What Is a Bug Out Bag?

The best way to define a “bug out bag” is to use a real-life scenario. You just got word there is a raging wildfire headed for your home (something Californians are dealing with right now). You have exactly ten minutes to get out of your home. Because you are not sure if you home will survive the fire, or how long you may be living out of your car, you will need to grab just a few essentials and run. That’s when bug out bags come in handy.


Our bug out bags are actually two old backpacks that we had retired from everyday use, and a duffle bag like the one shown above. My wife and I share the duffle, and each kid has their own bug out bag with kid-friendly survival gear tucked away in their closet. They know that if mom or dad runs to their room and screams, “Hurry, we have to bug out of here!” they are to grab only their bags and get out of the house as quickly as possible.

It’s worth mentioning here that taking time to open the closet door and grab the bag is a luxury of advanced notice – any notice. If there is an immediate danger (intruder, fire inside the home, etc.) the kids know to just get out with their lives. Be sure to emphasize the different scenarios and come up with a code word or phrase so the kids will know when to grab their bug out bags and when to just get out as quickly as possible.

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