Bug Out Bag

A bug out bag is generally a back pack that you would store enough provisions to last you 72 hours in a short term emergency. This is usually good for one person, so every member of the family should have one of their own, especially if you get separated from one another. (You can buy kits that are already made up and look after as many as 10 people, just depends on which route you want to take.) There are a number of things you should definitely include and then there are some things that are optional.

Under the definitely heading, you should have the following in your bug out bag:

  • Bottled water. Your not going to pack enough water, you'd need at least 3 gallons for 72 hours. You should get a water filtration bottle and some purification tablets.
  • Food. Get freeze dried or dehydrated foods, the best are the cook in the pouch type. You should have at least 12 servings. A few energy bars would be good also.
  • Multivitamins. A good daily balance of vitamins and minerals.
  • A small hand held radio. They have combination units with a radio and a flashlight, you crank a handle to put a charge into the unit, that way you don't have to worry about batteries going dead when you need it the most. If your going with the battery type, pack extra batteries.
  • Flashlight. If you don't have the combination unit then you need a flashlight. There are a lot of LED lights now that are not only small and bright, but that are also rechargeable.
  • Matches/lighter and some fire starter. Water proof matches are definitely the better of the two. If your unable to find any, you can make your own water proof matches. Buy some wooden matches and dip the lighting end into some clear nail polish, gently tap off any excessive polish and let them dry. When drying, keep the ends from touching each other or anything else, until completely dry. Then put them in a small container, like a pill bottle you get from the drug store.
  • Knife. A good sharp knife can be very handy for all sorts of things. It doesn't have to be a big one, even a pocket knife with a good sharp blade will do.
  • Tent. This can be just a pup tent or a tarp. Something small, but some kind of shelter. With it you'll also need some rope or stakes to keep secured, also to keep it functional. (paracord instead of rope)
  • Bedding. Here again, you want something light and easy to pack. Depending on the weather, it also has to be functional. You can get emergency blankets and sleeping bags, but if it's really cold out, you'll want more than this to stay warm and comfortable.
  • Stove. You can find portable stoves, some run on tablets, some on butane or propane fuels. Some of these little stoves screw right on top of a small propane bottle. You'll mainly be using this to cook on and heating water. Their small, easy to pack and heats water up quickly. There are also small portable wood burning stoves available, if you don't want to pack any type of fuel with you in your bug out bag.
  • Utensils. You can purchase small chow kits that consists of a spoon, fork, knife, bowl and a cup. Make sure it is made out of metal, so it doesn't break on you while your on the go. If it doesn't come with a cup, you should get one.
  • Tissue. Either grab a roll of toilet paper or get the little tissue packages to carry with you. Your going to need something.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste. Says it all.
  • First Aid Kit. Pick up a small first aid kit that includes some band aids, gauze, antiseptic, tape, compression pads, tweezers and a small pair of scissors. Get a extra one to keep in your vehicle.
  • Medicine. If your on any kind of medicine and you need it on a daily basis, make sure you have extra on hand so you can throw some into your bug out bag as you leave. Depending on the kind of medicine your taking, most won't store for a long period of time, so you'll have to pack it as you go.
  • Plastic bags. Throw a few grocery bags in your bug out bag. They don't take up any room and are so handy to have. Maybe even a couple of big black garbage and zip lock ones too.
  • Gloves. A pair of gloves that have the leather palms would be good to have. If it is getting to the cold time of the year, then throw in some insulated gloves or a pair of mitts.
  • Change of clothing. Pack at least one change of clothing. Extra socks are good, especially if it's cold out, perhaps a hat or toque would be practical.
  • Note pad and pencil. This is good to have if you are on the move and need to inform someone of where your going or when your returning.
  • Deck of cards. This is recommended so that you can keep your self and the people around you occupied. Remember, there wont be any tv to watch.
  • A picture of you and your family. This good if you get separated from one another. It serves as reminder of your loved ones and also for identification purposes.

Options for the bug out bag

  • Local Map. If your not familiar with the area, this would be good to have.
  • Copy of important documents.
  • Unscented bleach and a eyedropper. If your going to have water that's not purified, you may want to pack a small container.
  • Duct tape. This is a hard one, duct tape goes with everything. This should of been in the definitely list. I'm sorry! (Even a little bit wrapped around the deck of cards box.)
  • Tools. All depends on how much weight you want to pack. A hatchet, hammer, nails, adjustable wrench, wire, etc.
  • Extra eye glasses, hearing aids, copy of health insurance and medical cards.
  • Boots, rain gear or snow gear.
  • Camera. This can be a disposable one or whatever you want to bring with you.

As you can see, you can keep adding to your bug out bag until it is to heavy to move. Your going to have to use your own discretion on this one. You probably noticed that I didn't add pets in here. You can buy kits for pets too, the problem with pets, is that they all seem to eat different foods and treats. It's better if you just made up your own, you know what they like and don't like. Also remember to include a leash and a harness for each animal, this is a time when they can be really confused and easily lost.

The main thing is to get a bug out bag ready, and hopefully you won't need it. But then, you never know what the future has in store!

Click here to return to Tips & Tricks from the bug out bag page.

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