Learn what to pack in a bug out bag for emergencies and make sure you’re ready for anything with our printable bug out bag checklist!
Why You Need a Bug Out Bag
Disaster can strike at any time, whether you are ready or not. I’ve been in Texas for almost 15 years now, so I’ve lived through a few hurricanes, including Hurricane Harvey. Over the years I’ve both evacuated and I’ve “rode out the storm.”
These experiences, while extremely scary, also taught me about the importance of being ready in an emergency. This includes packing a bug out bag with supplies to keep you alive and safe.
What is a Bug Out Bag?
A bug out bag is a portable bag or kit that contains survival items you’d need if you had to “bug out” – aka evacuate during an emergency situation or natural disaster.
It’s not meant to sustain you long term, but rather to hold you over for a few days if you have to get out of town.
When it comes to planning for a disaster, especially a hurricane, it’s crucial to have the things you need on hand and easily accessible when you need them.
If you’re just trying to wing it, putting together a bug out bag for your family can be time-consuming and costly. Plus, storing all those items can be kind of bulky.
That’s why we put together this guide to packing a bug out bag, as well as a free printable bug out bag checklist. That way you can use what we learned to save time and money…and be prepared (hopefully just in case!)
Here is a guide to help you pack the perfect bug out bag and how to get the materials you need to put together a bug out bag for your own family.
Note: This post contains shop-able ad links to products we use and love; read our full disclosure policy here.
What’s Inside My Bug Out Bag
In the past, my husband and I put together our own bug out bag. However, over time you have to replenish and replace some items, so this year we decided that buying a ready-to-go bug out bag was the best value for our family.
This Complete Earthquake Bag from Redora has everything we need in case of an emergency. The complete kit bag has both a three and seven-day option available, and you can buy additional supplies for up to six people!
“Redfora” stands for “Ready for Anything” — they’re based in California, hence the name Earthquake Bag. However, as someone who has quite a bit of hurricane experience, I can say that bug out bag essentials are pretty much the same for most disasters.
Hurricane season spans from June 1st through November 30th — that’s long time! However, since you can never predict when a disaster may strike, it’s good to have supplies on hand for both warm and cold weather conditions.
Here is what the three-day bag for one person includes:
- A red backpack (this is where the supplies are stored)
- Hygiene Kit
- Pocket Tissue Pack
- Waste Bag
- 3,600 Calorie Food Bar
- 12 Water Pouches
- Hydration Bag with Straw
- 10 Water Purification Tablets
- Pencil and Note Pad
- 5-in-1 Whistle
- N95 Dust Mask
- 50 Feet Nylon Rope
- Multi-Function Tool
- Safety Goggles
- Sewing Kit
- Leather Palm Gloves
- 30+ Hour Candle
- 12 Hour Bright Stick
- Hand Crank Flashlight / Radio / Phone Charger
- Waterproof Matches
- Emergency Poncho
- Mylar Sleeping Bag
- Tube Tent
- Hand / Body Warmer
For just over $100, this kit is not only small but has everything you need to grab in an emergency. Since these items are in a convenient backpack, you can easily grab one for each member of your family for easy emergency supplies that everyone can carry.
If you tried to buy all of these supplies individually, it would likely cost more than the total price of the Complete Earthquake Bag (ask me how I know…)
Why I Chose Redfora for My Bug Out Bag Essentials
There are a few reasons why I felt such a strong connection to Redfora and I’m happy to support them as a company:
- Price — The value is unbeatable! You get SO much packed into one bag that it would be tough to do it cheaper on your own. Plus it’s easier to have everything already tucked in neatly and ready to go.
- Their Mission — Redfora not only helps consumers prepare in case of emergency; they also help those in need who’ve already had their lives affected by disasters. Redfora donates 1% of all sales to organizations that rebuild communities after natural disasters.
- Commitment to Family — The bear logo on the Earthquake Bag symbolizes the “mama bear” and the instinct we parents feel to protect our families. They explain on their website, “we realized that there is a Mama Bear in all of us. […] We are here to make your job a little easier.”
Here’s a look at all the items inside the Complete Earthquake Bag:
Click here to take a closer look at the Complete Earthquake Bag from Redfora or to purchase your own.
What to Pack in a Bug Out Bag
While a complete kit made the most sense for our family, you can always put together your own bug out bag! Here are some essential items that you may want to include when putting together your bag or building your emergency stash. (There’s a printable copy of this bug out bag checklist later in the post).
- A minimum of 3 days worth of nonperishable emergency food (if you are vegetarian or gluten-free, you can buy emergency food kits here)
- Water filter (this is in case you don’t have access to clean drinking water)
- Emergency drinking water (a rule of thumb is 1 gallon per person for at least five days)
- Water carrier (for storing clean drinking water)
- Portable phone charger (this one is solar powered)
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Handcrank radio
- First aid kit
- Dust mask
- Emergency whistle
- Garbage bags
- Power bank or mobile power station
- Candles and matches (use only as a backup, as these, can be a fire hazard)
- Car chargers for cell phones
- Games to keep the kids busy
- Backup prescriptions
- Insect repellant (this one isn’t cheap, but it really works and it’s natural)
- Hand sanitizer
- Portable fire extinguisher
- Manual can opener
- Wet wipes
- Important documents (any documents you might need if you lose access to your phone and/or computer)
- Sleeping bag and/or warm blankets
- Personal hygiene items: such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.
- Paper and pencil
- Paper plates, napkins, utensils
For more details about what to put in your bug out bag, check out this post.
Free Printable Bug Out Bag Checklist
Click the image or link below to grab your own printable copy of our bug out bag packing list:
Other Home Preparations for an Emergency
You never know when an emergency can happen, but during hurricane season and different disaster seasons, you can do a few things to prepare your home before a storm even hits!
Start by printing out the bug out bag checklist above – this will come in handy in case you choose to wait out the storm, or if you need to grab extra supplies before you go.
For your home:
Make sure that you stock up on items such as toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, baby supplies (such as diapers and wipes), pet supplies and food, and any other necessary items that your family could use to prepare for a storm. Make sure to stock up on batteries and power free entertainment in the event of a power outage as well.
During hurricane season, here are some of the things we make sure to check regularly, so we are always prepared for an emergency:
- We keep at least half a tank of gas in the car at all times. You can get pretty far with just half a tank.
- We keep a waterproof container for important documents we may need to bring with us.
- Do the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors work? Click here to learn how often to replace smoke detectors!
Having a bug out bag ready to go for your family, and preparing your home for a possible hurricane could not only help you be prepared for an emergency but maybe even save your life!
Read This Next: The above is a short list, but you can click here to read our detailed hurricane preparedness guide.