Are you prepared for that unexpected disaster, which may strike and force you out of your home in a moments notice? Recently, hurricane Matthew struck the Southeast coast of the United States, and many of my friends had to leave their homes on very short notice. Some of them found themselves in dangerous situations, because they waited till the last minute to get their stuff together and leave. The need to evacuate your home could occur when other disasters strike such as tornadoes, blizzards, flooding, house fires, wildfires and many others. Therefore, it is wise to prepare the supplies you might need in a single place that you can simply grab and go in a moments notice. That’s where a bug out bag comes in!
What Is A Bug Out Bag?
A bug out bag is a portable kit containing everything needed to survive for a period of time up to 72 hours. The key to this is portability. Bug out bags are meant to be a survival kit that you can grab and go when a disaster hits. That’s why they are also referred to as “go bags” and “grab bags”. If a hurricane or tornado are imminent, and you need to evacuate, you don’t want to waste your time getting your stuff together. Your bug out bag will be ready to go with all the essential supplies you will need for your family to make it through the next few days.
A bug out bag is a short-term survival plan during a difficult situation, where you would not have access to your basic needs. Ideally, you would have a safe place to retreat to during an evacuation. Perhaps, you have a cabin or the house of a friend or family member to escape to. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and every emergency situation doesn’t offer this opportunity. Consider a camping or hiking trip where you get lost in the woods or injured. Keeping a bug out bag with you could also be beneficial on a trip like this. Again, you never know when disaster may strike and your basic needs are out of reach!
What Do You Need To Take Into Account When Preparing Your Bug Out Bag?
When assembling a bug out bag, you would want to know how many people to prepare it for. If you’re preparing for a family, you may consider preparing multiple bug out bags or one giant bag. You will find several options below to consider. The important thing is to prepare enough supplies to meet the needs of all the members you are responsible for.
You would also want to take into account environmental considerations for your location. If you live in a hot climate, for example, your focus may be on staying cool and avoiding dehydration. How will your climate direct your focus, as you go about preparing your bug out bag?
Consider your health needs! Don’t forget to prepare medications. Also consider your skills and the time of year. Having certain skills can result in less equipment you’ll need to carry. They can also help you survive, after you have exhausted the contents of your bag if needed.
You should change the contents of your bug out bag depending on the season and likely emergency situations. In general, you would also want to switch out or at least check the contents of your bag every so often as you would with the contents of your pantry at home. The last thing you need is to find that food has spoiled or that equipment is not working.
Each person’s bag may be different, because each person’s personal needs, location and circumstances are different. You can get a lot of good ideas from exploring what other people have done!
What Needs To Go In Your Bug Out Bag?
The contents of your bug out bag need to be tailored to your needs and circumstances. There are some essential items and other items to consider.
This is probably the most important item for your bug out bag! You cannot survive for more than a few days without it. Consider adding water bottles or pouches. Iodine tablets are also a good idea, in case you need to purify water during your “bugging-out” period. You can find much information here about ways to filter and purify water, when clean water is not available to you. Here’s an excellent water filter sports bottle to also consider. It will remove sediment, chlorine and even harmful bacteria!
You will need enough food to last you and those who are with you for up to 72 hours. Food should be light weight, provide needed nutrition and have a long storage life. I include MREs (meal ready to eat) in my bag and have written a review on some popular products here. MREs take up little space in your bag and only need water to prepare. High energy nutrition bars are also excellent items to add. Take a look at these high calorie nutrition bars that can be substituted for a whole meal when in a bind.
Depending on your climate and circumstances, consider including the following items
- Extra socks, pants and shirts
- Pair of lightweight work gloves
- Maybe a bonnie hat to protect against sun or to provide camouflage
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is a must for a bug out bag.
Other Items To Consider
For a makeshift shelter, you can get by with a tarp and some rope to tie it.
- Sleeping bag
- Small solar radio
- Flashlight and batteries
- Fire starters and lighters
- Personal hygiene items
- Lightweight work gloves
- Sewing kit
Where Should You Store Your Bug Out Bag?
Some rule-of-thumb guidelines for storing your bug out bag
Keep your bag in an easily accessible spot, where you can grab it and go when you need to, for example in a closet next to the front door.
Keep it in a dry and cool place to keep your supplies in best working condition. Moisture and heat can be destructive for tools and will lead to quicker decay of food contents.
