Everyone should have a bug out bag – even if they don’t believe that the world as we know it is going to end soon. This collection of emergency items should be sufficient to meet your survival needs for at least three to five days.
When it comes to building a bug out bag there are literally thousands of posts scattered around the internet. The truth is, most of these lists are just a guideline. So take them all with a grain of salt. Not every list will work for you and there is no single “perfect” pre made kit.
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Basic Contents of a Bug Out Bag
Water is the first thing you have to be sure your bug out bag has. Each person needs about a liter of water daily so you need to have five liters of water if you intend to be ready for five days of isolation. Resources vary on the specific amount you need to store because the Red Cross, for example, suggests a gallon of water per person per day. The water you store should be changed regularly so that it is always fresh. You’ll also want to take along something to collect water in for the days ahead. Pack water purifying tablets. Bleach can do in a pinch, but is harder to pack.
Food is of course the next most important item in a bug out bag. Be ready with enough non-perishable food to last you for three to five days. The best type of food to set aside for this purpose would be canned goods, freeze dried meals, energy bars, and perhaps MREs. Keep in mind freeze dried foods will require water to re-hydrate so be sure to pack a little extra.
You’ll also need a way to cook the food and boil the water. To cook the food, you’ll need a basic cooking set, which would be lightweight pots that can be used over campfires or on a portable camp stove. Be sure to have fire starters or waterproof matches.
Another handy item you might consider is a sillcock key. These inexpensive items will allow you to easily open water sources when you need them most and can give you access to restricted water supplies. It can also help you open tamper-resistant hose bibs to access water on industrial or commercial buildings.
You should include flashlights and a radio which can run on batteries. Along with this you need extra batteries. Remember that there might not be any electricity at all so flashlights and batteries are serious necessities. You might even want to consider a flashlight that uses solar power rather than batteries.
Don’t forget that extra battery (fully charged) for your cell phone or a way to charge your cell phone using solar power. The assumption here is that it is not yet Armageddon or the Crunch so there won’t be electricity but your phones may still work. In case cell phones are down, a battery powered hand held HAM radio with extra battery, etc. would be a nice addition.
Towelettes, personal hygiene items, paper towels, hand sanitizers and disinfectants should be in your kit. Running water may not be available and more than ever, you will want to be clean. Make sure you have these supplies.
If you have a baby or a toddler, make sure you have the supplies needed by this young person. Again these have to be replaced regularly especially if you are storing things for a baby who is less than a year old. At that age they outgrow clothes and diapers very quickly so make sure what you store is the right size.
A first aid kit is something you should have whether it is disaster time or not. You may in fact already have one. If so, just update the contents and anticipate bigger needs. Your kit should contain good plaster and gauze, wound disinfectant, materials for slings, antibiotic creams, disposable gloves and medicines such as aspirin, antihistamines, the medication you regularly take plus those you seem too need often.
You’ll want to pack clothes for two days. The clothes that you’re wearing when you bug out will count as your third set. Make sure you pack long pants, long sleeved shirts and other clothing that will keep you warm. You’ll want to do this even if it’s summer. Long pants and long sleeved shirts will protect your skin from pests and will keep you warm if the temperatures dip at night. A jacket and thermal underwear if it is fall or winter. You’ll also want to pack extra socks and underwear. Take sturdy hiking boots along, too. Rain gear like a poncho can be used as shelter in a pinch.
Bring a hat along to keep the rain and the sun off your head. Take sunglasses to protect your eyes in case you’re out in the sun for long periods. Safety goggles are also a good item to have on hand. A bandana should be packed because it can have a multitude of uses.
Material that you can make into a tent and cover for the ground. Take a tent or a tarp along with cording in the event you need to tie something to trees. Carry a sleeping back or a sleeping pad along to protect you from having to sleep directly on the ground. Make sure there are enough emergency blankets for everyone.
There are some miscellaneous items that are also good to have in a bug out bag: fishing gear, duct tape, multi-tool scissors, a can opener, a good knife, a small saw, folding shovel and a dust mask (a gas mask would be better but then that would make you a prepper). Trash bags are very useful in a variety of ways such as to collect rainwater, carry water from other sources, or help waterproof your supplies. Have sturdy gloves and a small axe that can be used to make a clearing or to get debris out of your way.
Don’t forget to bring your important papers and something to keep you entertained.
Self Defense. Make sure that you bring a weapon such as a gun in order to protect yourself and your family.
When disaster strikes you do need some things to survive and these things are often not difficult to gather. For example, for years homeless people have been making makeshift tents out of extra large heavy duty garbage bags so there you have your makeshift shelter material. You can get a dust mask from a regular hardware, just ask for one that will protect you while you are sanding and painting your walls. For a good multi-tool knife, read reviews of knives, check out which one is the best then order one on line.
A bug out bag is a good thing to put together and keep on hand because when disasters happen, having one could mean the difference between life and death.