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If you are a regular reader of any preparedness websites, you will understand the importance of having a well-packed bug out bag ready for emergencies. This bag contains everything that you and your family would need to survive for a minimum of 72 hours should you ever need to make a quick escape.
There are many ready-made bug out bags available on the market but to be honest, I haven’t found a single one yet that is actually quality. It is the lives of your loved ones that could be at stake and your equipment is what could save their lives should the need arise. Below, we are going to share our top picks so that you can build your own bug out bag that will actually help you and your family to survive.
We are going to break the items up into the following sections so that you can easily find what you need:
- Lighting Equipment
- First Aid/Hygiene
- Miscellaneous Items
We have made our choices by exploring each of our own items and also through research so that we can bring you the best products that when together, offered functionality, durability, and minimal weight.
Water in Your Bug Out Bag
FEMA suggests that you should include 1/2 gallon per person per day. Water is heavy and as you can probably imagine, the bigger your family, the heavier it will be. For this reason we need to start looking at alternative ways of both carrying the water and also water filtration.
Over the years, us as well as many others have put many different water bottles to the test and the best by far is the Hydro Flask. Hydro Flask is one of the global leaders in high-performance, insulated stainless steel flasks. The TempShield technology keeps cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours, and hot drinks hot for up to 6 hours. It stashes easily in a small shoulder bag, your pack’s side pocket or your car cup holder and holds enough to keep you going for hours without weighing you down.
Next up we need a water filter. I had personally been a fan of the Lifestraw for many years, that was, until I decided to try the Sawyer Mini.
The Sawyer Mini water filtration system is small but well worth it providing 0.1 micron absolute filtration — removing 99.99999% of bacteria and 99.9999% of protozoa. It has been rated up to 100,000 gallons and comes with 16-ounce reusable squeeze pouch, 7-inch drinking straw, and cleaning plunger.
Shelter for Your Bug Out Bag
Chances are, once your bag is packed you won’t want to be adding more weight by including a heavy tent. The good news is that there are some really good lightweight additions that you can include that will help to keep you sheltered from the elements.
Fire for Your Bug Out Bag
Another essential item for your bag is something that you can use to start a fire with. Most fire-starting gear is compact, lightweight, and inexpensive, so it shouldn’t be a burden to carry a couple of different types. These can be as simple as you like but if you go for strikers, make sure you get plenty of practice in beforehand. You can check out our earlier post about making char cloth that sums up the importance of fire during a survival situation.
Food for Your Bug Out Bag
Food is one of the most important things that you can put in your bug out bag. Because our bag is for covering the first 72 hours, we don’t need anything that is too big and bulky. The less time that you spend preparing meals the better as it will give you more time to focus on the situation at hand.
I only actually tried my first Clif Bar maybe about 2 years ago but they are by far, the best energy bars that I have tried and are a great source of protein and fiber. My personal best is the crunchy peanut butter ones but they have other options.
Communications in Your Bug Out Bag
Communications are everything following a crisis and if you can’t get your phone charged, you will need other means of staying connected. Weather radios are a valuable addition to any bug out bag as they allow you to keep up-to-date with what is happening.
Lighting for Your Bug Out Bag
In the case of a power outage it is important that you have at least a couple of options for lighting. This could be flashlights, headlamps, glows ticks, etc but the more lightweight, the better.
Following a disaster, the risk of infection skyrockets which makes first aid and hygiene so critical. At a bare minimum, you should have the supplies for you to quickly clean yourself up, handle minor injuries, and have a sanitary way to dispose of unwanted items.
Tools for Your Bug Out Bag
As you won’t know what you will be faced with, it is a good idea to have a multi-tool in your pack. This should allow you to carry out many needed tasks during a crisis.
Miscellaneous Items for Your Bug Out Bag
The items here don’t really fit in with any of the categories above but are still much needed additions in my opinion. It is highly likely that you will already have at least some of these items laying around the house.