10 Essential Items to Include in Your Bug Out Bag for Natural Disasters

A futuristic bug out bag

10 Essential Items to Include in Your Bug Out Bag for Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can happen anytime, anywhere, and they can be devastating. Emergency preparedness is crucial to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones during such times.

One of the most important tools you can have in your emergency preparedness kit is a bug out bag.

It's a bag that you can quickly grab and take with you in case of an emergency evacuation.

In this article, we'll discuss the 10 essential items that you should include in your bug out bag for natural disasters..

1. Water

Water is the most critical item you should include in your bug out bag. You can survive for only a few days without water, and it's not always easy to find clean water during natural disasters. Therefore, it's essential to pack at least two liters of water per person per day if at all possible.

This might include filled water bottles, hydration bladders, or collapsible water bags.

Water is heavy though, so it's also crucial to include a water filtration system, such as a water filter straw, portable water filter, or water purification tablets so you aren't carrying around gallons of water all the time. 

Check out our backcountry water filtration guide and our best water filters guide for our favorite systems.

2. Food

During natural disasters, food may not be readily available, and it's crucial to have non-perishable, high-calorie foods in your bug out bag. Examples of such foods include energy bars, jerky, dried fruits, canned goods, and peanut butter.

You can also include meal replacement shakes and instant meals that require only water. Don't forget to include utensils, such as a spoon, knife, and fork.

Our Backpacking Food & Fire Making tutorial will help you get started with the best choices. 

3. Shelter

During natural disasters, you may have to evacuate quickly, and having a means of shelter will provide you with a safe place to rest. Pack a tent, tarp, or emergency blanket, depending on the climate and environment you may encounter.

(Tents can be heavy. Only carry one if you can split the weight with someone else, or can carry in your vehicle.)

Pack a lightweight sleeping bag or a camping pad for added comfort. If you have to travel long distances, consider bringing along a trekking pole or a walking stick to help you traverse rough terrain.

We also strongly recommend an eye mask and ear plugs to help you sleep in busy environments. 

Our Emergency Shelter and Bedding tutorial will give you our best recommendations. Don't skip this part! Proper sleep is critical during stressful times. 

4. Clothing

Include appropriate clothing in your bug out bag for the climate and environment you may encounter during a natural disaster. Pack layers of clothing, a rain jacket, and sturdy shoes or boots. In cold weather, include a beanie, gloves, and a warm jacket.

Make sure you have good footwear. Don't skimp out here, you're going to need your feet to stay in good shape. 

In hot weather, include a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and breathable clothing. Don't forget to include spare clothing items, such as socks and underwear. Always have a spare set of socks! Blisters can make you miserable or worse, sick. 

Think of clothing as shelter you wear to protect you from elemental exposure, and you'll have the right mindset when choosing what to pack in your emergency kits. 

Need some ideas? Check out our protective survival clothing guide

5. First Aid Kit

Injuries and illnesses are common during natural disasters, and having a well-stocked first aid kit in your bug out bag is essential. Your first aid kit should contain bandages, antiseptic, gauze, medical tape, and any medication you or your family members may need.

You can also include a first aid manual or a first aid app on your smartphone for guidance.

The best pre-made First Aid kits you can buy are the MyMedic first aid kits

Jase Medical offers emergency antibiotic supplies and 12 month emergency prescriptions so you an stock up on your medications. Use promo code BUGOUT10 for $10 off. 

6. Navigation

If you have to evacuate an area during a natural disaster, you'll need to know where you're going and how to get there. Pack a map and compass or GPS device in your bug out bag.

You can also include a whistle to signal for help, a signaling mirror to attract attention, and a flashlight or headlamp for navigating in the dark.

7. Communication

During a natural disaster, communication lines can be down, making it difficult to reach your loved ones. Pack a reliable communication device, such as a two-way radio or a satellite phone. We think the goTenna Mesh is a useful tool. 

You could also include a spare battery or a solar-powered charger to keep your devices powered.

We have a few comprehensive guides about communications: our comprehensive Off-Grid Communications Guide and our basic Emergency Communications and Navigation Guide

8. Personal Hygiene

Hygiene During an emergency situation, it's easy to overlook personal hygiene, but it's crucial to maintain good hygiene to avoid infections and illnesses. Pack hygiene essentials, such as hand sanitizer, wet wipes, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, and toilet paper.

You can also include feminine hygiene products, if needed.

We give you a list of ideas on small, packable hygiene items in this tutorial.

9. Tools

Include multi-purpose tools in your bug out bag, such as a knife, a saw, a hatchet, and a multi-tool. These tools can help you with various tasks, such as cutting wood, preparing food, and fixing equipment.

You can also include duct tape, paracord, and zip ties, which can come in handy in a variety of situations.

Tools are awesome, but don't get carried away. They can add a lot of unnecessary weight to your pack. 

Browse our bug out tools tutorial for a variety of multi-purpose tool suggestions.

10. Cash and Important Documents

During a natural disaster, ATMs and banks may not be accessible, and electronic payment methods may not be functional. Pack some cash in small denominations in your bug out bag. Also, include important documents, such as identification, insurance policies, and emergency contact information, in a waterproof container.

You can also include a USB drive with electronic copies of your documents.

For more information on packing important documents, check out our guide.

In conclusion, natural disasters can strike at any time, and being prepared is crucial. Your bug out bag should contain essential items, such as water, food, shelter, clothing, first aid kit, navigation tools, communication devices, personal hygiene products, multi-purpose tools, cash, and important documents.

By including these items in your bug out bag, you'll have the necessary tools to survive and thrive during an emergency situation.

Be sure to check out our WUSH Bag Guide (Wake Up Stuffs Happening) for advice on building a 30 second bag - something you can grab in an instant and start your life over with if you lose everything else. 

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