Essential items for your bug out bag/survival kit

Posted by Les on July-11-2022

It wasn’t until few years ago that I started recognizing the need for having a list of items that would come very handy in case of an emergency. I also started pondering what type of emergency do I need to prepare for. Ideas kept running though my head and one of them that came out of a discussion with my wife was to move to a different state with hopes to be in a “safer” location. But I kept thinking; does it have to be a natural disaster, or could it be a manmade chaos that leaves unprecedented casualties?

We all could name a handful of scenarios that can place us in a vulnerable situation. So the initial idea was to go through the states and see which disasters are likely to hit each state. To name a few; Tornados, which are sweeping the southern and mid-west states like Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Iowa. Hurricanes, which can blow through structures with over 100 mph winds that can amass devastating losses. States that see the most hurricanes are Florida, Texas, Louisiana and South Carolina. In the Northern sates people must worry about harsh winters and I don’t mean only around Christmas time. Some states have a brutal cold winter for several months and temperatures can drop to a chilling -30 to even -60 degrees. These include Minnesota, Alaska, South & North Dakota and Maine to name a few. Don’t think the west is getting off that easy as those states tend to shake things up a bit as well with very dangerous earthquakes. California, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii and Alaska are one of the top states prone to earthquakes.

I feel like I can go on and on and I haven’t even dug into people rioting and creating chaos in the streets. Making the list only assured me that no matter where we move, we can never be 100% safe. I decided to read though countless suggestions by subject matter experts I kept coming across key words such as prepping, bug out bag, survival kits and action plan. Everything kept coming together and it looked like best course of actions was for us to have a plan in place to be able to navigate through it all.

Besides having an emergency escape routes and places to go to, we needed to equip ourselves with certain gear. At this point I’ve gone through testing so many different items and spoke with many survival experts that I would like to take the opportunity to share it with you. This list consists of key essentials in prepping your bug out bag or survival kit, but are not be all end all. Depending on your location and situation you might want to add additional gear or items.

I also want to stress that I am talking about putting together a survival kit that is portable and available in your car, RV or work location or is easily accessible at home for when you have to leave in an emergency. I am not talking about prepping your home with essentials like stockpiling food, that’s another article which I’ll be posting in the future.

So, what is a bug out bag or also known as BoB, Survival Kit, Go Bag or short term kit like the 48 Hour Kit. Try to think of it as a bag that is filled with everything you need to help you survive or bug out when you and your family’s life is threatened with a natural disaster, accidents or SHTF situation. Depending on your situation you want to design it, so it best helps you during an evacuation at a moment’s notice. You don’t want it to be too small that you might leave out something important or too big that you are now hauling 100 lbs luggage and can’t maneuver quickly.

The most important of all is WATER. You can only go about 2-4 days without water so it's no surprise that is the most important item. Human body without water will go into dehydration which leads to ultimately organ failure. You should try to have at least 2 days water supply in your survival kit as you should be able to find a water source after 2-3 days. Some water sources aren’t ideal to drink directly from due to bacteria that lingers around. So, the very best item you can have in your survival bag is a portable water purifier. These are not only great for emergencies but also come in handy if you go camping or hiking. It is light, compact and you literally can drink directly out of almost every water source. A lake or pond you walk by, you’ll be able to stick the portable water filter in and drink comfortably as it contains filtering membranes that block 99.9% of bacteria.

Next on the list is FOOD. Several studies show that you can survive up to 2 months considering you have access to water. There are many factors of course, considering your weight, overall health and immediate life-threatening symptoms that will determine how long you can last without food. Great supplies to have are energy bars, nuts or MREs.

FIRST AID KIT is next on the list. It can be extremely useful if you get injured or hurt and if the situation is dire you need to be able to treat yourself as immediate help might be out of the question. Your first aid kit supplies should include wound dressing materials such as bandages, swabs, rubbing alcohol and antibiotic ointments. Medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, cold medicine, and any other medication that you might have prescribed. Scissors, tweezers, gloves should top off your first aid kit.

Something that will give you SHELTER AND WARMTH and by that, I mean an emergency tent and thermal heat blankets. These portable items are from mylar material which are in essence reflective foils that when wrapped around you body, will help reduce the heat loss and prevent hypothermia. They can also act to deflect heat when stuck in high temperature areas during hot summers. They are very compact and portable and will fit any bug out bag or survival kit. If it is used by Mars rovers then you can rest assure it will work on earth.

A good KNIFE is an essential tool for many applications. It can be used as a weapon for self-defense, hunting or cutting/trimming sticks for starting a fire. You want to make sure the knife is a full tang, which means the solid piece of metal that starts at the blade also runs down the handle. This makes the knife tough and should withstand many applications.

FIRESTARTER is very useful in a survival situation. It can be used to make a fire which essentially can help you stay warm, purify water, cook food, let people know where you are, it can provide light and deter animals. When choosing a Firestarter look for a ferrocerium rod or also known as ferro rod. It is a metallic material that when scraped against gives off hot sparks. Number of applications from one ferro rod can be in hundreds if not thousands depending on the lengths and thickness.

FLASHLIGHT can provide source of light for when needing to get around at night. In many of the natural disasters the first thing that goes out is power, and if that happens during middle of the night a flashlight will help you find your way out or locate items or people. When choosing your flashlight, make sure you consider battery life, how strong and durable it is and how much does it weigh. There are many flashlights out there that have mini solar panels on them so you can use a free source of power, which is the sun.

COMPASS OR MAP can come in a long way when trying to navigate to a desired location. It is the most basic navigation tool for hikers. You do not want to waste time and energy figuring out which direction to go. Make sure your map is for the region that you are in and where you want to travel to. Teach yourself how to use a compass and you’ll feel much more confident navigating in the unknown territories. This is another great tool for your bug out bag or survival kit.

Also, something that I can’t stress enough and one of the most important items that can’t be overlooked is a WATERPROOF BAG. The last thing you want is put together your survival kit or use these items when you go hiking or camping, is for everything to get wet. Remember, you might be carrying dry pair of socks or medication so keeping it all dry is very crucial.

To conclude I want to urge you to create that action plan and put together a survival/bug out bag for yourself and for you family members. We now have one for every person and one in each of the cars at all times. This is not to make you paranoid or live in fear because you’ll feel like you’re waiting for ​something to happen. This is so you don’t have to feel that way. It is for you to be prepared and ready for when situations arise. Being prepared will keep you calm and composed for when you need to act. Do not take things for granted as things happen to people every single day. Don’t be caught flat footed and unprepared.