I agree with all except this one, “you should carry a water filter instead.” That water filter does NOT filter viruses which can incapacitate or kill just as quickly as can the bacteria it does eliminate. Carry purification tablets & a couple gallon sized double-ziplock baggies or an aluminum/titanium pot (multiple uses) or learn about SODIS instead. Why plan to fail?
Knife. Many people will pack a Leatherman tool and call it good, but we suggest having multiple cutting tools in case one is misplaced or doesn’t work for the job. Having a knife with a large, fixed, non-foldable blade, may come in handy if you find yourself needing to cut through large items or cut for a long time. Check Amazon prices on the MTech MT-086.
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.
The whole point of a bug out bag is that it is ALWAYS packed and ready to go. In a true emergency, you might not have the time to throw those last few items into your bug out bag that you’ll really need. So, the short answer to this question is that the bag should be packed and ready to go at all times. But you should also be careful to regularly check any items in your bag that could expire or need replacement if they’ve been sitting for a while.
As important as the size of the pack you choose is the comfort of the pack. Many of the packs that we reviewed have compression straps, extra padding, and other features to ensure that your body is healthy and able to carry what you need. In general, comfort is largely a balance between enough padding and a lighter weight so that the bag doesn’t hinder your ability to move efficiently. When you’re considering the comfort of a given bug out bag, you’ll also want to pay extra attention to how the pack’s hip belt is constructed.
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Design – The best bug out bag is one with plenty of pockets. This allows you to compartmentalize your bug out bag essentials so that you know exactly where everything is and you don’t have to dig through mountains of other stuff to find what you need. Put all your fire and light things together such as tactical flashlight, candles, headlamp, fire starting kit and storm proof matches. Put maps, GPS devices, compass and other navigation related items in their own pocket and so on. The more you can separate things the easier it will be to transcend your difficulties.
Disaster preparedness doesn't need to be complicated, but you’ll find that shopping and collecting gear for a DIY bug out bag can prove to be difficult. In many cases, the DIY approach may prove more expensive than necessary, leaving you with items you don’t really need—and shouldn’t waste your money on. Instead of forcing useless items into a bag that won’t hold up, opt for a pre-packed, top-rated bug out bag.
Family members can become separated during an emergency. Be prepared by creating a plan for how to reach one another. Establish an out-of-area contact (such as a relative or friend) who can coordinate family members' locations and information should you become separated. Make sure children learn the phone numbers and addresses, and know the emergency plans.
Tip: Like with eating new weird food that you got from the internet, don’t assume you’ll know how to make a shelter with your tarp and rope. Take a night to camp in the backyard and use these supplies to build your shelters so that you’ll have a basic understanding of what you need to do. Trying to set up for the first time in a harsh weather event will make things even worse.
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.