Wildfires, tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, massive biological hazards and unconfined viruses can quickly upset our serene lifestyle. In the event one of these events impacts the area around where we live, are we prepared to move out quickly?
Bug-out bags contain items necessary in the event a quick getaway is needed due to some unforeseen event. Catastrophic events can necessitate a focus on disaster survival.
A Bug-Out Bag - What Is It?
Crisis management includes preparing your getaway
A bug-out bag, also known as BOB, is a portable kit that contains the items one would require to survive for seventy-two hours when evacuating from a disaster. It is also known as a 72-hour kit, a grab bag, a battle box, and other popular names include "Personal Emergency Relocation Kits" (PERKs) GO Bag and GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bag. source: Wikipedia
The terminology "bug-out bag" is probably related to the "bail-out bag" of military aviators. If the pilot or crew were forced to abandon their aircraft it would be necessary for them to survive until their rescue could be secured. The bail-out bag needed to contain everything they would need to sustain themselves for an unknown period of time.
Perhaps the first encounter you have faced with a bug-out bag is the bag an expectant mother had ready and waiting for the time when she would need to go to the hospital for the birth of her child.
It should be stressed that Get Out Of Dodge Bag (GOOD Bag) is not designed to be a long term survival bag. Rather, it is designed to contain all items needed for a quick evacuation of an area until arrangements for a return or an alternate plan can be put into place.
The 72 Hour Bag
Why 72 Hours?
Pack your bags! For how long of a period of time should we pack?
Most emergency management organizations recommend provisions for at least 72 hours. This is based upon historical records that it could take that long for emergency relief to reach affected persons to offer relief. Needless to say, depending upon the emergency, the time involved could be longer or shorter.
You will want to pack one bag for each member of your family or for each member of the group for which you are responsible.
Remember, the focus at this time is evacuation from a threatened area rather than long term survival.
There is a completely different set of principles and rules to apply for long term survival and the type of tools and supplies can differ greatly.
Representative Examples of Bug-Out Bags
Bug-Out Bags, BOB, Get Out Of Dodge Bags, GOOD Bags, 72 Hour Bags,
|SOC Gear Long Range - 1,000 Denier|
The SOC Long Range 1000 Denier has enough capacity to carry enough gear for several days. The main compartment is expandable to manage all of your hydration, communication and ...SOC Gear / Only $0.00
|Large ALICE Field Pack with Frame and Full Outfit LC-1 Green|
Large, durable and practical, with many compartments for easy organization. Genuine military issue, manufactured to spec for U.S. armed forces. Part of the All-Purpose ...Heartland Values Outdoors / Only $87.87
|MOLLE 3 Day Military Assault Pack Backpack - Black|
****Large load cargo capacity compartment with separate pocket to fit up to two 3L hydration bladders. Body contour shoulder straps with D-Ring for equipment attachment, ...generic
|MOLLE II Standard Pack, Desert Camo, Genuine U.S. Military Issue|
M.O.L.L.E. II Standard Pack, Desert Camo, Genuine U.S. Military Issue (External Frame Pack, see image)This is an assembled MOLLE II Standard Pack, including a Gen-IV Frame, ...U.S. Military Contractors / Only $107.11
|MOLLE II Military 3 Day Assault Pack|
Made From 600D Polyester Material. Large Main Compartment. 1 Outside Zipper Pouch. Internal Hydration Panel. Adjustable Padded Shoulder Straps. Sternum Strap For Easy Carrying ...Rothco / Only $80.59
|Maxpedition Vulture-II Backpack|
Support: 1" Sternum Strap, 2" Integrated Belt (min 19" strap alone / max 52" strap alone; min 34" loop / max 67" loop)Maxpedition / Only $146.99
How Many Bug-Out Bags Do I Need?
Always be prepared
There should be one bug-out bag for each member of the family. Obviously, what is packed inside will differ based upon the needs of the individual.
With today's families going many different ways during the day, members can be separated at the time of an emergency.
Consequently, there should be at least one bag at home that contains all the needs for each member of the family for 72 hours.
There should be a bag located wherever each family member spends a good portion of their day. If much of the day is spent at a job location, there should be a bag at that location in the event evacuation must be made while on the job.
