emergency evacuation disaster preparedness

Bug Out Bags, Go Bags, and Emergency Evacuations

Whether you call it your Go Bag, your Bug Out Bag (BOB), or your Disaster Pack the goal is the same, a bag you can grab and go during an emergency. It is a bag that should contain everything you need to immediately evacuate wherever you are. Packing and maintaining your go bag or your BOB is more important than ever as we see increasing numbers of natural disasters throughout the world and across the United States. 

While buying a ready-made Bug Out Bag may seem like an easy option, it is not an efficient option. No commercially available Go Bag is going to contain the items you need for your specific needs and will likely contain many items you will never use. Instead, we recommend you grab a durable duffel bag or backpack and stock it with items that you know you will want handy in an emergency evacuation. 

The Basics:

  • Water
  • Food 
    • Snacks or possibly full meal kits for your family. You may want your full ration kit to be easy to grab along with your go-bag. 
    • Baby formula or other specialized food for a family member with unique dietary needs.
  • First Aid
    • Be sure to always have prescription medicines ready to go. Regularly check that they haven’t expired. 
  • An extra pair of glasses or contacts and contact solution. 
  • Basic tools
    • General purpose knife
    • Pliers
    • Wrench
  • Flashlight
  • Change of clothing - Change out regularly with the seasons. 
  • Hygiene products 
    • Toothbrush/paste 
    • Deodorant
    • Cleaning wipes
    • Toilet paper
    • Feminine hygiene products if you or anyone in your household is a woman. 
  • Pet supplies
  • Chargers for electronics and extra batteries
  • Copies of personal identification such as birth certificates, passports, and photo ids. 
  • Cash, CC, or some other means of payment
  • Local Maps and a compass - In case you lose cell service. 


  • NOAA Weather Radio
  • Dust Mask - To filter out smoke or contaminated air. 
  • Tarps or emergency blankets
  • Firestarter
  • Water filtration device
  • Blankets or a sleeping bag. 

Consider The Disasters

forest fire emergency bug out plan

Keep in mind what types of disasters you may be in when evacuating. This will be determined by your local weather patterns. The west coast is likely to face major wildfires and earthquakes. The plains states will need to be prepared for tornadoes and fires. Residents of mountain regions will be considering factors from avalanches, mudslides, and heavy snowfall. The east coast will want to prepare for hurricanes and flooding. 

These various disasters will change what you may need in your go-bag. Someone evacuating a hurricane won’t need a dust mask, but someone leaving the area of a wildfire will. Imagine the scenarios you will likely find yourself in and pack according to those needs. 

Consider Your Family

Whether you are packing for just yourself or an entire family keep the needs of everyone in mind. When packing for a family unit consider who will be able to carry a bag and who will not. Small children may be able to carry a small bag but will be unable to carry a pack that contains everything they need. Elderly individuals may not be able to carry a bag either. 

While it is very important to not over pack, you should be able to carry your go-bag over some distance on foot, you may want to consider packing a few items that will help ease the anxiety of emergencies. The more present and less stressed you are, the better able you will be to respond to the situation at hand in a reasonable, thoughtful manner. 

Books, games, or crafting supplies will help lower stress and provide a distraction. Pack coloring books and puzzles for children. Small children will be confused and worried by this disruption to their life. Consider packing a snugly blanket or other items of comfort to help soothe their anxiety. 

Prepared for Disaster

emergency duffel go bag but out bag prepared

Building your BOB allows you the peace of mind that comes with being prepared. If you find yourself facing an evacuation you don’t need to worry if you’ve forgotten anything, you don’t even need to rush around looking for things. It is all right there, ready to go. Having different versions of a go-bag ready in your home, your office, and in your car will allow you to be prepared no matter where you find yourself. 

As always, we love to hear directly from our customers. What do you have in your go-bag? Have you used your go-bag in an emergency? What did you learn from that experience? Leave us a comment below or reach out to us on either Facebook or Instagram at @Prepared4X or by email info@prepared4X.com. 

If you need disaster relief, our friends at Bank Rate are here to connect you with funding: 

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