We all know that life is unpredictable and you can never know when there is an emergency like a flood, earthquake, or a terror attack. In such situations, you have to leave your place in hurry. However, leaving just like that is neither easy nor practical. You do need some necessary items when you are some place else, which is not your home.
Keeping a bag ready for such emergency situations is a great practice so that you can just pick them up and leave without wasting time to pack. However, it is easier said than done. Packing such items needs a lot of mental math and a little bit of common sense to understand that one has to pack to survive and not for a luxurious holiday.
So, to make things easier for you, we are offering this free bug out bag checklist you need to go through carefully. And apart from this, in this guide, you will find everything important you need to know about the bug out bags. So, hurry before you run out of time already!
What are Bug Out Bags?
Bug Out Bags are designed to accommodate essential things to survive treacherous terrains or bad weather. To sum up, this bag could be your life saver during an emergency evacuation or when you are stuck on a hiking trail.
In today’s time it is important for every house to have a bug out bag or evacuation bag or survival bag because of the unpredictability of life. In order to be ready for all emergency situations, you need to have this bag packed well in advance with important items.
So, when you have decided to have this bag in your home too, you need to make sure that you are buying a bag that is designed especially for such purposes. Before investing in these bags, ensure that they are strong and tough to withstand any situation.
You need to consider all the necessary things like weight, size, quality, space, and price of the bag before buying it. Get them checked physically, which is possible only when you buy them in person from the market. Buying online could be risky since you cannot measure the metrics before purchasing them.
The term and its origins
The term bug out bag probably originates from the “bail-out-bag” every military personnel carries.It actually refers to the Korean War practice by the army of the United States, which requires personnel to carry the bare minimum necessities to survive adverse environments while retreating from a spot was imminent for the fear of being outrun by the opposite army.
The term has since then been used in the army of various countries and their bags packed accordingly.
The bag comprises essential items that is needed by the evacuee or the person stranded in the middle of nowhere for the next 72 hours. The rationale behind the 72-hour bandwidth is the time taken by disaster relief and management organizations to reach people affected by the disaster. According to the guidelines laid by the disaster relief and management, the bag’s contents may vary depending on the region the evacuee belongs to.
What your Emergency Bag needs to have?
Now when you know what bug out bags are and how you should buy them, let us talk about all the necessary stuff it needs to have. So, here is a free bug out bag checklist you need to go through and consider:
- Three first aid kits
- Ferro rod fire starter or striker
- Collapsible vessel
- 20 Storm-proof matchsticks
- Extra batteries
- Water filter
- Portable stove
- Battery charger, power-bank, and USB charging cable
- 20-40 water purification tablets
- Pot for boiling water
- Spoon and fork or spork
- Extra full magazine
- 2 lighters
- Hand sanitizer
- Sleeping bag and pad
- Signal mirror
- Head lamp
- Field knife
- Sleeping mask and earplugs
- Multitool and hand saw
- Dry and wet wipes
- Knife sharpener
- 600 Inch cordage
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- 2 Pair of socks
- Duct Tape for travelling
- Waterproof paper and pen
- Sunglasses and goggles
- Field guide book
- Necessary documents
- Ranger bands or carabiners
- Currency and Smartphone
- Gloves and hat
- Condensed camp soap
- Toilet paper
- Pistol or holster
- Nail clippers
- Maps and compass
- Solar charger
- Clothes and undergarments
- Any small mental health item
- Top base layer
- Lash straps for tent
- Shemagh or bandana
- One or two-way radio
- Storage bags or zip-locks
- 2 trash bags
Now, when you are packing these things in your bag, you need to make sure that you are packing them in 3 different compartments according to priority. Keep them carefully and according to your requirement possibilities, so that you don’t have to waste your time in searching for them in a hurry. Sort them well and remember their whereabouts. Having said that ensure that you haven’t left anything else behind, especially the ones that you need according to your specific needs- medicines etc. Also pack items that are suitable for the terrain you are in or you might have to face.
Another thing that needs to considered while packing is all the items should be of good quality. Consider spending more once than regretting later when they fail to help you when needed the most. Ensure that you bag is lightweight because you may have to hike long trails and travel long distances on foot. So, pack only those things that are necessary.
Tips while you are Packing your Emergency Bag
Before you start doing anything, it is better to go through these important tips that are going to help you a lot at the time of packing:
- Either you are buying a bag or items to be filled in the bag, just assure that they are of high-quality and durable.
- You never know when an emergency can knock on your door, so just be always ready with your survival bag.
- Do not assume anything impossible during the packing. The weather could turn against you, you may get separated from the family, an unknown terrain. Therefore, only keep things that are really important and try to keep it as simple as possible.
- Most importantly, just because you are packing the stuff for the time of emergencies and mishappening that doesn’t mean you will think negative and stop living a peaceful and happy life. Just be positive and don’t let this prep affect you.
- If you don’t have enough budget, try buying medium quality products than the cheaper ones because they may fail to serve the purpose at the time of need.
- When the bag is prepared, keep it in a place from where it is easy for you to take it and leave the home instantly. Keeping it in complicated places due to space issues is going to do no good.
Packing the emergency bag for elders
Some of the senior citizens would not agree to the concept in the first place since they would not know the rationale in the first place. However, help them understand why this bag is necessary and when do you require it?
Once you have done that, help them pack their bags since they would be confused between the essential and the non-essential items. Elders hold on to their memories through the items they possess. For them, an album of their childhood holds more importance than a life-saving gear. So, you cannot trust them to pack their own bags. Having said that, it is not easy to pack their bags because their requirements are completely different from that of a young adult’s survival kit. You would have to be more judicious with their packing since they would need a lot more stuff than the young. Medicines, crutches and other equipment in case of disability, blankets, water, food are some of the most common things to be packed. However, the requirement would differ, depending on their age and medical requirements. Nevertheless, to list them all:
- Water purification tablets or self-filtering water bottle if availability of potable water. Packing water bottles will weigh them down.
- Non-perishable food items like meal bars, jerky, peanut butter, and tinned food. The idea is to pack enough calories, fiber, protein, and fat.
- Fishing line or hook if you have to catch your own food and if you are living by the river.
- Warm clothes since elders are vulnerable to cold. They feel the chill with the slightest breeze. And if you stay in cold, arid regions, they would need them even more.
