When it comes to being ready to deal with a variety of disasters, it’s never to soon to start preparing. A big part of being ready for anything is taking some time to make sure you’ve not only created a bug out bag, but that you’ve also made it as manageable as possible. After all, a bug out bag doesn’t do you any good if it’s so heavy you can’t budge it.
Common Bug Out Bag Mistakes
When it comes to creating the perfect bug out bag, most people make one of a few mistakes.
- They fail to look around and see if there are lighter, more compact versions of the supplies and equipment they’ve stashed in their bug out bag.
- They fill the bag with items that they like, even though the items aren’t really essential to their survival.
- They stock the bag with too many of one particular item, which doesn’t leave room for anything else.
Don’t Forget the Purpose of Your Bug Out Bag
The purpose of your bug out bag is so that you have something on hand that you can grab if you need to vacate your home in a hurry. The items inside the bag are things that you need to have on hand if you’re going to survive for 72 hours on your own outdoors. If you’re putting something into your bug out bag that won’t actually help you survive for that length of time, it needs to come out right now. The only purpose non-essential items serve is weighing down your pack.
The Problem With Too Much Water
Most of us know that it’s theoretically possible for us to live 72 hours without anything to eat, but that we will most likely die if we try to go that long without water, which is why we try to cram as many bottles of water into out bug out bags as we possibly can. The problem with all that water is that it’s heavy. While you should have at least one or two bottles of water in your bag, you should also have some water purification tablets that can be used to render any water you find drinkable.
If you’re looking for an alternative to water purification pills, you can slide a small, high quality water filter into your bug out bag. Not only does the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System disinfect water, at only 2 ounces, it’s very easy for you to haul around everywhere you go. The Sawyer water filter is designed in such a way that you can use it to purify about 100,000 gallons before it will need to be replaced.
Don’t Confuse Your Bug Out Bag with your Vacation Suitcase
Having one or two complete changes of clothing would be nice, but it’s not an essential part of emergency survival. Remember, the bag is only supposed to contain items that are absolutely essential. You need to have a good pair of shoes/boots and should have one or two extra pair of socks but otherwise don’t worry about filling your bag with clothing. In the long run, you’ll be better off using the space for a thermal blanket and portable shelter.
If you have time to change before vacating your home, you should wear as many clothes as possible, keeping the lightest weight layers at the bottom.
Additional items you pack in an overnight bag but not a bug out bag include:
- Travel pillows
- Extra shoes
- An assortment of toiletries
How Much Shelter Do You Really Need?
Sure, camping gear manufactures have done marvelous things with tents and have made them lighter weight than ever before, but that doesn’t mean one needs to be stuffed into your bug out bag. A good quality tarp is just as handy. Not only does it not take up much space in your bug out bag, but it can be easily set up, worn in lieu of a rain coat, and keeps all of your supplies nice an dry. A good tarp to have in your bug out bag is the Aqua-Quest Heavy Duty Tarp.
Simplify your Food
Food weighs a great deal and when it comes to basic survival, you really don’t need to have much tucked into your bug out bag. You should be able to make do with a few packs of raisins, peanuts, and some dried meat. Make sure your food items are tightly sealed and that they won’t spoil.
Knowing that you can easily manage the weight of your bug out bag will provide you with a great deal of peace of mind.