Essentials for a DIY Bug Out Bag

The top reasons why people don’t prepare are because they think it is too difficult, too expensive, and too time-consuming.  But, it doesn’t have to be.  In fact, putting together a basic family preparedness plan with a bug out bag for each family member can generally be done in an evening.

In an effort to help you and your family prepare, Food Insurance® has put together a list of essential items to help you as you put together your own DIY Bug Out Bag:

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What Can Jack Bauer Teach Us about Survival?


This summer, television viewers were reintroduced to their favorite ex-CTU, now rogue agent, Jack Bauer, the troubled protagonist of 24. This time Jack Bauer was in London, saving the world from drone attacks and perhaps a few old enemies from seasons’ past. If the ratings are any indication, we haven’t tired of Jack Bauer in the slightest.


The reason for this may rest in our own fears and distrust of those who are supposed to be protecting us. In the world of 24, Jack Bauer’s is often hindered by diplomatic ties, cumbersome bureaucratic rules, and turncoats within his own ranks. He is often forced to act alone or go against the status quo to save the day.


The very fact of the matter is that there are dangers and threats out there that can affect our daily lives. We have seen countless natural disasters, like Sandy on the East Coast, wildfires and drought in the West, and tornadoes in the Midwest. These disasters made some people homeless, others jobless and all affected in some way


We have also seen an economic downturn this century, which caused many to lose work. Some saw their 401K and savings become depleted, and many others were forced to scale back and focus on the bare necessities. Our economy is far from fully recovered and remains a major fear most Americans share.


And terrorism is always a threat as well. 24 premiered two months after 9/11, and although we haven’t seen a terroristic attack to that degree on our soil, the threat is always there as individuals and groups seek to destroy our way of life.


Given these factors, it makes sense that Jack Bauer is still a popular part of popular culture. Although Jack Bauer is not real, many of his principles are. Jack will stop at nothing to ensure that those who he cares for are taken care of and protected against any possible threats. He is always prepared and is proactive rather than being reactive. He depends on no one, but, rather, focuses on his own actions to get the job done.


You have the opportunity to be like Jack Bauer in a sense by preparing for any of these possible threats, which could affect your way of life. We encourage you to check out our wide selection of emergency survival equipment, food storage plans, and more, so you’re ready in the event that a disaster was to occur.


While 24 may be winding down, the possibility of these threats is far from over. Stay ready with the help of Food Insurance.

Put Your Bug Out Bag to Good Use

These days, more families have a bug out bag than ever before. A bug out bag is an easy-to-carry bag (often a backpack) that contains everything you need to survive for 72 hours. Once, these bags were rare and only the most die-hard survivors had them. Now, many families see it as a prudent and inexpensive safety measure that could pay off big one day.

But once you’ve assembled your bug out bag, does it have to just sit in the closet and wait for Doomsday? Not necessarily. In fact, if you leave it behind when your family goes on trips, there’s a very good chance you won’t have it when you end up needing it. That’s why we suggest making a bug out bag an essential part of every camping trip checklist.

Think about it. Camping is a lot of fun, but it’s also the perfect occasion for something to go wrong—just when you’re farther than ever from sources of help. If your car won’t start, if you get lost hiking, or if severe weather cuts you off from civilization, a bug out bag is the perfect survival tool to get you through those crucial days until you can reach safety. That’s exactly what it was intended to do.

Here are the basics of using a bug out bag effectively as a camping emergency tool:

  • Make sure you have it – Put it on your camping trip packing list. Make sure everyone knows that you have it, what it looks like, and where it’s stowed. A bug out bag only does any good if everyone in the family knows how to get it in an emergency.
  • Is it waterproof? – A bug out bag kept in a closet at home may be a simple school backpack. But if it’s going with you on multiple forays to the outdoors, it’s going to get wet eventually. Make sure your bag is reasonably waterproof and that any water-sensitive supplies inside are in their own baggies.
  • Don’t pilfer – There’s probably a flashlight in your bug out bag, but it shouldn’t be the one you use around the campfire at night. In general, supplies in the bug out bag shouldn’t be used day-to-day. If you do have to use something, like a bandage from the first aid kit, make a note to replace it right after the trip.

Having a bug out bag along could be a lifesaver. Do you take your bug out bag camping?

Simple Tarp Survival Shelters that Keep You Dry and Shaded

When you’re living off the land, there’s no time for frills. By rule of thumb, all you need to survive is food, water, and shelter.

But what is “shelter”? We know what food and water are – anything you can safely eat and liquid made of 2 parts hydrogen and one part oxygen – but shelter can be anything. It can be a wooden hut with a thatch roof, a tipi made of sticks, or a hammock made with a tarp and some string.

A survival shelter can be all of these things, but as you can probably imagine, many of these shelters require a huge amount of time or are very impractical (like the tarp hammock).

The three tarp survival shelters outlined below only take minutes to set up and allow you to enjoy the “luxury of practicality.”

