If you are new to prepping choosing the correct bug out bag can be a daunting task. With so many options on the market what is the best bug out bag for you? Lets look at a few options to help you narrow your decision.
The Function Of A Bug Out Bag
Let’s quickly discuss the function of a bug out bag. As a reminder the function of a bug out bag is to provide the required tools to get you, and maybe your family, from a place of danger (low security) to a place of safety (high security, usually your bug out location). You will want to prepare your bug out bag for at least 72 hours of emergency survival. Further resources provided at the end of this article discuss the recommended contents of a bug out bag.
All BOB’s Are Different
Now that we understand the basic function, lets dive deeper into what is the best bug out bag for you. The contents of a bug out bag need to be personalized based on age, personal health and fitness, geography and survival skills. I am in my 40’s and have wife and three children and live in the south. So my bug out bag will look much different than a single male in his 20’s, living in Ohio.
What Is the Best Bug Out Bag For You?
So the best bug out bag for you is the one that meets all of your individual survival needs for 72 hours. There are two general ways to go about purchasing and/or building your BOB. You can purchase a pre-made BOB, and customize to your needs. For example, a pre-made BOB my not include a quality survival knife, so you may want to add that. Alternatively, you can make your own survival style bug out bag from scratch. This will take longer, but will usually result in a more quality, and customized, BOB. For more details please see our post Pre-made Bug Out Bag vs. Survival Bug Out Bag.
Contents You Should Have In Your Bug Out Bag
Regardless of what path you take in creating your BOB, there are 6 basic survival needs that should be met:
- Water and water filtration
- First aid and hygiene
There are so many products out there that can meet these six categories that it can be overwhelming and expensive when deciding what to put in a bug out bag. My advice is to take it slow and acquire your gear over time. You may feel impending doom is right around the corner, but you’ve made it until now without a bug out bag. So chances are you will be ok until you can gather all the essentials.
Let’s take a closer look at what to put in a bug out bag
- Water and water filtration– You should plan to carry about two liters of fresh water. Carry those two liters in two one-liter bottle so that when one is empty, you can fill up at the next water source. For filtration you can carry a Life Straw, which is basically a straw with a built in filter, or water purification tablets.
- Food– Pack plenty of MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), particularly ones that require little to no preparation. You can also carry other ready to eat foods that keeps well such as protein bars, granola bars, nuts or dehydrated foods.
- Shelter– Tents provide great shelter but are very heavy and take up too much room. Instead, carry a few emergency thermal blankets and some paracord. You can put one on the ground and use one for your cover or for the roof of a makeshift shelter.
- Fire-making– There is something about a fire that adds comfort to any campsite, so make sure that you are prepared to make one. Standard store-bought lighters work great. They are small and light so you can easily throw two or three of them in your bag. You should also carry wind-proof matches and a magnesium striker. Hint: Dryer lint makes wonderful kindling to get your fire going. Put a ziplock bag-full in the BOB.
- First-aid and hygiene– Chances are you’ll be using this bug out bag only in situations where you are facing grave danger, which also means situations where you might be hurt. Get a small first aid kit from your corner drug store to combat and clean cuts, scratches and minor injuries and prevent serious infection. You will also want some pain relievers (aspirin) on hand.
- Security– Obviously the best choice here would be a hand gun and ammunition. Make sure you are fully trained and know how to use any firearms before packing them away in your bug out bag. The time to learn how to shoot a hand gun is not during an emergency.
Helpful Checklists and Guides
Here are some of our checklists and guides that can help you put together the best bug out bag possible.
Please use our checklist as a general guide and remember to customize the contents based on you and your families age, medical needs, physical abilities, geography, etc. No two bug out bags are exactly alike. My BOB in Florida will look much different than someone who is located in Ohio. I need to be prepared for extreme heat and humidity while someone up north will need to worry more about extremely cold weather.
We hope this helps get you on the path to preparation and if you have any questions please let us know!
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