- Medicines depending on their health requirements. Apart from that, pack bandages, anti-bacterial creams, hand sanitizers, alcohol pads, eye wash, tweezers, and nail clippers. It is best to be prepared for the worst-case scenarios and carry constipation and diarrhea medicines too. Baby wipes, essential vitamins, ibuprofen, aspirin are some of the other medicines that are a must.
- A paper comprising important phone numbers and addresses if they get separated
The rest of the packing list remains more or less then same, except for the gas and other tent-building items if they are travelling with younger members of the family. Remember, they should not be weighed down with unnecessary luggage. However, if they are travelling alone, they may have to carry these things too.
Special care for seniors with mobility issues
The entire evacuation plan changes if there are people with mobility issues at home. It requires a lot of analysis to ensure that they are evacuated without causing much trouble to their present state and providing them the best possible comfort in such situations.
A word of caution, we often refuse to understand the difference in requirements of seniors with age-related mobility issues and seniors with perennial or genetic or clinical mobility issues. The difference is simple. The former can walk (even if at a slow pace) with the help of sticks, while the latter would need your help to be mobile.
It should also be remembered that they may have little or no ability to carry stuff on their own, which may add to your own luggage. Disaster management experts, therefore, suggest that should be bugged-in the place they stay and not bugged-out, which would be riskier for them. After having spoken to the concerned departments conducting evacuation processes, check the locality you and the person with limited mobility stay in- is it a tornado-ridden area? Is it located on the floodplains and would require immediate evacuation when hit by flood, no matter what.
Analyzing these in advance will help you prepare yourself for the situation better. You could either shift from the place to a different location before calamity hits, leverage government’s help to get evacuated on emergency.
Your concentration should be more on the supplies needed in-house rather than packing them in a bag.
- Ensure there are enough supplies of food and clothing for both yourself and the person you are taking care of.
- Ensure you have the tight type of car to travel with the person to a certain distance, if need be and whether it has the BOB kit for both of you.
- Include alternative plans for stopovers if you face obstacles while reaching your destination.
- If you are a huge family, ensure that the senior citizen’s BOB weight is distributed among the younger people evenly.
Whatever you do, ensure that the plan is functional and realistic. Keep the elders hydrated and full so they regain the strength to the carry on with the journey with little help. Arrange for multiple breaks as and when required.
Packing BOB for children
Like the elders, children too need the mental strength to endure a calamity. We often underestimate the psychological toll that an emergency evacuation has on children. It is, therefore, best to prepare them for the situation way ahead in time. Let them participate in packing their BOBs so that they know the purpose of the evacuation.
Remember, BOBs for children will depend on their age and their ability to understand and comprehend simple instructions. But, that does not mean they should be devoid of the basic survival gear, in case they get separated from you. So, here’s an age-wise BOB content:
Infants and Toddlers
There is nothing much you can put their bags since they would not have the ability to use them. In all likeliness, they will also not be separated from you. However, it is important to take care of their comfort. So, pack the following with the rest of the content:
- Stuffed animals
- A couple small light-weight toys
- Drink mix packets
- Pack of playing cards, Uno Cards, or travel size games
- Baseball or small Nerf football
- Disposable cloth diapers
- Watreproof walking shoes
- Blanket and comfort clothing depending on the weather
- Diaper pins
- Dry Formula
- Sterilized bottle
- Thick blankets
- Oinment and lotions
- Baby carrier
- Hard candy
- Sugar packets
- Trail mix
Children and pre-teens
Flash lights and emergency whistle, apart from the other safety gear
This is a little more upgraded since the teen would have Scout training and is in the capacity to understand safety guidelines. You can start putting in things in the bag that you would put in your’s.
You can include an advanced flashlight and a multi-purpose survival knife.
While we have provided the age-wise content of the BOB, it is important to remember that there are others too that need accommodation in the bag. It is, therefore, important to judge for yourself if you wish to let them carry the entire thing or divide the excess among yourself. Here’s a list of items that should be packed irrespective of the kids’ ages:
- Laminated emergency contact list with name, home address, and telephone numbers.
- Pre-paid cell phone
- Extra socks, pair of gloves and knit hat or bandana (depending on your climate)
- Dust masks
- Band aids & wipes
- Small bottle of hand sanitizer
- Canteen or water bottle.
Packing BOB for pregnant women
Pregnant women are equally vulnerable, if not more than children and the elders. They would be fighting to survive for two human beings in one. So, they would need comfort, care, and the mental strength not only in the time of crisis but afterwards too. If you are such a partner, be prepared to share the burden since your wife or girlfriend would not be able to sail through this without your help in an ideal situation. So, pack her bags accordingly:
- First things first, pack fresh pairs of towels, sheets, sterile gloves, gauze sponzes, Lined underpad, sanitary napkins if there is an emergency delivery at the shelter.
- Get enough stock of her medicines- vitamins, iron tablets, emisis bag, anti-nausea gum, oral rehydration powder so that you are prepared for any unforeseen circumstances in the future. These are must to ensure a safe and healthy normal delivery.
- Fresh maternity clothes
- Clothes for the new-born baby
- Insect repellants
- Formula feed
- Vaccination chart
- Enough food and potable water to ensure hydration and avoid lack of nutrition. Food should be rich in iodine, foliate, iron. So, that means it is best to bring along Canned tuna, Navy beans. Navy beans have respectable amount of
- protein, copper, potassium, calcium, folate, and iodine. Also pack powdered milk.
- Postpartum medical supplies
- Lactation supplies and medicines and accessories for hemorrhoids
It is important to keep the emergency contact numbers of the consulting gynecologist and an obstetrician who could help you in taking care of your partner. Better still, take a course on midwifery and pregnancy emergency to ensure that even if you are amid crisis, you welcome the new member of the family fully-prepared. Although make-shift shelters do have doctors, understand that they would be taking care of hundreds and thousands of people at one go. It would be better to take these courses so that you can lessen the burden on them and be of immediate help to your wife when she needs you the most.
Medicines for the entire family
This is an essential part of the bag since your surviving kit would be fruitless if you did not pack the medicines for your living. Depending on the diversity of the members of your family, the medicines you have to take will also differ. The medicines should be classified according to the following classifications:
- Allergic reactions
- Pre-existing illnesses
However, there are certain common medicines that need to be packed, which are:
- Aspirin/Acetaminophen: This is best for pain reduction, muscle aches, toothaches, common cold, headaches and more.It is one of the most popular medicine for toothaches, headaches, and other pain related ailments.
