72 Hour Kits for Your Car and Work

72 Hour Kits for your car
family in the mountains by car

Last post I shared how my family ended up with our 72-hour kit and a list of what is in it.

When my wife and I finished putting together our family’s 72-hour kit I asked her where we would keep it. She decided that the best place would be our son’s closet and I did not object. It is probably the best place in our home. So that is where it went.

A few weeks ago I heard about someone who was driving this last winter and whose car broke down. This last winter was unusually cold, so cold that a few times they canceled the public schools here because the heating systems could not keep the buildings warm.

I imagined what I would do if my car broke down, especially during bad weather in the middle of nowhere. I realized that my 72-hour kit safely tucked away in the boys’ closet would not do my family any good in that situation. And what if for some reason I were stranded at work and could not get home? What then?

To solve the car concern we put together a “lite” version of our 72-hour kit that contained the essentials but not nearly as many of the amenities that our full 72-hour kit has. The “lite” 72-hour kit we keep in the car (we only have one so we keep it there but if we had two or more cars we would have one in each car).

To put it together we started with our full 72-hour kit contents list and took off the things that we thought we could get along without if pressed and stranded in our car. Things like markers, crayons, coloring books, and games came off. Matches and blankets stayed on though.

Because I work about three minutes walking from our home we do not feel like it is really necessary to have a 72 hour kit there for me, however, I am also responsible for the well-being of my team at work and so my wife and I put together a little kit that I keep at the office anyway just in case one of them need it.

Like with the car kit we pared down our full kit to include only the things that I would need if I were stranded at my office. Pens, paper, garbage bags, and a first aid kit were dropped because those are available in abundance at the office. Blankets, food, and some personal hygiene items made the cut.

If you would like to see what is in our “lite” 72-hour kits you can view the list for our car kit here or for our office kit here. I welcome any questions you have so please send them to me. If you have advice and suggestions please leave a comment so that everyone can benefit from your wisdom and not just me.

By the way, all of the things in all three versions of our 72-hour kits can be purchased at Amazon.com. If you found this or other information on this site helpful please consider purchasing through this link. If you do, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. And you will receive my gratitude.

Preparedness Step 2: Survive Today


My family has a family communication plan. Preparedness step 1: locate your loved ones…CHECK!

So we’ve found each other. Great. And it really is great. But now what? Now we need to start surviving. How long do we need to survive? Well, at least today. And probably tomorrow. And, well, preferably every day after tomorrow too. But preparedness step two, survive today, will get us through today so that is the one we will focus on next. Once today is taken care of we can worry about tomorrow.

In the next series of posts I will discuss the basic elements required to survive today. We will talk about 72 hour kits, meeting short term food and water needs, shelter, and equipment and tools that are like gold in a natural disaster/weather type emergency.

I will have a couple of videos for you, a planning tool/checklist, several other resources where you can go into additional detail and learn more, and my personal examples of what I have done and am doing to prepare to survive today.

Today, however, we will start the discussion with water.

We should have on hand at least a gallon of water a day for drinking and hygiene, according to FEMA. We also, however, should make sure that this is a sufficient amount for our situation. In especially hot and humid climates, like Arizona or Florida, you may need to plan on more than a gallon of water a day. But for most people most of the time a gallon a day per person is a good rule of thumb.

If you suffered an emergency right now (well, as soon as you finish reading this), what would you do for water? Let’s say that you immediately hop in the car and head to the store, assuming it is open, and buy a couple of cases of bottled water because everyone else had the same idea and that is all that is left. Now you have about six gallons of water. There are four people living in your home so you have a day and a half of water.

Next, you get all of the water in your house together that you can. Melt the ice cubes in your freezer (I bet you didn’t think of that!). Drain the water from the pipes in your home. To do this, shut off the main water line into your home (in disaster situations often the public water system becomes contaminated and by shutting off the water to your home you prevent the contamination from entering, which is why one day I hope to own a home with its own well).

