Being prepared to bug-out in a matter of minutes is crucial because when disaster strikes, you have very little time to organize what you need. Every minute will truly count when it comes to avoiding disaster because should your home flood, you only have seconds to gather up your possessions and get out. However, you might be surprised with how long it can actually take to get what you need and bug-out. So, here are a few simple tricks you may want to know to bug-out faster.
Have an Established Plan for Every Crisis
There are a hundred and one reasons why you might need to bug-out of your home; from floods, to tornadoes and everything in-between and you need to create a plan for every eventuality. If you plan for every potential crisis, you can get your family to safety without causing additional panic. It’s important to create a plan for escape and have a back-up plan should you can’t escape in the family vehicle.
Have a Check-List of What You Need To Take
Whether you are going to pre-pack your bug-out bag or leave it until the very last second, you need to know what you’re going to take. For example, create a check-list of what potential items you need to take along in your bug-out bag. List food items, water, medicines and everything right down to blankets and communication devices; the luxuries come last because they aren’t essential. If you have started to pack your bug-out bag, check through the list to see if you have all necessary items.
It’s a little crazy to wait until the very last second before you start to pack your bug-out bag because you’ll end up missing something crucial. Also, you need to consider leaving the danger zone as quickly as possible because the longer you wait, the more at risk you will be and the more danger the roads become also. Don’t wait to make your move, get your family together, and get out before it’s too late.
Pre-Plan Your Route to a Safe Location
You probably have a safe place in mind for disaster and you need to have a map or plan how you will make it there. Now, the direct route may be off-limits and you have to have a second or third plan so you can avoid danger and keep your family safe. Of course, having several maps with different routes can be useful to get you out of the danger zone quickly.
Do Not Pack Unnecessary Items
Most people panic when they’re bugging out and end up grabbing all sorts of unneeded extras, even when you’ve finished packing. However, packing more items than needed is a waste of time and energy because you probably don’t need half the things you’ve just added to your bag. You need to go through the bag and dump any unnecessary items because they are only going to add more weight to your bag. Yes, you may have precious items you want to take along but your life comes before anything else and unfortunately it means unpacking the unnecessary items. Its extra weight you can’t afford to carry.
Can’t Get To Your Bug-Out Bag? Have a Second Bag On Hand
There may be times when you don’t actually have time to grab your bug-out bag or have difficulty in reaching it which can be very worrying. However, instead of just relying on one bug-out bag, have a second one at the ready. This will prevent you from being stuck with nothing and of course, if you have it stored in your car, the only thing you need to do, is get out of the home and drive away in your car.
Have Your Bags Ready
You only have a few minutes to get ready and go and it means your bug-out bags need to be ready and available at all times. It’s a bad idea to store your bags in a place you can’t get to or you haven’t packed yet because it’s useless. Instead, you want to have your bags packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice so keep them in a closet near the front door or in a bedroom where you have easy access.
Don’t Leave Anything to Chance
To be honest, there are going to be occasions when you must leave your home in an instant and when it happens, you need to be on your toes and ready to leave. You cannot waste time panicking or grabbing everything you own because it will only slow you down. At all costs, have your bug-out bag ready or at least half ready so that you don’t waste any additional time trying to find items you need.
The quickest way for you to bug-out has to be too remained focused and alert at all times. Now, there are going to be times when you really are scared and terrified and even if you have prepared well, you can still panic. However, if you stayed focused then you can easily stick to a plan and find your bug-out bag within seconds and get away from the danger zone. It isn’t as difficult as it sounds and all you have to do is concentrate on grabbing your bag and leaving.
What Will You Do After You Bug-Out?
When you have left your home, you need to think of the next step. You are safely out of the home and you’ve gotten your family away from potential dangers in the home but what about the surrounding area? Is the surrounding area safe and if not, how will you get away from the danger zone? This is something you absolutely must think about when it comes to bugging out because while you may be able to grab a bag and get out within seconds, you may not have your next move planed out.
Take the time to access the situation and plan ahead carefully. If the local news is telling you to get out of the area, do so and don’t panic.
- What should you put in your bug-out bag?
- How should you choose your bug-out bag?
- What’s the best way to pack your bug-out bag?
What should you put in your bug-out bag?
Your bug-out bag should contain supplies for 72 hours—most emergency plans are made for 72 hours. Make sure to adjust the content of your bug-out bag to your local area, weather, and your specific needs. Here’s what you should pack in your bug out bag:
You won’t be without clean air for more than three minutes. Pack an air-filtration mask as it might be the only option to breathe oxygen safely. Make sure that you buy an air filtration mask that filters particulates to ease your breathing.
