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Bug Out Kit

Bug Out Kit

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Bug Out Kit is your first line of protection in an emergency

If you think of a Bug Out Kit, also BOK, as a land-based lifeboat, it is easy to think of the items that should be included. Also known as “bug out bag” “grab and go bag” or a “get out of Dodge (GOOD) bag, the BOK should be your first item of survival in a evacuation situation.

Regardless of the emergency, a bug out kit needs to contain items that will provide you with shelter, heat, food, water and emergency medical assistance. In addition, this kit should contain copies of your identification, important documents, medical information and emergency contact names and telephone numbers.


Emergency shelters are easy to construct using tarps, painters plastic or space blankets. Space blanket tents are small, lightweight and portable. Pup tents like the ones used by the Boy Scouts are also lightweight and pack well. Keeping string, twine or rope along with duct tape that is wrapped around a rectangular piece of plastic will help hold a tarp shelter in place or repair small rips or tears.


Keeping warm may mean keeping dry. Be sure to pack rain gear or a poncho in every bug out kit. A pair of extra shoes or boots will also help you retain heat if your feet get wet. At least one extra set of clothes along with a sweater or sweatshirt needs to be included. Depending on the season, winter wear may be required. Warm season bug out kits should contain insect repellants and a hat of some type.


Each bug out bag should contain 72 hours worth of food each. Foods that are ready to eat are preferred during an emergency. Granola and protein bars are packed with calories and nutrition. Meals Ready to Eat are great but they are heavy. People need about 1800 calories per day to survive. Choose foods that store well like nuts, dried meats and fruits. Backpack stoves are lightweight and can provide hot meals and beverages quickly.


People need one gallon of water per day to survive. Water weighs a little over eight pounds per gallon. Water purification tablets and liquids are easy to pack. Efficient, affordable personal water purification systems are available. Using a collapsible water container, you can filter or make safe one to five gallons of water at a time. Tarps and plastic sheeting can provide solar stills. Using a water bladder or a canteen, everyone can carry a quart of water.

First Aid

Each go bag should have a first aid kit tailor made for each family member. Fever reducers, pain relievers, anti-itch and anti-diarrhea medication, dry electrolyte solution and age appropriate vitamins need to be included. First aid supplies and antibacterial soap will prevent scrapes from becoming infected. Any family member who is on a prescription medication should keep a 30-day supply of that medication in the kit. Keep a copy of the prescription, the doctor’s name and contact information with the medication.

Keep it Lightweight

A bug out kit needs to be light enough for you to carry easily. A BOK that weighs about 20 pounds is a safe weight for healthy people 15 years and older. Smaller children should not carry more than ¼ of their body weight.

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