Imagine a fireman pounding on your door with the message that you must evacuate your home in the next 15 minutes. Quick. What do you take? Documents? Food? Clothes? Forget about it. Your brain just went into full panic mode, and you’re going to walk out with your pets and the clothes on your back. It doesn’t have to be like that. A bug out bag or 72 hour kit is a survival kit or bag filled with necessities that can help you get through a range of emergency situations. It’s an ounce of preparation to prevent a pound of panic when an emergency strikes.
The term 'Bugging out' refers to an individual's decision to leave their house in reaction to an unanticipated emergency scenario, whether caused by nature or by man. It's only reasonable, then, that the vital things you'd need in such a case would be put into a 'bug-out' bag. It's like your own personal survival kit, meaning they should be stocked with food, first-aid supplies, medications, and multi-purpose tools. It is also vitally important to have a means of building shelter and/or retaining warmth, and anything else that might come in handy if you don't have access to modern society's comforts for ideally 72 hours. Each kit will be unique to you and your family. Infant kids? Pack diapers. Own a house? Pack your home insurance policy information. Pets? Include their food. We’ll give you some ideas in this article, but let’s have real talk for a minute: you need to customize your kit to your location, transportation, and potential needs in a disaster. Take 30 seconds to think about that. Build to your needs.
Why should you have a bug out bag?
The goal is to be prepared for a variety of probable emergencies, including instances in which your family may need to flee your house such as uncontrolled fires, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, or civil unrest. Think about where you live and go down the dreary path of “what if?” Live in Southern Louisiana? You better believe you need a hurricane evacuation kit. Midwest? Tornado alley, friends. California? San Andreas Fault, baby! If tragedy hits, putting together a "go bag" or "bug-out bag" will ensure you have all the tools you need to survive outside of your house if you have to evacuate.
Bug Out Bag List:
- Water and Hydration
- No items are more crucial in an emergency scenario than clean drinking water, since having access to fresh, safe water is vital to survival. The CDC recommends one gallon of emergency water per person per day for drinking and sanitation. Plan your bug out bag with filled water bottles, and a water filter to replenish your bottles.
- Food with an extended shelf life will be most useful when bugging out. Stock your bag with a high-calorie bonanza! Pick hearty foods that will nourish you, such as protein and breakfast bars, almonds, jerky and peanut butter packets. Although not always the best tasting, emergency food rations can be a life saver. Cycle out the food every year.
- As we've all learned over the previous year during the Covid-19 pandemic, air quality and hazardous pollutants are both important factors to consider when packing your bug-out bag. At the very least we recommend packing a face mask that fulfills N95 regulations or a buff if all else fails.
- It is critical to provide protection from the elements. Whether you're caught in a storm in the middle of nowhere or left homeless after a natural disaster, you need quick shelter. Consider having items like a lightweight tent, emergency sleeping bag and any good prepper will always have a few emergency mylar blankets at hand-- those things can be a lifesaver.
- In a survival emergency, the clothes on your back may be the only thing that saves you. In your bug out bag, make sure you have access to a rain poncho and pair of socks and warm gloves. Bonus points for packing thick leather work gloves-- warmth and hand protection.
- Illumination, like fire sources, is something we recommend having multiple instances of (remember the adage: “Two is one. One is none.”) This is where more is better, if one fails or you lose it somehow, you have another to take its place. Each item listed below has multiple uses, but they all serve the same purpose – helping you see what you’re doing or find where you’re going. Solar powered LED Headlamps, a few glow sticks and a hand-cranked or solar-powered flashlight will do the trick.
- First Aid
- You’re reading this on the site of a company that makes First Aid Kits. Of course we’re going to recommend our kit. Here’s our Small First Aid Kit that will fit perfectly in your bug out bag. But! A word of caution: learn about your kit. Does it have everything you need? Add to it. Do you need to add medication? Do you need an EpiPen? Do you live in a poison-ivy ridden forest? Customize your kit! We did a lot of thinking and organizing on our kits, but your brain and your knowledge of your situation is infinitely better than our best intentions.
- Navigation and Multi-Purpose Tools
- It is critical to keep navigation equipment close at hand depending on the survival circumstances and locale. Various multi-purpose tools can be used for navigation and assist you in overcoming various obstacles that may arise like our Survival First Aid Kit. We recommend downloading the maps of your area to your phone, and keeping an extra power cord in your bug-out bag.
- Always keep a copy of those very important things like copies of birth certificates, home insurance, passports, mortgage contact, etc. We also recommend pictures or loved ones or pets in case you become separated. Additionally, we keep a “grab-it-list” on the outside of our bug-out bags in case we have a little extra time to snag family memories, computers, and that sentimental box of childhood junk we’d hate to lose.
Lastly, get educated. If you packed a fire steel in your bug-out bag, cool. Do you know how to use it? What about that fancy multitool you threw in there? It sounds stupid, but the best life preserver in the world is worthless if you don’t know how to put it on properly. In the same way, all the tools in your kit are only as good as the time you took to understand how to use them. So, here’s your homework:
- Start making a bug-out bag (or do a check on the one you built 5 years ago!)
- Learn how to use the tools in your bag
- Relax. You’ve prepared for an emergency.
We aren't certified experts, but we strive to offer you with the most up-to-date educational knowledge available, which we have gathered from a variety of sources. Your bug out bag will not keep you alive by itself. It is, however, designed to assist you in surviving a bug-out situation.
More from our friend Marty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc_4JwH24B8
We would love to hear your tips and tricks when it comes to creating a stellar Bug-Out Bag, feel free to comment below. Be safe out there!