It’s recommended that each person has 72 hours worth of provisions prepared in case of an emergency. Before you have to leave your home in the event of an emergency, you’ll need to know How To Build A 72 Hour Go Bag.
What Is A 72 Hour Go Bag?
This 72 hour go bag has all the essentials necessary to get you to your destination. Including the most basic needs…Shelter, food, water & clothes. Having these provisions in one bag will be crucial in getting out of dodge much faster than trying to gather everything you need in a moment’s notice.
Before you gather all these supplies, you’ll need to figure out if you will be using a bag you already own or buy a new one. I’ve bought a couple in the past several years. So I’ll show you what I like about them, and share what I don’t…
The bag you choose should be big enough to carry all of your provisions…A child’s bag should be child-sized and not weighed down too much…You’ll want to choose a durable bag, one that will last. Let’s go over some of the key details to look for in a good 72 hour bag…
Choosing A Bag For A 72 Hour Go Bag
Here are a few things to consider before choosing a 72 Hour Go Bag or Pack
- Cost – When I first started building go bags or bug out bags, I didn’t have the budget for it. That’s when I wrote the frugal bug out bag list. Over the years I’ve been able to replace poor quality items with better quality items!
- Durability – When picking a 72 hour go bag, you want something that is made to last. It at the very least needs to get you to your destination.
- Molle System – If you don’t know what this is, I’ll be showing an example below…The Molle system allows you to add gear or extra pockets to your pack. This isn’t essential but it’s is a very nice option.
- Size – It’s very important that you pick the right size pack. You want to pick a pack that is at least 45L (The bag I like is bigger than this). Some people will need a bigger pack. Those with small children will need to carry some of their supplies…
- Comfort – Straps and backside should be well padded. Breathable material on the backside is an extra bonus!
What We Started With…
When I first began prepping, I bought a giant hiking bag. It’s admittedly a little large. I’m not even sure how hikers carry those giant things. i suppose you get used to them. Anyhow, we bought a bag from Teton Sports. This bag was going to be the “big bag” dad and I would take turns carrying…
However, for everyone else, I just put their items in regular backpacks, since I couldn’t afford to get everyone a bag, just yet…
As we’ve gotten older and we have more aches and pains now more than ever, I thought it was time to have a smaller “big bag”. So I started shopping around.
What I Went With
I really like this Tactical Backpack by CVLIFE with a molle system, so I took a chance and bought it…I wound up loving them and bought a couple more. Although, they are a little too big for younger boys or even teenagers with small waists…I do think they will grow into them very quickly.
I love that it comes ready with three detachable pockets. These are perfect for storing fire-starting stuff, first aid, and bathroom gear in…
What pack Will You Choose?
Do you have a backpack that you like? Share it with us, in the comments below, tell us what you are using.
What To Pack In A 72 Hour Go Bag
Besides the most important needs, there are many other necessary items you should pack! Items such as, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, knife, multi-tool, firestarter, and more. Please remember to pack any medication that you take.
I’ve included a few food options but there are a few items you could make yourself like Pemmican or hard tack. You can also check out my many food lists for destination food supplies, like Foods to Hoard, or Storing Food For Survival…
I’m going to link to my free checklist, but first I want to present the list to you…
Shop This List Directly On Amazon!
I’ve made it super easy to build your Bug Out Bag. Just go straight to Amazon and add what you need to your cart! This is a great way to make a priority list and stay within your budget excluding unneeded items.
*** CHOOSE YOUR BAG ***
Choosing a bag is very important. You want a bag that is comfortable to wear. One that is big enough for supplies, but not too big.
Here are a few bags to keep in mind...
The bag we choose! | Military Tactical Backpack
We have a couple of these packs and they are great bags. My only complaint is that the waist straps are made for a bigger person. So they won't fit around super skinny people or like my teenagers skinny waists.
- 50 L Pack
- Made with water-resistance material
- Molle System - complete with three removable molle packs
- Tons of pockets
- Hydration pack compatible
- Covered zippers - helps deter thieves and water
First Tactical Specialist 3-Day Backpack
This backpack is somewhat similar to the pack I choose but a little bigger. It is large, with a molle system, many pockets and hooks to hang gear on...
