It’s been said, a bug out bag is the only safety blanket a prepper needs . . . I’m just kidding. But I heard it and wanted to pass it on for a laugh. Join us as we dive into the Ultimate Bug Out Bag List for 2021.
Have you been thinking it’s time to get your Bug Out Bag organized? As crazy as 2020 was – more and more people are wanting to be prepared for all sorts of disaster. And can you blame them? From social unrest and bad politics to pandemics, it’s been a bummer year. It’s opened many eyes to the need for a backup plan. Why? Well . . . people are crazy.
In the spirit of being more prepared for disaster in 2021, we thought this “how to” might help. Making a “bug out bag” is a great way to start being more prepared for emergencies. (Some call it a “get home bag”, some call it a “bail out bag”.)
This is a quick but complete “how to” guide, answering all of your Ultimate Bug Out Bag List questions.
We’ll discuss what a bug out bag is, it’s purpose, and how to make your own. And of course, we’ll show you how to do this on limited dollars.
The Ultimate Bug Out Bag – (what it is & what it isn’t)
“Thanks, Positive Trend . . . um but I already knew what a Bug Out Bag was”.
Awesome! That’s good news too. The reason we mention what a Bug Out Bag is or isn’t, is because it keeps things simple. Simple equals light weight. Simple but useful.
We all know someone who packs for vacation and brings 3 suitcases when 1 will do. And that’s pretty much the antithesis of what a bug out bag should be 😊
As we go through the Ultimate Bug Out Bag List for 2021 – you may be surprised to know only need to remember 6 things on the list.
What a Bug Out Bag isn’t:
Maybe you’ve heard that a bug out bag is meant to help you survive doomsday, or Armageddon. There’s a problem with that: you, me, or the strongest guy in the world couldn’t carry enough supplies in ANY bag to survive that.
Another thing to note: most people can’t carry more than about 20 to 30 lbs. very far.
So, what’s the purpose of a bug out bag then??
What a Bug Out Bag should be:
Here’s the deal, a bug out bag is nothing more than a bag of supplies.
A bag of supplies that’s supposed to help get you from where you are to where you’re going, at an unexpected time/circumstance.
Preferably your Bug Out Bag is relatively light, has tools you need to survive on, God forbid, a long trek to safety.
Maybe you’ve seen pre-made bug out bags for sale.
Could someone you don’t know, ever build you a supply bag to keep you safe in a disaster?
I wouldn’t even let someone pack my bag for vacation. There’s no way I’m letting someone else pack my bug out bag.
And neither should you 😊 It’s way too personal.
The Problem with Pre-made Bug Out Bags
Pre-made bug out bags are sold to people that don’t know how easy and cheap it is to make their own. They don’t know that they can and should tailor the bug out bag to their own family needs.
That’s it – no further explanation necessary.
Pre-made bug out bags are marketed as a magic tool, guaranteed to get you out of any emergency.
Luckily, you’ve joined us on Positive Trend Preparedness. Let’s jump into the Ultimate Bug Out Bag List for 2021!
6 simple things for your Bug Out Bag List
I probably have 20 to 30 things in my bug out bag. So, how do I get away with tell you there’s only 6 simple things to the Ultimate Bug Out Bag List?
A long time ago, I was taught an acronym simplifying packing – so I didn’t end up packing way too many items. I don’t want to carry an 80 lb. pack in an emergency!
It’s an old military acronym: S.M.O.L.E.S.
It Stands for:
- Self-Defense – What supplies do I need to protect myself from other people?
- Medical – What supplies do I need to handle most first aid situations?
- Observation – What supplies do I need to see better or farther?
- Land Navigation – What supplies do I need to help me get from point A to B?
- Extreme Weather – What supplies do I need to protect me in extreme weather?
- Survival – What survival tools do I need while traveling from point A to B?
This 6-part acronym has been used by many in the military and civilian world alike. It’s great for prioritizing what you need and
Choosing a Bag for your Ultimate Bug Out Bag List
This is such a personal item. Suffice to say, any sturdy hiking backpack will do pretty well for a bug out bag. Maybe I’m strange, but I like to stay away from anything that looks uber tactical.
If I did it right, my backpack should look like I just walked from Starbucks to my studio apartment, to open my Mac book and work on my next journalistic piece.
(I don’t have a mac book, nor a studio apartment, and I don’t drink Starbucks coffee . . . usually). You get my point I’m sure.
If you’re looking for suggestions – I’ve had really good luck with the Kelty brand Redwing series packs.
Packing your Ultimate Bug Out Bag
Remember, the Bug Out Bag List is NOT meant to sustain a person indefinitely. Which means it can be as lightweight as possible. So how long should it help you survive? Well, that’s up to you!
Again, this is another reason why pre-made bug out bags are not as effective as a Bug Out Bag and List that you put together yourself.
Let’s say the longest I travel from home is 20 miles any given day of the week. Or maybe the farthest I would have to walk to my “bug out location” is 30 miles. How long would it take to get there? 2 days? 3 days?
Keeping this in mind, will help me only pack what I need.
