First, understand I'm not the biggest proponent of bugout bags. I know they're cool and sexy, etc. But the reality is that for most folks, the crises you want to prepare for mostly will be situations where you bunker down, so to speak.
Of course, if you're in hurricane country, then being able to bugout with your necessary preps is a must. Either way, try to keep your preps together as much as possible so you can access them or move them quickly as necessary.
Basically--bug-out bags are real popular with folks who imagine hitting the road or the trails for an adventure of some kind. In a real crisis, that should actually be plan z since being out there away from home and your community, you will be at your most vulnerable.
For starter prepping on a budget ...
First--assess your personal situation. What are the likeliest disasters for your region, or your neighborhood. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, terror attacks, etc.?
Then, look at what you already have on hand to potentially help you deal with power outages, injuries, water and food shortages, transportation challenges, crime, anarchy. You probably already have some things that will be very useful. Don't be afraid to think creatively.
1. Know that your most immediate physical need is good drinking water, so that's a good place to start. Put away some bottled water. On a budget, you can simply use tap water in empty, cleaned two-liter bottles or gallon jugs. A water filter would also be on my initial must-have list. I would also have a steel pot of some kind and a means to start a fire so you can boil water over a campfire if your water supply becomes suspect.
Keep your water bottles and filter together in a box or other container so that if you do need to go mobile, you can easily move those things into your car trunk or even into a wagon if you must leave on foot.
2. Next, you will have to eat. Stock up as you can on some food that doesn't require refrigeration. Ideally, for convenience sake, it would be something precooked and high in calories. Most folks want things with a good long shelf life, but you can also simply rotate the food into your diet so what you have stays fresh. I'd alway try to keep at least some of your food in storage and ready to go if need be, along with your water. If you're going to need can openers, eating utensils, a frying pan, etc., have those set aside in your preps as well.
3. First aid--have at least some basic bandages, antiseptic, and over the counter pain killers in your kit. Important--be sure any prescription meds or other special medical supplies that are necessary are in your preps.
4. At this point, I would address self-defense. If you don't already have a firearm and ammo, see if you can't work one into your budget. My preference would be a .45 if I was limited to just one, but folks here at this forum may have other thoughts on that.
5. Last of the basics--secure shelter. Is your home secure? Do you have someplace to quickly go in a windstorm? If you do need to leave home for some reason, where will you go exactly? Will it be safe and will you be welcomed there? This may or may not be an expensive pursuit--but think these things thru.
6. Nice to have additionally--reliable transporation and extra fuel--auto, bicycles. Back-up power source like a generator. Tent, sleeping bags, backpack, outdoors gear and clothing, boots, fishing gear. And how about a faithful companion of the furry, four-legged variety. I think a good dog can serve many purposes when things go dark.
Last edited by JC Refuge; 04-24-2012 at 20:31..