Clean drinking water is crucial for our survival and you might not have access to fresh, safe water in an emergency. Look for a bug out bag that provides you with:
Water filtration system
The best bug-out bags has an effective filtration system to make any water source safe to drink.
Take water on the go with a bug-out bag with a water bladder/water bottle that you should protect from contamination. Most of us can survive even weeks without food and just three days without water. You should always have a form of hydration in your bag for emergencies.
Whether you find yourself in the middle of the woods when a storm hits you or your house is swept away from a flood, shelter is crucial for your survival. Here’s what you should pack in your bug out bag:
You might not always be able to find shelter in an emergency. You shouldn’t pack your traditional tent but look for a waterproof survival tent. The best survival tents are made of mylar which repels water and retains heat. Use grass, leaves, and anything else around your campsite to protect against the elements.
Look for a lightweight sleeping bag that keeps you dry and warm. Buy a 3-season sleeping bag so that you can use it in most situations.
The metal-coated sheets are light and made to retain heat. You can use the space blanket as a rudimentary shelter as well. Attach it to a trunk/limb and use a paracord to tie it down.
Should a natural or any other kind of disaster hit your local area, you will want to have food for at least three days. Food will give you energy during stressful times and help you focus on your survival.
If you know how to fish (maybe now it’s an excellent time to learn) and you find yourself near a body of water, a small fishing kit will be of great help. Hook, string, and bait are easy to tie/attach to anything and work as an excellent on-the-go fishing option.
You won’t be able to pack food for a feast and you should pack dense and small packages of rations. Look for emergency rations that are calorie-dense and give you food for three days.
You never understand the importance of adequate clothing until you find yourself catching a cold because your cotton long-sleeve got wet and didn’t wick away moisture. Having said that, consider the following aspects when packing your clothing:
Get a jacket that is weatherproof and at least water-resistant. You want a jacket that protects you from inclement weather.
Top and socks
Always use the layering system when having to spend time outdoors. You need a base layer, a mid-layer, and an outer layer–typically, it’s the jacket. Pick clothes made of wool or synthetic fibers that wick moisture away and keep you dry for the base layer. The mid-layer should trap the heat inside and allow moisture to escape away from your body.
You should have at least one change of clothes, especially if it rains. Wearing damp clothes will generate hypothermia and decrease your chances of survival. As for socks, make sure that you pack at least another pair of socks. Look for socks that keep your feet warm and let moisture escape.
Gloves and hats
You might want to pack gloves even if it’s not winter. Buy a good pair of gloves that ensure a secure grip and keep the elements away from your hands. You don’t want splinters and cuts, and suitable gloves will protect you from them. In low temperatures, look for warm gloves.
You don’t know which disaster you will have to face, and you might have to gather firewood, move fallen branches, or find your way out through some broken glass. You want durable and protective gloves that will help you do that without injuring yourself.
Don’t forget to pack a cap/beanie to stop heat from escaping.
Keep in mind to only pack clothing essential for your survival and not a fun trip.
With most disasters, your survival could mean that you have to go outside and into the elements. Having some sources of warmth will help you deal with the emergency a lot more efficiently.
You should have access to fire in emergencies. You can use fire to get warm, cook food, and even signal help. Pack weatherproof matches and firestarters so that you can make fire even in a wet environment.
It’s easy to carry hand and foot warmers and they’re excellent at warming your hands and feet. Throw the hand warmers into your shoes or hold them in your hands to get some relief from the freezing conditions.
With natural disasters, the risk for power outages is high, so you should pack lighting tools even if you’re trapped at home. Needless to say, you need to have light in the outdoors for so many reasons.
Headlamps are great because they give you the freedom to use your hands. You can find tactical headlamps that are easy to attach to your bug-out bag.
One thing that you should never forget to pack is a flashlight. Pay the extra buck for a durable, compact, and easy to carry/attach/grab a flashlight. Many models offer plenty of illumination, despite their small sizes.
A chemical grade lightstick is easy to see from a mile away and can last for 12 hours. Chemical lights are sturdy options that offer excellent output and last long. You can use them to keep wild animals away, signal, and have light for various activities.
No matter the disaster scenario, you need a well-stocked first aid kit. Here’s what to put in your bug out bag:
Pack painkillers to alleviate pain from an injury. Aspirin and ibuprofen are the most common painkillers to pack.
