Written by 6:36 pm Camping, Hiking, Prepping, Survival

When Do You Need a Bugout Bag? And, How to Make Your Own!

Bugout Bag

Why you should have a bug out bag

Scenarios like natural disasters, severe storms, and even political instability can happen to you. The most probable way of surviving a dangerous situation is to leave the areas where the disaster has/is taking place. Millions of people, all living in cities and suburbia, are helplessly reliant on supply chains, power grids and mass communication. When disasters occur, it is the food and natural resources which run out first. Planning an escape route and carrying just enough tools and food to make it to safety is why having a bug out bag is so important.

What is a bug out bag?

Don’t think of a bug out bag as an end of the world apocalypse savior. If the world gets that bad, a simple backpack won’t be the silver bullet. Focus instead on making your bug out bag useful for as many situations as possible. It should be pre-packed and ready to grab, saving time in dangerous situations.

The bag in question is a simple backpack that is prepacked with all the necessary survival gear needed to escape a dangerous situation. Keep it lightweight, over packing can be dangerous, a bag that is too heavy can be more dangerous than not having one at all.

It is important to make your bug out bag functional for everyday life as well. I use my “bug out bag” every weekend when I go hiking and fishing. By constantly maintaining the bag, it will make you more prepared for dangerous situations. Using it frequently will keep the gear in working condition and allow the bag to reflect the current season.

Make your Own Bug Out Bag

Food and Water

Having food in your bag is a very smart idea. Pack at least 3 meals, this will allow for an entire day of provisions. Use dehydrated meals and nonperishable food items, keeping the bag at room temperature means it is always within reach. Canned food may seem like a good option but cans are bulky and carrying unnecessary weight burns precious calories. Carry at least two liters of water, using water bottles or a water bladder. In emergency situations, carrying extra water is well worth the weight.


It cannot be understated how important carrying a change of clothes is. You could get wet, cold, dirty, any number of challenges that can be rectified with a change of clothes. Make sure your change of clothes matches the weather and season. Carrying long johns and hand warmers would be pretty silly in the summer and not having winter gear in sub-freezing temperatures is just as short sighted. Be careful not to pack too much, you only need enough clothes to get to safety.


I always carry a multitool, camping stove, isobutane, pot for cooking, 50 yards of paracord, first aid kit, compass, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and a tent. The tools I choose will help me escape a bad area and live in the backcountry for a few days while traveling to a safe location. You can fill your bag with any tool that will help achieve your escape plan, as always, be careful not to over pack.

Always keep a copy of your paper records in your bug out bag. Having your social security card, passport, birth certificate, and even tax returns can alleviate the headaches of replacing them when the disaster is over

Common Scenario

Winter driving is a great example of an everyday activity that warrants the use of a bug out bag. Commuting to work in a snowstorm may sound crazy but let’s be honest, we all do it. Throwing a bug out bag in the car can be the smartest decision you make and may even save lives. Losing control on the road and becoming stuck in a snowbank is not just a rural phenomenon. Because of a snow storm, people have been stuck in their cars on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago! Having a bug out bag can provide the additional resources needed to survive a night in sub-freezing temperatures.

Focus on only bringing the minimum, it will keep you agile and mobile. Your bag needs to facilitate escape from a dangerous area to a safe one. Any extra weight can become a hazard and with every ounce, escape only becomes more treacherous. Build your bug out bag and plan for the worst, you never know when you will use it.

In the following video you will see how to customize your bug-out bag for any disaster

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Last modified: August 5, 2022