Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a die-hard urbanite, or somewhere in between, bug-out-bags are something everyone really should have by now. Not to sound dire here but natural disasters are a part of the planet’s life cycle, and climate change is only accelerating their frequency. Obviously, not everyone is going to be involved in a massive flood, an out of control wildfire, or epic mudslide. But at some point, everyone is going to lose power, get stuck in a storm, or be left without the resources they need—and this is exactly when a bug-out bag could keep you safe, or at the very least, more comfortable.
So what exactly is a bug-out bag? It depends on who you ask. Generally speaking, they’re kits with emergency supplies meant to keep you safe and alive for about 72 hours, with the idea that help will come by the fourth day. Each bug-out bag will not only vary by your personal ambition, experience, and finances but the region in which you live as well. While creating a bug-out bag depends on your own needs and physical location, here are seven things that each should include:
1. Food and Water
Non-perishable food is a must, as your bug-out bag could be sitting in your basement for years before it’s ever needed. Canned food works, but it’s unbelievably heavy and bulky. So it’s best to get the kind of food you would take backpacking, like dehydrated meals and nutritional bars. They’re easy, lightweight, and take up little room. Remember, you may be walking with this bag.
Approximately two liters of water a day per person is ideal, but you should also have a water filter if possible. Since water is the most important thing your body needs, don’t risk it and assume there will be potable water after an emergency, especially not in a city where contamination is a serious possibility. If you’re planning on more than 72 hours off the grid, it might be smart to bring a camp stove and the essential kitchen gear that comes with that (plates, utensils, a pot). If you bring a stove you can boil water and you don’t need a filter.
Vitamins may not seem like a necessity, but there’s a reason why so many outdoor enthusiasts bring them along into the wild. Physical and emotional stress, dehydration, lack of nutritional food, extreme weather, and limited resources make vitamins far more important in an emergency than in everyday life. As delicious as bars are, they can’t give you the kind of vitamins and nutrients that real food does. So it’s wise to bring along multivitamins and supplements like SurvivaGuard so your body doesn’t fall apart (even if the world around you might be).
Micronutrients like Huperzine-A help you stay alert and focused instead of falling into auto-pilot. Phosphatidylserine can help you stay calm and even sleep better instead of being in fight-or-flight mode. And supplements like GABA help with immunity, especially when the body is stressed. Again, this may not seem like something that should be at the top of your bug-out list, but emergency situations are the absolute worst times to get sick, lose focus, or be unable to sleep due to high cortisol levels. If your vitamin tank is full, you will have an edge over the competition, so to speak.
3. First-Aid Kits
You should probably have several of these, and not just in your bug-out bag because you never know when some random accident will occur. The one in your bug-out kit should be of the highest quality. It should contain the basics—like Ibuprofen, gauze, band-aids, alcohol pads, etc.—and you should also have backups of any prescription drugs, as pharmacies might not be open in an emergency. You should also have any critical medical records in your kit in case you or someone with you ends up in the hospital.
Get a waterproof folder (or even a ziplock) and keep copies of your papers. This includes passports, ID’s, bank and insurance info, or anything that you don’t want to part with should you have to flee a situation. Include paper money. It may be easier to use your bank card or phone to purchase everything nowadays, but remember you’ll be thrown back into the stone ages if your area loses power. A map of the area is also critical (and even a compass), especially if you’ve been relying on your phone’s GPS to get around for the last several years. A written emergency plan is also wise, as you may not be able to think straight if you’re stressed. You can’t afford to make mistakes when the stakes are so high.
5. Things to Keep Your Body Warm
Make sure to bring a few extra sets of clothes, socks, underwear, and some shoes. Obviously, you won’t care about fashion in an emergency, but the issue here is being clean, and more importantly, dry. Whether you’re hot, cold, or in a torrential downpour, you’re going to get wet by way of sweat or the elements, which can create unnecessary danger. Dry clothes are essential to your health (unless it’s scorching hot, in which case wet clothes help). Layering is best to help you control your body temperature.
Bedding/blankets/sleeping bags are also important, as is a sleeping pad. Sleeping on the ground without insulation or some sort of padding is not only uncomfortable, but it’ll also make you colder. A tent is also advised, not only for warmth but also for bad weather. Again, once you and all your stuff get wet, you put yourself in far more danger.
At the very least, you should have a knife, ropes or webbing, and some sort of multitool with everything on it. Add a whistle in case you need to call for help and a mirror for signaling. Be sure to include batteries (then more batteries), a headlamp and a camp light, duct tape, extra plastic bags, and a tarp if you don’t have a tent. Some people add handsaws, hatchets, even guns to their bug-out bags, but those aren’t critical to survival. And finally, bring a deck of cards or a couple of games. Emergency situations often involve a lot of sitting around and killing time. The last thing you want to be is bored out of your mind while also stressed out of it.
Yes, even in a Zombie Apocalypse, we’ll still need electronics. If you’re lucky, you’ll have power, but chances are you won’t. Make sure you have at least one charged battery pack for your phone and even a solar charger. Bring a tiny radio if possible to listen for local announcements. But your phone is your most crucial lifeline, so make sure you have plenty of ways to charge it.
Last of all, and even though it does not go inside your bug-out bag and therefore it is not numbered on this list…bring your common sense, your wits, and your situational awareness with you…and consider adding SurvivaGuard to help you be at the top of your game.
Written by Melanie Hamlett for RootsRated Media in partnership with SurvivaGuard.
Featured image provided by Arthur Edelman
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