In this article, you will discover the must-have items for a 72-hour emergency kit that will keep you prepared for any unexpected situation. From food and water to first aid supplies and communication devices, we will explore the essential items that will ensure your safety and well-being during an emergency. So, whether you’re assembling a kit for your home, car, or travel bag, get ready to equip yourself with the necessary tools to weather any storm.


Water storage containers

Having an adequate supply of clean water is vital in any emergency situation. It is recommended to store at least one gallon of water per person per day for a 72-hour period. Water storage containers, such as sturdy plastic jugs or barrels, are crucial for storing this water safely. Choose containers that are specifically designed for long-term water storage, and ensure they are clean and sealed tightly to prevent contamination.

Water purification tablets

In some situations, you may need to find alternative sources of water that are not guaranteed to be safe for consumption. Water purification tablets can be a lifesaver in such cases. These tablets usually contain chemicals or disinfectants that kill bacteria, viruses, and parasites present in water, making it safe to drink. It is important to carefully follow the instructions provided with the tablets to ensure effective water purification.

Water filter

Another method for obtaining safe drinking water during emergencies is by using a water filter. A portable water filter effectively removes impurities and contaminants from water, making it suitable for consumption. Look for filters that are lightweight, compact, and capable of filtering out a wide range of pollutants. Keep in mind that filters need to be regularly cleaned and may require replacement parts, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the maintenance requirements of your chosen filter.

Water pouches

Water pouches are a convenient and portable option for storing water in emergency situations. These pouches are usually made of durable and puncture-resistant materials, ensuring the contained water stays safe and clean. They are also easy to carry and distribute among family members or group members. It is advisable to check the expiration dates on the water pouches periodically and replace them if necessary to ensure the water remains fresh and safe to consume.


Non-perishable food items

Non-perishable food items should be a staple in any emergency kit. These are foods that have a long shelf life and do not require refrigeration or cooking. Examples include canned meats, soups, vegetables, fruits, and beans. It is advisable to choose foods that provide a good balance of nutrients and are familiar to your diet to ensure you have a satisfactory and varied food supply during the 72-hour emergency period.

Protein bars

Protein bars are a convenient and compact source of energy and nutrition in emergency situations. Packed with essential nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, and fats, they provide a quick boost of energy and help keep you satiated. Look for protein bars that have a good balance of macronutrients and are designed specifically for emergencies. Be mindful of checking the expiration dates and rotating them regularly to maintain their freshness and effectiveness.

Canned goods

Canned goods are a reliable and versatile option for emergency food supplies. They are conveniently packaged, have a long shelf life, and are often nutrient-dense. Stock up on a variety of canned goods like tuna, chicken, vegetables, and fruits to ensure you have a well-rounded meal plan. Remember to also include a manual can opener in your emergency kit to open these canned goods.

Dried fruits and nuts

Dried fruits and nuts serve as a reliable source of nutrition and can provide a much-needed energy boost during emergencies. They are lightweight, compact, and do not require refrigeration, making them perfect for on-the-go snacking. Choose dried fruits that are free from added sugars and preservatives, and opt for a mix of different nuts to ensure you receive a variety of nutrients.

Meal replacement shakes

Meal replacement shakes can be a practical solution for emergency situations where cooking or preparing a full meal is not possible. These shakes are designed to provide a balanced mix of nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, in a convenient powdered form. All you need to do is mix the powder with water, and you’ll have a nutritious meal replacement ready to consume. Make sure to choose meal replacement shakes that have a long shelf life and are suitable for your dietary needs.

Baby food (if applicable)

If you have infants or young children, it is crucial to include baby food in your emergency kit. Opt for pre-packaged, non-perishable baby food items that are appropriate for your child’s age and dietary requirements. Ensure you have an adequate supply to meet their nutritional needs for at least 72 hours. If you are using formula, consider adding powdered formula with a long shelf life and sterilized water for preparation.

