Bug Out Bags, Quick-Grab Bags, Get-Home Bags, and Vehicle Bags
What if something happened and you had to get out of bed and leave your home in 3 minutes or less? It may sound unrealistic but anybody who’s survived a natural disaster will tell you that it’s entirely possible.
If this were to happen, wouldn’t it be great if you had everything that you needed to survive in one easy-to-carry bag? Sure it would, and that bag is called a bug out bag, or BOB for short.
You may also hear it called a get-home bag, a GOOD (get out of Dodge) bag, or a 72-hour kit, but what should you put in it?
Deciding what should go in bug-out bags is the tough part. Remember that you’re going to have to carry it, so keep it light. Put only items in it that are absolutely necessary for 3 days of survival.
If your kids are big enough, they should have their own BOBs and so should your spouse. If you decide to do individual family bags, it’s best that each bag is self-supporting in case you get separated.
Here are the top 30 things that are must-haves in bug out bags.
- 6 rations of food – keep it light but nutritious (MRE’s, protein bars, meal replacement bars)
- 2 Flashlights with extra set of batteries – I like the mini ones because they’re light and don’t take up much space. LED flashlights that use button batteries are the lightest.
- Hand-crank radio – you need to know what-s going on, and you may not want to seek out other people to find out.
- 50 feet of 550 parachute cord – you can use this stuff for everything from fishing to splinting a broken limb.
- Water purification tablets or drops
- Stainless steel canteen or water bottle
- Duct Tape
- Fire kit
- 5-way whistle/compass/mirror/drybox/match striker
- 4 500ml bottles of water or water pouches
- 4 garbage bags
- First aid kit with book – should include prescription medicine (see our list here)
- Cash and coins – a roll of quarters could be useful along with what cash you can put back
- Book or playing cards
- Zip ties
- Copies of personal docs – driver’s license, passport, emergency contacts etc.
- Survival knife with whet stone
- Mess kit
- Toilet paper
- Small notebook with pencil
- Bug spray
- Rain poncho
- Space blanket (Mylar blanket)
- Waterproof map of your area
- Tent or a tarp with grommets
- 2 servings of pet food, if applicable.
- Sturdy shoes, an extra pair if possible
- 2 changes of clothes including 1 jacket
What goes in your bug-out bag is going to vary depending upon your individual needs, and how much you can carry. You can use a small backpack or duffel bag (a backpack is easier to carry long distances) or you can buy a large, framed hiking pack. It’s up to you.
If you have room, feel free to throw in extras such as:
- Extra bottles of water
- A small camp stove
- Fishing line and hooks
- Sewing kit
- Toiletry bag with toothpaste, soap, etc.
- Wet wipes
- Sleeping bag
Carry a bug out bag in your car, but adjust the amounts so that it would work for the entire family. Don’t forget to rotate the stock in your bug-out bags too so that everything remains in good condition.
Another necessary thing to keep handy in case you need to leave in a hurry is a documents box, also known as a docs box.
This box contains all of your vital personal information such as:
- Insurance policies
- Driver’s license
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Titles to vehicles
- Mortgage papers or deed
- Financial tools such as cash, extra credit cards, etc.
- Emergency contacts
- Home and property inventory lists
- Medical insurance cards/info
- Ladies, keep an extra pair of shoes in get home bag, keep one in vehicle too
- No perfect bag because they’re personal.
When you’re building this box, just pretend that you have to prove who you are and what you own. Based upon that, gather your information and have it ready with your bug-out bags. I keep mine in a fire-proof, waterproof box right in the bottom of my bag.
Now you have a general idea about what you need to have in case you need to leave in a hurry. Think about the list and if you come up with anything that we missed, please feel free to let us know about it in the comments section below, along with why you think it should be included. There’s always room for improvement!
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