Disasters usually strike when you least expect them. So if a zombie apocalypse starts tomorrow, are you ready to face it? If not, just start building a bug out bag now.
A bug out bag, also called Go-Bag, a 72-Hour Bag, or just BOB, is an emergency kit to help you survive after evacuating your home. By building a bug out bag you are basically covering your shelter, food, water and clothing for the first 72 hours after the disaster strikes.
The 72-hour period is determined as this is usually the most critical and is important to have access to everything you need to survive. When you have your BOB prepared all you need is to grab it and you are ready to head to safety.
So if you want to be prepared to take care of yourself and your family when a natural disaster strikes or when apocalypse day comes, here is a checklist of what you will want to find in your bug out bag.
According to the survival rules of the threes, one can only survive in extreme weather conditions for up to 3 hours. And in case of emergency when you have just evacuated your home, a new shelter may be hard to find.
- Tent – while most tents are spacious and heavy, there are waterproof survival tents that will be perfect for your BOB. The best option is to find a tent made of mylar, which will keep you from wind, rain, and cold.
- Sleeping bag – try to find a lightweight option as many sleeping bags can take quite a lot of space.
- Space blanket – if the temperatures drop significantly the space blanket will keep you nice and warm and will not put too much weight on your bug out bag.
- Survival hammock – if you live in a warmer area a waterproof survival hammock may be a great alternative to the tent. Combined with a good sleeping bag it will keep you warm and safely off the ground.
One of the most essential elements of survival is having access to clean drinkable water. To ensure this, make sure you add the following when building a bug out bag:
- Water bottle – for best results get a nice stainless steel bottle that will allow you to boil the water directly into the bottle. If you have access to fire, boiling is the simplest way to purify the water.
- Water purification tablets – sometimes boiling is just not an option at the moment, so having a few purification tablets will ensure you have access to drinkable water without putting extra weight to your bag.
- Water filtration system – alternatively to the purification tablets, you may want to consider investing in a portable water filter that will help you make any water source drinkable. Some filtration systems are extremely compact and lightweight and can still filter up to 100 000 gallons of water.
According to the same rule of the threes, the human body can survive up to 3 weeks without food. However, in these critical 72 hours, you will need all the energy you can get in order to survive whatever life throws at you.
- Calorie-dense rations – unfortunately, your bag won’t allow you to take some tasty home cooked meals with you. But for those essential hours, you may want to stock up on emergency calorie food bars. They have a long shelf life and will provide you with enough energy to get to the point to scavenge for something better.
- Fishing kit – if you live near a body of water make sure you pack a small fishing kit. Only a string, some hooks, and bait will be sufficient to get you started.
- Survival slingshot – if fishing is not an option in your area, you could also try catching some small animals with a slingshot. Just make sure you practice a bit before you pack it as it won’t do you much good if you have terrible aim.
- Portable stove – there are extremely lightweight portable stoves that you can bring anywhere with you and will make a great addition to your bug out bag. They are great for boiling water or cooking the fish you just caught. If you have decided to pack a stove, don’t forget to add a can of fuel as well.
- Utensils and collapsible bowls – if you’re going with only dry food rations you won’t need these for your BOB, however, if you plan on catching and cooking your own dinner you may want to pack a couple of eating utensils and a small collapsible bowl. A good knife could also be useful, and not only when it comes to cooking.
When it comes to survival you won’t need to bring half of your closet with you. There is a high chance that when the disaster strikes you will be forced to leave your home with only the clothes on your back so having a few things prepared in your bug out bag may just save your life if the weather turns bad.
- Waterproof jacket – you don’t usually go out with a quality waterproof jacket so keeping one in your BOB is essential if nature decides to turn against you. Alternatively, you could go with a rain poncho with a hood as a lightweight option.
- Gloves – a pair of cold weather gloves may come in handy because if the temperature drops significantly it will be hard for you to prepare your shelter with frozen hands. Best select gloves that will also allow you to work with your hands. Some high-quality gloves will make your life a lot easier if you need to collect firewood or deal with broken glass.
- Spare clothing – although you won’t need much, having some clothes to change into is essential especially in wet conditions. If your current clothes are wet you may be facing hypothermia if the temperatures fall so make sure you have a pair of clothes available.
- Headgear – you know that keeping your head warm makes your whole body feel warmer too. So don’t forget to add a simple stocking cap when building a bug out bag.
Although the above list covers only the essentials to help you survive the first critical 72 hours, there are many other items you may want to consider packing. If you are preparing several bug out bags keep in mind that some of the components can be shared. After all, your kids won’t be needing their separate tents.
Just keep in mind that the bug out bag should be carried with you all the time and it is very important to keep it as light as possible.