Nature sure can be beautiful.
But it can throw a mighty tantrum, and sometimes, you may not have the option of staying put.
That’s when a bug out bag will come in really handy as part of your practical emergency preparedness plan.
Maybe it is a volcanic eruption, like when Mt. St Helens blew its top in 1980.
Or it’s a super storm making heading for you, like when Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the East Coast in 2012.
Regardless, if your home is no longer a safe place to shelter in, you’ll need to evacuate.
The person the bag is packed for needs to actually be able to travel with it. If the bag is too heavy, or if the person isn’t able to walk very far, you need to rethink your plans.
And the last thing you need is to be scrambling around for the things to take with you.
Here is a bug out list to help you prepare and to get your bug out bag ready.
- The person the bag is packed for needs to actually be able to travel with it. If the bag is too heavy, or if the person isn’t able to walk very far, you need to rethink your plans.
- Go for sturdy, lightweight bags that are comfortable to carry over a long distance.
- Make sure perishable items like food and medicine are rotated consistently.
You want lightweight food that can either be eaten on the go, or, are quick to prepare. Make sure they are things you actually want to eat, and that can be stored for at least one year.
Top of the list is drinking water. Make sure you include a bottle or two of potable water, and also have a way to collect and treat water that you may find.
Medicines & First Aid
If there are medications that a family member is dependent on, prioritize those.
Also, pack a first aid kit.
Make sure you know the items in the kit, and have some basic knowledge on how to use them.
Consider including blood-clotting items, like QuickClot.
You want lightweight food that can either be eaten on the go, or, are quick to prepare.
Make sure they are things you actually want to eat, and that can be stored for at least one year.
If you choose to bring cans, don’t forget a compact can opener.
Also, bring a Spork and a metal mug that you can use to heat food and water in.
You need a way to manage your body temperature. You will need:
- Redundant ways to start and keep a fire going.
- Seasonal/regional-appropriate clothing to manage your body temperature.
- A way to keep the sun, wind and/or rain out.
- A sleeping bag.
Poor hygiene kills in the aftermath of a disaster.
It’s reason why rescue workers are so concerned about sanitation and hygiene once more immediate needs are met.
Make sure you have a way to do your #1 and #2s and be able to clean up after. Remember to take care not to contaminate your water and food.
You’re going to need a few items to make your evacuation a little less uncomfortable.
Click here for a more complete list, but a few things you need to have include:
- A multi-purpose tool.
- A compass.
- A sewing kit.
- A few LED lights, ideally a headlamp. Pack spare batteries.
- A few resealable plastic bags.
- Work gloves.
- Various ways to tie and bind things, like dental floss and parachord.
- A tarp for shelter.
Other important things
- Copies of ID for all family members placed in watertight bags, in every bag.
- A handcrank radio, ideally one with an LED light and phone charger
- Cash, in small bills.
- Local map.
- Small Note Pad / Pencil.
- Emergency Whistle.
We hope this helps you get started.
If you would like recommendations to specific products, please leave a comment and we’ll check in with our firefighters and preparedness professionals for their thoughts.