how to make your own bug out bag

How to make your own Bug Out Bag

January 12, 2015 0 Comments

How to make your own Bug Out Bag

Last week’s blog sparked a lot of questions. I’m so thankful that people are reading and are interested in this piece of equipment that could literally save your life. It’s relatively simple to put together and once it’s done it stays in your truck/car/SUV and forget about it. This bag could be the difference between life and death for you. Have you ever wondered how to make your own bug out bag?

I’ve spoken briefly about the importance of a bug-out-bag and would like to expound on that. I’m sure we’re not the only family who is concerned about our country. Regardless of where your political affiliations lie I’m sure you can see the countries debt getting higher by the second, the executive orders that will harm this country and the decisions of the Federal Government that severely and grossly overstep the rights of the individual states. All of these are problem areas. Things will come to a head eventually.

Thankfully we can have faith in Christ to give us peace and a clear head. The Bible talks a lot about being prepared. Notice I didn’t say paranoid? I said PREPARED! The Lord impressed it upon Joseph (the guy with the coat of many colors who was sold into slavery by his brothers over it) when he was second in command of Egypt. The Lord said a famine was coming so what did Joseph do? He PREPARED for it! He stocked up food!

Here are more verses on what the Bible says about preparation for your family:

Proverbs 22:3 “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”

Ezekiel 38:7 “Be ready and keep ready, you and all your hosts that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them.”

Proverbs 28:19 “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.”

Proverbs 21:20 “The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.”

I Timothy 5:8 “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worth than an unbeliever.”

2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is willing to work shall not eat.”

I think it’s safe to say that the Bible is all about having faith, yet being prepared. There is a huge difference between paranoid and prepared. That is where the faith aspect comes in handy!

When packing a bug-out-bag you need to pack it with this in mind: you need food, shelter, fire, and water. Those four things will make you or break you in terms of survival. If anyone of those four elements is missing, your chances of survival are greatly diminished.


Here is a piece by piece layout of everything in my bug-out-bag:

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  1. A large backpack or Extra Large Duffle Bag with lots of compartments, preferably not military looking.
  1. BIC Disposable Classic LighterIt’s the smallest and easier thing to throw into ANY bag.
  1. UST Blastmatch Fire Starter: To start fires with!
  2. Waterproof Matches: You want redundancy here. Matches can get wet, lighters can break, etc. Try to find the waterproof matches if you can. If you can’t, put the matchbox in a ziplock before you pack it in your bag.
  1. Emergency Mylar Blankets: The tin foil looking thing. It reflects your body heat back at you. It’s literally the size of a wallet when it’s all packaged up.
  1. Emergency Poncho: It will help keep you dry (or most of you)! This is vital when you’re in the elements.
  1.  550 Cord: This is used for tying things together for a shelter. Anywhere from 20-50 feet is the standard length used for this type of bag. You can never have enough rope or cord, though.
  1. Water: You’ll need 1 liter of water per person, PER DAY. Our bug out bag is equipped for roughly 3 days. We have 3 people in our family so we need 9 liters of water.
  1. Some means of sanitizing water: whether it’s a pot to boil water over a fire, Purification Tablets, Clorox Bleach Regular(1 teaspoon per 5 gallons; we still recommend boiling it also) or one of those nifty Mini Water Filtration System.
  1. A Coleman Camp Axe or a Hand saw to be used for cutting down a tree for shelter or firewood. Also to be used for killing dinner if need be.
  1. Leatherman: Or any kind of Multi-Tool. Gerber makes great multi-tools also. This is used to make kindle for the fire, to skin small animals for dinner, etc.
  1. FOOD! MREs are best because it has everything your body needs. One MRE is good for one person, for one day. It’s supposed to be for people who have a large caloric output, so if you’re sheltered in or stopped for a period of time, you might not eat the whole thing. Canned goods of beans, vegetables, fruits, BUT they’re weight. There are so many websites that offer dehydrated fruit and vegetables and other meals that weight much less than a can of pork and beans. Amazon is a great resource for that. Some good brands are MRE’s, Mountain House, Harmony House, Wise Company, Go Foods, Honeyville, Thrivelife, Augason Farms, just to name a few.
  1. Portable Can Opener: If you pack cans, you’ll need a can opener! Yes, your multi-tool has it, but frankly, I don’t know how to use the can opener on my multi-tool other than stabbing the can to death until I have a hole big enough for a spoon! You can get manual can openers for a few bucks at the dollar store that doesn’t take up much space.
  1. Butane Stove: They don’t need to be huge, but it’s a secondary way to boil water and cook food.
  1. A Change of clothes: You’ll need to check these regularly if you are packing for kids. Obviously, they grow faster than adults. They need to be similar to your everyday clothes with the ability to layer. This means that the clothes being a size bigger so you can layer long johns underneath then. This also means that you need to pack long johns and warm socks.
  1. Offensive/defensive weapon: This is pretty self-explanatory. A pistol is recommended because of the size. There is such a thing as a survival 22 rifle. It folds up into the butt-stock, but it’s a pain if you need it quickly. Be sure to check out your state and federal laws regarding firearms; especially if you travel across state lines. Even though it’s in your trunk, buried in a bag, it still counts as having firearms in your possession.
  1. Medical equipment: Everything from band-aids for little scratches to tourniquets for a gunshot wound. You want to be prepared for it all!  Adhesive Bandages, Israeli Bandage Battle Dressing, QuikClot Advanced Clotting Sponge
  1. Work Gloves
    You’ll need work gloves for when you need to make a shelter or are gathering wood for a fire. You’ll also need a pair of gloves to keep your hands warm. You don’t necessarily need two separate pairs if you can find one pair that does both of the above mentioned.

