Guest Post – 5 Easy To Carry Foods For Your 72-Hour Kit

Today’s post is by Chet over at


When something unexpected happens and your family needs to evacuate your home, either by car or on foot, a proper 72-hour kit can provide everything you need to sustain yourself for up to three days.  Many people tend to overburden their kits with food—forgetting that they are for survival, not gourmet dining.

Because 72-hour kits must be packaged in containers small enough to be carried, such as a backpack or plastic tote, it’s important to choose food that is both easy to carry and nourishing. Remember to include food items that you and your family will actually eat, and don’t underestimate the power of a few comfort foods to ease stress during what could be a difficult and traumatic time.

Here are five long-lasting, easy to carry foods essential to a lightweight 72-hour kit:

1. Beef jerky: Long-lasting and delicious, beef jerky is a survival kit staple. It has a long shelf life, doesn’t require cooking and is packed with flavor. As an added bonus, jerky contains high levels of protein and zinc. Jerky is also high in sodium, however, which can increase your thirst, so eat it sparingly.

2.  Canned foods:  Adding canned foods to your 72-hour emergency kit gives you a range of meal options, such as tuna, soup, stew, chili or pasta with sauce. Look for low sodium options with high nutritional value. Don’t forget to include a can opener. Some traditional canned foods are even available in vacuum-sealed pouches—so look for variations of tuna, stew and other ready to eat foods packaged this way for a lighter weight alternative.

3. Energy bars: Whether you invest in high-calorie survival bars or the basic granola bars, these can give you a burst of energy when you need it most. Choose those bars with higher protein and calorie content and put in a range of flavors for variety, such as coconut, peanut butter or banana nut. Make sure the bars are individually wrapped for maximum storage advantage.

4. Trail mix: Buy commercial trail mixes or make your own, but the best blends for survival kits mix dried fruits (such as raisins or cranberries), sweets (small chocolate chips or candy-coated chocolate) and nuts (such as almonds or peanuts). Trail mix provides you with several nutrients and lots of calories in a salty-sweet blend of crunchy goodness. Portion out homemade blends into doubled-up, zippered plastic sandwich bags for easy portability.

5. Drink mixes: Gain extra physical and psychological advantages with a range of drink mixes. Ideas include packets of hot chocolate mix, cider mix, instant tea, fruit drink mix, powdered milk and breakfast shake powders. You’ll need to stay hydrated in an emergency situation, and these mixes can entice you to keep on drinking, plus provide much-needed calories.

Cycle through your 72-hour kit every six months to check that your food items haven’t expired and replenish where necessary. When an emergency occurs, you’ll be glad you prepared your 72-hour kit with all the items you’ll need to survive and thrive during the next few days.


This guest post is written by Chett Wright of Food Insurance, a supplier of emergency food storage supplies. Get your own food storage plan together by visiting

13 comments… add one
  • riverrider August 19, 2013, 9:56 am

    um, agree with 1&3 but the rest not so much. cans are too heavy if you have to move out. opt for mre entre or tuna, spam, and chicken are available in the same type packaging even at the grocery store. trail mix is great for a backpacking trip but won’t last long in the trunk of a car. better to use mre peanut butter etc. jiff even sells pb in single serve plastic tubs, and theres cheese spread coming out now packaged for trail use. some folks like freeze dries foods for light weight, but they require cooking gear,fuel, water etc. …jmho

  • Sage August 19, 2013, 10:13 am

    Good tips, thanks!
    I lighten my load by creating dried foods from leftovers/foods I prepare to dehydrate. Almost anything can be dehydrated and vacuum-sealed (**completely** dry to avoid botulism) or just stored in freezer bags. Grab some water as you leave, and you have instant meals. Spaghetti and sauce, sliced muffins as “cookies,” soups (dry the solids and liquids separately, combine in individual packets), yogurt “chips,” tomato (and other veggies) powder for instant soup, mashed potatoes and gravy, cooked eggs…. Almost infinite possibilities.

  • ThatguyinCA August 19, 2013, 11:35 am

    For the “don’t under-estimate the power of comfort foods . . . . ”

    A jar of Nutella. (a bit of chocolate does wonders for morale)

  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. August 19, 2013, 1:41 pm

    Also research ‘parched corn’, an old method of dried / crushed corn used in old days. The jerky and trail mix sound good – powdered drinks should also picked out for vitamin C and potassium content for stamina.

  • Leslie Anne August 19, 2013, 7:44 pm

    Hardtack and a canteen-o-whiskey…that’s all I need :)

  • T.R. August 19, 2013, 8:53 pm

    Freeze dry guy has the main entre LRRP rations , they are compact , long shelf life , and from what I have read , dont tast bad , made by the same company that makes the Mountain House stuff .

  • T.R. August 19, 2013, 8:53 pm

    Freeze dry guy has the main entre LRRP rations , they are compact , long shelf life , and from what I have read , dont taste bad , made by the same company that makes the Mountain House stuff .

  • JL August 20, 2013, 1:51 am

    I think these are great ideas, comfort food is extremely important. I got 36 packs of Skittles and Starburst for free, my son asked why the were important in an emergency. I explained that if something bad happens then a couple pieces of candy can make a world of difference. Anything familiar is going to make things better.

  • Mike the Gardener August 20, 2013, 11:55 am

    Makes sense. Most people equate a 72-hour kit with a bug out bag … and rightfully so. But the more I though about it. The 72 hour kit could also be a large plastic tub that you can quickly throw in your car and get the heck out of dodge. If that is the case, then canned foods are not such a bad option.

  • Scott September 1, 2013, 11:49 pm

    If I was doing a quick list of light and easy foods, I wouldn’t have canned foods there at all. If you have ever backpacked, you know how heavy they get.
    My list would be:
    1) Pemmican and Jerky (Beef, turkey, salmon, etc)
    2) Dry Soup Mixes/Ramen and bouillon cubes
    3) Energy, Cereal and Meal Replacement Bars
    4) Dry Pasta (elbow mac, cous-cous, orzo, soup noodles, etc)
    5) Peanut Butter
    In addition I’d add if possible:
    6) An assortment of dehydrated fruits (raisins, prunes, berries, etc)
    7) Powdered drinks like presweetened Gatorade, Koolaid, Non-fat Milk, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Hot Chocolate, Tea, etc.
    8) Parched Corn (Corn Nuts) and Soybeans (edemame)
    9) Packets of Bisquick instant biscuit mixes (Buttermilk, Cheesy Garlic, etc.) {Can also be used as dumplings}
    10) Crackers (saltines, hardtack, goldfish, etc.)

    A small bottle of Multivitamins should also be placed in the kit for any nutrients that such a limited fare might be lacking.

  • scooter August 22, 2016, 3:16 am

    I notice a lot of people recommend no canned foods, but they are generally way cheaper than freeze dried or dehydrated foods, with a comparable shelf life. The weight difference is actually negligible if you have to carry the extra water to rehydrate the dried food with. Also, the metal cans, when empty, can be used for a multitude of purposes, such as building a small cooking/heating stove and cooking/eating utensils, and fashioning crude metal tools.

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