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Bug Out Bags – What are They and Do I Need One?

Bug Out Bag

The term “bug out bag” may be new to you especially if you have not seen any information about preppers or survivalists. The name is used to describe a kit that can be used to survive for three days. Bug out bags are useful in any situation where you are required to evacuate your home in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency.

What you decide to put in your bag will depend on the type of emergency for which you are preparing. However there are some basic items that should be included in every bug out bag.

Here are a few suggestions for items to be included in your survival kit:

1. Water

One gallon per person per day is the quantity recommended by the US government. So for 72 hours you will need three gallons per person. In addition you will need more water for cooking or washing so including an extra gallon may be sensible. Since water is heavy you may want to consider packing a water filter or purification tablets as an alternative solution.

2. Food for Bug Out Bags

Ensure that you have sufficient food to last you for the 72 hours. Freeze dried meals are the ideal solution since they are light to carry and have a long shelf life. They are easy to prepare using a freeze dryer to put your food into airtight packs. When you need a meal just slit open the pack and tip the contents into boiling water to restore the food to its original state.

If you do not want to prepare your own meals you can buy various different survival packs or individual meals. These will also have been freeze dried and some claim a shelf life of 25 years. While you could chose canned food this would be far heavier and awkward to transport in bug out bags if you had to move.

3. First Aid Kit

All bug out bags should contain a first aid kit to cope with any emergencies. The kit should include plasters in assorted sizes, one or more bandages with gauze and tape. An antiseptic ointment or gel would also be advisable as would any other items that you think might be required. If any member of your party is on medication make sure to include those in the kit.

4. Water Filter for Bug Out Bags

When discussing water in item 1 above a water filter was mentioned as an extra precaution. This is particularly important if the emergency lasts for more than three days. In that case you will definitely need a filter or purification tablets to ensure a continuing supply of drinkable water.

5. Tarp

If you have to move out into the woods you will need something to create a shelter. A tent would be ideal, but a lightweight tarp would provide a suitable alternative.

6. Knife

One tool that is absolutely essential is a knife. You will need it for any number of tasks from preparing food, cutting rope to splitting wood. In case of attack it can also be used as a weapon for self defense. So do include a strong knife in your kit. A sharpener would be a good idea too.

7. Fire Starter

While rubbing two sticks together is the traditional way to start a fire without matches, you would be foolish to rely on this method unless you have had plenty of practice. If you find yourself stranded in the woods a fire starter would make life easier. All bug out bags should include one of these.

8. Compass

If you have to move away from your neighborhood into an area you do not know you will need a compass to guide you. Although our phones have maps and GPS these features may not be working in an emergency situation. Ideally you should also have a map of the area, but at least a compass will allow you know in which direction you are heading. Without it you are likely to walk around in circles.

Wrap Up

Disasters happen and we may think that they always affect other people, but it just could happen to you. So having  fully equipped bug out bags at the ready will mean that you are fully prepared for any emergency.

Daniel Powell

What started as a plan to prepare my family for survival in both the rural wilderness and the urban jungle has made me realize just how much there is to learn. After extensive research I am keen to pass on the knowledge I have acquired to save you the stress and worry of being caught out in unexpected circumstances.

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