Make a 72-Hour Kit in 12 Steps: Step 6 – Food

This past April our family updated our 72-hour kit food pack supplies. Because I’ve written before about the importance of having the right amount of calories for each person, as I went shopping for food items I knew I wanted to do this again. But this time I made sure the shelf life of most items would be at least a year so we would not have to change so often.

My old post had some items that did NOT last a year, and I don’t recommend you do that. Foods like Pop Tarts or crackers DO NOT last very long. But about a 1 year shelf life is a good idea because most of us update our supplies every 2 or 3 years.☺ We are not an MRE family yet, so it took me some time to figure out what would work. However, there are some great MRE bars out there with a longer shelf life.

I like to shop at Sam’s Club for my items, because I get it done in one place. Costco or another warehouse store would work just fine. Buying in bulk saves you money when you are shopping for a large family. However, you could probably do something similar at another store if you have a smaller family.

Step 6 – Food
Here are a few suggestions I think will help many of you with the food for your 72-hour kits.

  1. Make sure the food items are things your family will and can eat. Sometimes the food in a purchased kit will not work for your daughter’s nut allergy or a son’s intolerance to lactose. I prefer to customize the food for each of my children.
  2. Choose items that will have a shelf life of at least 1 year. Actually, one of my items has a 6 month shelf life, but we decided we would eat it even if it was hard; Nature Valley Oats ‘N Honey bar. This isn’t always easy when you have infants. However, your larger diaper bag could contain 72 hours or more of the current food your baby eats. If I had a baby I would grab this bag if I had to evacuate.
  3. Try to find items that are small, but have the highest calories. Stressful situations burn more calories. For one adult I tried to get up to 2000 calories. Also make sure you have some type of comfort food or candy.
  4. It is difficult for one person to carry 3 gallons of water in a backpack. So you will have to put less than the amount you would store if you had to shelter at home. I put some bottled water in the backpacks, but also store three cases of 24 ct. bottled water on the shelf near the 72-hour kits. If we had to evacuate by car, we could easily grab the cases too.
  5. Consider the strong odors of the foods you are storing. Even though it is high in protein, beef jerky can make everything smell horrible. If you choose to store it, change it often and double or triple wrap it. Even minty gum can make everything smell/taste minty.
  6. Watch out for items that can go rancid. If some of your foods have nuts, make sure you store them in a cool, dry location such as under your bed or a house closet. The garage is not a great location because of the varying temperatures. Ask your local grocer if he would store his food there.
Ours items are divided into gallon-sized Ziploc bags and labeled with the date we put them together. I made some labels with a different scripture quote for each day. I printed them on full sheet labels and cut apart. We put the same items in each bag for each day. Your items may be totally different, but this list will get you thinking.The printables below the list have the calorie count. Let me know if my math is wrong or if you can’t print. Don’t forget to send your college kids a kit as well.

Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3

2 Nature Valley Oats ‘N Honey bar (6M)
4 Clif Energy bar (12M)
1 PowerBar Protein Plus bar (12M)
1 Kar’s Sweet & Salty (2Y)
6 Arrowhead water bottle 16.9 oz (2Y+)
1 Betty Crocker Fruit roll up (12M?)
Crystal Light on the Go (2Y)
1 Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa packet (2Y)
2 Candy Skittles, Starburst Fun size (18M)
Extra gum 15 pc pack (10M)

72-Hour Kit food packs.pdf
72-Hour Kit food packs.xlsx
72-Hour Kit food pack labels.pdf

Note: Post updated March 2013

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