Over on Facebook, I was faced with the question of bug out bags. Carrie asked, “I have started shopping for a bug out bag, and I have no idea what to look for. Any suggestions or tips?”
Well, of course I have plenty of each!
Usually a backpack is the best choice because it leaves both hands free. This is especially important if you have kids. In an emergency, you don’t want to be distracted by a shoulder bag falling off your shoulder, weighing too much, etc.
Look for sturdy fabric, quality stitching, inner pouches and pockets to help keep your supplies organized.
- A hard-sided suitcase with heavy-duty wheels may be a good choice. It will protect the contents of your kit and be easy to pull, as long as the wheels hold out.
- Before committing to a specific bag, assemble all your supplies together and assess what size of bag you need. You don’t want to stuff the bag so full that you can’t find what you need, when you need it. On the other hand, something that is too large will end up being inconvenient and bulky.
- If you plan on having more than one bag, or emergency kit, use different types of containers. For example, an ice chest on wheels is handy as a container for emergency meals, eating utensils, and a small cook stove, and when emptied, it can double as a baby bathtub, a basin for washing dishes, even as a wheeled tote for carrying firewood. Spend some time looking around at Target or Walmart and checking out the variety of containers for more ideas.
- This list will help you pull together the items that are most necessary for your bag. https://thesurvivalmom.com/
I recommend putting your own bag together rather than buying one that is ready-made. I’ve seen quite a few of those close up and many contain items that are not high quality. If someday life may depend on a tool or supply, I want it to be the best quality I can afford. Other disadvantages of a ready-made kit?
The bag itself may be of inferior quality. In the event that you ever really do have to, “bug out,” that bag is going to take quite a beating. This isn’t the time to scrimp.
- A ready-made kit may lull you into a sense of complacency, and you may not ever really check out the contents of the bag or learn how to utilize them until you’re in the middle of a crisis.
- These kits are put together by committees, people who don’t know you, your family, or your circumstances. What they think is a necessity may end up taking space for something that youreally need.
- When is a ready-made kit the best choice? When you know that you will never actually put together your own customized kit! Hey, I’m famous for saying, “I could make that!”, but then I never do. If a ready-made kit is all you can manage right now, then it’s better than nothing. Just do yourself a favor and get to know the contents, and use my checklist (above) to add additional items you know your family will need.
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I'm the original Survival Mom and for more than 11 years, I've been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more with my commonsense prepping advice.