The bug out bag, BOB, GO bag, or the 72 hour bag is your best bet in case of a major emergency; mega-quake, super-tsunami, World War III–your standard WSHTF scenario. BoBs primarily focus on evacuation, thus the term 72 hour bag, with the theory it would take disaster relief about 3 days to reach affected areas. Based on previous natural disasters, we all know it takes much longer than that.
Due to the immediate need to evacuate quickly when disaster does strike, your bugout bag should only be packed with the essentials. Each member of your family should have their own bug out bag, carrying their essentials.
Here are some recommended things that should go inside your bug out bag.
– Food and water for at least 72 hours.
Non-perishable foods that are both nutrient-filled and lightweight are preferred. Options range from military style rations, canned goods, trail mix, and power bars. The ideal volume of water to carry will vary with your geographical location, but the standard volume is at around 3 gallons (11.34 liters), which will be used for drinking, washing and cooking. Also, don’t forget to add cooking supplies for cooking food or game you are able to find along the way. A propane, butane or denatured alcohol stove and a small camping pot should suffice.
– First aid kit. Contents of your kit should include ABC (Airway, Breathing and Circulation) treatment, like a pocket mask and face shield, treatment for trauma injuries like bandages, dressings, saline, and soap, medication such as painkillers, topical medication ointments, bandages, and band aids, scissors, tweezers, shears, alcohol, and thermometer. You want something to stop bleeding such as gauze or even tampons. You’ll also need hygenic supplies such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss.
-Fire Starter. Either to warm you or cook your food, fire is very vital. Lighters and matches are the convenient choices. Magnesium fire starters are also excellent choices.
-Flashlights. And yes, that is plural, pack a minimum of two or so in case one is lost or broken. A head lamp is a good option as it allow your hands freedom. Be sure to go for the battery-less flashlights, such as wind up LED lights. A flashlight can also be used as a way to disorient an attacker. Go for a high lumen light with a strobe function, and keep extra batteries.
– Knifes (folded and fixed). For a fixed blade,something around six inches will be enough to be used as a cutting tool and a weapon. Use the folded knife as back-up. A multi-tool is also recommended. A small sharpener is a good idea.
– Emergency Radio. Information to the outside world, safe zones and evacuation is crucial, all of which can be given off by a radio signal. Listening to music is one of the perks with having a radio, but remember to not crank up the volume in a hostile environment as it may give away your position. A battery-less crank radio is preferred., but if you get a radio that requires batteries, make sure you pack plenty, and rotate them regularly so they don’t go bad.
– Ropes and duct tape. The para-cord, nylon cord, and heavy duty climbing ropes each have their purpose, whether in climbing, building a shelter, clothing and equipment repair, and making traps and snares for food. Needless to say, you need all three of them. As for duct tape, you may already be aware of its usefulness inside your house. Duct tape is a wonder material that can be used for endless things–making hats, shoes, sleeping mats, covering wounds–the list goes on and on. Duct tape is a critically important addition to your bug out bags.
– Shelter. While many would go for a tent as a mobile shelter, you might consider a tarp. A tarp can be set up any way you need with whatever resources present, does not require multiple parts, and can be packed into small spaces. Keep two large tarps, which you can use both for shelter, or one to be a roof above your head and the other to collect rain water.
– Weather appropriate clothing. Ponchos, wind breakers and jackets will keep the hazards of weather away. Light breathable clothing will keep you cool in arid regions. Probably the most important element of clothing is a good pair of boots and socks. They’ll keep you warm and dry, and you need your feet in good condition so you can keep moving.
Other contents should include:
– A disaster plan complete with locations of emergency centers, rally points, evacuation routes, etc.
– Maps and travel information
– Standard camping equipment, including sanitation supplies
– Sleeping bags and blankets
– Firearms, ammunition, and weapons cleaning supplies
– Cash, change, and precious metals
– Identification cards, such as drivers license, or social security card
– Slingshot, pellet gun, or blowgun for small game hunting
– Some sort of camouflage to conceal yourself (make sure it works in your region)
Modify your bug out bag to your own needs and don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit. Just make sure to strip it all of the non-essentials, so you don’t carry more weight than you have to.