70+ Emergency Essentials You Should Have In Your 72-Hour Kit

emergency essentials

While people all over the country dealing with the various effects of the coronavirus pandemic, us Utahns have had an especially chaotic week! A 5.7 magnitude earthquake occurred just outside of Salt Lake City last Wednesday morning, and while thankfully there weren’t any casualties, it didn’t do much for the already frayed state of our nerves!

If there’s a silver lining to facing an earthquake during a pandemic, it’s that it served as a timely reminder about how important it is to be prepared for an emergency! If the earthquake had been any stronger, it’s highly likely that we would have been facing power, water, and gas outages in addition to structural damage.

In light of these uncertain times, I figured there’s no better time to discuss emergency preparedness than right now! So today I’ll be sharing a list of essential items to include in your emergency kit. (Obviously, you shouldn’t go out and buy all of this at once, so start small and add to your kit regularly!) :-)

Check out my wheat storage project in the video at the end of the post!

70+ Emergency Essentials To Stock Up On

emergency essentials

Emergency Essential Food Items

  • Sweeteners – white sugar, brown sugar, honey, syrups
  • Grains – rice, wheat
  • Seasonings – salt, dried garlic, spices
  • Baking supplies – flour, yeast
  • Oils – vegetable oil, shortening
  • Canned goods – Tuna fish, beans, fruits, vegetables, soups
  • Snacks – crackers, pretzels, trail mix, jerky
  • Peanut butter
  • Milk – powdered milk, condensed milk
  • Vinegar (read more here)
  • Non-perishable food items
emergency essentials

Emergency Essential Cooking Supplies

  • Tools – can opener, whisks
  • Disposables – napkins, plates, cups, utensils
  • Canning supplies
  • Camp stove & propane
  • Cast iron cookware
  • Insulated ice chest
  • Aluminum foil
  • Charcoal
  • Fire starting supplies – lighter fluid, matches, kindling
emergency essentials

Emergency Essential Hygiene & Personal Care Items

  • Medical supplies like a First aid kit
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Personal care – soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, hair products, skincare, shaving
  • Paper goods – toilet paper, paper towels, tissues
  • Baby supplies (if needed) – diapers, wipes, formula, aspirin
  • Lip balm
  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Sunscreen
  • Drugs – prescription medications, pain relievers, allergy tablets
emergency supplies

Emergency Essential Clothing

  • Sewing kit
  • Work gloves
  • Waterproof gear – boots, jackets, pants
  • Cold weather clothing – scarves, mittens, thick socks, thermal underwear
  • Shoelaces
  • Underwear – socks, underwear, t-shirts
  • Head covers – hats, bandanas
  • Reading glasses
emergency essentials

Emergency Essential Cleaning & Laundry Supplies

  • Laundry detergent
  • Bleach
  • Laundry supplies – clothesline, clothespins, washboard, bucket
emergency essentials

Emergency Essential Power & Fuel

  • Generator
  • Firewood
  • Propane
  • Solar-powered water heater
  • Lighting – oil lamp with oil, lantern with batteries, headlamp
  • Gasoline container
  • Extra Batteries – standard batteries, rechargeable batteries, solar-powered battery charger
  • Hand-crank
  • Hand pumps & siphons
  • Candles
emergency essentials

Emergency Essential Tools & Gear

  • Wood tools – axe, hatchet, bow saw
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Flashlights
  • Duct tape
  • Super glue
  • Hand tools – multi-tool, hammer, wrenches, pliers files
  • Trash can & garbage bags
  • Materials – tarps, stakes, rope, nails
  • Gardening supplies – seeds, tools
  • Water – containers, filters, purifiers, tablets, water testing kit, Life Straw
  • Portable toilet
  • Fishing supplies – fishing rod, line, tackle
  • Insect repellent
  • Pest supplies – mouse traps, ant traps, cockroach magnets
  • AM/FM radio for updates, news and to check the weather
  • Cell phone
emergency essentials

Emergency Essential Sleeping & Shelter Gear

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bags
  • Bedding – blankets, pillows, emergency blanket
  • Cots, inflatable mattresses, or sleeping mats
emergency essentials

Miscellaneous Emergency Essentials

  • Books – survival guide, The Boy Scout Handbook
  • Writing paper, pens, & pencils
  • Copies of important documents in a waterproof container or bag
  • Wagons or utility carts
  • Bags – backpacks, duffel bags, tote bags
  • Training (Prepare by taking a first aid class, learning CPR, practicing wilderness survival skills, etc.)
  • Two-way radio
  • Pet food and other essential items for your pets

In Conclusion

It’s crucial to be prepared for natural disasters and other emergencies. Starting an emergency kit (even if you’re starting from scratch and adding to it slowly) is a great place to start!

