What is a Bug Out Bag? Why Have One?

Written by The Ready Store

This is part 1 of a 4 part article. (Read part 2part 3 -part 4)

Bug out bags can be a very important and useful part of your emergency plans. By creating a bug out bag that is actually useful, you’ll be prepared at a moment’s notice for any emergency.

What is a bug out bag
A bug out bag is a portable emergency kit that should last you for 72-hours. They’re also known as 72-hour kits, grab bags or Go Bags.

The idea behind the bag is to be prepared in need of an evacuation. If your family is mandatorily, or voluntarily evacuating from your home, this kit would include all the things you’d need to survive for at least three days.

So, telling you what to pack is a little tricky. It really depends on your personal needs, your surroundings and the type of emergency you might face. However, in the next few sections we’ll address the basics that should not be missed when packing a bug out bag.

When to use a bug out bag
This is a tricky question – there is no definite answer. If some disaster occurs and there is a mandatory evacuation, obviously a pack would be good to have. However, voluntary evacuations are obviously up to you.

Deluxe 72-hour kitIf it becomes impossible to live in your home due to events like gas leaks, fires, nuclear disaster, flooding, etc.; you’ll want a bug out bag.

However, remember that voluntary evacuations should be one of your last resorts. Leaving your home forces you to leave behind shelter, warmth, protection and possibly food.

Where to go with your bug out bag
If it’s a mandatory evacuation, you’ll probably be directed where to go. If your area is prone to certain natural disasters, your family should know where to meet. For example, if you live in an area that is prone to flooding, be sure that your family meets in a higher elevated location that is known to all of them.

Be sure to talk about your emergency plans with your children. During a disaster, they will respond better if they already know what to do. Read our previous blog about establishing an emergency family plan.

Our next section will explain how to choose a bag for your bug out bag.

You can also read parts 3 and part 4.

Updated February 24, 2012


  1. Julien Brightside wrote:

    I foresee this will be very useful in case of a zombie breakout.

    February 29th, 2012 at 11:26 am
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    May 9th, 2013 at 10:38 pm
  3. Jon wrote:

    The CDC Recommends preparing for EBOLA. Got a bag for that one? Now they want to send three thousand troops to Africa to help out. If that isn’t the dumbist idea I ever heard.

    September 17th, 2014 at 11:40 am

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