6 Things Your Bug-out Bag Didn't Come With
By Kento F.If you had to bug-out of your home right now and survive for three days with nothing but your pre-assembled bug-out bag you bought online, could you do it? Your answer may depend on WHY you are bugging-out and the location you are headed (WHERE). It might change based on WHO's going with you and WHEN (time of day & season) too. Whatever the circumstance, if your answer leans towards "No," chances are good that you either don't know what's in the kit or you know the kit doesn't quite cover all of your needs. In both cases (and even for those who answered yes), it would be wise to assess the contents of your bug-out bag before you take on a real bug-out situation. The following are just a few things that your kit probably didn't come with that you should consider adding:
1. Shoes and a Change of Clothes
I don't know about you, but disasters and emergencies have always happened to me when it's least convenient. Who's to say that it won't happen when you're in bed or taking a shower or even going to the bathroom? An emergency is no time to be caught under-dressed! Always have a pair of shoes and a change of clothes in your bag, so you are ready even in the most untimely circumstances. You never know what kind of terrain you will be walking on or how far you would be traveling when you bug-out, so be sure to choose a sturdy pair of shoes/boots that are broken in and comfortable.
2. Prescription Medication & Glasses/Contacts
Most pre-assembled kits and bug-out bags come with a first aid kit of some kind. But I'll bet they didn't come pre-built with your prescription medication though. Also, if you wear glasses or contacts, you will want to make sure to add a spare as well (and don't forget your contact case with solution if you go the contacts route).
3. OTC meds and other supply
Consider supplementing your first aid kit with some over-the-counter stuff to beaf up your medical and other supply.
- Antibiotic Ointment
- Pain Relief (ibuprofen, Motrin, Tylenol, etc.)
- Stomach Stuff (anti-acid, anti-diarrheal, etc.)
- Insect Repellent
- Moleskin Pads (if it's going to be more walking than normal, this can make a huge difference)
- Allergy Stuff (anti-histamine, eye drops, etc.)
4. Money in small bills and change
If only your bug-out bag or emergency kit came pre-built with these...
When the power goes out, our debit/credit cards become pieces of plastic with no monetary value. Everyone will be forced to go back to the way things used to be before credit cards. When that happens, don't expect to get change when you pay with your $100 bill. Be ready to make exact payments, so you don't have to worry about the stores not having change.
5. Fire Starting
If you bought your kit from Amazon using your Prime 2 day shipping, chances are very good that matches are not included in your kit. Due to transportation and warehousing safety reasons, it's not uncommon for pre-assembled kits to leave out things like matches and other flammable items. Be sure to check what your kit came with and add a couple of these options:
- Waterproof Matches (or Wind & Waterproof Matches)
- Flint Striker with Kindling
- Good old fashioned lighter
- 9V Battery with Steel Wool
6. Important Documents
This is a subject that's probably going to receive mixed responses (and we would love to hear your thoughts on this). There are certainly some risks associated with having all of your important documents with you in one place in the age of identity thefts and digital crime. This also depends on how serious of a disaster/emergency you are planning for, too. In events like Hurricane Sandy where society's safety net is still intact, documents like your home and car insurance can be very useful to help you get back up on your feet. However, if you are preparing for a total societal collapse where government and other agencies can no longer be able to provide services, then these documents may not be as important. Whatever you decide to include and how to store them, this is one you'll want to give plenty of thought and weigh the pros and cons before deciding.
These are but a few of many things that could be added to your emergency kit / bug-out bag. The important thing is to resist the urge to pack your whole house with you and to be disciplined in your decisions making. Because at the end of the day, there will always be things you wish you had no matter how prepared you feel you are. Don't forget to invest in knowledge and skills which are items you will always have with you no matter where you go.