Picture of The Big WHY for 72 Hour Survival Kit Items
When a disaster strikes, Your Survival Tools are What-You-Know, What-You-Have-on-You, or what you can reach.

Why Carry a 72 Hours Survival Kit? (also known as "Get Home Bags" - GOOD BOBs <Get Out Of Dodge or Bug-Out-Bags> are usually larger and more inclusive.)

Most Disaster Scenarios are over in seconds, minutes or hours but Help may not reach you for 2-3 days.

MY GREATEST FEAR: Forget wind storms, fires, terrorism, etc for the moment. NASA (our space agency) says Solar Storms are strongly possible. On September 1–2, 1859, the largest recorded solar storm occurred. The flares set fire to telegraph lines and office in the US and Europe. Do you know anything with wiring?

Imagine - IF a Super Solar Flare (Mass Coronal Ejection) occurs, the first wave slams into our communications satellites. All cellphones and the entire Banking ATM system shuts down. When the solar flare strikes Earth, the electrical wave would overwhelm and burn out major sections of our electrical grids. Unprotected motors would burn out. IF cars were drivable, roads would be restricted to Military and Emergency Vehicles Only. How Far Might You Have to Walk to Get Home? or, to reach children, family or friends?

Step 1: The Basics of a Great 72 Hour Survival Kit or Bug Out Bag

Picture of The Basics of a Great 72 Hour Survival Kit or Bug Out Bag
FIRST LESSON: Ounces Add Up to Pounds and Pounds Add Up to Pain.

The size of your backpack should be based on what you can realistically carry - At A Minimum - to survive 72 hours or more.

The pictures below show my current two favorites. You can buy backpacks with Water Reservoirs. Daily I carry the 72 hour kit on the left with the two external pockets for water. One is full and the other is a "filtered water bottle" for a dip-and-drink scenario. <<It's ALWAYS best to boil water.>>

The larger, green 72 Survival Kit is called an Alice Bag and they come in various sizes. It has a light metal frame which supports your lower back. It's famous in the US military for its large, deep pockets.
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ardrhi7 months ago

You're basically right, but please...this is meant constructively...check your spelling! You sound 10X more authoritative if you don't have misspellings littering your pages. Most web browsers (I use Chrome) will underline a misspelled word in red. Just right-click and it'll give you the correct spelling.

An added bit of info -- there are problems with cheap knockoff Chinese "magnesium" bars! They simply do not ignite, and may not be magnesium, but something like aluminum, which the sparks from a ferro rod will NOT light. It's best to spend a few extra bucks on a Doan brand magnesium block, or just get a GOOD quality, large and thick ferrocerium striker rod and use another tinder such as petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls or waxed cotton makeup applicator pads.

I just spent an afternoon learning how my firemaking tools actually function in use. The magnesium from my bar did not ignite. I need to replace it with one that WILL ignite when I need it to -- but I had vaselined cotton balls, and THOSE worked. Replace paracord pulls on zippers with *FIRE CORD*, and you'll have lots of little bits of tinder that will ignite even when wet. And a tin of Live Fire will save your butt in an emergency.

Marklc ardrhi5 months ago

still nothing more simple then waxed self striking matches (simple) or just real fine steel wool and a simple battery in your bob.oh and lighters are so darn cheap and small toss a few in the bob . or 2 in your pockets .... you can keep your fire started and bow string I will have a fire in a min even in bad weather ... lol

Apature5 months ago

just a question why haven't you taken all your food susplies out of their packets, doing this a save weight b saves space and c less rubbish to take care of

ardrhi7 months ago

I like the flavor of Datrex bars. They remind me of the Christmas cookies my Mom brought home from the bakery she worked at when I was a kid.

andy.knote8 months ago

Well planned and well thought out. Excellent thought put into the logic of each piece that goes into the "get-home" bag.

Survivor Jack (author)  andy.knote8 months ago
Thank You for your kind thoughts. I'm working on another piece for after the Holidays.

