Do you have a bug-out bag packed and ready to go somewhere near your front door?
I hope so. With a bug-out bag, one size does not fit all. Your bug-out bag will be different from your spouse’s or kids’ bug-out bags.
Not only that. Your bug-out bag should be loaded with stuff you would need if you had to bug out today. Not this coming summer.
The recent polar vortex that established record low temperatures for many parts of the country should be a wake-up call for us.
Winter brings new challenges
Bugging out is a very challenging task even when the weather is pleasant. When it’s cold and you have to deal with snow and ice, it becomes even more difficult. And maybe even deadly.
Now is the time to ensure that the current version of your bug-out bag is one that will sustain you if you have to abandon your home in the winter.
I want to mention a few items that often get overlooked in a bug-out bag. Including a very special one. First, though, let’s go through some of the basics.
Bug-out bag musts
Here are items from which you can choose for your cold-weather bug-out bag. Some items may be better kept in a vehicle trunk.
- Food and water. Non-perishable food and clean drinking water is a must. Due to its weight, you’ll only be able to transport so much water. So be sure to include a portable water purifier.
- Winter boots. It all starts with the feet. You won’t make it very far if you don’t have durable, waterproof boots. Without them, you could easily suffer hypothermia or frostbite.
- Heavy coat. This seems like a no-brainer, but not just any heavy coat will do. It should be properly insulated and waterproof. It should fit snuggly but not so tight that it restricts your movements or makes you perspire.
- Gloves. Just like your feet, your hands need to be protected and warmed from the cold. Make sure your gloves are waterproof and can help your hands withstand extreme temperatures.
- Head gear. Heat escapes from our heads, so it’s important to wear and also carry warm hats that cover one’s ears. Look for waterproof hats with a fleece ear covering. Toss a wool facemask into the bag as well.
- Goggles or sunglasses. Eye protection is even more important in winter than in summer. Snow blindness can permanently damage your eyes. Keep your eyes shielded from the elements.
- Sleeping bag. Regardless of whether you’re sleeping in a tent or an abandoned (and unheated) cabin in the woods, you need a comfortable, warm place to sleep. Get a fleece liner for your bag.
- First-aid kit. Injuries are inevitable when moving around outdoors, especially on uneven terrain. If you have to leave your home due to a crisis, it’s unlikely a convenience store will be open. So, stock up on first-aid items.
- Tent. A waterproof tent should keep you dry in the wilderness, but add a tarp to the mix for added cover. Practice setting up your tent BEFORE an emergency occurs so that you will be able to do it quickly when you need to.
- Mylar blanket. Made of heat-reflective thin plastic sheeting that can retain or reflect 90 percent of body heat, these blankets are great because they come folded into a small package that takes up little room in a bag.
Of course, there are many more items you can include. Such as a fire starter, hatchet, shovel, paracord, survival knife, flashlights, sanitation items, snow pants and all the warm socks you can fit.
As promised, here are a few items that are often overlooked when it comes to stocking a bug-out bag. But they can really come in handy.
One is a small pry-bar. It could help you access a locked fence or door. Don’t break your crucial survival knife by using it for prying.
Two is a waterproof notebook. You may need to leave a message for someone or sketch out an escape route.
Three is a headlamp. Some activities require light and both hands free, so include a powerful headlamp in your survival stash.
Four is a set of small bags. Keep a bunch of them in your larger bag so you can better organize small items and find them quicker.
And now, for the most overlooked bug-out bag item… the camp stove.
In fact, our top recommendation for a “survival stove” is the BioLite Campstove 2.
Now, you may be thinking: Camp stoves aren’t exactly light, right?
Well, at only 2 lbs, this stove not only can cook a meal in a crisis, but can also burn a fire to keep you warm AND charge your USB-powered devices.