Hello and welcome back to the Gubba podcast! My name is Gubba. I’m a first time homesteader following in the footsteps of my homesteading forbears and on this podcast we talk about everything prepping, homesteading, and food storage. Today I want to talk about bug out bags. Why you should have one and what to keep in them.

So do you have a bug out bag? If not, you should definitely make one. They are easy to make, and you can find the supplies online or at local stores to fill your bag with.

Check out my weekly episode to join the conversation.

What is a bug out bag?

A bug out bag is essentially a backpack or suitcase or whatever sort of bag that is filled with essential supplies and is ready to go when you need it. Bug out bags are for emergencies when you need to “bug out.”

What does bugging out mean? 

Bugging out means that you need to leave your home, shelter, or vehicle, in a pinch due to an emergency or unforeseen circumstance and you got to get the heck out fast.

A few examples where you would have to evacuate quickly would be like wild fires coming near your home, hurricanes, and with the weirdness of the new world, government orders. In a pinch of a situation like those, you may not have time to open up a suitcase and start packing up. That’s why a bug out bag is absolutely essential. You can pick up your bug out bag quickly and be ready to go. You are familiar with the items in your bag and how to use them so it’s no big deal. You have what you need to survive and get yourself stable in an unstable situation and environment.

Seriously, imagine a hurricane like hurricane Katrina just shredding it up in your neighborhood and you are forced to evacuate. What would take with you? You will be in such a panic that you may not be able to think clearly. Like most definitely, you won’t be thinking clearly with adrenaline skyrocketing. You will miss important necessities like medications or important documents. If you have a bug out bag ready, you won’t have to worry about missing out on anything important. Obviously, you will have to leave things behind but you will have your essentials to get you through.

So imagine this: you’re catapult into a situation of no food, no water, no shelter, no toilet, and no electricity for days. What are you going to do? I suppose you can go to a government shelter if they’re around. That’s literally my worst nightmare though. I would read up on some of the horror stories of “government help” during emergency situations. I would rather be out in the sticks like a full on Last of Us situation surviving than head to a government shelter. When you take your safety and life into your own hands, I promise you will feel so much more comfortable and in control. By preparing a bug out bag, you are doing just that.

What can you use as a bug out bag? 

You can use a backpack, suitcase, or any type of duffel bag. I personally use a back-country backpack because they are made to fit a lot of items and tools in them and you can comfortably carry heavy loads. You can use a tactical backpack though, too. You can find all of these kinds of bags on Amazon. Tactical bags are cool because they have so many different pockets and uses to them. You can even buy full backpack loadouts where the bag comes full of stuff, but you don’t have to do that and I would recommend addressing your own situation and preparing accordingly.

Your bug out bag will look slightly different than mine because it will be tailored to your specific needs. Like if you take a special medication, you will need that in your bag. Don’t forget about your animals, you need to prepare for them in your bag or have a different bag for them. You can definitely have multiple bags and I would suggest having as many bags as your family members and what they’re able to carry. If everyone is able to carry a backpack of sorts, then prepare their own bug out bag for them to have.

What do you put in a bug out bag?

To start making your bug out bag, you will want to think of your surrounding terrain, potential disasters prevalent to your area, what kind of needs you and your family have and then go from there.

What food should you put in a bug out bag?

Start with the basics: food. What will you do for food? Do you have a special diet that will need to be thought of? I would suggest freeze dried goods whether you make them or buy them from somewhere because they are super light and won’t weigh you down. Camping food is definitely the way to go because camping food is already made for primitive situations. Throw at a minimum enough food into your bag for 72 hours. This will give you a serious jump start into your survival.

How do you purify water?

Next, water. How will you drink? I would suggest getting a life straw. A life straw enables you to drink from many different forms of water. I’ve used my life straw in lakes and rivers and haven’t gotten sick. They’re super cool, compact, and don’t weight much. You can also get water purifying tablets so maybe pack a retractable cup that is small, compact, and light that can hold water and be purified.

What do you need in a bug out bag?

After you have your life essentials squared away, start thinking about what’s next. A first aid kid is a definite must. You can customize your first aid kit to your liking depending on what you want to put in it. This can vary on family members needs too. Your dogs first aid will be different than a general human first aid. First aid is an absolute necessity.

In a situation with no electricity, you will need light. I would throw in flashlights and a headlamp into your bug out bag. I love having them both. You can get hand crank flashlights for battery less operation. You definitely will need light in a survival scenario. Get your flashlights now. Pack extra batteries if that’s what yours operate on. A few flow sticks are great as well for when flashlights give out or you don’t need a ton of light.

What supplies should you put in a bug out bag?

Along with hand cranked tools, you can get a hand crank radio to stay in tune with the situation around you. Not that I would trust what’s broadcasted per say, but it can give you a feel of what the heck is going on.

You definitely need a knife in your bag. I have a few. These can be like a Swiss Army knife for multiple purposes, or a knife that you can use for self defense and for other things like building shelter or other weapons.

Rope is a must because of its versatility and the use for making a shelter. Put rope in your bag for sure.

Along with shelter, you can get really neat tents that are light weight for backpacking. They can be spendy so they’re a bigger purchase but can be totally worth it to have a lightweight nice camping tent in an emergency situation.

Throw in some emergency space blankets. I’ve actually had to use these in an emergency situation when I was younger. I was on the verge of getting hypothermia on a river trip gone wrong and some people stopped and gave me their space blankets to use. Seriously, what angels now that I think about it. They were prepared. My family was not! Along with this would be rain ponchos to keep yourself dry

For camping supplies too, lightweight and compact blankets and pillows are made now. They’re super cool. Spendy but man so worth it in an emergency situation to actually have some comfort.

You can throw in a change of clothes as well. Not necessary because you can wash your clothes but that will definitely bring a layer of comfort.

Heat is essential so you will want to pack fire starting supplies. Waterproof matches, kindling sticks, cotton balls, maybe a butane torch lighter. Figure out what works for you but it is nice to have options.

Throw in a roll of duct tape. The uses for duct tape are endless when it comes to survival.

All of these things will help get you started in building a bug out bag. It sounds like a lot but when you have a big backpacking backpack or tactical bag, you will be surprised what fits in there.

Do you see how your situation would change having access to these items than if you just leave your house with nothing to your name besides the shoes on your feet and outfit that day? You will have a much better chance at survival this way.

Again, your bag will be customized to you and your family’s needs and won’t be exactly like mine. There are so many things you can add to a bug out bag but only pack what you think is necessary for you.

All I know is the day I almost got hypothermia on a river trip gone wrong when I was younger, I’m so happy that the people who happened to float by had Mylar blankets in their emergency bag to let me have.

Bug out bags are so neat in that all you have to do is pick them up and know how to use them and they are priceless. You can also create different bug out bags. A bug out bag for your house and a bug out bag to keep in the trunk of your car. Maybe you will need to bug out of your work area and you can’t drive home due to roads being packed or closed down, you will have your bug out bag in your trunk ready to go.

A good idea is to do field days with your bug out bag and your family. Like go actually use them and survive only with them for 3 days and see how everyone does. This will allow you to see what you are lacking in your bag, what areas could be strengthened, and what isn’t needed. This could also provide time for a good family bonding moment. Nothing like surviving in the wilderness to bring people together.

I hope you found this episode informative! Thank you for listening! Now go get making your bug out bag and don’t do anything a Gubba wouldn’t do!

Building a Bug Out Bag

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