Bugout bag basics
When the lights go out, it’s time to bug-out. And when you do, you want to be prepared with the best bug-out bag out there. Now, to be clear, a Bug-out-Bag is a bit different than an emergency survival kit. A bug out bag is when you need to flee a situation…and need the tools to help you do so. A survival kit is more about just what it sounds…surviving.
Okay, so there’s lots of them. But there not all the same, so we saved you some time and scoped out three of the best bags for the money. But before we do that let’s sit down and talk about what bug-out bags are all about.
You won’t be able to control a whole lot of anything outside your personal sphere of influence when things get out of control. It doesn’t have to mean a total societal breakdown either. Crisis control can be natural disaster too.
In fact, we’ve had more natural disasters in the past 10 or 15 years than plenty of old-timers remember during their lifetimes. Floods, fire, power-outages, all this spells crisis.
And that’s why we’re preppers. Wasn’t long ago we were considered a group of crazies looking for a place to happen. But today people are coming around to our way of thinking.
Bugging out means one simple thing, grab what you can and get away from wherever you are now. It isn’t an exit strategy, it is a response to sudden, fast-moving situations. Any thing that puts your family in danger could be a bug out situation.
The idea behind a bug out is this, you are more likely to survive on the run than remaining in place. Bugging out means having a set of supplies ready 24/7, packed, and standing by. Something you can sling across your back and hit the road with at any moment.
What you grab is what’s called a bug out bag. The bugout bag sits at the ready, near the door, filled with the immediately necessary supplies to help you survive the near-term future until you get to a safe zone.
What should be in my Bug out Bag?
You want to have a lot of stuff in a bugout bag….but it’s got to be the right stuff. You’ve got to make sure you have the tools that will address your needs on the run. When you prep a bugout bag look at it this way: You need emergency health items, you need high-caloric foods, you need water or ways to get water, you need shelter, you need tools.
There’s always room for interpretation about bugout bag contents, but below we’ve put together the short list of what essentials.
- Water containers
- Tablets for purifying water
- Some sort of water purifying system
- Hi calorie energy or ration bars
- Prepared food, freeze dried
- Eating utensils
- Some form of cookware
- A way to rig a fishing line
- A solid survival knife
- Small camp stove
- Fuel for the camp stove
- Containers that have been waterproofed
- Raingear like ponchos
- Bandages, peroxide, gauze, medical gloves and other emergency medical supplies
- Shelter like a tarp or a premade tent
- High quality sleeping bag
- Plenty of zip ties
- Paracord, preferable in a survival bracelet
- Moisture proof matches
- A lighter, preferably a Zippo
- A small batch of kindling
- Moist wipes and towelettes
- Dental care like toothbrush, toothpaste and floss
- Soap and other hygiene products
- A good multitool
- Solar panels
- Lights like lantern and headlamp
- Emergency markers like glowsticks
- Radio or satellite phone
- Firearm, taser, tactical knife
This list isn’t exhaustive because there’s no way to predict what situations you may find yourself in. But, it’s an excellent start. A lot of the items you decide to put in your bugout bag will depend on your local environment, and maybe even the season.
Other things that will influence your bugout bag will be: How many people are there? Are there special health considerations? How far to get to another safe zone?
When you put it together, think about what choices you will have. You might have to make different decisions based on the type of ground you have to cover. You may even have to think about some form of global currency like gold, or silver.
Whatever you decide, make it part of your mind’s plan to survive, and live by that plan.
How big should a bug out bag be?
A bugout bag should be as compact and lightweight as possible. But that size and weight will depend on a few factors. First, how fit is the person who will be carrying the bag. Second, how big is the person carrying the bag. And third, how strong is the person carrying the bag.
A good rule of thumb is a bugout bag should be 20 to 25% to the person’s weight who is carrying it. Someone who is in excellent health can push that number higher. But remember, a bugout bag is designed for quick, but maybe long-term use. Carefully balance agility, supply needs, and weights.
Every bit of weight will make a difference in your bugout bag. That’s why there are manufactures that specialize in quality gear that’s tough and lightweight.
If you’re not sure how much you can carry or endure, part of your prepper planning should be mockup bugout drills. These drills should simulate the actions of grabbing the bag and going on an extended hike. Maybe to the point of camping solely with your bugout bag for a week or two.
Do you really need a bug out bag?
Yes. Yes you do.
Look at it this way…if you never need it (God Willing) then it’s the best $150 insurance policy you’ve ever bought. If you do need it, then it’s the best $150 LIFE INSURANCE policy you ever bought. Period. Buy one…put it where you can always get to it…then don’t think about it.
The three best bugout bags available
- Emergency Zone Urban Survival Bugout Bag
- Rescue Guard First Aid Hurricane Kit
- Gold Armour Camping Cookware Mess Kit
Sustain Supply Co. Premium Bug out Bag
- Score: 9.6
- MSRP: $148.99
- Number items: 60+
- Weight: 15.2 lbs
- Food included: yes
Sustain Supply delivers a FEMA compliant bag that does it all. It’s a fully kitted bugout bag including personal hygiene, water filtration straw, and food bars high in nutrition.
What’s nice about this bag is it doesn’t scream it’s a bugout bag. It looks like just another bag which makes a good idea if you’re trying to be stealthy.
It’s a unbranded backpack with good size pockets giving you quick and easy access to the pack’s contents. It’s also made from durable, reinforced material and padded to give you some comfort while you’re carrying it.
It’s not waterproof, only water resistant. It won’t waterlog, but it will only offer resistance in the rain. Drop in in a river or pond and you’ll be in trouble.
There’s also a 118-piece first aid kit that should cover you for 72 hours, and your food and water has a five year shelf life.
Rescue Guard First Aid Hurricane Kit
- Score: 9.4
- Number items: 95
- Weight: 8.5 lbs
- Food included: yes
This backpack is ultralight, but it gives you plenty of food and medical support. It has 72 hour rations for two, and enough water pouches for a dozen stores.
You’ll also have ponchos, blankets, and marking glo-sticks for lighting and marking. The kit is not expensive and gives you a lot of bang for the buck.
Kitgo Emergency Survival Gear and Medical First Aid Kit
- Score: 9.2
- Number items: 17
- Weight: 1.6 lbs
- Food included: no
Okay, this isn’t so much a bugout bag as it is a mini-bug out bag. But at the pricepoint – it’s unbeatable. It’s got the basics (compass, light, cord) in a super-compact bag. Now this isn’t going to last you 72 hours and certainly not more than 1 person but it covers the bases.
This is also perfect as a starter bug out bag. Use this as the core and then supplement with cookware, meals, etc. Whatever makes sense for your geography and situation.
There you have it, our take on some of the best bugout ideas and equipment to keep you ready for split second action.
Take the time to study the info, and make good decisions about protecting you and your family when you have to bugout and live on the lamb.