- Ibuprofen:It reduces pain and fever and is best used during menstrual cycles, arthiritis or other inflammations caused due to infection. It also helps in reducing headache due to flu and cold. Since aspirin is not recommended for children below 12, acetaminophen should be included with pain relievers. Ask the pediatrician about dosages since it depends on the child’s weight.
- Antacids:Stress and lack of food can lead to gassy tummies. Antacids can slow down the effect of acid built-up in the stomach and the esophagus. It is, therefore, advised to stock up antacids to avoid acidity and ulcer.
- Antihistamines and anti-allergens: Since you have to stay outside all the time, you will be subjected to allergens that can play up with your respiratory system.
- Pepto-Bismol: It helps in addressing indigestion, nausea, heartburn, gas symptoms, and diarrhea.
- Cough and mucus control: If you are vulnerable to cough and cold, this would help. Decide what works best for you- Antitussives or expectorants. Keep both for emergencies. Who knows they both could be handy.
- Laxatives: Did you know, constipation could kill? Stress, lack of food all can add up to it. Laxatives are a great way of relieving oneself.
- Sleep aides: Sleep is a natural healer and lack of it can lead to a lot of disorders. Crisis situations can cause sleep disturbances. These tablets would help in soothing your nerves and calm you down.
- Saline spray: They help in fastening the process of healing wounds, eye, and sinus flushing and cleaning the contact lenses.
- Vitamins: Emergency situations often lead to vitamin and mineral deficiency because of lack of food. These supplements will take of that. These also boost up the immune system, fighting bacterial and viral infections.
Know the Correct Weight of your BOB
Once you have gone through the bug out bag list, you need to carefully understand about the right weight of the bag. Though there is no specific weight mentioned, you need to make sure it is not very heavy as per your body weight. It is a different story if you are in the habit of hiking or vigorous exercising.
Nevertheless, we would suggest (and so does the military) that it is best to keep it between 20%-30% of your body weight. But for that too, you need to exercise and train your body. Take a mile walk with the bag on your shoulders and check how you fare. This will not only help you measure your capability, but will also help you get the right training before the actual ‘adventure’ starts.
Are you okay with carrying more? First increase your capacity and then your list.
Right Weight to Consider for Checklist Items
Packing a Bug Out Bag is not easy, as already mentioned. It requires a lot of calculations, adding the weight of the items that are packed to be carried. It is tacky indeed since you have to ensure that the bag isn’t heavy even while you carry all the necessary items.
- The weight of 3 first aids kits need to be between 1.25 pounds to 2 pounds.
- 1 liter of water in hard canteen needs to weigh 2.5 pounds.
- A collapsible vessel should weight around 0.06 pound.
- Keep a water filter that weighs 0.14 pound.
- The 20 tables of water purification need to weigh 0.06 pound.
- It is good to carry ready-to-eat food weighing 1.81 pounds.
- The 2 lighters should weigh 0.12 pound.
- You need to have tinder weighing around 0.01 pound.
- Keep a headlamp weighing 0.19 pound.
- A filed knife needs to weigh up to 0.62 pound.
- Have a Multitool of 0.59 pound.
- Carry a 600-inch cordage of 0.21 pound.
- A tarp should weigh around 1.5 pounds.
- Carry a waterproof pen and paper measuring 0.25 pound.
- Documents in physical and USB drive needs to weigh 0.08 pound.
- Have a cash weighing 0.03 pound.
- Keep storage bags measuring 0.34 pound.
- Condensed soap should weigh nearly 0.13 pound.
- The ideal weight of toilet papers is 0.07 pound.
- Stuff BOB with nail clippers weighing 0.01 pound.
- A hat of 0.18 pound is fine.
- 2 pairs of socks should weigh 0.14 pound.
- Your top base layer can measure around 0.65 pound.
- You can carry pants measuring up to 1.37 pounds.
- Undergarments can weigh up to 0.20 pound.
- Jacket can weigh around 1 pound.
- Pick a bandana weighing 0.18 pound.
- A one- or 2-way radio can weigh up to 0.68 pound.
- You can have USB charging cable and wall plug of 0.1 pound.
- Carry a power bank measuring around 0.46 pound.
- A respirator can weigh up to 0.31 pound.
- 2 contractor trash bags should weigh upto 0.18 pound.
- Raw food weighing 0.32 pound.
- 20 matchsticks in waterproof container can measure around 0.1 pound.
- A portable stove can have a weight of 1.12 pounds.
- Keep a vessel of 0.41 pound for boiling water.
- Don’t forget Spork of 0.03 pound.
- A flashlight can weigh up to 0.38 pound.
- A sleeping bag shouldn’t weigh more than 2.18 pounds.
- Carry a sleeping pad that weighs 2 pounds.
- You can also carry sleeping mask and earplugs weighing 0.06 pound.
- Do carry wet wipes measuring 0.28 pound.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste can weigh 0.1 pound.
- The weight of chapstick can be 0.01 pound.
- Sunglasses and goggles can have a total weight of 0.26 pound.
- Have gloves measuring 0.41 pound.
- Carry a belt of weight 0.31 pound.
- Pistol, full magazine, and holster can weigh up to 2.25 pounds.
- You need to have maps that can weigh up to 0.25 pound.
- Have a compass weighing 0.26 pound.
- A solar charger can weigh up to 1.5 pounds.
- Keep some stuff for your entertainment like cards weighing around 0.31 pound.
- The headphones can measure around 0.03 pound.
- Ferro rod can measure nearly 0.1 pound.
- Extra batteries can measure around 0.25 pound.
- Have a removable battery charger of 0.36 pound.
- The tent could weigh around 3.12 pounds.
- An extra full magazine can weigh 0.48 pound.
- If carrying a hand sanitizer, it can measure nearly 0.20 pound.
- Do keep a signal mirror and whistle and each can weigh around 0.04 pound.
- Hand saw can weigh 0.56 pound.
- If keeping a knife sharpener, make sure it is weighing around 0.1 pound.
- A duct tape for travelling can measure 0.03 pound.
- Carry a field guide book that weighs 0.5 pound.
- Pack straps weighing 0.10 pound.
