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Do I really need a bug out bag?

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

Bug Out Bags

A bug out bag would be an invaluable part of your emergency preparedness plan. It is impossible to predict when an emergency, disaster, or catastrophe will happen, which would leave you and your family vulnerable.This emergency survival bag could sustain you until help arrives.

What does bug out bag mean?

A BOB (an acronym for Bug Out Bag) is an evacuation kit that can be grabbed and carried in an emergency or disaster. The term bug out bag originated during the Korean War. The U.S. Army utilized them as a bail-out bag carried by military aviators forced to retreat. Other terms it is known by are battle box, grab bag, go bag, GOOD bag (get out of Dodge), PERK (personal emergency relocation kit), QRB (quick run bag), or the more commonly known 72-hour kit.

Today the bug out bag is used mainly for emergency preparedness. The bug out bag is a pre-packed collection of survival gear kept in a portable bag, vest, or backpack. Preppers and survivalists are familiar with the bug out bag and its usefulness. They are actively engaged in preparation for calamities.

Do you really need a bug out bag?

Disaster relief experts are aware that it could take up to 72 hours to reach and help people affected by a disaster. Some officials declare a mandatory evacuation during a catastrophe. Because of this, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Self-preparedness authorities urge everyone to be vigilant in storing enough supplies required for you and your family to last at least 72 hours. It would be best to keep these supplies stored in one place that can quickly be picked up and carried to a safe location. A bug out bag can store your supplies and be readily available in case of a calamity.

The 2019-20 Australia wildfires burned 46 million+ acres, caused nearly 500 deaths, and destroyed 9,300+ buildings.

You can also use a bug out bag for sheltering in place in response to emergencies where it is impossible to leave home. Scenarios include natural disasters, hazardous material incidents, blackouts, pandemics, and other emergencies. Some authorities suggest keeping a bug out bag in more than one location, like in your car and at work, if transportation halts and there are no ways to get back home.

What should be in a bug-out-bag?

The contents of a bug-out bag will vary depending on locale and personal needs. The necessary supplies that everyone would require for survival include:

  • Water and water purification or filtration supplies

  • Non-perishable food items (light-weight and calorie-dense)

  • First aid supplies and prescription medication/glasses

  • Hand sanitizer, personal hygiene, and sanitation supplies

  • Heat sources (lighter and matches or fire starter kit)

  • Air-filtration mask

  • Cooking supplies (aluminum cup, pans, and utensils)

  • Thermos and vitamin drinks or thirst quench packets

  • Weather-appropriate clothing including underwear, socks, and caps or beanies

  • UV protection and bug repellant

  • Poncho and/or waterproof jacket

  • Sturdy Gloves

  • Bedding items like blankets and sleeping bags.

  • Tarp or light-weight tent for shelter from wet weather

  • Identification

  • Addresses and phone numbers of loved ones

Emergency Tools for a bug-out bag could include:

  • Crank-operated or battery radio and batteries

  • Compass and local map or GPS tracking system (if a phone is out of order)

  • Signal mirror or strobe light

  • Emergency whistle

  • Aluminum foil

  • Flashlights (battery or crank-operated) and glow sticks

  • Swiss Army knife

  • Cell phone and solar charger or external power-pack

  • Duct tape and rope or paracord

  • Multi-tool

  • Axe, hatchet, folding saw, and mini shovel

  • Folding saw

  • Superglue

  • Tarp for water collection

  • Wire for binding

  • Small fishing tackle and bait line

Unconventional Items you may want in your bag

  • Sewing kit

  • Water bladder

  • Pen/paper

  • Nails/screws

  • Contractor heavy-duty bags (stretcher)

  • Salt (preserve food or clean wounds)

  • Binoculars (scouting and security)

  • Night vision goggles

  • Headlamp

  • Weapon and magazines

  • Lock pick set

  • Small water pump

In case you need to evacuate to a dangerous area, you should have protection from dangerous animals or people. It is suitable for self-protection to have a knife in a sheath, pepper spray, and firearms with ammunition or other weapons in your bug out bag.

If you can stay in the country, you will need identification, a copy of your insurance information, and emergency cash. In case you must leave the country, you will need a passport and a copy of your birth certificate in your bug out bag.

Depending on the family situation, you may need extra supplies for pets, children, those with special needs, and the elderly in your bug out bag.

Where should I keep my bug out bag?

You never know when an emergency or disaster may occur, so it is best to store your bug out bag where you spend much of your time. Careful planning will ensure you can reach it promptly since it is impossible to keep the bag with you at all times. It may require having a few bug out bags stored in various locations. Suggestions for places to keep your bug-out bag include:

  • Home

  • Vehicle

  • Workplace

  • Self-storage

  • Hidden location or cache

  • With a trusted family member or friend

There are pros and cons to keeping your bug-out bag in each of the above locations. A complete bug-out bag can be expensive, and keeping several kits may be unaffordable. It is up to you to decide the best place to keep your supply. An option is to keep smaller versions of the bug-out bag stored in other places. Home is the place where you spend at least half of your time, including sleep, so it would be the most likely place to keep it. Consider the range of possible scenarios before making the final decision.

The disadvantage of keeping your bug-out bag in your vehicle is that the temperature can reach extremes and affect the contents causing them to degrade faster.

Daily activities require that you are always on the move. It may not be practical to keep your bug out bag at your workplace. It would have to store it in a secure undisclosed place only you have access to in case of an emergency, which would be hard to pinpoint. Even in a vehicle, someone may break in and take it.

You must keep your bug out bag hidden from others who might want to steal it. Be aware of your neighborhood and crime stats. You have to weigh the benefits and risks of storing your bug out bag to make the best decision. The bug out bag itself should be durable, water-resistant, and have an airtight construction. A MOLLE bag or vest would be an excellent choice.

The most important thing is that it is available when you need it. A bug out bag can help you be prepared for the unprepared.

Check out the perfect bug out bag, the R72 Grab&Go Vest, by clicking on the image below.

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