As most of you know, last year I started putting a few things away in case of emergency. It was something that I have thought about doing forever! I just never got around to it. But after Katrina, I began to take the thought seriously. No one wants to be part of the problem in an emergency. Over about a year and a half I stocked up on food, water, water filtration, a solar oven, etc. Now it's time for the Bug Out Bag. This bag should keep you for about 72 hours in case of an emergency, and is highly recommended by the Red Cross, FEMA, even NASA.
I kept putting it off because I just didn't know what to put in it. You can buy bags fully loaded, and if you are short of time, that might be the way to go. But for me, I thought I should pack personally for our family. Our daughters are often struggling to makes ends meet, so we took on the task to make sure they have everything they need. We do it mostly for ourselves. Who can relax if they know their children might be in need during a crises?
This bag needs to be extremely light weight because if you can only take one thing, chances are you are walking, so the weight of each item was taken into careful consideration. Some people have one of these bags in their car and one at home.
So after sifting through all the survival websites, all of the blogs, here is the best that I've come up with:
- A comfortable backpack - This is individual for each family member. I haven't bought one yet, but here is the one our daughter picked. It's waterproof as she lives in a rainy climate.
- Keeping warm with a poncho for rain, an emergency sleeping bag, thermal blanket, and tube tent.
- Water consists of 6 Aqua Blox, and one of these, which you can get for around $24 at Amazon.
- Food starts with (8) self-warming MREs, high calorie granola bars, and jerky. Beef for my husband, salmon for me, and soy for my veggie daughter. You might want knife, fork, and spoon for each person.
- You should have a compass, a whistle, and a map of your area. We have this little survival kit that has everything but the map. It also has fishing line, lures, duck tape, and lots of other things I'll bet you haven't thought of.
- First aid is very important, so we went with a soft-sided kit that has sleeves for each possible injury. I liked that. No hunting around. If someone is bleeding - chances are, I'm flustered!
- Sunscreen protection is important. As is a hat, sunglasses, a change of clothes, light jacket or windbreaker, rugged gloves, socks, and shoes, if possible. Several days of your medications are a must. Just rotate them often.
- Wipes, hand sanitizer, toilet paper. Small bar of soap, toothbrush & small toothpaste. Eye drops.
- Other things that came up in my search is paracord, fire starter, water-proof matches, hand-crank radio and flashlight, survival knife (husband's job to pick), and multi-tool. Glow sticks are also light weight.
- Money. Quarters and ones in case you come across a vending machine.
- Weapon. This came up on every single website. I don't know how I feel about this, so I will leave that up to each of you.
If we are walking, and we need to get through the next 72 hours - we will just grab this bag. If we are driving or walking with someone without a backpack, we will grab another bag that has a small cook stove, dehydrated foods (many of which I made), more water, possibly a bigger water filter, sleeping bags and a tent.
We all have dogs, so they have to pack their own food and water. We are looking at these dog packs. Nothing has been decided, because each dog is different. One of them gets hot spots quite easily, so good packs for the dogs is a must. You may want to add a spare leash, and crushable bowl. We will pack their food in airtight bags, rotating them about every six months or so.
So there you have it. Our 72-hour bug-out bag. Hope this is helpful to anyone thinking about putting one together.
I feel much better now that I've covered all the bases I could think of without getting crazy. I hope we will never need these things. But if we do, I'll be glad I went to the trouble.