PS: Help me get a Prepper on Ellen. Watch Survivor Jack's Ellen DeGeneres DJ Audition 2:47. You’re paid with Smiles, one Groan and some Laughs by watching: http://youtu.be/GxRAzSbcBiY

IF YOU LAUGH, "Like" below my video.

Thank You!
Survivor Jack
lunadf1 year ago

Hey Jack

Great stuff. I'm studying and learning as much as I can about the 72 hour bag and am slowly putting one together. I agree with you on the gun issue. I struggle with it, but I really don't want to put one in the bag. I'd prefer evasion and camouflage. It was very refreshing to read that you don't agree with it to, as so many of the blogs and sites almost seem to start with the "get yourself a gun" idea. Lots of people want one and I respect their right to have one, but I don't think it would be right for me. Just sayin'. Again, great stuff. Thanks.

Survivor Jack (author)  lunadf1 year ago
Thank You for being IN the Conversation about weapons. It is a personal decision. My first major gift as a child was .410 shotgun. I love guns as a tool, design and equalizer. I worry about untrained people who think a Gun = Preparedness. The more you know; the less you need.

i would just like to add that keeping a generic condom in your bag is a good idea as it can hold a lot of water.

Survivor Jack (author)  fallen89feet1 year ago
An excellent suggestion. People really are surprised when they realize the amount of water and it is very light to carry. BEWARE: many condoms have lubricant and anti-spermacide. I would wash throughly first IF I were forced to this option.
Southpaw691 year ago

Good info in general, but I must disagree partially with your stance on weapons.

I do agree that avoiding conflict should be a primary strategy, but there are times when this isn't possible. As far as your weapons being used against you, this happens when the person carrying the weapon is either not properly trained in its use, or has the wrong mindset and hesitates.

A few things to consider- while I believe a total 'without rule of law' scenario is EXTREMELY unlikely, if either it does happen, or even a Katrina type disaster, being able to defend yourself, and your family is VERY important.

Especially for someone like yourself, being 65 or so, a weapon like a gun is really the only viable tool. Even Chuck Norris can't effectively fight off 3-5 or more guys unarmed. Also, the truth of the matter is, just pulling it is enough to make the vast majority of assailants cease & desist. Stats show that most self defense incidents where a law abiding citizen that pulls a firearm to defend against a mugger never actually even fire a shot.

Something to consider, is that if someone, or a small group want to take your supplies & gear, they may in fact be KILLING YOU just by taking them. What if they take the last of your food & water? What if they take your vital medicines? You think they're going to be nice and let you take them out before they rob you? You think they won't just shoot or stab you because they don't like your race, religion, etc? You think they might not like to take turns on your wife because they think she's cute? I don't know about you, but I don't go looking for trouble, I don't take peoples things, and I expect they not do it to me. If I have to use lethal force to defend myself and my loved ones, it's only because THEY FORCED MY HAND AND GAVE ME NO OTHER CHOICE.

Do yourself a favor, get a good firearm, get good training from a reputable instructor, and only use it when your life depends on it. Only use it when no other alternatives exist- you can't get away, and you can't talk your way out. You don't need to be a George Zimmerman looking for trouble. You can be someone who goes out of your way to avoid trouble, but be prepared when trouble comes looking for you.

Some of us who are police, current & ex-military, and sportsmen who've had extensive training believe that a firearm really is the best tool for the job. Yes, sometimes pepper spray or other implements can work, but a gun is the king of self protection. They also can be used for hunting for food & skins/fur, they can be used for signaling, & fire starting.

Survivor Jack (author)  Southpaw691 year ago
>>> I must disagree partially with your stance on weapons.

Hi Southpaw69:

Weapons are personal and I agree with every reason you gave to carry a gun.

>>> police, current & ex-military, and sportsmen who've had extensive training believe that a firearm really is the best tool for the job.

All of these people are trained to carry, use and clean guns. The rest of us? Not so much. I was a Marine for a few weeks until my knee injury which has turned into arthritis.

