First up: the good blogger disclaimer. I’m so not an expert. My philosophy on disaster preparation is that of “take care of urgent needs for a couple of days until things calm down”. For us, the risk is mainly severe storms in summer. So it’s at the start of storm season that I tend to prepare. And this is my annual check of the bag and its contents. I figured that’s a good time to take photos and share it with you all.
Easy DIY Bug Out Bag
Our local council was either selling or giving out these waterproof (and I think they float, too) bug out bags the other year. I’m not sure of the details, as it was my mother in law who picked one up and brought it round to our house for us. The info seems to still be on their website, so I assume it’s still a thing. Check your local council’s website or call their general inquiry hotline if you are investigating for yourself.
The bag itself is really great, deep and folds up tightly. It holds a lot but won’t be too heavy to move (unless you stuff it literally fully of bricks). Not the authenticity of this bag by the collection of dust and dog hair on the bottom of it!
Next up is the toilet bag. I can’t actually remember where I got a single roll of toilet paper or the Kleenex wipes – they’re not things I would normally purchase. Could have been giveaways in shops or something, who knows! They were handy when I was first doing up this bag the other year, that’s all I know.
And the specific wipes I (somehow) ended up with. I don’t think the wipes are necessary, but I think they probably add a good layer of hygiene in an emergency, especially if loss of water is likely (meaning no baths or showers). If I didn’t already have them, I probably would have just put more toilet rolls in the bag:
Of course, it’s also handy if you have women in the house to have some tampons and pads on hand:
Toothbrushes, toothpaste (both from airline kits), laundry detergent, wipes, razor, a mini sewing kit. All handy types of things.
The torch came with the local council bag. It’s solar powered, wind up, has radio and I think an alarm too. We used to keep it handy but lets face it, for normal brief storm power cuts, wind up torches are a pain in the ass. So I decided to move it into the bug out bag and keep it there.
The other lighting I have are two long-lasting glow sticks. In theory. I mean they did cost $3 so it’s anyone’s guess as to if they work and for how long. But again, I already had them and thought they would be handy. I also keep a set of these in my car.
While we keep water elsewhere, I did put a small collapsible water bottle in this bag. I think I got it at Officeworks a year or so ago for $1. I have no idea where the coffee sachets are from but I figured they could go in too. I don’t drink coffee but my husband does.
I do also keep water in the linen cupboard, next to the bug out bag. Usually one big container, similar to this one. I also have a cheap Kmart butane stove and butane refills, which I’ve never used and checked so I should do that. Hey, I’m nothing if not a reality blogger, people.
We keep it really basic. I don’t see a need to be fancy or complicated so we stick to things like tinned baked beans. Good, high energy food that can be eaten hot or cold. Sometimes we’ll have tinned peas or corn (or something similar) in there too. Our tins were getting rusted so right now, there is no food in our bug out bag. Of course, if you have allergies or sensitivities – food may be a much bigger concern. Give thought toward minimal preparation and long life.
I’ve put a couple of tea towels and a spare apron in a bag. I’m not really sure of the practicality of this vs say a roll of paper towels, but again, not an expert and these were on hand!
My kitchen utensils are pretty woeful in this bag right now. Basically it’s some old picnic stuff I found in the cupboard. Probably too basic, and I’d like to add to it. But my kitchen itself is long overdue for a good clean out, so I expect I will have some items I can add to this.
Things I Need To Add/Update:
- New can opener. We pilfered the one from the bug out bag when our main one stopped working. Even if you buy ring-pull cans, put in a can opener. You never know when the ring pulls will fail.
- Tinned food. As you can see from the photos, the tins we did have were too old and needed replacing.
- Kitchen utensils: sharp knife, plate, bowl.
Some people may want to put in tools, more specific medication, more specific food, and larger amounts to suit family needs. While we have a range of human AND dog medical conditions to maintain (some serious), for storage reasons it is not practical to keep any of those medications in the bug out bag. However, they are on either one shelf in the fridge or in a box in the pantry, so they are highly “grabbable”. You may also want a small toy, a pack of cards (tips on storing cards here) or some notebooks and pens.
One thing you’ll notice is that I’ve made all of this with what I had on hand. I don’t think there’s a great need to go out of the way to purchase things for a bug out bag. Keep it simple and functional and use products you often buy. I’ve also kept everything in large zip lock bags becuase it helps keep things separated. Zip lock bags are also handy for waste of any kind.
Do you have a small emergency kit or bug out bag? What do you put in it?