In light of all the super storms, wild fires, and flooding that happens across the country, I wanted to be prepared in case of an evacuation. I did lots of online research to see what was the best thing to pack in a 72 hour emergency bag. Everyone talks about MREs and you end up on lots of sites that discuss having a hideaway that you bug out to in case society crumbles. I just wanted a pack ready to grab in case of a disaster that forces us to evacuate. It also can serve the same purpose if we get snowed in. It contains three days of food that is ready to eat and does not require heating (though it would be better if it was). There are a few companies that made shelf stable meals that you could eat cold and it wouldn't be the end of the world. I also have protein bars, gum, plastic utensils, paper towels, and energy drink mix. This is my DIY MRE.
Each of us gets one of these bags per day. I packed the whole day's worth in a gallon size bag and labeled it for whose it is. My husband has a dairy allergy so I had to make sure to label which were safe for him.
When planning emergency food you need to count the calories. These bags hold most of our food, but in the backpack I also included a jar of peanut butter, peanut M&Ms, and a couple cans of pineapple.
I also used plastic containers to hold a radio (old walkman), batteries, and a battery powered emergency phone charger. Make sure to store the batteries outside of the electronics.
Another container has the first aid kit with a Swiss army knife, matches and other small useful items.
Other things to think about that I don't have in the pictures: I put rolls of toilet paper in gallon sized bags, several packs of handy wipes, extra thermal back warmers that could be useful in a Chicago winter, sterno, sunglasses, copies of important paperwork, my extra state ID, house key, cash, flash lights, and duck tape. I also have gallons of water that we would just have to grab. Currently everything is in one overstuffed incredibly heavy backpack. I think I want to redo things soon, split it into two bags, change some of the food options (also need to switch out based on expiration dates). I also want to add some emergency blankets, rope, gloves, socks, and other things you would be glad of if you left your house in a hurry for several days. Don't forget medications if you take them.
This pack sits on top of my art supply tool chest in my closet along with the gallons of water. I need to get more water because in my building if we loose power, we loose water pressure and no one above the second floor will get water.
I've also started a small supply of food storage for use in the event the city looses power for a week. I watch episodes of certain reality shows set in New York and realized I wanted to be prepared after watching the episode of the aftermath and what it was like in the city for a week afterwards. We don't have a pantry in our kitchen so we have limited space for food. I've started keeping emergency food in my closet. You do what you have to.
Update: I've updated all the food items in the kit. Instead of trying to have food that resembles a meal or MRE, it's loaded with protein bars, apple sauce pouches, beef jerky, turkey snack sticks, a jar of peanut butter and saltines, peanuts and those little chicken salad kits, and dark chocolate bars. It is much lighter now. I still divided up the food in the same gallon zip locks. I want to add some dried or freeze dried fruit still and some emergency blankets. I now have 5 gallons of water stored in my closet with this pack.