You should always reduce the risk of sunburn with sunscreen. Apply sunscreen even if you stay in the shadow.
Bandages and band-aids
Use bandages and band-aids to cover wounds and cuts, prevent contamination, and decrease the risk of infection.
You can keep the wound clean with some gauze pads in case of injuries.
You can use the sling to support and immobilize the injured part of the body.
Anti-bacterial and antiseptic wipes
Bacteria will turn even the tiniest cut into a life-threatening wound. Pack anti-bacterial wipes to stay on the safe side. Pack some antiseptic wipes as well as you can use them to clean wounds. You can use antiseptic wipes to sterilize an area before preparing skin for cuts.
Typically, the antibiotic ointment is made with ingredients that also alleviate pain. It will soothe burns, scraps, and cuts. The antibiotic ointment can also reduce the risk of infection and speed up healing.
The tourniquet is a compression device that can save your life. It will stop blood flow through an artery or vein by compressing the limb with cords and tight bandages.
You can use the burn gel to soothe the skin and bring some relief if a burn happens.
A kit that includes essential medical instruments can be of great help in many situations. Pack a compression kit providing forceps, scissors, medical tape, and safety pins.
You can use medical gloves to maintain the wound clean and sterile while bandaging. Medical gloves also reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
The area and survival situation you’re in impact the navigation tools you need. However, the most crucial to pack are:
Use a sturdy compass to keep your direction. No compass will be good if you don’t know how to use it.
Map of the area
Pack a map of your local area in the bug-out bag. If a disaster damages the landscape, a map will be of great help to navigate. In case of a statewide evacuation, a map of nearby areas will also come in handy.
The multi-purpose tools are great because you can use them in many situations.
You can use an ax or a hatched to build a shelter, for self-defense, etc. Look for a bug-out bag that comes with a shovel/ax combo for effortless carry.
Don’t skip the shovel from the tools you pack in your bug-out bag. Whether you need one to make a trench, dig a fire pit, dig for a shelter, or self-defense, a mini shovel will help you in many disaster scenarios.
Without adding a multi-purpose tool to your bag, you cannot prepare for an emergency. Most reliable multitools have wire snips, mini plyers, bottle opener, small knife, agile, a Philips/flat head screwdriver, and a carabiner.
You can use the paracord for many things, from fishing, hunting, and securing a shelter to stringing up a bear bag and creating a snare trap.
Since it’s waterproof and tough, the duct tape is excellent to use in a wide range of situations. You can use it to repair your gear, tent, clothing and even stop leaks that would otherwise cause a fire. You can also use it for safety reasons and secure a bandage.
Some survivalists also pack a small folding saw to build shelter, chop wood, and clear paths.
A small crowbar can be of great help to hammer things, break into a shelter, and pry up heavy stuff from the ground. You can also use it as a self-defense weapon.
Should you find yourself in a situation where you have to defend yourself, you will need a form of weapon in your bug-out bag.
A sturdy and dependable knife can make a difference in a life-threatening situation. Look for a tanto blade (it has an angular edge) that comes with a sheath for protection against accidents.
You can use pepper spray to keep the wild animals away from you.
You can get creative and use some of the other tools you packed for self-defense purposes.
There are many things that you cannot anticipate nor control with emergencies. The following are the must-have miscellaneous for survival scenarios:
Copies of important documents
Make copies of the essential documents and put them in an airtight canister to take in an emergency evacuation.
- Passport- you need it in case you have to cross the border
- Addresses and phone numbers of your family members- More than 40% of cell phone owners don’t know the phone numbers of their immediate family members. Make a list with them and memorize their numbers.
- Titles and contracts- you should have a copy of significant titles and contracts, loan agreements,t motor vehicle titles, deeds, etc.
- Family disaster and preparedness plan—less than 40% of people in a study had an emergency plan and discussed it with their family. Make sure to prepare your family for a family disaster and create a plan that everyone is familiar with.
You can use the whistle to call for help or to stay in communication with your loved ones or people who join you.
Get a charger that powers a wide variety of electronics, such as flashlights, smartphones, and radios.
You can use the mirror to reflect light to signal a passerby. You can also use it to light a fire.
Buy strong goggles to improve vision clarity and protect your eyes.
You should have at least $500 in your bag to pay for services and goods in survival situations.
Pack an extra prescription medication in the bug-out bag in case you need to evacuate quickly.
We know that a sewing kit doesn’t seem essential for an emergency at all, but you should think twice. If your blanket or clothing rips, you will be able to fix it even with a basic sewing kit.
