by S. Easton

August 30, 2021

Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, freezing weather, searing heat, drought, wildfires, tsunamis and tornadoes are just a few of Mother Natures’ tantrums of destruction. We cannot stop weather forces, but we can prepare for these events – before they happen. Most natural disasters happen without warning, giving us little or no time to prepare or even think of anything other than getting to safety. That’s why it’s imperative to prepare now, when there is no threat. With a clear head and time to plan and ponder the right moves and supplies, you’ll be ready for anything that may come your way.

Evacuation or Sheltering in Place?

Each family has different and specific needs. No two families will prepare exactly alike, but there are some basic supplies and gear which every family should have. There are two major emergency actions to consider. Will you be ‘sheltering in place’ or will you need to evacuate your home and move to safety? You won’t know what will happen until the dreaded event occurs (and we hope it never does) but be prepared to execute both scenarios. Remember the motto: “The first 72 are up to you.” In other words, plan for 72 hours of total independence for you and your family before you can count on emergency services.

How Many Days Should a Bug Out Bag Last?

In case of evacuation, each member of your family should have their own survival kit, bug out bag, or 72 Hour Kit. No matter what you call it, putting together an emergency preparedness kit can be confusing, time consuming and costly. BUT… it doesn’t have to be. Once put together, a 72 hour kit is easy to maintain and a great source of peace of mind. A 72-Hour Kit should sustain life for a minimum of 72 hours or 3 days. Longer is obviously better. The main features of a 72 hour kit should be: Portability, Accessibility, Durability and Practicality. We suggest that to keep your equipment and supplies in fresh and tip-top shape, you rotate the supplies every 6 months. Here are some tips to begin bringing together your plan and supplies.

What Are The Most Needed Survival Items?

We can survive 3 weeks without food – but only 3 days without water, so it’s obvious that water is your #1 priority when starting your kit. Whether you’re dealing with a natural disaster, political upheaval, a pandemic, or something else, first and foremost you always need to make sure you have a way to source clean, purified water for yourself and your loved ones. After that, easy to manage food supplies, first aid and a way to keep warm are all top survival gear options.

What Are the Best Water Filters to put into a 72 Hour Kit?

Sagan Life® has some great options to meet all your water needs, for as long as it takes. You might be without city or well water for several weeks, especially if there is no power. Water is our business and we take our business seriously. Sagan Life® has a number of options which offer purified, clean drinking water and need no electricity or batteries to successfully operate. One, if not all of these options, should be your first purchase for your 72 hour ‘bug-out” bag.

Portable water filter for evacuation#1. The Sagan Life® AquaBrick Water Purification System purifies ANY non salt water source. It purifies up to 700 gallons of contaminated water. Filter those murky flood waters or even your swimming pool water through the AquaBrick® system and be assured of removing 99.9999% bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli;99.99% of parasites and protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium, and 99.99% of viruses. The portable water filter system includes the AquaBrick® container, which holds 3 gallons of water, the DuraFlo water purification filter, 1 hand pump, 1 spigot, tubing and cap. The AquaBrick® System can easily be stowed in a car trunk, so you’re always ready, if you need to evacuate. Using it at home, everyday, on your kitchen counter, assures you have pure, safe drinking and cooking water 24/7 and it’ll always be ‘at the ready’, emergency or not.

#2. The 2nd item to include in your emergency prep kit is the Journey™ Purifier Filter Bottle. It will filter all the nasty germs and toxins listed above from any non-salt water source and of course, each member of the family should have their own ‘on the go’ water bottle. The Journey™ Filter will successfully filter 250 gallons of contaminated water into clean, pure drinking water. The Journey™ bottle is also a great addition to your camping gear.

#3. The 3rd must have option is the XStream™ Straw Water Purifier filter drinking straw. It is a vital tool for any emergency kit or just any outdoor activity, when you need to be assured of safe, clean drinking water. So small and compact, you can pack it up and stuff it in your pocket, if need be. The straw is 2 feet long, with a 2 foot extension, so you can easily access any non-salt flowing river or creek, without having to do the “belly-flop”. It, too, will purify up to 250 gallons of contaminated water and remove the same elements of contamination listed above. A small but mighty piece of necessary emergency equipment. It also comes with a handy spray pump, which allows you to wash foods, dishes and hands – a great bonus feature.

