More commonly known as bug out bags. Emergencies can happen anywhere and anytime. When they do they don’t care what you are doing, where you are or what kind of day you are having. When they happen most of the time they hit like a freight train. The U.S. has had a fair share of disasters in the recent months. Earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, harsh winters, tornadoes and disasters mother nature or man made can happen, the best thing you can do is be prepared.
I can tell you first hand what it is like to live through a disaster. Most people in Kansas i’m sure have a story or two about the wicked weather we have. In 1998 the house that I grew up in was flooded I was 11 years old, my sister was 13. It was halloween weekend and it had been raining for six or seven days straight. The rivers and creeks were out of their banks and it was a matter of time before something gave way. My parents are divorced and we were at my dads that night in Andover, KS when it happened. We saw the news the next morning when they showed the dike break and the little town of Augusta, KS was getting flooded. When my mom came to get us she had a look on her face I will never forget. Its like the flood had washed away every ounce of her soul. She looked at me and my sister and said “its pretty bad” with tears running down her face. Our house was a few blocks away from the middle school. The school was built on a good size hill and was not blocked by the water so that’s where we went to see the damage. From where we were all you could see was the backboard of our basketball goal and the house from the top of the garage door up. After the water receded we went to look at the house. Mom was right it was pretty bad, everything in the house had floated into different areas from where they had been. The kitchen table was in the living room. The living room furniture was smashed together in the corner and everything in our bedrooms had been rearranged. Luckily we had family to help us when we needed it the most, we lived with my grandparents in El Dorado and with dad in Andover until everything was sorted out with FEMA and the insurance company. Eventually we moved to El dorado and started all over. There is very little that was saved from our house in Augusta, what was left is treasured. If you think that something like this will not happen to you, you better get your head on straight because mother nature doesn’t care what you think. Believe me I told her a few times what i thought of her. Even if nothing happens at least you can say you were prepared.
Now that you have the mindset that you are ready to be prepared, you need to figure out how prepared you can be. Budgets are the one thing that hold you back. The people that money is no object to them have the bug out bunkers, high dollar bug out vehicles and weaponry that sends small armies running for the hills. Then there are the people that are prepared for an all out foreign country invasion, nuclear fallout, and solar flares that kind of being prepared is another level of its own. There is nothing wrong with it because anything can happen. For most of us that kind of money is hard to come by so we start small. Once you are started you can keep adding to it until you are satisfied with what you have. Every person in the family should have a bug out bag, get one for the youngsters to carry but don’t load it down so heavy that you have to carry them and their bag if you are on foot. If you can evacuate in a vehicle grab what you can as fast as possible. Don’t forget your pets and their food and water too, there are a ton of animals that get displaced after disasters and they don’t have anybody to take care of them either if they are lost.
So where do you start? You can purchase a bug out bag that is already filled and ready to go or you can get your own bag and fill it yourself. The downside to prefilled bags are that most of the time you can’t pick and choose what is in them. Granted, the items inside will be enough to get you through. Putting a bag together was the route is chose. Buying a bag can be a little overwhelming because there are so many options out there. I said it once i will say it again… stick with name brands. The last thing you want while trying to get the hell out is putting on your bag and the shoulder straps tear off because of cheap construction, that would suck. Brands like Blackhawk!, 5.11, Camlebak, Kelty, Eberlestock or any good hiking pack or tactical bag will do. Buying the biggest one you can get is usually a bad idea because you will try to fill the space and pounds equal pain when you are on foot. 2,500 to 3,500 cubic inches is a good size for a 3 day bag.
Before you rack your brain trying to think of all the stuff you might need to have in a survival situation you can find a list for your bug out needs via google that will help. The list below is just a basic list that will get you started. In each category there are many options for each individual piece of gear, just don’t skimp on something because its cheap you will pay for it later when it doesn’t work. Here you go, this will get you in the right direction.
- Food – Enough for 3 meals a day for 3 days depending on calorie intake and what you can haul in your bag. 9 freeze dried meals are easier to store that 9 mre’s (military rations) because of their bulk. The higher shelf life the better.
- water – On average you can figure one gallon of water per day per person, you probably can’t haul that so a water bottle or two plus a good water filter will help supplement what you can’t carry. Make sure to read some reviews because some filters work better that others.
- Fire – Three ways to start a fire, waterproof matches, lighters and ferrocerium fire starters. more that likely one or two will not work when you need it, that’s why I say three.
- Clothing – Pack a change of clothing adequate for the weather that time of year. I would not recommend packing a speedo when its snowing in January if you know what I mean. A good pair of gloves are nice if you have to move debris
- Shelter – A tent or hammock big enough to fit you and your gear to keep you out of the weather.
- Sleeping bag or bivvy bag – nothing sucks more than trying to sleep when your shivering.
- Hygiene – Toothbrush and tooth paste, hand cleaner, baby wiper and deodorant.
- Knives & Tools – A good fixed blade knife or folding knife, a hatchet or small pry par, multi tool, and a screwdriver with multiple bits.
- First Aid – Bandages, tape, gauze, antiseptic, pain killers, and a tourniquet.
- Self Defense – Sometimes people in a disaster aren’t thinking clearly and if you have something they want they might try to take it from you. Having a way to defend yourself is a must have even though that might be the last thing on your mind. A small frame pistol or a revolver would be a good choice if you like guns. If guns are not your thing a baseball bat of club has always been a good alternative.
This should be a pretty good start, everything in this bag has a purpose and make sure you know how to use it effectively. It’s a good idea to have a few camping weekends at the lake or in the back yard with your bug out bag to ensure you know how to use what you have packed. Its better to know before a disaster if a piece of gear brakes or doesn’t work correctly, that way you can get it replaced before your life depends on it.
Thanks for reading, Stay ready