My sister-in-law texted me earlier this week, asking if she really needed everything on our 72-hour kit list.
It's up to you, I texted back. Obviously you don't want to skip over the essentials like food, water, and a small first aid kit. But is everything on our list really necessary? Where should you spend your money first, and what things can you skip over to save money? I personally think everything is needed, but it all depends on your budget and preferences. Let's break it all down and see what we can go without:
1 sturdy backpack (or rolling suitcase) per person: well, this isn't really up for debate, you obviously need something to put everything in.
1 change of clothes per person: well, I can see going without this, but I certainly wouldn't want to. I mean, it's certainly not a matter of life or death, but if I somehow got soaking wet and didn't have a change of clothes, I wouldn't be too happy (and it probably wouldn't be too healthy either, if it was cold outside!). I'm going to say that yes, this is a necessity!
1 set of scriptures per family: not life or death, certainly. But these would provide a sense of comfort. You could even get a very small copy to save space/weight. Personal choice, here.
1 flashlight per person: it's non-negotiable that you need *a* flashlight. One per person is ideal, but 1 or 2 per family (or more, depending on family size) would probably be okay.
Small first aid kit: definitely a requirement!
Personal documents: Since almost everything is digital nowadays, this is mostly for convenience, especially if you have already sent these documents to a close family member or friend (always recommended, just in case something happened to your docs at home!). But, it would be a good idea to have some form of i.d. on you if you had to leave your home quickly.
Water and food: Necessity, obviously.
$100 cash per family: This is important because in times of emergency, local banks and atm's are often not available. You will need cash to buy anything. You should keep some cash at home for emergencies anyway, so keep $100 in your kits. It's not going to cost you anything extra, so I say just do it.
Ax & shovel, bucket, utility knife: Hmm... well this can be a toughie because these are heavier items and if you were going somewhere on foot, these wouldn't be very fun to drag along. However, I can see them coming in very handy... what if you had to chop some firewood? Dig a hole for something? I always err on the side of caution so I've added these to my kits. It's always good to have a knife. And the bucket can be used for transporting water from a stream/lake or moving other things around.
Battery-powered radio and light: I can see going without these. Obviously it would be ideal to have them (and everything else on this list!) but they probably wouldn't be a matter of life and death. We personally own a solar/battery powered radio/flashlight/cell phone charger all in one. It's great.
Small sewing kit: Probably not a life-or-death need, but certainly nice to have.
Toothpaste/soap/toothbrushes/shampoo: As gross as it would be to not brush your teeth for 3 days, it wouldn't kill you. As long as you have something to sanitize your hands with, you could probably go without these. (But really... who wants to??) But again, these items are so small and light that it's almost insignificant the amount of space and weight they take up. So, just add them. Seriously. Think of how much better you will feel after brushing your teeth, even if your whole body is dirty. So much better.
Blankets/sleeping bags: If you live in a hot climate and the temperatures never fall below the 50s, it's probably pretty safe to say that you could go without these items. Personal preference, people.
Camp stove/heat: Well, if you don't mind eating canned food cold (or whatever else you have packed), you don't really need this item. It's certainly ideal since a hot meal can do wonders for your attitude in an emergency, but if you can't afford this item right away, don't worry. Start a change jar and buy it someday.
Work gloves: Ideal, but not absolutely necessary.
Matches/candles: The matches are definitely a necessity, but candles probably are not.
Mess kits/disposable plates/utensils/cups: Pretty necessary, wouldn't you agree?
Aluminum foil, can opener, disinfectant, mosquito repellent, entertainment items: Again, most of these things probably aren't life-or-death needs, so buy what you can afford and save up for the rest (if you think it's necessary).
Pet supplies: If you have a pet, this is certainly something to consider.
One thing about emergency preparedness is that it's so personal, and every family will vary when it comes to needs and wants. Decide what is right for your family, and make your list from that. Buy what you need first, and then when/if you have some extra cash, get some of the non-essentials.
Anyone agree or disagree with my assessments of certain things? Do you have any "luxury" items in your kits? Share a comment and let us know!!