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  • Writer's pictureBaileigh Higgins

How to build a Bug-out Bag - The Essentials

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

How to build a Bug-out Bag - The Essentials

Everyone should have a bug-out bag close at hand. Think of it as a type of insurance against emergencies, disasters, or even an accident. They’re meant to carry everything you would need to survive for a few days or even weeks should you have zero time to pack.

Trapped by the side of the road with no help in sight? Stranded without electricity or running water after a hurricane or tornado? What about bush-fires, blizzards, flooding, or even flesh-eating zombies? Don’t worry. Your bug-out bag’s got you covered.

You could even have several of them stashed away in likely places like the trunk of your car, your work, your home, and one for every member of the household. It pays to be careful, after all. But what should such a bag contain? Here is a list of the essentials:

  • Three days’ worth of food, but choose carefully. You’ll want to pack items that are high in calories and protein, compact, light-weight, and non-perishable. Think of protein bars, trail mix, nuts, dried fruit, granola, nut butter, and freeze-dried meals.

  • Eating utensils and a cup/bowl.

  • Water. The average person needs around three liters of water per day if they’re active, but that doesn’t mean you should carry too much. Rather opt for three liters of water in a quality steel container and a purification method for more such as a LifeStraw.

  • A change of clothes. This might not sound important, but it matters should you get wet or cold, and clean socks are a must if you want to prevent blisters. Keep it to a minimum, mainly undergarments. Rather try to wear a durable pair of pants and jacket from the get-go.

  • Basic personal hygiene items such as soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, comb, wet wipes, a razor, a towel, tweezers, and toilet paper. Again, keep it to a minimum.

  • A portable cell phone charger, preferably solar. This will keep you in contact with the world, assuming the networks are operational.

  • A portable, battery-operated AM/FM radio should the networks be down, plus it’s a good-to-have anyway.

  • A quality flashlight with spare batteries.

  • Waterproof matches and a lighter.

  • A first-aid kit.

  • Any chronic medication you need.

  • A whistle.

  • A sewing kit.

  • Maps.

  • Sunscreen.

  • Insect repellent.

  • A roll of duct tape. Probably the most versatile item in the world.

  • A length of paracord, as well as zip ties. Their uses are innumerable.

  • A survival knife. The one thing you absolutely can’t go without.

These are the basics. The essentials you’ll need to tide you over should the worst occur. But you might need a few extra things depending on your environment. Items such as a raincoat and a piece of tarp if it’s cold and rainy. You could stick to a bedroll and an emergency blanket if it's hot and dry.

A hatchet, ax, or machete would make a good addition to your supplies, as would a small toolkit. Are you an avid fisherman? Include a fishing kit. Do you hunt regularly and live near the woods? A hunting rifle and ammunition are a must, both for food and self-defense.

Always remember to wear the right shoes, and they must be worn in. The last thing you need is for your feet to be covered in blisters after hiking for miles in brand-new boots. Last, but not least, buy the best pack you can afford. This is not the time to pinch pennies. Above all, stay alert, stay alive, and use your head. Do not panic.

Remember, you’re a survivor.

A Blog Post by Baileigh Higgins.

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