Let’s start by defining what a “bug out bag” is. A bug out bag is a bag you stock and keep ready to grab at a moments notice should disaster strike. In a lot of instances staying put, or “bugging in”, is probably your best option. If you think about it, you’re already in a secure location and if you’ve been preparing, you already have what you need on hand. If you haven’t been preparing, here’s my recent post on how to begin preparing. But if the disaster is of such a nature that you have to leave – bug out – this is where your bug out bag comes in handy.
Ok, but where do you start? The place to start is by asking yourself, “Where am I bugging out to?”. Are you going to a relatives house, a hotel or out in the woods to your bug out location. If you’re bugging out to an urban location, your bag will contain different items from a wilderness location – you won’t need a camp stove at your mom’s house! Once you know where you’re going, you can begin to stock your bag.
To get started, any bag will do; it could be a backpack or a gym bag but probably not a suitcase. Remember, this is an emergency situation – you’re not going on holiday! You only want to pack some emergency supplies to help you through the crisis. One piece of advice on what bag you use, if you can, don’t make it a camouflage one. You want to look like an ordinary person leaving town and not a survivalist who is probably carrying lots of useful stuff to steal.
Right, so what do I put in my bag? For this article, let’s stick to bugging out to a an urban location; wilderness bags get a whole lot more complicated. Besides, I’m guessing the majority of people are going to a relative or friends house.
Here’s a list of things to pack to get you started:
- Cash (ATM’s may be down)
- any medication you are on
- charging cables and chargers for your electronic devices
- USB stick with your most important files
- protein bars and bottled water
- chemical hand and feet warmers (depending on location)
- emergency thermal blanket
- flashlight and spare batteries
- emergency whistle
- small medical kit
- cigarettes if you smoke
- tooth-brush and paste
- and any other personal items you can’t live with out. But remember to keep it down to a minimum; this is an emergency situation and not a vacation.
Also keep in mind that the roads may be clogged with others trying to flee the disaster, and you might be spending some time in your vehicle. And hopefully you have an Every Day Carry (EDC) bag in your vehicle. No? Ok, that’s another article.
You want to keep this bag in the same location all the time so you know right where it is at a moments notice. Also, you’ll need a bag like this for each member of the family and tailored to their needs.
So that’s a bug out bag for beginners. There’s loads of information on the Internet if you want to learn more. Just Google bug out bag.
I hope that helps get you started if you’re completely new to being prepared.
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