72 Hour Kits for Adults- Everything You Need to Build Your Own

I’ve felt for a while that I needed to update my family’s emergency preparedness supplies. The first thing that was on my list to get completed were our 72 hour kits. When Utah recently had an earthquake, it made me realize that I needed to listen to my gut and get my emergency supplies in order quickly! I’m so relieved that I have these basic supplies put together now. 

How I made my own 72 hour kit. Are you prepared for an emergency? www.twistmepretty.com

Have you ever made a 72 hour kit? Do you know what is in one? I’ll be honest, there are so many lists and recommendations out there, that I was initially overwhelmed with what I should include in my 72 hour kits. Basically, a 72 hour kit is meant to keep you or your loved one alive for a period of 72 hours in the event of a major emergency or natural disaster. Traditionally, they are kept in a backpack or other small bag that you can pick up and carry on your person if you cannot drive a car. I plan to pull a wagon with a few extra items for myself and my 4 children along with carrying our backpacks full of our emergency supplies. This will allow me to carry extra water. 

Sorting Through the Recommendations

I turned to my Mom for advice for what to include in our 72 hour kits, and she was an invaluable resource as I sorted through all of the recommendations from the different emergency agencies. Here are a few websites that I used as reference for building our 72 hour kits:

Ready.gov– This is an official U.S. government website with lots of good information about emergency preparedness.

Red Cross Store– If you prefer to purchase a pre-made 72 hour kit, you can get one here from the American Red Cross.

To make things easier to follow, I broke up my list and separated out the different categories of items I packed. Most of the big items I purchased on Amazon, and the smaller things I purchased at Walmart or my local grocery store.  I’ve also linked all of the items I purchased on Amazon at the end of this post so you can use it as a reference! 

*Note– Some items were hard to find in the current pandemic situation that I am dealing with in April 2020, so if you are struggling to find a certain item, just do your best to make a substitution. Also, you should go through your 72 hour kits every 6-12 months and make sure everything is up to date and isn’t spoiled. If you want to know what I packed in my kids’ 72 hour kits, click HERE

Ok, let’s get down to business. 

72 Hour Kits for Adults:

For my backpack, I’m using a Nitro Pack that I had from a few years ago. It’s a nice large bag with a lot of pockets. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to fit my clothes, shoes, the flashlight, or the radio in my backpack. I will put those items in another bag and either carry it in my wagon, or sling it over my first bag. 


For my first aid supplies, I purchased a larger self-contained first aid kit online (linked below), and I’m also including a few other things in my first aid ziploc bag. 

  • First aid kit: bandages, antiseptic wipes, cleansing towelette, alcohol wipes, sin tac, after bite, hydrocortisone cream, sterile sponges, after burn gel, surgical tape, moleskin, thermometer, nitrile gloves, Neosporin, aspirin, acetaminophen, antacid, loperamide, tweezers, safety pins, small Swiss army knife
  • Rain poncho
  • Space Blanket
  • N95 Masks
  • Snaplight
  • Medicine: Emergen-C, Sudafed, Tums, Pepto-Bismol, Excedrin
  • Children’s Medicine: Tylenol, Benadryl and Pepto-Bismol for kids


For the items in this bag, I’m including survivalist items I will need to keep my family safe, prepare our food, and clear an area for shelter if needed. 

  • Waterproof matches
  • Lifeguard approved whistle
  • Head lamp/ flashlight and extra batteries
  • Fire starter
  • Duct tape
  • Garbage bags
  • Leather work gloves
  • Notebook and pencil
  • LifeStraw water filter
  • Survival candle
  • Screwdriver
  • Swiss army knife
  • Hazardous waste bags


For my personal hygiene ziploc bag in my 72 hour kit, I included items I’ll need to keep myself and my kids relatively clean and sanitary if we need to make our own bathroom facilities outside. 

  • Rubber gloves
  • Toilet paper
  • Kleenex
  • Wet wipes
  • Feminine wipes
  • Small trash bags
  • Insect repellent
  • Tampons/pads
  • Foldable shovel
  • Hand sanitizer


I know that the title of this bag might sound high-maintenance, but it’s really not. Everyone needs to feel semi-human no matter what the conditions are that they are dealing with. 

  • Brush
  • Hair elastics/bobby pins
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Vaseline
  • SPF
  • Lotion
  • Soap
  • Microfiber towel
  • Wet wipes


For the food, this is a matter of personal preference for everyone. Be sure to pack a mixture of protein and carbohydrates to keep you from getting hungry. It’s also important (especially for kids) to have a few treats in the food bags. To prep our food, I have waterproof matches and also a Jet Boil for cooking the oatmeal and hot chocolate. You will also want to check your food about every 6 months to make sure everything is still good and not expired.


  • Metal bowl with handle for cooking
  • Metal spoon and fork
  • Hard Candies
  • Beef Jerky
  • Apple Sauce Pouch 3x
  • Protein Bars 3x
  • Tuna Pouch 3x
  • Jif Peanut Butter To-Go 3x
  • Hot Chocolate packets 3x
  • Instant Oatmeal 3x
  • Breakfast Essentials- Meal Replacement 3x
  • 1 gallon of water


These extra items are things I’ve seen recommended on many sites. The am/fm radio is especially good to have in areas where you may have tornados or other natural disasters happening. I also love that I was able to find a solar powered charger and a rechargeable spotlight/lantern that can be charged with the solar charger.

