Bug Out Kit - Packing a Bug Out Bag and Bug Out Equipment


Preparing your bug out kit should be one of the first things that you do as part of your survival preparations. The kit will be the first thing you grab when the apocalypse strikes and it will act as your basic survival kit for the first day or so while you work out what's happened and how to start your survival lifestyle. You'll need to find the right balance between having a kit that has enough to keep you alive and being light enough to be portable at a moments notice.

Bug Out Kit Essentials

Part of the difficulty about packing a useful bug out kit bag is the unknown future. For example, if it's a nuclear strike, you'll need water purification systems and masks in there, while if it's an EMP, then there's no point in packing electronic devices. However, in any survival situation, your bug out kit should include the following minimum essentials:

  • Food - while it may not seem critical now, in a survival situation your number one priority will always be feeding you and your family. This will be especially true in the first day after the event as everyone will be fighting over limited resources and you do not want to be part of that chaos. Buying MRE and freeze dried packets will allow you to stock up ahead of time as well as saving you space in your bag.
  • Fire starting equipment - you can't rely on the fact that there will be heating in your home and your car's electrics may have been knocked out. In either case, you'll need a quick and easy way of making fire to keep yourselves warm and to warn off predators. This could be a box of matches or a lighter, but a better option is to buy a magnesium fire starter as they will never run out and won't be ruined by rain or water. 
  • Medical kit - in the worst case scenario, you have to be prepared that someone in your survival party may be injured during the initial event and it's almost certain that some injury will occur through the trials of survival living. Your bug out bag should have a simple medical kit that holds Band-aids, aspirin, bandages and anti-septic wipes. Anything extra should already be stored at your base camp ahead of time.
  • Sleeping bag - even if your base camp is near to hand, you should have a small sleeping bag as part of your bug out kit just in case you get stranded away from home or the event strikes during a cold time of year. The sleeping bag will offer you the option of setting up a temporary camp anywhere as well as keeping you warm if lighting a fire isn't a feasible or sensible option. 
  • Knife - the style of knife you pack will depend on your personal preference and comfort levels around sharp blades, but it has so many uses that you can't afford not to pack one. You can use it to cut through clothing in a medical emergency, cut up food for meals and keep it nearby for protection against threats to your safety. A pocket penknife will do the job initially, but if you can, you should look at having a hunting knife as part of the kit as the blade will be more powerful and will keep a sharp edge for longer.

A popular option is to buy a ready prepared bug out kit from a survival store which will have all of the equipment ready for you to use and packaged in sterile containers. You don't even have to worry about making it all fit as the bag will be packed so as to fit all of the equipment in.

Preparing any kit however should be done with some careful consideration, use recent local disasters as a guide; this will help you pack more efficiently for events that are most likely to occur.

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