What is a Bug Out Bag, Why Do I Need One and What Should I Put in Mine?

A Bug Out Bag, or BOB, is a self-contained survival kit. Survival items are usually packed in a backpack, prepared and ready for you to “bug out” in advance of a natural or man-made disaster. Uncontrollable disasters and crisis situations can strike quickly and without warning. When you have a bug out bag filled with the essentials you need to survive at least 72 hours, you can flee your home in seconds if you need to.

But what should you put in your BOB? Also known as a 72-hour, GO (Get Out) or GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bag, this will be your basic means of survival for a minimum of 3 days. So you need a well thought out and carefully planned list of items inside. And while rucksacks and duffel bags might carry more, a backpack is perfect because it keeps your hands free for performing survival tasks, and also for defending yourself.

Depending on which survival expert you consult, you are going to get a lot of answers about exactly what you should put in your GO bag. But minimally you should have the following 7 categories present. (These are listed in no particular order of importance, as they are all vital for your survival.)

1 – Food – Humans can go without food for several weeks. But you will have more energy and function properly if you include freeze-dried, dehydrated backpacking or camping meals and energy bars in your bug out bag.

2 – Water – A typical 72-hour survival bag should contain a minimum of 1 liter of water per day per person. Remember, this is the absolute physical minimum. If you have room, include a water purification system for accessing available water sources.

3 – First aid kit – Rather than assembling your own, pick up a decent first aid kit that covers the essentials. If you believe she will find yourself in a unique environmental situation, prepare accordingly.

4 – Self-defense weaponry – You have seen riots on television. Things can get pretty ugly. When people start to go without food and water, they will do anything to survive. You absolutely must be prepared to protect the lives of you and your family. A firearm is best, so you never get stuck carrying a club or a knife to a gunfight.

5 – Shelter – A shelter can be as simple as a large tarp, and as complex as a 5 person tent. You should also consider a good lightweight sleeping bag, and a sleeping pad.

6 – Clothing – You should pack what you would consider taking if you went backpacking for a weekend. Durable shoes or boots, a long pair of pants, a lightweight but warm jacket and a hat that protects you from the sun and rain are just starters. Pack for necessity, not for style.

7 – Basic survival gear – This includes a small pot and large cup for cooking, eating and drinking. At least 2 types of lighting, waterproof matches, a hand-crank radio, a rain poncho and survival knife. Remember, these are just the basics.

A smart and simple alternative is to purchase a prepackaged bug out bag online. There are literally thousands of models to choose from, built to suit every price range and your unique situation.

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