Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bug Out Bag

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.


Brian Miller said...

that is a pretty cool idea...and your list of materials as well is helpful because you dont want to waste a lot of room...having a dog pack too is a cool idea...

Linda Myers said...

This is a good idea. I've got something halfway together, but I think I'll come back to this post later.

DJan said...

Hmmm. I've got almost everything together already, for my weekly hikes. It wouldn't take much work to add a few more things. Thanks, Nancy!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Wow, great and informative post. Now I've got to check out your links.

CrazyCris said...

Nancy, this sounds both like a very interesting idea... and yet at the same time a bit paranoid (no offense intended!). I can understand it if one lives in a region where natural disasters are a regular risk (say the Gulf Coast during hurricane season), but in regularly safe places?
I know my parents had an easy to access pouch or folder with all our important documents when we lived in Saudi Arabia in case we needed to evacuate in a hurry, but that was it! We've never really thought of "major disaster"...

One thing, since this is meant to be carried: make sure you can carry the pack comfortably! And make sure you keep it next to a pair of sturdy boots 'cause you really don't want to be wandering around in sandals carrying a serious pack...

This is yet another thing that makes me think I probably wouldn't survive an "apocalypse" (I get that thought whenever I see a "post-apocalyptic" movie or TV series and realise I have NO survival skills whatsoever! I'm such a city girl...) :p

Nancy said...

Brian - I hope it is helpful for people that don't have the time to actually reasearch this stuff.

Linda - Hope it is helpful. I did research all the different things before including them.

DJan - I'll bet you're ready with all of your hiking!

T&R - All this stuff is lightweight.

Chris - It may seem so living in a small country. But the US is huge and every area has different issues. For us it is earthquakes - and we've had three in the last few weeks, with the epicenter 5 miles away. My daughters live near active volcanos. Others live in areas with tornados or hurricanes. Economies are in serious trouble - including Spain. We have known of people that said they could not have survived a job loss without their storage of food. The US has had huge losses of agriculture this year with the Mississippi flooding and then a drought that killed much of the spring harvest. So I'm not sure there are "regularly safe places." And thanks for the hiking boot tip - we live in the mountains so that is definitely something to keep in mind. Thanks.

CrazyCris said...

I see what you mean... but many people I know here in Spain (myself included) couldn't even afford to set aside a food storage in case of job loss! (it's getting pretty bad!) :o(

This is something we probably should have thought of when we lived in earthquake-prone Mexico City... but you get overconfident when living in a 100+ year-old house which has survived (and well) its share of major earthquakes! :p

Nancy said...

Chris - You are not alone in living in an area where people are unable to set aside food storage. Many here are in the same position. I worry about inflation of food prices that may be coming down the pike. As mentioned, our agricultural areas have been hit hard this year. Wild fires are another HUGE issue where we live. The West has been burning all summer, and I've noticed all the big pines outside my window are stressed - many limbs are dead. So for me, I feel grateful to be able set aside some emergency items, with the knowldege that we are all in this together. Helping each other is how people get through difficult times. (Throw some granola bars and couple bottles of water in an old backpack and call it a day :-)

CrazyCris said...

Ugh forest fires! I'm almost dreading the start of the hiking season this weekend because we've had some massive fires in the province this summer! And several worse ones in other parts of the country! What little natural areas we have left (after millenia of wood harvesting and agriculture) are in constant danger due to summer fires! :o(

I'll have to go buy those water bottles... I don't have any at home! I usually by huge 6l bottles and fill up a glass jar in the fridge or a canteen when I head out. Smaller bottles are a waste of plastic! If we didn't have the taste and chlorine issue in the tap water (very heavy water here, tastes AWFUL!) I would never actually BUY water! After having lived so many years in Mexico I learnt to appreciate just opening the tap and guzzling it down! ;o)

Maybe I'll just do like DJan and keep my hiking pack constantly prepped... :o)

Nancy said...

Chris - DJan has the right idea. Just keep your bug-out stuff on top so you can remove it when you want to hike. We are soooo lucky with water here. Our water tastes wonderful. We are also fortunate to be within walking distance of one of the cleanest lakes on the planet - not to mention living next to a stream coming right out of 8,500 ft. Water is not an issue for us - but urban environments could really be in trouble if the electricity went out becuase it pumps the water to your house. My daughter lives in an area where everyone is getting rain barrels because they live in a big city.

CrazyCris said...

lol! Rain barrels?! *sigh* Whenever it rains in Alicante (which I could probably count using my fingers), it literally pores! I'm keeping my eye in the sky for the autumn storms... they bring floods here in the city! :o(

But I could keep some of my big empty water jugs full of tap water for the emergency situation...

I envy you your delicious water! But I guess I can't complain since I have a lovely surface of blue salt water just blocks away from me! ;o)

Lilly said...

Wow, that is a great idea and I love your thorough list of everything needed. The world is changing fast and we seem to be having far more large diasters (well it seems so). You can never be too prepared and I dont think it is being paranoid. I live in Australia and have been through bushfires and floods. I found your blog through Kathy Gs blogroll links.

Nancy said...

Lilly - Hi and welcome! I love Kathy's blog. Yes, you guys have been through your fair share of disasters as well. It just makes sense to be a little prepared, no matter where you live. We live in interesting times!