For more useful information on how to prepare for emergencies, visit RedCross.org or Ready.gov.

YouTube video
Wheat is an essential dry good in any emergency survival food supply!

Read This Next

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • Hi, Jilleee: Thank you for the information. I’ve been reading your blog posts and it has been helping me and my family through this pandemic.

    • Melissa, thanks for your kind words. My team and I are so happy that you love our website and tips! We are here to make people’s lives easier with solutions to everyday homekeeping, beauty routines, recipes, natural products and more.

  • Great list Jillee..One more thing to add..Cash…I learned years ago when the power went out in the NE no ATM’s or Credit Card machines would work.

  • Thank you. I learn a few new things.
    I have taken the emergency preparedness classes. This is a requirement for all private school teachers.

  • Thank you. I learned a few new things.
    I have most and have taken these classes. Teachers are required to take the emergency preparedness classes.

  • Anyone wanting a printable version, it’s super easy. Just scroll back up to the picture of Jillee & the Instant Pot. Right above that picture is a green button that says Print Friendly. Click that. Another tab will load with this entire blog post. You can delete pictures or paragraphs or whatever & be left with just a printable version of the list.

  • This would be great in a printable list, especially with a place to place a check mark by the things you have already gathered. Any chance you have one?

  • I use clear, air -tight containers, like the one in the photo with the flour in it or the tall ones from the deli, for putting jars of honey and molasses, or anything sticky, for a little extra protection against pests… especially if you’re in an older make -do a partment kitchen. They cost next to nothing and work for me.

  • crates for pets with names, address in permanent marker. We were able to house pets at human shelters in a rescue van, letting pet parents visiting time. If you go out of state with pets, you may need rabies proof.

  • Thank you so much for this list! You are always timely and have the perfect information. Maybe in another post you could explain some of the items listed. I don’t know how you come up with something new every single day, and every time you do, I am amazed!

  • You have water listed, but a gallon of drinking water per person, per day is recommended. Down here, on the Great Plains, we are in tornado country. Emergency response is a lot better than it used to be, but it can still take some time before they can get to you. A hand cranked or battery operated radio would be essential for staying up to date on the current situation.

  • This is a very good list (I would add pet food, as well..). But, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t hoard anything that may be coming back onto the shelves that is in short supply now! Our grocery shelves in FL look like scenes from a war-torn movie…empty! And with people price-gouging…insanity has struck! Hopefully, in the next weeks and months ahead, we will calm ourselves. Stay safe and healthy, everyone!

    • In Arkansas our Attorney General is going after all these sorry suckers that are taking advantage of the terrible time in all our lives with price gouging. She has spoken to the people of our great state numerous times recently and warned about this price gouging stuff. She “will prosecute to the fullest extent”. Our governor keeps us informed daily. So much has been closed down and seems to be mostly younger persons think they can just blow and go whenever and where ever they want to go. Please stay home and encourage especially our younger people to practice social distance from each other. I realize this is a little bit of the subject. Great post today, Jillee.

  • I always worry about the amount of non-recyclable plastic there is in these lists, in fact any plastic. We should all be trying not to be responsible for more landfill. It is now possible to find alternatives made with bamboo, cardboard, recycled paper etc.

  • One thing I didn’t see on the list was pet food. We have always had cats and I worried about them in the event of an emergency. About 20 years ago we bought large bags of dry cat food from Costco. We canned it in the one gallon metal cans and stashed it away. Recently we wondered if it was still good. We opened a can and it seemed fine. The cats didn’t like it as well as the fresher food, but they ate it. The canned dry food stayed good for many years, and no bugs to worry about either.

  • This is a wonderful list. We have grown children with children and in this society this generation doesn’t general think ahead for disaster. I’m copying this for all the kids and their friends. We are in hurricane season and keeping extra water and batteries at hand is about all that is encouraged. thank you all.

