Why Should I Have A Bug Out Bag?
An unexpected disaster striking your home town could end up requiring that you evacuate. An evacuation could require that you leave your home or even completely leave town for a while.
And during an emergency evacuation it’s not the best time to try thinking about everything you might need to ensure your survival.
This is the idea behind having a ready made Bug Out Bag handy. With these BOB’s you can just grab and go.
A Bug Out bag is just a survival kit that contains the basics of what you’ll need to survive for 72 hours. The idea for these is that 72 hours is supposed to be the average response time before emergency response services start following a disaster.
You may have also heard of Bug Out bags being called 72-hour kits, Grab Bags, Personal Emergency Relocation Kits (PERKs), GO Bags or even GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bags. Whatever name you use doesn’t matter. They are meant to ensure your safety in the event of a disaster.
You can assemble a bug-out bag on your own or purchase one from a variety of stores.
Here is the definition According to Wikipedia:
“A bug-out bag is a portable kit that contains the items one would require to survive for seventy-two hourswhen evacuating from a disaster. The focus is on evacuation rather than long-term survival distinguishing the bug-out bag from a survival kit, a boating or aviation emergency kit, or a fixed-site disaster supplies kit. The kits are also popular in the survival subculture.“
The challenge with packing your own BOB is trying to keep to the basics.
It’s far too easy to pack everything you can think of for every possible scenario. But that could leave you with a bag that is too heavy to lift much less to carry.
Who Should Have A Bug Out Bag?
Every member of your family should have a BOB that they can grab and go with in case of an emergency. You should also have more than one type of BOB.
You are not always at home or in your car so you should have one at home, one in your car, and one at work.
Even pets should have their own bag. Although you might not get a cat to do it, there are BOB’s that are designed to be carried by dogs. These can include food, water, their papers, and any meds that they might be taking.
When you send your children to school they should have their own bags that they take. College age students should have a full size bag that they store in their dorm or car.
Younger kids should always carry a stripped down version to school with useful items like water, energy bars, and a list of phone numbers and emergency contacts in case an emergency separates them from the rest of your family.
Planning Your Bug Out Bag
What you carry in your BOB will vary from person to person and area to area. A Bag for a colder environment should carry different things than one in that is in a warm environment.
A Bag that you build to keep in your office should also be different from the one you keep in your car or at home. You office bag should usually be designed just for getting you home.
Before you go out and buy a lot of things that you think you are going to need you should sit down and list what items that you might need in each bag for 72 hours on your own.
Consider things like eye glasses, meds, maps, copies of ID’s and bank and credit accounts along with their phone numbers.
But remember, even though under normal conditions emergency responders can be on scene to help in 72 hours or less, it may take more time than that if there is a major incident so be careful to include things that could help you for an extended period as well.
A Basic List For A BOB
With all that said you should be thinking about the things that you are going to need in your Emergency Bag. Here is a list of other things you might include.
Remember that these are just guidelines and each bag should be built to your needs!
Your water supply is a top priority because while most people can go for several days without food, you can last no more than three days or so without adequate water.
A minimal amount is about a liter per day for one person depending upon the environment and the amount of physical exertion.
Remaining hydrated helps to keep you calm and functional even in an emergency situation.
Water is not light though so if there is a means of helping you carry the water you need use it. Always make sure that you have plenty of water in your car. You can also use a bike or stroller as an alternative.
But if you have to walk to get to another location, bring what you can comfortably carry and make sure to pack something to help you purify the water you find on the way.
Always use every opportunity that you have to refill your water supplies because this is likely the first thing that you will run out of during an evacuation.
You can use purification tablets or boil water that is of questionable purity if you have the time.
Food comes in as a close second in the things that you should bring with you in your BOB.
You should pack foods that will keep your energy level high while you are traveling to a safer location.
There is a wide selection of foods to choose from but remember again that you are going to need to be carrying these with you in your bag.
