Tuesday, March 24, 2009

72-hour kits: Food Packs

Our VERY old 72-hour Kit Food Packs DON'T do this!

I taught a Family Home Evening lesson on preparedness this past Monday. Now I admit, my teens were somewhat bored, but we made it through the lesson. First, I had the kids do a little scavenger hunt to find flashlights, and fire extinguishers in the house. They did pretty well finding some. We talked about what types of disasters could happen within 5-miles of our home: fires, chemical spills on the freeway and railway, earthquakes (we live on the Wasatch Fault), power outage, etc. Then we discussed what they should do (an Emergency Plan) if something happened, and Mom or Dad were not home. We talked about evacuating by car, or by foot, and getting help from the neighbors.

Then they got out their 72-hour emergency backpacks from the front hall closet, opened them up and started to examine the contents. "These cheese & crackers look gross!" daughter #3 exclaimed. "And look at this beef jerky, Mom. It's as hard as a rock." Yes, we are way overdue on updating the food (October 2005), but at least they have plenty of water. So, I am creating a list of items to purchase next week for our new food packs.

The plan is to assemble them between sessions this coming General Conference weekend. Separating the food will help us not over eat our supplies. During the October General Conference weekend my goal is to update the food and clothes for the colder FALL/WINTER season. Understand that our kids are 4, 12, 15, and 17. Here is the list of SPRING/SUMMER food items that we will be putting in gallon-sized Ziplocs for 3 days. Every family should tailor food to family member needs.

As I worked out the pricing, I decided to serve the same items for 3 days. Most prices are from Sam's Club and local grocery stores. I needed to beef up the calories so these are my results:

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3
.41 - Kellogg's Pop tarts (twin) 4 oz., 234 cal
1.96 - 2 PowerBar Protein Plus bars 5.5 oz., 580 cal
.85 - Chef Boyardee Ravioli, or other 7.5 oz., 232 cal
.16 - Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup, 3 oz., 380 cal
.29 - 2 Curious George MM Fruit Snacks 1.8 oz. , 200 cal
.41 - Del Monte Fruit cup 4 oz. can, 80 cal
.50 - Sunmaid Raisins 2 oz., 90 cal
.24 - Nature Valley O'N H Granola bar 1.5 oz., 180 cal
.13 - Quaker CC Granola bar .84 oz, 100 cal
.17 - Crystal Light powder stick .14 oz., 5 cal
.18 - Wrigley's Doublemint gum 5 pc. 1.28 oz., 50 cal
.29 - 2 Arrowhead water bottle 16.9 oz. each, 0 cal
.10 - Germ-X Hand wipes 1 oz. approx.
.04 - Plastic fork/spoon
Total: $5.87 per day, 3.60 lbs.
Total Cost: $17.61 per person
Total Weight: 10.79 lbs.
Total Calories per day: 2131

Recommended Calories Per Day, Active (chose active because of stress)
Children 2 - 3, 1000 - 1400
Females 4 - 8, 1400 - 1800
Females 9 - 13, 1800 - 2200
Females 14 - 50, 2200 - 2400
Females 51+, 2000 - 2200
Male 4 - 8, 1600 - 2000
Males 9 - 13, 2000 - 2600
Males 14 - 50, 2800 -3000
Males 51+, 2400 - 2800

Fema recommends you have 1 gal of water per day. Since we can't carry all the water we want in our packs, I have a few cases of bottled water in the emergency closet. We also have a collapsible water container with a spout in case we need it to fill at an evacuation center.

I decided not to put these items in and here's why:
Cheese & crackers - don't store well in the heat
Beef jerky - hardens over time, and makes you thirsty
Nuts - salty, have short shelf life, can go racid
MRE's - my kids are not used to them, but they work great for most people
Trail mix - can become rancid over a few months because of the nuts

As you gather items for your food packs, be cautious of food weight, shelf life, and saltiness. The Ramen noodles above are high in sodium, but lightweight and you can serve with cold water if you had to. They are also high in needed calories. Our packs have a camp cup too for food prep. I prefer to make our own kits so they are customized for each person, and it teaches the kids about preparedness.

Also check out my April 6th post.