If children spend much of their time at a daycare facility, they should have a bag with them there.
There should be a bag in the family vehicle for quick evacuation.
We do not want to go overboard but do want to be prepared in the event we need to move out quickly.
What Kind of Bug-Out Bag Should We Buy?
This is not a 3 day stay at Grandma's
Anything we can carry can be used for a Bug-Out Bag. But carrying a suitcase for any distance could get very tiring. Also, a non-water repellent canvas bag could result in wet clothes by the time we got to our destination through a pouring rain storm.
While a backpack that is used for carrying school books could conceivably be used, we should at least consider the merits of a backpack that is designed for the more rugged use of recreational backpacking. These will withstand the rigors of the potential weather conditions and will be designed to carry larger loads with a better weight distribution.
The type of bag we buy will also be dependent upon the type of emergency evacuation we might be facing and planning around.
- Broken water pipes and house has been flooded - relatively easy evacuation with only basics required and transportation available.
- Any type of Bug-Out Bag will suffice. Basic supplies required.
- Natural disaster has severely damaged or destroyed the area - transportation may not be readily available.
- We will want a Get Out Of Dodge Bag that is somewhat durable. Basic supplies plus supplies for additional hazards anticipated will be required.
- Catastrophes where transportation will not be readily available and housing may not be easy to find.
- Our BOB will need to be durable and will need to contain the kind of supplies that will allow us to survive in the elements until help can arrive.
The 72 Hour Bag - What Goes In It?
Can all that fit?
There are a few different factors to consider as we decide what to pack.
- What is the environment? Hot? Cold? Rainy? Snowy?
- What is the destination of our evacuation?
- How will we get to our destination?
- How long will we need to be gone?
Let us look at the contents as being added in layers according to need:
The following items should be included no matter what kind of bag we are packing:
- Water - Recommendation is 1 gallon of water for each person per day
- Food - Enough to last for three days and light enough to carry.
- Suggest freeze dried food or meals ready to eat (MRE's)
- Energy bars
- Backpack meals
- Clothing - One change appropriate for the season/weather. My wish to consider what can be layered.
- Medication - Sufficient supply for the time away. Recommend not actually packing in the bag but have readily accessible. This way the medication will not be beyond its useful life.
- First aid Kit - Recommend preparing our own kit so we know what is in it and how to use it. Will want to consider items for the uniqueness of the area such as snake bites.
- Special needs items such as baby diapers.
Beyond The Basics
|Headlamp - flashlight||Compass - GPS||Sunglasses/Sunscreen|
Fire Starter (waterproof matches,
chemical heat tabs, etc.)
|Repair kit||Signaling device|
|Portable water purification system||
Duct tape - sewing kit
|NOAA Weather Radio||Whistle||Cell phone - Satellite phone|
Toilet paper - can be
used for kindling
Trowel - sanitary waste
Copies of important
|Survival weapons and tools|
Two Must Haves
No matter what, there are two items that are essential for any given evacuation plan:
- Cash - Do not plan on running by the local ATM as electricity may be out and the machine may not be functioning.
- Shoes - these should be sturdy, water repellent, and comfortable for walking/hiking. We may find ourselves unable to get to our destination by automobile transportation.
Examples of What To Include In Our Bug-Out Bag
|4 Person Survival Kit Deluxe Perfect ...|
|Mayday 4 Person Deluxe Emergency Hone...|
|4 Person Deluxe Survival Kit|
Quake Kare, Inc.
|Mountain House 72-Hour Emergency Meal...|
|Datrex Emergency Water Packet - Case ...|
Emergency Disaster Systems, Inc.
|OUTDOOR FIRST AID KIT 201 PC FOR CAMP...|
The purpose of the Bug-Out Bag is to be ready to move out quickly should some sort of catastrophic situation upset your usual routine. With things happening quickly it is easy to forget some of the essentials.
We will need to ensure we have the essentials; food, water, medicines, and medical kit ready to go. There are other items that should be included depending upon the type of situation in which we find ourselves.
Most of us probably live in urban areas and I suspect many of us have not had our routine upset too drastically. But remember, it can happen to you and without warning. Simply getting stranded in a blinding snow storm and making a wrong turn can put you in an area that is not frequented by others.