Bug Out Bag for Women
What’s a Bug Out Bag and Why Do I Need One?
A bug out bag is a kit filled with emergency essentials. You can grab this kit and go quickly in an emergency. Also known as a Get Home Bag, a Survival Kit, or a GO Bag. You can put one in the trunk of your car and if you ever have to hoof it, you’ll have some help.
It doesn’t have to be the apocalypse to need survival supplies. Your car could slide off into a ditch or break down in the middle of nowhere. You may not have cell phone coverage, and there might not be anyone around to help you. If you’re injured, you’ll need to bandage yourself up until you can find help.
In the wintertime, unexpected snowfall can cause people to be stranded on the highway, not able to move their car, too cold to walk out, and too many people to rescue quickly. Some people have died of exposure this way. So if you’re heading out in bad weather, it’s best to be prepared.
Here’s a visual list of a few handy items. These are my hands.
Natural disasters, mostly weather related, are a real possibility, especially where I live in Oklahoma.
Not only do we have monster tornadoes that level entire towns, but we became the earthquake capital of the US recently.
In the winter, we have ice storms that weigh down the power lines and cause them to break. People get stranded on the interstates in their cars. Some have died of exposure.
We have heat waves that reach 115 degrees F in the hottest part of summer. Not a good time to lose power or the AC to go out.
We also have flash floods in the springtime, and wildfires when in a drought. But hey, the people are nice, so there’s that.
These are real-life situations that don’t involve zombies or horseman.
It’s Happened Before
Don’t shy away from considering the more dire, less likely possibilities. Nuclear war, invasion by foreign armies, electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack, coronal mass ejection (CME), cyber attacks on the power grid or the banking system, and tyrannical governments are not impossible.
Consider this: a coronal mass ejection (CME) knocked out the power grid in 1859, known as the Carrington Event. It was the largest solar flare ever recorded and it also caused the largest geomagnetic storm ever recorded. Smaller events happened in 1921 and 1960. We narrowly missed being hit by a superstorm in 2012. Experts say that due to the inter-connectivity of our current power grid, and the way all of our money is electronically-based, getting hit by a CME could cause many more problems than in 1859. Shut down of the power grid is not only possible, but likely.
Hawaii is currently testing their nuclear warning systems in light of tensions with North Korea and their recently tested ICBM. Hawaii has been hit by a foreign army before, remember? They have begun monthly test of the alert system. At the beginning of each month, they will let the nuclear alert sirens wail. Wow. We have weekly siren tests here in Oklahoma, but they’re for tornadoes, not nuclear freaking bombs from foreign armies.
These are the most extreme cases and you may feel like these things will never happen. I hope they never do. But if they do, being prepared can save your life, your children’s lives, your family’s life.
“Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”
The Bug Out Bag
There are plenty of great examples of what contents a good bug out bag should have, but most seem geared toward the Rambo types, and few are tailored for women or moms. I do recommend a good machete and a bandanna, though.
One item I’ve never seen in a bug out bag? A diaper. I have two toddlers in potty training. I’ve been carrying a bug out bag since they were born, but it’s referred to as a “diaper bag”.
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As you can see, there is a lot of stuff in here. This is my primary bugout bag, and yes, it’s too heavy. It’s ok because I can store it in my trunk and I can remove items if I need to.
There are several things that I can remove to make this lighter and still have a backup. For example, I prefer to use a larger propane burner, but I also have a tiny backpacking burner. I can leave the larger one behind if I need to walk with my pack, or I can use the larger one if I’m staying near my car.
If it’s not pictured here, it’s probably because the item is part of my EDC pack, or it’s in the first aid kit.
Different types of Bug Out Bags for different situations
Bug Out Bags are for grabbing on your way out the door if you ever need to flee your home.
Get Home Bags go in your car trunk and are meant to help you walk home or walk to help if you need to. You may need to bandage yourself up if you’re in a car accident and there’s no one nearby to help you.
Or just to grab that emergency diaper you packed because you ran off and left the diaper bag at home.
In addition to a Bug Out Bag and a Get Home Bag, there’s an Everyday Carry, or EDC. EDC’s are the most basic things you carry on your person every day.
I call mine a “purse”, but some men don’t usually prefer that term.
