Now, imagine you’re back in your house. You crawl out from under your dining room table, shaken and surrounded by what’s left of your now shattered chandelier. Emergency notifications are blowing up your phone and in the distance sirens signal that rescue and recovery efforts are underway. But as you look over the jagged, chalky sheetrock that was once your living room wall, you realize you’ve got a long road ahead. You grab your 72-hour kit and begin searching for a safe place to wait it out until help arrives.
I think you’re both correct, although you are addressing separate threat levels and emergencies (civil disobedience vs. natural disaster). I keep a basic bag, plus a small box with optionals that can be quickly loaded, depending on the threat. I realize this may take precious seconds, so this is time dependent. I live in the Chicago area, so civil unrest is a greater concern, and my firearms choice reflects this probable eventuality.
For someone new to being a Survivalist building your first Bug Out Bag can seem like a big task. Everybody you read about has been tweaking theirs for months or even years and has a pile of gear built up. It’s hard to know where to start, but if you cover all of the basics in a survival situation you will still be much better off that 99% of the people.
The unfortunate reality of our world today is that we’re never quite sure when our comfortable existences will be dramatically disrupted. We can, however, prepare so that we are as ready as possible if that does happen. In this section, we’re going to offer answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about bug out bags so that you can further gather knowledge that will help you make your selection.
A new coronavirus—similar but not identical to the viruses that cause Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome—has emerged from China, and is causing human cases of pneumonia-like illnesses in several countries. Without sustained human-to-human transmission, most American workers are not at significant risk of infection. However, workers involved in airline operations (including cabin crewmembers), healthcare (including clinical laboratory personnel), and border protection may have exposure to travelers infected with the virus in China or other affected areas. OSHA's 2019 novel coronavirus webpage provides information for workers and employers about the evolving outbreak and ways to protect workers on the job.
If your bag is so heavy that you can’t carry it more than a few miles, you’ll have to ditch some of the items, anyway. And what’s going to happen if you have to run from attackers, jump walls, and climb fences? Having a bag that’s too heavy could get you killed. Ideally, a bug out bag should weigh about 15% of your body weight, assuming you’re in decent shape. 20% of your body weight should be the absolute maximum.
The primary purpose of a bug-out bag is to allow one to evacuate quickly if a disaster should strike.[13] It is therefore prudent to gather into a single place all of the materials and supplies that might be required to do this, such as a bag or a few storage containers. The recommendation that a bug-out bag contain enough supplies for 72 hours arises from advice from organizations responsible for disaster relief and management that it may take them up to 72 hours to reach people affected by a disaster and offer help.[14] The bag's contents may vary according to the region of the user, as someone evacuating from the path of a hurricane may have different supplies from someone who lives in an area prone to blizzards, earthquakes, or wildfires.
I have to agree with Steve: I have a bug out bag ready in case the SHTF. That doesn’t mean that there’s going to be a lot of “safe places” to run to. If we get together with like minded people, we can make a long term plan. The only reason for a “three day bag” is if “they” are coming for you specifically and you can go to another sane location. I personally have packed a .22 revolver and 200 rds., carry a .38 Special and pack 100 rds., and shoulder a Saiga .223 carbine with 200 rds. of “penetrators”, FMJ, and some soft point if I need to take a little larger animal. And, another thing, if you pack “pills” in a baggie and happen to get stopped along the way, you can bet on a trip to the station!
What if you forgot to add a change of clothes? Or you find out that the recommended pocket-knife actually sucks? Testing your kit gives you an opportunity to find what you’ve missed and make tweaks that will improve its usefulness. If you packed for an infant but now have a toddler, your needs are going to change. Also, take this chance to check battery life, switch out expired food items, and update your 72-hour kit, as needed.
What if you forgot to add a change of clothes? Or you find out that the recommended pocket-knife actually sucks? Testing your kit gives you an opportunity to find what you’ve missed and make tweaks that will improve its usefulness. If you packed for an infant but now have a toddler, your needs are going to change. Also, take this chance to check battery life, switch out expired food items, and update your 72-hour kit, as needed.
Sleeping bag. Sleeping bags present an interesting size and weight problem and for that they’ve landed on our “probably want” list. You can make do without one by wrapping yourself in multiple thermal blankets, or Amazon sells an awesome Tummah Emergency Survival Mylar Thermal Sleeping Bag that weighs less than 4 ounces. It’s not as comfortable as a big fluffy sleeping bag but it’s light and will keep you warm at night.

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.
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.
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