When you start creating your checklist when planning your bug out bag, many people often run to the internet searching for an answer. There are a lot of designs that you will find from people’s experiences, from self-proclaimed experts, and others.
When you do this, you might end up with a very lengthy list of supplies that you will need to get you through the ordeal. But, not everything on the list that you select will be helpful to you. When you think about it, everyone will compile their own list depending on their experiences and needs. Circumstances differ from one person to the other.
You might actually end up with a hefty bag with contents that you may not need. Instead, let’s have a look at a straightforward structure for your bugout bag, a building that will surely aid you in building a realistic bug out bag.
Bug Out Bag Essentials
While there is much that you could pack in your bug out bag, really, you don’t need to have a lot, just the bare essentials.
Check out…ultimate survival kit / bug out bag guide
Water is Critical
This is the most important thing that you should plan for. You can survive for days on water only, even if you run out of food. You have to bring enough water with you because you can never be too certain about there being clean water wherever you go.
Nevertheless, if your escape route runs along with a good source of fresh water, you can replenish your supplies along the way. The most important thing to remember about water is that you must have clean water.
Contracting waterborne diseases, especially during an emergency, is not hard. For the same reason, you have to be careful because there might not be any medical facilities around you. Clean water is a must.
When determining your perfect water bottle, try and make certain that you get strong but lightweight. Getting a strong water bottle is important. If it happens to fall, it should not crack or break and spill your water. Today, different manufacturers have really awesome water bottles for such purposes, such as the Nalgene water bottle.
A water filter is necessary to help you get clean water. As mentioned previously, you might find a water source at some point on your way, but this does not necessarily mean that it will be water safe for drinking. You have to treat at least and filter the water before you drink it.
If you can collect rainwater, for instance, you cannot just drink it directly. This is where a good water filter will come in handy. Some will use UV pens, chlorine, or water treatment tablets for this purpose, but a good filter will also do just fine.
Some of these elements also need you to use batteries, which hopefully you’ve included in your bag. You’ll also need a manual filter, something that will keep you going for days without worry.
Climate-Appropriate Clothing and Shelter
Once you have your food and water in check, next, you must consider clothing and shelter. Don’t forget that our concern here is to get nothing but the basic survival needs.
This is supposed to be as simple as possible. Your clothes choice should make it easier for you to survive once you have gotten away from the immediate dangerous situation. You will need two pairs of long pants, two long-sleeve shirts, two pairs of socks, and two underwear changes. For your long pants, you need to get very strong and durable options like types of denim. Also, consider a pair of sweatpants if it’s cold.
If it’s hot, still bring jeans, but also bring some shorts. Although they leave a lot of your body exposed, it’s also important to stay cool. Make sure you have enough coverage to protect you from the sun, remembering too that much of that can be accomplished with sunscreen.
The biggest factor in selecting your clothes is to keep your choices as functional as possible. This is an evacuation situation, a disaster, and that’s all you need to worry about.
You need a protective covering of some type for your head pack, at least a baseball cap. You’ll also need a raincoat or poncho. Make sure that nothing is too heavy, or it could slow you down.
With shoes, be sure to pick the right kind. It would be best if you had shoes that will allow you to walk for a very long time without having to worry about your feet. Your shoes need to be comfortable, sturdy, and, most importantly, worn in enough so that you can walk a long distance without feeling like throwing them away.
If you are evacuating during the cold season, don’t forget to pack a pair of gloves.
In an emergency, you’re not looking for a shelter that will be a replacement for a warm and welcome home, but if you chance upon one on your way, make do with it. In terms of shelter, you are looking for something to ward off the weather elements.
The most popular choices people make in this regard are normally from a tent to a simple tarp. Tents can be rather strenuous to carry with you. Besides, carrying a tent with you will probably be difficult and perhaps time-consuming to put up and tear down.
A simple, lightweight tarp probably the best choice to keep you protected from the weather elements. The main aim here is staying alive, and at times this might come at the expense of living comfortably.
You might also carry a sleeping bag with you, but make sure that you get one that will be very easy for you to carry and will not take up a lot of space. Today you can get wonderful lightweight sleeping bags. Sleeping bags can cost you up to $550, but you can get an emergency sleeping kit for under $150. They are so light they can be folded to fit into your hands.
Bug Out Bag Essentials Survival Needs
Your bugout bag is about survival, not just for you, but for your family too. If you have children, you have to plan for them. You always have to make sure that everything that works for you works for them too.
Assuming that your kids are coming with you, you must make sure that you pack bugout bags for them too. These bags should be very light but carry the essentials that they will need along the way. As an adult, you have to plan for them, take risks for them, monitor them, and know when they are struggling. The kids will likely be going through more stress than you but will probably not know how to deal with it or even have the words express their feelings.
