Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Linda's Bug Out Bag


After seeing what happened to people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I decided anywhere on the planet would be better than a FEMA camp.  For that reason, I set up a bug-out-bag to provide for our needs in the event that we must evacuate our home for whatever reason.

Ideally, there will be time to toss bags of dehydrated foods into the car or truck, but that may not always be possible.   

What is a Bug-Out Bag?

  • This is a bag for each member of your household. It contains emergency supplies, one change of clothes, a little food, some means of purifying water, and important documents you may need. 
  • These bags should be stored out of the way, but in a convenient place. Everyone in the family needs to know where they are and what they are for.
  • Do not assume you can get in your car and drive away. Roads may be blocked, or your vehicle may have a malfunction. Each person (including small children) need to be able to carry their own bag.  Pack accordingly.

Mike and I have two bags for this purpose.  One is a regular, large-sized backpack with our toiletries, prescriptions, important papers, and a change of clothes, etc. 

In the near future I will post a few links and a list of minimum supplies that you may need. 

Why a kitchen kit?

I guess part of this is a throwback to my backpacking days.  I spent many years backpacking in the northwest (back when I was young, healthy, and foolish). We would disappear into the wilderness for one to two weeks at a time. Over the years, I learned what works and what doesn’t. 

FEMA suggests that we keep a 72 hour supply of necessities ready to go.  In my opinion, that is unrealistic. After Hurricane Katrina, people spent weeks in the Louisiana Superdome.  After the tornadoes in Alabama a year ago, people were dislocated from their homes for weeks and months. 

Where I live, we are at high risk for forest fires throughout the summer. Just across the mountain from my home, residents of Pinedale had to evacuate because of threatening fires.   

I go on the premise that in the event of an evacuation situation, I don’t know where I will be going, how long I will be gone, or what kinds of resources will be available for my family until I can return home. 

One of my concerns is that we never know what will happen.  It’s hard to imagine a war happening in this country. Most of our country’s wars have been overseas, not at home.  But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.  Case in point: Nine Eleven if you want an idea of what it might be like, just watch the news.  Pay attention to the situations refugees from war are facing. 

Personally, I would rather be on my own somewhere than try to cope with the inadequacies of the government which is not prepared or is ill-equipped to handle the situation.  

After the tsunami and earth quakes that rocked Japan last year, those people who had to evacuate from the damaged nuclear power plant regions had a tough go of it.  One report I read said that people in the evacuation centers lived their first week on one half a banana and a bottle of water until relief came. 

That’s why I have my own portable kitchen. I have an assortment of foods and some means of cooking it. Everything fits compactly into a small shoulder bag. 

Linda’s Kitchen Kit 

My kitchen kit includes a set of stainless steel nested cookware and 2 thermos bottles that have their own carrying cases. The teapot on the left is for water.  

I have a set of eating utensils for Mike and a set of chopsticks for me.  The chopsticks come apart and are stored in the little red pack.  They have a lanyard, so I can wear them around my neck and tuck them inside my shirt. 

  • The thermos bottles are for dehydrated food on-the-go.  Just put the food in the bottle, cover with boiling water, seal and hit the road. By the time you are ready to eat, the food is rehydrated and piping hot. See my post on thermos bottle cooking.
  • I decided that if water is an issue, then I can use purification tablets. However, one tablet is for a quart of water. The teapot is just the right size. Plus, it can be used for conveniently boiling water for cooking.
  • The nested cookware pots are for if we have time to settle down for a meal.  
Kitchen Kit 

I have a few commercial food packs of tuna, meats, instant meals, etc. plus an assortment of home-dehydrated foods. There is enough food for two people for two weeks.  

Linda’s Note:  I check the bag every now and then and rotate the food, using the older food and replenishing with fresher food. 

  • Assorted dehydrated fruits and veggies, cracked wheat, oatmeal, and dehydrated ground beef
  • 2 pks macaroni & cheese mix
  • bulgur (ground wheat)
  • Commercially prepared foil-packed meats
    • Chicken
    • Albacore tuna fillet
    • Albacore tuna steak (lemon& cracked pepper)
    • Tuna in water – 2 each
    • Ahi tuna steak
    • Tuna fillet
  • Bullion cubes
  • Bisquick mix packet
  • Tea bags
  • Vitamin/mineral packets
  • Water purification tablets
Utensils and cookware:
  • Nested set of 2 stainless steel pots w/ small plate
  • 2 stainless steel thermos bottles
  • Coffee pot just the right size for water purification tablets
  • Collapsible chopsticks for me
  • Small set of cutlery for Mike
  • Silicone squishy bowls and cups
  • Extra pot handle
  • Small bottle of dish soap and a couple of micro-fiber towels
Backpaker’s Version 

I wanted a water purification system that would work consistently, regardless of what type of water I was dealing with. After researching, I settled for the Swiss-made Katadyn system.  They are the world's Number One for individual water purification systems and products. 

This version has a hose you attach to your water container and a hose you stick in your water source. It has a pump that forces the water through the filter.   

Guyot Squishy Cups 

These are made of silicone. Therefore, they won’t burn your fingers or lips like a metal cup can.  They have the advantage of being strong but flexible; they can be crammed into any available space.  I have two sets, one for drinking, and one a bit larger to serve as a bowl or dish for food. 

Candle Lantern

Here is a fantastic little device.  There is a short fat candle inside that burns for nine hours. In this picture, the lantern is up, with a glass shield to protect the flame. For storage or transport, the top slides down and the glass is hidden inside the chamber.  It can not only provide light, but heat as well.  They were about twenty dollars each when I purchased my first ones, but you can find them a bit cheaper today.   
Wind Shield and Fire Striker 

I found this lightweight aluminum wind shield in the thrift store for 50¢.  It only weights about four ounces.  In the event that you have wind, it can be a problem in getting your fire started. 

Additionally, I have several fire strikers.  These little devices have a carbon rod. You scrape the metal striker across it, causing sparks.  With a little practice, you can aim those sparks onto a bit of tinder, getting the fire started.  They work even in the rain. 




  1. Can you tell me what made you go with a Katadyn as opposed to a Berkey?


    1. I did a little research before making my purchase. Things may be different now, but when I first bought my units, Katadyne was the units used by the U.N. and major relief agencies that go into third world countries where there is iffy water situations. That was the first factor. Also, I wanted something practical for bug-out situations. I have a big burkey in my kitchen, but it definitely isn't something you can slip into a backpack and carry with you. Even the Katadyn base camp unit only weights ounces and rolls up for easy storage and transport.