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

Food and water are a necessity in your kit. Some people use MRE’s (meals ready-to-eat) and some use pantry foods. Do what works for your family. Most children won’t eat MRE’s.

I like to shop at Costco or Sam’s Club for my items, because I get it done in one place. 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. Here are a few suggestions I think will help many of you with the food for your 72-hour kits.

Step 6 – Food & Water

  1. Make sure food items are things your family will and can eat. Sometimes the food in a purchased kit will not work with your daughter’s nut allergy or a son’s intolerance to lactose. I prefer to customize food for each of my children.
  2. Choose items that have a shelf life of at least 1 year.
  3. Your larger diaper bag could contain 72 hours or more of current food your baby eats.
  4. Try to find items that are small, but have the highest calories. Stressful situations burn more calories. For each adult I tried to get up to 2000 calories.
  5. Include some type of comfort food or candy.
  6. It’s impossible for one person to carry 3 gallons of water in a backpack. Put less water in your kit and extra water near your kit in the event you can evacuate by car. I like to keep a 24 ct. case of water near my kit.
  7. Store bottles of water in zipper bags to prevent accidental leakage.
  8. 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.
  9. Store your kits inside your home so your food does not go rancid. The garage is NOT a great location because of the heat.

3-day Supply of Food

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)
Gum (10M)

72-Hour Kit food packs.pdf (2012 prices)

Readywise (The Wise Company) sells 72 hour food kits that include 32 total servings of breakfast, entrees and whey milk alternative, that are individually wrapped. These food packs are great because they have a 25 year shelf life and all you need to do to prepare them is add water.


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