Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rotating the Adult 72 Hour/Emergency Kits

Remember the 72 hour emergency kits? Well, if you've put one together for yourself or your loved ones, it's a good idea to get into them and rotate the supplies every so often. I actually like to do this every spring and fall (I use the LDS General Conference weekend as a reminder). Getting the pack out at least twice a year serves a couple of purposes. First, I get to rotate out all the old junk like old MRE's and expired medications and replace them with fresh stuff. Second, I am reminded of what I have in the pack and it gets me thinking of what else I need or want. And third, I get to organize all the stuff I added during the last 6 months (letting you all in on how I operate here--when I want to add something to the kit and it's not rotation time, I just unzip the top zipper and stuff it in, then I usually have 4-5 things that need to be put where they belong in the kit when rotation time rolls around).

This fall, just for you, I dumped the entire contents of my kit and took pictures--now doesn't that make you all feel loved? Just don't pay any attention to my nappy living room carpet--it was that way when we bought this house and I've got no drive to replace it until my kids are bigger.

So we'll start with the clothing. I have windproof fleece pants, thermals, a long sleeve top, socks/underwear, lightweight pants, and a small fleece blanket (okay, the blanket is for the kids). I've vacuum packed it all, so it takes up less space in the pack.Next, is the water section. Bottled water, nasty water purification tablets, portable water bottle style water filter (dad has the pump type filter in his kit). Redundancy is a good thing. Having clean water to drink is a big deal. I'd carry more water bottles, but they're heavy.
Now the food section. I have a real low tolerance for not eating. I am prone to migraines in a hurry if I skip meals or just eat junk all day. I also have kids that can only carry so much in their own kits, so it may look like I have food overkill, but I don't think I have enough. Freeze dried Mountain House meals (the best tasting brand of freeze dried backpacking food in my opinion), a couple of MRE's with MRE heaters (trying to phase these out of my kit--they taste nasty to me and are heavy, however, they are "ready to eat", I wouldn't need to use water for them, and they have their own heaters), kippered snacks (really, those are for my husband--I guess they should be in his kit--a bit of nastiness in a can), Power Bar type bars, what's left of the emergency food bars (re-vacuum packed), utensils, stainless steel cup that can be used for cooking as well as eating, chocolate (m&m's).
Now the heat/light section. Again, you might notice a little redundancy. Firestarting is not one of my strengths, so the more means I have of getting one started the better chance I have of actually getting a fire going. Okay, I'll try to go in some kind of order here. Lets try starting at the top left and going clockwise-ish. Lightsticks, military firestarters from somewhere (maybe out of a 20 year old mre?), dryer lint firestarters, super sappy sticks, high altitude lighter by Coleman, magnesium/steel firestarter thingy, magnifying glass from Target pharmacy, waterproof matches, cub scout style buddy burner (rolled cardboard in a tuna can doused with wax), solar/crank light radio, shaky flashlight. Need to get a bit of my char cloth in here. There's also a LED light clipped to one of the zippers of the pack.
Whew. Okay, now on to the tools and miscellaneous stuff. This one we'll go top left and then just kind of sweep to the right side of the picture. Cheapo rain poncho, emergency blanket, emergency whistle thingy with a compass and waterproof match case (forgot to check if there were matches in it . . . ), scissors to open all the vacuum packed things and whatever, a clothesline in a film canister, extra ziplock baggies for whatever, gerber tool (like leatherman), rope, pencil/paper, razor blades, assorted string/twine/small wire, pocket knife, ammo, leather gloves (hate to use up all my bandaids on scrapes that could be prevented by wearing gloves).
Are you done yet? Nope, still going. More assorted miscellaneous items: cash (small bills and change), playing cards, mini scriptures.
Lastly, toiletries/first aid/more miscellaneous. I'll take a stab at order here, but there's kind of a lot. We'll at least start at the top left. Maybe we'll try going in rows this time. Row 1: Minimal first aid stuff (triangular bandage, bandaids, ointment), hand sanitizer, baby wipes, feminine needs. Row 2: lotion, ace bandage, sunblock, ion drops, contact solution, glasses, extra contacts, contact case, toilet paper. Row 3: sewing kit, soap, handwarmers (guess those should have been in the heat/light section), medications in ziplock bags with the lot number and expiration date written on them, comb, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss. We have a better first aid kit as well as a bag with more medications in an easy grab location. I've also added a little travel type tube of insect repellent and my important docs scanned to a thumb drive.
I have all this stuff packed in an internal frame backpack with the hip straps on it and a good old pair of shoes tied to the outside.

