What is a “Bug-In” Bag?
I don't really consider the Bug-In Bag as a “bag” but as a ready-stash of supplies you use in emergency situations. FEMA recommends you keep at least 3 days worth of Food/Water and other emergency supplies. I consider this a BARE MINIMUM for your Bug-In kit. We have all seen that it can take much longer for emergency response teams to arrive with sufficient supplies to help in the event of trouble. I would rather count on myself to be able to provide for my family than hope that the government will arrive in time to bail me out.
I'm not suggesting that you go all-out in the beginning. Start with the essentials and slowly work your way up from there. Soon you will find you will have enough of the basics to help you through whatever problems may come your families way.
With this in mind, lets start looking at some essentials you will need:
This list is Far from all-inclusive!
WATER- At least 1 gallon per-person, per-day(don't forget your pets)
Water Purification supplies- Bleach, Iodine, Boiling, Water Filters (have at least 2 methods available to you).
Food- foods with a long shelf-life and stable at room temps. Military “MRE'S”, Freeze Dried Foods (Remember you will need extra water to prepare these to eat), Canned Foods/Fruits/Veggies, Peanut Butter, Powdered Milk, Jelly, Energy-Bars, Honey (it never spoils), Bags of Rice. Try to store things you like to eat, take into consideration any special diet needs your family may have (store food for your pets too!) and remember that Calories=Energy.......
Vitamins- as our food selections become limited, we will need to have vitamins on hand to supplement the vitamins we are not getting.
Clothing: you should have plenty of these on hand, as you are (hopefully) hunkered-down in your own home or in your pre-planned Bug-Out Location. Having some sturdy (but comfortable) boots around is also a good idea, along with a couple pair of work gloves and some rain-gear.
Needles and thread to repair damaged clothing is also nice to have around.
Fire Starting: Have matches (water proof), Lighters, and other methods available to you.
Light sources: First thing to go out is the power. Have emergency candles, light-sticks, lanterns, flashlights and plenty of batteries. Wind-up and solar-charging flashlights are decent options as well.
Medical Supplies: This a whole other kettle-of-fish, but at a minimum:
Prescription meds-if you take them, talk to your doctor and see about storing as much as you
can. Usually, you can refill your prescriptions before you run out, so renew them as soon as
you can and keep the excess for your “Survival Stash”.
Non-prescription pain relievers (Tylenol, Motrin, Aspirin....), Antacids, Laxatives (changes
in diet can clog you up), Anti-Diarrhea meds (again, changes in diet and to help from
dehydration), If you wear contact lenses have some extras but keep a pair of glasses available.
Band aids (various sizes), Thermometer, Cold Packs, Antibacterial ointment, Cohesive bandage rolls, Sterile Gauze pads (I Prefer 3x3” or 4x4”), Latex Gloves, Sunscreen, Aloe-Vera (good for burns) Tweezers.....
Deodorants, Toothpaste, Floss, Toilet paper, Shampoo/Soap, Moist Towelettes/Hand wipes/Hand Sanitizer (water is scarce remember?), Lip balm, Feminine supplies, Razor/shave cream, Disinfectants and liquid Bleach, Insect repellant, 5 Gallon Bucket with tight lid, Trash Bags and Shovel (Do I really have to go into the last 3 items? Remember you may not have any running water, no water=no “flush” and we have to do something with it...)
Parachute Cord (550 cord), Duct Tape, Manual Can opener, Aluminum Foil, Zip-Lock style bags, plastic sheeting, sleeping bags, Scissors, good fixed blade knife, Compass, Pens/pencils and paper, Multi-Tool, Radio (prefer Wind-up style or solar), Wrench/Pliers/screwdrivers and such, Mess kits or paper/plastic cups and plates, Propane or other non-electric cooking stove with extra fuel, Fire Extinguisher (A,B,C rated), 5 gallon food-grade buckets with tight lids (waste disposal, water storage, food storage), Gasoline and Fuel-stabilizer (you want enough gas to get out of dodge when things settle down or to run other equipment)
Land-lines might be up, so having a older style “plug in” (not cordless) phone may be a good idea. Cell towers have around 72 hours worth of battery backup power but I wouldn't count on them. You will just have to get used to the idea that there may be no way to communicate with family/friends who live more than a few miles away.
