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Pack A Bug-Out Kit And Conduct A Practice Drill

April 9, 2012 by  

Pack A Bug-Out Kit And Conduct A Practice Drill
Go camping to practice bugging out.

Every family should practice emergency procedures and conduct regular emergency drills, especially with their children, friends, neighbors and church or group members. Belonging to a like-minded group is very important. Meeting often to plan strategies is important, as is taking into consideration the elderly, young children, neighbors and other community members.

It is a good idea to conduct two separate practice drills by simulating being cut off from utilities such as heat, electricity, water, food, etc. for a weekend or a 72-hour period of time during which you do not go to the grocery store or purchase gas for the car. The first drill would be one in which you survive in place at your home; the second one would be one in which you leave your home and flee to a safer place (go camping to practice bugging out). Keep a notebook of all the things you wished you had and how difficult it was to stay warm, cook food and produce light. You would need to decide the most likely disasters that your family would face in your community. Some areas are more prone to tornados and hurricanes. Others would be more prone to earthquakes. Still others might be more prone to economic situations such as job layoffs. These practice drills will show you how well you would do if the grid went down.

What It Takes To Survive A Short-Term Emergency

Prepare a bug-out or 72-hour kit for the practice drills. Afterward, note of all the problems that you encountered and restock your 72-hour kit accordingly. Each family member should have a personal kit that can be carried with the items specifically organized for that person. Remember any special needs such as medication, baby formula, etc.

I suggest that you pack all these supplies either in a backpack, duffel bag, plastic tub with handles or a suitcase on rollers. Make sure it is a good suitcase with heavy-duty rollers or wheels because if you need to evacuate and have to roll the suitcase in gravel or on pavement, the rollers might break. With a backpack, your hands will be free to carry other items or even young children.

Basic Items For A 72-Hour Kit Include

  1. Food for three days that requires no refrigeration or cooking: things such as tuna fish in foil pouches, granola bars, dried fruit and meals ready to eat. I look for food that is lightweight and can be opened and eaten right from the can. Don’t forget the can opener.
  2. If you are using GOFoods premade meals, click here. If you can boil water, you can cook GOFoods meals with a small stove.
  3. Water (a minimum of 3 gallons). Use a 3-gallon container with a handle for water because you can just grab it along with the 72-hour kit and go.
  4. ION water treatment to kill bacteria. Click here.
  5. A lightweight water filtration unit such as the Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter.
  6. One change of clothing for each family member, plus several pairs of underwear and socks, a warm coat, a hat and leather gloves.
  7. A first-aid kit along with a first-aid book with basic instructions.
  8. Medication required for all family members. Extra insulin, aspirin, etc.
  9. Sleeping bags and blankets.
  10. Lightweight shelter such as a tube tent. Nylon rope or cords.
  11. Battery-powered radio with extra batteries.
  12. Flashlight (I prefer a solar powered flashlight click here, hand warmers, light sticks, candles, matches and butane lighter.
  13. Copies of all-important paperwork such as passport, driver’s license and credit card information.
  14. Tools such as a pocketknife, small shovel, ax, duct tape and hammer.
  15. Child- and infant-care items.
  16. Sanitary items such as garbage bags, toilet paper, diapers if needed, wet wipes to clean up, hand sanitizer.
  17. Pen and notebook.
  18. Money in small bills and change.

72-Hour Pack For Young Children And Babies

If you have young children, pack a bag with items such as;

  1. Disposable diapers and small trash bags to dispose of the diapers.
  2. Wet wipes or towelettes.
  3. Baby lotion and diaper rash ointment.
  4. Baby formula and water for mixing.
  5. Bottles and nipples.
  6. Baby food and utensils.
  7. Any medications.
  8. Warm clothing, hats, gloves shoes and warm socks.
  9. Blankets.
  10. Small toys.

This list is a basic list of items that will be helpful. You need to add anything else to your kit that you need. Tailor this kit to your family. The goal is to be able to carry these items, so prepare lightly and make sure you are preparing the correct items for your family to have their basic needs met during a time of stress. This is why it is so important to practice the drills with your family so you are prepared.

Products I Have Been Testing

I have been testing some items for my 72-hour pack, and I feel like they are worth telling you about:

Solar powered flashlight:

  • Works in extreme temperatures, hot or cold.
  • Fully charged right out of the box. No need to ever purchase batteries.
  • More than 100,000 hours of use.
  • Powered by the sun, ambient and artificial light, indoor and out.
  • 100 percent waterproof, and it floats.
  • Holds a single charge for three full years without exposing it to light.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • Mono Silicon Solar Powered with battery backup. Will charge using any light source. Alternative energy saves money.
  • Always ready to use, eco-friendly and can be stored anywhere.
  • Super-bright LED. Provides bright light with spot and wide path.
  • Made of 50 percent polycarbonate and 50 percent plastic. Unmatched in durability.
  • One-piece construction. No chance to split at seams. Withstands strong impact.

