Like it or not, disasters happen – and they do not discriminate.

Natural disasters are larger, more frequent and more violent than ever before in our nation’s history. Combine this with our very unstable economical, political and global economy, and the scene is set for very unpredictable events. If your plan is to depend on local or federal government to save you in the event of a large scale natural or man-made disaster, then you are planning to be a victim. History repeatedly tells us that all public safety systems are overwhelmed during large scale disasters, no matter how well their intentions may be. You must be prepared to provide you and your family with basic human survival needs should a disaster come knocking at your front door.

Oftentimes, a disaster will threaten the safety of you and your family in your own home. Suddenly, staying at home and “hunkering down” is no longer the safest decision. To stay alive, the best decision may be to leave. The buzz term for this decision is “bugging out.” The one thing you don’t want to forget on the way out the front door is your bug out bag.

Get Creek Stewart’s “Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag,” your guide to making a 72-hour disaster survival kit, from the WND Superstore!

Bug out bag: Defined

A bug out bag is a self-contained kit designed to get you through at least 72 hours of independent survival while on the journey to your destination, often called a bug out location.

Bug out bags should contain a wide variety of survival supplies and tools. In this article, I will discuss the most important 4 categories, which I call the core four. They are shelter, water, fire and food.

These four categories are based loosely on what’s known as the three survival rules of three: In extreme conditions, you can live for three hours without shelter, three days without water and three weeks without food.


In extreme conditions, shelter can be (and often is) your No. 1 priority. Humans can die in as little as three hours (or less) in extreme cold or hot conditions. There have been countless instances of hypothermia in temperatures as high as 50 degrees. Combine water, wind and cold temps and you have a recipe for death. Even if you pack a lightweight tent in your bug out bag, the knowledge and supplies to construct a quick tarp or poncho shelter as a wind or rain break can save your life.

Your main shelter system might get damaged, lost or stolen. Backup solutions to critical supply categories are important because nothing is guaranteed. Even an emergency survival blanket can be a life-saving shelter solution in a pinch.


When prepping a bug out bag, you must include three liters of fresh drinking water in three separate containers.

Disasters (both man-made and natural) can decimate fresh drinking water supplies. During and following almost every disaster, local water facilities are often off grid, and well pumps will stop working once the electricity goes out. Combine this with failing sanitation facilities, and you’ve got a recipe for a shortage of drinking water.

One of your three containers should be a metal water bottle, just in case you need to boil more water for purification. In addition, a light-weight backpacking style water filter is highly recommended. This gives you the option of quickly and safely sourcing more water on your journey from A to B.


I can’t say enough about the importance of fire starting supplies in a bug out bag. A bug out bag without a guaranteed way to start a fire is incomplete.

Fire is a tool that can be used to regulate your core body temperature and stave off hypothermia in cold weather environments. It can dry wet clothes and heat rocks for radiant heat while you sleep. It can provide light in dark conditions and can boost the morale of those who become emotionally exhausted. Fire can also boil and disinfect your No.1 life-saving resource – water. In addition, it can heat and cook your meals.

Your fire kit should be comprised of two components: 1) An ignition device and 2) Fire-starting tinder. In addition to a few cigarette lighters, pack an all-weather ferro rod that can be used to ignite tinder in nearly any condition. Cotton balls mixed with petroleum jelly are my favorite fire starting tinder. They are cheap and easy to make and burn upwards of 10 minutes. Pack these items in a water-tight case.


Bug out bag food needs to be easy to prepare, light-weight, have a long shelf-life and be packed with calories. Some food products make better candidates than others, and these must be carefully and strategically selected – every ounce of weight and every calorie counts. With that said, this isn’t 5-Star dining – it’s survival food to get you through an uncertain time and place.

I suggest packing high-calorie energy bars. They are “open and eat” meals that don’t require valuable resources to prepare and eat – and they fit all the requirements listed above. You can easily survive a 72-hour bug out with a handful of energy bars. Many people overcomplicate the food category. Keep it simple!

This has been a very brief discussion of the top four bag supply categories. There are 12 categories in total. If you haven’t yet prepared your own personal bug out bag, consider purchasing my book, “Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag,” through the WND Superstore. Don’t wait until after a catastrophe to build your kit. Peace of mind is priceless.

As with any critical bug out supply category, what works for you may not be the best solution for the next guy and vice versa. Selecting gear is only the first step, and it is very personal – there are no right or wrong answers.

Mother Nature and mankind can be brutal and merciless adversaries. It’s important that now, during moments of peace and normality, that you invest the necessary time into selecting gear that will withstand the conditions that only a bug out situation can present.

Remember, it’s not IF, but WHEN.

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