Bug Out Bag: The 72 Hour Kit

Though EconomicCollapseSurvival.com is primarily about surviving the downturn of the economic environment over the long haul (and even how to profit from it), it is still useful to know how to prepare a survival kit or gear bag with survival supplies called a bug out bag (72 hour kit) for short term emergencies. It’s called a bug out bag because when you’re bugging out in an emergency, you won’t have the wherewithal to get your act together.

Family preparedness should be top priority. In addition to your emergency bag, you need to know you have, not only a prepared family, but also a community that you can integrate yourself and your family into during a crisis. So, emergency management and neighborhood preparedness should be top on your list of priorities as well. Get to know your neighbors, they will be an invaluable resource. They may also be able to help you put together your emergency kit or they may have extra survival equipment to give you.

When disaster strikes, fire preparedness, flood preparedness, earthquake preparedness, etc.. along with survival management skills and a well stocked survival preparedness bag will drastically improve your chances of survival. Disaster supplies in an evacuation could be the difference between life and death. If you have the right emergency gear with the right survival products inside, you will be faaar better off than someone who has done no pre-planning.

For your safety, your bug out bag should be in an easily grab-able location like by a door in your house or have a car emergency kit complete with outdoor gear, camping and travel gear that you can easily carry. This 72 hour kit should contain all the supplies you will need to keep you covered for at least 3 days. This is a BARE MINIMUM. If you have all your basic daily needs taken care of for 3 full days, that is a great start but it is advisable to have at least 1 to 2 weeks worth of food stored in and around your house.

Large families will do best to divide up the gear into several easily accessible bug out bags placed, for example, inside each individual’s backpack or in grab-able plastic rubbermaid bins that can be easily wisked away during an emergency.

You can buy ready made bug out bags, or you can prepare your own. I’ll detail below all the things you’ll need in your 72 hour kit.

A nice advantage in preparing your own bug out bag is you can decide to pack the foods you enjoy. And just as a simple reminder, you’ll want to rotate your stores of food inside your 72 hour kits because all foods have a shelf life and if the food goes bad then it does you no good to prepare it in the first place.

Bug Out Bag Contents: Your List Of 20 Essential Items For 72 Hours

(Of course, for a fuller more complete system of preparedness, check out Survive In Place Guide right now.


  1. AM/FM portable radio – if you have a crank radio that doesn’t need batteries, you’re golden. But a battery operated radio with extra batteries does the job as long as those batteries stay alive!
  2. First Aid Kit – in addition to the medical supplies, make sure it contains an emergency preparedness guide as well
  3. Water – 1 gallon per person per day for hydration and washing. Keep water purifier as well as purification drops like Miracle Mineral Solution. Also be sure you have containers that will not breach under freezing temperatures. Water storage barrels might come into play depending on your situation.
  4. Fire – wind and waterproof matches in waterproof container. In addition to the matches, keep a utility butane lighter
  5. Blankets – if you don’t have good quality mountaineering sleeping bags, wool and space blankets will work just fine (NO cotton)
  6. Light – flashlight with extra batteries and propane lantern with additional propane tank. Glow sticks and candles too.
  7. Toiletries – toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss (great for tying things), shampoo and conditioner packs, razor, napkins and sanitary napkins
  8. Knife and survival tools – survival knife. Swiss Army knife with scissors, can opener, and screwdrivers (utility tools like leatherman and gerber are very good as well)
  9. Map – of the area
  10. Compass – self explanatory
  11. Whistle – for attacks and emergencies
  12. Sewing Kit – keep heavy duty thread in this one
  13. Towels and Dishcloths
  14. Cutlery – enough for the family
  15. Tent and Tarp
  16. Clothing – enough warm clothes for each family member (long-johns, wool hats, mittens, jackets, scarves, raincoats, good warm boots, etc..)
  17. Entertainment – good for kids especially. This can free up time for parents to plan next moves (tactical)
  18. Individual needs – diapers and baby kit, medications, pair of extra glasses, etc..)
  19. Garbage bags – 25 heavy duty plastic bags can come in VERY useful. (garbage, raincoats, ground-cloths, shelter)
  20. Rope – 50 feet of light rope (550 Paracord is the best AND most versatile rope you can get)

If this list is not exhaustive enough for you, the Survive In Place Guide is where you’ll get everything you need from items to stock to how to stay low profile in a survival situation to stay safe.

This should keep you going for a while. Consumable items will need to be bulked up if you want to turn this bug out bag from a 72 hour kit to a 7 day kit or a 14 day kit. That includes food and water chief among consumable items.

If you think self defence will be an issue, military gear, firearms and ammunition, (gun and holster), should be taken into consideration for your emergency planning. Also, don’t forget your camera bag. You might stumble upon some amazing photo opportunities.