This post series is for anyone who has an interest or curiosity in building their own Bug Out Bag. In the next 3-4 months leading up to the release of my book Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit, my publisher has authorized me to write a series of 12 posts outlining the 12 Supply Categories needed to build the perfect Bug Out Bag and WHY they are important and necessary. Each post in this 12 Step Series will highlight a separate Bug Out Bag Supply Category.
In my book I elaborate on each of these supply categories in great detail with 100s of detailed photos, instructions, practice exercises, recommended gear and specific supply check-lists. The purpose of this 12 Step Series is to identify, define and explain why each of the 12 Supply Categories I outline in my book are critical elements of a well-thought out Bug Out Bag. I will not get into recommended gear, survival instruction or specific check-lists – I have to save something for the book! This blog series isn’t as much about pitching my book as it is about selling the idea of building a bug out bag. I truly believe that every person should have their own 72 hour disaster survival kit – especially in the uncertain times we live in today. You can almost look at this post series as 12 Reasons Why People Need a Bug Out Bag. It is my hope that this series motivates people to begin building their own kit that may very well serves as their survival life-line one day.
Supply Category # 2: Food and Food Preparation
Though Food and Food Preparation is the 2nd Bug Out Bag Supply Category detailed in my book, it certainly is not the 2nd most important. ‘Important’, though, is a relative term when it comes to a Bug Out Bag. EVERY category is important. It’s just that some are more important than others. When it comes to a 72-Hour Survival Bug Out situation, FOOD and FOOD PREP would be fairly close to the bottom when it comes to survival necessities. We can survive for up to 3-weeks (or longer) without any food at all. Notice my emphasis on the word SURVIVE. You CAN survive but it would get progressively more and more uncomfortable and difficult as your body slowly suffers the debilitating consequences of starvation.
BOTTOM LINE: The longer you go without replenishing the calories you burn the less efficient you will become.
Food, and by food I mean CALORIES, is to the human body as gasoline is to an engine. You need to put calories in the human engine to run at peak condition. Without them, your body will putter out and eventually stop working all together.
So far, this is pretty much common sense.
However, when it comes to packing food in your Bug Out Bag, it is anything but common. It has to be easy to prepare, light-weight, have a long shelf-life and be PACKED with calories. Some food products make better candidates than others and these must be carefully and strategically selected – every OUNCE of WEIGHT and every CALORIE counts. With that said, this isn’t 5-Star dining – it’s survival food to get you through an uncertain time and place.
Your Bug Out Bag food doesn’t need to break the bank, either. You’d be surprised how many items fit into the Bug Out Bag food requirements mentioned above. I don’t have more than $12 worth of food in my personal Bug Out Bag and it all easily fits into a 1-gallon resealable bag with room to spare.
Food Preparation & Related Tools
In my opinion, every Bug Out Bag should also include items for FOOD PREP and COOKING. At the top of the list is a small, portable and efficient stove with fuel. Your stove can be used for heating foods or boiling water. My Bug Out Bag food items are all OPEN AND EAT – meaning I do not need a stove or fire to prepare them. However, I still carry a small Esbit stove with solid fuel tablets just in case. There are many factors to consider when selecting a stove.
A metal cook pot and cup are 2 other essential Bug Out Bag Food Prep items for a variety of reasons. In my book, I discuss how a Bug Out Bag is designed for a 72 Hour time period. However, I also stress the importance of including some items that can be instrumental in getting you through a longer period if necessary. FOOD PREP ITEMS are definitely in this list. You can burn through a few meals in your BOB pretty quick – especially if you don’t ration them properly. Packing some key FOOD PREP ITEMS and TOOLS gives you the option to gather, scavenge, hunt and prepare food along your journey if necessary.
AMERICA is 9 meals away from chaos.
I don’t remember where I heard or read that phrase but it’s always stuck with me. What this means is that your average American household has around 9 meals worth of food in their pantry. When people run out of food, things get ugly quick. Hence – 9 meals away from chaos. While I’ve never personally been through a Full-Scale Bug Out, I’ve experienced several small scale emergencies such as 2-3 day power outages, ice storms, flooding, severe winter storms and the like. I’m sure most of you have experienced events like these – OR EVEN LARGER. Have you ever tried to go to the grocery store to get a few last minute items right as the 5 o-clock news announces the eminent arrival of a huge winter storm? PEOPLE GET CRAZY! They will clear the shelves over a few inches of snow – imagine what they will do in the wake of a large scale disaster. If you don’t already have your BUG OUT food supply, you’re screwed – plain and simple. I can remember when 9-11 happened years ago. Even in the middle of Indiana where there were no attacks, I could not get gas and the grocery stores were insane. People who have been through large scale disasters such as Katrina will attest to the fact that immediate supplies are quickly depleted and people get down right dangerous when it comes to finding more.
Remember, while we are preparing for 72 Hours, this is certainly not a guarantee.
The only guarantee we have is that an actual Bug Out will be much different than we can even imagine. Preparing for the unexpected is crucial. In this particular chapter in the book, I discuss many of the items that help you prepare for the unexpected. You might be surprised what’s included.
So as you begin your ‘build’, don’t forget the importance of FOOD and FOOD PREP RELATED ITEMS.
Build YOUR perfect Bug Out Bag with the help of my no nonsense book: Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag – available on AMAZON and everywhere books are sold.
Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,