72 Hour Kit Rotation and Lists

72 Hour Kit Rotation and Lists72 Hour kits are tricky. What should you pack? How do you keep it rotated? How do you remember what you have? For me, things are more likely to get done if I have a system I can set to autopilot. That way I don’t have to constantly reevaluate and rethink it. Over the years, I have developed an approach to 72 hour kit rotation that helps me keep things organized and fresh with very little extra thought or work. Here are the things that work well for us.

 

72 Hour Kit Rotation

Pick a Date:

Since I keep things like granola bars and beef jerky in my 72 hour kit, I like to rotate it every six months. It is a good idea to tie the 72 hour kit rotation to another significant date that you will remember. Make sure it isn’t a time of year that you are super busy. For example, trying to rotate your kit during Christmas might not work well for you if you are busy with shopping, baking, and decorating.  I decided to do my 72 hour kit rotation at General Conference time. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and every six months we have a church-wide conference in October and April. I enjoy rotating my kits while listening to General Conference!

Make a List:

I keep a list of what is in my 72 hour kit on an Excel file where I keep track of the 72 hour kit rotation. This is super easy to keep up and it means that you don’t have to go through your kit looking at expiration dates and doing inventory all the time. Glancing down my sheet, I can easily make up my shopping list every six months. And I keep all my emergency preparedness stuff in that same Excel file, with a spreadsheet for each area. It is kind of my command center!

If you notice in the rotation columns, I have items that I rotate every March and October. Then I have those items that I only rotate in October. Lastly, I keep track of things that only have to be rotated every few years. I always rotate these in October in the year they are due to expire. Once I replace them, I update the spreadsheet with the next expiration year.

72 hour kit rotation example

The sheet makes it so that in about five minutes, I can see exactly what I need to grab for my kits.

Perishables:

We keep our kits and nonperishables in the garage hanging on the wall, but I like to keep the perishables or things that expire quickly under the bed. I have left space in our garage kits so that we can quickly stick the food in when needed. Keeping the perishables inside means that they last longer, but I don’t have to find space in the closet for everything. I keep it all in a small container that is easy to grab and keeps it all in one location.

Notes:

I like having a note section on my Excel file so that I can keep track of little pieces of information. For example, our water purification straw doesn’t have an expiration date, but if I didn’t write it down, I keep forgetting and have to look it up again. I have a terrible memory!  It also helps me keep track where I am storing things if I have items I keep elsewhere.

Clothes:

Don’t forget to rotate clothes and shoes, particularly if you have kids. For my kids’ packs, I always buy a size up and then rotate them out every six months. So I buy their next size up in shoes and keep it in the pack. Then six months later if they have grown a size, I pull out the pair of shoes for use and then buy the next size up.

Snacks:

For the snack items, I pick items that my kids get excited about. That way they remind me to rotate it so that they can get treats during General Conference! And I figure in an emergency having some comfort food will be priceless.

 

72 Hour Kit List Examples

When making your own list, it is helpful to look at several other people’s lists. Not everybody’s needs are the same, so you will want your list to reflect your own needs.

72 Hour Kit Container

The first thing you want to consider is what kind of container is most practical. I figure that 72 hour kits will mostly likely be used in situations where I have to leave quickly. So I want them easy to carry. For my husband and I, we have internal frame hiking backpacks that carry a lot of the more specialized items. Things like a tent, mess kit, etc. My kids have smaller school backpacks with their clothes and some basic things in case they get separated from us. I have tried to keep these lighter since they won’t be able to carry as much. You will want to leave some space in your 72 hour kit for last minute things you might remember and want to grab.

We also have a car emergency kit for each car in case something happens while we aren’t at home and can’t grab our home 72 hour kits. These are much more basic kits and are designed to fit in a small plastic storage container or backpack that goes easily in the trunk.

Our Adult Kit

Here are the things we keep in our internal frame hiking back packs.

Food

  • 72 oz of drinking water: I really like the water pouches for this. Many have a five-year shelf life and are easy to pack. When I rotate them out, I stick them in the freezer and my kids take them in their school lunches to keep everything cool. Then they drink the pouch at the end of the day. They think it is pretty cool.
  • 3 Breakfast MREs: I picked MREs because they are easy to pack and last a long time. The ones we use last 30 years! It saves me from rotating or losing food if it goes past expiration.
  • 3 Lunch MREs
  • 3 Dinner MREs
  • fork, knife, spoon
  • mess kit
  • Ziplock Bags: I keep a few of these because they are always helpful!
  • Garbage Bag
  • Dish Towel
  • Napkins
  • Snacks/Comfort Food: The timing is great on the rotation because I will grab individually wrapped candy during Halloween and Easter. We also like granola bars, real fruit leather, beef jerky, and gum. We used to do nuts, but they always went bad before six months. Fun fact about gum. They found that chewing can reduce your stress. It is because we are programmed to only eat when we are safe. Just imagine a squirrel, is he going to stop for a snack if he is in danger? So when we are chewing, it is telling our caveman brain that we must be just fine since we are eating.

