What Is A Bug Out Bag?
The term, “bug out,” is increasing in popularity, even beyond prepper websites such as this one. And because of this, many normal people are asking, what is a bug out bag?
Yes, I said “normal people,” we don’t play the political correctness card around here, so not sorry if you are offended! But the truth is, the typical person on the street simply will not know what a bug out bag is. Often times, people think a bug out bag is some weird prepper stuff that will never actually come to fruition. But really, who hasn’t been told to keep a first aid kit in their home? Or shoes next to their bed in case of an earthquake? A bug out bag is all this and so much more.
So, what is a bug out bag? Well, in short, it is a survival bag. It’s a bag that will allow you to survive, with only the bag in hand, for an extended amount of time. That amount of time is determined by how you build the bag and how much of and which bug out bag essentials you put into it. It can also be dependent on the bag type you choose. The bug out bag, as it is termed, is a survival bag intended to help you survive an unexpected or sudden abysmal event.
For example, a 72-hour bug out bag might help you survive after a tornado hits. There is much debate as to whether or not a “72-hour bag” should be considered a “bug out bag,” but honestly, around these parts of the web, we don’t participate in useless debates.
Another example could be the dollar crashing or the United States power grid failing or being the subject of a terrorist attack. In this case, you might need much more than a 72-hour bug out bag, rather, a bug out bag that could help you get by for more like 2 or 3 weeks.
The essence of a bug out bag is to be able to quickly grab one bag and evacuate quickly. The bag should be easy to carry, durable and packed correctly. It is also advised read our how to prepare a bug out bag article after you read this one.
What Is A Bug Out Bag? – A History In Words
Many believe the term is founded in military emergency escape protocol. Military pilots used to carry what was known as “bail out bags.” It is said to have been used by ground troops as well who were subject to the chaos of an attack and needed to get the hell out of dodge. You might see it called a BOB, a go bag, a PERK (personal emergency relocation kit), and “get out of Dodge” bag. They all mean the same thing: Crap goes down – you need to run. The bug out bag is a prepper essential. If you are just getting into prepping, you really need to start here. Building a bug out bag will automatically give you a huge jump in prepping essentials. And it will help you prepare for a bad event.
Bug Out Bag Types
Again, people love to debate bug out bag terminology, but no thanks. Just understand this: a bug out bag for a hurricane won’t be the same bug out bag for a power grid failure. A bug out bag for someone living in Florida won’t be the same as a bug out bag for someone living in Colorado. Your reason for evacuating, as well as your region you are evacuating into, both matter. A bug out bag for Colorado might include hand warmers, but a Florida bug out bag likely wouldn’t need this.
Because bug out bag space is limited, you must be particular in terms of what you place inside your bag.
Bug Out Bag Reasons
There really are a lot of reasons to have a bug out bag on hand and ready to go (as well as tested). It is unlikely you live in a scenario that couldn’t be subject to some sort of calamity. That’s life.
Here’s a list of bug out reasons:
- Power grid failures (attack or meltdown)
- Civil uprisings (this typically means you need an urban bug out bag)
- House fire
- Water supply failure
- Dollar crashing
Bug Out Bag – Communities
If you live in a tight-knit community or have lots of family and friends around, you could coordinate bug out bags. One thing that’s wise to do is to add in meet up points and maps that have places to congregate if things go bad. You might have a number of places in the event disaster cuts off one meeting point or another.
What Goes In My Bug Out Bag?
We have a recommended bug out bag checklist, however, for the sake of this possibly being your first ever article on the matter, I will list some items below so you can get a grasp on it conceptually.
- Camping equipment
- Water purification devices, tablets
- Water (this is heavy, so you have to figure that out)
- Food (think protein bars and non-perishables)
- Survival knives: check out my best survival knives list
- Medical records (depending)
- Defense weapons
- Something to fish with
- Proper clothing for region (you might need sun protection for hot regions)
- Cash (ATM’s often don’t work post-disasters)
- Something to start a fire with (many survival knives have fire starters, check out my Tool Logic SL Pro2 Review
- Tampons (maybe?)
Remember, the focus is on your ability to leave any situation in short order. A but out bag could be in your car, at your place of work, and in your home. Anything and everything are subject to the chaos and feast or famine that is a disaster. A bug out bag isn’t a complicated venture; it just takes a little effort to put together.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.