Here's the problem. I'm only 5'2" and about 110 lbs and have degenerative disk disease that gives me some real good back pain off and on and makes it tough to carry anything too heavy. Sweet husband hefted my pack and asked, "Can you carry this?" And the answer is: Not very far. It is a well built pack with the hip straps to disperse some of the weight, but it's still heavy as all get out. But what do I take out to make it lighter? And I haven't even really hit on the "shelter" concern in my pack contents. I'm hoping to be able to drive to my evacuation location or at least take the wagon. Any great ideas? Sweet husband's pack is just as heavy, and I don't want to rely on us having to be together or have both packs to have what we need.

I also rotated the kids' packs, I'll post on that hopefully in the near future :)


Preparedness Pro said...

You may want to consider a bag with wheels, rolling suitcase or wagon so you can utilize physics in your favor. I talk about that a little on my 72 hour kit blog -- there's definitely children and elderly folks out there who couldn't carry those types of hefty bags either.

Melonie said...

Do you have a stroller about? Or know someone who is looking to get rid of one? I know it's not the perfect solution, but I hauled a LOT of stuff on my stroller during our trip from Japan to Seattle via Seoul... so my worst case scenario is to bust out the stroller if I must.... I'm about your size and I've been concerned about the same issue!

TheSurvivalMom said...

I like seeing what everyone has in their 72 Hour Kit or Bug Out Bag. I see you keep most of your items in plastic bags. I should probably do that.

The Walker Family said...

Thank you for your post you listed some stuff I need to add and I never thaught of vaccuum sealing the bag. I also would sujest a bag with wheels even a backpack with wheels or a small luggage like the size of a cary on. Also I store my stroller where my emergancy kits are so if there ever was an emergancy it would take a few seconds to open it up and stick my son in it, in your case you could put your bag in it.
p.s. I love your blog!

Anonymous said...

A good post on Adventures in Self Reliance
I did come across a website It’s has all information on first aid emergencies. It has information on Human emergencies and even for pets like cat or dog. Hope it help you guys too.

Signature: Online First Aid Kit

Amy/ThoughtsofTHATmom said...

I have tachycardia and have to keep that in mind when planning to carry anything.

Currently, my bag has wheels so I can pull it.

However, I also keep a stroller in my car most of the time. It's what I have to use when at the farmer's market every week since I can't carry everything and being high raw we usually buy more than the kids can carry. (I can't wait until I figure out how/what I can grow here in the desert!)

I figure a stroller is also wise in case a child gets injured or you have younger ones and have to walk a long distance.


Janei said...

I did the food storage made easy challenge this year. One of these we had to take our 72 hour kit and leave for the
day.. I know I was bored so more things to help ... Book to read, crochet thread and needle and 2 patterns

my bag was too heavy to carry far I had someone put a small inside bar and small kids bike wheels on the outside(20") wheels
now I can go most places tkaes bumps easily

Anonymous said...

Without me reading all the background of why you are packing for 72 hours of self reliance, this post might not be the most useful; but I can give some suggestions to make the pack light enough for you to carry. I camp all the time and pack for 72 hour trips with roughly 18 pounds of gear including pack and 1 day's ration of water... and I haven't really gone ultra-light.

First off, the easiest suggestion is for you to take all those items out of their packaging. Each item in your pack that has paper and plastic around it will add up to extra weight you don't need to carry. You are carrying extra ziplocks, so just use those to keep stuff dry/separated if necessary.

Next, you have a Gerber multitool so you can ditch the scissors and razorblades (keep the second pocket knife, though, since a backup knife is a good idea).

You have rope, twine, clothesline, string and wire. If you are only out in the wild for 3 days, do you really need 4 items that serve the same purpose?

Do you need a sewing kit for 3 days of survival? Can you go 3 days without a comb for your hair?

I know making a fire can be a daunting (and vital) task, but you have FAR too many options packed. You probably only need the Coleman tool and the matches. The magnifying glass is easily the least useful for a 3 day trip when you usually only need fire at night (and no sun out) and it is probably too small to focus enough light to start a fire. The 20 year old military firestarters might not work anymore depending on what they are made of.

For lights you have 4 glow sticks, a crank light and a single shake light. Those glow sticks will last a few hours, so you will run out of them after the second night. The shake lights are robust and rugged, but they weigh a lot. The crank light has to weigh a ton. In any case, the tiny LED headlamps from camping stores weigh LESS than those glow sticks, put out more light, last 140 hours continuous, and aren't toxic to kids or the environment. You can get one headlamp for each member of the family and still save weight. Those shake lights and crank lights are for LONG term home survival, not for 72 hour stints; so pick one and drop the other.

Instead of 4 little water bottles, just have one big bladder of water and each person can carry their own 1 or 2 liter Nalgene bottle.