Emergency Kit / Go Bag / BugOut Bag / 72-hour Kit

A Rose by any other name . . .

Part 2: Customizing Your Kit

Call it what you want, this is an essential tool in any emergency plan whether staying where you are or bugging out. Everything is together in one container and easy to transport or store. I have one in my car (in case I'm not home when something happens) and a second one in my house to use in my house (if I intend to stay) or transfer to my truck (if I need to leave in an emergency or go camping).

Other opinions are to have 2, or more, types of emergency bags; a 72-hour bag and a long-term bag for about 2 weeks. In my humble opinion, if I have too many options than I won't get anything right. So, I focus on a single solution and duplicate it as many times as I need. I view repetition as a good method of learning and making things second nature so I don't have to think too hard about the basics when other stuff may need my focus. Other alternatives are a bag per person or a family bag or a combination of both. The combination example is that each person has their own bag with their own stuff and then group items are distributed between all family members so that one person's bag is not much heavier than the others in the group. This is a good option for families with young, but able-body, children. There are many alternatives so choose what works for your situation and budget.

It's good to know what should be considered if a more customized version is preferred or if it's necessary to put something together if one doesn't happen to be available at a particular time and place. Again, being ready for the unexpected is a good trait to learn. In the Emergency Plan Outline, drafted using the book "When Disaster Strikes" by author Mat Stein, a proposed list of Emergency Bag contents is included. While that proposed list is extensive, the "basics" of a survival bag should, at the very least, include the "Eleven Cs"

Compact and Lightweight: Innovations and technology have made bug-out supplies more compact and lightweight. When putting a bug-out bag (BOB) together, research the many options that are available, keeping these two factors in mind as well as quality. Here is a suggestion: Compressed Towel "Tablets" come in a variety of sizes and can be used for cleaning and bandages. Just add water to expand.
NOTE: While water is essential to life, it is heavy (8 pounds per gallon) so carrying large quantities is not practical. That's why a reuseable container (suitable for carrying and boiling water) and water purification method(s) should be included in the kit if you'll be on the move.

Survival Guide on Amazon.com An expert survivalist may not need a guide but the average person may have a memory lapse of personal survival skills. While everyone should regularly practice their survival skills, every Emergency Bag/Kit should include a quality Survival Guide. The SAS Survival Guide (not Handbook) is highly recommended due to its comprehensive content and compact size (Watch video). A quality guide should include first aid, shelter and fire building, water collection and decontamination, wild edibles and catching game, defense, signaling and other topics.

Several Free Online Survival Guides are available on this web site.


Ready-2-Go Mini Emergency Survival (11 Cs) Kits on Amazon Pocket Emergency Kits: We can never be too prepared when it comes to safety, but that doesn't mean our Emergency Kit should weigh us down. Pre-packaged "Pocket Emergency Kits" are, obviously, available online but here is a tutorial to make the perfect DIY pocket-sized kit to keep with you at all times. Including the 11 Cs and a Pocket [Tiny] Survival Guide is suggested.

Learn How to Properly Use Your Gear & Supplies: If I have all the stuff in the world to go camping or use in an emergency, but don't know how to use my stuff, all I have is STUFF. And, if I don't have a plan for my camping trip or what I will do in an emergency, now I have a pile of stuff with no map to follow for their effective use.

Face-to-face with an emergency, or at the campsite, is not the time to learn how to use the gear and supplies that has been accumulated for this very purpose. What was thought to be the right tool when purchased, may now prove to be no help at all "in the moment". Don't go unprepared with not having the correct supplies in the correct quantities and not knowing how to use those supplies. Make the time to learn how to properly use all of the gear when it's first acquired and to discover if it should stay or be traded for something better. Use supplies and gear, periodically, as a refresher course. Initial testing and periodic refreshers will help take some of the stress out of the actual camping or emergency event.

Test Your BOB. Create a list of exercises, drills, and tactics (sample below) that will test the gear, no matter what it is.
  • Small hikes building up to multiple miles
  • Urban and outdoor tactical drills
  • Crawling, running, swimming, lying prone for extended periods of time
  • Running and jogging with fully loaded BOB
  • Pushups and pull-ups
  • Climbing steep hills with all weaponry
  • Climbing urban environments such as stairs, walls and fences
  • Long hikes with sprints and running
  • Perfecting your stances for long periods of time while crouched

An Emergency Survival Kit does not only apply to catastrophic scenarios, it also prepares you for some day-to-day needs that require immediate attention. Though we probably can't convince doubters to believe in preparing for catastrophes, we can show them how important preps are for everyday disasters. Read on to find out how to use your preps for practical, everyday use.

See Also:
Building an Emergency Supply Kit (Red Cross)
Building an Emergency Supply Kit (FEMA - Ready.gov)
Build the Ultimate Bug-Out Bag