Bug Out Bag Essentials: What to include.

Bug Out Bag Essentials: What to include.

During periods of crisis or when faced with the wrath of natural disasters, it becomes increasingly paramount to possess an organised and thoughtfully assembled Bug Out Bag (commonly referred to as BOB). This kit serves as a portable carrier of life-saving supplies, made to provide you with the necessary tools to aid you on your journey to your bug out location or point B when evacuating your home. In the following guide, we will delve into the realm of Bug Out Bag essentials, outlining the crucial items that will find their place within your kit. These items are recommendations, and I urge you to build on this list in whatever way you see fit. Make changes or swap out items based upon your own family and specific needs. After reading this article, my hope is that you’ll feel confident and knowledge equipped to build your own Bug Out Bag thereby ensuring your safety and well-being in the face of dangerous situations.

We will categorise the essentials to keep things well organised. This usually goes something like Shelter & Warmth, Food & Water, Light & Communication, First Aid & Medications, Tools & Miscellaneous.

Shelter, Warmth & Fire:

The fundamental cornerstone of survival in hostile environments lies in adequate shelter and warmth. Within your Bug Out Bag, include lightweight yet durable options such as a compact tent or a versatile tarp. These items will shield you from the elements, providing a safe haven and generally have multiple uses. Complement this with a reliable sleeping bag or an emergency blanket, specifically designed to preserve body heat. It’s important to be mindful of the weather conditions and include extra clothing items tailored to the climate, ensuring you are well-prepared for rain, extreme temperatures, or other challenges. Additionally, consider packing hand warmers or a portable heating source to combat the biting cold. Fire starters of some form are also a must have (ie ferro rods, compact tent and/or lighters).

Food and Water:

Stock your Bug Out Bag with non-perishable food items, carefully selected for their long shelf life and high nutritional value. Energy bars, canned goods, freeze dried & dehydrated meals and MRE’s are excellent choices that provide sustenance without the need for refrigeration. Additionally, allocate space for water bottles and a reliable water purification system to ensure a continuous supply of potable water. Water purification tablets or a high-quality filter should not be overlooked, as they enable you to transform potentially contaminated water sources into safe drinking water. Consider including compact lightweight cooking utensils and a portable stove, along with an ample supply of fuel, enabling you to prepare nourishing meals even in challenging circumstances. Vitamins, glucose tabs and flavour/rehydration sachets are also a plus.

Light & Communication:

Equip yourself with a reliable headlamp or flashlight, accompanied by spare batteries to ensure a steady source of light. Consider a signal flare if you want to be noticed and a whistle or signalling device such as a mirror or reflective tape must not be overlooked, as it can attract attention in times of distress. Additionally, a portable radio or hand-cranked emergency radio serves as a lifeline, providing you with essential updates and crucial information. To further bolster your communication capabilities, consider carrying a portable charger for your electronic devices, enabling you to stay connected and informed. If you know how to use it, the capability of a HAM radio or sturdy walkie talkie is invaluable for both communications and info gathering.


First Aid and Medications:

In moments of crisis, access to prompt medical care may be limited. Thus, integrating a comprehensive first aid kit within your Bug Out Bag is of utmost importance. You could buy a ready made first aid kit but I always recommend personalising it and added extras that you see fit. Stock with essential medical supplies, including tourniquets, bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, prescription medications, antibiotics and spare glasses. Additionally, prioritise personal hygiene items such as toilet paper, gloves, safety goggles, wet wipes, hand sanitiser, tooth brush and toothpaste, and feminine hygiene products to maintain cleanliness and prevent the spread of infections. As a woman, I like to use reusable menstrual cups as they are compact,  easy to use & clean rather than stocking an abundance of disposable products. You’re likely to be walking a lot in an emergency situation so ensure you have moleskin blister patches or the likes available. 

Tools and Miscellaneous Items:

A well-equipped Bug Out Bag should house a range of versatile tools and miscellaneous items designed to assist you in navigating unforeseen challenges. A multi-toolor a trusty Swiss Army knife serves as a compact yet invaluable toolset, providing a diverse array of functions for survival and practicality. Duct tape, revered for its remarkable versatility, should not be neglected, as it can be employed for repairs, improvisations and a myriad of other applications. Include sturdy lengths of paracord or rope to fashion shelters, tie things and create makeshift tools. Pencil sharpener for wood shavings to start a fire easier. Compass and foot map of the area you’re most often in. Cash in small denominations is important as during the initial stage of a crisis, power may be out rendering cash machines & ATM’s useless. Include a waterproof bag with emergency contact numbers, photo family (people & pets) and other important ID’s & documents. We also keep a notepad and pen for taking notes or leaving messages. A change of clothes and sturdy walking boots are also a must. Consider high vis in case you need assistance or camouflage for blending in. Other practical optional items include the likes of gas masks, trash bags, superglue, safety pins, elastic bands & zip ties.

Bartering / Comfort

Comfort items to ease times of hardship are also optional extras for your BOB. Some may plan to use these themselves or barter & to make friends. Standard suggestions are alcohol, tea & coffee, cigarettes, condoms, chocolate, candy, physical protection items & gold & silver.

Things to remember:

Customise your Bug Out Bag based on your specific needs, climate, and potential risks in your area. You don’t need to pack anything that doesn’t make sense to you or your family just because it’s a recommendation you see online! Regularly check and update your supplies so that they are in good condition, not expired and that you know how to use them. It’s also worth taking the occasional walk with it on to get a feel for how heavy it is and ensure that you are comfortable with it.

Was this article easy to follow and did you get any good ideas of what to add to yours? Or have I missed any big items that should be included? Let me know in the comments below!

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