This is part of a multi-part series on 72-hour kits. See the other parts by clicking on the links to the right.
SHELTERI actually figure that the most likely scenario where we would use our 72-hour kit is one where we end up in an established shelter of some sort, a school or church or the like. So, I'll be honest, I've kind of skimped when it comes to shelter. I've included a rope and duct tape and figured we could use the garbage sacks and foil blankets we have to put together a sad covering if we really needed to.
However, as I work on rebuilding our kits, I might give in and purchase some simple, lightweight shelters like the triangle tube tent below. It only weighs a few ounces, folds up to the size of a smart phone, and holds two adults. It's open on both ends, so you'd have to use some duct tape to close one end and use plants or debris in front of the other. You don't want it entirely closed because you still want to release carbon dioxide. There are no stakes to hold it down, but four rocks on the inside corners will do that duty. It's made out of mylar (that shiny thin metal stuff) so should reflect back body heat and keep rain and snow off.
SHELTER -- foil BLANKET fleece --
I currently have those thin mylar blankets. The link I've posted above is for ten. But, they are less than 80 cents each! You can have extra for shelter, split the order with someone else, or give some away at that price. Mylar blankets are super for space and weight savings, but they just lack something as far as psychological warmth goes. So, I am thinking that if room in our new packs allows, I will probably add a small, lightweight fleece blanket to most of the packs. This will be in addition to, not as a replacement for the mylar blankets. The mylar blankets have a ton of other potential uses. They can be used to collect rain or dew, keep the rain off, as a shelter, or to reflect the sun for starters. Anyway, I'll probably look for fleece blankets at thrift stores like Goodwill, Value Village and D.I. but, I've included a link to one just in case.
In addition to blankets, we have the Sterno cans we have for heating our food. However, open flame has it's own concerns of fire and asphyxiation, if being used in a closed space. Plus, we don't want to use up our food heat before we've used up our food. So, that's a limited heat source.
Finally, we have a supply of chemical hot packs like the ones below. These are super duper easy to use and won't start a fire. You do have to be careful using them with small children, the elderly or anyone else who may not be able to sense if they get too hot. Just make sure there is a good barrier between them and the hot pack. I have plain hand ones which are a plain rectangle shape. You can put these in your shoes, but they do make a shoe one as well. I've never tried it, however.
WARMER PONCHO TAPE
CLOTHINGClothing: the bane of any mother's existence. We are constantly picking it up, washing it, putting it away, and buying new clothes for ever growing kids. Even in a disaster, we've got to think about clothing. It's one of the few areas that I can't get around having to check and rotate the clothes because my kids just keep growing. The packs that the rats got into had diapers in them, but my youngest is six an has been potty trained for several years! Obviously, I've fallen behind.
To start with, I've put in disposable rain ponchos. I live in the Pacific Northwest. It rains here, a lot. On a day to day basis, it's not that big of a deal and people don't even use umbrellas. But, it's not fun to be wet and not be able to dry out. The ponchos are very thin. When I say they are disposable, I mean disposable. Treat them gently. They'll be too big for most children. Use your duct tape to size them as needed. The link above is for four ponchos. If you watch, you can probably find these cheaper. I just saw them at Winco for less than a dollar each.
Next I'm going to add a warm hat for each family member. I prefer fleece because fleece cuts wind and repels water better. If you don't have any extra hats, check your local dollar store. You can probably save more there than even at thrift stores. There are links to a couple of good deals below if you don't want to shop around.
Then I'm adding two pair of socks per person. Now, here comes my evil secret. You know that pile of mismatched socks we all have? Mine is HUGE. I'm going to find socks that are alike in shape and use those. I don't really care if they match otherwise, as long as they are warm. If you don't want to go this route, there's a link to some wool socks in all sizes below.
While cleaning out the kids clothes, pull out something ratty but still durable and warm and stick that in their pack for clothing. One change per person. Include some sort of jacket, coat, or sweater. This should be rotated every six months or so depending on how fast your child is growing. We all know babies grow super fast and teen boys sprout like weeds.
Finally, sturdy shoes and work boots should be included for each family member. To be honest, my budget doesn't really allow this. So, I rely on the last pair of shoes they've trashed but still fits and isn't being worn. It's better than nothing.
I'm packing all clothing in ziplock or seal-a-meal bags so that they stay dry.
disclaimer: I do get a small commission if you purchase through the links above. But, mostly, they are there to illustrate what I'm talking about and for reference, so don't feel obligated in any way. :)