What is a bug out bag you ask? Imagine you go to bed at night and everything seems perfect. But when you wake up the world has totally changed. Whether it’s a natural disaster that has changed your community or mankind has forced it to change you may be thinking you should leave. A bug out bag is a bag of necessities that you would need should you be forced to leave your home. Essentially it is a collection of essentials you would need to help you survive in a variety of different emergency situations. Sometimes referred to as a BOB, this portable backpack (or bag) is filled will all the necessities you would need for the first 48-72 hours after shit has hit the fan. In a true SHTF scenario you’d typically flee from your home in order to stay safe.
Despite being used for numerous situations there a few necessities for any bug out bag. But first let’s discuss why you should even have one. You never know what may happen, and you surely can’t predict the future. It is possible that a natural disaster or mankind disaster may occur in the future. In times of intense stress you’ll find you may not be thinking clearly. That is why it’s imperative to create your BOB now. The best time to gather these materials is when you are stress-free, thinking clearly, and have ample time to collect the essentials. Studies have shown that nearly half of the population admits to not having any survival essentials ready. This means that nearly half of the population will be unprepared when disaster strikes. Will you be prepared?
When choosing the perfect bag to compile these essentials in you’ll want to think logically. Choose a bag that is comfortable and durable enough to carry/wear for extended periods of time. The straps should be durable and thick. It should also have the ability to expand for maximum storage. A water proof bag is also a great idea. Try to find one that you know is air tight and will not be affected by the elements. Now that you’ve chosen the right bag let’s get packing.
Any good survivalist knows the rule of 3 is essential to survival. You can survive 3 minutes without air (oxygen). You can survive 3 hours without shelter. You can survive 3 days without water (as long as you have shelter) and 3 weeks without food (as long as you have shelter and water). This rule of 3 comes in to play with a bug out bag because the materials you’ll want to have will help with those three areas.
Depending on the survival situation or how large of a bug out bag you are planning on assembling you may want an air filtration mask. As far as shelter is concerned there are a few different items you may consider. A tent, tarp, sleeping bag, regular blanket, or space blanket are options to think about.
The next category in the rule of 3 is water and food. Obviously you will want to have bottled water in your bag. You may also opt for a water filtration system. In addition to water you’ll need food. Be sure to choose items that are non-perishable and will last a long time. You will also want to be mindful of food that can provide enough energy and protein. Granola or energy bars are a great option. You may also want to include fishing gear. If you are by a large body of water your only source of food may be to forage and catch it yourself.
Listed below are other items that would be great to have in your bug out bag but do not necessarily fit into a rule of 3 category.
- Clothing: Depending on your living situation you should plan for cold or warm weather. Additional items should be included depending on climate. Pants, sweatshirts, a T shirt, socks, underwear, gloves, a hat, a rain jacket, boots etc. are all necessities.
- Lighting & Staying Warm: These two categories have quite a bit of overlap. Flashlights, lanterns, matches, and/or a fire starter are also items you should have in your bag. If you are using items that require batteries be sure to include extras in your pack. Solar powered items or items that can use both solar and batteries are the best options. In fact, there are many products that are multi-tools. For example, this radio/flashlight is solar powered as well as powered by cranking. Also, this flashlight has a USB charger, is solar powered, and even has a compass.
- First Aid: If you ever find yourself in a situation when you need to flee your home you are probably going to encounter a scenario that requires medical attention. From a cut or scrape to something a lot more serious. Some simple items can help in these instances. Antibacterial wipes, tweezers, painkillers, sunscreen, band aids and bandages, antibiotic ointment and a simple instrument kit may really help in a true first aid situation. Of course, depending on your personal situation you may need additional medications or items for your specific needs. You may also want to find some simple first aid instructions and have them printed and laminated. In instances of needing to perform CPR, apply a tourniquet etc. you may be glad to have step by step instructions.
- Tools: Although you shouldn’t, and probably couldn’t, take your entire toolkit you can be sure to have the necessities. Again, there are numerous multi-tools available and these are always a great option. Items such a screwdriver, wrench, carabiner, paracord, a mini shovel, pliers, and a knife are all items to include in your pack. Find out more about the benefits and uses of paracord here.
- Miscellaneous Items: Not all of these items can fit into a nice neat category. There are numerous things in your pack that are seemingly random. As previously mentioned, batteries should be included. An extra phone charger may be helpful too. A whistle and pepper spray may assist in defense or can be used for communication. You may want to include goggles or sunglasses. any other items that are specific to your needs should be included as well.
- Personal Items: Many people forget these specific items, but they can be imperative. You should bring your passport, or at the very least a drivers license. These items may be needed for travel and/or to prove your identity. In addition you may want to include a list of important phone numbers and addresses. If forced to flee your home you may no longer have access to these. Be sure to include a stash of emergency cash as well. It may also be a good idea to include copies of birth certificates for yourself and any family members as well as copies of contracts/leases/titles for any homes or vehicles you may own.
Now that you know exactly what a bug out bag is, what it’s used for, and what to pack what’s stopping you? Start getting yours ready today.