Find out why I'm excited about these rechargeable electronics at www.twistmepretty.com

Also, it’s always a good idea to have cash on hand in case of an emergency. You may not be able to get to an ATM in an emergency situation, and the ATM’s and credit card machines will not necessarily be working if there is a power outage. I’m keeping a copy of my drivers license in my bag, too, so I don’t have to worry about where my wallet is when I’m trying to leave the house quickly. 

  • AM/FM Radio
  • Solar Charger
  • Rechargeable spotlight/lantern
  • Tube Tent
  • Water
  • Copy of House and Car Insurance (number to reach them and policy #s)
  • Copy of Drivers License
  • $100 in small bills


For clothing, keep in mind the weather where you live. If you live in a warmer climate, you will not necessarily need wool socks. But if you live where it gets colder, you will want them!

  • Wool socks
  • Jacket
  • Underwear
  • Shirt
  • Jogger pants
  • Running shoes


If you have a dog or cat that you will want to bring with you in an emergency, be sure to include supplies for them in your emergency 72 hour kits. You can even create them their own bag. 

  • Dog/cat food
  • Collapsible bowls for food/water
  • Leash
  • Hiking backpack for dogs (if you have a larger dog that can carry weight on their backs)


Supplies for 72 Hour Kits

  1. First Aid Kit- I’ll store this in my bag for all of us to use. 
  2. Solar Charger-I’m pretty excited about this item. It will charge my cell phone and spotlight flashlight so I don’t have to worry about finding a power source. 
  3. 72 hour Nitro Pack Survival Kit-This is the original 72 hr kit that I purchased years ago, and I’m still using this backpack for my kit now. 
  4. Hand Warmers-Make sure to follow the directions on these, they can burn you if you leave them on your skin for too long. But they are a necessity in cold climates like Utah where I live. 
  5. Hiking Backpack for Dogs- Don’t forget your pets! This backpack will allow me to pack a few things on my dog and also help him to stay safe. 
  6. Small Trash Bags-Can you ever have too many trash bags? They are a useful, multi-purpose item. 
  7. Glow Sticks-I am giving a few of these to each kid in their bags to help them be visible in the dark and to keep them from feeling scared. 
  8. Rechargeable Spotlight-This spotlight is great because it is super bright, and it also functions as a lantern. I love that I can re-charge it with my solar charger so I don’t have to worry about batteries or finding a power source. 
  9. Everest Backpack-I bought one of these for each of my children to use for their 72 hour kits. 
  10. Waterproof Matches-You can DIY waterproof matches, but it’s easier to just buy them.
  11. Whistles –I put a whistle on each kid’s backpack so we can find each other easily if we are separated. 
  12. Emergency Radio-This isn’t the exact radio I have, but this is a great one to use. It is a weather radio that you can charge or crank to power it. 
  13. LifeStraw- This is a personal water filter that can filter up to 1,000 gallons of water without chemicals. It’s a quick and easy way to get clean water!
  14. Sunscreen SPF 50- There’s nothing worse than a sunburn when you are already in distress. 
  15. Rain Ponchos- Rain ponchos are important in 72 hour kits because you never know what kind of weather you will be out in. 
  16. Head Lamps (batteries not included)- I purchased these head lamps for all of us because I think they will be easier to maneuver for the little ones and they are also smaller than flashlights. I’m storing the batteries outside of the head lamps for safety. 
  17. Thermal Blankets- These thermal blankets are great for keeping you warm without being too bulky. 
  18. 36 hr Survival Candle- This survival candle is long-burning so I don’t have to worry about it burning out quickly. 
  19. Travel Duct Tape- Duct tape is one of those things that is always handy to have with you. 
  20. Jet Boil- This will be so handy if we can’t build a fire. It will allow me to boil water and cook food quickly, easily, and without worrying about finding dry fuel on the ground. 
  21. Leather Work Gloves- These leather work gloves will protect my hands if I need to move anything heavy.



Be prepared with 72 hour kits!

I feel really strongly about the importance of being prepared in an emergency. I’m so relieved to have all of this ready to go. I’m keeping it in an easy to access spot in my home so I can quickly grab it and leave with my kids. I’ve also duplicated all of these supplies for my kids at their dad’s house in case they aren’t with me in an emergency.

I know that it may seem overwhelming to look at this huge list and try to sort our what you need for your family. It is an investment of time and money to get all of these items gathered and purchased. Do what you can now, and continue to build up your 72 hour kits as you can. The important thing is to be as prepared as you can possibly be for the emergencies that you may have to deal with. 

To get your own printable list of all of the supplies you need to build your own 72 hour kits for your family, just click the button below to get my printable list and as a bonus, I’ll send you printable ID tags for you and your kids to put in your backpacks!

My Emergency 72 Hour Kit. What you should pack in yours. www.twistmepretty.com
How to build your own 72 hour kits for adults. www.twistmepretty.com
72 hour kits- The Ultimate Guide www.twistmepretty.com




Abby Smith

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