First Aid Supplies

First aid kit

A well-equipped first aid kit is an essential component of any emergency kit. It should include items such as adhesive bandages, gauze pads, adhesive tape, antiseptic solution or wipes, scissors, tweezers, disposable gloves, and a first aid manual. Check and replenish your first aid kit regularly to ensure all items are in good condition and have not expired.

Prescription medications

If you or anyone in your family requires prescription medications, be sure to have a sufficient supply in your emergency kit. It is advisable to keep these medications in their original containers with clearly labeled instructions and expiration dates. Rotate them regularly to avoid using expired medications and consult with your healthcare provider about obtaining additional prescriptions for emergency purposes.

Pain relievers

Pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can provide temporary relief from minor aches and pains. These medications should be included in your first aid kit as they can be useful for alleviating discomfort during an emergency. However, it is essential to follow the recommended dosage instructions and consult a healthcare professional if you have any existing medical conditions or concerns.

Bandages and adhesive tape

In case of injuries or wounds, bandages and adhesive tape are crucial for proper wound care and protection. Include a variety of bandages in different sizes and shapes to cover various types of wounds. Adhesive tape helps secure bandages in place and can also be used for other purposes, such as splinting or securing makeshift devices. Make sure to check your supplies regularly and replace any expired or worn-out items.

Antiseptic wipes

Antiseptic wipes are convenient for cleaning wounds, reducing the risk of infection, and promoting healing. They typically contain alcohol or antiseptic solutions that effectively kill bacteria and other pathogens. Pack a sufficient number of antiseptic wipes in your first aid kit, and consider individually packaged wipes for greater convenience and hygiene.

Sterile gloves

Sterile gloves are crucial for preventing the spread of infection and maintaining a sterile environment when providing first aid. Choose gloves that are made of latex or nitrile and are appropriate for your hand size. It’s essential to have multiple pairs of sterile gloves in your kit, as they need to be changed whenever you move from one person to another or engage in different tasks to prevent cross-contamination.


A thermometer is an important tool for monitoring body temperature and detecting signs of illness or infection. Include a reliable and accurate thermometer in your first aid kit, preferably one that is easy to use and reads temperature quickly. Suitable options include digital thermometers or disposable thermometers that provide instant readings.


Tweezers are useful for removing splinters, foreign objects, or debris from wounds. Choose tweezers that have a fine, pointed tip to ensure precision and minimize discomfort. Sterilize your tweezers before and after use to maintain cleanliness and prevent infection.



When the power goes out during emergencies, having a reliable source of lighting is crucial. Flashlights are a practical and portable solution. Opt for LED flashlights that are energy-efficient and provide bright illumination. Keep spare batteries in your emergency kit to ensure you can replace them when needed.

Extra batteries

Ensure you have a sufficient supply of extra batteries for powering your flashlights, radios, and other battery-powered devices. It is recommended to choose long-lasting batteries and check them periodically to ensure they have not expired. Consider utilizing rechargeable batteries and have a corresponding charger handy for a more sustainable and cost-effective option.


Headlamps are an excellent hands-free lighting option, especially when you need both hands for tasks or movement during an emergency. They securely fit around your head and provide directional light, allowing you to see clearly even in dark or low-light environments. Look for headlamps with adjustable brightness settings and long battery life for extended use.


Candles can provide a comforting and ambient source of light during emergencies. Include a few sturdy and long-lasting candles in your emergency kit. Be cautious when using candles and ensure they are placed on stable surfaces away from flammable materials. Never leave a lit candle unattended, and remember to extinguish it before sleeping or leaving the area.

Light sticks

Light sticks, also known as glow sticks, are a safe and portable lighting option that doesn’t rely on batteries or flames. Simply activate the light stick by bending it, and it will emit a steady glow for several hours. Light sticks are useful for marking your location, signaling for help, or providing low-level lighting in confined spaces. Keep a few light sticks in your emergency kit as a reliable backup lighting solution.