  1. oh i feel SO much better knowing that we have those SAME exact 72 hour kits in my garage!! hehehe--thanks for the list..that is something i can start with is redoing those again during conference--
    too funny huh! i threw all that stuff, plus the backpacks, water, toilet seat (bucket) etc, maps everything really into a rolling trash can..its so nice how it stores everything and if we ever have to go on foot..i can lug that thing behind me..

  2. ps: the date on ur package says october 2005!! OOPS it HAS been a long time for the both of us--

  3. I'm fairly new to the food storage program and am getting ready to get my 72 hour kits and 3 month supply going. Thanks for all the great info, it's very helpful for newbies like me!

  4. I love this idea. I can't get the excel file to open in excel. I think it's saved as pdf. Am I doing something wrong? I need to change some things because there are some things my kids won't eat (like pop tarts.) Thanks for all the great info!

  5. To Thackery's - you are right. I had the PDF file in both places. You should be able to download the Excel file now. Good luck with your 72 Hour Kit food packs!

  6. Really cool ideas for 72 hour kits. When time permits I want to come and read more. Nice blog.

  7. 72 hour kits & Bug out bag. Try to take foods that do not take water to prepare, I see so many bug out
    bags 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
    last 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!

  8. I am so glad to find your site. I put together an emergency earthquake kit for my daughter for girl scouts and I found the best info. here. I am going to put together emergency kits for my children and sister for our front closet from the info. I got from your site also. Thank you.

  9. Thanks for taking the time to post all of this. I've been trying to do the same, hoping that my friends would join in and get theirs done. But now I can just refer them to your site! We used to put similar foods into our 72 hour kits, but found out that our kids don't eat most of it and I'm just not organized enough to rotate the food every 6 months. So we purchased MRE's and some freeze dried pouches and let our kids taste them. Surprisingly, my kids liked these a lot better than Chef BoyRDee food! So we've packed a combination of MRE, Freeze dried pouches and the high calorie bars (taste like cookies!). The great thing is that my cost is similar to yours, but I don't have to rotate for at least 5 years. So that's saving me time and money.

  10. This is great! Thanks for putting this all together. We are helping the RS sisters put together their 72 hour kits, and your Food Packs list is So great!

  11. Although I see the desire to not have to rotate food every 6 months-1 year by using MREs, anyone with children SHOULD be going through their kits at least once a year to update the family photo that should be in each family member's kit, to update clothing sizes (underwear, socks, shoes, pair of pants and shirts) and even hygiene items that will go bad after a while (lotion especially).
    Anyway - that's why I continue to use food that I need to go through every 6 months to a year in our kits, so that it reminds me to update the other items as well. Also, it helps me to keep it on the forefront of my mind and to see if there are other food items I or my family would like better.

  12. Love your list. I've added a few items, like putting your ID and wallet cards on a scanner and include in the pack. I like to have some cash and a credit card in there too. Oh, don't forget to put in an old pair of glasses... old is better than none. I use protein powders all the time so included that and some "Ready To Drink" protein too. Google "pop can stove" for an idea about how to include a way to heat your soup. Thanks for the site!

  13. Thank you SO much for this information! My family is not LDS, but after Katrina and now Japan I have been thinking I need to prepare emergency supplies for my family and to have the ability to pack quickly and hike the 60 miles to my parents house if need be. Your lists are fantastic!

  14. Your welcome, Anonymous. Good luck on being better prepared.

  15. This is such a great resource - I've really enjoyed browsing through your blog. We're not LDS either, but it just seems like a good idea to be prepared these days. Thanks for all the work you've put into this. Between this blog and "food storage made easy," I have no excuses. :)

  16. Thank you! This was a great help.

  17. Thank you SO much for this list and all the info on your site! We had old, outdated 72 hour kits that we got rid of (along with our water supply) when we moved 2 months ago. I live in VA and we had an earthquake today (very unusual) and a hurricane bearing down on us this weekend. After the earthquake, I thought about our lack of preparation. Then I watched the weather report and knew Heavenly Father had given me a warning to be prepared.
    I researched a few sites, and came across your blog. I just got back from Walmart with all the supplies we needed and I used your lists almost exclusively. I love that everyone will be getting the calories they need and I love how it's organized. My husband will be scanning/copying documents and backing up to our external hard drive by Saturday. I'll be getting the last few supplies and making our own "grab and go" list. Thank you for your hard work and for sharing. I'll keep coming back to work on getting all those "extras" that we don't have yet. But with just what I have, I feel prepared and very blessed!

