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      News — backpacking first aid kit

      Bug Out Gear: Everything You Need for the Best Bug Out Bag

      Bug Out Gear: Everything You Need for the Best Bug Out Bag

      When the unexpected strikes, every second counts. A bug out backpack can be the difference between avoiding a disaster and scrambling around for the equipment you need. A bit of preparation when times are good can save you precious moments.

      A go bag (often called a bug out bag or a 72 hour bag) contains everything you need to stay safe and well in a disaster. We're talking food, water, clothes, safety supplies, medication, copies of your most important documents, and anything else you might need if you have to leave home in a hurry. A great rule of thumb is to pack everything necessary to survive for 72 hours - enough time for the disaster to subside and help to come your way.

      So What do I Put in This Thing?

      A bug out bag can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, but we recommend having a few basic areas fully covered. But first, a note on the bag itself. It's tempting to buy a big bag and fill it with everything you can think of, but an over-packed bag isn't necessarily a helpful bag. Insead, assemble everything you plan to load into your bag, then choose the best bug out bag to fit. 

      You'll need to have the following areas covered to have a reliable bag on your hands:

      • Food: Again, the rule of thumb is to have 72 hours worth of food in your tactical go bag. Dehydrated meals (MREs) are a great choice here. They're lightweight, easy to heat, and keep a long time. Protein bars are also a long lasting, calorie dense choice for bug out bag food. Finally, don't neglect cooking supplies. A dehydrated dinner on its own won't do you much good if you need boiling water to reconstitute it. A lightweight portable stove, stove fuel, and a cooking pot are all valuable assets.

      • Water: At a minimum you need 1 liter of water per person per day in your survival bug out bag. Again, that's at a minimum. A water bottle and purification tablets or a water filtration tool (like a lifestraw) can help make natural water sources potable, but there's really no substitute to having clean water on hand when you need it.

      • Clothing: Pack two full sets of clothes per person in your bug out bag. The last thing you want is to be stuck in something cold and wet when you're in the elements. Your exact clothing needs will vary based on your location and typical weather, but lightweight pants and shirts, two pairs of underwear, a medium weight fleece, and a weather resistant poncho are all a must. And whatever you do, don't forget extra wool socks -  dry feet are healthy feet.

      • First Aid: If you're bugging out, you're probably in a bad situation. An injury will make it worse. Add a full complement of first aid supplies to your bug out list and you'll be able to deal with any minor to moderate injury you may encounter. Bandages, antibiotic ointment, scissors, gauze, and medical tape are all must-haves. If you're not confident about what you should or shouldn't include, a pre-made kit will make sure all your bases are covered. This hardshell kit has everything your bug out bag needs in a sturdy container - perfect for when the unexpected strikes.

      • Safety: A few key items can make a dangerous situation manageable. A flashlight with extra batteries, a radio, an emergency blanket, a bug out tent, and a whistle are indispensable when it comes to staying safe in unwelcoming terrain.

      • Medication and Documents: Round out your bag with copies of important documents (such as your driver's license, passport, and birth certificate) and a several day supply of any prescription medications you rely on.

      Go Pro

      There's a lot that goes into building the best bug out backpack. For some, constructing and maintaining a bug out bag is a hobby all on its own. But for many of us it's the function that's important. Don't be afraid to take advantage of professionally assembled kits. You'll be sure to have everything you need without the guesswork of pulling it all together by yourself.

      However you choose to make your emergency bag, here's hoping you'll never have to use it. Stay safe and be prepared.

      Check List for -First-Aid-Kit Assembly

      Tips for Assembling an Outdoor Safety Kit

      Check List for -First-Aid-Kit Assembly

      Getting outside and experiencing our wonderful land is always a joy. But danger is never far away. Whether you’re hiking, backpacking, camping, hunting, hitting the beach or even picnicking, something can go wrong while you’re out and about. Trips and falls, cuts, sticker bushes, bug bites, burns and breaks can all intrude on the experience. The last thing you want is to be both hurt and stranded. Therefore, a portable outdoor safety kit is more than a good idea – it’s a must. You’ll need essential tools, some food, emergency items and, of course, a first aid kit.


      The first thing you need to consider for your outdoor safety kit is how you’ll carry it. Start with the first aid kit – that’s an obvious priority – and build from there. Even at this first step, you’re presented with plenty of choices. A humongous first aid kit like they have in parks, zoos, theme parks and EMT vehicles take up more than a backpacks or duffel bag. Pocket kits seem cool at first, but many include barely enough supplies for a splinter. Finding a happy medium between contents and size is the goal. Fitting a first aid kit into a backpack with room to spare is ideal. It doesn’t matter if you’re alone or in a group, choose one that’s light, portable, but also helpful.

      Don’t Overstuff

      Your outdoor safety kit doesn’t have to be a bugout bag for the apocalypse. Overfilling just makes it heavier. It also makes finding what you need more difficult. Analyze your situation logically. If you’re going for a casual daytime nature hike at your local national park, then you most likely won’t need a tent or cooking supplies let alone water purification tablets, burn gel, and the like. Pack for your immediate need and then add for an extra day or two.

      First Aid and Emergency Kit Combined

      Your outdoor safety kit needs a well-stocked first aid kit and some helpful survival items. Your best bet is to buy an ANSI-certified emergency preparedness kit that’s carried inside a lightweight, zip up, waterproof cover. It should include items like:

      • Band-Aids and small adhesive dressings in various sizes
      • assorted bandages and gauze
      • antiseptic towelettes, alcohol wipes and insect sting treatments
      • medical tape
      • scissors
      • painkillers
      • cold pack
      • emergency blanket and poncho
      • radio and batteries
      • light stick
      • and so on.

      Such a kit will have what you need to administer first aid and handle the elements for a few days until professional assistance arrives or is found.

      Trauma Supplies

      Serious accidents can happen when you’re in the great outdoors. So many people have suffered or died because they didn’t have a few extra essentials. It takes very little effort to beef up your outdoor safety kit by adding a lightweight portable trauma kit. This would contain specially treated clotting sponges for heavier bleeding, tourniquets, gloves, and a small CPR mask.

      Tools of the Trade

      The Boy Scouts are right: be prepared. If you’re heading out for a few days, either by yourself or in a group, a few tools and handy items won’t take up huge space or add massive weight to your outdoor safety kit:

      • Bug spray.
      • A good multi-tool that includes a folding saw.
      • Flashlight.
      • Firestarters.
      • Waterproof matches.
      • String.
      • Trail mix and energy bars.
      • Carabiners.
      • Duct tape.
      • A can – great for storing items and also for collecting and boiling water.

      These are the kinds of items that won’t overstuff your kit. Avoid adding ‘luxury’ items to it.

      If you follow all the advice here, you will have a very useful outdoor safety kit that will serve you well and not be a hassle to carry. Just be sure you buy the best first aid supplies and always tell people where you’re headed and when you’re expected back again.

      Be safe out there and enjoy!

      Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to First Aid Shoppe and a clickable link back to this page.