Monday, July 3, 2017

Do You Need A Bug Out Bag?

If you don't know what a bug out bag is, you will probably want to find out. Especially if you are serious about prepping for emergency situations. It can often be the determining factor between success or failure, when safety comes into play after an emergency.

In this article, I'm going to explain what a bug out bag is, why you need one, and what to include in the contents.

What Is It?

A bug out bag is any sort of pack that you have ready for emergency situations. It can be a backpack, duffel bag, military pack or anything big enough to hold a good about of items.

It's best to purchase one that has several inner and outer pockets, so that you can divide items up. Keeping some items close at hand will be important in an emergency situation, such as a flashlight, fire starting kit, weather radio, two-way radio and more. 

There are many different kinds of bags for just this purpose. Doing a search on Amazon will give you plenty of ideas, as you'll see from the screen shots below. However, I will say that you can often pick these bags up cheaper at military supply stores and some online auction or classified sites.

It's always best to shop around before setting your mind of a specific bag. While the bag itself is very important, the contents are more so. 

Why Do I Need One?

If you truly want to be prepared in an emergency situation, a bug out bag is a very important factor to you plan. For example, if something catastrophic happens, there won't be time to phone family members, shop for supplies, plan a route to a safe place or decide many other factors for safety and survival.

A bug out bag is that little bit of insurance that will keep you prepared, each and every day. As the old saying goes, it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it! Suppose the electric grid goes down, or your city is under attack. At a time like this, you simply need to go. A bug out bag, either placed in an easy to reach spot or stored in the vehicle, is the peace of mind you need to be able to do so.

Lots of people say, "I'll get around to that," or "I'll do that later," but this kind of thinking can leave you stranded if things go south quickly. You simply never know if or when it will, and preparedness is so very important.

Factors That Will Determine Bug Out Bag Content

In deciding what needs to go in YOUR bug out bag, you need to think about a few things. These things will be specific to your own situation, and can include:

  • How many people will be in your party and how old they are
  • How far you'll have to travel to reach your safe place
  • Your geographic location (are you in an urban setting, mountains, desert, wilderness, etc?)
  • What the overall societal climate is like (are people calm, in a panic, scavenging for supplies, etc?)
The number of people in your party will determine the amounts of specific items such as food, water, medicinal supplies and so forth. The more people you have, of course, the more you will need.

Knowing how far you have to go to reach your "safe place", which should be predetermined, is important in deciding all the above factors. You will also have to think about stops to be made along the way, and what that will entail in an emergency.

Knowing the ins and outs of your geographic location is one of the most important factors. Surviving in the mountains is much different than surviving in the desert, for example. The predators will be different, as will the weather, opportunity for gathering wild foods and hunting opportunities.

The societal climate will dictate whether or not you need to be prepared for confrontation. If you have supplies, you will become a target, there's simply no way around that fact. For this reason, you will need to be armed if you intend to keep what you have. Taking in strangers and helping others is certainly an option. However, emergencies, especially large scale, can create panic in everyone.

The Contents of the Bug Out Bag

There are some things that will need to be in your bug out bag for general purposes. These include:
  • A medical kit. Remember prescription medications for anyone in your party and medicines specific to the age of those people. Babies will need teething medication, fever reducer and rash ointment more so than others might. Elderly people and those on certain medication will need sun block. 
  • A weather radio. In shopping for one of these, if you haven't already got one, be sure to look for one that has emergency broadcasting stations, to stay up to date on the current state of affairs around you. For the sake of space, the smaller the better.
  • Fire starting material. This can be lighters, matches or a flint kit. Take into consideration the likelihood of those materials getting wet and plan accordingly.
  • Water purification tablets. This is especially important if you have not already acquired the knowledge of how to put together a DIY water purification system. It's worth the effort to learn, if you have the time. Without water, survival becomes almost impossible.
  • A good flashlight. Don't leave things to chance with a cheapie in this situation. A good flashlight will be worth it's weight in gold and a good one serves other purposes as well. Spend a few extra bucks, because even if an emergency situation never happens, it will still come in handy.
If you have enough room in your bug out bag, you will want to add some other items as well. A mess kit for cooking and eating, a camp stove, a sleeping bag or even a tent, a foldable shovel, 
links of rope, a hatchet and a good utility knife, just to name a few.

In Closing

A bug out bag is personal. And the contents are even more personal. If you plan yours out carefully, taking into consideration everything that could possibly happen, the better off you'll be.

Do you have a bug out bag already? If so, share some of your contents and why they're important. 

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