Bug-out bag

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Off-the-shelf Red Cross preparedness kit

A bug-out bag or BOB[1][2] is a portable kit[disambiguation needed] that normally contains the items one would require to survive for 72 hours[3][4] when evacuating from a disaster, although some kits are designed to last longer periods. Other names for such a bag are a BOB,[5] 72-hour kit,[6] a grab bag, battle box, personal emergency relocation kit (PERK), go bag, GOOD bag (get out of Dodge),[7] INCH bag (I'm never coming home).[8] or quick run bag (QRB).[9][10]

The focus is on evacuation, rather than long-term survival, distinguishing the bug-out bag from a survival kit, a boating or aviation emergency kit, or a fixed-site disaster supplies kit. The kits are also popular in the survivalism and prepper subcultures.[11]


The term "bug-out bag" is related to, and possibly derived from, the "bail-out bag" emergency kit many military aviators carry. In the United States, the term refers to the Korean War practice of the U.S. Army designating alternative defensive positions, in the event that the units had to retreat. They were directed to "bug out" when being overrun was imminent. The term has since been adopted by military training institutions around the world, with Standard Operating Procedures involving a bug out location, method of withdrawal, and the bare supplies needed to withdraw quickly but still survive in the field.[12] The concept passed into wide usage among other military and law enforcement personnel, though the "bail-out bag" is as likely to include emergency gear for going into an emergency situation as for escaping an emergency.[13]

The term go-kit is popular in the amateur radio service, especially in the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) and Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) communities and describes a combination personal bug-out-bag and portable amateur radio station. A personal go-kit generally takes some combination of units - a "one-day" (or "24 hour") kit, a "three day" (or "72 hour") kit that adds additional supplies, or a "one week kit" that adds yet additional personal items to the three-day kit. Any or all supports deploying the operator plus his or her privately owned self-contained radio communications setup.


The primary purpose of a bug-out bag is to allow one to evacuate quickly if a disaster should strike.[14] It is therefore prudent to gather all of the materials and supplies that might be required to do this into a single place, such as a bag or a few storage containers. The recommendation that a bug-out bag contain enough supplies for seventy-two hours arises from advice from organizations responsible for disaster relief and management that it may take them up to seventy-two hours to reach people affected by a disaster and offer help.[3] The bag's contents may vary according to the region of the user, as someone evacuating from the path of a hurricane may have different supplies from someone who lives in an area prone to blizzards, earthquakes or wildfires.

In addition to allowing one to survive a disaster evacuation, a bug-out bag may also be used when sheltering in place as a response to emergencies such as house fires, blackouts, tornadoes, and other severe natural disasters.

Some survivalists also recommend keeping a 'get me home' kit in the car and/or at work. This is a kit to enable a person to get back home from work in an emergency where all transport cars and public transport have broken down. It is designed around personal circumstances where, for example, a walk of 25 kilometres might be required from work to home. The 'get me home' kit can include, for example, enough water to get home, suitable walking shoes, a map (not electronic), enough food for 12 hours, clothing for adverse weather, etc.

Typical contents[edit]

The suggested contents of a bug-out bag vary, but most of the following are usually included:[1][15][16][17]

  • Enough food and water to last for at least 72 hours. This includes:
    • Water for washing, drinking and cooking. Canada recommends 2 litres per person per day for drinking plus an additional 2 litres per person per day for cleaning and hygiene.[18] New Zealand recommends 3 litres per person per day for drinking.[19] US recommends 1 gallon (3.78 litres) per person per day.[20] Extra water for pets may be included as well.
    • Non-perishable food[21]
    • Water purification supplies.
    • Cooking supplies.[22]
  • Multivitamin
  • A first aid kit.[23]
  • Necessary clothing (e.g., socks and underwear). It is generally assumed that during an emergency situation outer wear will be worn for an extended period of time.
  • Fire starting tool (e.g., matches, ferrocerium rod, lighter, 9volt battery, etc.).
  • A disaster plan including location of emergency centers, rallying points, possible evacuation routes, etc.
  • Professional emergency literature explaining what to do in various types of disaster, studied and understood before the actual disaster but kept for reference.
  • Maps and travel information.[24]
  • Standard camping equipment, including sanitation supplies.[25]
  • Weather appropriate clothing and UV protection (e.g., poncho, golf umbrella headwear, gloves, etc.).
  • Bedding items such as sleeping bags and blankets. Thick plastic or oilcloth tarps can keep ground moisture out of bedding and form a tarp tent shelter from dew or rain.
  • Enough medicine to last an extended evacuation period.
  • Copies of medical records for each person in the family.
  • Pet, child, and elderly care needs.[26]
  • Battery or crank-operated radio.[27]
  • Lighting (battery or crank operated flashlight, glow sticks).[28]
  • An external powerpack or small, portable, solar charger (to keep the phone charged).[29]
  • Cash and change, as electronic banking transactions may not be available during the initial period following an emergency or evacuation.
  • Positive identification documents, plus any medical ID cards if you have them. Those with allergies should have a MedicAlert or similar ID.
  • Printed copy of any insurance information such as home and contents insurance.[30]
  • Birth certificate or passport.
  • Fixed-blade and folding knife[31]
  • Swiss Army Knife[32]
  • Multi-tool, like a Leatherman
  • Duct tape and rope or paracord[33]
  • Tarpaulins for shelter and water collection
  • Wire for binding and animal traps
  • Compass
  • Firearms, license, and extra ammunition
  • Slingshot, pellet gun, blowgun or other small game hunting equipment
  • Small fishing kit
  • Signal mirror
  • Emergency whistle
  • Rubber tubing
  • Digestion care medicine for indigestion, stomach ache, nausea, and diarrhea
  • Tampons [34]
  • Trash bags
  • Aluminum foil
  • Bandana
  • Super glue, which can also be used to suture wounds.[35]
  • Hatchet
  • Pepper Spray as self protection against dangerous animals and people
  • Folding Saw
  • Snare / Yoyo Fishing Reel
  • Hand Sanitizer