Ounces add up to Pounds;
Pounds add up to Pain.

I carry several weapons on me and in my survival kits - not a gun. "Survivor Jack", this Survival Character I've created, looks at 'disasters' from rest-of-us point of view.  War or societal break downs are possible.

SInce 99.99% of us will deal with far more common emergencies, Survivor Jack recommends skills like 1st Aid and basic survival training. My DIY kits are aimed at ages and situations for mature children, the disabled and handicapped to the elderly.

IF society breaks down, then guns WILL be a major issue.  This is why I am more prepared for a Survive in Place scenario in that event.  

I appreciate your feedback.  Everyone should look at all sides of this issue of self protection and at Least learn martial arts.

Thanks for being willing to teach others.  I appreciate you.
Mattakers1 year ago
Also, 3 whistle blows, 3 flashes of a signal mirror or 3 logs in a triangle means distress. I would also include red rope, red is the international distress color.
Survivor Jack (author)  Mattakers1 year ago
When I think of "Sound" signalling, I would alternate 3 Shorts - 3 Longs. You are using Morse Code by repeating SOSOSOSO.

The current International Distress color is bright orange but many experts are moving toward Florescent Green. It can be seen further away.
Gcamper2 years ago
You are forgetting 3 seconds of stupidity. (Wandering off of a cliff, falling from a tree, peeing on an electric fence, or robbing a gun shop.)
Survivor Jack (author)  Gcamper2 years ago
You've been watching "A 1000 Ways to Die" reality show, haven't you?

You are right, Gcamper. Human stupidity trumps Nature.

Thanks for the laughs!
yawneth3 years ago
can i ask you why the hard candy?
Survivor Jack (author)  yawneth3 years ago
Hard Candy can have several uses. It's part of the "keep me human" philosophy. Candy is calories and in an emergency, every 'good' calorie counts. I've lost about 90 lbs. Those were 'bad' calories.

IF I'm low on water, sucking a hard candy provides me saliva and the illusion I've 'gained water'. It buys me time psychologically, cleans my palate (think of dust after 9-11) and gives me a little sugar rush.

IF I needed to create a distraction to escape a crowd, I might throw / 'slingshot' behind them for noise, or drop candies and coins (cash) in their path to slow them - hopefully. (It is Best to Win the War without Fighting. Sun Tsu)

When I look at my "Survival EDC" (Every Day Carry) items, I always want to see "multifunction tools". Hard Candy gives me options AND I haven't mentioned that hard candy has helped diabetics regulate their blood sugar.

The question is ALWAYS.  "Does this item provide me with a physical or psychological advantage worth the weight I'll be forced to carry?"  Ounces Add Up To Pounds and Pounds Add Up To Pain.  Are hard candies worth their weight to YOU?

Live Life for Its Best; but Prepare for Its Worst!
Respect for the Sun Tsu quote! Disposable lighters are cheap and available, but I now prefer a refillable 'micro torch'. It puts out a hot 2 inch flame and lights almost anything at a distance, also works better in harsh conditions. Its only slightly larger than a disposable and has more uses.

Are your antiseptic wipes alcohol based? They work OK as last-ditch fire starters, although I now pack a small amount of solid commercial fire-lighter brick as a general purpose fire accelerant.