Energy bars are a good choice that are both light and require no cooking. If you have room you can also include items that only require the addition of hot water such as noodles and packaged meals for more extended term options.
The amount of food that you need to bring should be enough for at least three days. Make sure to remember some multi use utensils and cooking tools.
If you bring canned goods remember to bring an opener or a swiss army knife that can open them.
Light And Fire
Make sure that your BOB has both light sources and the means to start a fire since these are both essential. If you need to camp out for a while the ability to start a fire will be crucial.
It will help you to keep warm, ward of animals, light your camp area, cook food and purify water.
A camp fire can provide small comfort when you sit beside it and will allow you to consider what you need to do for the coming days.
Make sure to include waterproof matches or an alternative way to start a fire in your BOB.
These materials should be packed in a waterproof container in case you have to face extreme weather conditions.
Also include a flashlight or headlamp, emergency candles, and spare batteries.
I also like to pack a small solar charger for recharging batteries the next day.
You’re not going to be able to pack a whole tent in your BOB but there are alternative materials that can help you build a make shift shelter should the need arise.
They are specifically designed to fit in a small space and can be folded up after each use so it won’t take a lot of space in your BOB.
You could include a small foldable tents tarp sheets, space age blankets along with some light rope and duct tape. These materials will allow you to build a shelter for the night or on any occasions when you need to eat and rest.
Getting adequate rest is necessary so you can continue on your journey. In addition, if you are experiencing extreme weather conditions, it is necessary for you to have a place to take cover and wait for the storm to die down.
Bring several pieces of clothing that you can change into in case you get wet. This will make sure that you are protected in case of wet weather.
Consider taking at least two changes of clothes for each person in your group. These should include:
- Several pairs of underwear
- Jackets or waterproof ponchos
- Several pairs of socks
- a change of shirts
- Pants or shorts
- Gloves and a hat
Emergency First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is also an important element of your bag. I think that your best bet is to buy a compact pre-packed kit then customize it with your own specific needs.
You’ll want to keep it simple prepare things that will help you manage most minor injuries. You’ll want:
- Rolls of gauze bandage
- Medical tape
- Antibiotic creams or ointments
- OTC medicines that include:
- pain relievers
Additional items that could also come in handy would be a medical thermometer, a small pair of scissors, and a box of alcohol wipes.
You should keep this kit in you BOB where it is handy for emergencies.
During a disaster you may come across a time when you need to defend yourself and your family.
This includes defending yourself from both wild animals and dangerous people after whatever emergency disaster happens.
Whether or not you choose to use lethal weapons for this is a personal decision that you must make but whatever you choose should be in or close to your BOB just in case you need to exit your home quickly.
Some lethal and non-lethal options include:
- Baseball Bat
- Pepper Spray
- Survival Knife
- Handgun or Rifle
- Cane or walking stick
You need to remember that peace and order will be immediately compromised during an emergency so you have to be prepared to defend yourself.
Here are a few other items that you would might need to include in your bag that could help with your survival.
- Communication device. You should include a cellphone with either a crank power charger or a solar charger. You can get small charger/radio to put in your bag. This allows you to keep in touch with family and keep updated on public advisories.
- Include a set of personal documents such as insurance papers, house titles, ID’s and Birth Certificates. You may need them to claim assistance or to establish that you own your properties.
- Money. Keep some money in small bills and coins to ensure that you have something if the banks remain closed.
- Compass and a maps. Keep maps for the area and laminate these to make them weather resistant.
You should realize that in the end the items that you keep in your bag will be the result of your personal preferences.
If there are items in your bag that are new to you read up on how to use and maintain them. You should never rely on tools or equipment that you don’t know how to use and might fail when you most need them.
Lastly, you should always consider the number of items that you can realistically carry when choosing and packing your bag.
Even though a large sized pack may seem to be a good choice but if you can’t carry your bag without the help of another person, it would be useless for you.
Remember that you planning for a scenario that could require you to abandon your vehicles and evacuate on foot so pack wisely.