What goes in a bug out bag?
All kinda of goodies! There is no set list that everyone follows. Some of it depends on your personal preference. Use your judgment and try to anticipate some situations you might encounter and what items you would need. Here are some essentials:
- Bug spray – After hurricanes and floods there is going to be a lot of standing water which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The situation is even worse if there is a pandemic as mosquitoes are known for spreading disease.
- Camp axe – You might need this if you have to cut down small trees for shelter or split firewood.
- Compass – It’s not as easy to tell the direction by the sun as you might think, especially in the middle of the day. Keep one in your BOB in case you get lost.
- Disposable ponchos – If you’re forced to move in the rain this will make your day a lot less miserable.
- Duct tape – You can fix all sorts of things with duct tape.
- Emergency whistle – One for each family member. This is important if someone goes off alone to use the bathroom. Criminals sometimes take advantage of the lack of policemen during disasters. They can also help attract the attention of rescue crews.
- Energy bars – If you don’t like energy bars, food that is high in calories but doesn’t take up much space will do. Examples: rice, tuna, beef jerky, etc.
- First aid kit – When traveling on foot, going to new places outdoors, setting up camp or cooking food, people can be hurt very easily.
- Flashlights – You should have one in each bag. Only use one at a time so you don’t waste batteries. Speaking of which, pack several extra batteries, too.
- Folding shovel – Great for digging a fire pit or burying waste (hopefully you won’t have to do this).
- Hand crank radio – These take no batteries or electricity and can keep you apprised of weather, info, evacuation routes, etc.
- Hand sanitizer – You’ll definitely need this if you’re outside or with other people. Germs spread quickly when people don’t have access to showers, toilets aren’t working, and garbage isn’t being collected.
- Imodium A-D – If you or a family member gets diarrhea in a survival situation, the resulting dehydration can be life-threatening.
- Map of your local area – Forget using your iPhone or car’s GPS system in a survival situation. There’s a new kind of map that works without electricity!
- Multi-tool – Not just for bug out bags. You should carry one of these almost everywhere.
- Multivitamins – You won’t get all the nutrients you need from your food or rations passed out by FEMA. Supplement your diet with these to keep your energy up and your immune system strong.
- Paracord – This stuff is strong and light and can be used for securing a tarp, setting traps, making a clothesline and many other things.
- Playing cards – In a survival situation, a lot of time is spent sitting and waiting. These are essential for fighting boredom.
- SAS Survival Guide – This guide will tell you everything you need to know about building shelter, finding food and water, staying healthy, getting rescued and more. And it fits right in your pocket.
- Stainless steel water bottle – This keeps water contaminant free and can easily be used for boiling water by hanging it over a fire with paracord threaded through the top.
- Sun block – Critical in case you’re stuck outside in the sun. A bad sunburn hurts badly and can become infected.
- Tarps – By stringing these between two trees with your paracord, you have an instant shelter.
- Thermal Blankets – Mylar blankets are great for holding in heat when you’re stuck out in the cold.
- Waterproof matches – You might also consider a butane torch lighter, a firesteel, or kindling sticks.
- Water testing/purification – If you can’t boil water, you’ll want to test it to make sure it’s drinkable (even tap water might be contaminated in a disaster). If it’s not clean, you’ll need some drops or tablets to purify it.
- Waterproof case – You’ll want to keep at least a couple hundred dollars in cash and coins on you. This will keep your money dry along with your phone, passport or other small items.
- Ziploc bags – Great for keeping things dry and preserving food.
Pick up a few of these items on every shopping trip or order a few online every week. If you have the money to get all you need at once, I recommend choosing one of our bug out bags where you can skip the headache of building your own bag and have one ready to go. If you’re just getting started with survival preps, a bug out bag should be your first priority.