the most warmth, they also lose their loft after long periods of being compressed. Since the purpose of your 72-hour is to have everything ready to go at a moments notice, you’ll want your bag to be reliable even after being compressed. Synthetic insulation does the best in these conditions.
Depending on your environment and needs determines what temperature rating you want to look for. If you’re planning on using your disaster preparedness in your car during the winter months, you’ll want a warmer sleeping bag or quilt. Warmer environments require cooler temperature ratings. The lower the temperature rating, the less compact the bag or quilt will be, so maybe plan on a larger pack to accommodate.
Another key component to your disaster preparedness kit is a stove. A compact, backpacking stove fits well in the small pack. Keep in mind that you have some sort of fuel source to go along with your stove and that in a disaster, you can't count on buying gas or other refined fuels.
A wood burning backpacking stove can serve two purposes in one. Not only does it act as a source to heat up food, it also can be used as a fire pit to create heat. You can use debris or natural burnable sources for your fire. If you choose to use a wood burning backpacking stove, the Littlbug stoves also have the option to use an alcohol burner as well as burning wood. Don’t forget to pack a lighter or matches to help ignite your stove.
Choose non-perishable foods that have plenty of calories. Food options that have a long shelf life include packaged oatmeal, rice, tuna packets, and freeze dried pre-made meals. Some of our favorites include Mountain House, Backpacker’s Pantry, and Harmony House. If you want to spice up your meals, spices like salt and pepper tend to have a long shelf life as well. Any shelf products with well sealed packaging tend to not spoil. Be warned, they may go stale. Although they are not freeze dried and weigh more, military rations (MREs) have a very long shelf life. Although the flavor may degrade, these foods retain their nutritional value for, well watch this enlightening video!
Don’t forget to pack your cooking utensils like a small pot to boil water, and eating utensils.
Other essentials you’d want to consider for packing into your 72-hour bag are toilet paper, well supplied first aid-kit, and hygiene items such as soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, and hand sanitizer. A few bottles of water are also helpful in the event you aren’t able to access water. Remember, boiling water to make it safe to drink is something your Littlbug Stove does extremely well! A tarp or shelter is also a good idea to have in your bag.
Now that you’re ready to start your home disaster kit, pick a convenient, but out of the way spot to store it in. You may also want to re-evaluate it once or twice a year to make sure items stay fresh, such as food, and are working well, such as lighters.