A bug out bag is what you will take with you during an emergency. It is your lifeline. It holds the keys to survival, but that means you need to anticipate barriers you will encounter on your journey. The basics you need in a bug out bag are well covered, but there are several items you should add. These items can mean the difference between life and death.
Item #1 – Portable Power Supply
For a short-term power solution, packing batteries and pre-charged power banks may seem like an adequate solution, but these devices fail to plan for prolonged displacement. In a true emergency, you will need a way of generating power. Attempting to ration energy can become dangerous, and in the modern world, it is unnecessary. Similarly, you are putting yourself at undue risk by trying to do without energy altogether.
Not everyone will find themselves in a situation that allows them to carry a portable generator, but if you are bugging in or have a bug out vehicle, this is something you can consider. However, you will need fuel for the generator. A better solution for a bug out bag is a form of renewable power. Solar power is an amazing solution to this predicament. Panels are lightweight and can be adapted to provide energy to other potentially life-saving devices such as satellite phones, GPS, battery chargers, etc.
Item #2 – Hygiene Products
When things fall apart, something as basic as good hygiene is going to prevent many life-threatening diseases. Personal hygiene products go beyond dental floss and toothpaste, which are necessary to fight gum and mouth disease. You should also have a sanitary way of removing waste and cleaning yourself. You should also have ways for dressing wounds, and know how to use such items.
Body hair attracts a lot of dirt and grime, so a good way to reduce the labor and resources it will take to clean yourself, your grooming products can also boost your health. Sanitary wipes are another good short-term solution, but they are not renewable. That is why your plans for getting a hold of freshwater must include plans for cleaning water and not just drinking water.
Item #3 – Passive Security Devices
When most people consider the security devices that they will pack in their bug out bag, they often talk about weapons and self-defense products. Those are means of active security. They only do you good if you are around to use them, but what happens if you are caught unaware or your supplies are found when you are not there to protect them? This is where passive security devices come into play.
Booby traps are a bit extreme, and if society has not collapsed, they will be illegal to use. This means you will need to carry a good chain and a great padlock. Both of these devices are perfect for securing what you have while you are on the go.
These things can be quite heavy, but if you try to reduce the weight, you will be reducing the quality of the metal. The lighter the metal, the weaker it is, which weakens your security. The good news is that you are likely only going to need to worry about bolt cutters, as thieves and looters are unlikely to be charging power tools such as angle grinders.
Item #4 – Footwear
Shoes are important for keeping all manner of hazardous and sharp things from causing you harm. Because you don’t know when an emergency will take place, you have no way of knowing what state your shoes will be in. You also do not want to be breaking in a new pair of shoes when you have to respond to the said emergency. A good middle ground is to have a pair of new shoes packed in your bug out bag.
Similarly, you must have multiple pairs of socks. When socks get wet, this can increase the likelihood of illness. Socks that are not changed often enough after daily use can also create severe problems. Going without socks is also a bad idea as it will cause your shoes to wear out much quicker. Feet produce as much as a half a pint of moisture a day, and a sock needs to be there to absorb it but must be changed and cleaned as well.
Item #5 – Medication
If you have a chronic illness or allergies, you will need your daily medication. Very few people think of this because it is not a glamorous item, and it is often quite expensive to purchase more medicine than you need. It might also be very difficult to get your hands on stockpiles of prescription drugs. You must do what you can because, during an emergency, a pre-existing health concern will be low on the list of immediate threats.
When it comes to taking care of children during an emergency, you must consider the fact that young people are more likely to become ill. This is also true for any elderly people who are in your care. Be sure that you can treat illnesses as they come up. This also means knowing what drugs you should pack and the proper dosages to use them in for different concerns.
If you have to bug out during an emergency, these items need to be in your possession. They help you to cast the widest net for personal protection. You will never be prepared for everything, but these additional items will help with formulating a general response. Stay fortified against the unexpected, and plan to survive.
This guest post was submitted by Ralph Goodman, who is a security expert and lead writer for the Lock Blog, the #1 locksmith blog on the Internet.