Jetboil Cooker:

Jetboil’s Group Cooking System (GCS) brings versatility to fast, efficient outdoor cooking. Throw in a can of fuel, snap on the lid, and you have everything you need for backcountry cuisine in one convenient, lightweight package. The pot heats quickly and evenly, so you can enjoy perfect scrambled eggs, rice, GOFoods and pan breads. Foldout rubberized wire handles and an insulating cozy make for safe and easy handling.

  • 1.5 Liter FluxRing® pot with insulating cozy and fold-out handles.
  • Adjustable burner with push-button igniter.
  • Insulating lid and bottom cover.
  • Quick-lock universal pot support.
  • Canister stabilizer.

Jetboil Hot Water Cup

 The ultra-compact 1-liter unit is ideal for dehydrated meals, coffee or tea on the go, remote worksites and emergency kits. Travel light and prep easy. The Personal Cooking System (PCS) is a complete food and beverage multi-tool you can hold in your hand that weighs about a pound. It lights with the click of a button; within two minutes, you’ve got two cups of boiling water ready for coffee or a quick meal. Pack components, fuel and accessories into the cup for convenient transport.


  • Liter FluxRing® cooking cup with insulating Cargo Cozy.
  • Adjustable burner with push-button igniter.
  • Insulating drink-through lid.
  • Insulating measuring cup bottom.
  • Fuel sold separately.

Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Filter

  • The Katadyn Hiker Pro comes with a removable filter protector to extend cartridge life in challenging conditions.
  • Thanks to quick-connect fittings, the installation and removal of input and output hoses are easy.
  • It also connects directly to hydration packs with ¼-inch drink tubes. Includes prefilter, bottle adapter and carry bag.

ION (Stabilized Oxygen) Water Treatment

  • ION is a stabilized oxygen product that I have found to be very effective in water treatment. Studies show ION will kill giardia, cholera and dysentery within a few minutes.
  • It doesn’t have any of the harmful side effects that are associated with chlorine or Iodine. ION has a high concentration of oxygen. High levels of oxygen will kill harmful bacteria.
  • The name “ION” stands for ions of oxygen with a negative charge. By removing the positive charge from the water, the process creates stabilized nontoxic oxygen.
  • Anaerobic pathogens or infectious microorganisms in the water cannot survive in the presence of oxygen. ION will not harm the normal flora in our bodies.
  • ION can be taken every day (five drops per 8-ounce glass of water). This will kill all harmful bacteria in the body such as the flu bug. It also oxygenates the blood which boosts the immune system so your body will fight infections. To purchase ION, click here. If you purchase 10 bottles at a time, you can get a discount. If you purchase 25 or more bottles, you can buy it wholesale.

GOFoods Meals Ready To Eat

  • As long as you have a way to boil water, you can cook GOFoods meals.
  • The company lets you try 12 free servings before you buy. Just pay $9.95 shipping and receive three free meals that serve four people per pouch.
  • These non-GMO foods do not contain MSG, trans fats, harmful chemicals or insecticides, and they have a 15-year shelf life.
  • GOFoods are for on-the-go families because they can be eaten today, stored for the future or shared with family, friends or neighbors.
  • It is dehydrated, not freeze-dried, so the prices are very reasonable. Each package of food is ready to go with everything except the water. It takes only 15-20 minutes to cook, and the food is delicious. The packages feed two to four people.
  • The Mylar® packages include breakfast items such as pancake mix, oatmeal, granola and powdered milk.
  • They also include soups for lunch like cheddar broccoli, Italian chicken, vegetable beef, tortilla soup, corn chowder, minestrone, chicken noodle, chili and potato cheddar.
  • Entrées for dinner and other baking items include chicken pasta Alfredo, cheesy chicken rice casserole, beef stroganoff, au gratin potatoes, instant seasoned potatoes, corn muffin mix, cornmeal dumplings, wheat bread mix, buttermilk biscuit mix and more.
  • Click here to check out this great food with a 15-year shelf life.

