Different Types Of 72 Hour Kits For Every Emergency Scenario

Wild Fire Emergency Scenario

Emergency preparedness is something everyone should be interested in to some extent. I’ve said for years now that I see prepping for a disaster as our ‘social responsibility’ just as much as it being a personal or selfish objective. I can’t put it much simpler than this:

Having a quality 72-hour emergency kit at the ready, packed with a carefully-planned checklist of emergency essentials, can make a big difference to your survival prospects in the event of an emergency. Short version: It could help you survive when you otherwise (probably) wouldn’t.

Choose The Right Type Of 72-Hour Kit For YOU

Disaster Emergency Situation

But not all crises are the same, in fact they can vary so much that some kits would be of virtually no use compared to others in certain emergency situations. So it’s crucial to understand the many different types of 72-hour kit for the almost endless list of possible disaster events you could be faced with.

Most people will only have one 72 hour kit so making the right choice of both kit type, as well as its core components, is vitally important to your survival. It’s almost as important as the decision whether to have a survival kit at all or not.

Below is a list of the most common types of emergency kit for various catastrophic situations. From natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires to man-made emergencies like power outages, chemical spills, and civil unrest, there are many situations where having a well-stocked 72-hour backpack can and almost certainly will save your life. (And probably the lives of your family and friends too).

Just before we look at the types, you should be aware there are two broad categories that all emergency survival kits fall under:

Pre-Made (Factory) Emergency Kit

Blue Seventy Two - Emergency 1 person 72 hour kit from Blue Coolers

These are factory-produced and come ready-made, stocked with emergency supplies designed to last 72 hours. A premade kit is obviously the ‘easy’ choice, and even though a professionally-designed kit is a great thing to have, the manufacturers have to cater to everyone’s needs rather than just yours. They obviously can’t factor in your personalized survival gear checklist when they’re mass-producing these generic survival backpacks for national or often global appeal.

If you’re in the market for one of these you could check out my article reviewing the ten best pre-made 72 hour kits.  

Home-Made 72-Hour Survival Kits

Building A Survival Backpack

Making your own bug out bag, choosing every item of survival gear yourself before choosing the best backpack to pack it all into, is something I really think you should consider doing if possible. Not only can it work out cheaper but (much more importantly) it means your kit can be personalized to your own personal and very specific needs.

Think about routine medications, special dietary needs, whether you suffer from the cold, eat more than most, whether you shave (do you really need a razor if you have a beard?!), whether you’re a diabetic prepper, and so on.

For more on this you can read my article explaining how to build your own 72-hour kit, and you should also learn how to determine your prepping ‘fingerprint’.

With that out of the way, here are the six most common types of 3 day survival kits:

Urban Emergency Kit

This kit is designed for people living in cities or suburbs where supplies may be scarce if infrastructure breaks down or in the event of riots or other civil disorder.

Urban Unrest Emergency Scenario

They include items like dust masks, cash, and copies of documents that support self-reliance and potentially dealing with law enforcement or other authorities like National Guard who may have stricter rules in place than normal.

Having sturdy but comfortable shoes and warm clothing is vitally important if you need to walk long distances, especially on asphalt or hard ground.

Generally an urban kit should include:

  • 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare foods like granola bars, canned goods, powdered milk, jerky, etc.
  • 3 gallons of water per person
  • First aid kit with any necessary routine medications
  • Flashlight, radio, batteries
  • Cash in small denominations
  • Copies of important documents in waterproof bag
  • Sturdy shoes and warm clothing
  • Whistle or alarm for signaling and calling for help 
  • Dust masks in case of debris/smoke etc

Wilderness Survival Kit

Being stranded in the wild has its own unique set of challenges and threats.

Wilderness Survival Kit

Focus on water purification, fire, shelter, navigation, and gathering food through fishing/trapping/hunting. Weather is a big risk factor so packing emergency blankets and extra layers is essential.

The beauty of the great outdoors is something many of us love to enjoy. But there’s a big difference between enjoying it voluntarily, and having to thrive in it against your will, without the option of returning home for a warm shower and hot meal when you’re tired, wet and hungry. It then becomes a formidable beast to contend with on your own. Preparation is everything.

