An SHTF scenario doesn’t have to entail the collapse of society or city-destroying tsunamis. It can be something smaller, but no less dangerous—like a compromised power plant or a sudden flood that sweeps through your area.
Regardless, it’s crucial to prepare the necessary items so you can make a quick exit.
All the things we’ll address can be just as helpful in a power outage just as much as a total economic collapse. Whether the disaster is world-ending or not, here’s how you can plan ahead of time.
Food, Water and Medicine
Planning a bug-out bag can be challenging because you need to bring the essentials while keeping the weight down. It’s best to start with the things you actually need. Food and water are heavy, so you’ll want to consider how to make these items compact and light.
You can find lots of good options for food in the form of emergency rations and energy bars that won’t perish.
Water isn’t so simple. You should bring enough to sustain you for a few days in a bug-out vehicle if you have one, but you’ll also need a method of purifying it. It’s recommended to have multiple.
A filtration system that uses gravity to filter water makes an excellent primary source. To complement this, have some purification tablets and a stove for boiling.
Last, but certainly not least, be sure that any medicine you and your family rely on is included in your bug-out kit. Don’t expect that you’ll be able to access your medicine cabinet and retrieve your medication in an emergency.
Request a refill of any prescription early or stock up on important over-the-counter goods and place them in the bag. A compact general first-aid kit should be included, along with more specialized medications.
Focus on bringing practical equipment that improves your ability to survive in a situation without functional infrastructure. Communication is critical. We suggest you have a radio, preferably a hand-crank model that won’t run out of power, as well as your phone.
You might consider a sustainable power supply like those that run on solar energy to contribute to your ability to use technology if you’re in a prolonged survival situation.
Speaking of light, a flashlight or two is essential to your kit. Consider power consumption and methods of recharging. Matches make a good fallback here. Pack waterproof, technical clothing and shoes if you have them.
Make sure your choice of footwear strikes a balance between comfort and protection and is something you can wear in a variety of situations. Leave your flip-flops behind—they won’t do you any good.
Self-defense is an important consideration, and you should have a reliable knife in your kit as a practical element. (A firearm also goes without saying.) Bring some type of solution for shelter as well, such as a tent or nylon tarp.
Basic hygiene products like floss and toothpaste are a good idea since you don’t know how long you’ll be out. A pen and paper can help contribute to psychological health. Feel free to bring some light reading material, but be conscious of weight.
Finally, be sure you have up-to-date copies of any travel or important personal documents. In a real SHTF situation, you might have to prove who you are or that you can travel in a specific location.
Copy your materials ahead of time and have extras already in the bag so they’re there when you need them.
Be Ready for Anything
With these basic items, you should have a fairly compact but effective bug-out kit.
Do you have suggestions on preparing for a quick exit? Do you want to share a story of how your bag has worked for you in the past? Tell us in the comments below.