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Shopping Unpacked

Inspired by the first Equipped To Survive podcast, I spent a couple of hours on a lazy Saturday afternoon preparing a 72-hour kit for my family. Having a suitable 72-hour kit on standby means you’ll be ready for emergency situations whether you need to bug out or stay in.

Preparing a 72-hour kit is relatively painless and takes very little time with just a small amount of planning – the most difficult part is getting started. For this exercise, I concentrated only on sustenance (i.e. food and water) since my medical supplies, knives, lights etc are all up to date. 72 hours means food and drink for 4 people (2 adults, 2 young children) – which breaks down to 36 individual meals plus snacks and other comfort food.

I set a target of no more than RM150 (US$36) to spend. Bear in mind I shopped at a generic hypermarket and didn’t go out of my way to look for bargains. While I didn’t always go for the cheapest items, I also didn’t go for top of the line or premium brands all the time. So I think my costs are more on the average side.

Shopping Haul
My shopping haul

The Storage Box
The storage box

The first item on the agenda was a large enough box to hold 72 hours worth of food. I found a reasonably priced 5-gallon plastic storage box with a snap-on lid. As a bonus, it also came with wheels for easier movement.

Storage Box with wheels
The wheels at the bottom of the storage box

The water came in 4 x 5.5 litre bottles – one for each person. This is less than the recommended 8 glasses (250mlx8) of water per day, but I have other water sources to supplement this.

The food selection was chosen based on personal preferences as well as minimal cooking requirements. In fact, the only cooking required was boiling – for rice, noodles and coffee.

Here’s the food list :

Main Meals
Rice 1kg packet
Maggi Mini Noodles (8-pack)
Tuna in brine 4 cans
Sardines in tomato sauce 2 cans
Chicken curry 2 cans
Beef curry 1 can
Chicken frankfurters 1 can
Baked Beans 1 can
Green Peas 1 can
Young corn 1 can

Nescafe 3-in-1 (i.e. coffee, sugar and creamer), 30 stick packs – I took only six for the kit
Milo Chocolate Energy Drink (6-pack ready to drink)
Nestle Low Fat Milk (6-pack)
Apple Juice 1 litre pack

Dessert, Snacks/Comfort foods, etc
Campbell instant soup (3 sachets x 2)
Kellogg’s Assorted Cereal (6-pack x 2) – for breakfast
Nata de Coco (coconut jelly) with pineapple pieces 1 can
Jacobs Cream Crackers 1 packet
Jacobs Sunlife Biscuits (6-pack)
Danone Tiger Sugar Biscuits

The whole kit cost me around RM117 (US$30) I was pleasantly surprised when everything (except the water bottles) fit perfectly into the storage box. I added a couple of plastic garbage/trash bags and a can opener as well. Later I plan to add a pot and some utensils.

All packed up
All nicely packed up

Once packed, the 72-hour kit took hardly any space at all. It’s a convenient enough package to just put in the trunk of the car if necesssary. I plan to rotate the food once every six months – meaning I don’t need to think about my 72-hour kit until next summer.

72 hour kit ready to go

I would definitely recommend that you take the time to build your own kit – you never know when it might come in handy.

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