The Best Bug Out Bag Essentials

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, city dwellers and suburbanites discovered that you no longer have to be a spy or military personnel to take advantage of a bug-out bag. That is, an easy to carry bag packed full of the important essentials needed to evacuate your home quickly. Some of the largest challenges after the superstorm were battling the cold due to electrical outages, (a shocking 8.1 million homes and businesses lost power), being caught without shoes and warm clothing, and having to walk for miles to get food and supplies.

The best bug out bags will prepare a family for at least 72 hours after evacuation (three days is the average time for help to arrive in an emergency situation). With extra emergency supplies on hand, a family can evacuate quickly and with little notice, and are better able to help others instead of waiting for help to arrive.

Why Do I Need A Bug Out Bag?

Creek Stewart, a survivor skills guru asserts that there are four major threats to prepare a bug out bag for: 1) Natural disasters including superstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, etc., 2) Technological failures effecting dams, nuclear plants, and power grids, 3) Pandemics or epidemics, and 4) Terrorist attacks including biological threats, dirty nukes, nuclear war, and bombs.

How To Choose A Bug Out Bag:

Choose a bag, or even two bags, based on utility rather than aesthetics. Depending on your family and work situation, it may be ideal to pack two bags: one in the home and one in the car. You also want to consider your physical strength, and the number of people you are packing for. The ideal bag is under 10 pounds, has the ability to expand, and includes some room to strap items to the outside. Choosing a bag with well-fitting straps can also increase what you’re able to take with you comfortably.

What To Pack In Your Bug Out Bag:

*Water and a safe water purification system: boiling water is the most effective way to purify a water source, and purification tablets are a good second option.

*Non-perishable food and a means to cook it: this includes canned goods, power bars, a cook set, a mini stove, and at least 2 can openers.

*Shelter: consider packing a lightweight tarp, pop-up tent and lightweight blankets.

*Solar powered or battery-powered lighting and radios: be sure to include several packs of backup batteries.

*Personal medications: multivitamins, anti-diarrhea medications and bug repellents are also recommended.

*Personal hygiene items

*A first aid kit: soft-sided kits are the most compact and flexible.

*At least several hundred dollars in small bills and coins: keep cash in a waterproof tube, and expect most ATM’s to be down.

*Warm clothes and comfortable shoes: packing several layers (including waterproof layers and extra socks) may be the easiest way to manage temperature changes. Rolling clothes optimizes space the best.

*Tools: multipurpose tools save space and have a variety of uses. Rope, duct tape, a whistle, a pry bar, fire starting materials, and a fixed blade knife can also prove very useful in an emergency situation.

*Protection and self-defense: protect yourself and your property with peppers spray and/or a handgun, and practice using both safely before an emergency occurs.

*Additional items worth bringing: a map of your surrounding area, signal mirror, sun block, glow sticks, a compass, fishing lures and a line, hand sanitizer, a deck of cards and a book (for boredom), bandanas, and at least 3 evacuation routes

***Friends, what are the essential items in your bug out bag?


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