  18. I've been looking at different 72 hr kits and I found yours to fit in with my ideas. I will differently tailor it to SouthEast Texas. I'm linking this post to my blog www.HowToBeAMollyMormon.blogspot.com Thanks so so much for this helpful info.

  19. I get the idea but none of these items are actual food.

  20. I came across your blog several years ago and it totally revamped my thinking about what to include in our 72-hour kits. Prior to that time, I had a few granola bars and some hard candy in a backpack with a change of clothes thinking we were well-prepared. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I recently blogged about our kits after sharing at a Relief Society activity. (I included a link to your site.) http://littleoneroomschoolhouse.blogspot.com/2012/06/emergency-preparedness-72-hour-kits.html

  21. Just have always been interested in disaster preparadness and a friend in Utah suggested 73 hour emergency kits so I'm doing that and water and will work toward the rest. The cash thing is important too so will do that right away. Thanks for all the resources! minitoni

  22. I am not sure of how I came across your page but I enjoy all of the helpful information so much it is now my new Home Page as a regular reminder to stay on top of both short and long term preparedness. As a Mom of 5 who knows the necessity of watching the cost of things I find your tips great because they are based on common sense and real life. I'm also a person who grew up on a farm and is used to self sufficiency, and have a military background, and I find your page to be incredibly practical, yet also thinks of the small comforts that can make a huge difference in a person's mindset which can hugely impact the likelihood of survival. I think all of your information from 72 hr kits to long term storage and preparedness is truly fabulous and well thought out, however I did have two recurring concerns as I read your posts as I do not seem to find any information on the importance of being able to make a fire (for heat, cooking, or even making water safe to drink) or options for safe drinking water should water become scarce and unsafe to drink. If I may I would like to offer a couple of ideas that will not cost much, weigh next to nothing, but could be true life savers, depending upon the disaster, region, and resulting circumstances.
    First I would highly recommend that every person capable of safely handling the task of making a fire should carry at least two ways to start a fire (a magnesium flint & striker {available on ebay for as little as $1 each & they never run out} plus a small lighter or matches {something more familiar when under stress} wrapped up safely in plastic wrap with a bit of tinder to help start a fire in even the worst of conditions) is in a small Ziplock snack bag in each of our 72 hr. kits. For tinder, dryer lint rolled into large pea sized balls then carefully, but generously, coated with melted wax works very reliably, even in damp weather, or we also carry simple, individually sealed tampons that we can unseal, tear off half and fluff it up a bit to start a fire quick & easy. Package your tinder and fire starting items (practice & learn how to use a flint striker in advance) in a small waterproof bag and that way if the worst case scenario of no shelter center is available yet and you are away from all the comforts of home you can still all keep warm, or even just make a hot beverage like cocoa or tea that can lift spirits hugely! My one other recommendation would be to add an item to purify water such as a "Lifestraw" to each persons 72 hr. kit. I personally prefer using a Lifestraw (http://eartheasy.com/lifestraw) to tablets or other methods for many reasons... There are no chemicals or mixing involved, anyone of any age can use it safely & easily, they weigh only a couple of ounces, the average cost is about $20 each and they are good for purifying up to 1,000 liters of water, regardless of how bad the water, which could be a true lifesaver if water becomes scarce or ways to purify it harder to come by... One of these is also in each person's kit, after making sure the younger ones see how easy it is to use. Almost exactly like using any other straw but with huge benefits!
    I hope my couple of tips can be of use to you. They're not much, but if they are assist you at all I would be very happy in knowing I may have been able to help you, even just a little bit, in return for all of the ongoing work you put into enabling all of us to be much safer, educated, and better prepared every day. Thank you again, and keep the great information coming... I never tire of reading all of your well thought out posts!

  23. Those instant hand warmers are a good, light addition. Sportsman Wharehouse had the Lifestraw on sale for 12.99 before Christmas. This is the brand recommended for Boy Scouts as well. Dryer lint in empty toilet paper tubes, wrap in wax paper or put wax in tube.


Thanks for your comments and suggestions!