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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Wenzel

A Guide to Bug Out Bags

Sometimes specific emergencies will force you to leave your home for a safer location. Looming natural disasters, civil unrest, gas leaks, and other situations will make you want to run to a safer place. Getting out on time with the right things you need will depend on your ability to prepare ahead of these dire circumstances. Building a bug-out bag is easy, and you don’t need high-end tactical gear to start. Please use any backpack that is comfortable and affordable for you.

1. A bag. Usually, a backpack. Something that allows your hands to be free is best.

2. Water bottle

3. Water filter

4. A few days of ready to eat snacks

5. A first aid kit

6. Seasonal clothing

7. Great walking shoes or boots

8. Emergency blankets

9. Hygiene kit

10. Small tent, tarp, or shelter

11. Hand warmers

12. Poncho

13. Rope

14. Duct tape

15. Flashlight and headlamp

16. Matches

17. Glow sticks

18. Medications

19. Critical documents for you and your family

20. Navigation tools like maps and compass

21. Self Defense

22. Whistle

23. Sewing kit

24. Mirror

25. Photos of family in case you lose each other in the emergency, including phone numbers of those in pictures

Having to bug out might sound terrifying, but not all bug-out situations will mean that your home is beyond salvaging. You might only be going to stay with family for a week until the situation stabilizes, not heading for the hills to rough it in the wilderness. Whatever gear you pack, make sure to familiarize yourself with it. Plan a night to get out the bag, cook with your own rocket stove, and ensure that all your gear remains intact. What if you lose weight? You don't want clothing that doesn't fit in your bug-out bag. Keep your gear current, always. A good guideline is reviewing your gear every 6-12 months.

Bugging out with children

Kids are constantly growing, and their needs are frequently changing. Children's bugout bags should be light enough to carry on their own. If your child is not old enough to carry a bag, you'll need to use a bag large enough to hold additional gear for you and your children. It's not that realistic that you'll be able to leave on foot with tiny children; if you do, you won't get very far. Your first plan should be able to go in your car and head to safer territory.

Packing suggestions for kids BOB

  • Coloring and activity books

  • Their favorite snacks

  • Photos of their parents or caregivers (include phone numbers on the back in case of a separation)

  • Medications

  • Glow sticks or a flashlight

What's your bugout plan for your family look like? Is the plan written down? Does everyone in the household know what to do?

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