A bug out bag is an emergency preparedness kit that is typically packed per person or family group to last about 72 hours after a natural or man-made disaster strikes. It’s always ready in case of immediate evacuation and can be packed in various sizes, depending on personal or family needs.
Why Is It Often Called a “Bug Out Bag”?
You may wonder where the term “bug out bag” originated. The term is related to the U. S. Air Force emergency “bail out bags” that all military aviators carry. The term “bug out” originated during the Korean War in which the U.S. Army had strategic alternative defense plans for their units. Any threatened unit was to “bug out” to another location when it was obvious that they were going to be overrun with combatants.
After the war, the idea became common among military and police forces. The “bail out bag” became synonymous with emergency gear for just about any need.
Since then, the term for emergency kits has evolved into civilian usage and has been commonly referred to as “bug out bags.”
There are also other terms for the same concept widely used today among survivalists and prepper cultures, such as Go Bag, GOOD Bag (Get Out of Dodge), Grab Bag, 72 Hour Bag, BOB, INCH Bag (I’m Never Coming Home) and the Battle Box. Others simply refer to this type of kit as an emergency preparedness kit.
Your Bug Out Bag Contents
Some are designed for urban use and others are designed for more wilderness or off grid locations. A bug out bag’s contents is usually related to the region of the country in which a user lives in order to prepare for certain typical local disasters such as hurricanes, floods or fires.
The contents can also be packed to cover a more extensive range of scenarios depending on a person’s concerns and preferences.
However, basic equipment related to providing shelter, food, water, safety and medical supplies are always included.
Common contents include:
- Food (non perishable food that can be stored easily)
- Water (1 gallon of water a day per person)
- Cooking supplies
- Water purification equipment (personal water filters and water purification tablets, etc.)
- First aid kit (basic medicines to last a while, plus plenty of meds for indigestion, diarrhea and other stomach issues)
- Sleeping gear
- Fire starting kit
- Battery powered or crank radio/other communications equipment
- Basic camping equipment (tent, blankets, sanitation supplies, tarp, wire, duct tape, rubber tubing)
- Lighting (glow stick/solar powered lamps, etc.)
- Firearms and ammunition/stun gun/pepper spray
- Compass, multi tool and Swiss army knife
- Emergency whistle and small signal mirror
- Knife and camping tools
- Personal ID (birth certificate and passport)
- Medical records
- Special needs for children or the elderly
- Small game hunting equipment like pellet gun or sling shot
- Fishing kit
- Travel info/maps
- Pre-determined travel plans
A typical bug out kit is packed with emergency supplies to last a full 72 hours. The reason is that most disaster relief organizations suggest this because it can take them as long as 3 days to reach some locations to provide help.
No matter what it’s called or for what reason you wish to pack a kit, it’s important for every family to make basic plans for an emergency. The first place to start is to pack a simple, basic bug out bag that includes the needs of everyone in your family. This can provide piece of mind and may come in handy if a serious emergency hits your area.