Welcome to The Bug Out Bag Guide!
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No one wants to be in a situation where they have to drop everything and evacuate in an emergency. Still, given the increasing uncertainty in today’s modern world, many people choose to prepare themselves for an unforeseen event.
Bug Out (verb) – to leave quickly.
The majority of these people (myself included) are not fear-mongering paranoids but everyday citizens who have taken a rational look at the world around them and undertaken the necessary steps to protect themselves by putting together a Bug Out Plan and Bug Out Bag for themselves and their families.
To start packing your bug out bag, refer to our bug out bag list.
Some individuals will get prepared because they fear a big, dramatic event initiating the end of civilization. However, many far more common emergency scenarios happen all the time, such as:
- Mass Shootings
What makes a good Bug Out Bag?
This question can be answered in many ways. There is a wide variety of premade Bug Out Bags that are sold online and if you are not interested in individually picking out your bug out bag items, then getting a premade bug out bag is a good option.
However, because they are mass-produced and sold to the general public, they often do not account for variables that may make the difference for the most likely emergency scenarios in your area.
For example, you would want to tailor your Bug Out Bag differently if you lived in an urban location versus a wilderness environment. The same goes for if you are packing a BOB for yourself or your entire family.
Regardless of these variables, there are a few simple rules that should be followed when deciding on what to pack in your Bug Out Bag:
- Make sure you can carry your BOB comfortably – you may have to walk for a long distance to safety. If your bag is ill-fitted or too heavy, you might as well have taken your chances sheltering in place. See our post on How to Pick the Right Bag For You for more information on this.
- Keep it SIMPLE – you are not trying to build a mobile home that you will carry around. Many sites list dozens and dozens of items to buy and bring, adding cost and weight. Remember that electronics need power and are prone to breaking. Pack simple, reliable things to cover your basic needs. Check out our Free Bug Out Bag Planning Tool to plan what you want to include and see how your items will affect your pack’s overall weight.
- Pack things that make you self-sufficient – if you are thinking about an item that you will need to pair with something that you will need to source on the way, forget it. If you are moving to safety, the last thing you want to do is worry about scavenging. Pack complementary and multi-purpose items that can be used both individually and together to save space.
- Plan your bag with a defined time period in mind. 72 hours is a good starting point, as this is approximately how long a person can survive without water. Once you start planning for weeks out you will have added too many complications to your list of Bug Out Bag essentials. Please see our post on Making a Bug Out Plan to see what you need to consider as a part of your survival preparedness.
- Remember, the goal here is survival, not luxury. If you do not need it to survive, leave it behind.
Will I ever really need a Bug Out Bag?
Hopefully, you will never be faced with a situation where you are forced to flee your home, but with some simple planning, you can take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.
Always remember, chance favors the well prepared.
OK, I’m ready to start packing. What Should I pack?
To start packing, check out our Bug Out Bag List (The Essentials You Need in Your Bug Out Bag) or click the button below: