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?
18 Replies to “Easy DIY Bug Out Bag”
I have never heard the term ‘bug out bag’ before! I have no emergency bag put together at all!! It has never occurred to me. Very good idea though! Apparently storms this summer are going to be more cyclonic here in Queensland which is a worry. Great ideas here!!
I think the term bug out bag is more a US type term. Perhaps more military in origin? Anyway, I’m certainly not a panicker (which is apparently not a word) on these types of things so next grocery shop I’m going to buy some more tins of food and put it in. I can never remember where I heard that three days is how long it takes to restore services in (I presume) first world countries but it sounds easy to get the stock for and easy to move/store. At the very least I’d keep spare water in your house. I think it was The Gap a few years back that had water out for a few days due to a massive storm.
It makes me think I need one of these “just in case.” We wouldn’t go hungry that’s for sure because I keep my pantry stocked as if an apocalypse was coming, but I definitely need to get on to the meds and the torch! I’m impressed with your organisation!
A just in case is good, but it really depends how much you’re at risk. Houses vs units and different cities really change how much you may need one.
Never heard it called that before. Great idea though. Our camping box (which is always stocked) would probably double as our bug out box.
I think it’s a bit of a US term. Camping boxes are pretty much the same thing, would let you get by outside of your house for a few days if you have to.
I have not heard of the term ‘bug out bag’, but I think it is a great idea! Going to create one for our family x
It’s handy if you live in something like a flood-prone area. The idea is that you can grab it, carry it yourself and be ok for a few days until the worst has passed.
Haha Bug Out Bag makes me think of Doomsday Preppers. Great idea by the council though. We live in an area that is mildly bushfire prone so it is something I keep in mind even though I don’t have an actual kit yet. During the Great Blackout of South Australia earlier in the year, we were well sorted as husband has all manner of battery powered worklights, gas fired lanterns and even a camping fridge that runs on gas so we were living the high life!
It is a bit like that, just not as gun focused and OTT!! Sounds like you’re on your way to being sorted. At least with lights and a camp fridge it must make blackouts easier.
What a great post! So helpful. One of those prepare it once, check it regularly (batteries etc), then hopefully never need it type things. #teamIBOT
Yep pretty much. The only reason I blogged it was that it was time to check it for the year. I would be far too lazy to pull it out just to blog it at any other time of the year 🙂
Should I have one of these? I’ve never heard of it. I was only thinking the other day I should have a first aid kit!
It depends on how risky where you live is. We’re more likely to be stranded at home than have to leave our home (*knocks on wood*). A bug out bag is for those who may be at risk of things like fires or floods – the idea is to grab it and be able to leave the house and have enough useful stuff to manage for a few days until things calm down etc. I wouldn’t ever panic and spend heaps making one! (Unless there’s like a giant cyclone bearing down on you in the next day kind of thing.) Frankly the only reason I have this one is that my mother in law gave me the bag! Otherwise my supplies are much more focused on being able to stay at home during a bad situation (like the 2011 floods in Brisbane – we were safe in our suburb but couldn’t really go anywhere and shops had no supplies).
Yes I have had a bug out bag for some years. I live in Florida in the US and we have hurricane season every year. I like your ideas. My take on the bag is at http://www.comfortspringstation.com/2015/07/07/emergency-preparation-are-you-prepared/ My references are all USA but I’m sure your government must have similar resources. Carol
Oh I love your idea of putting it in an old suitcase! That’s a great tip. Makes it easier to carry the supply of water if you can wheel it instead of having to carry it. Thanks for reading and sharing your link.
The bug out bag is a great concept, I’ve not heard of it before. It’s always good to be prepared, thanks for showing us.
Better to have it and not need it!