Stocked Bug Out Bag
Instead of buying an empty bag, you could buy one that's already filled with supplies. I haven't done this, but here's a stocked bug out bag to check out!
Contains a small 42 L backpack with a molle system, 100 pcs first aid kit, hydration pack, tactical shovel, credit card multi-tool, wire saw, multi-tool, compass fire starter, flashlight, glow sticks, paracord, poncho, and thermal blanket.
This is a great starter pack if you're looking for a smaller bag. It's missing water filtration, cooking, fishing, and hunting means. I would also add a lighter or 2.
A backpack cover can help protect the contents from the rain. You can also buy a dry bag to get important items protected.
Compression Packing Cubes
These compression sacks are a great way to organize your gear.
- Machine washable
These dry bags are big enough to fit 65 liters. You could stuff your entire bug out bag in this dry bag to keep everything safe and dry. It's also great to use if you have to cross a small body of water.
*** SURVIVAL TOOLS ***
Tools are important for survival but they can also be somewhat heavy. Choose only the tools that are necessary for your survival.
These pocket saws are great for cutting small trees or branches.
Swiss Army Knife
These knives are still some of the best. They have excellent quality and many functions...
I've owned this machete for a few years now, and it's still a good blade. Here are some of the features...
Find your way with a military style compass.
- Shockproof, damage-resistant design.
- Constructed with a powder-coated, military grade, aluminum frame for optimal endurance.
- Phosphorescent pigment for low light navigation.
- Waterproof to considerable depths. Sand proof for extra durability.
- Accuracy +/- 40 mils.
- Performs flawlessly in temperatures ranging from -50° F to 150° F.
- Uncompromised by temperature changes due to its non-liquid filled needle housing.
- Uses a copper induction-damping ring that slows, settles and steadies the compass needle quickly.
- Proudly made with the highest quality in the U.S.A.
A pocket knife is really important. There are a few brands that I really like. Here's one they make for survival.
It also has...
1/4-in hex drive, 2 flathead bits, 2 crosshead bits, liner lock, pocket clip and manual opening with thumb stud
A favorite blade among many woodsmen. This bowie knife comes with a firestarter, sharpener, nylon sheath and an improved edge retention and rust resistance.
Folding Hand Saw
Having a good all around saw is important.
This folding saw can be used to cut both green and dry wood, as well as plastic and bones.
Compact Knife Sharpener
Don't forget to put a knife sharpener in your bug out bag. This one is great for a variety of blade types.
Military Can Openers
These are tiny can openers that are perfect for survival! They are lightweight, compact, and effective.
They are also pretty inexpensive.
Paracord has many different uses in a survival situation, you can even buy survival paracord that contains fishing lines, snare wire, and tinder cord. (This is the brand I like for that)
Another favorite brand for paracord (is this one) I like it because it's good quality cord and comes in so many different colors. Which is cool for making bracelets, keychains, etc...
Travel Sewing Kit
THE PERFECT SEWING KIT - A sewing kit which contains only the most essential and best sewing notions (sewing tools) and that too in an easy to organize kit - to let you find anything that you need in a blink. Being a pro at quick fixes like replacing the button, repairing the seam of your shirt or mending the ripped hemline was never easier. So, be more self-sufficient and take care of small repairs yourself.
*** LET THERE BE LIGHT ***
There are several types of lighting choices. Everything from flashlights, headlamps, to solar lanterns.
Headlamps are a good option, they are fairly inexpensive and usually pretty lightweight.
Solar Power Weather Radio
Some weather radios have flashlights too. LIke this solar powered weather radio. It has multiple functions...
Multipurpose Solar Flashlight
I'm not sure if they have improved these solar flashlights at all, but we had similar flashlights years ago and they didn't work all that well and then one day they stopped working...I do like that this one is multi-functional and can be charge by USB too...
Streamlight LED PenLight
I love this brand. I have one of these penlights. I keep one on my bug out bag at all times. It's great for using for small jobs, like unlocking a door.