If you already listed fire steels and other lighters, the plain matches are a bit redundant - I would swap them out for food & candy.
Survivor Jack (author)  Overkill Robots2 years ago
I'll look into the "micro torch" - sound like a good alternative.
boris4002 years ago
On the subject of ladies sanitation and wound dressing, the British SAS medics swear by tampons for plugging bullet wounds. They are also multi functional, which is important. They can be used as intended, to plug wounds, as good fire tinder (effectively waterproof in wrapper), and as an emergency water filter. Also a very good resource for survival is the SAS survival guide,skills taught to the SAS that cross over into civilian survival too. The book is by John "lofty" Wiseman and available in a pocket sized format. It would be a good substitute to the first aid book you included as it covers first aid and basic survival medicine. It also covers just about every aspect of survival you can think of. It is the best survival resource I own and I have committed much of it to memory, though I still take the pocket book if room allows in my bag for reference and comfort.
Your instructible is very thorough and informative. Hope you like my suggestions, and I wholly recommend the book.
Survivor Jack (author)  boris4002 years ago
I too recommend the SAS Survival book.
DB.Cooper3 years ago
Just one suggestion you may appreciate is to replace the standard multiple size bandaids with quality electrical tape. not "cheapwrap" mind you but a quality tape like 3m scotchlock. the adhesive prevents infection, is hypoallergenic, and when it needs to air out comes off easily. ( this is not a recommended product for first aid kits especially on a jobsite) I prefer blue red and white ... and it can be used for elcetrical tape or other quick fastening as well. I keep superglue, and wd 40 also. superglue you'll find was originally formulated as a replacement for stitches, and wd 40 can do an unlimited amount of things like help start a fire.
Survivor Jack (author)  DB.Cooper3 years ago
Wow! Great suggestion - I hope. Do we have any Doctors, Nurses or EMTs who might comment about the tape. Pros and Cons?

I do know the Superglue IS good for stitches.

If you want things looser, use WD40 (Water Dispersement - 40th Formula).
IF you want things tighter, Duct Tape. (Buy Made in the USA - at least two types)
I work in an ER, and the medical "version" of superglue is some stuff called derma-bond. It is supposed to be sterile super glue. I am not sure, but in a pinch I would say regular super glue would do. However, there is a fine line between what can be glued and what really needs stitches. We tend to glue minor things, or use it on kids when we think they couldn't handle the stitching process. I would not glue a gaping wound that most reasonable people would consider a deep wound. In a real world scenario, I would dress it, keep it clean, apply pressure and attempt to get to a hospital. Most people don't know that there is a clock ticking. Dr's do not like to stitch anything that is more than 8-12 hrs old depending on the place and mechanism of injury. They almost never do animal bites or areas exposed to large amounts of contaminate like feet. Simply because closing that wound also closes all the bacteria inside and ultimately it Will become a nasty infected wound. In the worst case scenario, in the absence of stitches or someone who knows how to use them, you could rig up butterfly sutures with tape and glue. Just aproximate the edges as best as possible, and cut strips of the cleanest material you have and glue them perpendicular to the wound, and then keep it clean and dressed, and pray. Nothing worse than becoming septic when you are dealing with other things. As far as tape, I don't see why it wouldn't work. The key is cleanliness, keep a couple of sterile 2x2 pads or maybe even larger. They don't take up much room. Nice kit overall though. I hate to see kits filled with 500 band aids. It just doesn't make sense. If you are over the age of 10, how often do you need a band aid? I have a couple, and that is it.
Ive worked on film sets in the sound dept., but I've heard from Pros that medical tape adhesive causes irritation and rashes. i've never seen an adverse reaction to electrical tape adhesive, in my time of attaching tiny microphones to ppl that the camera wouldn't see. But I honestly cannot vouch for Duct tape, Because I've used it and trust it , but just don't have the professional experience with duct tape to recommend it definitively to this community.
If you don't mind spending a bit more cash, Gorilla Tape holds almost twice the weight (85lbs) as opposed to Scotch's DT (45lbs). Popular Mechanics did a test, and GT won. http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/tests/4306415
Very wise advice on weapons & knives! I like the idea of a thick, full tang knife that can be converted to a spear in a pinch. As well as a larger multi-tool, I find the Victorinox cyber tool a must have for fixing everything else in the kit. As an office worker, its my only EDC item and gets used daily.
Baronrc3 years ago
Hi Jack Jobe, nice 'ible. this is a topic I really enjoy reading once in a while but have never actually done myself.