#4. With the new UltraFlo Portable Water Filtration System, you can purify and pump out up to 30 gallons of water automatically, with no manpower required, all on a single battery charge. This is a great option for large groups as the UltraFlo was independent laboratory certified to purify up to 2,000 gallons meeting the EPA standard requirements for removing up to 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.99% of viruses, and 99.999% of cryptosporidium, depending on water turbidity.

What Foods Should I Pack in a 72 Hour Kit?

Food supplies are next on your list. Make sure you have packed MRE’s (meals ready to eat) and to name a few, canned fruits, canned meats and fish, pork and beans, soup, crackers, peanut butter, raisins, nuts, jerky, protein and granola bars etc. You get the idea. You want to pack high protein, ready-to-eat foods in unbreakable, watertight containers. (Don’t forget the can opener)

How Can I Cook Without Propane or Charcoal?

Kelly Kettle Complete Emergency KitIf you have to evacuate, it’s really helpful to have a way to heat and cook food. We highly suggest incorporating your water purification with the incomparable Kelly Kettle®. The Complete Emergency Kit includes includes the AquaBrick® Portable Water Purification System, with 2 AquaBrick® Water Storage Containers, one handy Spigot Cap and the Kelly Kettle® Base Camp Stainless Steel. The Base Camp kettle is the largest size Kelly Kettle and boils 54 ounces of water in just minutes. That’s about nine 6 ounce cups. The Kelly Kettle® needs no propane or store bought fuel, but uses all natural bio fuel. So by collecting a few twigs, leaves or pine cones, you’ve got your fuel to cook and boil water. The Kelly Kettle® is an imperative piece of emergency gear and by the way, it’s just great for camping, fishing, hunting or backpacking, too.

Other Emergency Items to Pack in a 72-Hour Kit

Each family member will need a supply of personal special needs items. By the way, it is recommended that each individual over the age of 10 years, have their own backpack. Items to include will be things like toothpaste and toothbrushes or denture needs; eyeglasses, contacts and solution, razor and blades; soap, toilet tissue, feminine hygiene products, prescription medication… don’t forget infants and pets. You’ll need diapers, formula and baby bottles for the wee ones and pet food, bowls and blankets or beds to keep your pets comfortable, too.

Suggested clothing should include socks, shoes, underwear, both short and long sleeved shirts and durable pants. A hooded sweatshirt, poncho, hat and warm jacket are necessary.

Emergency Equipment and Lighting Options

Emergency equipment and lighting comprise an extremely important part of your kit. Flashlights and battery operated lanterns are a must. Fresh extra batteries, light sticks and waterproof matches are important. A quality battery-powered radio will keep you in the loop. Things like a camp knife, whistle, eating utensils, paper plates and cups and when nature calls… a plastic bucket w/lid will have to suffice.

Where to Sleep?

In extreme emergencies, while it may be difficult, don’t underestimate the importance of sleep. The more well rested you are, the more clearly you can think and react to difficult situations. If need be take turns sleeping with other adults, but really try to catch some zzz’s. Pack a compact tent, sleeping bags or tarp so you can rig up some type of shelter. A second tarp is great to have to place on the ground… keeps the campsite dry. Bungee cords are handy additions to any emergency kit. They don’t take much space and don’t add weight, so add a few extras, you’ll use them. In case of injury, a first aid kit is vital. Start with a store bought kit and add things like sunscreen, ibuprofen, cleansing alcohol, antibiotic ointment and aspirin as you build up your bug-out bag.

A small watertight steel box (or better yet – the AquaBrick® Container is waterproof and easy to carry) is a great place to store things like passports, driver’s licenses, wills, insurance information, etc. Stash as much cash as you can in small bills and coins and keep an inventory of valuable household items. If you have no electricity, a phone charger won’t do you much good, but keep a charger in your car so your cell phone can be charged at all times. Your next step would be investing in a solar phone charger.

We haven’t meant to leave your head spinning, but as you slowly add one item, then the next, and the next, you will have built a serviceable, well equipped emergency kit and will feel that peace of mind, knowing that IF need be, you are prepared. What a great feeling that is.

We suggest you take your finished kit on a ‘test’ camp out. You’ll quickly find out what you need, what you’ve forgotten and what you don’t need. Spend a night in the backyard and give your 72 hour emergency kit a ‘test drive’. But, in this case, instead of it being an emergency, make it a fun outing for the family and don’t forget to make S’Mores.