  • Water purifying tablets or filter
  • Fire starting supplies like matches, lighter, tinder 
  • Knife, paracord, fishing line and hooks
  • Navigation items like map, compass, GPS device
  • Shelter supplies like tent, tarp, emergency blanket 
  • Signaling devices like mirror, whistle, flare
  • Food procurement tools like snares, traps
  • Rifle, even just a .22LR would make finding food 100 times easier.

Winter Storm Kit

These focus on protecting you from the elements, being cold and wet is the fastest and most direct route to hypothermia, even indoors. It has a habit of sneaking up on people too, so you need to learn the signs of hypothermia in order to recognise them early and take immediate action.

Low temperatures and heavy snowfall can knock out power and isolate you inside. Focus on keeping warm and dry, and with a reasonable level of morale and positivity about your situation, again even more so if you’re stuck indoors or if it’s not safe to venture outside.

Winter Survival Outdoors

Think heavily insulated gear, hand/foot warmers and blankets. Insulated water containers are worth considering and of course the ability to light a fire could easily be a lifesaver.

  • Warm blankets, hats, gloves, jackets
  • Hand and foot warmers 
  • High energy foods like nuts, protein bars  
  • Shovel, rock salt to clear ice 
  • Flashlight, batteries 
  • Waterproof matches, tinder, coal if possible (if hunkering down)

Pet Preparedness Kit

Pet cat in distress

Caring for a pet in a disaster can be a controversial subject. Depending on the severity of the situation, it may not even be possible.

But if you can keep your pet not just alive, but fed, happy and above all with you, this can be a huge morale booster for anyone.

Dog 72-hour emergency kit

If the pet happens to be a dog, it can be a priceless security tool as well, even if only as an alert system or deterrent to would-be thieves or attackers.

  • 3 day supply of pet food & water
  • Medications, identity documents, vet records
  • Sturdy leashes, carriers, toys
  • Pet first aid supplies, just a few basics for the most likely injuries or ailments
  • Tether – a good wire tether could be useful if you have to leave your dog somewhere for a short period

Child Comfort Kit

Kids have needs beyond just basic survival.

They’re vulnerable and much more prone to panic than adults, this in itself can be a big burden for any parent in a crisis. A stressed child also takes virtually all of your attention and energy, so it’s in your interest as well as the child’s, to keep them as calm and happy as possible.

Child in distress

You need to do everything you can to help your child relax and have confidence that everything will be ok. This can be taken care of with careful planning. 

  • Favorite non-perishable snacks
  • Small games, books, stuffed animals
  • Coloring books, crayons
  • Music or story-tapes and suitable player
  • Favourite toy or blanket for bedtime
  • Candy or other ‘treats’ for temporary distraction/encouragement
  • Medicine to aid sleep
  • Change of clothes and shoes – warm and comfortable

Earthquake Readiness Kit

This kit focuses on safety gear like goggles, rope, tools, masks for digging through rubble etc.

Earthquake preparedness equipment

The goal here is to await successful evacuation while staying in relative safety and helping others, most of them no doubt having no emergency supplies at all, some of them probably accused you of wearing a tin-foil hat in past times! But this is no time to gloat. (That can come soon enough once everyone is safely sat around a pot of coffee!)

  • Sturdy shoes and gloves for clearing debris
  • Dust masks and goggles to protect lungs from dust
  • Fire extinguisher and wrench for gas shutoff
  • Axe or pry bar for freeing trapped people
  • Flashlights as power likely to be down for some time 


There are more kit types than those mentioned above, and I will extend this list during 2024 (I am currently testing a few new kit types). For now, this list should cover the needs of most people reading but if you have suggestions for ones you’d like me to cover sooner, drop me a message and I’ll add it to my list and get my skates on!

P.S. And as I’ve said since I started 72HP, I’m always more than happy to hear from you and help you choose the right type of survival system for your needs, just send me your specific worries and your location and I will do my best to suggest what areas you should focus on with your preparedness plans.

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