What Should You Look For In A Bug Out Bag?
Your bug out bag should be large enough to fit all your survival gear. It should be enough for you and your family, unless you will prepare more than one bag. We’ll take a look at several bug out bags below that may fit your needs. Since this bag will be used during emergency situations, you definitely want something high quality. It must be rugged enough to last through difficult weather conditions and abuse in the wild. Some bug out bags come already stocked with basic survival gear. We will also review some of those options below.
What Are Some Great Bug Out Bags?
1. Food Insurance Premium 2-Week Go Bag
This bag is already stocked with a 2 week food supply for one adult (3 meals per day). Like the MREs mentioned earlier, the meals only require water to prepare. They have a shelf-life of 7-10 years. This 2500+ cubic inch bug out bag is rugged, water resistant and also contains the following:
- Water bottle with filter
- First aid kit
- Emergency all-in-one tool
- Flashlight/radio combo
- Watherproof matches
- Dust mask
- Cooking tin
2. Emergency Zone 840-2 Two Person Urban Survival Bag And Emergency Disaster Kit
Here’s another bug out bag with enough supplies for 2 people for 72 hours or for 1 person for 144 hours. Emergency Zone advertises this as a bug out bag which will not draw attention to the fact that you’re carrying emergency supplies. It looks like an ordinary backpack without even a label to attract attention, but the kit inside is filled with the following supplies:
- Radio, flashlight, charger
- Emergency guide
- Weather protection with 2 reflective sleeping bags, 2 emergency ponchos, a tube tent and 2 hand warmers
- Food bars and water pouches
- Water purification supplies (folding 1L water container and water purification powder)
- First aid kit including 2 N95 masks
- Hygiene and sanitation supplies including toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap and toilet paper
- A small sewing kit
- Other items include 2 glow sticks, duct tape, rope a multitool knife and a can opener
This bug out bag is another great choice, if you want something ready to go. It comes with all the essential supplies and is great to store at home or keep with you on the go in your car or work place. It is also assembled in the USA.
3. Exos Bravo Tactical Assault Backpack Rucksack
This bag is great as a bug out bag or for hiking, camping or as a regular backpack. It is MOLLE equipped, which means you can attach more MOLLE-compatible pouches and accessories. MOLLE is an acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment and describes a system initially developed by the military for load-bearing equipment and backpacks. If something is MOLLE-compatible, it will attach to the nylon-strapped webbing you see on the surface of this bag. The webbing is stitched horizontally with 1-inch gaps. This creates mounting straps for other devices to be attached.
This bag has 5 zippered compartments providing much organizing space for tools and gears and with a total capacity of over 2000 cubic inches. The rear compartment has an output for a drink tube, so it’s ideal for a water bladder, but it can also be used to carry a laptop or something else.
It is very well constructed and made of high quality materials. The outer material is durable 600D polyester with extra reinforcement at the seams. It is therefore very durable and should last a long time! In a nutshell, this is a versatile and durable backpack that can be extended with additional MOLLE-compatible pouches. It would make a great bug out bag!
4. Voodoo Tactical 15-9684 Mini Mojo Load Out Bag With MOLLE Webbing
The Voodoo Tactical Mini Mojo may be the perefect bug out bag for a family. It is huge (31″ x 15.5″ x 14″) with 11 outer pockets. Each pocket is at least 5 inches deep making a lot of room for organizing and packing your gear. You can also add additional MOLLE pouches (check here and here) due to the webbing. With this bag, you would be able to pack everything you might need, including food, clothing, water, firearms, cookware and more! It is heavy duty and water resistant and can support heavy loads with little wear over time.
The bag is very versatile due to its size, use of excellent materials and its many compartments. It has shoulder straps and a sturdy base providing more versatility to use it as a backpack or a travel bag that won’t sag when loaded. Keep one as a bug out bag and get another one for travel or as a gym bag or to use for camping and hunting gear. This is an awesome bag!
The Voodoo Tactical Mini Mojo is the most impressive bug out bag I have looked at and has great reviews on Amazon. It is the perfect size for my family – one bag for a whole family packed with the essentials ready to go. It is so versatile that I would get a second bag to use for travel and family outings. It is high quality made with excellent materials, rugged and large enough to carry larger items like cookware and hunting equipment.