Over the last few years, there’s been lots of talk about bugging out, putting together a bug out bag list, bug out gear, and the best bug out bags. But what is bugging out?
The idea has become popular in the light of natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods, wildfires, and earthquakes.
When these catastrophes hit, many people decide it’s time to head for safer ground.
We also face a potential series of long-term disasters that could make a bug out a longer-term situation.
Some of these include economic collapse, war, pandemics, and agricultural disasters. So it’s best to be prepared ahead of time.
A bug out bag is an emergency bag that you have already packed and have ready to go.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how to put together your bug out bag list.
If the time should ever come that you need it, it could be lifesaving.
Being the most common “go bag”, everyone should have a Bug Out Bag (BOB).
What kind of gear should you put in a BOB? They are…
- First Aid
- Miscellaneous Gear (fire gear, cooking gear, light, etc)
- Protective Weapon
Most importantly though is the actual bag that will hold the gear.
My best tip is to take it slow and learn to truly use the gear you buy.
You don’t want to have all this gear during a critical situation and not know how to use it…Using Night Vision and Thermal Technology.
Should I Bug Out or Hunker Down?
First, understand that bugging out should be your very last option when left with no other choice.
A bug out bag is only a temporary plan for survival to be used as a backup when you see no other solution.
If you’re forced to leave home and “head for the hills,” you’ve basically made yourself a refugee.
That’s not necessarily a good thing when times get hard.
Think about it this way: A bug out kit will only keep you alive for a short time.
Maybe a few days or weeks.
Then what are you going to do?
No matter how comprehensive your bug out bag list, you’re going to need a plan after you’ve exhausted its gear.
A Retreat in the Hills
Now of course, if you’ve got a heavily stocked retreat somewhere in the hills, that changes the game.
You may just need to use the bug out bag en route to your destination.
Just load up your car and head to your retreat.
Still, having a bag of essentials (life-saving gear in a kit that’s ready to grab-and-go) could be helpful.
You never know if you’ll need to abandon your vehicle at some point and continue on foot.
It’s best to be prepared with a disaster survival kit.
Remember, even if you already have a huge stockpile of medications, food, and gear waiting for you, you might have a challenge getting to your retreat in the hills.
There could be checkpoints, roadblocks, or even car jackers you’ll meet along the way.
Even if you do make it through these hazards and challenges and make it to your stocked retreat, you could be met by another family or group that’s already moved in.
What are you going to do in that scenario? You could be outnumbered, or they may be better armed.
Are you going to walk away or stay and fight for what’s yours?
To avoid these situations, head to your retreat or safe area before disaster hits.
Some advanced planning before you need it can make all the difference.
Why Make a Bug Out Bag
With all that said, let’s get back to bugging out and learning how to make a bug out bag.
Many survivalists look at this type of kit as a sort of escape and evasion plan. For most people, however, this idea is flawed.
Some people may be able to live outside of civilization, rounding up food and finding shelter in a forest, desert, or mountains.
If conditions are right, you can do this for a significant amount of time.
However, the constant struggle to maintain life would be much more than the average person could endure.
Most people wouldn’t make it very long at all.
But here’s the thing, if you have no other options left besides staying and dying or bugging out to the hills for a chance, it’s still worth a shot.
Having a bug out bag ready to go will give you a better shot at surviving.
In the Case of a Natural Disaster
Typically when a natural disaster strikes, help will soon be on the way. Hopefully.
However, you may still need to leave temporarily for immediate safety, like when a hurricane is heading directly toward you.
Do you have a friend or family member that would take you in for a few nights?
Try to find one in another area that would be safe from the natural disaster. Preferably someone within a few hours’ drive from you.
Make plans with them before anything ever happens so that when it does, you know exactly where to go.
You’ll then be able to wait out the disaster in relative comfort before heading back home.
For me personally, I’d say “no thanks” to a government shelter or FEMA operations.
Do you really want to depend on the government for your survival? I don’t.
Personally, I’d rather trust my own skills and instincts than hope the government will take care of me during and after a disaster.
Essential Bug Out Bag List
Okay, so we’ve talked a lot about the reasons you want to put together a bug out bag. But what should you include in it?
There will be a lot that is personal and personalized to you.
Consider things like your location and where you plan to head. Consider your skills, health and climate.
When it comes to natural disasters, you must heed the warnings of government officials.
If they say you must evacuate, it could truly be a matter of survival, so be sure to follow evacuation orders and instructions so you can get to safety.
That will be faster and easier to do if you have a “go bag” ready for each member of your household.
The bag itself should be a sturdy, waterproof backpack.
Backpacks should include a flashlight, clean water and/or an emergency water purifier, a first aid kit, food bars, batteries or a portable device charger, and a change of clothes.
It’s also a good idea to include copies of important legal documents such as identification.
If you or your family require medication, put a supply in your go-bag.
Also, make sure to fill your gas tank when you learn about an approaching storm.
That way, you will be prepared to leave town should there be an evacuation.
Top items to include in a bug out bag
Looking at the multitude of lists I’ve seen, here are some ideas on the bare bones of what to include in your survival bag.
These are all things you can pack in advance so they are ready when it’s time to head out:
- An easy way to start fire
- A tool that purifies water A tool that purifies water and makes it drinkable
- An extensive first aid kit
- A “multi-tool” that can handle a lot of situations
- Emergency Mylar blanket
- Durable flashlight and batteries
- Tact Bivvy
- Emergency radio
- Plenty of non-perishable food in the case of a food crisis
You will also want to remember to grab medications.
Building a Disaster Emergency Kit
The panic and adrenaline you experience in case of a disaster or any other emergency make it next to impossible for you to make rational decisions.
The primary concern then is to escape the danger zone and get to someplace safe.
In such a situation, it is hard to imagine anyone would bother putting together a disaster emergency kit.
If you are leaving home with no idea as to where you are headed, having disaster kits on hand is important.
This way, you will be able to get by for at least a couple of days.
The best option for you is to be prepared for the disaster.
Pack your emergency kits and have them ready to grab whenever you need to leave.
However, most people aren’t aware of what goes into a family emergency kit and plan.
Needs over Wants
When it comes to making choices, you have to stick to the bare essentials.
You should remember that there is only so much weight you can haul around if the need arises.
Therefore, packing items that you simply want for the sake of entertainment or out of habit is not a good idea.
You should stick to the needs, which include food, clothing and water.
You have to resist the temptation if you are to deal with the situation in the best way possible.
Disposable vs Reusable
When it comes to choosing what to buy for your kit, you have the option to make a disposable one which you can use only once.
On the other hand, you can make a reusable kit that you can use whenever such a situation arises.
The idea behind using disposable items, is that it is only to be used when it is a matter of life and death.
The reusable kits can be used for any inconveniences, even if it isn’t considered a major emergency.
Preparation is Key
When it’s time to go, you want to be as prepared as possible.
With a bug out bag, you’ll give yourself a better chance at survival.
Grocery stores and hardware stores are likely to be closed.
There may be long lines at gas stations. Roads may be a standstill with everyone trying to leave.
You just never know what will happen.
You will need to think about your bug out bag as a way to help you and your family to survive for several days.
Know that even if you don’t need to leave your residence, a bug out bag is helpful for less threatening situations.
For example, if your power is out for an extended time, your emergency radio, flashlights, and extra batteries will be assets.
Use this essential list for planning for and putting together a bug out bag.
It will help ensure you have everything ready to go or access, all in one place.
Please share this article on social media to help your friends and family be prepared in the case of disaster.
Their survival may depend on it!