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Prepper Tips 101: The Beginner's Bug Out Bag

Updated on July 11, 2017

Why would I need a "bug-out bag?"

You may think that your normal day-to-day life will continue as is and there is no need to make any preparations for anything else. If you have that mindset, you will be highly surprised when a natural disaster or a man-made tragedy upsets the normal balance of things. Of course, I would not wish anything bad on anyone, but the key to most things in life is to expect the best, but prepare for the worst.

My family had lived in Louisiana for barely 4 months when torrential rains threatened to wipe out homes and businesses across several parishes. In a lot of the areas, families went to bed that night thinking everything was okay, only to wake up to no power and water filling up their homes fast. Many families and fur-babies had to be rescued by "The Cajun Navy," many of whom were neighbors who had also flooded, but brought in their boats and in a coordinated effort from a Facebook page (many didn't have cell service) did not loose one person even though the water went over roofs in many areas.

How do you know that you are going to face something like this? You don't, but having some of the basic necessities ready to grab in a moment's notice can mean the difference between surviving a little more comfortably or being totally distraught and not knowing what do do.

Finding the best Bug Out Bag

You can shop for a bug-out bag/survival kit that is already packed with items, or you can purchase a large, waterproof duffle bag that will serve it's purpose well. Every pocket and crevice can hold something that can be crucial to your comfort later. This does not have to be the most expensive bag, but it needs to be durable and resistant to tearing and you need to be able to carry it. If it is too big or too heavy, you will not want to lug it around.

What do I need to pack?

Once you have a quality bag to store everything in, then you will need to pack it well. Save any type of small storage containers and bags that seal, as you can use them for nearly everything. You want to protect these items from whatever catastrophe you are getting away from.

I am going to give you a Checklist of the basic items you will need to be sure and pack. If you take your time and do a little every week, this won't seem like such a daunting task. If your pocketbook let's you, you can buy everything at once. But if you are like me and need to save money where possible, then just buy a little extra on top of the normal things you buy when shopping.


  1. Case(s) of bottled water
  2. Non-perishable foods/canned and bagged goods/protein bars
  3. Cooking/eating utensils/can opener
  4. Fire starting materials
  5. Small tools/axe/large knife
  6. Compass
  7. Sets of clothes/shoes for each family member/a lot of extra socks
  8. Toiletries/soap/hand sanitizer
  9. Toilet paper
  10. Towels and washcloths
  11. First Aid Kit
  12. Radio
  13. Batteries
  14. Flashlights
  15. Power banks, extra chargers
  16. Water purification tablets
  17. Tarp and rope for shelter
  18. Copy of important information in a notebook/address book such as next of kin, phone numbers, addresses, insurance, medical, anything you may have in your phone or computer that you would need and can't access without power

Expect the best, prepare for the worst

I hope that I never have to go through a flood again. That was nearly a year ago, and there are still people who have not been able to get their homes repaired to where they can move back in. We lived in a hotel for 5 weeks, then tried to move back into the mobile home we were in, but the landlord decided to sell out rather than complete repairs. So...needless to say, we never know what could happen and it doesn't matter where you live, whether right by the ocean, or high in the hills. I wish no harm would come to anyone, and that no one would have to go through losing everything they own. But the more you can prepare for the worst in life, the more you will appreciate it when you don't have to worry where your next meal is coming from or if your child is cold. You will have everything covered for a temporary amount time.

You can't take it with you when you go

What is the #1 material thing that you feel you could not live without and would have to grab during a disaster?

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Prepper Gear 101: Basic Bug-Out Bag

Share your experiences!

If you have survived a disaster or tragic situation, tell us how you got through it and what you would do differently if you have to go through a similar circumstance?


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    • Cynthia Hoover profile image

      Cynthia Hoover 7 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Kellie great article! Thank you for sharing! Very helpful tips. I have survived two natural disasters here in West Virginia. Both were massive floods one in 1996 when we lost our home, and again in the June 23rd flood last year. Being prepared used to be a way of life, these days not so much. I hope that young millennials will take some great advice from your checklist and start preparing!