Survival Tip #11: Pack a BOB for Any Situation

Editor's Note: This tip comes from our new "Prepare for Anything Survival Manual."

A BOB (bug-out bag) is a collection of goods that you would need to survive if you had to flee your home with no guarantee of shelter, food, or water during an emergency. Think of the BOB as your survival insurance policy for any disaster or mayhem.

There may not be one perfect, universally agreed-upon set of equipment, but with a good core set of items (similar to those used in backpacking) you can put together a BOB suited for a wide variety of situations. Most people use either a backpack or a duffle bag as a container for their goods, which should include basic survival essentials and a few irreplaceable items.

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Fill up your BOB with a minimum of the following things, with most items sealed in zip-top bags to prevent damage:

• Shelter items like a small tent and sleeping bag, or a tarp and blanket
• A couple quarts (or liters) of drinking water, and purification equipment to disinfect more water
• High-calorie, no-cook foods like protein bars, peanut butter, trail mix, etc.
• First-aid, sanitation, and hygiene supplies
• Several fire-starting devices
• A small pot for boiling water or cooking
• A few basic tools like a knife, duct tape, rope, etc.
• Extra clothes appropriate for the season
• Flashlight with extra batteries
• Cash
• A digital backup of all your important documents and artifacts. This could be a thumb drive with your bank info, insurance documents, wills, and family photos and videos

Keep your main BOB safe and ready to go in a secure location, with modified versions in your car and office. It's also a good idea for you to have "everyday carry" (EDC) items— survival essentials that you can carry in your pocket or purse. Here's a breakdown for these different types of kits.