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Building a 72-hour Emergency Bug Out Bag

By guile

In All Articles
Jan 25th, 2014

Imagine a cascade of events. Imagine screams and sirens filling your neighborhood as the infrastructure around us collapses. The power goes out; the roads are jammed or blocked; any outside contact becomes zero when your home phone’s dead, and even your cellphone tells that “All lines are busy”.

Like it or not disasters happen. They strike suddenly and give little, or no, warning. These bring about those critical moments when survival is most important, and every action counts.

The Bug Out Bag (or 72 hour emergency kit) is your insurance against the elements, in the aftermath of the unforeseen that throws you into a hostile environment with no time to think or act.  Of the various preps that we preppers work on, this one is the most sought after, and for a good reason – it’s your plan B no matter how prepared you are.

Disaster preparedness is no longer a mentality reserved for a sub-culture of “Survivalists” or “Preppers”. This awareness is now a mainstream phenomenon. The growing man-made and natural disasters in the recent years have heightened the senses of the inner survivalist in all of us. Thanks to hit TV shows like Doomsday Preppers are waking up to the threat these disasters pose to our way of life.

Bugging out refers the decision to abandon your base – which in most cases would be your home – in an unexpected emergency. When you read accounts from urban survivors, such as the people who survived hurricane Katrina, the thought of having to leave it all behind doesn’t seem unrealistic. When you think about how to pack your bag you need to think of these as the last items you will ever own. What items do you need to survive? What would you take if you could never go home again and had to be on the move?

Count how many times in the day you make those tiny mistakes. In pressure situations, multiply that by a hundredfold. There is one golden rule – don’t leave anything for the last – which tells that the time to pack a Bug Out Bag is when you can think clearly about potential circumstances. Not on the way out the door.

Here’s a list of things to help get you thinking about what should be in your bug out bag (BoB). It will ensure you and your family could get through the first 72h (or an extra few days) despite the lack of all amenities. Everyone’s bug out bag is different because everyone’s needs are different. In a previous article “How to Pack a bug out bag (BOB)” we gave you specific things to think about when creating your bag. Now here is a concrete list of items to get you started.


Bug Out Bag Starting Point 

Here are the key items that are a must in a bug out bag. To the left you will see a list of generic items, and to the right some actual products To pick from that cover that need.

Generic ItemActual Product
Bug Out Bag / Backpack /Pack 
Sleeping Bag 
Paracord550 paracord
knife sharpener 
portable ham radio 
Hand Crank/solar Charger for any emergency power requirements 

  • Handgun (defensive)
  • Rifle (Hunting)
  • extra Ammo
  • Extra Magazines
  • Sling / Holster
  • Spare Parts Kit: Firing Pin, Extractor, Springs, etc
Gun cleaning kit 
Fishing kit 
Snare Kit 
spare batteries
Solar Battery Charger 
Multi-tool (1 fixed blade + 1 combo blade – saw, wire cutter, pliers, flat head screw driver) 
Water filteration Water Filtration
3 days worth of High Nutrition/calorie food, Energy Bars, Mres, freeze dried 
Vitamins and Magnesium/Zinc Tablets 
Steel canteen cup, for boiling water and cooking 
Eating Utensiles: fork, spoon, and knife 
Lighters + Matchsticks (waterproofed) + firesteel 
Wet fire or Tinder 
A change of clothes (utility) 
An extra pair of shoes 
Leather gloves 
Wide-brim Hat 
Hygiene Kit: Towel/Toothbrush/Paste/Soap/Sanitizer 
First-aid kit

  • Surgical scissors
  • Disposable gloves
  • Band-aids
  • Bandage
  • Cotton
  • Iodine tincture
  • Antibiotic ointment
Prescription Medication
Map of your state and neighbors state maps
Face Mask (N95 is a basic one that you can carry) 
Signaling Mirror 
Flare Gun and Flares 

  • $1000 in Small denominations
  • silver Quarters (pre 1965)
  • 22lr ammo
  • travel size whisky
  • Cigarettes
Copies of your important documents – Paper and on a thumb drive

  • insurance policies
  • bank records
  • deeds and records
  • Birth Certificate
  • Drivers License
  • Passport
  • Social Security Card
  • Diplomas, etc
  • Family Photos (thumb drive only)

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