Okay, it's time for me to 'fess up. Until recently, I thought this whole business of a Bug-Out Bag was something concocted by the Internet Commandos to help counter the great social upheaval they are sure is just around the corner. Well, please duly note I have had my mind changed.
Recently, a friend of mine was alerted to a wildfire dangerously close to her home. Upon receiving the order to evacuate, she grabbed up her dog, her Bug-Out Bag and the dog's Bug-Out Bag, and left her home for the nearby staging area.
Fortunately, the evacuation did not last very long and the fire did not damage any of the homes in the area. Regardless, my friend spent the waiting time in warm and cozy fashion. Supplies in her Bug-Out Bag kept her and her dog in fine shape while they waited.
A well-stocked Bug-Out Bag should help one get through any number of natural and man-made disasters. However, what goes in your personal kit depends upon a number of factors. The number of people in your family and their personal and medical needs are a primary consideration—each family member might do well to have their own bag. In addition, particular parts of the country may require different equipment to deal with the climate of the area; being stranded in a Rocky Mountain winter is a bit different from surviving in the southern Arizona desert during the summer.
It is really worthwhile to have a family meeting and make lists of things that will be needed in an emergency. Besides deciding what goes into each individual Bug-Out Bag, it is also a good idea to determine what equipment needs to be stored in the family vehicle. The toughest decision of all is what NOT to include among your gear. A 200-pound Bug-Out Bag is not a very handy thing.
Bug-Out Bags are not just about shooting troubles. They are of great value in dealing with all kinds of surprise situations that force you to survive away from your home and your usual store of supplies.
I'd write more, but I've got gear piled all over the living room and need to get it selected and sorted. You see, I just joined the Bug-Out Bag crowd.