How should you choose your bug-out bag?
The bug-out bag is an emergency disaster survival kit that helps you go through the first 72 hours after evacuating your home from an emergency or a natural disaster.
The bug-out bag is made for fast deployment and you should always have it prepared. You’re not supposed to use the bag for a long time, but only for a short time. The bug-out bag is big enough to fit the essentials for 72hours, yet lightweight enough to ensure effortless carry.
Since the market provides you with a wide variety of models, you should consider the following aspects when selecting your bug out bag:
The size is the first aspect to check out when looking for a bug-out bag. The bag must be big enough to carry all the things you need in the first 72 hours. You don’t want it to be too big—you will be tempted to fill it and end up with a heavy load that it’s difficult to carry.
There are three main categories of backpacks regarding size: small, medium, and large. A 40-liter bag is considered small, whereas a 60-liter bag is medium. A large bag has around 90-liter capacity.
If this is the first time you shop for a bug-out bag, you should consider buying a medium-sized model of around 60 liters. A small bag will be too small to fit all the items you need—you can use it for a child, though. Large backpacks are for extended backpacking trips, and it’s cumbersome to carry when you’re in a hurry.
A backpack around 60 liters is spacious enough to fit your supplies for 72 hours and won’t be strenuous to carry.
The organization is crucial when using a backpack for more than one day. A good bug-out bag will have more than just one spacious compartment. It should come with several pockets to pack your things very efficiently. You will be able to carry more items with a pack with several pockets than one with just one main compartment.
Typically, the bug-out bag should have one main compartment for large items and several compartments (small and medium alike) on the front and sides for things you need to access in a blink of an eye. Should the bag have just one main compartment, you will have difficulty finding the item you need within seconds. Plus, it’s going to be a struggle to dig through the bag for the thing you need.
Don’t forget that you should be able to close every compartment of the pack. You don’t want to drop and lose any of the precious items while you’re on the move. Dirt might get inside and damage your items in some way. Straps, zippers, velcro, or a combination of these are the common ways to seal compartments in bug-out bags.
Think of the weight of your pack when choosing a model with or without a frame. Ideally, the bug-out bag should weigh around 15% of your body weight and even 20% if you’re in great shape. Most men can carry a 30-40 pounds bag, whereas women can hold 25 to 35 pounds.
Frameless or with a frame?
If your bag weighs less than 30 pounds, a frameless model will work for emergencies. However, if the bag gets heavier than that, you should opt for a model with a frame. Frameless bags are less effective in evenly distributing your carry weight than bags with a frame. With a frameless model, you will end up carrying a big ball of weight, straining your shoulders, and putting pressure on your back.
On the other hand, a pack with a frame will efficiently distribute the weight, take the pressure away from your shoulders and take it to the hips. You will be able to move more comfortably and you won’t have back or shoulder pain with a bag with a frame.
Internal or external frame?
Once you decide that a bag with a frame is the best choice for you, you should consider whether you want an internal or external frame. As the name says, a bag with an inner frame has the frame on the inside. Similarly, the outer bag has a frame on the outside. Internal bags are lighter and smaller than bags with external frames. The latter tend to be heavy, large and made to carry a heavy load.
There are ups and downs for each type of bag. An external frame bag is typically more spacious than an internal model; it will provide you with 90liters capacity. Such a bag is perfect for avid hikers on week-long hiking trips.
Additionally, an external frame bag will let you attach various items such as a sleeping bag or coat. Since the frame is on the outside, there’s some space between the pack and your back– it helps you sweat less.
The most crucial downside of external frame backpacks is that they sit on the heavy side. You might feel it’s somewhat unstable, which can make hiking through rugged terrain a challenge.
Internal frames sit closer to the back so that you won’t have any stability issues. They’re lighter than external frame models. You can find excellent inner frame packs that offer 90-liter capacity, so it’s not only the outer frame bags that can be spacious.
If this is the first time you use a bug-out bag, we recommend getting an internal frame pack of 60-liter capacity. You want to focus on moving quickly and effortlessly, and you don’t want a cumbersome external frame model that will slow you down.
The bug-out bag should carry your essentials, so you don’t want it to tear in the middle of your survival mission. With emergencies and survival situations, the chances are that you will go through some rough conditions, no matter if you’re in town or out in the woods. Your bag should be able to be as challenging as nails.
Look for a water-resistant bug-out bag made of a rugged material that withstands inclement weather and rough conditions. The straps shouldn’t be flimsy but thick and tough to endure duress. The bug-out bag should have a durability feel and be ready to take a beating.
