Wednesday, April 20, 2011
72-Hour Kit Wednesday – Hygiene Supplies
This week is Hygiene week. We are gathering products to help us with our hygiene needs. This is where the little travel size bottles and tubes can come in handy in buying supplies for your kits. I did find, however that a travel size tube of toothpaste cost as much as a regular small size tube. Of course, if you have any sample sizes or complimentary bottles of shampoo, hand soap etc. those work great too.
One idea that I read about that I thought was fun was a mini hygiene kit for each family member’s pack. These are made either in an old make-up bag, you can use the zippered bags meant for pencil and school supplies, Ziploc baggies or anything like that. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
Any liquid items should be inside Ziploc bags to prevent leakage. Always assume the worst when packing your kits and make sure everything is protected against any kind of accident.
One note about bar soap: This is an important thing to have in a hygiene kit but most bars of soap really smell. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing unless it makes everything else in your kit smell or taste like soap; then it is a terrible thing. I’ve heard people say that when they opened the kit intending to eat the food and rotate in new foods, they had to throw all the food out that wasn't in cans because everything tasted like soap. Luckily they weren’t using the kit in an emergency and left without food. It is a good idea when purchasing your bars of soap if you are buying them, to buy unscented soap so that it doesn’t make any of your food in your kits taste like soap. The problem is that even by putting the soap inside baggies, the smell and taste can still penetrate your food. If possible use unscented soap or put it in a different bag than your food kits are in. The soap in your kits will not need to be rotated so it may be worth it to spend a little more and get unscented soap for your kits then you don’t have to worry.
An even better idea is to put your soap in a different bag than any of your food or snacks. I saw one idea where there was a family hygiene kit packed separately in a fishing tackle box or cheap tool box along with the matches, pocket knife, first-aid kits and various other things. If you separate the soap from the food stuffs you can use the complimentary soaps you get at hotels or just save some partially used bars of soap for your kits. The most important thing is keeping the soap away from your food.
Here is a list of things that you want to include in your hygiene kits. You can add items or take away what you don’t think you need, but in general the hygiene items take up very little space.
Bar Soap, Unscented if possible
Toothpaste and Toothbrushes
Combs or brushes
Pony tail bands or clips for hair
Deodorant if desired
Hand Towels or wash cloth
Packet of anti-bacterial wipes per person or larger pack if doing a family hygiene kit
Kleenexes or Handkerchiefs for each person
Nail clippers or file
Tweezers (optional if you have tweezers in your first aid kits)
Chap Stick or lip balm
Disposable razor (optional)
I really don’t think that everyone in an emergency will be sitting around washing their hair. And as gross as it would be to not brush your teeth for 3 days, it wouldn't kill you. As long as you have something to sanitize your hands with, you could probably go without these. (But really... who wants to??) These items are so small and light that it's almost insignificant the amount of space and weight they take up. So, just add them. Think of how much better you will feel after brushing your teeth, even if your whole body is dirty. If it happens that your emergency lasts longer than 3 days, you’ll be glad you are prepared.