Continuing National Preparedness month, we wanted to talk about bug-out bags. The bug-out bag should be something you can grab quickly that is already packed with gear and supplies. You can have multiple bags, depending on the needs and how long you expect to be away from your home. We’ve talked about them once before in our blog but we wanted to hit it again. The key to remember is that different situations, emergencies, and geographical location can change what’s in your bag. This post will cover our feelings of the basics, as well as resources for more in-depth information.
There are a lot of things to consider as you pack your bag. One key is to remember that the bag needs to be a fluid, evolving item. Not something you forget about in the back of your closet. It should be reviewed and upgraded as needed. For instance, as we are starting to get towards the fall, my bags are shifting to include more waterproof and cold weather gear. I am also switching my BBQ flavored MRE’s to Pumpkin Spiced ones. All joking aside, food is something you should pack and should be checking expiration dates periodically. These bags need to adapt to your changing environments and the hazards you expect to encounter.
There are tons of lists out there of items you “need” to have in your bag. I choose to have several bags, each packed for different scenarios. I have a 24-hour, 72-hour, and “Never come home” set of bags. Remember to pack for all members of the family as you think about these kits. Include pets and anyone nearby that may bug-out with you, that doesn’t live with you. Think parents, grown children, or kids that may not live with you full time. Here is my take on the minimum items you need to have in a 24-hour bugout bag for 1 person.
• Prescriptions for 3 days (just in case)
• Water (at least 1 gallon)
• Matches/Lighter/Fire Starter
• First Aid kit with tourniquet
• Protein bars/Trail Mix/High Calorie food that tastes good
• Clothes: extra shirt, underwear, and socks
• Flashlight and batteries
• Emergency blanket/sleeping bag
• Moist towelettes/hand sanitizer
Again, there are tons of lists out there to help guide your decision on what you could add. This is not meant to be an all encompassing list, but a place to start for someone who has never tried. There is a lot more in my back including money, extra ammo, and solar charger. But what I pack may not meet what you need. I pack ammo for protection and hunting, you may be in an urban setting where hunting isn’t feasible. Make decisions that are best for you and your family. If you are packing a 24-hour bag, pack comfort food that people will enjoy, your family may already be upset and scared. Goldfish and cheez-its in a time in uncertainty can make a difference.
I am going to sound like a broken record here but Google searches, Ready.gov, and Superesse Straps are great resources as you decide how to build your own bags. Google and Read.gov will give you the free minimum items that most everyday people could use. Superesse Straps takes those lists and puts them into another level, making sure that you are truly prepared. Whatever you chose to do, don’t put it on your “honey-do” list. Get off your phone or computer and go do it. Talking about it does no good if you aren’t prepared when all hell breaks lose, or SHTF.