- Take 2 AAA batteries
- 100 lumens
- Small - about the size of a pen
- Pen clip attaches easily to gear
This is a small streamlight. It's bigger and brighter than the penlight, but still compact enough to go on your belt or bag!
- 500 lumens
- Pen clip attaches easily onto gear
- USB rechargeable
Collapsible Solar Lantern
These solar lanterns really aren't necessary. However, if you have to use the bathroom at night it might give you a small piece of mind.
- 50-75 lumens
*** FOOD ***
Remember that you want, nutritiously dense food. Even better if you can buy lightweight food that doesn't weigh your pack down. Choose wisely.
Mountain House Meals
Mountain House meals are great because they taste pretty good and are very lightweight!
S.O.S. Rations Emergency
There are pros and cons to choosing emergency rations like these...
- Tasty coconut flavor
- US Coast Guard approved for 5-year shelf life under all climatic conditions
- 9 delicious bars providing 410 calories per bar totaling over 3600 calories per package
- Expensive: 3 bars per person per day.
- Not individually packaged
MREs - Meal, Ready-To-Eat
MREs are fairly expensive but has everything a person needs to have a warm meal.
*** WATER ***
Here are some choices that you have for filtering and carrying water for an emergency.
Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets
Aquatabs are effervescent tablets that kill microorganisms in water to prevent Cholera, Typhoid, Dysentery, and other waterborne diseases. This 250 pack treats up to 500 quarts of water. This product is recommended for disinfecting raw or pre-treated water. The source of water to be treated may be collected rain, rivers, lakes, wells, cisterns, or similar sources.
Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets
Germicidal Tablets make water bacteriologically suitable to drink, and PA Plus tablets to neutralize the after-taste and color in the water.
It only takes two germicidal water purification tablets and two PA plus tablets to disinfect one quart (one liter) of water. These portable water treatment tablets are effective against bacteria and Giardia lamblia.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Award-winning LifeStraw water filter is a must-carry tool for hiking, camping, travel, and emergencies; no disaster kit is complete without it
- Filters up to 1,000 gallons (4,000 liters) of contaminated water without iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals; does not require batteries and has no moving parts
- Removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, and filters to 0.2 microns; surpasses EPA filter standards
I have one of these hydration bladders. I use it in my hiking bag. It works very well. It's nice to be able to distribute the weight of the water.
*** SLEEPING & SHELTER ***
Come prepared to build a shelter. Nature provides many of the material we need to build shelters, however, bringing along a few items may help may the job a little easier.
Emergency Sleeping Bag
These mylar sleeping bags are lightweight and don't take up too much space. These are good to pack if you live in a colder climate.
Compression Sleeping Bag
I like compression sleeping bags because you can squeeze them into a small size.
Waterproof Portable Tarp
This portable tarp can help you stay dry in the wet seasons. It comes with tie down and stakes too...
*** Cooking/Eating ***
While you're building your bug out bag one of the things you need to think about is how you'll boil water, and cook food. There are plenty of options. Choose wisely.
Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven
These portable solar ovens are lightweight and allow you to have an oven everywhere you go!
I have a solo stove and I LOVE IT. I've used it after a hurricane. It works well. It's easy to grab some sticks, get a small fire going, and boil some water. And DANG, if it isn't nice to have a cup of joe during a disaster!
Multi-fuel: Can use twigs, leaves, pinecones, and wood as fuel. Eliminates the need to carry heavy, polluting, and expensive canister fuels.
Boils water in 2-4 minutes.
Stainless Steel Cup
If you want to skip hauling around the heavy stove parts, just pack a stainless steel cup. This cup can go right on the fire. It has handy foldable handles. It's one of the less expensive ways to boil water, and cook food.
Canteen Cookware Set
Canteens are nice to have. This one is a canteen and a stove. Which is pretty neat.
Made of food-grade stainless steel
Includes: Canteen, cup, vented lid, stove, molle pouch with shoulder strap
Camping Cookware Mess Kit
This is a full cookware kit that is completely compact and fairly lightweight.