  • Preparing for armageddon doesn’t appear to be a thing here in the UK as it seems in the US. I suppose that’s because we’re not so prone to natural disasters here in these lil isles? Having said that though, I do like to be prepared (I wasn’t in the Girl Guides for a whole 13 years for nothing!)
    However I think I prefer to use this list more as a basis for making my home / lifestyle more self- sufficient. I want to live day-to-day comfortably with less reliance on the “grid”; and so should disaster ever strike we will be less affected and meantime have a smaller impact on the planet. How does that sound to American ears? :)

    • I live in the Pacific Northwest, where we’re preparing, not for armageddon, but for the inevitable Major Earthquake. I’m not worried about the government or terrorists; I’m concerned with the ticking time bomb in our seismic basement. My brother in rural Colorado, on the other hand, is a more traditional “prepper,” worried about EMPs and pandemic. I keep telling him he needs to worry less about perimeter defence and more on self-sustainability.

  • Thanks again, Jillee. You always give us really worthwhile information.

    This is an excellent source list. Certainly one that I will be printing out, putting in a plastic sleeve and using for a check list. In fact, making several copies would be good. One for the household notebook and one to put with the emergency items.
    A lot of this we should have organized and ready anyway like the important numbers of accounts, phone number and addresses , copies of important papers etc.
    It is too easy to procrastinate these things. I need to get busy.

  • I really liked the ” Survival Guide Book, The Boy Scout Manual” suggestion, what good is it to have some things if we don’t know what to do with them… I bet a survival manual or other how-to books could come in handy.

  • Stockpiling is all well and good, but if the crisis lasts long enough the stockpiles will dwindle. The one thing I never see in these lists is knowing where the local farmers are — you know, the people who raise your food. If there is a crisis that prevents the trucks from arriving, those local food sources will be targets for looting, and both essential animals and food crops will be destroyed by unthinking mobs. These are the people you want to protect at all costs — they have the skills and foresight to produce the foods you need to survive. We all need to be thinking of ways of rebuilding agriculture in this country in the name of homeland security. The farmers will be able to train others in how to grow, prepare and regenerate your region’s food needs, how to build crucial soil and fertilizers. We need to begin to think in terms of people and their skills as well as “stuff”. Assessments of who has what skills — builders, doctors, nurses, alternative medical people, firemen, hunters, farmers, etc., are crucial to our wellbeing in long lasting emergencies. Our communities need to build models of how to organize people with crucial skill sets before the emergencies arise. Remember, emergency response systems will likely be down. So start assessing what skills (and tools) live in your own neighborhood. We will survive and have a life worth living only if we are willing to be part of a living social web.

  • Sigh. Another thing to worry about. I do have a stock of water and some “go bags” at the ready. I’ve never quite felt I’ve finished getting ready, as it is impossible to be totally prepared for every emergency. Seems, though, that 95% of what’s on the list is what you’d have in the house anyway. You do need to think about having to evacuate your house in a hurry, but you can only take what you could possibly carry in a backpack. Water needs to be refreshed periodically, as well as the food in your go bag. I keep quite a bit of water on hand. It came in handy when we had a plumbing emergency that lasted a few days. Sure is nice to be able to flush your toilet, if you had to shelter in place. I also keep old squeeze ketchup bottles filled with water to use by the sinks for handwashing. It’s a lot easier to use than trying to pour water from a big jug, and a more economical way to dispense it.
    One thing I heard when listening to the horror stories following Katrina was about a couple who were totally prepared for the hurricane. They had their bags packed and were ready to move to another city. In their bags they had copies of the licenses they needed to practice their jobs. That way they were each able to get a job in their new home city. I thought that was brilliant planning. What I didn’t see in skimming your list was Information. All sorts, from bank account numbers, to phone numbers, passwords, identification, a resume, prescriptions. And money. Lots of it. I also read of a recommendation for sturdy shoes/boots, in case the emergency requires you to walk through difficult terrain or debris to escape. We can’t always assume we’ll be able to hop in a car, or on a bus, to get out of harm’s way. I’m skipping the gun. If it gets that bad, just shoot me.

  • Good ideas. Also keep $50 cash on hand. Some situations like a city wide power outages ATMs won’t work. Another idea, I’m not sure what they call them- they are small little ovens that can plug into your cars adapters. They sell them at gas stations that cater to truckers. Where i l live it’s the flying j ones that carry these or you can order online.

  • I would also make sure to have pet food and leashes.
    First aid supplies to be used for both. Rolled up newspaper can be used for splinting a arm or leg and as well for you animal. Paper can also be in fire to start it and can be an insulation between the ground and tent or sleeping bag.

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