The primary purpose of a bug-out bag is to allow one to evacuate quickly if a disaster should strike. 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. 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.
Water for washing, drinking and cooking. Canada recommends 2 litres (0.53 US gal) per person per day for drinking and an additional 2 litres (0.53 US gal) per person per day for cleaning and hygiene if possible. New Zealand recommends 3 litres (0.79 US gal) per person per day for drinking. The US recommends 1 US gallon (3.8 L) per person per day.
A small size generic spray bottle (or two) with a good spray head (that does not leak) and fits on standard size plastic bottle threads can also be handy to direct fluids exactly where you want and reduce usage. Flushing wounds with water or alcohol, squirting metho through a small flame to put fire on something or someone, cleaning stuff you dropped (phone, torch, glasses), flushing eyes, mouth and teeth, ears, nose and other tricky holes, tracking the ration of your water supply one squirt at a time or just misting some water on your face to cool off … if you can spare it 😉
Backpack. One of the more common mistakes for 72-hour kits starts with the backpack. Choose a backpack that has multiple compartments in which you can divide your survival gear. Sifting through an unorganized pack, where everything is jumbled into the same large compartment can be frustrating and time consuming. By subdividing your stuff into different pockets you can access what you need quickly. Amazon has a variety of military-style packs to choose from.
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.