- Misc. fasteners shouldn’t weigh more than 0.03 pound.
It is not necessary that the weight of each product needs to be the same. It could be around the mentioned weight. The one thing you need to focus on is to keep the weight manageable. So, pick up the products carefully with high-quality and the right weight.
This section has been mentioned to make it easy for you to judge the right weight of the items and the bag. So, get ready with this best bug out bag list and deal with an emergency in jiffy.
New to packing a BOB? We will tell you why you are packing what you are packing. The products in the checklist will be described elaborately so that you know what you use when and how to survive if any one of them have run out.
Right Decisions for Water
We know that water is crucial for living beings. So, it needs to be packed and used judiciously. If you are thinking that you can get water from anywhere you want and avoid packing it to keep your bag lightweight, then you are wrong.
The situations are unexpected and there is no assurance that you will definitely get water for drinking. So, do have 1 liter of potable water in your emergency bag. This much of water is going to help you spend a day or so comfortably.
Also, you need to make sure that you are storing this drinking water in a hard can or bottle so that there are no spillages. Remember, leakages can destroy the other stuff and also cause shortage in drinking water.
You can buy a single wall metal can that can also be used for boiling the water when needed. This way, you can avoid carrying another vessel for boiling water or preparing food, thus saving space.
Now, to ensure that you have enough drinking water once you have exhausted the potable water you were carrying, ensure that you have the right equipment to purify even undrinkable water. For that, you would need a filter and purifying tablets. We would advise you to opt for the first one mostly since it is quick. The second one could be a back-up since it would take up to 4 hours to purify any water.
However, even though you are choosing to filter water, you need to have purifying tablets. You never know when you may need them. This would help you to be prepared for all the situations. As mentioned in the survival kit list, the bag needs to have a collapsible bottle as well. It can be used for the filtration process and is likely to take less space when not in use. Do not forget to keep it in the bag because it could be your savior in many ways.
Here are some tips you can consider:
- If you are living in hot climate or you know that the sources of water are not going to be easily available in your area, it is better to keep extra water in your bag. You can remove any other less necessary gear to make space for the extra can.
- Longer hikes demand a gravity water bottle which makes it easier to filter water in some locations.
- Always remember and make sure that you are not storing water in weak containers like juice boxes or pouches because they are not reliable and may cause leakages.
- It is important to store water bottles in different pouches as per priority. For instance, the water bottle and the collapsible bottle should be kept in different pouches.
- And, if you don’t know how to filter water in tough situations, better to go through different online videos for it and be prepared to do it when needed.
Decisions Related to Food
While you are packing your survival kit, it is important to keep food other than water. However, be judicious in whatever you carry. Pack items that that do not perish easily. Consider the following checklist for packing the right type of food:
- Keep food items that are ready to eat and need nothing more than some boiling water.
- You need to carry food items that are having maximum calories and nutrients in small packing to avoid space issues.
- Prefer keeping the food that are having long expiry dates and do not melt due to hot temperatures to avoid mess.
- Do not care about carrying tasty food because you are keeping it for survival and not to please your taste buds.
Now, when it comes to keeping the food in different pouches, place them according to the priority level. You need to keep the ready-to-eat food items in the pouch that is easily reachable and placed on the top. Such food items include peanut butter, peanuts, granola bars, and related items.
And then in another pouch you need to keep the food that needs the boiling water. It has to be placed in the pouch that is second easily reachable one. It can include food like Mountain house pouch. They are easy to cook and are full of necessary nutrition.
In case you are having food allergies, then you need to pick up food for your BOB carefully. You certainly would not want allergic reactions in the middle of the road. There are various options available in the market, which are easy to prepare within no time.
Things you need to avoid:
- No matter how tempting the food item is, just avoid it if it requires anything more than boiling water for preparation.
- Just because you are addicted to caffeine you are going to carry coffee is not a right choice. If you want caffeine, most of your medical supplies are already having it. So, better go for them instead of the coffee.
- Do not think about keeping extra salt for your food in the bag because consumption of extra salt can cause constipation. And as you are already carrying ready to eat food with you, it is having enough salt for your requirement. So, simply avoid it.
- And if you have been following any diet in your daily routine and were consuming specific food items with specific nutrients, just forget about it because it is all about your survival.
When you are buying food for your BOB, you need to remember that you are doing it for survival and emergencies. So, don’t get lured by the tasty food in front of you.
What to do about Cooking?
Now when we talk about cooking under this topic, it simply means boiling water or roasting something you hunted. Ensure that you have all the essentials for the task in your bag. If you are an expert and can light fire with sticks and stones, you could do that and save on the fuel you are carrying for more trying times.
However, the easiest way would be to use the hobo stove, which you can carry with you. Though this is an open-flame option, it offers complete protection from wind and ensures hassle-free experience during emergencies. The third best option could be using a hiking stove, which is a small version of a burner that is used at homes. For this, you require a source for fuel and a burner to be fixed on a gas can.
Out of the last 2 options, you don’t have to carry both the stoves. Your bag is having space for only one stove. So, it is completely up to you, which one you want to carry, depending on the benefits. Whatever you do, ensure that the bag is not overweight.
The situation could be different in different cases. In case of an evacuation, you may be shifted to a shelter where you may not need to worry about making fire. However, if you are hiking, you will need some help there. In the latter case, you would need some extra space in your bag for the container that carries the gas for burning fire and the stove. Having said that, it is noteworthy that these stoves ease the cooking process in windy and rainy areas.
You could boil water or cook food in the hard bottle, but it might tamper with its strength. So, if it is not much of a difficulty, ensure that you have a spare vessel for the purpose. Keep the vessel and the stove in separate compartments to be able to use them independently at different times.
Another idea is to keep spork instead of a fork and a spoon. Sporks can serve both the purposes of scooping and swirling when need be. Only one or two can serve the purpose, thus reducing consumption of space.
Things you can consider:
- Carrying a salt and pepper shaker is not a must, but you could carry one if you have space. This could help enhance your food. However, it is important to mention that it is completely optional and not an essential item.
- In case you are carrying food that needs cooking, you will have to wash them too. You would need a small dish brush for that as washing the utensils with stone can damage them.
- Keeping multi-purpose cooking kits is a bad idea since they kill space and increase the weight of the bag, which is absolutely a no-no when unforeseen circumstances lay ahead. You should always remember that long-hiking trails do not have cars plying on them.
