A bug-out bag is a pack containing essential items required when “bugging out” or leaving a disaster area. The name “bug-out bag” originates from the military aviation term “bail-out bags” which were carried in case the pilot had to eject from their aircraft and survive on the ground till rescued. You should be able to competently use all of the items in the bag and it should provide enough equipment for you to survive the first 72 hours of a disaster. The focus is on immediate evacuation and the bug-out bag is not to be confused with a long term survival kit. Your bug-out bag should always be readily available and well stocked – once a disaster hits, you won’t have time to go out shopping for supplies; if you aren’t ready, you’re too late and will drastically affect your chances of immediate survival and a successful evacuation.
There are many different “ready made” survival kits that you can buy, but they tend to be filled with cheap items and therefore we definitely recommend that you go ahead and make your own bug-out bag. You can find many items from military surplus shops and camping stores. Each bug out bag is different, and you will definitely put items of personal value in there too when the time comes.
Here’s what ZombieUppercut recommends you pack your bug-out bag with. Note that this is a basic list of essentials and these items are enough for one person only and rather than just adding more items for more people thus weighing down the bag, you should be encouraging friends and family to be creating their own bug-out bags (after all, it is unlikely that you will all be together and able to evacuate as a group and once disaster strikes you’ll probably be focussing on meeting up with your group, but more on that later). The items for this bag are considered for an individual living in a temperate (non-extreme) climate, so you may want to adjust a few things to suit your climate conditions. It goes without saying that you’ll want to put these items in a tough, comfortable (and preferably waterproof) carry bag or backpack. Weight is an important factor and remember that you will be always carrying this bag and walking with it will probably be easy, but you must make sure that you can run, climb (and even fight if it comes to it) with your bug-out bag on.
Enough water for 72 hours. This should also include water purification tablets and filters.
Again, enough for 72 hours. This should be non-perishable food that requires little or no water to prepare. Tinned food is great but it’s heavy and you won’t be able to carry much of it. Consider balancing out your food supply with energy bars, dried fruit, nuts, and if you can get a hold of them, then MRE’s are excellent.
3. First aid.
A simple first aid kit will suffice, and make sure it contains: sterile bandages, butterfly bandages, gauze pads, adhesive tape, scissors, tweezers, needle, antiseptic lotion and wipes, safety pins, aspirin, antibiotic cream, antacid.
A sharp blade or multi-tool will become very useful and is an excellent tool for a variety of tasks. A good knife is essential as a tool and if you do pack one, then consider a small knife sharpener to go with it.
Additional spare clothing, a poncho, waterproofs, gloves, hats, are all a good idea for when you have to dry out your first set of clothes. Keeping your feet dry by carrying a spare pair of socks is a survival essential.
A flint for sparking a fire, matches and several lighters as backup are absolutely essential for staying warm and preparing food. Obviously any fire must be very carefully constructed to avoid attracting unwanted attention.
8. Map and compass.
When disaster strikes don’t expect the mobile phone networks to be up and running. There’ll be no way to just look at the maps on your phone, so get a map of your local area so that you can plan your evacuation route. In addition, get a compass so that you can orientate yourself on your map – if you don’t know how to map read, a short course in learning how to do this is advisable.
A torch, wind up camping light, small LED bike lights are all going to come in handy should you need to access a dark area or move around at night.
10. Duct tape.
Will fix most problems – from rips in clothing to binding two different items together. Can be used to hold a gauze in place over a wound and only in desperate circumstances it can be used to directly patch up severe wounds until proper medical attention can be given.
11. Wind up radio.
Useful for listening for updates on the disaster and for helping you to avoid moving in the wrong direction. The last thing you want is to be well on your evacuation route when you come across a situation that could have easily been avoided by listening in to news reports / radio updates. We were going to suggest also getting some walkie talkies but given the short battery life, the fact that they come in packs of two, and amount of chatter that will be on these frequencies during a disaster it’s best to just stick with a wind up radio.
12. Additional items.
These are not essential but will come in useful if you have the space: your personal identification, any personal items such as prescription medication or feminine supplies, soap, plastic bags, toothbrush and toothpaste, toilet paper, sewing kit, rope or para cord, insect repellent, sunscreen, pen and paper.
Examples of great bug-out bags.
Check out these two awesome examples of bug-out bags, the first is a large interactive image from the dudes at UnCrate and you can click on different parts of it to buy the item online – fantastic!
The second is a really extensive bug-out bag from YouTube user Rodster and it contains all the equipment required for surviving a disaster in the UK.
Lastly, here’s another really great list from Amazon user Avi for a bug-out bag that you’ll be able to stock by ordering online.
Once you’ve got your bug-out bag ready. Make sure that you don’t just leave it in a location that you can’t get to easily. Best places are: near your front door at home, in a cupboard at work, or in your car – you may find that you’re better off with more than one bug-out bag to ensure that you can get to one easily. Rotate out your food, water, medication, and batteries every 6 months to ensure freshness. Don’t borrow items from your bag with a view to stocking up again later! Re-evaluate your bug-out bag to see if you can improve it depending on weather conditions and so on. Compliment your bug-out bag by learning additional survival skills and first aid. Make sure that you have a strong ZAP (Zombie Action Plan) so that you know what you’ll be doing when you need to use your bug-out bag for real.
What’s in your bug-out bag?
If the zombie apocalypse was imminent, what would you bug out with? We are well aware that your bags will be wildly different depending on your personality, location and situation so let us know by sending us a photo along with your name, location, occupation, email address, and a description of the items to firstname.lastname@example.org