Bug Out Bag

When an emergency strikes, it is important to know that you have what you need - on hand - at a moment's notice. This is why a "Bug Out Bag" is essential. The phrase "bug out" got its name from the military back in the 1940's when the unit had to pack up immediately and leave as quickly as possible.

No one likes to think of a disaster striking their community, but if it happens to you, being prepared is the only way to get through it and know that you and your family will be provided for - food, shelter and the basic essentials. You can't imagine how much that matters when everything around you is chaos, stress and fear. Having everything you need will keep you calm, secure and in control.

Are you thinking about buying a Bug Out Bag? It isn't as easy as going to your local Walmart and grabbing a backpack and heading to the checkout. There are a lot of things you need to take into consideration.

A bug out bag can help you be prepared to
shelter in place or evacuate the area.

A basic bug out bag can contain different things depending upon where you live, who you are with, and the disaster for which you plan to prepare.  In addition, many people will define the "emergency essentials" of a bug out bag differently based on their own experiences or on what they have read. The list provided here is based on the guidelines set forth by FEMA and by consulting with several state agencies nationwide.

It is usually advisable to put these items in a bag, thus the term, "Bug Out Bag", such as a backpack. If you have to move from location to location, the bag is softer and easier to carry around than a box or something you carry in your hands. This is true for anything you put in your car, too. It is best to keep everything in a soft-sided bag that you can strap on your back and over your shoulders.

This is what you need for each Bug Out Bag:

Now, remember that this bag is something that you are expected to be able to pick up and run out of your house with. Try to pack light while still outfitting yourself with all of the necessities.

What does this mean? It means you probably don't need your Kindle or your binoculars. You can leave your beer behind, too. Think disaster readiness. The goal is to stay alive and ensure you have shelter and food while you safely wait out the emergency situation. Surviving is key.

Bug Out Bag List

  • Water-one gallon per person, per day (3 day supply for evacuation, 2 week supply for home)
  • Food Bars 3 Day Supply (for evacuation), 2 week supply for home
  • Manual Can Opener
  • Heavy Duty Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Weather Alert Radio
  • First Aid Kit
  • Medications (7 day supply) and medical items
  • Leatherman Multi-Tool
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets
  • Copies of personal documents: (medication list/info, proof of address, home deed/lease, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Extra cash
  • Personal care items
  • Wet wipes or baby wipes and garbage bags with ties for sanitation purposes
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Map(s) of the area

Family Needs

Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit as needed.

  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
  • Baby formula, bottles, food, diapers, and wipes
  • Pet food, a leash and carrier, medications, documentation of vaccinations
  • Midland Two-Way Radios
  • Games and activities for children

Everything Else

Additional supplies to keep at home or in your kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:

  • Matches in waterproof container
  • Mirror
  • Insect Repellent and Sunscreen
  • Fishing Kit
  • Sewing kit
  • Waterproof Tarp
  • Compass and local map
  • Plastic Sheeting
  • Rain gear
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • 550 Paracord
  • n95 Approved Particulate Respirator Mask
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Paper, pen, tape
  • Extra Clothes

Everyone talks about a 72 hour bag, but think about what happens in your area and decide if that is long enough. Depending on where you live and the type of disaster, that may be perfectly reasonable. Just think it through.

For example, if the United States economy truly tanks as many think it will, and we end up having to fend for ourselves, foraging, growing our own food, bartering and hunting are all options we are going to have to consider. If the situation gets really bad and you have to bug out in a hurry, you are going to need all of the supplies ahead plus some you might not have even thought about, like an Emergency Fishing Kit or a Compact Rocket Stove.

Consider these items an investment and weigh each item against what could happen if you end up needing something and don't have it. This is just like having insurance. If you are driving your car and someone slams into the back of it and they don't have any coverage, you are going to be very glad that YOU DO. Not being prepared is costly.