Okay, an earthquake has just happened or another type of disaster situation is starting to happen. What do you do? Well, if you’re prepared for this moment, you grab your bug out bag (BOB) and get the hell out of Dodge! Now you’re good for at least 72 hours while you wait for things to blow over and get better.
But what if you’re not prepared for this type of situation? Chances are good that you’re kind of screwed, right? You don’t want to be without a bug out bag – also known as an EVAC bag, a GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bag, or a 72-hour bag. If you’re reading this, then it’s not too late for you, my friend. We’ve got some tips for beginners like you who need to put together their first bug out bag that can support a person for up to 72 hours in pretty much any situation you can imagine. If you follow our tips, then you’ll be ready for bugging out when the need arises, whether it is flooding from a hurricane or a man-made disaster.
What To Put In A Bug Out Bag
Below we share some tips on what we think are some essentials for your bug out bag. Keep in mind that you can pack whatever you want and these are just our suggestions.
You need an actual bag to hold all of your emergency gear, specifically you need a tactical backpack for the supplies. The backpack needs to be large enough to hold all of the supplies that you’re going to need. And it needs to be sturdy enough that you don’t have to worry about it failing. It also needs to be relatively comfortable to wear, since you never know how long or how far you will have to go from your home while wearing the loaded down pack.
It’s also a good idea to not use a pack that you fill completely. Try to find something that leaves a bit of extra room in case you come across other supplies that you want to add to your stash.
You can survive longer without food than without water, so it is important to make sure your pack is stocked with some water. For 72 hours, a person will need around 3 liters of water to survive. It’s a good idea to split up your supply into three different one-liter bottles or canteens so that it’s easy for you to ration it.
It is also a good idea to pack some water purification tables or filtration systems, that way if you need to find water you can make sure it is safe for you to drink. Preferably, include both so that you have more options available to you.
Technically, you can survive without eating anything for 72 hours, but it won’t be the most pleasant way to spend the days. So, it’s a good idea to pack some food, but don’t go crazy and plan for three full meals per day.
You need to think about the available space in your backpack and how much weight you want to carry. With that in mind, canned meats, like tuna or chicken, are great choices because they don’t weigh a lot but give you a decent amount of protein. Plus, you can eat straight from the can with no cooking required. Just remember to get cans that don’t require a can opener. Or, look for pouches of tuna and chicken instead of cans for even more weight saving.
You should also include things like energy bars, protein bars, and granola bars because they offer a good amount of calories while being lightweight. Other good options to include are beef jerky, candy bars, and nuts. If you want to carry some canned goods, then canned beans and stews are good choices. You can even pack some MREs if you want.
Ideally, you want to pack food that doesn’t require cooking or water that way you can eat it on the go or pretty much anywhere. Or, if you have room in your pack and don’t mind the extra weight, then you could pack a simple backpacking stove and cooking kit – just keep it as minimalist as possible.
You may need to make a fire for warmth or for cooking, so you need stuff in your bug out bag that you can use to start a fire. Some waterproof matches are always a good choice. You should also include a small fire starter kit so that you have a backup method of starting a fire. And don’t forget to pack some tinder to fuel that flame. Dryer lint from your home is a great option here, as well as a tampon since it has cotton inside of it.
Clothing and Shelter
If you’re bugging out and fleeing your home, then that means you need to be thinking about protecting yourself from the elements. So, you need some extra clothes that can keep you warm enough without being too warm. It’s a good idea to avoid cotton items since you may end up getting wet. Instead, choose moisture wicking and quick drying fabrics like Smartwool.
A poncho or waterproof jacket is another good addition to your pack. If you’re outside, then it could be raining and something like this is vital for keeping you dry and warm out there.
A reflective emergency survival blanket is a good shelter option because it is lightweight and can be used as a tarp tent or as a sleeping bag. A good lightweight sleeping bag is also a good thing to include. And if you have space, a wool blanket can help to keep you warm if it is cold outside.
First Aid Supplies
In the event of a disaster, there is a good chance that you can end up with an injury. So, you need to be prepared for that with a simple first aid kit in your bag. You can buy a basic first aid kit or you can make your own with some bandages, gauze, and wound care ointment. It doesn’t need to include a lot of stuff, just some simple supplies. You’ll also want to learn some basic first aid techniques so that you know what to do in an emergency situation.
You never know what you might encounter, so you need some tools for anything that life throws at you. Obviously, a good multi tool will cover you for most things that rise up. And you’ll also likely want to include a good survival knife that can help you do everything from preparing food to trimming branches for a fire. You don’t really need to overdo it with the tools, so just make sure whatever you include can be used for multiple purposes.
While we want to assume that it’s unlikely that you’ll need any weapons to defend yourself, it is still a good idea to be prepared for the worst. Obviously, your survival knife can be used as a weapon in addition to being a functional tool. A small handgun is an obvious weapon choice because handguns are relatively lightweight and they intimidate most people who would wish you harm. You could also carry a machete or tactical axe to use in self-defense situations. There is no ‘best” choice here, so go with something that you can effectively use if you are attacked and need to defend yourself.
We can assume if you’re bugging out that electricity is not available, which means that you need to have your own lighting for when it’s dark outside. A good tactical flashlight is the perfect choice for walking in the woods or the streets because it is lightweight and casts a wide beam. Just make sure you pack some backup batteries for it. For when you make camp, you can use candles, glowsticks, headlamps, or camp lanterns for lighting. A headlamp is also a good choice for when you’re on the move at night since it won’t require the use of your hands.
There are some other things that you’ll want to include as well, if you have room in your pack. This includes things like:
- your cell phone
- a solar charger or hand crank charger
- duct tape
- cash or something to trade
- emergency whistle
- insect repellant
- toothbrush and toothpaste
- sewing kit
- dental floss (can be used for lots of things)
- toilet paper
- fishing kit
- emergency radio
- maps or GPS (if you have a charger)
Now that you know what to pack in your bug out bag, be sure to leave it in an area that you can easily grab it when disaster strikes. We suggest that you keep a few different bags packed and stashed at locations where you are the most. For instance, keep one in your home and one in your car or at the office so that you always have a bug out bag easily accessible.