As a microbiologist I can correct the following error for you: "The moment water reaches boiling, all of the biological organisms are dead"

Thermophiles are organisms which typically live in hot springs and some can certainly live above 100C. The converse is also true of psychrophiles which can live AND CONTINUE TO BE ACTIVE below freezing. I must add that these types of organism tend to be harmless to humans though. The golden rule of boiling water before drinking it still holds more or less true for PATHOGENIC organisms.

Another factor is time, you don't necessarily kill ALL organisms the INSTANT the water reaches 100. That is why autoclaves have timers.

It is my understanding that to render water safe for consumption you should ideally:
1. Filter out all particulate matter and "gunk" with a t-shirt or some other filter
2. get it as hot as you can (somewhere above boiling)
3. keep a relatively tight lid on the pot to save the steam - creating an autoclave-like environment (doesn't lose water and it will partially sterilise the entire inner surface of the pot)
4. keep the water atleast above boiling for 10-15 minutes. longer if the water looked really nasty.

I hope you find this useful :)

jgarza8 Baronrc2 years ago
Going from "instantly" to "10-15 minutes. longer if the water looked really nasty." Is a big difference when Hydration=Life, especially when children are involved.
jgarza8 jgarza82 years ago
@Baronrc: I forgot to mention Thank You.
Survivor Jack (author)  Baronrc3 years ago
I always find great information useful - especially from an expert microbiologist.   I read, listen and watch a lot of survival related material. “According to the Wilderness Medical Society, water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 185° F (85° C) within a few minutes. So in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling point (212° F or 100° C) from 160° F (70° C), all pathogens will be killed, even at high altitude.”

I agree with 'filtering" the water. I agree that it may look nasty and taste bad (thus the number of 'drinks' in my kit). I trust the above information. Second, most people in a dire emergency may not have a "lid on the pot". Actually they may not have a pot.

Mr. Thompson - try one experiment. Measure out two cups of water - let it boil for 15 minutes and remeasure, How much of your precious water is left?
Perhaps it's safer but will it last as long, or help as many people? 

Please remember the Real Point - carry something.  Why would you expect the rest of us to share our water & supplies with you in an emergency?  

... "but have never actually done myself."
Sir, I'm 65 and I'm doing it.  I learning and I'm leading.  91% of Americans are NOT ready for a Haiti or Japan sized disaster.  <<***the 3 largest Earthquakes in recorded history were in between St Louis and New Orleans.>>  Everyone needs to be better prepared.
Remember - Enjoy Life's Best but Prepare for its Worst.

thanks for your reply.

sorry if my comment offended, I just re-read it and it sounds a little arrogant. Your information is great, I am just perfectionistic about technicalities and I have an inferiority complex that I sometimes compensate for by placing myself in authoratative positions. For that I apologise.

I feel that given the way we have abused this planet we should not be at all surprised to find an upward trend in natural disasters. Would I expect someone to share with me? I don't know. That's their choice.

For the record I am South African :)

Peace to you man.
Survivor Jack (author)  Baronrc3 years ago
You did NOT offend me. I'm trying to be accurate also These discussions help ALL of us.

For Example, I misstated something above "the 3 largest Earthquakes in recorded history" should have read "the 3 largest Earthquakes in the contiguous U.S. history ..."

Always - correct my 'errors'. Even at 66, I'm young enough to learn. Be Honest, Be Excellent and Walk About Prepared™
jnichols43 years ago
instead of the poncho I carry 4 or 5 large black trash bags. Why you ask? 1. lighter 2. same uses as ponchos 3. you can cut them up to use as a tarp.
also when i didnt have money for waders id wear taem between my socks and boots and tie the tops of the bags to my legs in the winter still cold but it will keep youre feet dry if you have to cross a shollow creek
shoboli3 years ago
a couple of things i added to mine is 2 large rodent traps and a water filter off a faucet with hose hook ups 2oo gallons of water and filters everything
if youre using an alice pack the ammo pouches perfectly hold 2 rat traps and a skoal container that i fill with penut butter for bait
good idea with pb. i seen dave cantenberry puts as i did also a small trash can in alice pack for water and such.
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