Clothes

  • T-Shirt
  • Poncho
  • Gloves
  • Pants
  • 1 thermal pants: When low on space, having items that layer well helps you get warm without as much bulky stuff
  • 1 thermal shirt
  • Coat
  • Scarf
  • Sturdy shoes
  • 2 pairs socks – If you have to walk a lot, you need a dry pair of socks, so I pack two pairs.
  • Underwear
  • Bra
  • Sun hat
  • Knit hat
  • Small sewing kit

First Aid

  • Ace bandage
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antispetic towelettes
  • Band-Aids
  • Bandages
  • Burn Free: This is the best for burns. It helps prevent further damage and stops the pain. It is a miracle worker!
  • Consecrated oil
  • Pain killer (aspirin, Advil, etc.)
  • First aid instructions: This is important! You probably won’t be able to Google “how to stop bleeding.” Having a reference sheet could be helpful.
  • Imodium
  • Pepto
  • Potassium iodide tablets
  • Q-tips
  • Roll of gauze
  • Scissors
  • Snake bit kit
  • Special medication or other needs
  • Sting relief pads
  • Survival Wrap Blanket
  • Tweezers
  • Vinyl gloves

Hygiene

  • Antibacterial wipes / Hand sanitizer
  • Bug repellent
  • Chapstick
  • Comb
  • Dental Floss
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine Supplies
  • Hair ties
  • Lotion
  • Razor
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Soap
  • Sun block
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste

Warmth and Shelter

  • Sleeping bag
  • Tent/shelter
  • Emergency reflective blanket
  • Hand and body warm packs

Light Sources

  • Candle
  • Light sticks
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries for flashlight
  • Solar or Crank Flashlight (I like to have two types of flashlights just in case)
  • Windproof/waterproof matches
  • Flint

Tools/Camping Equipment

Communications

  • Radio
  • Batteries for radio
  • Whistle with neck cord
  • Maps: Remember, if you are using this kit, you probably won’t have access to the internet. Having some maps could be really helpful.

Paper and Money

  • $20, incl. quarters
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Copy of marriage license
  • Copy of will
  • Copy of insurance forms
  • Credit card information
  • Car title
  • Car insurance
  • Contact Numbers, list of church members

Entertainment

  • Card Game
  • Scriptures
  • Paper pad
  • Pen
  • Permanent Marker
  • Pencil
  • Book – Pick an old family favorite!

 

Our Child Kits

This list can vary widely depending on how old your kids are. I find that most my efforts are spent on keeping their kits relevant since things are constantly changing.  Thank goodness we are well past the diaper phase! I try to make these kits a lot more basic so that they aren’t as heavy. But I like to keep what each child needs with that child. That way if we have to split up, we can be sure they at least have the basics with them.

  • 3 Breakfast MREs
  • 3 Dinner MREs
  • 3 Lunch MREs
  • 70 oz water
  • All in one Soap/Shampoo
  • Aquaphor
  • Bibs – If you have a baby, having a few disposable bibs can help save in laundry later
  • Blanket
  • Bug Repellant
  • Comb
  • Cup they know how to drink out of – I figure I didn’t want to use an emergency situation to teach my toddler how to drink out of a cup. If they are used to sippy cups or bottles, then pack one.
  • Diaper Rash Cream
  • Diapers – I used to throw in some disposable, but also some cloth ones just in case. That way if I run out, I have options.
  • Formula
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Hair Ties
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Infant Motrin
  • Lotion
  • Pacifier
  • Pants
  • Poncho
  • Snacks
  • Soap
  • Socks
  • Spoon
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Sun Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Sweat shirt
  • T-Shirt
  • Thermals
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Underwear
  • Warm Hat
  • Wet Wipes

Car Emergency Preparedness Kit

These kits are designed to be small, but helpful when on the road. I also focus more on keeping things that aren’t as perishable. For example, instead of MREs, I keep 3,600 Calorie Energy Bars in my car kit. These are the kits that I actually use the most since we frequently are away from home and realize we need something. So I have to be more careful about replacing anything we might use.

Food

  • 3-5 gallons of drinking water – I use bottles of water and rotate them out very frequently.
  • 3,600 Energy Bar —-> PROVIDE A LINK!!!
  • Napkins and wet wipes

Clothes

  • Poncho
  • Work gloves
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Socks
  • Sewing kit

First Aid

  • Ace bandage
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic towels
  • Band-Aids
  • Bandages
  • Burn Free
  • First aid instructions
  • Pain Killer
  • Imodium
  • Pepto
  • Roll of gauze
  • Safety pins
  • Sting relief pads
  • Swiss army knife
  • Vinyl gloves

Hygiene

  • Chapstick
  • Hair ties
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Soap
  • Toilet paper

Warmth and Shelter

  • Emergency reflective blanket
  • Hand Warmers
  • Blanket

Light Sources

Tools/Camping Equipment

Communications

  • Contact Numbers, church phone book
  • Maps

Entertainment

  • Scriptures
  • Paper pad
  • Pen and sharpie

 

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