Updated: Aug 13
If you are in the process of assembling your bug-out bag or 72-hour kit, you are likely aware that there are hundreds of people online telling you what you need to include. Everyone has a different view on the best flashlight or how many days you need to prepare for, etc. The fact is each disaster scenario is going to be different and no one knows exactly what you will need.
It is important not to let the overwhelming number of options keep you from getting prepared. You don’t want a disaster to happen while you are still in the tedious process of picking out the perfect components for your emergency kit.
To jump-start the process you can use this comprehensive list of all the items that come in the 2-Person Urban Survival Bug-Out Bag. This kit meets FEMA guidelines for 72-hour kits and is designed to be discreet in a crowded urban setting. It is a great option for individuals or couples living in apartments with limited storage space. You can use this list as a guide to put together your emergency backpack kit. If you want to forgo the hassle and time of assembling your own kit, you can get one here.
2 x 3600 cal Food Bars with 5 Year Shelf Life (US Coast Guard Approved)
12 x 4.2 oz Water Pouch with 5 Year Shelf Life (US Coast Guard Approved)
1 x Folding 1L Water Container
5 x Water Purification Powder
1 x Water Purification Instruction Sheet
Without nourishment, your decision making can suffer and you can feel fatigued. Not to mention that long periods of time with no food can cause damage to your body. This is why food is an obvious essential to include in your survival kit. Your caloric daily needs depend on a lot of factors. Your weight, activity level, age, gender, etc, can all make a difference in your dietary needs. However, the general guideline from experts is 1200 Kcal a day for each person.
Water is vital to survival. It aids digestion, helps your body absorb nutrients, fight disease, and helps with bowel movements. Lack of water will obviously lead to dehydration and possible death so it is important to have multiple options in an emergency kit. Bottled and stored water is great but can be heavy if you are on the move. Water purification tools give you the ability to get drinking water almost anywhere you can find a water source.
The water purification packets that come with the Urban Survival Bug-out Bag will help you to treat suspect water. Agents help to remove pollutants when filtered through the provided cloth and then the chlorine kills the bacteria, cysts, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms.
2 x Toothbrush
1 x Toothpaste
1 x Comb
1 x Razor
1 x Shaving Cream
4 x Shampoo
1 x Soap Bar
2 x Feminine Pad
1 x Washcloth
1 x Toilet Paper (roll)
Morale is an overlooked aspect of survival. There are many instances of someone’s determination and perseverance, making the difference between life and death. Hygiene and cleanliness are tied to health and attitude. When massive natural disasters strike they force thousands of people to seek refuge in crowded disaster areas and temporary shelters. Imagine having to compete for toothpaste, soap, and other personal items in a situation like this.
1 x 118 pc First Aid Kit
1 x Emergency Preparedness Guidebook
Disasters typically involve increased physical danger. They also tend to put a burden on the local emergency response and can delay response times by authorities. If you or someone in your household is injured or falls ill it may be up to you to provide first aid. Quick action and knowledge can increase the likelihood that the victim will survive until professional medical help can be accessed.
It is important to learn basic first aid skills and procedures, especially CPR, how to use an AED, Heimlich Maneuver, dressing wounds and burn treatment. Keeping a first aid reference guide can be extremely handy and there are Apps available for your smartphone as well.
The contents of your first aid kit are also important and there are many options available. Make sure yours has at least: bandages, adhesive tape, absorbent pads, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic, cold compress, aspirin, a roll of gauze, nonlatex gloves, triangular bandage, tweezers, and an oral thermometer. You don’t have to limit the items either, the more you can afford to carry the better.
2 x Reflective Sleeping Bag
2 x Emergency Poncho
1 x Tube Tent
2 x Hand Warmers
It doesn’t have to be freezing for hypothermia to set in. In fact, if you are wet or exposed to wind you can get hypothermia in 50-degree temperatures if exposed long enough. The elderly are especially susceptible. There are effective tools to combat the elements that are compact and inexpensive. Ponchos, hand warmers, emergency blankets are lightweight items that will only cost a few dollars and are easily stored in a backpack.
Starting a fire is a survival skill that no one will discount. However, most people are not skilled in the different techniques of starting a fire without a lighter or matches. A box weatherproof matches or a lighter will provide anyone with a way to create a fire.
2 x Glow Sticks
1 x 5-in-1 Survival Whistle
1 x Dynamo Radio / Flashlight
Light serves two major functions in survival. The first and most obvious is to provide a light source in the dark. Should you lose electricity you will need a stable and reliable source of light to get anywhere or do simple tasks in your home. If you are forced from your home in the evening you will be thankful you kept a flashlight, lantern, or another light source in your emergency supplies.
Secondly, a light source can be used to signal for help. If you are stranded, injured, or trapped, a signal light may be your key to your rescue. You can use a flashlight or mirror to signal SOS as this kayaker did.
2 x N95 Mask
Whether it is smoke from a forest fire or hazardous environment, a respirator mask can filter out up to 95% of dust mold and other particles.
1 x 5mm x 50' Rope
Paracord rope has multiple uses. Towing, repelling, repairs, and even first aid uses. 50’ of rope is not too heavy and can really be useful in a myriad of situations.
1 x Duct Tape
*Duct Tape is used by NASA. Need we say more? Repairing clothing, tents, leaks. Duct tape is a temporary solution for many things and can help you out in a pinch.
1 x Work Gloves
Something as simple as a flat tire on the way to work or picking up hurricane damage. A pair of gloves is always useful.
1 x Multitool Knife
Why just keep a knife in your 72-hour emergency kit when you can keep a multi-tool.
1 x Playing Cards
Waiting for a disaster to pass and return home can take time. Help pass the time during a storm or distract your mind from the situation at hand.
1 x GI Can Opener
Open any canned food you have or find.
1 x Pencil
Take notes and record anything you need to remember when your phone dies.
1 x Weatherproof Zip bag
Keep phones, id cards and other important documents dry.
1 x Sewing Kit (small)
If you are stranded or forced to evacuate with urgency then you may not have extra clothes. A sewing kit will allow you to make repairs.
Other items to consider:
Plastic trash bags - multiple uses, patch clothing/tent, capture moisture, keep things dry and collect trash, obviously.
Aluminum foil - multiple uses, cooking, reflective, make crude cup or container.
Coffee filters - strain out dirt and debris from water, make tea, clean glasses, start a fire, use it as paper, use it as a cold compress, use as tissue, use as a bowl
Imodium - eating new or abnormal things is more likely when traveling or in an emergency situation where options are limited. Imodium can relieve diarrhea and ensure that your body is getting nutrients from your food.
Laxative - if you are stuck eating dense food rations, you will want help going.
ID/insurance cards/personal documents
USB drive - backup for your important documents.
Photos - not just of loved ones but you can take photos of your important documents and save them on your phone, this will eliminate the need to carry lots of delicate paper items that can be destroyed and damaged easily when on the go.
Cash - Ensure you can purchase items if people stop taking credit cards, etc.
Wet Wipes - clean without using your drinking water. Easier on your posterior if you are “going” in unsavory places and conditions.
Earplugs - Do you have trouble sleeping away from home or on plains? Many do and if you are in a crowded emergency shelter you may need help blocking out the noise.
There are many opinions out there about putting together an emergency kit or "bug-out bag", but if you follow expert guidelines and know what your risks are you can put together a reliable 72-hour kit with confidence.
If you are looking for larger kits to accommodate more people or supplemental items for your 72-hour backpack you can see all the options here!