72 Hour Kit Rotation

Many products and services bill themselves as a “set it and forget it” way of getting things done. Adequate preparedness, however, clashes with this approach. Knowledge fades, food spoils, and medicine expires. One of the most important aspects of preparedness, then, is a refresh or rotation of your supplies or knowledge.

I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (like many people in Utah). Why do I mention that on this blog? Well, every six months our Church has a huge conference over two days. Since it’s such a frequent and expected event, I (like many others of whom I’m aware) have used the weekend as an easy reminder for me to rotate my supplies. Specifically, I rotate the food in my 72 hour kit (I refer to it as a “bugout bag” since it’s got more goodies than your average kit) and one of my water tanks.

This may be fairly basic for many, but here’s what I did for our bugout bags:

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These are our bags: soft-frame hiking backpacks filled to the brim. My wife’s is lighter than mine, and both are stored in the hallway closet close to our front door.

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The food is all stored in a grocery bag at the top of the bag for easy access. In an emergency, food will be one of the primary things I want access to; all other quick-access items (money, radio, flashlight, etc.) are in small pockets and other accessible locations in the bag.

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The bags. And the dog, eagerly anticipating my opening of them.

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Here’s what we have in our two bags: trail mix, beef jerky, soynuts, goldfish, clif bars, pudding, granola bars, energy bars, dehydrated fruit, candy, Ensure drinks, and some life caps.

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I go over each item to check its expiration date and see whether I can (or want to) leave it in the bag for another six months, or pull it out for rotation. The items in this picture are staying in the bag, and all others will be eaten over the next few weeks, and replacements purchased.

For those that have seasonal-specific clothing in their bags, it’s also important to rotate those wardrobes out so you’re not sweltering in the summer heat with a sweater or freezing in the winter with shorts and a tank-top. Given how unpredictable Utah weather can be, I keep a wide array of clothing in my bag.

Again, this post is fairly simple in nature; there is nothing revolutionary about my setup or food choices. Rather, it’s basic documentation of what I’ve done, and an encouragement for you to do the same. A regular rotation of your stored snacks will ensure that when things get crazy and you have to get out quick, you won’t have to eat stale and long-expired remnants of what once was tasty and nutritious.

9 Replies to “72 Hour Kit Rotation”

  1. Good selection; I would also like to know what other things you pack.
    1. How much water?
    2. Any meds?
    3. Clothes?
    4. Tent?

    I put mine together much like you did and after thinking about it for several days re-did it. I got rid of the sweet drinks I had and substituted bottled water. I added a backpacking stove and fuel. I vacuum sealed everything that I didn’t want to get wet, including cash. I vacuum sealed certain clothes items to compress them better. I added a lot of un-salted sunflower seeds, raisins and some soup mix. I packed my down sleeping bag and a lightweight tent. This is pretty much just like a 3 day backpack trip.

    I would suggest, if you have one, to re-package your food items with a vacuum sealer. You can decrease the volume quite a bit that way, plus the vacuum seal bags are much, much tougher than the original packaging. I have been on pack trips where all my goodies were strewn over the bottom of my pack because of wimpy packaging.

  2. Another thought on the clothing especially for kids/babies or those who lose/gain weight is to check the sizes to make sure they'll fit until the next rotation :)

  3. Thanks for the reminder. Rotating every six months is a great way to make sure your supplies are still good, clothes are seasonal and to refamiliarize yourself with the gear in your pack.

  4. Good selection; I would also like to know what other things you pack.
    1. How much water?
    2. Any meds?
    3. Clothes?
    4. Tent?

    I put mine together much like you did and after thinking about it for several days re-did it. I got rid of the sweet drinks I had and substituted bottled water. I added a backpacking stove and fuel. I vacuum sealed everything that I didn’t want to get wet, including cash. I vacuum sealed certain clothes items to compress them better. I added a lot of un-salted sunflower seeds, raisins and some soup mix. I packed my down sleeping bag and a lightweight tent. This is pretty much just like a 3 day backpack trip.

    I would suggest, if you have one, to re-package your food items with a vacuum sealer. You can decrease the volume quite a bit that way, plus the vacuum seal bags are much, much tougher than the original packaging. I have been on pack trips where all my goodies were strewn over the bottom of my pack because of wimpy packaging.

  5. Another thought on the clothing especially for kids/babies or those who lose/gain weight is to check the sizes to make sure they'll fit until the next rotation :)

  6. Thanks for the reminder. Rotating every six months is a great way to make sure your supplies are still good, clothes are seasonal and to refamiliarize yourself with the gear in your pack.

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