bug out

Bug-out bag

A bug-out bag is a portable kit containing all of the items one would require to survive for seventy two hours after evacuating from a disaster. It is also known as a go bag, 72 hour kit, an emergency kit or a disaster supplies kit. The focus is on evacuation, rather than survival, distinguishing the bug-out bag from a survival kit.


The primary purpose of a bug-out bag (BOB) is to allow one to evacuate quickly if a disaster should strike. It is therefore prudent to gather all of the materials and supplies that might be required to do this into a single place, such as a bag or a few storage containers. The recommendation that a BOB should contain enough supplies for seventy two hours arises from advice from organizations responsible for disaster relief and management that it may take them up to seventy two hours to reach people affected by a disaster and offer help. They therefore suggest that a BOB should contain enough supplies to allow those reliant on it to survive for this length of time.

In addition to allowing one to survive a disaster evacuation, a BOB may also be utilized when sheltering in place as a response to emergencies such as house fires, blackouts, or tornadoes and other severe weather.


The suggested contents of a BOB vary, but most of the following are usually included:

  • Enough food and water to last for seventy two hours. This includes:
    • 4 litres (1 gallon) of water per person per day, for washing, drinking and cooking.
    • spoil-free food.
    • water purification supplies.
    • cooking supplies.
    • cutlery and cups/dishes.
  • A first aid kit.
  • A disaster plan including location of emergency centers, rallying points, possible evacuation routes etc.
  • Professional emergency literature explaining what to do in various types of disaster, studied and understood before the actual disaster but kept for reference.
  • Maps and travel information.
  • Standard camping equipment, including sanitation supplies.
  • Clothes and bedding.
  • Enough medicine to last an extended evacuation period if, for example, one's home were destroyed.
  • Pet, child and elderly care needs.
  • Radio.
  • Lighting (battery or crank operated torch/flashlight(s), glow sticks).
  • Firearm(s) and appropriate ammunition.
  • Crowbar.
  • Cash and change, as electronic banking transactions may not be available during the initial period following an emergency or evacuation.

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