I do highly recommend a good set of hand-held “walkie talkie” 2 way radios. I prefer the ones with multiple “Privacy Codes” or “Sub Channels” to allow you to screen out other radio chatter and keep your conversations private. Expect to get anywhere from 2-5 miles worth or range out of a good radio (actual range may vary depending on terrain like trees and buildings).
You may not want to get this in depth, but I find having a portable generator very comforting. I can recharge my electrical devices with it, and can be handy for running power tools and the like if I need to reinforce or repair something around my home.
Solar-charging stations are another must-have in my opinion. Batteries go dead and you will need a way to recharge them.
Keep information you might need close at hand. Medical books, various books on survival skills (Boyscout manual is good start)
Quick reference guides/cheat sheets on water purification methods and other subjects(you can/should laminate them in case they get wet/dirty), Maps of the local area, full atlas with major/minor roads, and even a topographical map may be a good idea.
I know that this is the “Computer Information” age, and that you can store all these items on your laptop or I pad but what happens when the power runs out and/or the computer crashes?
I don't know about you, but I find having actual paper books much easier to navigate and they don't need batteries.
Personal Documents: Drivers License or ID, Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificate, Passports, Will, Deeds, Insurance Papers, Immunization records, Bank and Credit card account numbers, Stocks/Bonds, and emergency contact list.
I would also mention keeping some $$ around might be a good idea as well. If times are really bad, there will be no ATM's working and anyone selling something probably won't take a personal check.
On the subject of $$, it is also useful to keep extra items on hand for barter/trade. Many times you will find that you can trade for things you want easier than trying to buy them. In fact if times are that bad, it may be your only way of getting the item you want or the service you require.
Some items usually high on the list for barter/trade:
-Firearms/Ammunition (though I am not keen on the idea of arming someone who is not part
of my “group” in a survival situation)
-Alcohol (not the rubbing kind)
-Medical supplies especially Drugs/Antibiotics
Firearms of various calibers-but I would suggest:
good for small game hunting and can be used for defense in a pinch.
9 mm, .40, or .45 Caliber pistol or carbine as these are most used by law enforcement and
sporting shooters. Thus making it easier to find ammunition
12 GA shotgun (my preference is a pump action) good for hunting and defense
.223 (5.56 NATO), 7.62 x 39mm “Assault Rifle” semi-automatic rifle(s)
again, as they are used by law enforcement/military and civilian shooters these rounds
should be more common to find than others. And still be used to hunt for food when
Cleaning supplies/equipment for any firearm you own
Ammunition, without it your firearm is useless so if you think you have enough. Go buy some more.
Repair parts for the firearms you own especially parts that wear-like springs.
Repair manuals for your firearms.
It get boring during your down time, even more so for children. Having some board games, playing cards, toys and around to pass the time might be helpful. It can also be a huge boost to stash some candy away in your food stores. It can give you a quick boost of energy when needed and also lift your spirits!
Like I said, this list is far from all-inclusive. As your family dynamics change (new children, young ones grow older or mom/dad move in with you because they cannot live alone) things will have to be adjusted. You may also want to take into consideration how many of your family and friends may come suddenly to your door looking for your help if they know you have been preparing. It might be a good idea to keep a little extra on hand for them, or not let them know you had the foresight to prepare.
Keep an eye on your expiration dates, and rotate anything that will expire soon out of your survival stores....
This can be a large undertaking, don't let it dissuade you. Start out slow, buy a few extra cans of food when you are at the store (hopefully they will be on sale too!). Soon you will see you have a decent store of items at your disposal.
Be Ready, Be Safe...Be Prepared!
6589 East Main Street
Reynoldsburg OH 43068