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#250889 - 09/12/12 10:01 PM What to include in a bug out bag?
SuzieQ Offline

Registered: 08/16/08
Posts: 9
What would you include in a bug out bag? When leaving a large city, should I assume our whole family will be leaving together, thus eliminating the need to duplicate items?

Thanks in advance for your help!

#250891 - 09/12/12 10:45 PM Re: What to include in a bug out bag? [Re: SuzieQ]
greenghost Offline

Registered: 09/05/12
Posts: 72
Loc: NH coastline area
Wow, where to start!? I would suggest first to get a copy of Cody Lundin's books 98.6 degrees The art of keeping your a$$ alive and When All Hell Breaks Loose. Cody is the barefoot guy on Discovery's Dual Survival and a very knowledgable guy.
A BOB is useless unless you learn/know what to do with it and basic survival skills!

These books cover all the elements of human nature and then delve into gear and what to use/not use.

1st. WATER....containers, purification pills, purification straws, pot to boil water. Basically several different means to carry and purify water. Cody's books explain this as well as what unsafe water will do to your system etc.

2nd. Fire making. Have several different methods! Storm matches, lighters, magnifying glass, 9volt battery and steelwool.

3rd. Shelter. I picked up some tube tents online that are the basic shelter. Also Ive several military ponchos and a cheepy blue tarp with steel eyelets to tie off

4th. Things you need to prevent hypothermia, correct clothing NOT COTTON. Heat packs space blankets etc.

Ive made 3 BOBs for my family and they all have the 4 basics and duplicated items. If one bag is lost with the firstaid kit the other bags have one as well.

Here are the other things I have in my UGH heavy BOB
Batteries...try to keep gear that runs off similar battery types.

A radio that picks up shortwave and AM and is crank powered

A knife, a utility tool, a trowel or small shovel, Gloves, meds, some food (one MRE per bag), flashlight and headlamp, sewingkit medical kit, 550 paracord 100' per bag, a dogleash, zipties, metal snares for small game, a wrist rocket for game/protection, glow sticks, duct tape, compass, bungee loops (have a small ball at one end), an old hunk of bed spread I found that makes an excellent towel or ground cloth, Oil for guns and equipment, my harmonica, personal toiletries, fire starting kit that has all the stuff to get a fire going, pen and small notebook, big sharpee, change of underware and socks plus a polypro undershirt, bandana, Shemag, its that towel thing you see wrapped around terrorists heads, small fishing kit.

A BOB has to be basic and on the lighter side. Ive packed cache bags that hold the overflow that complements the BOB but isnt really needed.

Remember, the more you know; the less you have to carry. Plus, know/practice using what you pack.

Great luck!

Edited by greenghost (09/12/12 11:21 PM)
Ret USAF Law Enforcement Specialist 81-01
Remember when America use to make sense?

#250892 - 09/12/12 10:46 PM Re: What to include in a bug out bag? [Re: SuzieQ]
LED Offline

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
There's lots of threads on BOB's that'll give you some ideas. Here's one from a while ago that might be helpful.


#250894 - 09/12/12 11:34 PM Re: What to include in a bug out bag? [Re: SuzieQ]
Dagny Offline

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1916
Loc: Washington, DC

Highly recommend this book (Survival Mom):


And her blog:


P.S. Welcome to ETS!!

#250895 - 09/12/12 11:42 PM Re: What to include in a bug out bag? [Re: LED]
Paul810 Offline

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 1428
Loc: NJ, USA
When starting a bug-out bag, I always recommend people look at the information on www.ready.gov and www.getprepared.gc.ca. Especially their gear lists. They're government sponsored websites which explain the bare minimums one is expected to have for an emergency situation. They're a great place to start for the novice interested in being better prepared.

The only area I kinda differ with them is on the issue of water. Ready.gov recommends one gallon per person per day, which is perfectly appropriate. However, if you're trying to make a backpack or duffel bag style BOB that you can easily carry, that's simply too much weight (25+ lbs in water alone!). For individual kits where I don't have the support of a vehicle, I'll carry less water out of necessity. However, I'll also make sure to have a few methods of water purification in the kit.

Also worth stressing is that you should have copies of all your important paperwork, as well as all the paperwork you would need to start a new life in a different area. That's where a lot of people get screwed. They end up having to leave their old life behind with no documentation proving who they are, what they owned, that they had insurance, that they were qualified for a job, ect.

Finally, I also think it's especially important for each person to have an individual bug-out bag, even if you do have an overall family bag. Children too should have some gear on them, even if it's just some basic food, water, and toys. The simplest reason for that is the whole, "never have all your eggs in one basket" line. If you've only got one big bag and something happens to it, you're screwed. With a bunch of little bags you might at least be able to salvage something. Plus you never know if you might somehow get separated due to some secondary event that is out of your control.

#250896 - 09/13/12 12:18 AM Re: What to include in a bug out bag? [Re: SuzieQ]
TeacherRO Online   content

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2377
BOB/ Depends...

1. Where are you going? Driving 100 km to grandma's is different from a 40 mile hike

2. What is your (general) location/ The weather?

3. What's your training? ( I have a wholly different First aid kit from a trained EMT or a nurse)

4. What's your budget?



#250898 - 09/13/12 02:14 AM Re: What to include in a bug out bag? [Re: SuzieQ]
chaosmagnet Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3010
Loc: USA
Welcome to ETS!

First, figure out what the most likely threats are and what your responses would likely be, both for bugging in and bugging out. Get training, CERT is a good place to start. Figure out how long you need to prep for -- three days would be a minimum, I try to be ready for at least two or three weeks. After you have that figured out, it will be easier to decide what you need.

#250901 - 09/13/12 02:58 AM Re: What to include in a bug out bag? [Re: SuzieQ]
SuzieQ Offline

Registered: 08/16/08
Posts: 9
Thanks for all of these great suggestions and the links!

#250907 - 09/13/12 08:46 AM Re: What to include in a bug out bag? [Re: SuzieQ]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2811
Loc: La-USA
...should I assume our whole family will be leaving together, thus eliminating the need to duplicate items?

You've already been given great direction to decide what a BoB needs. I'll give my opinion on this one part of your question: There are 2 kinds of items to consider in regards to this question.

There is "Personal Gear" that each person needs to carry for themselves. Examples: Sleeping bag, mess gear, toilet paper, canteens/water, knife, flashlite/headlamp, personal FAK, etc.

Then there is "Community Gear": this is gear that the entire group will have use for, but this gear won't be needed by each person, at the same time. Examples: Tent half or parts, axe, AM/FM/TV/SW radio receiver, fire grill, etc.
The best luck is what you make yourself!

#250909 - 09/13/12 09:58 AM Re: What to include in a bug out bag? [Re: SuzieQ]
Chisel Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/05/05
Posts: 1155
Welcome abord Suzie

Beside the gear , don't forget to practice. When the weather permits you can camp even in your backyard. Have a feel of sleeping in a tent and lighting fire by firesteel. And then add a Bic lighter in your pack.

Foodwise, try and choose the foods you do eat instead of fancy flashy name brands all over the www. that are deicated for survival and bug out bags. This is especiually important with kids. Sure you will eat anything if you are cold and hungry ( maybe including a rat that Cody illustrate in one of his books, but "normal food" help you and the kids by adding a feel of "it is OK, just like normal times" in a stressful situation.

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