When disaster strikes (think back to hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters) survivalists press the button for bug out bags for their survival. Usually, hiding in the mountains or forest, far away from civilization, offers a better chance of survival. While it is not easy, having a bug out bag will improve your chances of surviving and getting through a disaster.
If you already have a bug out bag ready, sit and check whether it has everything you need in case of a disaster. A fabulous and well-equipped bug out bag should contain the following:
After a disaster, particularly a natural disaster, insects tend to thrive. In some cases, due to stagnant water, mosquitoes breed prolifically. You want to avoid getting bitten by disease-carrying insects. Hence, it is important you have ample bug spray in your bag.
With no gas, you will have to use wood to cook and sanitize your drinking water. So a camp axe is vital. It will also help you cut down small trees to make a shelter for yourself. Also, include a folding shovel to dig a fire pit or bury your waste. A camping knife is also important for cutting branches, making rudimentary weapons and tools, and also for your self-defense.
During a disaster, you may not be able to use the GPS on your smartphone. Also, using the sun to get the direction looks easy just in movies. In reality, it can be tough, especially if you are trying to gauge your direction in the middle of the day. So a compass is essential, especially if you get lost.
Camp Cook Set
You will need to cook and nourish yourself. So having a cook set is crucial. Also, don’t forget that you will need a container to boil water for drinking purposes. The set will have cooking and eating utensils that will come in handy.
Every person in your camp should have an emergency whistle that they should wear around their neck. Remember this is a disaster and law enforcement will be busy trying to get the city/state/country in order. This often gives criminals and nefarious elements ideas. Also, an emergency whistle will come handy if someone loses their way. It will alert the rescue team about their whereabouts.
Your bug out bag should have clothing for three days. Make sure the clothes you take are lightweight so that they don’t add to the load. Also, you want to have waterproof clothing in there along with comfortable socks if you intend to walk to your bug out shelter. Your choice of clothing will depend on the season, but it makes sense to throw in some light sweaters and jackets, as well. Do not worry about matching – this is not a fashion show.
It goes without saying that this should be an integral part of any bug out bag. Of course, you should throw in lighters but think of adding other alternatives such as waterproof matches, flint stone, scraper, and magnifying glass.
First Aid Kit
Get a well-equipped first aid kit. Also, make sure you have a stock of your prescription and nonprescription medications in the kit. You also want a few strips of Imodium A-D, as you may get diarrhea in a bug out situation which can result in dehydration, and multivitamins if you don’t get all the nutrients your body requires to stay healthy and strong.
Since you will have limited clothes, you want a sewing kit in your bug out bag to mend your torn clothes. It can also help in case you want to stitch your tent and sew animal hide.
Always include a waterproof tent in your bug out bag. It should be sturdy and durable to provide you shelter. You may also want to include a sleeping bag with your tent. You will be cold too if you are in a forest or mountains. So have lightweight Mylar blankets. They are easy to carry and insulate your body while protecting it from rain and sleet.
Important Documents and Emergency Numbers
Carry your passport, driver’s license, house deed, birth certificates, social security cards, bank books and ATM cards, car titles, and other critical documents. Also, take a print out of emergency numbers and laminate the paper to keep it safe and secure.
Your bug out bag should have dry rations, such as beef jerky, nuts, uncooked rice, tuna cans, trail mix, and energy bars. These high-calorie foods will provide you with energy that you will need while walking and surviving in the wild.
Personal Hygiene Products
A disaster does not mean foregoing hygiene. So stock up on a few bars of camp soap along with a few rolls of toilet paper. You will not regret it! Also, remember that germs spread fast in camps if you don’t have access to water or a way to dispose of your garbage. So have a hand sanitizer in your kit along with travel toothpaste, sunscreen, antiperspirant, razor, shaving gel, shaving brush, toothbrush, comb, feminine products, and shampoo.
If a disaster strikes, you want to know what is happening. So include a hand crank radio that does not need electricity or batteries for its operation. If you are driving to your bug out shelter, equip your vehicle with a CB radio so that you know about evacuation routes, weather, and other paramount information that the government is broadcasting.
Not only do you need a map of the area you live in, but also one of where you intend to hide and ride out the disaster. Your GPS or iPhone will be of no use in a disaster situation.
Tarp and Poncho
You need a waterproof poncho if you need to walk while it is raining and a tarp to rig out a temporary shelter that will keep you out of the rain. You also can use the tarp to waterproof your bug out shelter.
Flashlights and Batteries
Keep one flashlight in each bug-out bag along with several packs of extra batteries. Use just one flashlight at a time so that you don’t waste batteries unnecessarily. A headlight can prove to be extremely useful if you are trying to reach your shelter in the dark. This is the type of light that miners wear.
- Money: Right after a disaster, people will still take money. So make sure you have cash and coins on you.
- Precious Metals: If the disaster lasts long, money will not be useful. Under such circumstances, you can purchase things you need using precious metals, like gold.
- Paracord: This is strong and light cordage that you can use for just about anything.
- Signal Mirror: You can use a signal mirror to communicate with someone else or send out an SOS signal if you are stranded somewhere and want to be rescued.
- Water Purification Tablets and Water Filter: You may not be able to boil your water before drinking. Use the filter and tablets to purify your water on the go.
- Ziploc Bag: Not only will these keep your important things dry, but Ziploc bags are prolific for preserving food as well.
- Playing Cards: You won’t have access to TV and PlayStation. Boredom will be part and parcel of your survival. You can keep it at bay with playing cards.
- You also should have a Boonie hat, head net, and lightweight work gloves.
A disaster can be stressful, especially if you have to leave behind your familiar surroundings and head out into the forest or mountains. Learn to combat stress and overcome your fear. This will help you survive the disaster and make informed decisions. Your safety and well-being will depend on this.
If your bug out bag has these items, you can be certain that it will work when a disaster occurs. This should give you peace of mind knowing that you are prepared for any eventuality.
About the Author:
Benjamin Roussey is from Sacramento, CA. He has two master’s degrees and served four years in the US Navy. His bachelor’s degree is from CSUS (1999) where he was on a baseball pitching scholarship. He has an MBA in Global Management from the Univ. of Phoenix (2006). He grew up camping and loving the outdoors. He loved to fish and shoot guns as a child. He joined the navy and survived two tours to the Persian Gulf and one to Central America. He now writes about survival and reads a lot about surviving and thriving in the wilderness. He has gone on white water rafting trips, hikes, camped all over the place, operated fishing boats, and so on. If you want to read more of his work, check him out on Survivor’s Fortress. Make sure to follow us on Twitter.