What is a Bug Out Bag?
A “Bug Out Bag” or a “BOB”, is a bag that you have ready at all times in case you need to leave your home due to an emergency. This bag is meant to hold 72 hours of food, clothing, and basic survival gear to help you stay alive while you relocate to a safe area. These bags are as simple or as complicated as you wish them to be. Many items depend on your personal needs, geography, and possible disaster scenarios. For example if you live in a land locked area an emergency flotation device might not be one of your top priority items. Here we are laying out our Bug out bag from the essential items everyone should carry, to extra gadgets and tools that can help one to survive in an urban and rural environment.
It is important to remember that you have to carry this bag and be able to move fast with it, so pack wisely! If you get a knock at the door at 3 am and are asked to evacuate, you should be able to grab this bag and go. You should also consider your evacuation route, creating an additional evacuation bag, and your Opsec (operational security) needs.
It is important to know where you need to go in an emergency situation and multiple ways to get there in case of road blocks or accidents. We will cover this in further detail in a future blog post.
The additional “Evac” bag is a bonus bag, and allows you to pack extra equipment, clothing, and food if you are fortunate enough to be leaving by car. These bags are larger and may be more burdensome to carry if you have to leave your car behind and continue on foot. This bag can be built over time after you have finished your Bug Out Bag.
This is important into your planning while prepping. For example, if you live in the heart of a city, walking down the street in all camo, with shotguns attached to your tactical bag might draw unwanted attention. If people are starting to scramble you may stick out as a person carrying much needed tools, supplies, and food to those that are unprepared. In this case you may want an everyday looking bag so you appear as a student or a tourist walking in an urban area. The small backpack shown here would be great as a Get Home Bag or a large EDC bag. You can carry this in your car, put it under your desk, or walk down the street with it and no one would assume it is full of survival gear.
Here are a few examples of backpacking bags that would allow you to blend in as a tourist in an urban environment. These bags are larger than the backpack shown above and would be better suited for an “evac” bag or for your long-term survival needs.
How To Build A Bug Out Bag
You can not survive with out water, so this is priority number one! Water is bulky and heavy so you can not possible carry all the water you will need. After you fill a few water bottles and maybe a hydration pack you need to think about what happens when you run out? Here are a few Options:
You can always carry a few pouches of emergency water with you, I would recommend buying a box of pouched emergency water so you can split the pouches up over your Get Home Bag, Automobile Emergency Kit, Bug Out Bag, and for your home supply.
This is a great start but you will need to make sure you have the ability to capture and purify water along the way. For that process we recommend water purification tablets as they are small and light weight. You need to read the instructions to make sure you use them correctly, but they will allow you to purify water in any container you may have from a plastic bag to an old soda bottle. These tablets will only last for so long, and they can be ruined if exposed to water so you will need to have a back up plan.
We recommend the “Lifestraw”, it is light weight and allows you to drink on the go. If you can find a puddle you can find a water source. there are many straws on the market and some are designed to purify to higher levels, to rid water of certain chemicals, and much more. This is the old faithful and is great for most bug out and survival situations.
There is nothing worse than being cold, wet, and tired in a survival situation so fire is essential to your bug out bag. Fire can lift ones spirits, dry off your clothes, signal for help, purify water, help to make tools, and can help you cook your food. Here are a few fire starting tools for you to consider:
You need to stay dry and warm as hypothermia will kill you in a heart beat! So make sure you have the bare minimal tools to create a shelter to help protect you from the elements. A small layer between you and the ground can be a life saver so make sure you have some options. I carry the Sol Emergency bivvy shown here and the reflective tent. The bivvy sac will protect me from loosing body heat, and the tent can help protect me from rain, wind, and the cold. The tent is also made out of materials that I can use as a tarp, an additional blanket, or to draw attention to my location from the air if I am looking to get rescued.
72 hour kits are a great source for your bug out bag, but they do have limitations that you should be aware of. They require water to make them, which if its in short supply could be a big issue. Here are two 72 hour Kits by Mountain House and Wise Food Company. These are fast and easy to make and have a good flavor profile, ask any back packer they do the trick!
I recommend MRE’s for a bug out bag, because they are simple and filling just open the pouch and you have a meal. There are a lot of imitation or “civilian” brands out there, so shoppers be ware. I recommend the military warrior MRE’s that are higher in calories and come with warmer kits that automatically warms the food for you. Calories are crucial in a high stress and highly physical environments. MRE’s are great and can be found on EBAY all the time for $40- $120 depending on how lucky you are and shipping costs. Spend some time watching how much people charge in shipping, they may sell the MRE’s at a low price and make up for it on the back end. I would say $85 is the average price for a case of MRE’s shipping can be $15-20. It is important to note that MRE’s are high in calories but are not meant to fulfill your long term survival needs, as you will eventually need to add more nutrition to your diet. But MRE’s will keep you full and moving for a long time and are perfect for bug out or bug in situations. It is aalso important to think about the weight of your BOB, so maybe a mixture of MRE’s and dehydrated foods is the way to go.
I have MRE’s and dehydrated food in my food supply at home. I buy MRE’s, Wise food, and Mountain House to add a bit of variety to my long-term storage, so my family wont experience food fatigue by eating the same thing day in and day out. Variety is the spice of life!
You need to back up your essential documents and carry them with you. What if you loose everything in a storm? It might be handy to have a thumb drive with back ups of your Insurance, deeds to your home, social security cards, Id’s and much more. See the attached list below, for suggested items to back up on a drive of your choice. Security is important so do your research!! I always believe in the rule of multiples when prepping, so I back mine up to a cloud service called dropbox , I keep photo copies in my safe, and in my safety deposit box, and I keep info on the drive shown here. I keep this drive on me at all times.
Suggested Bug Out Bag Equipment:
There are so many items and personal touches you can add to your bug out bags, the choices are up to you. Be warned you have to carry these bags and survive so don’t over do it! Remember, all the tools in the world won’t save you if you don’t know how to use them or the basic rules of survival. knowledge is key to your survival!
To see a complete selection of bug our bag items check out our build your own bug out bag store! Click here