The idea behind a 72 hour bug-out bag is that it will provide you with the supplies you need to find shelter or safety. It is not a bug out bag that can keep you alive in the wilderness for days, it is just a transition bag. This bag is designed to keep you safe and alive while you are moving towards a shelter or to your bug out location. The following items should be considered for every 72 hour bug-out bag.
Before you start preparing your bug out bag, keep in mind the following:
- Your bug out bag should be lightweight.
- It should contain only the supplies that are vital for your journey.
- Your bug out bag should provide you with mobility and comfort – if you struggle carrying it, you’re doing something wrong.
Bug-out bag foods
When it comes to your 72 hour bug-out bag you need to keep in mind that mobility is the key to success and foods that require time to prepare should be avoided. You should concentrate on packing foods that are high in energy and protein. Your energy levels should be up until you reach your bug out location. Add some of these foods in your 72 hour bug-out bag:
- Trail mix
- Breakfast bars
- Peanut butter
- Energy bars
- Power bars
- Jerky (This article will show you how to prepare it)
Some people prefer to also add their favorite dried or dehydrated meals, but it is all up to you. If you think you have the time to prepare a large meal, you should consider adding these foods to your 72 hour bug-out bag.
Highly recommended reading: Learn how to make Pemmican, the ultimate survival food.
Bug-out bag water
Your bug out bag should contain enough water to last you 72 hours and eight liters should be enough. Since water adds a lot of weight to your bag, and sometimes it’s difficult to transport, I recommended carrying only 4 liters. Besides the water you should also have various purification or filtration methods. Make sure your bug out bag contains:
- 3-4 liters of water
- Water purifier
- Water life straw
- Micro filter
- Micropur tablets
- Water life bottle
During your journey you can gather water from your surroundings and save the water you carry for nighttime. You should also learn and have a good knowledge about how you can find and filter water in the wild.
Recommended reading: Useful methods for filtering water in the wild.
Bug-Out Bag Shelter
There is a high probability that you will have to evacuate on foot and in that case you need to have proper shelter. Since you want to have a form of shelter that is easy to assemble and easy to carry, you have two options: you buy a good tent or you improvise a shelter with the items you have. Depending on your skills you should add these in your 72 hour bug-out bag:
- Hiker trail tent
- Emergency tent kit
- Rope or paracord
Fire and cooking
You can’t be on the move constantly and at some point you will need to rest. Fire will keep you warm and it will cook your food. It is important you have a method of creating a fire that can save you time and energy. Your 72 hour bug-out bag should contain some of these items:
- Storm proof lighter
- Camp stove
- Keyring lighter
- Body warmer
Flash lights and power sources
Every 72 hour bug-out bag should have at least one source of light and a power generator. You will be traveling during nighttime and you need to see where you are going or what are you doing. A life without electricity is a struggle and we have to find ways to generate it. Having lighting equipment and the means for recharging it is essential to your survival and you should consider the following for your 72 hour bug-out bag:
- Led crank flashlight
- Cyalume light sticks
- Led solar lamp
- Portable power generator
- Mobile phone (you can use it as a flashlight if needed)
What you need to read: 6 portable electricity generators for your bug out bag
Bug out bag clothes
Your 72 hour bug-out bag should contain additional clothes because you can’t just wear only a pair of pants and a T-shirt. You should have clothes designed for all types of weather and most importantly the ones fit for the weather you will face in your area. You should pack your clothes separately in a dry sack and seal it for proper keeping (they won’t get wet or damaged). Put in your 72 hour bug-out bag the following:
- A hat
- Water proof hiking boots and/or shoes
- Dry underwear and socks
- A poncho
- Work gloves
- Wool long sleeve shirt
- Waterproof and windproof jacket
You should pack 2-3 items of the clothes you wear the most depending on the weather from your area. There are all sorts of tutorials on the internet that will teach you how to properly pack your clothes.
Sanitation and first aid items
Health is very important and you need to get to your bug out location in perfect health, without any infections or diseases. Every 72 hour bug-out bag should contain sanitation products that will ensure you are healthy when you evacuate. If you are traveling on foot you are prone to injuries and you have to pay attention to your surroundings. These items will save you a lot of trouble:
- First aid kit
- Hand sanitizer
- Sun block
- Magic Soap
- Toilet paper
- Proper medicine for particular diseases
- Waste bags
- Feminine hygiene products (this article will tell you more)
You have to think of your safety when you travel and having any sort of protection in your 72 hour bug-out bag will help you overcome unexpected obstacles. Carrying a gun or more tactical protection devices is at your discretion. If you want to get to your bug out location in one piece, you should consider these items for your bug out bag:
- Pepper Spray
When it comes to protection, the items you chose should be the ones you are familiar with. Nobody can tell you what to bring and if a bow works for you, then that should be your first choice. You need items that help keeping you and your family safe and there are a lot to choose from.
Other items for your 72 hour bug-out bag
Your bug out bag should have all the basic items listed above, but it should also include all the necessary tools you need to survive and navigate properly. There are some items that provide a good peace of mind and having them will give you an advantage in any survival situation. You can add these items to your 72 hour bug-out bag:
- ID card and other important documents
- A compass
- A GPS
- A prepaid cell phone
- A map
- A bug out USB (it should contain all your survival books)
- A multi tool knife
- 50 para cord
- Duct tape
- A whistle
- A signal mirror
- A solar radio
- A folding saw
- Camp stove
- Glasses (it’s a good idea to have a second pair)
- A spork
- Can opener
- A safety vest
When you make your 72 hour bug-out bag make sure you add items that have multi-use. You need to pack as little as possible and make it lightweight. For example, I have a knife that has also a fire starter and a whistle incorporated.
You also have to keep in mind that your 72 hour bug-out bag is designed to help you reach your destination, so the ideal scenario for evacuating should include a bug out location. You need to have a plan B when those 72 hours end.
Stay Safe and God Bless!
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