A bug-out bag is a bag, usually a backpack, that contains supplies necessary for you to survive the first 72 hours of an emergency. It is crucial for your bug-out bag to be prepared in advance. The idea is to have it complete and conveniently located, so that you can grab it and go when an emergency arises.
It can take some time to gather all the materials for a bug-out bag. While you are getting your supplies together, don’t think about what you don’t have yet. Think about how much more prepared you are than you would be if you hadn’t started.
When you begin to gather your supplies, start with a checklist. Make a plan to gather supplies as your budget allows. Keep the checklist and the plan in your backpack.
The following is a recommended checklist to start you off collecting supplies for your bug-out bag:
* Sturdy backpack to hold items
* Sleeping bag
* Plastic sheet
* Tent or tarp for shelter
* First aid kit – including nonprescription and prescription medications and contraception (a three day supply)
* Children’s medications (if applicable)
* Feminine hygiene items (if applicable)
* Baby wipes and diapers (if applicable, though baby wipes are useful for cleaning up for all ages)
* Change of clothing – including pants, a short sleeve shirt, a long sleeve shirt, socks, underwear, a jacket, work gloves
* Rain coat or poncho
* Emergency blanket
* Camping lantern
* Water-proof matches
* Three day supply of food – such as granola bars, protein bars, trail mix, dried fruit, canned tuna, canned chicken, Vienna sausages, beef jerky, juice, candy, Meals Ready to Eat
* Three day supply of water – about four liters per person
* Manually operated can opener
* Utensils for eating
* Duct tape
* Solar powered radio (with back up batteries)
* Toilet paper
* Hand sanitizer
* A bottle of combination soap, shampoo and conditioner (you can use it to wash dishes and clothes, too)
* Entertainment items – such as a deck of cards, knitting supplies, a book to read, paper, pen
* Personal documents – including legal documents, insurance policies, birth certificates, car titles, copies of prescriptions, etc.
* Cash – at least enough for three nights in a hotel
* Pet items – including food, water, cat litter, leash, bedding
* Other items as needed for children such as formula, pacifiers, bottles, etc.
When it comes to food, make sure you create a menu plan so that you know what you’ll eat each day. And every six months you’ll want to check expiration dates and replace food that’s near the end of its shelf life.
You’ll also need to check the children’s supplies every six months. Be sure that the children haven’t grown out of the clothes you prepared for them and make sure that whatever other supplies (formula, bottles, etc.) are appropriate for age and size.
Don’t forget that you need to be able to grab your bag and go. One of the things that means is that you need to put your supplies in your backpack and leave them there. Don’t fall into the trap of using your bug-out supplies for daily use. That will either delay you on the way out, or leave you underprepared when you get there.
You’ll need to have a bug out bag for each member of your family. Even children are capable of carrying their own packs with some essentials. This helps them to feel more self-reliant and confident during an emergency.
Once you’ve collected these items, you’ll need to keep them in an area where you can easily access them in an emergency. A bug out bag checklist can help you to keep in mind what you have and what you still need to purchase as you prepare for survival needs.
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