Create Your Own Disaster Bag

September 01, 2017

Create Your Own Disaster Bag

by Ian D Scofield

With the recent flooding in Texas and scientists saying that areas like the Pacific Northwest are bound for earthquakes any time the need for a disaster bag has never been greater.  A disaster bag (or bug out bag) holds all of the items you need to make it through the beginning of a disaster.  In reality, it should also hold the basics of making yourself self-sufficient.  Creating this bag before a disaster hits is important.  Let’s take a look at how you can create a solid disaster bag.

The Bag Itself

Your bugout bag should be large enough to hold all of the supplies that you plan to utilize.  At the same time you want it to be easy to carry and comfortable.  This means that you will need to find a compromise between a large size and comfortable bag.  In most cases you do not want it to be larger than a 72-hour backpack or a medium sized duffel bag.

Look for big name brands that are known for reliability such as Tactical Tailor or Hazard 4.  A good brand name with a bag that has good ratings is likely to be as durable as you need it to be during a disaster.  Don’t only stick with these two names though, make sure to branch out and look at other sources.  These are just two brands I am comfortable with.

Food and Water

There are two majorly important items that should be in your bug out bag.  Food and water.  These two items are hands down at the top of the list.  During a disaster you and your family might not have access to clean drinking water or fresh food.  People in Texas right now are in need of both.

Look for food in the form of meals Ready To Eat or a similar concept.  Have enough of those for your family to each have one.  They are rather large in size so I recommend only one per person and then supplementing them with nutrition bars and emergency rations.  Emergency rations come in small squares that contain calories and nutrition.  While they don’t taste the best, they will keep you going.

For water, have a case of water bottles ready with your disaster bag.  This will give you a water source for a disaster.  Don’t rely on this because if you have to walk you won’t be able to carry a case of water.  Have a hydration pack and/or a couple of Nalgene or Hydroflask style bottles per family member.  These can be clipped to the disaster bag or carried.  Also have a purification system such as a LifeStraw or iodine tablets in the bag.


I recommend keeping one good fixed blade knife and one folding knife.  This will give you a knife for every situation as well as making sure that if one breaks, you have another one.  A fixed blade knife is very versatile and can be great, especially in areas that have a large amount of wilderness or where you might have to start a fire.

First Aid Kit

Having a thorough first aid kit can be critical to both your survival and that of your family.  Have everything in your kit that you are trained to use.  Don’t carry anything that you are not trained to use.  This can lead to injury rather than help.  Durable trauma sheers are also a good item to include in the medical supplies.

Flashlights and Batteries

Being able to see in the dark is essential during an emergency.  You want to be able to find your family and friends and see what you are working on.  Invest in a couple of quality flashlights for your disaster bag.  Having one that recharges with a crank is a smart idea so that you always have a source of power for it.  Carrying extra batteries is also a must.  Try to carry two sets of batteries per flashlight.

Weather/Disaster Radio

NOAA, along with other companies, produce a selection of rechargeable weather/disaster radios.  This can allow you to know what is coming, when it is coming, or if there are going to be any changes in the conditions.  Often these channels also will tell you where you can find shelter, relief, or other aid. 

Other Items

Consider adding these additional items to your kit:

  • Whistle
  • Signal Mirror
  • Duct Tape
  • Poncho
  • Blanket
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Moist Towelette
  • Ammunition
  • Copies of identification and other important documents
  • Extra medication

Take the items on this list and start crafting your disaster bag today.  You never know when something like Hurricane Harvey will hit your area.  It could also be a man made disaster that causes your need for a disaster pack.  Stay safe out there.


About The Author:

Ian is a staff writer at APTI and hospital security officer at a major medical center who has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Administration of Justice.  He has held multiple positions in the security industry from patrol supervisor to auxiliary public safety officer.  At APTI he brings his writing skills to help further the careers of others and provide quality content.  Feel free to visit his freelancing site or his creative writing site.

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