We’re lucky to live in a time when we can hop on the Internet and in a few minutes order a bug-out bag (72-hour kit) for our family. And although these kits come with crucial items such as food and water it’s important that you always personalize your bug out bag with a few additional items. Here’s our list of 7 bug-out bag supplies most people overlook.
The fact is, these are critical items that no “off the shelf” bag will contain and are unique to you and your family.
1. Vision Essentials
More than 50% of all Americans require some form of vision correction. Clearly, it would be impossible for any emergency kit to include your prescription… but not impossible for you. If purchasing an extra pair of glasses is beyond your budget, consider keeping your previous pair and add them to your bug-out bag. Depending on your prescription, you can find stores online to purchase an affordable pair of backup glasses.
If you typically wear contacts, I recommend keeping a pair of glasses in your emergency supplies. Contacts require a lot of maintenance and sanitation with solutions that expire. In a crisis – that’s a lot of variables and opportunities for something to go wrong.
Imagine what would happen if a contact fell out while you were traveling to safety. What would you do if your saline solution was contaminated? When disaster strikes, you don’t need to worry about the “best dressed” award or focus on your appearance.
Also, remember sunglasses for each of your family members – whether they need glasses or not. For those who need prescription lenses, there are a number of ways to protect your eyes from the sun. My first choice would be prescription sunglasses – which work great, but if you don’t have those I would either recommend using tinted shooting glasses (to cover prescription glasses) or a simple pair of clip-on sunglasses. Keep in mind- usability is more of a benefit than style.
2. Oral Hygiene Essentials
You can find kits with a toothbrush but dental floss is a rare find. People often overlook the importance of it, but floss is essential (and thankfully it doesn’t weigh much). The last thing you need is something stuck in your teeth to cause you pain or distract you in a crisis. Floss can be used as fishing line, it can replace a broken shoelace, and you can tie extra items to your pack. This tiny addition is packed full of potential and uses. Don’t be caught without it.
Have you thought about toothpaste?
There is a lot of debate when it comes to packing toothpaste. If you find yourself in the school of thought against it, make sure to stop and consider your family. Some people are just not comfortable going without toothpaste, and it’s a simple item to add to your bag.
3. Prescription Essentials
Anyone on maintenance medication can ask their doctor for a vacation supplement. This allows you an extra month’s supply of your prescription. A bug-out bag is meant to cover you for the first 72 hours until you can get help. When help arrives life doesn’t automatically go back to normal. It could take weeks before your daily routine is restored – you can’t go weeks without your prescription. I always keep at least a 4-week supply.
Remember to also check the expiration dates on your medications before you add them to your provisions. Rotating your prescriptions is a great way to revisit your Bug-out Bag and remain aware of the contents inside. If you have little ones, keep any dangerous medications out of reach.
4. Children Essentials
As adults, I believe it is our duty and responsibility to prepare for our children. I recommend going through a mental checklist of everything your kids use throughout the day. Pack the essential items (such as diapers, bottles, rotated medications, etc.) and a few toys or games to keep them entertained. If you need your family to stay in one place all day, a few toys for the kids and a deck of cards will help pass the time (that goes for you as well).
5. Allergy Relief Essentials
Severe allergies are a top concern in any situation. With serious treatments, such as an EpiPen or Inhaler, you’ll want to keep one on-hand and a spare at home.
Every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. Carefully read through the contents provided in your pack and keep your medications with you. Don’t forget plant allergies. Remember, in an emergency, you can’t just walk into an air conditioned home to avoid pollen. You have to have what you need with you.
6. Pet Essentials
Create a survival plan for your pet and pack the supplies they will need to survive. Besides food and water, consider packing a leash and clean up essentials. Don’t forget some toys. Pets can become bored as well.
7. Environmental Essentials
Everyone is acutely aware of the environment around them. What most people don’t think of is the time of year you might need your bug-out bag. Do you have long underwear and gloves if it’s winter? What about sunscreen in summer? Make sure your bug-out bag is prepared for all four seasons in whichever terrain you reside. If you don’t have space for the four seasons, you can rotate your seasonal gear along with your prescriptions.
What bug-out bag supplies did we miss?
Here’s a challenge for you when you go to pack your bug-out bag:
Imagine there was an emergency and you had to leave your home. Even if you were camped in the backyard, how would your day go? What supplies are you missing? What can you go without?
This exercise will help you discover what personal items are essential to you and your family’s survival. Invite your family to go through this drill with you. Be creative, stay practical, and keep your family prepared.
After you do this, please share with us what you’ve learned.
Let us know what personal items are important to your survival in the comment section below.