What exactly is a bug out bag?
A bug out bag is a mix of various items in a backpack (preferably) or a duffel bag that you can survive on for 3 days. It is referred to as different things, such as a go bag, a GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bag, a 72 hour kit, a Bail Out Bag, a Ditch Kit, and probably a dozen or so other names. It is designed so that in case of an emergency, you can grab it and go at a moment’s notice in case of an emergency. This could be a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, flood, or hurricane, or it could be due to a man-made disaster, such as a nuclear terrorist attack. The White House has warned State and Local governments not to expect federal aid for at least 48-72 hours, as outlined in planning guides. Any bug out bag should carry enough supplies for a minimum of 72 hours, per person.
Who needs a Bug Out Bag?
The correct answer? You need one. Everyone needs some kind of bag that is ready to go at any time, day or night. Maybe you are thinking that you don’t live in an area where natural disasters strike often, and odds are that your area would not be targeted by terrorists. Even if that is so, what if you’re awakened in the middle of the night by your smoke alarm, and your house is on fire? If you have only minutes to get out, at least you are prepared to have emergency supplies for a few days. If there is some kind of nuclear fallout, and you and your neighbors’ houses are not habitable anymore, you will be prepared until someone comes to the rescue.
So what does the perfect Bug Out Bag contain?
The simple truth is that there is no such thing as the “perfect” combination of supplies to pack your bug out bag with. Most people prefer a backpack type bag, as opposed to a duffel bag or suitcase. The reason is if you have to resort to walking instead of driving, it would not only be easier, but it also frees up both of your hands. Your backpack should be large enough to carry your supplies, but not too big that you can’t carry it for more than a few hours.
Once you have everything you think you need, test it out. Take it to a park and take a hike
with it. When you are actually carrying the bag on your back, you will be able to see how heavy it really is. You will also be able to see what weight adjustments need to be made. Your shoulders will tell you real quick which side is heavier, and when the bag is weighted equally on both shoulders.
There are many preferences to what one carries in his or her bag, but there are a few specific needs that need to be looked at.
The first need is water. The bare minimum water that a person needs is one liter of water per day. A liter is a little more than a quart (about 1.06 quarts). Your bug out bag should contain at least 3 liters of water in it. You may also want to look at some kind of water purification system. This may include iodine tablets, Clorox bleach, or stainless steel water bottles that can be used to boil water.
The second need is the need for food. It has been tested that you can survive for a few weeks without food, but if you are forced to walking then you need to eat so that you can keep your energy level up. MRE’s (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) and energy bars are a good choice, and don’t take up much room in your bug out bag. Whatever you choose, is should be something that is light and contains a lot of calories.
The third need is the need for clothing. This should include a comfortable pair of boots or shoes. It should also include a pair of long pants, a pair of long underwear, a couple of shirts, a couple pairs of socks, a jacket, and a hat. You should also include a bandana. There are multiple uses for a bandana. There is a reason that bandanas are included in the uniforms of sailors and boy scouts.
The fourth need is the need for some kind of first aid. Even though you may not be injured, you still may sustain some injury along the way. There are multiple pre-packaged kits that you can buy, but if you make your own kit you are more than likely able to know the use of everything in there.
You also have a need for some basic survival gear. Most of the gear will be used for fire purposes. You will need a saw or hatchet of some kind for firewood. Once you have firewood, you will need a way to start the fire. There are many different methods to starting a fire, its good to have a couple of different options.
Another basic human need is the need for shelter. This could include a tent, or even just a tarp propped up to resemble a tent. You also need another tarp to lay on the ground, even if you have a tent. Trust me, the bottom of the tent will still get wet without a tarp. While we’re talking about sleeping arrangements, don’t forget a sleeping bag. You can pack blankets, but a sleeping bag will usually pack tighter and be warmer.
If you are going to be looking for assistance, and will be out of a major city, you will also need some kind of communication or signaling device. If a handheld CB or ham radio is
not an option, there are other ways to communicate with potential help. A simple way to get someone’s attention is to use a mirror. Reflected sunlight can be seen for miles. Also, a mirror won’t add much weight to your bug out bag. However, if it is cloudy or night time, a flashlight might work better. Be sure to pack extra batteries for a flashlight though. You should also consider a whistle. Even when you are unable to yell for help, a whistle can be heard for a very long distance.
The last need is somewhat controversial, but it is still a basic human need. People need to feel safe. If you are caught in a “Mad Max” lifestyle, and the local law enforcement are not readily available, you do need to defend yourself and your loved ones. You could try to defend yourself with a knife or a stick, but those are both no matches for a gun. There are many different calibers and options. I will not go into detail about the options you have available, however, this is one need that should not be ignored for your bug out bag.
There are many more “optional” items that you can pack in your bug out bag, but these are the necessities. The main thing to keep in mind is the weight that you will be carrying on your back, and what is absolutely necessary to survive for three days.