72 Hour Kit Series Week #8: Shelter

Welcome!Week #8 in a step by step 72 hour kit series. Makes building a robust, personalized 72 hour kit affordable and do-able!

Welcome to week #8 in the “72 Hour Kit Ideas: A week by week approach” series.

This series is all about making it simple and do-able to get a 72 hour kit put together for you and your family.

Creating such a kit can be overwhelming and financially difficult to do all at once. But through this series, I’ve broken it down for you into 26 small steps! You can see all the steps here. Just take one small baby step each week and in 6 months you will have a well stocked, personalized kit!

You can even go through the series a few times over a year or two adding just the most basic supplies the first six months and then a few more “extra” supplies each time you cycle through it again.

Want even more help?Build a robust, personalized 72 hour kit one week at a time over 26 weeks

This series is also available as an e-book. Purchasing the e-book gives you a few additional benefits over just reading the free series:

  • Additional details and tips
  • The ability to print the entire book!
  • Pictures of my own kit showing just how I pack each week.
Download “Your Own 72 Hour Kit Plan” E-Book Now!


Week #8: Shelter

You will need a way to protect your family from the “elements” following a disaster.  It may be extremely hot or cold.  It may be raining or snowing.

Personally, I think this is one area you can skimp on a bit until you have more funds.  While it is possible that you would have to evacuate completely on foot with nowhere to go, it is far more likely that you’d be traveling to some sort of shelter.  Many churches provide shelter during an emergency and the Red Cross usually has something available as well.  The chances of not being able to find any shelter are slim.

However, it is possible you will need to walk to that shelter and you may need to protect your family as you go.   You may also prefer to sleep outside of a provided shelter to keep your family separate from others.

This week, add something to protect your family from the elements.


Tents are ideal, but can get pricey and heavy!  There are ways to protect your family from the elements on a smaller budget.  As such, I’ve separated my suggestions into three categories.  If you have small children, make sure you choose something they will actually use / wear.  You should show it to them and have them practice wearing it (poncho) or getting in it (tent).

Small Budget:

  • Try a  poncho (you can even use a large garbage bag instead).
  •  A couple of drop cloths  can work as well: hang one above you on trees or a rope and lay one out under you if needed.

Medium Budget:

  • A couple of tarps (used similarly to the drop cloths mentioned above with a rope).
  • A more durable poncho.
  • A tube tent or two.


Larger Budget:

What we have done in our family:

We have six ponchos total and one dome tent and a drop cloth (to go under the tent) in each adult kit.  We would each sleep with two kiddos in a tent with us.  We used to have tube tents instead and just recently switched to the dome tents.  They are a bit bulkier / heavier, but I like them better because they have a door!  (-:


How About You?

Leave me a comment and tell me what type of shelter you will be adding to your kit.  Why?  What will you be doing this week?


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Week #7: Clothes Week #9: Staying Warm Week #1: Packaging Your Kit Series Into: Survival Kit Series, A Week by Week Approach

Becky is a wildlife enthusiast and pet and livestock care expert with a diploma in canine nutrition. With over a decade of experience in animal welfare, Becky lends her expertise to Simple Family Preparedness through insightful info about pets, livestock, bee keeping, and the practicalities of homesteading.

156 thoughts on “72 Hour Kit Series Week #8: Shelter”

  1. I have a 4 man tent. I also know how to make a good shelter if I need to. I also have a nice 2-man tent that we would put food and supplies in to protect from the elements.

  2. We have sleeping bags, but I’m not sure how warm they are; we’ve only used them when camping and the weather is not too cold. I am going to put the “Blizzard” survival sleeping bag on my wish list and work on getting one for each of us. We have emergency blankets now and I can grab some regular blankets on the way out the door if needed. I think I may also add a few emergency thermal sleeping bags, so if the temperature requires it we could use both or have extra to share.

  3. I have added a fleece blanket and a wool blanket. I also have a piece of plastic large enough to place under the cheapo sleeping bags(that we already had) and a separate piece of plastic that could be used as a rain shield. If you can’t stay dry-you can’t stay warm.

  4. I am new here, and of course overwhelmed. However, you explain things so well that it gives me a place to start. I actually started last night and have last years backpacks and some small things that you listed for 72 hour kits for kids. Do you tie the sleeping bags to the backpacks? I am adding an empty pillow case, we can always stuff clothes in it to make a pillow without getting things dirty. Any hints anyone can share as I scramble to get this done by weeks end would be so helpful. My kids are from toddler to teen.

    • Welcome Susan! I’m glad you’ve found the site helpful. I keep our sleeping bags in the garage in an easy to grab place, but they are not with our kits just b/c they are too big / bulky. We have other blankets etc IN the kits. And I LOVE the idea of the empty pillowcase to stuff with clothes! Thanks!

  5. Just found your blog through pinterest and love it! Going to start a kit for my family (2 adults, 3 cats, 1 dog) cant wait o get it started.

  6. We just recently used our 15 degree bags and realized they were not warm enough for me . I wouldnt be misrable but not comfortable so ill be keeping an eye out for a good deal. But other than that were good this week. But everyone should test their stuff before needing it. I thought I was good until a few weeks ago.

  7. This is one area where i am lacking. We have (old) sleeping bags that are plenty warm, but heavy to carry and not conducive to a go-kit. Ill keep ’em in the car though. I do have those mylar blankets in each kit, but i question whether they are worth anything. Still, better than nothing. I have also tucked a piece of fleece in….just from the fabric store. Lightweight, quick-dry & inexpensive. My goal, though is to get good sleeping bags that are lightweight. Thanks for the tips!

    • The mylar blankets help more than you’d think, but they aren’t ideal….and I totally get having bags that are just too big / bulky! (-:

  8. I will be digging out some sleeping bags (we have a few in our trailer and some in the garage but not near our 72 hr. kits. Thanks for reminding me I have not even thought to include bedding options to the degree necessary! Thanks for all the great info!

  9. We currently have a Kid X sleeping bag for our son and will be adding Backit bags for myself & my husband in July. We also have blankets in the car, because we feel you can never be too prepared and know that anything can happen…anytime.

  10. We are set in this area. We have emergency blankets and wool blankets in our packs and sleeping bags next to them in case we can go by car.

  11. My wife and kids are going to our church’s sister parish (in Appalachia) next week to run their VBS for them, and taking an old mattress pad to lay on (they’re just staying in the church’s basement).

    I plan on yoinking that and binding it tightly to add to our supplies. Unwieldy, but will be a huge help in combating sore backs if we ever need it.

  12. We have 2 sleeping bags. Our daughter will sleep with one of us for now. Hopefully getting her her own sleeping bag soon. Definitely going to check out the Amazon sales!! Thanks for the great info!

  13. My husband and I each have a SOL emergency bivvy in our packs. We also have three down mummy bags that we got from either the Army Surplus or yard sales. I have another mummy bag that has synthetic material and is rated to 0′ to 5′. We need at least four more extreme weather bags. We have six children and live in the Pacific Northwest, so I am keeping my eyes open at yard sales for some great finds. I pray we can find everyone a good sleeping bag before the Winter months hit.

  14. I’ve found myself falling behind. But the great part about your series is you can actually jump right in where you are. So this week I’ve collected our sleeping bags (from the various storage places we had them) and purchased some of those silver thermo blankets. Not too large and figure they can be used to reflect light too and can double as a cooking source if needed. Everything is neatly placed in the front of my garage until I can figure a better place to store them.


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