Stay away from plastic as it is not good for human beings.
How to create fire?
If you are living in a cold climate, you might need fire at night to keep yourself warm during emergencies and keeping this in mind, we have mentioned everything necessary to create fire in our free bug out bag checklist.
The list is having lighter, storm proof matches, Ferro rod sticker, and tinder to make the task of lighting fire easy for you in tough conditions. While you are packing all these in the bag, you need to make sure that you are packing all the fire creating elements in different pouches to avoid accidental lighting, spillages, and leakages.
Lighter is the best option to use for creating fire, but they fail to function in windy areas. For such situations, you can use the storm-proof matches, which can survive easily in tough situations. Having Ferro rods can be a good back-up plan. However, it is advisable to use them only when the other methods have failed. This is because, it takes efforts to light the rods and may consume a lot of time to do so.
Tinder is really easy to use and a perfect choice for lighting fire in wet areas to quickly start fire. Apart from this, if you want, you can even keep some cotton balls coated with petroleum jelly to help you start fire smoothly.
Things you should consider:
- Apart from lighters, you can also keep a USB-rechargeable lighter, which is a quick and safe option to light fire.
- You can also accommodate a Fresnel lens in your bag for fire. But you should only take this with you, if you have experience using one before.
Aren’t sure about the entire process of lighting fire with any of the above-mentioned options? Watch YouTube videos to tutor yourself. Ensure that you learn these basic stuffs well in advance and not experiment yourself at the nick of the moment because that can make emergencies fatal.
How to Find a Shelter?
Being human beings, it is important for us to look for a proper and safe shelter anywhere we go, even if it is during an emergency situation. Although looking for one during a crisis is difficult but not impossible. This free bug out bag checklist will provide you with useful tips and list of equipment required to make a safe shelter for yourself and your family.
Always ensure that the BOB is laced with a tarp, cordage, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, eye mask, and ear plugs. An ideal shelter should have everything that is necessary for a comfortable sleep even in tough conditions. Tarps are great heat insulators and promise of heat in extreme cold. They also have multiple functionalities and can therefore be used for several other purposes when you are on an adventurous hike.
Couple it with a tent to protect yourself from the wind, chill, and wild animals. Of course, it should be of premier quality so that it gives you the ultimate protection in different conditions. A sleeping bag is an added bonus if you are a comfort freak. Choose the best that suits your requirements and the region you belong to or plan to travel to.
All these can take much less space than they are presumed to take. A number of advanced sleeping and shelter kits are available that are highly compact and light weight. You would not feel any extra pound on your shoulders even if you carry all of them together in your BOB. True, they are costly but they offer the supremeness of quality and safety.
Here are a few tips for your consideration:
- Rain-proof ponchos can be your best friend in arid, windy climate. It provides heat and comfort and also saves from the rain when need be.
- Ensure that the sleeping bags and the tent that you carry are of high quality. You may have to pay more but they will ensure quality support at all times.
- Inflatable sleeping bags could be a good option but you have to remember that they tend to rupture. So, choose them judiciously, depending on the surrounding conditions.
Choose your Clothing Carefully
BOB users have to be prepared for all weather conditions. Clothes form an important part of the package since they prove to be an important protective gear, protecting you from wind, rain, and the storm. Since you have to pack sparingly, ensure clothes that are light, durable, and easily washable are packed. Consider the comfort factor too, instead of fashion statement because truly speaking no one is going to admire your looks when you are in an emergency.
For trekking and long trails, it is best to pack sporting gear because they come with added security paddings at the knee or the elbow. If you are gearing up for arid and dry conditions, consider wearing light full sleeved clothes to protect you from the heat.
Since the type of clothing changes with the weather, it is advisable to keep rotating the clothes that you have already packed in the BOB. Socks, hats and bandana are some of the other essentials that you need to pack for more protection.
Shoes play an important role in our daily lives. However, when we are talking about emergencies and long trails, they have to be extremely durable and light weight. Ensure that you have an extra pair in your bag in case of emergency. A pair of sunglasses to protect the eyes, warm gloves for the hands, and a belt are some of the other essentials that you need to pack in a BOB. Have room for more? Pack in a safety pins or fasteners for unpredictable situations.
While you are packing your BOB with the above-mentioned items, we give you a few more tips:
- Keep a sink laundry kit only if there is space and necessary. It is basically a pouch that contains concentrated detergent powder along with a flat plastic drain cover to make it a sink of water.
- Be careful about the footwear. You need to be comfortable in what you wear. They need to offer you proper grip on different surfaces.
Arrangements for Light
You should have alternative arrangements for light if you do not want to end up star gazing in the dark. You could have matchsticks and a candle, but would that be suitable in a windy climate? Perhaps not. A torch could be more handy. However, there are many more options that have multiple usages, such as flashlight which also double up as emergency indicators. Headlamps are probably the most popular because they keep the hands free while you are cooking in the dark or reading a book. They light, durable, and also rechargeable. You could also use the torch in your phone, but save it for emergency situations since they consume a lot of battery. Having said that, it is also important to keep a few extra batteries handy so that you could replace the old ones once they get exhausted.
(P.S: Do not invest money in buying glow sticks and crank-powdered lights because they would only increase the weight of the bag when you have the other options handy.)
Have Everything for Communication
During the times of emergencies, communication is crucial. You need to be able to call for help all the time. So, always make sure that when you are leaving your home in a hurry, you do not forget the phone behind. Apart from that, you should carry a power bank and USB charger to keep it charged all the time. A 1-way or 2-way radio is another option that you can opt for. However, before buying the radio, ensure that you know the guidelines and the best way to use them. Go through the manual thoroughly or get a training done from an expert.
With 2-way radios, you will be able to contact public broadcast, NOAA stations, and local emergency services. However, with 1-way radios, you will be able to listen to the sounds from the other side. They are accompanied by flashlights and USB ports for charging. They are considered really helpful in calling out for help.
Communication for help is easier with signals, which can be done with a signaling mirror and a whistle. So, be sure that you have them both in your bag. Know how to use them from a YouTube user manual or a trekking expert.
Some other things you can consider for communication:
- Using tents and tarps in bright and florescent colors so that you can use them whenever you want to get noticed by the rescuers.
