Pack personal hygiene products in your backpack such as a toothbrush, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, and wipes. The most important thing to remember is prescription medications for each family member, if necessary. You’ll need these in everyday life, so you don’t pack them away for a disaster. Instead, keep all medication stored in a survival kit in your home. This means you can quickly grab the survival kit in an emergency situation.
Space can be limited, and so it's easy to not think about getting your Grab-n-go supplies ready. The average 72-hour-kit only takes up a little space and is well worth it. You are more likely to run into a situation that needs a 72-hr-kit for a short term emergency than just about anything else. So you have food and water, but do you have everything you would need to survive in case the local stores are all closed and you need a shelter in place? There are many things we use each day that we might take for granted such as tooth paste, or deodorant.
A BOB is the minimum equipment you need (depending on your skill set) to get from point A to point B. It is not meant to last a month or a year or ten years. If you don’t have long term gear at point B and you can’t stay at point A, you’re better off in a FEMA camp. Point B can be anything from a motel to a relative’s house to a cabin deep in the woods someplace but you have to get there when the going gets tough. That’s why a BOB is important. What I think people fail to understand is that what takes 72 hours in good times might take two weeks or more in tough times and that BOB needs to get you through. Hunting, fishing, trapping and foraging are required skills in that case; you can’t rely solely on what you can carry on your back.
The Emergency Preparedness Starter Kit is approved by the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. The American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, a volunteer committee of nationally recognized health care, aquatics, preparedness and educational professionals, helps establish and assure the scientific basis for Red Cross programs, products and public guidance. Council members’ contributions help ensure that the Red Cross is using the latest science, addressing current needs and is preparing for future changes.
Another factor that affects comfort is the pack’s ability to breathe and dissipate the heat that your body generates as you move. The major area where heat builds up when you’re wearing a bug out bag is along your spine. This is why certain models offer a mesh back panel that creates a small gap between your back and the back panel of the bug out bag. Even a small space here can dramatically improve heat loss and help your body stay cool.
Look for a pack that has multiple compartments, with pockets and organizers built in to help keep track of the small items, and try to pack your BOB strategically with items grouped that you’ll use together. Remember to pack clothes and bulky items on the bottom and heavier items at the top for better weight distribution and to ease the strain on your body.  
If you have kids you know getting out the door on time is a challenge on the best of days. In an emergency, it is not going to be pretty. Let’s look at survival in a disaster from the same standpoint of taking a car trip. Loading the car is a pain! Getting everyone and their stuff in the car and on the road is stressful! Now imagine having to do this in 15 minutes or less with only the essentials. You need to be able to get everyone and thing into the car in as few trips as possible.
When asked what were the major reasons that they were not prepared for a potential catastrophe, 40% of Americans said they “couldn’t afford to buy or stock up on certain supplies.” More than ¼ (27%) said they didn’t know what they should be doing in order to prepare. About ¼ of respondents (24%) said they didn’t need to prepare because they “didn’t think any catastrophes will happen.”
An excellent resource regarding bug out bags is a new book by Max Cooper called, “Realistic Bug Out Bag, 2nd Edition: Prepared to Survive.” This is a monster book at over 600+ pages. It has scenarios, drills, and is full of useful and insightful information. I like that the author stresses planning and has a section devoted to bug out plans and how to practice & train your plan. He is also a huge advocate of designing a BOB that fits your needs based on factors that pertain to your situation. I highly recommend this book.
Denier is the term that is most often used to suggest the strength of the threads in the fabric used to create the pack. And when it comes to the quality of the seams, look for a pack that advertises double-stitched seams if you want a pack that will last longer and holds up against the environmental factors it could be exposed to in the event of an emergency. Ultimately, your pack is an investment in your survival and the contents of the BOB don’t do any good if your pack fails and you can’t carry everything.
A “Bug out bag” (sometimes called a “bail out bag” or “survival bag”) is loosely defined as a backpack-style bag that a person keeps at the ready in case they need to evacuate in a hurry (bug out) due to natural disaster, civil unrest, fire, war or any other similar type of calamity. A bug out bag won’t be much good should a comet the size of Dallas hit the earth but for the type of events listed above it can make the difference between thriving and barely surviving.
The biggest misconception about bug out bags is the idea that the contents in and of themselves will be enough to keep you alive. The truth is that the contents of your bug out bag are only as good as the individual using them. If you don’t know how to make the most of the contents of your bug out bag or ration them appropriately, they won’t help you survive any more than a firearm without any ammunition. You should always take the time to familiarize yourself with the contents of your bug out bag and feel comfortable using everything so that you’re best prepared when TEOTWAWKI does occur.
Every bug out bag should be 100% unique. Sure, there are some basic items that every bug out bag should have (food, lighter, water filter, flashlight, etc.), but you should customize your bag based on where you live, what type of disaster is most likely to occur in your area, and how much weight you can carry over a long distance. Many preppers forget about that last point.
Remember that this pack should be prepared and stored somewhere easily accessible and rodent proof. It is also a good idea to review the contents of your pack every 6 months to ensure you have appropriate clothes packed for the season and that your gear and rations are in order. This will help you feel confident that your Bug Out Bag is ready to go at a moment’s notice!
Build Quality – The last thing you want is to be trudging through the windswept landscape trying to escape the oncoming storm surge and have your pack split open and spill your survival gear all over the place. The bug out bag should be made of durable, water resistant nylon and have high quality zippers (waterproof if possible) and double stitching all around. The shoulder straps should be firmly affixed to the bag and be well padded to help absorb the load you’re carrying. And if there’s a waist strap it too should be well-padded and preferably adjustable to accommodate people of different heights.
Picture this: A local emergency of some sort has emergency personnel knocking on your door telling you that you have 5 minutes to evacuate your house (fire, gas leak, railroad collision, earthquake). What will you grab in those 5 minutes? Hopefully, you’ll get your children and your 72-hour kit (and then whatever else you think you have time to grab and can carry).
Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.
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