It is important to always be prepared when natural disasters strike. And one way to be prepared is to create your own bug out bag list that will help you survive for 72 hours in case of a natural disaster.
What is a bug out bag? A bug out bag or BOB or 72-hour bag is a survival kit in a duffel bag or backpack that has emergency supplies that you will need to survive the next 3 days after a disaster strikes.
You need to understand that a bug out bag is not intended for long term survival. The timeframe 72 hours is specified to avoid misleading people into thinking that the bag will help them survive for a longer period.
When preparing a bug out bag, you only think about how you will survive immediately after evacuation and until the situation returns to normal.
Having a bug out bag ready is important because you may not have any time to prepare when disaster strikes. You will only have a few seconds or minutes to think and make a decision.
You will not have time to get a bag and gather all the things that you will need to survive for the next three days. Whether you live in a disaster-prone area or not, it is important to prepare a BOB that will get you through the first 72 hours after the disaster strikes.
You need to know the kinds of supplies that your BOB should have. You do not want to open your bag only to find out that you do not have the supplies that you need to survive the disaster. To help you prepare your BOB, here is a bug out bag list of essentials that you should have.
Energy bars and trail mixes are also great for survival because they make you feel full easily and provide much-needed energy.
You should avoid perishable foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat or you will end up with a soggy mess inside your BOB. Make sure that your food supply lasts you for three days.
Water and food
Water should be at the top of your list because you cannot survive several days in dire conditions without drinking water.
The recommended amount of water you should have in your BOB is 2 to 3 liters per person. This is only for drinking water. You should also bring an additional 2 to 3 liters per person for hygiene and washing.
It is also important to bring water purification supplies like iodine tablets or water filter to purify any water source that you come across, like rainwater or water from the river.
You do not want to get, sick especially when you are in an emergency situation.
Backpack foods that can be easily cooked or prepared by just adding water should be included in your bug out bag list.
First aid kit
You need to include a first aid kit in your BOB that includes Band-Aids, smelling salts, gauze bandage, ethyl alcohol, wound cleaning solution, and other basic medications.
Your first aid kit should be basic, yet complete that it will cover almost all types of basic injuries and illnesses.
You can either buy a pre-packaged first aid kit then add more to the supplies that you think you will need or prepare your own first aid kit from scratch.
You should also include your medications if you have special health conditions like asthma or diabetes.
It is also important to include your medical records that will guide volunteer doctors and medical practitioners on what needs to be done when you are showing symptoms of your health problem.
You should also bring basic medical supplies like scissors, thermometer, gloves, face mask, and tweezers, to name a few.
If you are bringing over-the-counter medicines like paracetamol or ibuprofen, you have to check the expiration date.
You do not want to bring expired medicines that may not be of help in emergency situations.
Your BOB should also include basic clothing that will last yours for three days. Just imagine packing for a three-day camping trip out in the woods.
You will need an extra pair of sturdy yet comfortable footwear like rubber shoes or boots, a pair of lightweight pants that will easily dry when washed, two shirts, one jacket, two pairs of socks, a couple of underwear, a hat, and a towel.
Basically, the type and number of clothing items that you include in your BOB depend on your convenience. If you think you can survive three days wearing only one pair of pants, then you should just pack a pair to give you plenty of room for other supplies.
It is also important to bring hygiene products. You can still afford to be clean and hygienic, especially in the first three days following a disaster.
You should bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, sanitary napkin, toilet paper, wipes, deodorant, and lotion.
You do not have to be dirty and smelly if you can help it. Moreover, you will most likely be staying with other evacuees and you do not want to have bad breath or body odor, especially if you are in a cramped room.
Shelter and bedding
If you have no choice but to camp outdoors after the disaster strikes, you should have a temporary shelter that will protect you against the elements like a tent or a tarpaulin.
You should have something that covers you from above and protects you from the hard ground below.
To make sleeping more comfortable even in this kind of situation, you should bring a sleeping bag or a bedroll and a blanket. It may not be as comfortable as your own bed, but at least you are not sleeping on the bare hard ground.
Fire starting supplies
Starting a fire is a must in every survival situation. Fire lets you cook food, keeps you warm, provides light, and protects you from wild animals if you are camping outdoors.