To purchase any of the seven books I have written or purchase any of the products I have featured in this article, please check out my website at

–Peggy Layton

Peggy Layton

a home economist and licensed nutritionist, holds a B.S. in Home Economics Education with a minor in Food Science and Nutrition from Brigham Young University. Peggy lives in Manti, Utah with her husband Scott. Together they have raised seven children. Peggy owns and operates two businesses: One called "The Therapy Center", where she is a licensed massage therapist and hypnotherapist, and the other an online cookbook and preparedness products business. She is nationally known for publishing a series of seven books on the subject of food storage and also lectures and teaches seminars about preparedness and using food storage products. Peggy practices what she preaches, has no debt, grows a huge garden, lives off the land, raises chickens, bottles and dehydrates food and has time left over to operate her businesses. To check out Peggy's cookbooks and self sufficiency products go to her website To get a free sample of three different storable meals that have a 15-year shelf life go here.

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  • s c

    Peggy, this is a functional idea for those who don’t trust Uncle Scam any farther than they can toss the old fart. However, the best way to test this concept is to come up with a plan for people who live in population centers and will probably find themselves on congested roads leading out of interesting places like NYC or Los Angeles.
    No matter what you say, there will always be people who claim that ‘nothing can go wrong.’ They might say that ‘when or if something bad happens, Uncle Scam will rush to your rescue and show you how much he loves you.’
    Assuming that this article nets more than 50 responses, I doubt if more than 5 or so will be from utopians ['Dems,' progressives, twits, etc.].
    I appreciate the article, Peggy, but you need to cater to “both” sides of the issue. Even “the others” should be thinking about this – no matter how comfy in the new utopia called ‘Amerika’ they are.

  • FreedomFighter

    One of your best articals yet Peggy — thank you.

    As an older fellow, not having had to carry a pack since the late 70s, I was not used to the extra load and didnt go far with it.

    Suggest many older Americans find a cart or 2 wheeled pull along.

    Laus Deo
    Semper Fi

  • Sirian

    Very good article, everyone should have a “bug-out bag” ready. But there’s one thing that was not mentioned – armament. In simple terms, if you have to go, be armed! At least have a good hand gun and plenty of spare ammo with you at all times. If and when we slide into hyper-inflation, possible – very possible, there is no way of knowing exactly how people will react and to what level of mindless actions they will take to get either food or money for the same. Prep up folks, be armed!!

    • i&etechie

      Very true. If you take the time prepare a bugout bag, it could be taken away from you if your not armed, if this happens, then your in the same boat as the non-preppers. I have a breakdown survival rifle (.22 cal) for hunting. For protection i have a ruger mk III (also .22 cal) .22 is IMO very useful and practical. You can carry a couple of thousand rounds in a backpack or 200 or so in your pants pocket alone. Don t forget a couple of good quality pocket knives.

      • Lee

        Good thought ! ! I also have a “Judge” ! ! Actually, it will fire both 410 shotgun shells, as well as a 45 Cal. slug…..I would start with a couple of bird shot, then a couple of buck shot, last, but not least, a 45 slug. ‘ Can’t miss with the bird shot ………….

        • http://None Hammer

          When in a survival situation, it is a good idea to always expect the unexpected. Never take anything for granted. Both of you are on the ball by your comments.

      • Phil

        I think you’re right, a .22 rifle and handgun is the best long term survival combination you can get. A rifle and hand gun that use the same ammo was an old west survival combination that served well when weight and space were a prime consideration. If one gun goes down the other still works with the same ammo. It also reduces weight and space. We’re talking about making the best of a bad situation, not the most ideal situation. When I don’t know when or if I’ll be able to resupply I don’t know of anything better than a .22LR. You can reduce the weight of any gun that’s made out of the new space age material, but you can’t reduce the weight and space of the ammo. All center fire ammo is very heavy, and I don’t know how to carry enought of it for a long term bug out situation. I would rather have 2500 rounds of .22 than 250 rounds of center fire anything. Also the wife and kids can all use a .22.

      • JC

        The idea that you would have a bug out kit and an escape route is good but, I’d like to think you also have a destination. One you have stocked up with food, medicines, arms and defensible positioning. Also, better if you are meeting like minded people there. You have to sleep sometime.

      • PendragonRise

        If you hit somebody with a .22, you’re only gonna make them angrier and more determined. Get yourself a .40 S&W. If you’re gonna use a firearm, get serious. Your life hangs in the balance.

    • i&etechie

      @pendragonrise: getting shot by anything (pellet gun, slingshot, crossbow or even a .22 cal) will deter anyone that wants to survive. some people don t give a .22 any respect when it comes to protection. i guarentee you if you were gut shot(by a .22) your ambition to steal from that person has left your mind, and in a bugout situation, would be a slow painful death. i have many weapons ( yes a .40 s&w) but they are getting left behind in a bugout. all my .40 and .45 cal pistols will be disassembled and scattered so they can t be used against me, a few drops of superglue on my sks s and m-1 garand will do the trick. Good luck and God be with US all.