Everyday carry just means a much more basic, smaller kit you keep with you on your person or in a purse or murse. Throw a pocketknife in your pocket and BAM: Everyday Carry.
Common items for EDC are cell phone, wallet, keys, pocket knife, multitool, USB storage drive, ink pen, and sunglasses. Additional items include a firearm, pocket knife, pepper spray, or LED flashlight.
Top 10 Items You Need In Your Bug Out Bag:
- Water- water bottles and a personal water filter
- Fire- at least two ways to start a fire
- Light- at least two ways to see in the dark
- Food- protein bars, protein powder, snack foods
- Knife- fixed blade in sheath: not a pocket knife
- Rope- 100 ft nylon para cord
- Multitool– with screwdrivers, and pliers
- First Aid Kit- with QuikClot
- Lawn Trash Bags- 55 gallon best
- Blanket- fleece or solar blanket
Top 5 Items for Moms with Young Kids:
(In addition to the 10 items above)
- Diapers/Wipes- for kids still in potty training, and to help keep Mom clean too.
- Flashlights- cheap, $1 LED flashlights, one for each child
- Extra clothes- warm clothes, hats, extra socks
- Candy- for bribery or for comfort
- Medicines- specific to children, Tylenol and Benedryl
Specific Items for Women
Feminine care items. Of course, that’s the first thing on the list. Maxi pads, tampons, and menstrual cups should be a part of your hygiene kit or first aid kit.
Gloves. Women store most of their heat in the abdomen, so their hands can suffer frostbite faster than men. Not only for cold, but as protection when handling firewood, getting a good grip, or avoiding contamination with feces, or contracting an illness from sick people. Warm gloves, gardening gloves, and latex gloves. Go ahead and bring all three.
Copies of important documents– photocopies of your children’s birth certificates, your drivers license, credit cards, medical and insurance information, whatever you might need if your home were destroyed, you are displaced, or you cannot return to your home yet for some reason.
A USB storage device can also be used, just don’t lose it. Store it somewhere secure inside your bag. If you’re handy with sewing, you can sew a discrete pocket on the inside of your pack. An SD card would be ideal for this too. You could wrap it in plastic wrap to make sure it stays dry.
Comfortable old shoes. A favorite old pair of athletic shoes you don’t wear anymore can go in the bag.
There is a chance that you might have to walk a long distance and if you’re broke down and wearing heels from work, that’s just not going to be pleasant. Just grab those old shoes from your bag. You have to take care of your feet.
Flip Flops. For showering, if you need to walk through a creek, or if you need to dry out your shoes.
Diapers/Wipes. If you have children in diapers, this is an obvious one. I only keep one in my bag, with hopes that I will have some in the car normally. Everyone can use the wipes. Here in the South, we call that a “hoe bath”. hahaha
Formula. If you have a child under the age of one on formula, get a few formula sample packets or the Go Packs of formula in your bag.
Food. Big kids get hungry too. Granola bars, protein bars, and beef jerky are great to keep for the short term but will have to be rotated and shouldn’t be kept in the trunk of your car in the summer heat.
MRE’s, and just-add-water meals in the packets are good for much longer, but you’ll need to bring water, fuel, a stove burner, and a cook set on top of the food. Canned foods are too heavy to bring more than one, and it’s best to use condensed soup that you can thin with water.
Bag too heavy. This is the number one most common mistake. I did this. My bag is probably too heavy now. Your bug out bag shouldn’t weigh more than 20% of your body weight. If you weigh 150lbs, your bag shouldn’t weigh more than 30lbs. Even if you weigh more than that, 30lbs is a lot of carry, especially if you have to carry a child too.
One Use Items Try to find items that have multiple uses like a pocket multi-tool, a length of paracord, and giant lawn trash bags.
Bringing everything. You need to separate your needs and your wants. Some items should be considered luxuries, not survival items.
Forgetting something. If you have no water, no water filter, and no purification tablets, you are going to be in danger within just a few hours, depending on the weather conditions. Not even Rambo can survive more than three days without water.
Listen, anything is better than nothing, so even if you just gather up a few things and throw it in a bag, someday, you might be very very grateful to your past self when you need to use these things.