Then open the faucet that is the highest in your home. Go to the lowest and turn it on and all of the water in the pipes will flow out. Make sure you have a couple of buckets or some container to hold the water. The last thing you want is for the good water in your pipes to be lost to the sewer.

Another place to look is the water heater. Water heaters typically hold anywhere from 40 to 60 gallons. That will take care of your drinking needs for quite a while.

There you go, even if you were not prepared you can now survive today and a couple more days…at least as far as water is concerned.

Ideally, however, you would not need to run to the store as soon as the power went out and fight for the last case of water. Go and buy a couple of cases of water now.  Three or four will last most families a few days.

You can also store water in your own bottles ahead of time. If you would like to do this, Ready.gov provides some guidelines for storing water. I also found valuable this review on Ready.gov’s guidelines. I think you will too.

My Three Biggest Challenges with Storing Food: You’ll Relate to #3

For years my wife and I have been planning to acquire some food storage. We have a 72-hour kit and probably enough food in the house for a week, maybe a little bit longer, but any longer and we would be eating the dandelions in the front yard. And I am not a big fan of dandelion salads.

When we were first married we obtained a list from a friend that was supposed to be a guide map to putting together our food storage. We are shooting for a year’s supply of food and this little plan told us exactly how to do that. The coolest thing to us, being newlyweds and poor, was that it could be done on $5 a week.

After a few weeks we had several pounds of honey, about thirty cans of tomato soup, twenty pounds of sugar, and a bunch of uncooked pasta. There were a few other little things too but this was the bulk of it.

We paused one evening as we surveyed our budding supply of food and I asked Cami, “do you like tomato soup?” “Nope. Do you?” “No, I don’t” I said.

Then we started laughing. Here we had a couple dozen cans of tomato soup and neither of us even liked it. We reviewed the list and saw that in the coming week we were to purchase 50 pounds of wheat. Wheat? What do you do with wheat? Where do you even buy it? We couldn’t recall ever seeing it as Walmart.

It was then that we stopped putting together our food storage. Of all things, we were foiled by wheat.

Shortly thereafter I realized that I had three problems with the way everyone else seemed to be telling me how to put together a long-term supply of food.

  1. Money. I don’t want to spend a gazillion dollars on food I may never eat.
  2. Too complex It shouldn’t be so complicated. I don’t know what kinds of wheat are out there, where to buy good wheat, or what to do with it.
  3. Can I eat it? Again, what do I do with wheat? Or why buy tomato soup? How do I make food with ingredients I don’t normally use and what do I make?

Putting together a long-term supply of food is pretty simple. Just buy a bunch of Twinkies, they last forever. But the problem that I keep running into is what to do with it. The lists that I get from friends and find online are designed for other people and other families, not for mine. And I don’t have the time to spend on figuring out what foods to store and which foods we eat and how to cook things we’ll eat with the food we store. It’s too complicated.

This is why I recommend that you start small. First, prepare to survive today. Put together your 72-hour kit and several additional days of food and water. It can be almost anything really. Any food is better than no food. However, high energy foods are especially good in an emergency because we often are required to burn a lot of energy to stay alive.

After you have your week’s supply put together start working on a month. Look at the menus you have put together for your family for the last few weeks and their accompanying shopping lists. Identify which foods you eat regularly and buy enough to make that meal six or eight times. You know everyone will eat it and usually, those are simple and cheap meals as well.

With three or four of those meals picked out go to the store and buy what you need to make each meal seven or eight times. Bring that food home then use it when you would have made the meal anyway. When you use something put it on the list to purchase more. This is a natural way to rotate your stored food.

Putting together a short term food supply is literally that easy. For a few dollars and the time it takes to go on one shopping trip you have a month’s supply of food and a built in rotation system. Not too shabby.

Building a longer term supply does get a little bit more complicated but let’s not worry about that until your one month supply is put together.

As always, please ask me your questions by leaving a comment, finding me on Facebook, or sending me a tweet. I want to help.