You should bring several boxes of matches, lighter with extra fluid, 9v battery, and firesteel and scraper. You should choose waterproof matches and store them in different places.
If you store them in one bag and you lose the bag, all your matches will also be lost. It is also important to pack a knife or a pocket chainsaw for cutting firewood and other natural fuel.
It would also be better to learn how to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together. You will find this useful if you forget to pack lighters and matches or when you run out of these supplies.
Even if you are mostly bringing ready-to-eat or instant meals, it is still important to include cooking supplies in your BOB.
It would still be nice to drink hot coffee or milk in the morning to get you going through the day even if you are staying in an evacuation center or camping outdoors.
You can bring a small camping stove, fuel, and a small pot.
Utensils such as spoon and fork are also a must because you can use them not only for eating but also for cooking.
Aside from fire starting supplies, it is also important to bring lighting supplies that will help you move in the dark when there is no electricity.
You should pack two heavy duty flashlights and extra batteries. You can also bring glow sticks as additional sources of lighting.
Lasers are also great additions to your BOB because you can use them to alert someone about your location without wasting your flashlight’s batteries.
You should include weapons in your BOB such as your multi-purpose survival knife or a stun gun which will protect you from wild animals or thieves.
You need to remember that you are preparing for an extraordinary situation that can be difficult for most people. Some people may react calmly and rationally while others may do crazy things. It is best to be prepared by having a weapon to arm yourself with, just in case.
It does not have to be fancy or high tech. You can even use a walking stick or a pepper spray that can only cause slight harm and no permanent damage to your attacker.
Identification and documents
It would be better to bring some form of identification with you like ID cards or your birth certificate.
You can have these photocopied and store them in a Ziploc bag that will keep them from getting wet.
It will be convenient if you have identification and personal documents with you that will make things easier in case you need to check in to a motel or you need to prove your identity for verification purposes.
You should not forget to bring extra cash in your BOB. It may be difficult to use your credit card or withdraw from an ATM because shops may not have electricity and ATMs may have been destroyed after the disaster.
To be on the safe side, you should just bring cash that will surely be accepted anytime, anywhere even in the middle of a disaster. Having extra cash will make it easier for you to buy additional supplies and to travel to a safer location, when necessary.
Additional survival supplies
Other supplies that can help you survive the next three days after the disaster include ropes or wires, a Swiss army knife, a compass, a duct tape, and your local map.
You should also include a fully charged mobile phone in your BOB plus the charger. Make sure that you have the contact information of friends, family members, and emergency bureaus that you may need to call when in this kind of situation.
You can also bring a booklet that will give you some tips and information about things that you need to do in an emergency situation, like starting a fire without matches or treating a minor burn.
You should also bring an emergency whistle that you can use to ask for help if you get stranded or stuck somewhere instead of wasting your breath and energy yelling and shouting to rescuers.
Tips for preparing your BOB
Aside from the comprehensive bug out bag list above, it is also important to know some practical tips when it comes to preparing your BOB. Here are some useful tips and advice that you should follow.
- The tips above are only applicable to one person. If there are two or more people in your household, you should prepare a BOB bag for each person. If you are the head of the family, you can talk to your household as a group and teach them how to prepare their own BOB so that they can personally choose the things that they need to bring. You can give each of them their own bug out bag list that they can use as a guide when preparing their BOB.
- You need to take into consideration the special needs of the elderly, disabled people, and babies. For example, if you have a newborn baby in your family, you need to bring milk, distilled water, diapers, and medications for babies. You also need to bring more baby clothes and blankets.
- If you have pets, you should also bring special BOB for your pet. If you have a dog, you need to bring dog food, water, clothing, leash, first aid kit for dogs, and waste bags for cleanup. You probably raised your eyebrows when you read the ‘clothing’ bit but crazy as it may sound, dogs also need to be protected from extreme weather elements by wearing a jacket or vest or dog boots or neoprene shoes.
- Make sure that your bug out bag is large and sturdy enough to hold all your supplies. You may have everything you need in your bag but if the bag is made of low-quality materials that easily tear, you may lose your supplies that you had a difficult time collecting. It is important that your bag is waterproof. If not, you should consider wrapping everything in plastic bags or adding a layer of the plastic bag inside the bag before you put your supplies in it.