      • Joe H

        If I remember right, the Mafia used to use a 22 cal bullet right ehind the ear on their victims. used to be very effective. I have a .177 pellet gun that I have killed ground hogs with in one shot. if a pellet gun will do that, I figure a .22 in the right place will do. People, if you’re gonna have a weapon, get real familliar with it! learn to hit where you intend to!!! If you can’t hit what you aim at, that gun might as well be a rock!

        • Larry Van

          Actually, the Ruger MK1 and the MK2 have been one of the main assisination weapons of choice for a long time. The short barreled model is the one most preferred. It is easily silenced and when a .22 Short is used, the empty cartridge does Not eject which means the assassin doesn’t have to worry about the spent casing flying out somewhere. If he has another target, he will have to manually cycle the action for the next shot.
          Just a quiet puff of air is all that is heard and no one is the wiser when the shot is fired.

      • Cliffystones

        While a larger more powerful round may pass right through you, a .22 is much more likely to enter and “bounce around” inside you, effecivetly Cuisinart-ing your innards in the proccess.

        One of the biggest firearms myths is “It’s Just a .22″. You can be shot and killed just as dead with a .22 as with a bazooka. A really excellent video that the Colorado Division of Wildlife shows in it’s hunter safety class is called “The Last Shot” by Allan Madison Productions. By the end of this well-made mini drama our class (especially the younger guys) was soberingly silent.

      • Liberty4Me

        A .22 can be effective to immediately take down someone but only at close range and only well placed rounds. The round looses velocity and impact force quickly so range is an issue. But remember this, in a SHTF event, any wound can become deadly as it gets infected so avoid all confrontation if at all possible.

  • Cliffystones

    In addition to the “store-bought” backpacking equipment, learn as much as possible about low tech methods as well. For example, cooking stoves. You can make a backpacking stove from a couple of soda cans, some fiberglass insulation and some grain alcohol. There’s also one called a “Rocket Stove” my neighbor recently told me about, you can make one with old tin cans.

    Regardless of what’s in your bug out bag, you’ll always have knowledge with you!

  • macawma

    Crike, mates! One would need a truck to carry all that plunder!

  • JeffHTX


    I agree with your comments completely. Excellent article Peggy. Not having some means of keeping the bad guys at bay, shall most likely place you and your companions at extreme risk of serious bodily harm or death. Since with a 72 hour kit, one is already loaded down and may find it hard to add extra weight with a heavy rifle, hand gun and ammo, may I suggest carrying a .410 shotgun with sling and a.380 semi-automatic hand gun. Buckshot (critters) and slug (larger objects) shells for the .410 and cartridges for the .380 will not increase one’s transport weight by much.

    • Sirian

      Yes, a .410 is a very good one to have close at hand. Light but still has one hell of kick when you need it. HA, my wife loves to shoot her’s, quite often. . . :) I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of a .410 slug! Personally, I’ll stick with my .45. Yes, heavier than a 380 but still, the old reliables are well proven – a hundred years worth. The 380 is very good, absolutely, especially for women. There are probably plenty of women that have a 380 in their purse, if it’s a titanium body – you talk about light. . . ;)

    • freeranger

      It ts good to get the masses thinking about (what if ). You need shelter, a tarp and a ground cloth, parachute cord for rigging ,and a large knife like a Bowie knife for building and improving your retreat. Your brain is your best tool, read survival books and have one with you. Thank you for your concern.

      • JC

        And a two or three lb. axe. Nothing handier in the woods…

  • randall – 6 dvd set to find found all around you, with in a mile of your house, hint: eat the weeds

  • Just Me

    Seems like it would be MUCH easier to live in an area where you don’t have to “bug out” We have a nice home on 40 acres. Our own well, septic and some food production. We have back up power and a good food supply.

    While a great many will be “back packing” my family and I will be living life pretty much as usual.


    • Cliffystones

      One change to daily life you should be prepared to make is in security preparations. Just where do you think many of those backpackers will be heading?

    • Joe H

      Just Me,
      you are going to live life as usual till somebody comes to take what you have away from you!!! do you honestly think that everybody is gonna say oh they look like good people let’s leave them alone, so what if they have food and we’re hungry??” NOT A CHANCE!!! For every one that will come and ASK, there are fifty that would just try and TAKE it!!