19.Hand Sanitizer Original: Can be used for sanitization (obviously), fire starter and disinfectant.

  1. ChapStick: obvious use and fire started. It’s a petroleum product; it’s all flammable. Kind of makes me think twice about putting it on my lips! Eek.
  1. Hygiene products: Toilet Paper, Baby Wipes, Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Tampons and/or Maxi Pads, DivaCup, Paper Towels(if you have room), a Bar of Soap, and a ziplock to keep it in.
  1. Light Sticks You can’t really go wrong here. They’re small and lightweight. You can signal for help and it saves on candles.
  1. Yep, you guessed it! Tea Lights. 10 tea-lights are adequate. You can buy a whole bag of 100 for a few dollars at Bed, Bath and Beyond. They don’t last a long time, but in a small, enclosed environment they’ll take the chill out of the air and provide light.
  1. Signal Mirror You can get these are REI or any gun/surplus store. They have a very specific function, usually with a hole in the middle. Using a cover girl compact might work, but I strongly recommend going to a store and getting an actual signal mirror. You can get a super fancy one for under $20.
  1. Survival Whistle: Another good thing for signaling.
  1. Compass and a map: This is fairly obvious if you have a destination in mind!
  1. Hand Warmers: Again, obvious use.
  1. Medical Mask: Obvious use.
  1. Latex Gloves: Obvious use! Cleaning animals, cleaning wounds, etc.
  1. Watch Hat: Something to keep your body warmth from escaping, even summer nights are cold. Roughly 45-50% of your body heat is lost through your head, best keep it covered!
  1. Sewing Kit: keeps clothes in good condition or for stitching someone up.

32. Protein Bar: this is good if you’re on the move and can’t stop this is a great pick me up to give you energy.

  1. WetFire Tinder Tube: You can buy actual fire kindling at REI or a gun/survival store, BUT if you’re cheap like me you can also make your own! Save your toilet paper rolls and dryer lint! Fill the toilet paper roll with dryer lint (I stuff a bunch in there) and put it in a ziplock and stick it in your bag. It’s free, it’s easy and it’s recycling!
  1. Cash: Roughly $500-$2000. Start saving your pennies! I realize this is a lot of cash to come up with. Trust me I get it. I suggest starting to budget for cash to put in your bug-out-bag. $20 bucks each paycheck isn’t going to kill you!
  2. A small bottle of alcohol (not rubbing alcohol): you can use it for sanitation, fire starter, and bartering if need be.
  1. Thumb Drive: With all your pertinent family info on it. We’re talking birth certificates, driver’s licenses, social security cards, marriage license, shot records, etc. I also include pictures of our family and close friends so if we need to verify that we all go together we have pictures with dates that show that we belong together, no questions asked.
  1. Sunglasses: obvious use!
  1. Tactical Flashlight: Obvious use; a large bright white light and small red light. A red light is the most difficult to see with the human eye in long distances. So, if you need to see at night and don’t want to be seen, you have an option.
  1. Proper outerwear: A good coat, shoes, layers on your person, etc.
  1. Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio: You can get these are survival stores or on Amazon. The one we have also will charge a cell phone with a USB cord; it’s also an emergency radio and is a flashlight!
  1. Batteries: get several sets for anything in your bag that requires batteries!
  1. Binoculars: Obvious use!
  1. Ammo: If you choose to have a handgun or rifle in your bag for your offensive or defensive weapon, you need something to put in it!
  1. Rite in the Rain pocket journal: This is handy so you can leave a note, keep a journal, and help maintain sanity! A rite-in-the-rain notebook and pen are the best ones for survival in the elements.
  1.  Surviving something like that as an adult is hard enough, but when you have children they don’t always understand what’s going on. We, as their parents, need to help them through that process. So! It is necessary to pack a bag of toys and comforts for each child. They need some kind of normal to help them keep some kind of normal. Go to the dollar store and get a small backpack and buy some dollar toys, coloring books, puzzles, etc. I wouldn’t show them the toys that way the toys are new and exciting in a terrible situation.

This is what’s in my bug-out-bag. My husband and I have put great care into each item we packed into our kit. We wanted each item to have multiple uses. This is the type of situation in which redundancy is a good thing!

The reason for a bug-out-bag is this; the “what-if” game. We’ve all played it! What if you’re driving home and your car goes off the side of the road and it ends up being a few hours before anyone (rescue services included) can get to you? Can you survive 24 hours with what’s in your car right this second? What if you have to walk to family members’ house due to a power outage and you don’t have any heat! Even worse, what if you can’t get there for a few days? What if you’re at the mall and there’s a tornado and you’re stuck in the storm shelter for a few hours? Could you survive with what’s in your purse? These are all questions that I challenge you to take some time and think about and discuss with your partner. Just a few simple changes can drastically improve your odds of survival.  Furthermore, the “what-if” game is why we should prepare. Our being prepared could bless another person in a crisis situation, who wasn’t prepared. What a great way to share the love of Christ in a terrible situation.



Nila Rhoades