- Includes: Bowls, plates, spoons, pans, ladle, kettle, and sponge
- Compact and lightweight
- Heat-resistant collapsible handles
- Bowls and plates are BPA free
*** Fire Starters ***
Fire means food in your belly, warmth for your body, and a boost for morale during tough times. I like to have multiple means of fire-making. Flint and steel and a couple of lighters. They are both lightweight, and don't take up much room so why not?
Flint and Steel Fire Starter Kit
This is a nice fire starter kit, it comes with a paracord bracelet too.
Magnesium Flint Fire Starter
This magnesium fire starting kit also comes with a nice paracord bracelet.
- 3 pack
- Bonus paracord bracelet
- Work in many weather conditions
My opinion on these endless matches is if you have to carry fuel for a lighter, you might as well carry a zippo.
However, if you're on a budget and need to buy several lighter, this could be a good option or you could just buy a pack of BICs.
Zippo All-In-One Kit
Everything you need to keep your zippo lighting up!
BIC Classic Lighters
If you're going to buy a traditional lighter (I certainly do!) Don't buy cheap lighters. Get a good brand name like BIC. They are much more reliable than cheap brands!
*** First Aid ***
A must-have for your bugging out kit. It can be difficult to get everything you need in a first aid kit. You may have to buy a few extra supplies here and there.
First Aid Survival Kit 302 Pieces
This first aid kit has way more than just first aid! It also has a flashlight, poncho, whistle, snares, carabiner, compass, paracord bracelet, pocket knife, fire starter, and a multi-tool. Not to mention it also comes with a molle pack!275 Pcs First Aid Supplies
- 1x Metal Medical Scissors, 1x Plastic 10x Safety, 1x Blue Tourniquet, 70x Adhesive
- 25x Mini Bandages, 10x Knuckle, 10x Cleansing Wipes, 20x Alcohol Prep
- 20x Antiseptic Cleansing, 100x Cotton Sticks, 1x Triangulaire, 1x Non-Woven Surgical
- 1x Disposable CPR Mask, 2x PBT Bandage, 2x Disposable PVC Gloves
Suture Practice Kit
Do you know how to sew someone up? I have a practice suture kit, and yes I'm actually practicing with it. I'm getting better despite the fact that I'm a lefty in a righty's world!
This is the exact kit that I bought and the tools that came with it are top-notch. They are perfect for placing in a bug out bag once you've mastered the technique.
Survival First Aid Kit
I like these organized first aid kits because in a real medical emergency you need to find stuff fast.This kit includes:
- 50 Adhesive dressings, 1 Pencil, 1 Notepad, 1 Rust Resistant forceps with tip guard
- 3 Fever scan strip, 10 Disposable splinter probes
- 1 Survival First Aid Booklet, 1 Bandage shears, 10 Skin cleaning wipes
- 1 Combine dressing, 3 Conforming cotton bandage, 3 Conforming cotton bandage
- 15 Cotton gauze swabs, sterile, 1 CPR card, 1 Emergency foil blanket, 4 Eye pads
- 5 Hydrogel, 1 Hypoallergenic adhesive tape, 1 Ice pack, 5 Nitrile gloves large
- 6 Non-adherent wound dressing, 3 Non-adherent wound dressing, 1 Non-adherent wound dressing, 3 Plastic bags, 1 Pressure bandage, crepe, heavyweight
- 1 SMART snake bandage, 1 Resuscitation face mask, 6 Safety pins
- 8 Saline, 1 Triangular bandage, 3 Wound closures, 1 Wound dressing
Medic First Responder EMT/EMS Bag Stocked Trauma Kit
This is a serious emergency responder kit. I can't imagine someone bugging out with all of these supplies.
However, it would be good for destination supplies 😉
Don't forget to throw in your prescription medication along with any leaflets that go with it. This may help you find what you are looking for in a pharmacy later down the road...If it gets to that 😉
*** Hygiene ***
Please don't forget hygiene when you're on the go! The last thing you want is a rash, infection, or other because you didn't keep yourself clean.
These compressed towels have plenty of uses, and they are small, reusable, lightweight, and compact!
