Many companies offer complete kits and pre packed Bug out Bags, but only you know what you and your loved ones will need in an emergency situation. Only you know what types of disasters or emergencies occur in your specific area, where you may have to evacuate to, and what you need in your bag for those events and locations. The key, again, is planning and preparing ahead of time.
The first step is to determine what your specific needs are by creating a list. As you gather your supplies, cross them off of your list, but keep your list for future reference. Oftentimes people find themselves needing something that is in their bag and failing to replace it. Monthly bag checks with the list can help to ensure needed items are still in the bag. Be prepared to continue to add to your list of items as you think of things.
Once you have all of your items, choose your containment method. If you are using a back pack, choose one that is sturdy, yet lightweight, that can hold all of your items inside. You should have several compartments to keep smaller items, packing it so that at least 95% of your items are readily accessible without having to dig or unpack to find them. Last minute items can be clipped onto the external straps with metal clips.
If you’re preparing more than one Bug out Bag, make sure you have duplicates of items as necessary in each bag. Each person should be able to sustain on their own bag and not rely on others. If you have prepared different bags based upon different needs, be sure they have every need for that bag and are not dependent on an item from another bag to complete it. For example, do not have your tools in one bag when one of the tools is a necessity for your fishing bag. Have that tool duplicated in both bags. It is a little more of an expense, but will prove necessary when using the bags in a crisis situation.
Think about what you can truthfully see yourself doing in your survival plan. If you are sure you are not one to live off of the wilderness, be sure to pack heavy on the MREs and water in your bag. However, if you are versed in survival off of the land, you can pack sustainable equipment such as fishing gear and water filtration systems. Doing this leaves room for other things you may need.
Be sure you have a plan in place and a Bug out Bag ready for pets you may bring with you or special needs of your children. Medications need to be included, as well as important paperwork, sealed in waterproof packaging. Survival books and maps are a good idea to have on hand in any bag for obvious reasons.
The key, again, is to have your Bug out Bag well thought out, planned ahead of time, and prepared and ready to go. Place it in a strategic and safe area, readily accessible when needed. Check it monthly to ensure it remains ready. Test it from time to time with a trial run to ensure it has everything you need. It’s better to be over prepared than under prepared.