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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Wenzel

Protect your Family NOW! How to Make a Budget Friendly 72 Hour Emergency Kit

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

Preparing for a power outage or natural disaster is a critical part of your overall emergency plan. Storing basic items to survive 72 hours is important for many reasons. In a dire situation, you can keep your family fed and comfortable until further aid and relief shows up. 72 hours is often the average amount of time for rescue teams and assistance to arrive. You may need to help neighbors and friends. The more prepared every household can be, the better for everyone. Thankfully, it’s also very economical to assemble a kit because chances are, you already own several of these items. Your home is the best place to begin shopping for preparedness items. It's okay if you can't build your kit all at once. Start today with the items that you have on hand. As finances open up here and there, continue to improve your emergency provisions over time. Doing this at a slower pace allows you to make better shopping choices and avoid adding debt.



1. Blankets, sleeping bags and pillows- Plan to have sleeping bags that are appropriate for camping in your climate. You will not want summer bags during a January power outage if you live in Minnesota! You can increase the temperature rating of your bag by 5-15 degrees by simply adding a sleeping bag liner. An easy way to make a bag liner is to fold a twin/full sheet in half and sew the ends together halfway up the sheet. This item is also available to purchase for as little as $10 - $15 as of December 2021.


2. Candles- If you have small children or pets, you might want to opt for a flameless option like a battery-operated lantern or candles. Candles, while a bit more dangerous, do provide a little warmth if the power goes out in the winter.


3. Flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps (hands free lighting is awesome, especially when cooking)


4. Entertainment is extremely important. If the internet is not running, YouTube won't be an option to entertain your family. Items like playing cards and dice, board games and even coloring books can help fight boredom during a blackout.


5. Ready to eat snacks, meals, water and other beverages will be an easy way to keep your stomachs satisfied while cooking abilities might be limited or the emergency demands too much time and cooking is not possible (3 days' worth is a good start). Don't forget can openers!


6. A camp stove and plenty of fuel. Cold food during a winter blackout is no way to stay toasty warm.



7. Paper plates, cups, paper towels, and silverware are handy when water sources are scarce. The last thing you'll want to do it use precious drinking water to wash dishes.


8. Baby wipes and hand sanitizer are especially important again, if the emergency leaves the tap dry, you can keep yourself clean.


10. Lighters and matches. Keep these dry in a watertight container.


11. Batteries of all kinds, power banks and a generator


12. Power crank radio or battery-operated radio- communication is key!


14. Glow sticks are not only fun for kids, but they provide a low light and can mark areas of danger at night.


15. Hot Hands or hot water bottles for warming your hands and feet in your sleeping bag.


16. Warm clothing, mittens, hats, wool socks and moisture wicking layers


17. Tent. Why a tent? It will keep your family warm when the power goes out by containing heat in a smaller space.


18. Don't forget to have a little cash on hand. If ATMs are down or worst yet, empty, you'll want a few bucks set aside in case you need to make a purchase.


19. Never forget your pets. They will need food and water too so be sure to include them in your kit.


20. Portable camp toilet.


21. Medications and first aid.


Once you’ve assembled all of your items, find sturdy containers to store them in. A durable plastic tote is ideal but even an old box or unused luggage bag will be fine to get you started. Label your containers and be sure to store them in a safe spot where you won’t forget it. A convenient spot that is easy for grab and go will serve you well if a natural disaster, civil unrest or other emergency causes you to leave your home in a hurry. The attic is not a great place as candles and food will spoil fast in extreme heat. Food and water should always be rotated about every six months to a year to maintain maximum freshness. If you wish to avoid constant rotation of your food, consider buying freeze dried or ready to eat meals that are packaged for a longer shelf life.


What did I forget? Please comment below and let us know if there's something you'd never forget to put in your 72-hour kit. If you liked this post, show us a little love and click our heart! Thanks for reading!


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