I thought for a long time about the best way to assemble Bug Out Bags. Some lists you'll find out on the Internet are very much military inspired and list every component down to the type of heat you should be packing. I definitely will be investigating firearms at some point, but my inherent clumsiness and complete lack of experience precludes me from including them at this point.
I decided the easiest thing to do would be to order a prepackaged emergency kit and personalize it. My large order from Emergency Essentials (which also included the items for our Vehicle Emergency Kits) weighed over 70 pounds!
The emergency kit I ordered was their "Trekker IV", a mid-priced emergency kit for four people. Since we have six people in our family, I then ordered additional items such as rations, water, ponchos, etc. for another two people. I don't think that Baby Dear will be eating emergency rations for a while, but I wanted to have them on hand now rather than forget about it for the future.
The kit includes two backpacks and you arrange the items in them as you desire. It really does include many items and covers the vast majority of the ones you will find on Bug Out Bag checklists.
The only weakness I really found was the multipurpose tool in the kit. I found it to be pretty flimsy in comparison to one we already have kicking around the house. I wouldn't want to have to depend on that tool for my survival. I'm planning on upgrading that at some point in the future.
One of the items I added to the kit was this flashlight/cell phone charger. If you crank it for 1 minute, the flashlight will work for 30 minutes. The cell phone charger could be really handy since our cell phones tend to run out of juice right when we need them.
These are the emergency food rations the Trekker IV kit contains. Some of the more pricey kits Emergency Essential sells include MREs. That is something I may buy down the road, but for now these rations will do. They will keep us alive anyway. My oldest two children are begging to try them out.
I bought a box of 20 N-95 masks. These are good for preventing dust inhalation or infectious disease transmission. Hubby Dear is in the health care field and told me that if you have facial hair, it is nearly impossible to get a N-95 mask to fit correctly, which is something to remember. During the Swine Flu epidemic, he was unable to wear one over his beard at work. Nonetheless, these are important to have on hand.
The final addition to our BOB was my emergency binder, which I explained in this post. It contains all the information we would want to have on hand if we hand to evacuate in a hurry - family phone numbers, insurance information, etc.
The two backpacks that make up our primarily emergency kits are very heavy. None of our children could possibly carry them and they would wear me out in a hurry. I guess I had better start lifting weights!
I made another backpack that contains diapers for Sweetie Pie and Baby Dear as well as formula. That backpack could be carried by either of our two oldest children. There are two other backpacks that contain changes of clothing and shoes for our entire family.
Finally, I am building up a store of cash to carry in the BOBs. I've started our stash with the $30 we were paid for being a Nielsen family. Each month I intend to add to the cash using small denominations only. Right now I'm planning on putting about $200 in the BOBs and storing additional cash our safe. Eventually I'd like to have around $1,000 in cash stored at home. We already have a substantial emergency fund in the bank, but if SHTF that may not be accessible.
So that's our Bug Out Bags.
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