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b South, J. Allan (1990). "Chapter 11 (Equipment), Bug-Out Bag Contents". The Sense of Survival. Orem, Utah: Timpanogos Publishers. p. 221. ISBN 0-935329-00-5. 
  2. ^ Lundin, Cody, When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes , Chapter 3 (Includes a Bug Out Kit list) Gibbs Smith, Publisher, Layton, Utah, Sep. 2007
  3. ^ a b "Disaster Supplies Kit- Canadian Red Cross". Redcross.ca. 2007-05-03. Retrieved 2009-09-05. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "FEMA: Disaster Planning Is Up To You". Fema.gov. Archived from the original on 2009-11-17. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  5. ^ "What is a Bug Out Bag". Bug Out Bag Academy. Retrieved 2016-11-03. 
  6. ^ "72 Hour Kit – How to Make a 72 Hour Kit for Emergency Preparedness". Lds.about.com. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  7. ^ Frank Borelli. Equipment Review: Bug Out Bags? Officer.com. Posted September 4, 2009.
  8. ^ Muska, Scott (April 30, 2014). "The "I'm Never Coming Home Bag:" An Assembly Guide". Weekly Gravy. Retrieved October 18, 2016. 
  9. ^ Tearfund, Disaster Management Team Good Practice Guidelines, 2007 http://tilz.tearfund.org/~/media/Files/TILZ/Topics/DMT/GPG_Disaster_Risk_Reduction.pdf?la=en
  10. ^ VSF Germany Contingency Recommendations, http://www.vsfg.org/security-guidelines/contingency-recommendations
  11. ^ Rawles, James Wesley (2007). Rawles on Retreats and Relocation. Clearwater Press. p. 5. ASIN B002A6E7Q0. [self-published source?]
  12. ^ "BUG OUT BAG: The Essential Multi-Budget Set Up To Be Prepared". The Prepping Guide. 2017-08-12. Retrieved 2018-02-12. 
  13. ^ "The Bail Out Bag". BlueSheepdog.com. 2009-07-16. Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  14. ^ Dr. Bruce Clayton, Life After Doomsday, Chapter 3 (To Flee of Not To Flee), p. 39, Paladin Press, Boulder, CO, 1980
  15. ^ Stewart, Creek (2012). Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit. Betterway Books. ISBN 1440318743. [page needed]
  16. ^ Building Kits: Getting Prepared takes commitment, by Mike Peterson, American Survival Guide Magazine, Dec., 1993, p. 76
  17. ^ Survival Skills Intensive Training: Assembling the Bug Out Kit, by Christopher Nyerges, American Survival Guide Magazine, May, 1998, p. 26
  18. ^ "Emergency Kits". Public Safety Canada. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  19. ^ "Emergency Survival Items & Getaway Kit". Civil Defence NZ. Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  20. ^ "Basic Disaster Supplies Kit". FEMA. Archived from the original on 2012-04-12. Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  21. ^ Rawles, James Wesley (2007). Rawles on Retreats and Relocation. Clearwater Press. p. 133. ASIN B002A6E7Q0. [self-published source?]
  22. ^ Rawles, James Wesley (2007). Rawles on Retreats and Relocation. Clearwater Press. p. 119. ASIN B002A6E7Q0. [self-published source?]
  23. ^ Survival Kits: Consideration of personal situations in making your own kits, by Hal Gordon, American Survival Guide Magazine, Nov., 1986, p. 57
  24. ^ The Commuter Kit: Essential Tools for Daily Commuters, by M. Marlo Brown, American Survival Guide Magazine, Jan. 2000, p. 112
  25. ^ Survival Kits: Critical 10 Percent, by Daniel C. Friend, American Survival Guide Magazine, Mar. 1990, p. 30
  26. ^ Rawles, James Wesley (2007). Rawles on Retreats and Relocation. Clearwater Press. p. 121. ASIN B002A6E7Q0. [self-published source?]
  27. ^ Rawles, James Wesley (2007). Rawles on Retreats and Relocation. Clearwater Press. p. 120. ASIN B002A6E7Q0. [self-published source?]
  28. ^ Rawles, James Wesley (2007). Rawles on Retreats and Relocation. Clearwater Press. p. 31. ASIN B002A6E7Q0. [self-published source?]
  29. ^ "BUG OUT BAG: The Essential Multi-Budget Set Up To Be Prepared". The Prepping Guide. 2017-08-12. Retrieved 2018-02-12. 
  30. ^ "BUG OUT BAG: The Essential Multi-Budget Set Up To Be Prepared". The Prepping Guide. 2017-08-12. Retrieved 2018-02-12. 
  31. ^ [full citation needed]
  32. ^ "The Survivors Bug Out Bag List". James Kearney (Doomsday News. October 21, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Ultimate Bug Out Bag Checklist". Know Prepare Survive. Retrieved 6 April 2017. 
  34. ^ "Yes, That's a Tampon in My Mouth: The Swiss Army Survival Tampon — 10 Survival Uses". Art of Manliness. Retrieved 6 April 2017. 
  35. ^ Dalvi, A A; Faria, M M; Pinto, A A (1986). "Non-suture closure of wound using cyanoacrylate". J Postgrad Med [serial online]. 32: 97–100. 

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