- You can even use flares or dye if there is water around you to attract the attention of others for your rescue.
- Another good option during the emergencies is carrying a GPS device so that you can be tracked by rescue officials. They are known as a Personal Locator Beacon. So, buy it if your budget allows.
- You can also take help of satellite phones in such situations. But, the only issue is that they are costly than other sources of communication.
- You can give the rescuers signals by creating smoke at your place. But, it requires an elaborative process, which would need you to carry more things in your Bug out Bag.
- You can use a laser lights to get spotted.
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” we say. Indeed, humans have a unique tendency to innovate when they are in trouble. Be open to innovating when you need people’s attention drawn towards you. Our free bug out bag checklist will help you be prepared for unwanted situations in advance.
Have all Sources of Power
A dead cellphone would be of no use to you if you are stuck in the middle of a jungle, waiting to be rescued. Your flashlight or headline can help only if they are full on charge. And, that is possible only when you have a few extra batteries. Now, the next thing. How to charge the rechargeable ones?
Carry a wall plug in your bag to charge all the devices that need charging. While you are packing, you need to make sure that you are packing them according to the right USB type. This is because some are having USB-A ports and some are having USB-B, and –C ports. So, you need to be very careful when you are packing the power sources for your devices.
Apart from a power bank, you can also have a portable solar panel. Though they are going to take some space in your bag and increase their weight a bit, it is the best source of power you are going to have during the time of emergency. They have enough power to sustain all your devices for 24 hours at least.
Ensure that you have a single USB chord for all the devices, which means that all of them should have similar USB ports. Because, different ports will require different types of chargers which will take up more space in the BOB.
What to do for Navigations?
You need to have maps and compass in your bag that has been mentioned in the free bug out bag checklist. When you are keeping both of these things in your bag, you need to know how to use them efficiently because most of the people don’t know how to navigate through maps and use the compass.
So, practice their uses in advance. However, if you have a smartphone and GPS with you, you may not need these tools. The GPS on your phone will navigate through treacherous terrains and bring help to you soon.
However, if you still choose to keep maps in your bag, ensure that they are waterproof so that they do not tear in rain water. Keep a binocular handy to navigate distant areas.
Essential Tools your BOB should have
A survival kit is incomplete without essential tools that you may require on a daily basis. For instance, a cutting knife to cut fruits and the daily hunt and a multitool kit to be able to use them as and when required.
Keep them in the outermost pocket of the BOB so that you can access them easily.
Now, after these 2 essential tools, the other thing that is crucial to be kept in your bag is cordage. The uses of this item are endless and it is going to rescue in different tough situations. You can get it a nominal price and pack it in the bag easily as it doesn’t take much space. Also, it is not very much heavy.
You need to make sure that you are carrying cordage of 600 inches at least because you may end up using it in various other ways than making tents. You can also take a few inches less, if you know how to make best use of it. Apart from this, you need to take a hand saw, a knife, and a blade sharpener, depending on your necessity.
Additional tools you can have in your bag if there is any space left:
- Sewing kits
- Fishing or trapping kit
- Bump keys and silcock keys
- Hatchets and machetes
These are a few tools that have been mentioned in bug out bag checklist to ensure most of the tasks become easy for you while you are stuck in some unexpected location. Be careful while you use the tools because some of them may cause fatalities.
First Aid and Hygiene is Important
Injuries and illnesses are major possibilities when you are on exile. With no doctors or hospitals to help you out in such trying times, you should know the basics of first-aid before help arrives. CPR, administering injections, and others can help you survive some major injuries. Speak to your doctor pertaining to your requirements and then fill up that medicine box. Ointments for wounds, your daily medicines, painkillers, medicines for allergy, and other necessary commodities should be there in your first-aid kit.
Respirators can be carried if you face a fire or nuclear war to let you breath filtered air. Carrying a swimming goggle is not a bad idea if you have to swim in your journey. However, it is not mandatory.
Now, talking about your hygiene, you need to have condensed camping soap in a small bottle you can use to clean yourself. But for this you are also going to need water to remove the soap. So, if you are not having water near you, use hand sanitizer to get rid of the harmful germs from any part of your body.
It is good to wash your hands with soap or sanitizer every time you eat to avoid ingestion of germs. Nail clippers, toilet paper, wet tissues, and dry tissues are other important items that should be packed. You are also going to need space for chap stick, toothbrush, and toothpaste.
Some extra stuff you can add to the bag:
- Menstrual products like pads, tampons, etc.
- Extra batteries for hearing aid, if any
- Sunscreen to protect yourself from the blazing sun
- A small towel to keep yourself dry
Have you thought about your entertainment?
Entertainment is an important part of one’s mental well-being. You can keep yourself entertained with a book or that music pod in your bag. However, you may soon outlive them and may require more means to keep yourself engaged. You can pack in indoor games like UNO and Ludo to keep the family together at the time of need. This will also divert your attention to positivity, bringing in hope of a near culmination of the situation you are in. Once you have packed the bug out bag essentials, look for space to include the games too.
Your phone could be a great source of entertainment too with video games, music, and podcasts.
Do not forget about your necessary documents
Now, when you are packing stuff in your bug out bag for emergency situations, it is very important for you to pack necessary documents. This is because you never know when you might need to show your documents.
You should have the hard copies of all the necessary documents and their scanned copied in the USB thumb drive. You can even have the photo of your important documents in your phone. Multiple back-ups will ensure that you never lost your documents.
The list of important documents has been mentioned below:
- Contact information of all the important people.
- Birth Certificate
- SSN Card
- Credit card numbers, their expiry dates, and CVV
- State ID
- Marriage certificate, if you are married
- Your adoption papers if you are adopted
- Have a photo of important people
- Insurance policy number of all the insurances you are having for your safety along with the numbers of the agents.
- If you are having serious medical history, you should have all the necessary papers related to it.
- Living will, if you are having one
If there are some other essential documents, you know, you can keep them as well for your reference. Just make sure you are keeping them safe in paper form, pen drive, and phone.
In case there is any kid with you, they should have an address of their home with them and the phone of their parents along with all the necessary details.
Keeping money is important
Now when you have kept most of the necessary stuff in your bug out bag, it is time to keep some currency too. It is one of the items that cannot be ignored at all while you are packing your bag. However, it is best to take sustainable or lesser amounts so that you are not robbed in the middle of the road. Instead, take the debit card so that you can withdraw money as and when required. We advise you to carry upto $1000 if you are single and more if you have a family to look after. It is completely up to your convenience how much you wish to carry.