Three Simple Tarp Survival Shelters

For these simple tarp shelters, you only need a tarp, a set of metal stakes, and a length of string (except for the last shelter that requires only a tarp!). It also helps to have an object to drive the stakes in when your foot isn’t enough. This can be a rock, a large stick, or refined tool like a hammer.

A-Frame Tarp Shelter

Survival shelter that requires a tarp, two trees, string, and stakes.

The A-frame tarp shelter is a great shelter for people surviving in hot areas. It offers a sufficient source of shade and gives you a place to call “home” in a matter of minutes. Because of its two open sides, it’s not ideal for storms, but it can weather light rain. It has six tie-down points and requires two trees, anywhere from 20-30 feet apart depending on the length of your tarp.

To set up the A-frame tarp shelter, follow these instructions:

1. Tie a length of rope to opposite center sections of your tarp (on 2 of 4 sides).

2. Tie one end to the closest tree, then tie the other end to the other tree – tightly.

3. Stake down the corners of your tarp and make taut.

Depending on your needs, you can either make your tent taller or longer. If you tie the longer sections of the tarp to the trees, your shelter will be taller; and if you tie shorter sections to the trees, you shelter will be longer.

Wedge Tarp Shelter

Survival Shelter that requires a tarp, a tree, stakes, and some string.

If you’re in an area that’s prone to frequent rain storms, the wedge tarp shelter is a better option than the A-frame tarp shelter. Unlike the A-frame, it only has one open side, which makes keeping rain out easier. During a storm, rain will come in the open end, but you can position the open side in the direction of the wind to decrease your rain exposure.

To set up the wedge tarp shelter, follow these instructions:

1. Spread your tarp out on the ground about 5 feet away from a tree, making sure the tree aligns with the tarp’s center loop.

2. Stake down the two corners of the tarp farthest away from the tree.

3. Tie a string through the center loop closest to the tree.

4. Pull the opposite end of string upward in a diagonal fashion and tie to the tree, preferably above a branch for added stability.

Stake down the two corners closest to the tree.

You can also station a tall stick behind the center loop to create a rain flap at the head of your shelter.

Tarp Burrito Shelter

Survival shelter that only requires a tarp.

This is the most basic tarp shelter, and it’s great for all kinds of weather conditions. While it’s not ideal for people with claustrophobia, it’s perfect for the survivalist who is on the go and needs to set up a shelter fast – 30 seconds-fast.

To set up the tarp burrito shelter:

1. Spread your tarp out flat and fold one end into a third.

2. Take that same end and fold again so that you’re left with a 3-layer-thick tarp.

3. Tuck one end of the tarp under itself and leave the opposite end open.

From the open end, you can slide your sleeping bag inside the tarp and any other gear for survival that will fit.

Prepare for Disaster with This Fun Summer Activity

Survivalist couple engaged in a fun summer activity involving prepared food, emergency equipment, and the great outdoors.Summer is great for vacationing, lounging on the beach, swimming, and jogging outside. But it’s also a great season for something else that not many people think of – preparing for disaster.

Summer and disaster. The two words don’t go together so well. In fact, they seem like complete opposites. But this is exactly what makes summer prepping so attractive. Due to the lack of harsh, cold weather and the blooming environment, summer is great for entry-level “disaster trainers.” Warm-weather preparedness activities can be really fun, too. Almost like camping.

But how do you prepare for disaster? Where do you go and what do you need? Continue reading “Prepare for Disaster with This Fun Summer Activity”

Sheltering in Place

Rainy days. Snowy days. Sunny days—as a child, every day was a good day to build a fort. Whether it was a blanket, box, or bush, forts were pretty much the best things ever. You would drag every toy, coloring book, and snack you had into your special citadel. Dangerous stuffed animal dragons, poisonous pillow rocks, and ferocious (teddy) bears were just a few of the deadly obstacles to overcome. Yet, under the cover of a paper-thin sheet, you felt safe, secure, and protected—for you had built an impenetrable, magical fortress. Continue reading “Sheltering in Place”

Sanitation Items Checklist

When planning for an emergency, you are going to want to think about sanitation. Without proper sanitation, you and your family can get seriously ill – especially young children and the elderly. It would be dangerous to the point of life-threatening to drink water in certain emergencies where it could have been contaminated. Not being able to wash hands or bodies causes illness, sores on your body, and other ailments that will only contribute to your emergency situation being miserable. Here are a few things you’re going to want plenty of when an emergency strikes.

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Survival Food: Preparation for an Emergency

Is your family prepared for an emergency? During a natural disaster, just about anything can happen. It is likely that you will lose power and gas, and depending on the severity, you could lose your home. Roads may be blocked, flooded or closed. If these conditions arise, how will you and your family survive? With the right basic survival tools, you can be prepared to survive just about any emergency situation.

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Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency

Did you know that a flood, fire, national disaster, or the loss of power from high winds, snow, or ice could jeopardize the safety of your food? Knowing how to determine if food is safe and how to keep food safe will help minimize the potential loss of food and reduce the risk of foodborne illness. This fact sheet will help you make the right decisions for keeping your family safe during an emergency.

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