The answer to the 'best' bug-out bag, SHTF bag, get-home bag or to-go bag is... the one that fits you, your family and your needs best. Some people don't like that answer but it's the truest answer.
I am not a so-called or self proclaimed expert. But I do have experience with this topic and it's important to me and my family so I thought I'd post about it on the website this morning.
First of all; what is a bug out bag?
A bag you have packed and ready for you, each of your family members and even your pets in case you need to get out of your home in a hurry, or in the case of a get-home bag, trying to return home from work or school during some sort of a disaster or emergency.
For some, the best example would be watching (or being one of) the people that were forced into a mandatory evacuation during hurricane Katrina. A disaster of some kind hits or happens and you are forced with very little time to prepare, to leave your home for an unknown place, for an unknown length of time.
Also, consider the numerous freeway, highway and interstate video and photos taken by news crews before, during or after a disaster. Traffic is at a standstill. No one can move, cars are abandoned and families are separated. This is the bag a prepared person has in their vehicle to grab-and-go. Basic needs already packed.
In the case of where our oldest two kids currently live (that we relocated from), cars in rural ditches, low traveled country roads or even on the interstates or highways, stalled due to 'white outs' or blizzard or ice conditions where you may have to stay in your vehicle for at least a day or two before you would be found or helped.
What is in a get home or bug out bag?
This is where you have to personalize it. What is important or necessary to me, isn't the same to you. It also depends on where you live, what disasters you are preparing for, your skill level, how many people are with you, their ages and a long list of other variables.
For my own bag, I started with a basic 4-person kit I bought online (which is really more of a 2 person kit as you get '2' of many items for 4 people to share). I then transferred the items between a comfortable backpack I had purchased separately and the one that came with the kit. I supplemented things that were missing from the very 'basic' kit and I upgraded to better quality many of the other items. (The tools and gloves you get in the kits are going to be crap quality from China.) I added a good quality weather radio that could be crank or solar activated, I added fire starting materials, paper based maps and added items to the first aid kit. I bought to-go toothbrushes that have the paste included, and added a good knife, a change of socks, underwear and t-shirt as well as some lightweight freeze dried food, a light fleece blanket and more.
Personalize your kit.
Do you take daily medication you need?
Do you wear glasses?
Do you live in a dry, arid region or a wooded, wet region?
A populated area where you can find help fast or do you live 20 miles from a town?
Do you have a baby with you? An elderly person?
Special disabilities or disease or allergies to work around?
For my 2 college kids that live 1000 miles away, I started with a very basic starter kit; the Trekker IV Emergency Kit.They probably will never need it - and I hope they don't. But I bought this kit, split it between the two bags and added more items and better quality items I felt were important. They keep them in the trunk of their cars to humor me... but I feel better knowing they have basic shelter, food, water, heat and tools to hopefully get them home or to relatives homes in the event of an emergency as well as surviving in their cars during blizzards and storms.
My husband has this backpack which he uses for work. It currently holds his files, papers, his laptop computer and more. In the event of an emergency it quickly becomes another to-go bag for us as it's very well made with great options for side pockets, zippered compartments and comfort.
SwissGear SA1923 ScanSmart Backpack
In the end, what I hope for is that everyone considers adding a bag to their trunk, or to the closet of their home in order to 'grab and go' if need be. Evacuation on foot or vehicle, along with 3 days worth of food, water, medication and other supplies is a must for the most simple, basic emergency preparation. If you do nothing else, you should at least do this - and 1 week is much more prudent than just 3 days.
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