  • http://None Hammer

    There is one main condition this author fails to hit on and that is extreme cold weather conditions. How many of you know how to survive even 24 hour in sub zero weather? Here in the Midwest and the North, winter conditions can reach well below zero at any given time during the winter months and snow as high as several feet, especially in the North.
    First of all, winter clothing is a mush and Goose Down underwear is a major plus as it is about the warmest underwear in the entire world. When surviving out in the cold for more than a day, it is good to know how to set up a place to keep warm while sleeping.
    This article mentions 72 hours. Then, this issue is critical otherwise, you might not survive.
    One of the best known methods is to find a large bolder, light a fire against it and keep it going all day long. The fire needs to be a good sized fire because you need to get the bolder as hot as you can. While the fire is going, build an “L” shaped wind break with the short leg of the “L” on the windward side. The wind break needs to be higher than you while you are lying down. Old downed trees work well for this project so you would need a bow saw and an ax. It is hard work but well worth the effort as you want to stay alive.
    If possible gather as many evergreen branches as you can. This will be your mattress. When evening begins to set in, move the fire away from the bolder and get it as close to the long leg of the “L” as possible. You will want to place about 1-2 inches of dried dirt over the coals you will leave behind where the fire was. Make sure the hot coals are spread evenly where you intend to sleep before covering them with dirt. This dirt is the insulation between the hot coals and the evergreen branches. You wouldn’t want them catching fire while you are sleeping.
    This setup will keep you toasty all night long. It does work as I have done this on occasion when fine tuning my winter survival skills. During my time out, I was in a little over 2 feet deep in snow and the temperature was right at 4 below zero. I was out for 2 days but the food I ate, well, I only took a .22 caliber rifle with me and ate rabbits for the time I was out. I did it the old fashion way and I never once felt hungry. I melted snow for my water which is mandatory. Water is essential and there is plenty around in the form of snow. MREs would be the ultimate best food source you could pack in. They are full of calories and they are light enough that you could carry in a whole month’s worth if necessary.
    But, getting back to wild life, there are dangerous animals out there so one needs to be prepared for anything that comes along, whether threatening or not,
    You will need protection as well as something for taking animals for food.
    With this in mind, and you follow simple rules, surviving in severe conditions does NOT have to be intimidating nor stressful. Just use a lot of common sense and take NO unnecessary risks. Stay calm, collective and NEVER panic. That is the final piece of advise I can give. I am alive today because I remained calm in an entirely different situation where panic would be the cause of my death if I had panicked.

    • Cliffystones

      One problem with goose down, it’s worthless when wet. Checkm out Wiggy’s in Grand Junction Colorado. Their sleeping bags and jackets are the best I’ve ever had. When I was Elk Hunting in single digit weather at 11,000 feet, my bag was the only place I could get warm. I bought one of their jackets right after that trip. Now I work up a sweat pushing my snowblower when the temps are in the teens!

      • Joe H

        Check out chinasilk! Aloows sweat to wick away from the body while keeping you very warm. you are very right about the down. If it gets wet, you are in trouble!!

        • Larry Van

          If down gets wet, you are in trouble, you just might be dead. In the hard winter, if you are that wet, you don’t stand a chance so getting into or falling into water is NOT an option. I am saying that Down is among the warmest out there and I have used it quite a bit. I know what freezing water feels like. I have been in it when ice was forming and snow was flying and on the ground. I survived it but I didn’t have long to live if I didn’t find a heat source, which luckily, one of the guys with me had the resources necessary to make a fire to dry me out. At 10 -12 degrees in the winter time, getting wet is NOT an option. Goose Down is a good means of staying warm! And, any form of clothing during the winter, that gets wet is potentially dangerous to your survival, and I don’t care what it is.
          Any survivalist will tell you this and it is in the survival training manuals as well. I did some teaching in this area years ago and I practice what I preach. I am now 65 and still alive.

  • Silas Longshot

    Excellent information. Maybe those ‘doomsday preppers’ shows are sinking in to the public mind. It’s what I’ve been doing for quite some, time. 13 years, now that I think about it.
    Click the name. Or search ‘surviving urban crisis’.


  • ranger5

    I am a former army ranger and wildland firefighter, so carrying a pack is nothing new, but. My wife and I both have back problems, we found the two wheel game carts for transporting you deer are perfect, they move well on rough ground as well as pavement. Around a $100.00 depending on which one.

  • john White

    You forgot about pets. I would not leave with out them. Many did not want to leave New Orleans since they could not take their pets. Think what it would be like to come home and find your pet dead. Also more than a few dogs stayed with their owner even after the owner passed away.
    My problem with firearm, is unless you really know what you are doing they can get you very fast into more problems than they can get you out. I have four 22 rifles.

  • survivaljustin

    Excellent article, too many people have a survival back pack ready but have never spent a night out camping, come on get out there its fun and you’ll learn a thing or two.

    Justin –

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