Posts Tagged ‘bug-out bag’

Fun with Bug-Out Bags

January 9, 2016 1 comment

Earthquake kits

Every member of my family, including the dogs, has an Emergency Kit (aka Bug-Out Bag). We all have them because the aftermath of Katrina scared the living shit out of me. (No Brownie, it wasn’t “a heck of a job”.) We don’t really get hurricanes in the Pacific Northwest. If we did, my family is lucky enough to have the means (and flexibility of working remotely) to drive to a safe place or hop on an airplane. Unfortunately, earthquakes don’t work like that. You don’t get a warning.

In the event of an earthquake, we could probably shelter in place, but there could be power outages or water main breaks. At a bare minimum I think everyone, regardless of where you live in the country,  should at least have a flat of water bottles in case of contamination that boiling won’t fix. We could use our kits to shelter in place if we happen to be low on groceries as well.

Any number of things could cause you to need to evacuate your home after an earthquake: structural damage, gas leaks, fires, downed power lines, and chemical spills. Source:

Following guidelines from and supplementing with things that are important to us, here is everything we have in our kits. (List below pic.)

earthquake kit deconstructed.jpg

For Each of the Humans

1-2 week supply of maintenance medications
Travel size bottle of Ibuprofen
First aid kit
Phone charger
Light weight fleece sleeping bag
Clothing: T-shirt, jeans, 3 pair of undies, 3 pair of socks
Hygiene: travel size versions of deodorant, shampoo, bar soap, hand sanitizer, lotion, facial cleaning wipes, wash cloth
Feminine products
Toilet paper (remove the cardboard roll, smash flat and it will fit in a quart-size zip lock bag
Toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste (got these in a pack at the dollar store)
2 packs of travel tissues
Folding travel brush (also a dollar store find)
Crossword book (me), Sudoku book (Stace), Mad Libs (Liam)
Travel games
Rain poncho
Flashlight (batteries taped together and stored separately in a plastic bag – we had to replace the flashlights because the batteries corroded)
Extra zip lock bags (gallon and quart size)
3 garbage bags
Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, insurance, etc)
2 – 3-way Lego sets (Liam)
A twin of Liam’s favorite stuffed animal (Liam)


2 – 1 liter bottles of water (the square Fiji ones make for easy packing)
1 can Progresso soup with the pop top (pick a variety you wouldn’t mind eating cold)
3 Organic Slammers (fruit and veggie puree)
2 Bumble Bee Tuna Sensations (1 can tuna + crackers)
4 Nugo meal replacement bars
3 packs of single serving cookies
2-3 packs of single serving cheese and peanut butter crackers
2 Snickers bars (calorie dense, plus some protein, and will feel like a luxury item if stress eating is required)
4 plastic forks

We also have a flat of water bottles in the garage next to the kits that we can toss in the car. We would drink those first and save the ones in the pack in case we end up on foot.

Everything is packed in a backpack in case we have to ditch the car. My backpack weighs about 20 pounds. When I’m looking at food for the kits, I lean toward plastic packaging when I can because cans to reduce weight. I also look for things that last a year or longer so only have to update the kits once a year. (If you have very small, fast-growing children, abandon that dream.)

For extra food we keep on hand in the garage for sheltering in place, cans are better because they keep longer. I don’t have much of a formula for the extra food, I just buy flats of things we use a lot from Costco. It’s pretty random.

For the kids: Kids thrive on routine, so try to pack a copy of a favorite book, a twin of a favorite toy or plush. Try to stick to nap time, mealtime, and bedtime routines as much as you can, even if you are not at home. Kids can usually adapt to a change in about 3 days. If you keep as much else the same as possible, it will help them adjust.

Pro tip: If you have to pack diapers, use a vacuum sealer to compress them to save room. This also works well for children’s clothing because it’s small enough to fit in the bags.

I also mentioned we have a kit for the dogs.

earthquake kit for dogs

For Each of the Dogs

1 – 1 liter bottle of water
3 days of food, measured into zip lock bags for each dog per day
An extra lead
A ball and squeak toy
Collapsible bowls for food and water