Before we explain how to pack a Bug Out Bag, let’s first explain what a Bug Out Bag, or B.O.B, is. A bug out bag is a backpack or other portable and lightweight pouch that you have packed with life’s necessities in case you need to leave your house or dwelling quickly. You want to be able to grab it and go! You can keep your bug out bag in your car, closet, or by the front door. Just know where it is, trust that you’ve packed it correctly, and you should be good to get out of dodge.
Choosing your Bug out Bag
Your bug out bag must fit you! By that I mean that it should be a style and size that you will be able to carry or wear when it’s filled with emergency supplies. Depending how elaborate you make your B.O.B. , it might end up weighing upwards of 30 lbs. I highly recommend purchasing a backpack style bag with a lightweight and sturdy frame. This frame will help distribute the weight of your B.O.B. more evenly, making it easier to carry for longer periods of time. Properly adjusted shoulder straps make these backpacks easy to wear and leave your hands and arms free for more important duties.
Bug Out Bag Item List
Keep in mind that there’s no “cut and dried” list. Every ” prepper ” seems to have their own idea of what to pack in a Bug Out Bag. A good idea to think about before you start your B.O.B. item list is to determine the main goal for your bag. Normally your bag will just be a set of supplies to help keep you alive and moving towards your safe place or refuge. Usually, each bag will protect 1 – 2 people for a short period of time during emergency and crisis situations.
Water – The typical human body can go without drinking water for about 72 hours before dehydration sets in. Drinking water is an absolute essential for any Bug Out Bag. It would also be nice to have some sort of water bottle or canteen to drink out of. The addition of water purification tablets to your B.O.B will pay huge dividends if you can find a water source that might be a little dirty or polluted.
Food – Emergency food can be any food that has a long shelf life and is easy to prepare. Some examples of these are freeze dried foods like MRE’s, and anything non-perishable. Energy bars are essentials and certain canned foods will be of great benefit. Keep in mind that if you have only freeze dried food, you might not have a trusted water source or supply to cook it with, so be sure to cover all your preparation methods. Also, make sure to pack some sort of cooking pot, can opener and even fuel source tablets to help with fire.
Clothing – Packing a couple articles of clothing in your Bug Out Bag is a great idea. Wearing wet or soiled clothes for any period of time gets really uncomfortable and will drag down your moral and attitude. When in emergency and survival situations, you cannot afford wet feet cloud your ability to make life saving decisions. Some important articles to pack in your B.O.B are a pair of underwear, socks, lightweight long sleeve shirt, pants, some sort of hat, gloves and a rain poncho or garbage bag. Also, a blanket for warmth and a tarp to make shelter are ideas as well.
Fire Source – Being able to start a fire is crucial to any survival. Fire will keep you warm, cook your food, boil your water, and even fend off any unwanted animals and intruders. Some of the Bug Out Bag items that I would pack are lighters, waterproof matches, or flint. It’s good to have at least 3 units of these just in case one fails. You should also have some lighter wood or some sort of tinder to get a fire started.
First Aid Kit & Hygiene – Self explanatory! Just a small emergency kit with the essentials is fine. Some wet-naps, hand sanitizer, soap, and toilet paper are a must. If you can throw in some mouthwash, you’ll really be glad you did. Again, if you feel good, you’ll make good decisions.
Insect Repellent – Goes towards moral and will help fend off infection from some pesky bugs.
Miscellaneous Tools & Supplies – These are some more items that you should probably pack in your Bug Out Bag and that will definitely come in handy. A machete or survival knife, a flashlight, candles, emergency whistle, compass, some sort of hand held radio or phone.
Bartering Items – In some emergency situations, the convenience of credit cards will not be available. You will need to have other items of value to trade or barter with. Some good examples are small gold and silver bars or rounds, cash and coffee.
Protection – Depending on where you stand on self defense, you may or may not want to pay attention to this section. Having protection is not for everyone, but for the sake of this post, I’ll include a couple items that might be a good idea to pack in your Bug Out Bag. Pepper Spray or bear spray, taser or stun gun, and a handgun and ammunition. Remember that in times of chaos and uncertainty, people will do whatever they have need to do to survive. Even if that means robbing or stealing from you if you have supplies they need. If you’re gonna take the time to prepare and pack a Bug Out Bag, you might want to think about defending it! Enough said!
I hope I’ve given you enough information on how to pack a Bug Out Bag if you choose to pack your own instead of purchasing a B.O.B. already fully packed. Like I said earlier, this list is not the gospel, but it should get you started in the right direction. Remember that emergencies won’t call ahead and ask if you’re prepared, take action today and protect your loved ones before it’s too late!
I’ve provided a great video on the basics of a bugout bag. This guy really explains it well and sheds lots of valuable insight for those who are putting together their first pack. Check it out!