Essential means a different thing for every person, so when it comes to assembling “the essentials” for your bug out bag, you will have to pick and choose carefully. For instance, will you have to keep the needs of elderly people or small children in mind when you pack your supplies? Will you be in a tropical climate, in constant rain, under freezing temperatures, or perhaps in desert conditions? The choices are endless and you should think through the basic needs for you and your circumstances. That being said, there are a few straightforward options that I consider essential bug out bag items that you must have in your bug out bag. If you don’t already have a bug out bag, check out these bug out bags for sale.
When thinking about the gear you need to survive for seventy two hours, you can place all necessities into one of three categories: things you need for sustenance (food and water), things you need for protection, and miscellaneous things. The first category will obviously include some of your pre-packed, ready-to-eat meals (MREs) that come with their own heat packs. For these types of meals you do not even have to add water. The nice thing about these MREs is that they have a long shelf life so you have at least five years to consume them. Another essential everybody needs for sustenance is water. There are different ways to go about making sure you have plenty of safe water to drink during your emergency evacuation, and packing actual bottles of water really should not be one of them. Instead, consider investing in water purification tablets or filtering devices. Your choice will also depend on the natural environment you are preparing to survive, as for example, you cannot use those clever personal water filter straws if all water sources around you are frozen. Also, even though the straws are light, take up very little space and can last up to twenty gallons of water, if you are packing for a family, you might wish to invest in a good water filter bottle.
This Premium Case of 12 MREs pictured on the left is one of the first things you will want to add to your emergency kit. These are military ration components made by a contractor for the US Department of Defense. This product also comes with a warranty against defects, and ship in a sturdy box so that they arrive safe and sound without any puncture. Each meal includes a main dish, a dessert, a flameless heater and condiments, as well as instant coffee, cocoa powder and a high energy chocolate milk shake. The twelve different meals provide an excellent variety of menus and some of them can even work well as a satisfying breakfast. All the meals are between 1,100 and 1,400 calories and come with utensils. This is a truly self-contained MRE kit and all you will need to do is drink plenty of water and decide which meal you would like to have.
In a real-life emergency situation one of the things you will want to do is stay in touch with the outside world and have the ability to alert others about your whereabouts. The Kaito Emergency Radio will do exactly that for you. It has 22 ultra-high frequency channels, the NOAA weather channel, and it will give you the usual alerts in case of a tornado or hurricane. What makes this radio a great option for your bug out bag is the various power options it can run on. You can use three AAA batteries, plug it into a normal wall charger, use the solar panel or use the hand crank. It even has a USB port so that you can quickly charge the device with other usb power sources. With 1.2 pounds it is fairly lightweight. Other convenience features include an LED flashlight, and ports for external music sources. The great thing about a radio like this, is that it can serve well in your Get Home Bag as well.
If you do not have a multipurpose tool in your emergency kit, you might want to consider buying one right away. The Leatherman Mut Multi-Tool is particularly helpful for shooters as it contains rods and brushes for cleaning you guns and the screwdrivers will come handy on adjusting your sighting. It is incredibly rugged and with high carbon stainless steel it will stand up to a lot of use while the titanium makes it light and convenient. All blades resist corrosion and will hold their edge for a long time. Pivot points help with easy foldout and finding the right position for each tool. The black oxide coating reduces glare and reflection, and the MOLLE nylon sheath makes this tool easy to attach to your bug out bag.
Items you will need for your protection can cover many things, but the most important ones are your medical emergency kits, your weapons, and your clothing. There are many different kinds of emergency kits on the market and you will probably have to select one that is lightweight but thorough at the same time. Make sure it has all the basics to care for wounds, common digestive problems, allergies, painkillers, and skin irritations. If you are not a doctor or a trained health professional, it should also include a first aid manual. In addition the supplies that come in a first aid kit, you should also include personal medications, plastic gloves, and basic hygiene items such as hand sanitizers and wipes. You probably have a favorite gun, but for your basic emergency pack consider a compact, small caliber rifle and at least a hundred rounds of ammunition. The clothing you include in your bug out bag should be appropriate to the climate and the season, breathable and moisture wicking so that you do not get hypothermia and lightweight so that you can wear it comfortably for long periods of time.
The final category of items will include all other things you need for your survival. You must pack an efficient flashlight with fresh batteries, as well as matches that are tucked away in a waterproof case. In order to get wood for your fire, you should have a small hatchet in your bag, a medium sized combination hunting knife, and a multipurpose tool that has various sizes of screwdrivers and wire cutters. In order to keep in touch with other survivors and to receive updates on the situation, also include a small two-way radio with extra batteries and a small solar charger that will keep you phones up and running. Unless you are in the extreme North during wintertime, the solar charge will be able to keep on top of charging your smaller gadgets. Do not forget to add a sleeping bag that is appropriate to your climate and thermal blankets if you are expecting any chances of hypothermia. If your bug out bag is not waterproof, place your clothes and survival gear that is prone to water damage into float bags before you pack them. You can also seal small items in vacuum packs to keep them dry and safe until you need them. The following three items are examples from the list above, and they will get you started on selecting your own emergency gear for your bug out bag.