Take a look at the stitching and all details that count for durability. Double stitching, reinforcement in the stress points, rugged zippers with zipper pulls for effortless use—these are all details specific to excellent bug-out bags.
A good bug-out bag has a smart design so that you can access anything inside quickly and effortlessly. Here are some essential features to check out on your bug out bag:
- Hydration tube and water bladder
- Compression straps so that the load doesn’t shift
- Molle system (modular lightweight load-carrying equipment) to attach small pouches on the bag’s outside
- Water bottle pocket
- Hip belt pockets
- Top lid for protection in the rain
- Compartment for the sleeping bag
Check out the padding on the shoulder straps and the breathability of the bug-out bag as well. Gel padding is ideal for the pack, as padding can wear out. Make sure you get a backpack with a hip strap that holds the bag in place while you’re hiking/descending. Every feature that improves stability is essential; a chest/sternum strap is also crucial.
Seek that your bug-out bag has a compartment to store your defense weapon and/or spare mags/ammo. You want this compartment to be efficiently concealed yet easy to access.
Regardless of what you might think, a camouflage bag will make you stand out most of the time. People who see a camouflage pack might consider you a threat or that you carry valuable items. It goes without saying that your bug-out bag cannot be red, yellow, orange, or any other color that will make it impossible for you to hide.
Look for a bug-out bag with dark natural colors that help you blend into the surroundings. You don’t want to be labeled a military individual or law enforcement. Brown, grey, dark blue, and dark green are the best colors on a bug-out bag.
Don’t forget to get a plain neutral-colored rain cover to make your bug-out bag even subtler than it is.
What’s the best way to pack your bug-out bag?
Packing your bug-out bag seems a simple concept, but it’s not something to take on lightly. You should efficiently organize the content of your bug-out bag or any other backpack for that matter. Here are crucial aspects to consider when packing your bug-out bag.
Weight is probably the no.1 enemy when outfitting a bug-out bag. It’s relatively easy to get carried away and pack way too many items in your pack. You should only take what you truly need in an emergency, not every miracle survival gadget you see on shelves.
Look for tools with several functions and focus on replacing tools with knowledge, creativity, and skills.
A 60-liter well-balanced bag can feel a lot more comfortable than a 50liter bag with poor balance. You know that your bug-out bag has excellent balance if it’s stable and feels like part of your upper body. Tightly pack the contents so that there is no load shifting on the outside or inside. Use the compression straps to keep everything in place and reduce the risk of load shifting and altering your balance.
Keep the items you need to access immediately or more frequently in pockets easy to access and the things you don’t need to reach as much at the bottom. If you don’t put them in your pockets, put the navigation tools, flashlight, and self-defense weapons in quick-access pockets and pouched. Keep on the bottom of the bag the sleeping bag and extra clothing.
Don’t forget to use the lash points and Molle to secure your sleep and snivel gear for frequent and effortless access.
Use your common sense when packing your bug-out bag. Place the items you frequently use at the top and on the outside pockets. Compass, flashlight, map, headlamp, toilet paper, sunscreen, sunglasses, and even rain gear can go at the top. Strap on the bag or use compression straps to carry the oversized items such as trekking poles or sleeping pads.
Consider the balance
You want your bug-out bag to have an excellent balance. Place heavy items (food, water, and tools) on top of the bottom layer and close to your spine. You want the heaviest gear in the vertical center of the backpack, so they don’t feel heavy.
Start by laying everything you plan to carry before you start packing. Keep the following tips in mind when you fill your bug out bag:
Practice before you pack
You should be able to use effortlessly all the tools you pack. Don’t buy stuff without being comfortable using it. You should only pack tools and things that you are familiar with.
You can have your compartments to find everything you need without going through all the stuff. Use an organization that works for you. You can place the stove, fuel, and eating utensils in the “kitchen” compartment and the medicines in the “medical” pouch.
Go for quality
Pay the extra buck for high-quality gear as you want it to be reliable in the worst-case scenarios. The gear is supposed to help you stay alive in emergencies.
Fill in the gaps
While you’re packing your bug-out bag, see if some items offer space that you can fill up. Mugs and cooking pots are such items. You can stuff them and save exterior space and even protect delicate items.
Two is one, and one is none
Assume that something will go wrong at some point when in a life-threatening situation. The risk for one item not to work as expected is never null. For example, a solar-powered radio can also work as a backup charger, while a hand-crack flashlight can give you light and charge your electronics.