Light and Fire
When it comes to fire essentials, you need to be safe. Get disposable lighters, but make sure that you keep them in a waterproof bag. It is still important to have some backup. Carry a box of matches with you too. Some people choose to have lighters and firesteel as options and to ignore the matches. However, there are situations where you might not start a fire anything but matches, so keep a box with you.
Insofar as putting up a source of light is concerned, headlamps are a great choice. One of the main reasons for this is that they are not only lightweight, but they are also awesome for kids. You do not run the risk of losing them or have the inconvenience of having to carry it in your hands while juggling other things too.
For every member of the household, two headlamps would be great if you can carry them. When choosing the headlamps, you need to look at how efficient and effective they will be in your situation. You should use lamps that use AAA batteries; if you can get rechargeable, even better.
As we mentioned earlier, the fact that you are carrying with you a well-stocked bugout bag makes you stand out. Because of this reason, you need to have protective protocols in place. When you set out on your own, you can devise ways of survival to get you by very easily. However, when you are out there with your loved ones, you need to protect them. Even when you are on your own, you still need to make sure that you have a means of protection.
For a lot of people, carrying a gun is the ultimate go-to source of protection. There are different kinds of guns that you can pick for this purpose, but the most important thing is to ensure that your weapon is concealable, like a pistol. If your weapon is not concealable, anyone who notices you from afar can plan on how to take it from you and perhaps use it against you.
One more thing, keep the weapons away from the kids!
For communication, you may see suggestions that you get the military-grade or limited range radios. If you feel that’s necessary, OK. This is important, especially if you are traveling with a large group of people, and you need to stay connected to one another. However, simply staying close to one another is really the best communication equipment you can get. For your phones, you should have a way to charge them. Solar chargers are the best. Walkie-talkies can come in handy too.
If you are getting special communication equipment, teach your family how to use them before an emergency strikes. You can learn, go through the tutorials, and try them out so that you all know what to do. It would be useless to have terrific communication equipment and not know how to use it in a disaster situation.
Since we have probably covered almost everything, you will need as essentials, how about some general tools you should not leave behind?
A good pocket knife will save you a lot of trouble, so make sure you have one with you, and remember to keep it concealed and safe not to harm yourself or anyone around you with it accidentally.
A pair of pliers is such a good multi-use tool and is always good to have with you. They are convenient and will definitely be useful. There are times when you can have them double up as hammers for small nails.
You will need something to boil water and to cook with like a lightweight pot. You’ll also need a first aid kit. A good first aid kit is not one that will allow you to perform a successful surgical operation, but one that allows you to take care of some of the basics, like dressing a wound.
Just because things are tough and out in the wild does not mean that you need to forget about hygiene. By maintaining proper hygiene, you will be able to ward off some communicable illnesses. Ensure that you have some soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and any small elements that will help you in your bugout bag.
For the ladies, you’ll need tampons and/or maxi pads. You will not need your makeup. You might have to camouflage yourself in mud for protective purposes from time to time. You never know what nature will throw your way.
Duct tape; never forget to carry this with you. It’s good for almost everything!
Bandanas come in handy for many reasons, and not just for covering your head. They can also be wrapped around a wound or act as an arm sling.
Spare batteries should absolutely be on your list.
Also, carry with you some form of identification. You never know when this will come in handy.
Together with your plan, it is equally important to ensure that you get the proper navigation equipment to keep you on course. It would be best if you had a detailed map with you. For those with smartphones, the temptation to use Google Maps will be there, but I can guarantee you that Google Maps will only get you so far without a good network connection. If you run out of batteries, you run out of luck.
You must know how to read a map, use a compass, and give and use directions. If there is a pre-arranged location where you are supposed to meet others, make sure that you have at least three routes to get to these locations, just if any of them is impassable.
Those who constantly go on hikes in such areas, try and mark the common spots such as streams, the presence of wildlife, and so forth on your map so that you have an easier time finding them.
Identification and Money
One other thing, though this might not really sound like being so high up on the list for a lot of people, try to carry with you some form of identification. You never know when this will come in handy.
Ensure that you have your identification cards, social security cards, birth certificates, and any other form of identification, especially for your children. These must be kept very carefully.
As you make your plans for evacuating in an emergency, take your time and spare some money aside for this purpose. Ensure that the money you have set aside is in currency denominations that are small enough not to have trouble finding smaller denominations when you are in need.
There is no limit to the amount of money you can set aside for this as long as you are sure that what you set aside will help you get through the toughest times.