Coghlan's Packable Camp Toilet Tissue
This tissue is special it is biodegradable...It degrades more quickly than normal tissue. These are corless rolls so they take up much less space and weigh less too...
Travel Charcoal Toothbrush
I like these travel toothbrushes because they are small and foldable. They fit easily into a B.O.B
ToothBrush & Toothpaste 12pk
If you need a whole bunch of toothbrushes for the family, here's a set of 12 that comes with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Don't forget your deodorant. A travel size should be good. You will most likely do a lot of sweating on the trail!
Grab some travel-size lotion. Whatever kind you like. I like this stuff.
Not only applicable to women for their menstrual cycle but can also be used for first aid.
I buy the non-applicator tampons for the bug out bags so there is less trace of my presence on the trail. Less waste...less trace.
For women there's really no way to carry enough menstrual products to cover them for long periods of time.
The best way to proactively prepare to survive is to have something that is reusable, like a menstrual cup...
Keep your teeth clean plus dental floss can be used in several other ways. Like tying up gear or as fishing line in a pinch.
Reusable Towel Washcloths
When you get to a destination, these washcloths may come in handy. Those compression towel can only last for so long until they have to be thrown away. However, these can be washed and reused.
Pocket Body Wash
I haven't ever used this pocket body wash. So I have no idea if it's any good or not. However, it's small, compact and seems like a good idea.
Hand sanitizer can be used in many situation to clean your hands of germs. It does not however, clean has of dirt, grim, or oil.
*** CLOTHES ***
Weather is a huge determinate for the kind of clothes you need to pack. If you live in cold weather or your destination is in cold weather you need to pack for cold weather.
Warmer weather calls for lighter clothing to combat the heat.
Women's Pants - LIghtweight
These women's pants are great for warmer weather, they are lightweight and dry quickly...
Men's Pants - Lightweight
These men's pants are also great for warmer weather. They are lightweight and dry quickly.
Men or Women's Fleece Pants
These fleece pants can fit men or women and are great for colder weather.
Kid's Waterproof Pants - Lightweight
These kid's pants are great for warmer weather...They are lightweight and dry quickly.
Girls or Boys Fleece Lined Pants
These fleece-lined pants for kids are perfect for colder weather.
This women's jacket is 80% duck down and should be very warm!
This men's jacket is 90% duck down and perfect for colder weather.
This waterproof boy's jacket is great for cool weather.
Keep those toes warm with these super-wool socks!
Don't forget to pack your underwear. Pack a few pair!
*** MISCELLANEOUS SUPPLIES ***There's plenty of odds and ends to place in your bag!
There's plenty of odds and ends to place in your bag!
StarFlash Micro Signal Mirror
I bought these emergency whistles. They are pretty loud. I kinda thought they'd be louder though...
Solar Power Bank
This solar power bank has great reviews, however, in my research, these solar power banks have similar issues as the solar flashlights do. It seems that the awesome technology that we've adapted just hasn't been placed into these things.
I'd love to find one that actually will take a charge via the sun and actually charge a cell phone!
With that said, it's worth a try. Having a power bank would be amazing in a survival situation. You could charge flashlights, cell phones, and other necessities.
Hoyle Waterproof Clear Playing Cards
Don't forget about entertainment like a deck of cards! It's important for morale!
Homemade Lip Balm Recipe
Chapstick is nice to have. I make my own so that's a link to the recipe. All you have to do is melt wax and oil to make it and put it in tubes. Seriously, easy stuff!
Hair ties are great for hair but they could be used in many ways.
Whether you like to write or need to write, these tiny notepads are perfect. They are lightweight and compact.
Add a pencil and pen and you'll be ready to write.
Super Silly Mad Libs Junior
There may not be many good times while surviving. Mad Libs may give you a chance to have a little laugh now and then.
These are always good morale boosters! Plus, they are lightweight.
This one is specifically for kids. They also make ones just for adults 😉
Portable Coffee Filter
Have pour over coffee right on the trail...Or tea!
Free Bug Out Bag Checklist
Totally free no sign up required! Just a checklist for you to get prepared!
Stop by in the comments and let me know if I missed anything!
I’d love To Know what you think!… Leave me a comment!
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