The money you carry should be kept in different pouches so that you will still be left with some if you lose one. Some people prefer carrying their gold and silver in the bag during emergency. But, we advise against it since it is not safe to keep these valuables in a camp. It is better that you keep jewelry in the bank locker and avoid being looted.
Keep currencies from different countries if you must. You never know when you might need them. So, have them in your bag for such situations of emergency.
Ready for Self-Defense?
When you are leaving your home because of the emergency situations, you need to make sure that you are capable enough to protect yourself from the problems that could come your way. Your safety should be your primary focus. You can keep a pistol with a loaded magazine and an extra magazine for later use. A knife and a multitool kit can also help you stay safe if you do not know any self-defense techniques yet.
You can also keep a pepper or chilli spray in your bag for your safety. You can keep anything you find suitable for your safety in unsafe locations. Simply make sure that you are keeping them in a case carefully as some of these are pointed and may damage other stuff in the bag.
You can even learn some physical and mind tricks for your protection. These tricks are not only going to help you in emergency situations but they are going to help you throughout your life.
If there is any space left in your bag after keeping the important things to survive the emergency situations, it is time to keep some misc. stuff that you might need in different situations. These are going to be the things you are going to use, only if needed.
And it is going to include things like garbage bag, zip lock pouches, fasteners, pack straps, duct tape, rubber bands, and various other things you think can come to use. But you need to keep the things in the bag according to the space and weight of the bag.
You can even keep a watch in the bag but you already have your smartphone to see the time, so, it is totally optional. Then, you can also keep luggage locks for use in unexpected situation.
You should not try filling the bag with unwanted things that will only eat space and make the bag heavy. So, be careful with the selection of the products.
What are the benefits of going through free bug out bag checklist?
Now, when you know the things you need to keep in your bug out bag and for what reasons, it is the time to know the benefits of going through a free bug out bag checklist, before starting to pack.
When it comes to packing your bug out bag, most of the people get confused because they can’t figure out the stuff they need to keep and the stuff they need to ignore. Because when we start packing for emergency situations, there are various things we find important but are actually not important.
And so, this list is for those confused people who fail to find out the things they need to keep in their bag. It allows them to not miss out on any essential thing like some important documents, tools or medical supplies.
A checklist not only mentions the name of the items one is required to keep, but it also tells the amount and the weight of the items to be kept in the bag. The reason that the weight is mentioned is to allow you prepare a bag that is lightweight and you are comfortable in carrying it in different situations.
If you are thinking that you can prepare a heavy bag and then keep it in your vehicle when the time comes, then you are wrong. Most of the time, you have to leave behind your vehicle at home while sometimes you have to leave it half way. So, it has to be prepared with a thought that you are going to carry it on your back.
Another benefit of a checklist is that it will help you in leaving behind all the unwanted stuff you thought were necessary. You need to keep the emergency bag very carefully. You just need to fill it with essential items and nothing else. Anything unwanted will just eat space and make your bag heavy.
The list has been made to make your task easy and smooth. It is prepared to make things less hectic for you. So, it is good to go through a bug out bag checklist at least once before you start packing.
Few Things you need to Consider while Buying Products for your BOB
If you are in the market to buy things for your survival kit, here are a few necessary things you need to consider before the purchase:
- Quality: You need to check the quality of the products you are buying for the bug out bag. They have to be durable and reliable. It has to be strong and capable enough to withstand all weather conditions.
Whatever you are buying should not fail at the time of need. It should meet your expectations. So, do consider the quality of each product. For once, you can consider buying a medium quality product but do not buy anything cheaper since it will be a total waste of money.
- Quantity: Buy the right numbers and amounts. Nothing less and nothing more. It should be according to your requirement. Remember, you cannot make your bag heavy. Judge the extras you may require and buy accordingly.
- Size: Size is also one of the important things you need to consider while buying the products from the market or online for your emergency bag. Try to buy the products that are smaller in size because your bag is going to have limited space and a lot of things to store.
While some items are going to be a bit big in the size, some items can be bought in small sizes to let them fit in the bag with other products.
- Expiry: Your bug out bag is going to have items that are coming with expiry dates like food, sanitizer, and other things. You need to check the expiry date of all such products. They need to have a long life because the situations we are preparing for are rare and unexpected. Therefore, ensure that the products that you pick up from the store have their expiry dates ahead in time.
- Budget: Have a clear budget in your mind. While you go out shopping for the BOB, ensure you invest the right amount of money in the right project. Make do with cheaper products where need be. Remember, there is no point running out of money way before the emergency starts. A limited budget will also help you have a fixed idea in mind as to what to buy and what not to.
- Usability: This one is also an important thing to consider while buying the products. Each of the products you are going to buy should be easy to use. You should not find it difficult to use a specific product at the time of need. For things that you cannot do without, get a tutorial online or learn how to use them from an expert.
If you are buying food, it should be easily cooked with minimal ingredients. If you are buying a radio, it should be easy to operate. Everything should be used smoothly. So, ensure that you do not end up buying anything fancy.
- Reviews: Going through the reviews of the products is also an important thing to do. All the products you are going to buy need to be of good quality and should meet your expectations. If necessary, speak to other buyers or friends in person. They will help you out with their honest reviews about the quality, usability, and worthiness of the product you are considering to buy.
Research should be your primary step before buying the products. Go through the reviews yourself, hop into the stores, and do your homework before buying items. Refrain from binge buying since you have to save those extra dollars for emergency purposes.
These are the factors that are important for you to know and understand before buying the products from your free bug out bag checklist.
Buying products from market v/s online
Divide your list into online and offline purchases. This way, you have to spend less time in the market, looking for the best products at lower rates. After having done that, compare the prices of products that you are planning to buy online with the market. Remember, certain things should be checked for durability and usage before purchase- for instance, a BOB, a torch, light-making equipment and more. Certain things do not need validation- for instance, sanitizers, soaps, etc. While buying products from the market, ask for a demo from the shopkeeper, if you are buying something unfamiliar. Check the manufacturing badge and the expiry date of the items you are buying.