Battery-powered or hand-crank radio

During emergencies, staying informed about the latest updates and instructions is crucial. A battery-powered or hand-crank radio allows you to access news broadcasts and emergency messages even when power sources are unavailable. Look for radios that have multiple power options and include AM/FM and NOAA weather band frequencies to stay updated on weather conditions.

Extra batteries

Make sure to have extra batteries specifically for your radio to ensure continuous reception. Check the battery compatibility and requirements of your radio and store the extra batteries in a separate compartment of your emergency kit to keep them easily accessible.

Whistle for signaling

A whistle is a simple yet effective tool for attracting attention and signaling for help during emergencies. It produces a loud and distinct sound that can travel long distances, making it easier for rescue teams or other individuals to locate you. Attach a whistle to a lanyard or keep it within reach in your emergency kit.

Paper and pencil

Having paper and a pen or pencil can be beneficial for various reasons during emergencies. They allow you to write down important information, leave messages for others, or keep a record of any relevant details. Additionally, paper and pencil can be used for drawing maps, communicating non-verbally, or playing games to pass the time.

Emergency contact list

Compile a list of essential emergency contacts, including family members, friends, local authorities, and relevant healthcare providers. Write down their names, phone numbers, and any other pertinent details on a physical paper or index card. Keep this list in your emergency kit, ensuring it is kept up to date with any changes in contact information.

Tools and Safety


A multi-tool is a versatile and compact tool that combines various functions in one convenient device. It usually includes features such as pliers, knives, screwdrivers, and can openers, making it useful for a wide range of tasks. Choose a high-quality multi-tool that is durable and has the essential functions you may need during emergencies.

Duct tape

Duct tape is a multipurpose adhesive tape that is incredibly strong and durable. It can be used for temporary repairs, sealing leaks, fastening objects, and numerous other applications. Keep a roll of duct tape in your emergency kit as it can prove invaluable in various situations.

Work gloves

Work gloves provide protection for your hands when handling debris, moving heavy objects, or performing any tasks that may pose a risk of injury. Choose gloves that offer a good balance of dexterity and durability, ensuring they fit well and provide ample hand protection.

Safety goggles

Safety goggles are essential for eye protection, particularly when engaging in tasks that may cause debris, dust, or other hazardous materials to become airborne. Invest in a pair of safety goggles that fit comfortably and have a clear, impact-resistant lens to shield your eyes effectively.

Fire extinguisher

Having a portable fire extinguisher in your emergency kit is crucial for dealing with small fires and preventing them from spreading. Choose a fire extinguisher that is suitable for different types of fires, such as those caused by flammable liquids or electrical equipment. Familiarize yourself with how to operate the fire extinguisher correctly and check its expiration date regularly.

Shelter and Clothing

Emergency blankets

Emergency blankets, also known as space blankets, are lightweight, compact, and highly effective at retaining body heat. They are made of heat-reflecting materials that help prevent hypothermia and provide insulation when shelter or external heating sources are limited. Include several emergency blankets in your kit, ensuring there is one for every member of your group.

Emergency tent

In situations where immediate shelter is required, an emergency tent can provide protection from the elements and create a secure space. Look for lightweight and easy-to-assemble tents that can accommodate the number of individuals in your group. Practice setting up the tent before an emergency occurs, so you are familiar with the process.

Sleeping bags

Sleeping bags are essential for maintaining warmth and comfort while sleeping during emergencies. Choose sleeping bags that are suitable for the prevailing climate and temperature range of your location. Look for ones that provide ample insulation and are compact enough to fit in your emergency kit.

Extra clothing

Including extra clothing in your emergency kit is essential, particularly for changes in weather conditions or prolonged periods without access to clean laundry. Pack clothing that is suitable for the prevailing climate, including warm layers, socks, sturdy shoes, and rain gear. Consider including items such as hats and gloves to provide additional protection from the elements.

Rain ponchos

Rain ponchos are lightweight and waterproof garments that provide protection from rain and moisture. They are designed to be easily portable and can be quickly put on to keep you dry during unexpected rainfall or adverse weather conditions. Pack a few rain ponchos in your emergency kit to ensure you stay comfortable and dry.

