What is a Bug Out Bag?

What are bug out bags?  These are bags packed with items that you'll need to survive for 72 hours.  Learn more about what is in a bug out bag and building a bug out bag for yourself or for your family.


Bug out bags are a necessity for homesteaders or preppers.  If SHTF and you need to get out, you have one thing to grab and go.


A preppers bug out bag can be used solely for bugging out, or it can be a useful tool around the homestead.





For example, we have a bag that sits next to the back door.  It's easy to grab in an emergency, but we also use it sometimes.


We grab it when we go on a long car ride so we have emergency supplies.  We also grab it if we will be working on the farm because it has a first aid kit.


Some people pack the bags and let it sit until they need it.  That's a perfectly fine way to use it, too.  Do what works for your family.


What Are Bug Out Bags?


Bug out bags are also called by the acronym BOB.  You might also hear it called a GOOD bag (Get Out Of Dodge) or a PERK (Personal Emergency Relocation Kit).  I've also heard them called 72 hour or 3 day bags or a grab bag.


Why is it Called a Bug Out Bag?


So what are bug out bags?  Why is it called bug out?  A theory is that it got its name from a bail out bag, which was used by the military in the Korean war.  A bail out bag was an emergency kit that was used in case the troops had to retreat.


What is the Purpose of a Bug Out Bag?


When you are making a bug out bag, keep in mind why you're using it.  The contents of a bug out bag should help you survive for 72 hours in an emergency.


When you learn how to make a bug out bag, you'll keep food, first aid, and other supplies that you can quickly grab and go.  





Is a Bug Out Bag Really Necessary?


In my opinion, yes a preppers bug out bag is a necessity.  Think of it like an insurance policy. Hopefully, we will never need it for its intended use.  However, if there's a natural disaster or other emergency, building a bug out bag gives me peace of mind that I'm prepared.


How Many Days Should a Bug Out Bag Last?


Generally, when you are deciding what to put in a bug out bag, you should plan on having 72 hours of supplies.  


This can vary depending on your needs, but most plan for 3 days when making a bug out bag.  The goal is to have enough contents of a bug out bag to make it to your destination to bug out.


How Much Should a Bug Out Bag Weigh?


When making a bug out bag, aim to keep it between 10 and 20 percent of your body weight.  You may be on foot, and a heavy bag will quickly cause fatigue.


However, this is a general rule.  If your bug out location isn't very far, then you may be able to err on the heavier side.


Also keep in mind that some bags distribute the weight better, so a few more pounds in a quality bag will be more comfortable than a lighter bag that's not as comfortable to wear.


How Do You Lighten a Bug Out Bag?


When you are planning what to put into a bug out bag, consider the weight.  Here are some tips to consider when building a bug out bag:


  • Carry a water purification system instead of water.
  • Pack a tarp instead of a tent.
  • Don't pack a lot of clothes.
  • Pack light food.  Freeze dried fruit and dried meats are good options.


Learn how to freeze dry fruit at home to lighten your pack.

  

How Much Water Should I Have in my Bug Out Bag?


Water is perhaps the most important item in a bug out bag.  When building a bug out bag, you want to carry as much water as you can.  


However, you can also use water purification so you can have fresh water while you get to your location.


Generally, you will need 1 gallon of water per person per day.  This can get quite heavy, especially if you have children, so I highly recommend having a way to purify water.


What is the Best Size for a Bug Out Bag?


When building a bug out bag, you want one that's as large as you can comfortably carry.  This is a personal preference.


Taller people can carry bigger bags.  You may want to try on a few and add some weight to see how well they fit before buying one.  Your preppers bug out bag should feel comfortable on your hips when you carry it.


We like Alice packs for the compartments and durability.


What is the Best Color for a Bug Out Bag?


The color doesn't matter when making a bug out bag.  Kids will usually like bags with characters and fun colors.  


For an adult, you may want to stick with green, brown, or black so the bag doesn't draw attention while you move to your bug out location.


If you live in a city or urban area, then you may want to use a backpack style bag.  This will blend in and won't be conspicuous while you're getting to your destination.





How Do You Make a Good Bug Out Bag?


Here are some things to consider when learning how to make a bug out bag:


  • Your bug out bag should weigh 10 to 20 percent of your body weight.
  • A heavy BOB can cause fatigue while traveling.
  • Pack enough for 72 hours.
  • Choose a bag that's comfortable to wear.
  • Look for a bag with compartments and pockets to keep the contents of a bug out bag organized.


What Items Should be in a Bug Out Bag?


Now that we know what is a bug out bag, let's talk about what goes in a bug out bag.  I have an entire post devoted to what should be a in a bug out bag, and I have more details there.


Here is a quick list of what goes in a bug out bag:



Where Should I Keep a Bug Out Bag?


Now that you know what is a bug out bag and have made one, where should you keep a bug out bag?  We keep ours by the door so it's easy to grab.  


You can place it in a hall closet or in your garage if that's easy to get to and easy to grab on the way out.  Some people keep theirs in their car.  Store yours in a location that makes sense for your lifestyle.


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