72-Hour Survival Kit List (Build Your Own)

72 hour survival kit list

Are You Prepared?

A great place to start is by getting 72-hour kits ready for you and your family. This is something that everyone can and should do.

If your budget is tight, prioritize the items, look for deals, and just get a little bit at a time. Do what you can! Anything is better than nothing.

I have been working on completing my 72-hour kits this month. I’m not a survival expert, but I do think it is important, I am learning more as I go, and I want to inspire others to do it too. Join me!

Emergency Survival Kit List

These supplies will come in handy during an emergency or an outage. You may need to survive on your own for a little while before help arrives. Be prepared by having your own food, water, and other supplies on hand to get through at least 72 hours.

Keep kits in your home and a basic kit in your vehicles too. You don’t want to get stranded in your car and have no supplies!

Each family or individual kit should be customized to meet specific needs and include important family documents. Take a look at the recommended supplies (or download the 72-hour kit list printable here)…

Basic Essentials

water bricks

  • Waterone gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation. (Water pouches, boxes, and bottled water can be great for this, but be sure to store in a cool, dark place and keep track of expiration dates. You can also include a water filter and a way to boil water. When storing water for long-term, I like to use high-quality containers and add some water preserver drops too.)

2 Hour Emergency Food Storage Kit - 72 Hour Survival Kit - 2 Person 72 Hour Kit my food storage

  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food(I prefer a shelf-life of at least 1 year. Food bars and some just-add-water meals are nice. Ready-to-eat canned foods, protein bars, cereal, dried fruits, crackers, peanut butter, granola can be good options too. Store food that your family will eat!)

Ambient Weather WR-112 Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM FM NOAA Weather Radio, Flashlight, Smart Phone Charger with Weather Alert, Siren

wind-up flashlight set mitaki japan

AAA 121-Piece Road Trip First Aid Kit

UST Marine Hear Me Whistle 2-Pack, Yellow

huggies snug and dry diapers jumbo pack size 3

wet ones wipes

3M 8511 Particulate N95 Respirator with Valve, 10-Pack

  • Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air. (N95 masks or higher are recommended.)

TRM Manufacturing 61025C Weatherall Visqueen Plastic Sheeting, Drop Cloth 10' Wide x 25' Length x 6.0 mil Thickness, Clear

  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place. (Use to create a smaller space for warmth, to quarantine, shelter, and more.)

4 in 1 Emergency Tool

EZ-DUZ-IT Deluxe Can Opener with Black Grips

  • Can opener for food, if kit contains canned food. (If you have a lot of cans in your food storage as I do, you might want TWO heavy duty can openers – one as a backup!)

rand mcnally 2015 road atlas large scale

Portable Solar Charger- 5W BLKBOX Portable Folding Solar Kit Solar Charges, iPhones, Android Phones, GoPros or Anything with a USB Connection

Clothing and Bedding

If you live in a cold weather climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that the power will be out and you will not have heat. You will want to include one complete change of warm clothing and shoes per person:

72-hour kit clothing and bedding supplies

The items do not need to be fancy. Get them from a second-hand store if you want to!

As a family with growing children, I think it is a great idea to get the clothing for the kids one or two sizes up and keep it in their 72-hour kit until Christmas. Then give them the clothing from the 72-hour kit as a gift and replenish the kit with the next size up. Great way to keep your 72-hour kit clothing up-to-date!

Additional Supplies

72-hour kit list

  • Emergency reference materials, such as a first aid book or a print out of the information on www.ready.gov. (Many first aid kits come with a reference pamphlet too.)
  • Rain gear (I have a few emergency ponchos in my kit because they are compact and easy to store.)
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • Cash (in small bills) or traveler’s checks, change
  • Paper towels
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Tent (Emergency tube tents are very basic but also lightweight and compact.)
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container (I also like to keep some InstaFire in the kits. Cool stuff.)
  • Signal flare (One of my kits came with some industrial glow sticks, which I believe are for this purpose.)
  • Paper, pencil
  • Personal hygiene items including feminine supplies (For a reusable and compact solution, you might consider something like the DivaCup.)
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach – You can use bleach as a disinfectant (diluted nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency, you can also use it to treat water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Entertainment – small games, toys, coloring supplies, etc.
  • Pet food and supplies, if needed
  • Medicine dropper
  • Important Family Documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container

There are many more items that you may want to keep in your personal kit, just keep shelf life and portability in mind.


Pack the items in resealable plastic bags to help keep them waterproof. Then keep your 72-hour kits in a designated area inside portable containers, such as large buckets, backpacks, bins, or sturdy bags.

Maintain them by checking expiration dates and contents semi-annually or annually. (I keep a little list of the items that expire and the dates on a note on the outside of my bag so I can check it easily.)

Want to build your 72-hour survival kit even faster?

You can buy pre-packaged 72-hour kits! There are lots and lots of options which contain many of the recommended items and they are available in a wide price range too. You may only need to add a few more things to complete it for your family.

Consider what you already have and price out individual items to be sure it is a good value for you. Here are some places to find pre-done kits:

Update and Maintain

If you are all prepared, way to go! Keep maintaining, adding to your food storage, and updating as needed. It’s just as important to maintain your kit as it is to build it.

Preparedness supplies can honestly make great gifts too! It’s a gift that could save someones life one day! Peace of mind and security are valuable, indeed.

The recommended 72-hour kit checklist is from www.Ready.gov.

Emergency survival kit list


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