The threat of a serious natural disaster or the man-made equivalent is always a possibility. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods are just some of the threats many people in America live with. A bug out kit is vital for a disaster that requires you to leave your home at a moment's notice.
A bug out kit is a backpack of supplies needed to help you survive for an extended period away from the shelter and resources of home. It includes emergency equipment like food, shelter, and personal protection.
Here’s our guide to some of the essentials to include in your bug out kit:
Water and a Purification System
Your bug out kit should be set up to last you 72 hours. This means you will need a lot of water. The human body requires at least ½ a gallon, or 76 ounces, of water a day to survive.
However, water is very heavy; half a gallon of water weighs around 4 lbs. so pack water filtration devices such as a LifeStraw and water purification tablets instead. Water purification tablets release chlorine into the water, which kills the majority of the pathogens.
Also, ensure you pack lightweight refillable aluminum bottles or water bladders to carry the purified water. If you use a LifeStraw, you can drink water directly from the source.
Dry and Canned Foods
The food you include on your 72-hour kit list should have a long shelf-life, be dense in calories, and be easy to prepare. Canned soups, beans, and meats are good options, as are military MREs and dry foods. Military MREs also provide their own heat source for preparation. Ensure you include a compact can opener in your pack or on your keyring to open cans.
Foods that are easy to transport, such as jerky, protein bars, or trail mix, are essential for a quick energy fix on-the-go and easy to store in the brain of your backpack for quick access.
The food in your 72-hour kit will not be as extensive as a 2-week food survival list, but you should include enough nutritional diversity to meet your body’s needs.
Food Preparation Equipment
Survival experts recommend packing three different kinds of fire starter and tinder in your survival backpack. Cotton wool balls soaked in petroleum jelly are an excellent DIY tinder option. They’re waterproof and compact, so they won’t take up much room in your pack.
Also, include a Ferro rod or a lighter for a quick and easy way to get your fire started.
Shelter and Clothing
A lightweight tent and sleeping bag are essential, and don’t forget to include a sleeping pad if you live in a cold climate. A space blanket can also be used to create a makeshift lean-to and provide additional warmth. Pack two lightweight space blankets per person in your bug out bag.
Your clothes also need to keep you protected from the elements. Wool socks, a waterproof jacket, a military-grade poncho, warm leggings, and a tactical belt are essential to a functional survival wardrobe.
A survival situation can force you into unknown areas, so it is essential to have tools to assist in navigation. A compass is an excellent analog way to navigate unknown terrain. If you are traveling closer to home, keep a map of the area with you inside a waterproof cover.
Smartphones are valuable navigational tools and offer apps that turn your phone into a functioning GPS. Certain GPS apps even work without a cell tower connection. Make sure to pack a portable phone charger and keep your phone in a Ziplock bag to prevent water damage.
It’s crucial to have adequate lighting when the sun goes down. Lighting deters animals and prevents injuries while traveling.
Invest in a quality LED headlamp that emits at least 300 lumens for optimal low-light visibility. A headlamp can also double as an overhead lamp inside your tent.
Include a durable, waterproof tactical flashlight 800-1,000 lumens. A tactical flashlight can be attached to a firearm and is made to blind and shock an attacker.
Pack multiple chemical light sticks as well. Lightsticks have a long shelf-life, don’t need batteries to operate, and can be used for signaling if you become lost.
First Aid Kit
It is important to understand how to make a first aid kit. A well-equipped first aid kit could be the difference between life and death during a survival situation.
Pack bandages, gauze, antihistamines, antibiotic cream, painkillers, personal medications, and other first aid essentials in your first aid kit. You should also include sunscreen to protect against sunburn and a bug spray with a high DEET concentration to repel biting insects.
Your bug out kit should include items that can protect you from wild animals and other people. If you are proficient with firearms, they are the best form of self-defense.
To have quick access to your firearm, you will need a holster and a secure grounding for the holster. Extra ammunition and a small cleaning kit for your firearm will be necessary if you are away from home for more than 72 hours.
A high-quality survival knife is another essential defensive item to include in your bug out bag. Not only can it provide personal protection, but it is also an effective tool for trapping and foraging food, batoning firewood, and making shelter.
Opt for a full tang drop or clip point blade or a Bowie knife rather than a folding model; fixed blades offer better strength and durability in survival situations.
Pepper spray is compact enough to store in a side pocket and can be used to ward off wild animals.
There are several essential multipurpose tools, in addition to your survival knife, that can help you meet the challenges of surviving a disaster. Keep two to three rolls of high-quality duct tape in your pack to make repairs, create a shelter, and make wound dressings in a pinch.
Add one or two paracord keyrings to the lanyards on your pack. Paracord can be used to set snares and make fishing rods; these food sourcing skills are critical if you find yourself in the wilderness longer than 72 hours.
There are a number of things that preppers forget when making their bug out kit. Bring your ID and other important legal documents. Physical photos of family are helpful in case you get separated and need to locate them. Hygiene products, like hand sanitizer or tissues, often come in small sizes and are worth their weight in your kit.
Keep a solar-powered power bank attached to the outside of your pack. This is ideal for charging phones, electrical navigational equipment, and rechargeable batteries for lighting.
Contact information of friends and family and a list of prescription medications, and your doctor’s contact details should also be included in your pack.
Find the Right Personal Protection Gear for You
At We The People Holsters, we take pride in providing you with the best products for your self-defense needs. We carry a variety of American-made holsters, belts, and apparel that you can include in your bug out kit.