Sanitation and Hygiene

Hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is an essential hygiene product during emergencies, especially when soap and water are scarce. Choose a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and is effective against a wide range of germs and bacteria. Use hand sanitizer regularly to maintain good hand hygiene and minimize the risk of infections.

Toilet paper

Toilet paper is a basic necessity that should not be overlooked when preparing an emergency kit. Include a sufficient amount of toilet paper to meet the needs of your family or group for at least 72 hours. Opt for individually wrapped or compressed rolls to save space and keep them in a waterproof container to protect them from moisture.

Feminine hygiene products

If applicable, include an ample supply of feminine hygiene products in your emergency kit. Choose products that are comfortable, absorbent, and suitable for your needs. Consider including items such as menstrual cups or reusable pads as a sustainable and long-lasting alternative.


Soap is essential for maintaining proper hygiene, particularly for handwashing and personal cleanliness. Include a bar or liquid soap in your emergency kit, choosing gentle and antibacterial options whenever possible. It is advisable to have individual soap containers or soap that comes in sealed packaging to prevent contamination.

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Maintaining oral hygiene is important, even during emergencies. Include toothbrushes and toothpaste in your emergency kit to ensure you can maintain proper dental care. Choose travel-sized options or opt for disposable toothbrushes for convenience and portability.

Trash bags

Having a supply of sturdy trash bags is advantageous for waste disposal and maintaining cleanliness during emergencies. They can be used to collect and contain trash, store dirty laundry, or even improvise a temporary waterproof cover. Choose trash bags that are tear-resistant and have a secure seal to prevent leaks or odors.

Personal Documents

Identification documents

Ensure you have copies or scans of all essential identification documents, including passports, driver’s licenses, and birth certificates. Keep these documents in a waterproof folder or sealed plastic bag within your emergency kit. Additionally, it is advisable to have original identification documents stored in a secure location, like a safe or lockbox, to prevent loss or damage.

Insurance information

Include copies of your health insurance, homeowners or renters insurance, and any other relevant insurance policies in your emergency kit. These documents can be crucial in the event of an emergency or evacuation, and having them readily available can expedite any necessary insurance claims or assistance processes.

Cash and coins

During emergencies, access to ATMs and electronic payment systems may be disrupted. It is important to include a sufficient amount of cash and coins in your emergency kit to meet immediate needs. Choose a variety of smaller denominations to ensure you have the flexibility to make smaller purchases or exchange with others if necessary.

Emergency contact information

Compile a list of emergency contact information, including the contact details of family members, friends, local authorities, and healthcare providers. Write down their names, phone numbers, and any other pertinent details. Keep this list in your emergency kit, ensuring it is easily accessible and up to date with any changes in contact information.

Entertainment and Comfort

Books or magazines

Having a source of entertainment can alleviate stress and provide a comforting escape during emergencies. Include books or magazines that you enjoy reading or have been meaning to read. Opt for lightweight and compact options to save space in your emergency kit.

Playing cards

Playing cards are a versatile and compact form of entertainment that can be enjoyed by individuals or groups. They offer a variety of games that can keep you occupied and engaged during downtime. Include a deck of playing cards in your emergency kit, and consider laminating them for increased durability.

Small toys or games

If you have children, including small toys or games in your emergency kit can help keep them comforted and entertained. Choose toys or games that are lightweight, compact, and suitable for their age group. Consider options such as small puzzle sets, building blocks, or travel-sized board games.

Comfort items (e.g., stuffed animals)

Comfort items can provide emotional support during stressful situations. If applicable, include personal comfort items such as stuffed animals, blankets, or small pillows in your emergency kit. These items can help provide a sense of familiarity and security, particularly for young children or individuals with specific needs.

Notebook and pen

Having a notebook and pen can be beneficial for various purposes during emergencies. You can use them to jot down important information, record observations or thoughts, keep a journal, or communicate with others. Pack a small, portable notebook and a pen with a comfortable grip in your emergency kit.