And so, every extra piece of gear equals weight – which affects how many calories you burn, and water you consume. Considering if you’re using your bug out bag, something bad has happened, it’s no time to be hauling a bunch of weight you don’t need.
1. Self Defense – Bug Out Bag List
How do envision protecting yourself from people acting criminally in an emergency? Are you a lawfully armed citizen? Do you carry pepper spray? Are you trained in martial arts?
I generally don’t recommend leaving a gun in a bug out bag – unless that gun and bag are with you all the time or locked up. And really, I don’t recommend leaving anything that could potentially harm someone in an unattended bag.
However, do you need extra ammo and magazines? Do you need a very compact cleaning kit? Since I carry a concealed pistol and a reload, that’s not something I have in my bug out bag. But I do carry some pepper spray.
And, pepper spray is a great tool to bridge the gap between lawful self-defense with your hands – and more lethal options. Remember, as always, know the laws of your jurisdiction, and the use of force legal implications.
- Extra magazines / ammo (for lawfully armed citizens)
- Pepper Spray
- Other items as appropriate to safety
2. Medical – Bug Out Bag List
Most preppers know that medical supplies are important in an emergency. In case self-defense doesn’t go well, or injuries happen, medical supplies become paramount.
There are two specific types of first aid kits I have on my bug out bag list:
- TCCC3 (Tactical Combat Casualty Care Kit) First Aid Kit – Meant to treat massive bleeds and
gunshot wounds. **This kit needs to be placed in an easily accessible location**
- Minor scrapes and Cuts First Aid Kit – For all the minor ouches and “boo-boos”.
3. Observation – (to see or not be seen)
Often overlooked, in a bug out bag list is the ability to see danger from far off. At the very least, an inexpensive monocular is great for checking out the cause of a traffic jam down the highway.
In the context of escape and evasion from a dangerous situation, camouflage cannot be forgotten. Observation in the acronym is also a reminder that sometimes you don’t want to be seen.
So, a simple camo head net, (most hunters already have one), works just fine. The goal is to be able to hang out in the weeds and bushes until danger passes.
Above all, a good white light will make one’s life much easier. A headlamp with variable lumen output is also a good idea for your bugout bag checklist. Wow-Tac makes an excellent $25 headlamp, I’ve used for about a year now. Check out the link below.
Make Sure to Have:
4. Land Navigation – Bug Out Bag List
Now, I’m used to using my phone for navigation, a GPS in the woods, but I always have a map and compass close by. Why? Batteries fail, electronics fail.
So, you may always know how to get home from where you’re at. But what if you need to take an alternate route, and a route that’s not marked by roads? That’s where a map and compass come in handy.
Inclusions for Land Navigation (links include 2-day shipping):
- Optional – Garmin GPS – I’ve used eTrex series Garmins for many years – they’re rugged and compact.
5. Extreme Weather
Because, extreme weather & hypothermia can be a danger for anyone on foot for long distances, this section can’t be overlooked. Depending on your bug out bag size and weight restrictions, you can pack anything from a lightweight rain poncho, to fleece cap and gloves.
To minimize how much extreme weather gear I need on my bug out bag list, I try and dress for the weather each day.
- Rain Poncho
- Polypropylene Long Underwear (they weigh very little, dry quickly and are warm in cold / wet weather)
6. Survival Tools
What would the Ultimate Bug Out Bag List be without Survival tools?? It would be incomplete!
The survival rule of 3’s says a person will die in:
- Air – 3 minutes without air,
- Shelter – 3 hours without shelter
- Water – 3 days without water
- Food – 3 weeks without food, and so on.
Now, this portion of the bug out bag list addresses anything that helps survival odds with the rule of 3’s. So, I include a N95 mask for extreme air pollution, the poncho/poncho liner from above, a water filter kit, a stove and cooking pot, and a few other items.
Remember, the goal of bugging out or using a bug out bag is to be on the move whenever possible, to the location you’re going to. It’s not meant to be a camping bag – although it will probably be able to help you do just that 😊
Survival Tools to Include:
- AIR – N95 Mask (picture extreme air pollution from an urban disaster)
- Shelter Kit – (you can use the poncho & poncho liner from above for this)
- Fire Kit – Fire starters and tinder are actually part of your “shelter kit”Fire Starter – can be a BIC style if that’s what you likeTinder – cotton balls soaked in Vasoline works for instant tinder
- Water Carrier – Camelbak has a reputation for taking military style abuse
- Survival Food – S.O.S. Survival Rations are 3600 calories per package – that’s 3 days of emergency calories in a small package.
- Other Survival Tools
At the beginning of the article, we asked – “have you been thinking it’s time to get your Bug Out Bag together”? And maybe you thought, “YES”. “But I don’t know where to start – I need some help.”
Now you know! You have everything you need. Maybe it’s time to have the kids jump in and build their own ultimate bug out bag.
Let us know if the Ultimate Bug Out Bag checklist was helpful!
Remember to Download our Free Bug Out Bag Template
So, here’s to a prosperous year – being prepared, and NOT having to use your bug out bag list 😊
What are your thoughts? What works for your Bug Out Bag List?
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