A bug out bag or BOB is a bag, backpack, duffle bag, or some sort of cloth or plastic containing all the necessary supplies you need during an emergency. If you think that there’s never going to be an emergency in your neck of the woods, you have another thing coming.
You have to understand that emergencies take a wide range of shapes and forms. Sometimes, they’re man-made. Most of the time, they are the product of mother nature. Whatever form they take and whenever they do take place, you have to be ready.
At worst, you’re going to have to leave where you are. That’s right. As comfortable and as familiar as you have become in your home or nearby surroundings, oftentimes, due to natural disasters, you have to make the trek from point A to point B.
This is why it’s really important to be as basic as possible when it comes to your thinking. You can’t rely on sophisticated systems that might not be there or might not be around in proper working conditions when you need them.
I’m talking about the electrical, gas, power, and water system. This is why you need to strip things down to as basic terms as possible and you really can’t get any simpler than your bug out bag or BOB bag.
This is your emergency survival bag. Whether you’re in the middle of evacuation or if you are blindsided by mother nature, your bug out bag will be there too, at the very least, prevent things from getting worse.
Natural disasters, whether we like them or not or whether we expect them or not, occur at any time. We won’t know how much damage they would cause. In fact, in many cases, natural disasters like water damage seem very basic and simple, but their long-term effects can actually be financially crippling.
So it’s always better to be prepared at all times in case disasters (whatever form they may take), strike. Aside from preparing an emergency plan for your family and, if possible, your nearby neighbors, you need to also get a BOB ready.
A great bug out bag really takes many different forms. Ideally speaking, it should be a military-grade tactical backpack, there are some great examples at www.distasterprepstore.com. This type of bug out bag container is very sturdy and is more likely to take whatever punishment mother nature throws its way. It will also have all the compartments and internal space you need to make sure that you have all your essential equipment.
At the very least, your bug out bag should be made from thick and durable fabric that is waterproof and puncture proof. Given how heavy this container may get because of all the essential items it will contain, it should be padded in the right areas.
For example, it should have padded hip straps so you can comfortably carry it. Also, make sure that its internal storage space is air-tight. If you’re going to be storing any kind of food or using any kind of equipment that is very moisture sensitive, you need an air-tight construction.
Finally, it should have as many different separate pockets and compartments to ensure that different components are kept apart. If something happens to the bag, this separation can ensure that at least some of your gear will make it through.
Also, the added compartments go a long way in expanding the overall storage capacity of your bug out bag.
What do you put in your bug out bag?
It’s one thing to have the right container. It’s another to strategically fill it in such a way that you will be ready for whatever emergencies your family will face in the future. Generally speaking, you have to stick with the basics.
The first and simplest category involves food and water. This means the following. 3 days supply of food. This must be in the form of non-perishable packagings like canned goods, energy bars, or other dry, ready-to-eat meals. You only need to unpack these food packages and you can enjoy them right then and there and you don’t need to heat them.
Other items that you need to include involve water. Water is crucial. While you can live for 3 weeks to 3 months without food, most people would not last long past 3 days without water. That’s how crucial proper hydration is.
At the very least, you should have a basic water filtration system in your bug out bag. This can take the form of water purifier tablets, water bags, or any other container bladder. This is crucial because you may not have enough space to store a lot of water-gallon jugs or other plastic containers.
A good alternative is to store tightly packed water bladders that you can easily fill with purified water. You should also have a stainless steel water bottle. These are intended for ready access. In terms of cutlery, you should have the basics like a field knife, a spork (which is a combination of a spoon and a fork).
You should also include a fishing kit in your BOB. This doesn’t have to be as complicated and expensive as a full-blown fishing rod. It can be a stripped-down, easy to assemble fishing assembly that will enable you to possibly get food if you are anywhere near open, natural water.
You should also include a portable stove, fire starters, many zip lock bags, and a multipurpose tool in your bag. This tool should be like a Swiss army knife, which means you can use it as a can opener, a screwdriver, a knife, even a hammer.
The more uses you can get from the tool, the better.
The next category of items that you’re going to have to stuff into your bug out bag involves materials that will keep you warm at night as well as protect your body from the elements. At the very least, you should include cold weather gloves, a waterproof jacket, a light winter jacket, a warm layer of material like wool or fleece.
You should also include 2 sets of clothes for each person in your family. You need 2 changes of clothes for each family member. You should also make sure that you include quick-drying underwear, wool hiking socks, and hiking shoes or boots.
It’s also a good idea to include protective headgear especially if you live near the snow. You might want to throw in a beanie, cap, or a basic hat in your bug out bag.
Warmth and shelter
Another category of items that will help you fully stock your bug out bag so it’s actually helpful in an emergency involves keeping your family warm and safe. These items include matches, lighters, or any other type of fire starter.
You should also include hand warmers, a lightweight tent, sleeping bags, tarps, gloves, ground pads, and any other type of protective padding. You should also include a paracord, a knife sharpening tool, and a waterproof or space blanket.
These might look like really big and bulky items, but they come in many designs. They are actually very compact, lightweight tents that don’t really take up all that much space. If you buy the right survival grade, military-style bug out bag, you would have plenty of space even though you packed in a fairly sizable tent.
In terms of lighting options, you should look for really basic lighting sources like flashlights that use hand crank energy instead of batteries. You should also consider a chemical-grade light stick. These are chemicals stored in a plastic container. When you crack them, they emit light for several hours.
You should also consider headlamps that are powered by a small solar panel.
First aid and sanitation
To keep safe during an emergency, you should consider packing the following N95 masks, prescription medication, over the counter basic medication, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, tampons, pads, menstrual cup, a towel, pain killers, gauze pad, sunscreen, antibacterial or antiseptic wipes, sunscreen, anti-burn gel, medical gloves, alcohol, and instrumentation kit, band-aids, a sling, bandages and a tourniquet, antibiotic ointments and, just as importantly, first aid instructions.
This may be a small booklet or, better yet, a 2-page manual.
What’s the point of having an awesome bug out bag but not knowing where to get help or feeling lost? This is why it’s important to have a basic manual printed map, a compass, and a GPS tracking system that is powered by a small solar panel.
If you bought the right bug out bag, its design would accommodate multipurpose tools. Again, these are basic stripped-down designs. You don’t necessarily have to get full-sized industrial-scale versions of these tools.
Still, the more of these tools you stock in your BOB, the better. We’re talking about a shovel, ax, paracord, glow sticks, portable solar charger, a watch, a 2-way walkie-talkie, pepper spray, and multipurpose tools like a bottle opener, screwdriver, small knife, wire snips, pliers and bolt cutter all in one unique design.
Finally, you should also consider miscellaneous items like a charger, goggles, and a sewing kit. You should also have copies of your important documents. I’m talking about passports, IDs, titles to your home, important contracts, contact numbers, insurance policies, health records, medical insurance policy information, bank information. All of these must be stored in a waterproof multilayer bag.
You should also have emergency cash. At the very least, have $500 in small bills ready. You should also have prescription medicine in an easy-to-access package. Finally, you should round things out with duct tape, all sorts of safety pins, zip ties, dental floss, petroleum jelly, a small mirror, and a stripped-down version of your emergency plan.
This should be contingency-based. In other words, if there’s a fire, you would know what to do. If there’s an earthquake, you would also know what procedures to take.