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Family Bug Out Bag

Whenever a disaster strikes we always want to make sure that we are prepared for any situation. This is the purpose of a bug out bag, you need to be ready to take to the road in minutes. They are designed to get you through the first 72-hrs of a SHTF situation. Keep in mind while most people will plan to be in a car, there could be a circumstance where you may need to travel on foot. So you want to pack accordingly, where you can travel with the bag over various types of terrains.

If you are like me, you want to bring your entire house with you in your bug out bag. However, we know that's not possible. That's why it is important to have an emergency plan consisting of BOBs. This quick guide will give you an idea of what you should pack for each family member and what you should include as basic essentials across the board.


First, you need to decide what type of bug out bag you will use for each person. The type of bag that you want to use needs to be durable, waterproof, have padded waist straps and plenty of compartments for expanded storage. Second, take into account each individual's personal needs, height and weight, mobility, and strength.

If you have an infant or toddler under the age of 5, you want to consider having a child carrier that doubles as a bug out bag or has pockets to pack items in. You can use the carrier to take turns with your partner on carrying the child, since infants and toddlers are unable to walk at the same place, and having a stroller is not practical when you are bugging out.

Basic Essentials for both children and adults


These items should be included in everyone's bag.

  • Flashlight or headlamp(preferably led)
  • Whistle-just in case any member of your family gets lost or is in danger, using a whistle can make it easier to locate them.
  • Hydration backpack or hydration bladder, each member of the family should carry enough water for at least 72 hrs. It is recommended to drink 2 liter each day.
  • Clothing-2 sets according to the season. You want to make sure you always have dry clothes to wear.
  • N-95, N-99 or a face mask, safety goggles-This will protect you from debris, gasses, or any other harmful chemicals or smoke.
  • Emergency blanket
  • 3-n-1 Poncho- this can be used as a tarp, sleeping pad or rain jacket.
  • Tarp- can be used to lay on the ground or with tent stakes for shelter.
  • Thermal wear-socks, gloves, cap
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Ziploc bag with a high protein snack
  • Small foldable towels(ones that expand when wet)
  • Sanitizer
  • Travel toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Anti-bacterial wipes, toilet paper
  • Mini-sewing kit

In addition to the essentials, you should have the following items when building children bug out bag (categorized by age group):

Under 5 yrs

Regardless if it is a boy or girl, if they are under 5 you should have these emergency supplies tucked away in their bug out bag :

  • Diapers- I recommend both disposable and cloth. Cloth diapers take up less space, however, you may not always have access to washing the diapers after using them.
  • Extra sterilized bottles packed in a Ziploc bag. Pacifier if they use one.
  • For infants- dry powdered formula.
  • Comfort item, whether it's a book, blanky or stuffed animal. My son doesn't have a specific blanky as long as it's the velvety soft kind and he has to have his light-up hippo, which I have learned to substitute since the toy is bulky.
  • If you have an infant under the age of 6 months, or not able to roll over on their own, consider a foldable, portable bassinet for them to sleep in. I would say that you can use the carrier but you don't want to risk rolling over while you're sleeping.
  • Another option to keep your infant or toddler close to you when napping would be to have a swaddle sleep sack. This will keep your child in place and warm.

Ages 5-11

For this age group, you want to ensure that they have items in case they wander away from you. Include the following:

  • Walkie talkie or cell phone-in case they do wander away from you
  • Something to keep them occupied, such as a deck of cards, coloring books, and crayons.
  • Earplugs- this is good for any age group to help block out noises when trying to sleep.

Tweens and Teens

Tweens and teens typically will add to their bug out bags on their own, however, you should double-check what they put in there. If you have more than one child in this age group insist that they stick together.

Here are some things you should make sure that they have:

  • Cash, map, compass, cell phone, 2-way radio- in case they wander off and get lost
  • First aid kit
  • MRE's, calorie tabs and protein bars

For boys & girls you can include the following:

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Pepper spray
  • Swiss army knife or 3-in-1 knife
  • Parachute cord
  • Zip ties
  • Tent stakes

Basic essentials for adults

More often than not, your bag could be identical to your partner's bag with a few exceptions. Aside from the across the board emergency items, here are items that adults should carry:

  • Water purification tablets, powdered Pedialyte packs(help with dehydration) P
  • Portable water filters for the family, to help flush out bacteria.
  • Hank crank solar radio that doubles as a charger and flashlight
  • Whistle headlamp w/ spare batteries
  • Compass, map, marking flags or tape
  • Tarp
  • Stormproof matches and lighter
  • USB drives or waterproof bag for documents
  • Dehydrated meals, freeze-dried or non-perishable foods
  • Portable stove and fuel
  • Can opener
  • Sanitary napkins/tampons
  • Insect repellant
  • Crazy glue
  • Sewing kit
  • Cooking pot, eating utensils, collapsible bowls, and cups
  • Pepper spray
  • Parachute cord

For the hunter/gatherer include:

The adult assigned the duty of hunting for food and protecting the family. should consider having the following in their bags:

  • Folding saw
  • Mechanic gloves
  • Duct tape
  • Multi-purpose knife, fishing kit
  • Handgun or rifle with ammunition kept separate
  • Tent stakes
  • binoculars


Family BOB’s are supposed to provide you with the essential survival items when no other resources are available. This guide was designed to help prepare you for a disaster in conclusion you will have to adjust your BOB specifically for you and your family’s needs.

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