We have 72-hour bags in case we need to evacuate our house or are away from home and cannot return, or have to squat in our woods, most notably in case of a major fire or a tornado. I am also comforted by the idea that Son of Caveman has one in his car in case he is out driving on icy roads with steep drop-offs at night in winter, as he often has. It's also allows some impromptu hiking and camping.
All-in-all, I think most of the things in a 72-hour kit are rather alarmist, but in the bag's defense, we have actually used things from our bags for emergencies already. Many websites have suggestions for 72-hour bags, so I'm just going to tell you what's in my bag. It weighs, in total, about 8 pounds, and has tons of extra space for clothes or food or whatever.
- 30 feet snare wire
- 30 feet fishing line, 4 hooks, 4 weights, 2 bobbers, 2 lures
- 30 feet nylon cord
- Spool dental thread
- Various rubber bands, safety pins
- Metal cup and canteen, dining utensils
- Water purifier bottle
- 5 plastic Ziplock bags
- Windup flashlight and radio
- Magnesium flint and standard lighter
- Small container with cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly to start fires
- 6'X8' tarp
- Sleeping bag(tied onto the backpack straps)
- Sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellant, extra pair prescription glasses
- 1 large roll duct tape
- 5 large T-shirt cloth squares, 1 bandana
- Leather work gloves
- Oklahoma map
- Sewing kit - two needles, one bobbin of white standard thread, one bobbin heavy-duty thread
- First aid kit - alcohol wipes, antibiotic wipes, gauze, sterile pads/tape, band-aids, Ace bandage
- ID card with important names and numbers, allergies. We should also carry pictures of each other.
SOC's bag also has:
- Small survival guide
- Wind-up watch
- Hand-heater packs
- Mini-camp stove
- Folding knife
- He also has a bivvy, but makes his pack cumbersome, and it's too much to fit behind the seat of his truck.
I carried (and have had to use) a clothes bag in case I got stranded long before I started prepping which contains:
- 2 pairs warm socks
- Hat with earflaps
- 1 pair long underpants
- 1 pair warm gloves
And of course, a food and water bin that contains 1-2 gallons of water and some foods we like so we will rotate them often. We choose a couple of things from the following food list:
- Dried fruit
- Granola/breakfast/cereal-type bars
- Sandwich crackers
- Vienna sausage
- Beef jerky
- Sesame snacks
And of course, I carry my phone, bank card, photo ID and bits of cash wherever I go because they are in my satchel.
This is fine for us, because we have our own cars, but I find it hard to imagine a family cramming and storing all this malarkey in the family car. And I know that it's hard to stop yourself from grabbing useful things in the pack, but you mustn't. You know and I know that you won't put it back.