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Your Bug Out Bag. Peace Of Mind In A Little Package.

Updated on January 17, 2012
Off-the-shelf Red Cross preparedness kit .
Off-the-shelf Red Cross preparedness kit . | Source

Simple and Affordable

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Choose quality over quantity.

For many individuals, the idea of compiling and maintaining a survival kit is ludicrous. Many mistakenly assume that a natural disaster or emergency could happen to them. "I don't live in an earthquake zone and this area hasn't seen a tornado in a hundred years" I've heard folks around my area say.

Some people would rather stick their heads in the sand rather than take a realistic look at the possibility of bad things occurring to them in and around their neighborhood.

Too many people that think this way end up becoming a statistic because of a lack of simple preparation. Ignoring the possibility of a disaster is not only unwise but irresponsible especially if your a parent and have a moral duty to take care of your family.

The Bug Out Bag's name stems from the military term "Bail Out Bag". A piece of kit aviators were issued to use in the event of a crash or being shot down. The name morphed over the years as it was passed down from other military and law enforcement circles and became the now famous Bug Out Bag. Other oft used names include: Personal Emergency Relocation Kits (PERK's), Go Bags and Get Out Of Dodge Bags (GOOD's).

The number one raison d'etre of this bag is to provide for you and your family all the essential items one would need to escape and survive either a natural disaster or emergency.

Gear in the bag should be tailored to your unique situation. Items such as prescription medication, local maps and clothing tailored to your particular climate and weather should be considered for inclusion.

Many pre-assembled off the shelf bags may not be set up to provide for this so extra room should be allotted to add these as your personal situation warrants.

The bag itself must be sturdy enough to tackle almost anything you throw at it. Many of the bags used in pre-assembled survival kits are severely lacking in the quality department and may not hold up to the demands placed upon it should you find yourself in an adrenaline fueled escape from the clutches of death.

My ideal bag would be one that is easily obtained, large enough to carry at least 72 hours worth of food and water and sturdy enough to handle the literal end of the world. I've found such a bag.

The military issue Alice pack is the perfect blend of form and function. Easily found in just about every military surplus store on earth as well as on Ebay and Amazon, this bag can hump everything needed to get out of Dodge if the situation calls for it. They also come in various sizes and have locations on the outside of the bag where you can mount items externally such as canteens, machetes and bed rolls or stuff sacks. It also can be mounted to an external frame for when you need extra comfort in situations that would demand a long trek on foot.

With the pack out of the way let's discuss what to carry.

Simply put, haul enough stuff to keep yourself alive for a minimum of 72 hours. Remember, this bag is for your survival.72 hours of food and water plus other essentialsI'll cover later on should be in this bag alone. If your like me and have a family to care for they too should have their own individual bags as well.

When populating the bag remember to think about what items you would need particular to your location in the world. Weather, climate and political/social unknowns should be anticipated for when researching your shopping list.

This is not a long term survival bag. Lightning fast escape is the name of the game with short term sustainability being the goal.

Brain Storm ideas for your Bug Out Bag are:

Water. #1. Assume wherever your headed water is unsafe to drink. Ideally 1 gallon of water per day per person. But water is heavy. Consider water treatment tablets AND a high quality water filter.

Food. There are some great high protein meal replacement bars on the market that will provide, at least temporarily, the proper mix of carbs, protein and vitamins for short term sustenance however, there are innumerable personal options for food but remember to consider weight as your foremost priority.

Shelter. Some ready made kits are equipped with cheap mass produced tube tents. They will work but just barely. Another option, one that offers more versatility would be a military surplus rain poncho. These often have metal grommets that allow you to use them as quick shelters and can be configured in different ways to take advantage of your unique situation.

First Aid Kit. Sure, you could make your own and for many, this would actually be better as vital prescription medication may not be available in a disaster shelter. I've opted to purchase my kit from my local outdoor sporting goods store. I made sure it had extra room within the bag to supplement with 30 days of extra meds. In another bag, I created my own kit out of a gallon food storage bag and it's held up quite well although it's over 5 years old and not everything in the kit may be good now as it's been in the trunk of my car the whole time. Yikes!

Fire. Well, not actual fire. Fire starting materials and a spark producer. Whether you opt for a simple butane lighter, magnesium fire starter or a ferroucium rod, being able to make fire can mean the difference between life and death. Shoot, have a combination of options for starting fire and you'll be set.

Other essentials include:


Hand crank radio w/weatherband

Mylar Space Blanket

Cash and or extra credit cards

Copies of important documents i.e. medical records, deeds, wills, drivers license, I.D. Social Security Cards.

Fixed blade AND folding knives.

Duct tape and paracord/rope.

Sanitation supplies. TP is the first thing to go in a disaster.

Bedding. Sleeping bag or blanket

Firearms and ammunition.

Wire for making animal traps.

Cooking supplies. Stove and mess kit.

Area maps and compass.

Survival guides.

As if anyone needed another reminder of just how fast a disaster can strike, Alaska was inundated with one of the harshest winters on record. With over 20 feet of snowfall recorded in and around Valdez, Alaska, there always remains the possibility of having to utilize your Bug Out Bag, no matter where you are.

Do You?

Have you created your own Bug Out Bag?

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    • LAURENS WRIGHT profile image

      LAURENS WRIGHT 6 years ago

      This is great information for a bug out bag. Noticed that everything needed for the bug out bags are getting more and more expensive. Must be getting in demand or shortage for the prices to go up so fast. Great hub!

    • John J Gulley profile image

      John J Gulley 6 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks. Yeah if you could keep a small amount of supplies in a knapsack and were able to grab it in case of an emergency, it would greatly increase your chances of survival by a factor of ten.

    • bruzzbuzz profile image

      bruzzbuzz 6 years ago from Texas , USA

      I had never thought of the need of a survival bag or what to put in one either. This is an incredible hub that is useful. Voted up.