One advantage of buying from the market is you can bargain for a lesser price, which is not possible online. Guarantee and exchange on malfunctioning come as bonuses, which is not the case in online purchases. In online purchases, you get to see the products physically only after receiving them. You cannot ask for a demo or an exchange immediately. Moreover, exchanging stuff online is a long and arduous process, with no guarantee that the next product sent to you would be of good quality.
It is a different story for cosmetics and accessories. You just have to check their expiry dates while placing order for them online.
How to keep things in a manageable way in your bug out bag?
Clearly, you have to carry a lot in a small space. Keeping them carelessly is only going to create a mess for you. Organizing the items properly should be your first priority since it is important to find things when you need them the most.
The best way is to keep different things in different pouches and label them. The cooking ingredients should go in one compartment, while the lighting elements should go into another. Medical and hygiene supplies should be kept separately so should your electronic devices and chargers. Ensure that the most important things in the bag are your communication devices that should be kept within easy reach, the rest can go as per priority.
Managing so many pouches or compartments can become irritating. Some people maintain minimal compartments and prioritize the items in them. For instance, compartment no 1 can have the essential supplies and the communication devices, pouch no 2 can have hygiene and cleaning supplies, pouch no 3 can have items for entertainment. Arrange them inside the BOB according to their numbers- 1 at the top, 3 at the bottom. You can keep your bag tidy this way, allowing you more time to prepare than organize.
Last but not the least, avoid using plastic bags to separate stuff, they are not just a threat to the environment but can easily be damaged by water or even the items kept in them. Instead, use durable material, which is eco-friendly too.
Common Bug Out Bag mistakes not to make
We have discussed in details about Bug Out Bags and their contents in various scenarios, for different people, mobility types, and of various age groups. Make careful consideration of what you buy and pack in your emergency kit. We would still go over and sum up all that we have been preaching till now, highlighting the common mistakes people tend to make.
- Do not exceed the weight: We have already guided you as to why extra weight could be an obstacle in your path. Imagine a situation where you are carrying everything that you think is important, presuming that you would have access to a vehicle at all points of time. You are being evacuated on a helicopter which can accommodate 4 people and their 20 BOBs under a certain weight. Would you be allowed there if you carried extra? Let’s imagine another scenario where you have lost your way in the forest. You are tired and hungry. Would you be able to navigate through the forest carrying those extra ounces? Perhaps not.
- Stick to the necessities: Bare minimum necessities can help you manage difficult situations.It is better to stick to the things that will help you survive-water, food, blanket, a pair of spare clothes, first aid, and the required medicines.
- Excessive clothing: It is a complete no-no especially when you do not know the terrains you have to face, how many kilometers you have to walk, and for how long you have to walk before help arrives. You can make do with just one extra pair of cloth, anything more than that would mean extra weight.
- Pack too less food and water: It really does not make sense if you pack more non-essentials than food and water. Because ultimately, you will have to keep yourself hydrated and nourished.
- Forgetting important documents: Keeping your documents safe with you can solve a lot of issues. If you have your bank documents, you can retrieve money from anywhere, if you have your employment certificates and marksheets with you, you can land up a job after any emergency. Your medical reports will help the doctors treat you once you have been rescued in critical condition.
- Lack of training: Practice indeed makes a man perfect. If you are trained in emergency crisis, you will have guidelines to bank upon and you would be able to help others too. Learn survival strategies, get paramedics training or get a certificate course in nursing- all of them will help you in sustaining in adverse situations.
- Repairing supplies for Bug Out Bag: Imagine a situation where you bug out bag just lost a stitch when you were hanging from a rock cliff. Your survival kit would vanish in the ravine below you in a jiffy. What if someone in the emergency crisis camp saw that you had an extra pack of food and stole it? Such situations in emergency camps is nothing new. After all, everyone has to survive including you and your family.
- Forgetting to pack medicines: Your medicines are your ultimate survival entities when there is no immediate access to doctors and medicines. If you are a diabetic or a heart patient, you have to have your medicines on time. Stress can play with your BP and insulin levels, both important for your and your family’s well being at the time of crisis. So, pack them as a priority and move on with it.
- Life support gear: If anyone in the family has a critical illness and cannot survive without oxygen cylinders or ventilators, find out ways to carry it to the emergency shelter. Leave everything else because unless you are alive, nothing is worth packing.
- Forgetting the GPS and two-way radio: You are half way through the emergency shelter when a hurricane hits your city and your car conks out. Without the GPS or the two-way radio, you have no way to reach the officials for help. The GPS would help them track your location, once you have reached them on the radio. GPS reduces the response time in a great way and is reported to have led to many on-time rescues.
- Forgetting the tool kit: They are not just life-saving gears, they also double up as defence equipment against wild animals and rogue elements in camps. If you are stuck somewhere for days and have run out of water or food, this will help you dig out nutritious roots or soil for water. However, you need to have proper training for that.
- Forgetting IDS: you may have carried your documents with you, which is a way of identifying you. But that is when you are evacuating your home. If you have gone on a hiking trail, you surely would not carry your bank documents or marksheets with you. You would need your IDs instead, which will help rescuers identify you if they found you in an unconscious state. These not only help them verify your identity but also track your medical records.list
Follow the best free bug out bag checklist and get your bag perfectly ready!
Natural disasters are unpredictable, but that does not mean you should not be ready to face them. Foresee what you may need as an individual and a parent. Think about the things your children may need. Pack accordingly. Remember, your BOB is the ultimate survival kit that will come to your aid when you need to survive a hiking trail accident or an emergency situation. So, pack it judiciously.
This guidebook can help you prioritize, budget, and buy stuff that you need. It also helps you understand the need to pack sparingly and how to do so. It is a comprehensive way to come to terms with the necessities of an emergency- wherever you are- and the need to survive rather than live luxuriously.
“Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong – these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”
As the great politician points out, the ability to foresee an emergency situation is the best way to ward it off. And this checklist helps you do that in the best possible way. In this guide, we have mentioned all the necessary items you need to keep in your bag to withstand the unexpected situations. Along with the name of the items, we have mentioned the amount and weight as well.
It should also be mentioned here that the information has been gathered by speaking to experts in crisis management and that these can be considered the best practices for your next trip to the Amazons or an emergency evacuation. Keep the free bug out bag checklist handy to ensure you did not forget anything at the last moment. Better still, you should pack your BOB well ahead in time before emergency strikes.