A Bug-Out Bag (BOB) is a portable kit that normally contains the items one would require to survive for seventy-two hours while evacuating from a disaster. Some survival kits are designed to last for longer periods. The focus is on fast evacuation, rather than long-term survival. Sometimes called a Go-Bag, a 3-Day Bag, or a personal emergency relocation kit (PERK), the ultimate bug-out bag focuses on keeping you alive and mobile.
There are a few variations on these types of bags, such as a Get-Me-Home (GMH) bag that is kept in a vehicle. The purpose for a GMH bag is to give you the supplies and equipment you would need if your car or truck became unusable, and you needed to get home. Similar to a BOB, these packs focus on survival and mobility, as well as ensuring you can get home or to another safe location.
You may also want to consider a Shelter-in-Place (SIP) kit, in case you and your family need to button up your home for a period of time. This could be due to inclement weather, fires, blackouts, tornadoes, and other severe natural disasters (zombies?). These types of kits can be larger, since you are not actually going anywhere with them, and can focus more on long-term survival.
While the specifics of a bug-out bag’s contents can vary, there are several go bag essentials you want to ensure are on your bug out supply list. Let’s start with Water and Food…
- Water for 72 hours. We need about 1 gallon (roughly 4 liters) of water a day. Consider that water weighs 8 pounds per gallon, and you are talking about hauling 24 pounds of water in your pack! This will greatly decrease your mobility, so you will want to have a lightweight way to purify water that you find. One way is to carry iodine pills, or even a small very well sealed container of bleach. The quick rule is 8 drops of bleach in a gallon of water, and let it stand for 30 minutes before drinking.
- Water purifier. A small device like a straw is the best for mobility. I have already reviewed the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System, and I still think it is one of the best options out there. Another one is the LifeStraw, which has a two-stage filter system. Having a couple of them in your bag can be a lifesaver! A small very well-sealed container of bleach is another option. The quick rule is 8 drops of bleach in a gallon of water, and let it stand for 30 minutes before drinking. It’s not as good as a filter, but it’s better than nothing.
- Collapsible Canteens. Roll them up and keep them in an accessible pocket. I like the Survivor Filter brand, as they also offer a water filter that can attach to the filled bottles.
- Water Purification Tablets. They basically weigh nothing, are fast to use, and can save you and your family from serious dehydration. Always make sure you use tablets that use chlorine dioxide, such as the Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets. Chlorine dioxide kills Cryptosporidium, the most common cause of diarrhea in untreated water.
- Food for 3 days. We’re talking high-calorie foods here, very dense and in small packages. Protein bars and great, but stay away from the bars with lots of sugar. Clif Bars are really good, as well the Gatorade Protein Bars. MRE’s are also good, and they’ll last just about forever!
- Multi-tool. There cannot be anything more frustrating than finding cans of food and not being able to open them. The best bet is to pick up a multi-tool such as the SOG PowerAssist, or the Leatherman Wave.
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