Many preppers and survivalists are experienced in dealing with the dangers of being out in the wild, but what happens when disaster strikes in an urban area?
Being exposed to an emergency situation in a busy city can bring new challenges and you’ll want to make sure that you’re fully prepared to help both yourself and those around you. Knowing about what you’ll need in an urban bug out bag will help you to pack all the essentials and to help you avoid being caught unprepared in a big city.
We’ve researched and analyzed the must have essentials for your urban bug out bag so that all you need to do is read on and get packing.
What is An Urban Bug Out Bag?
Just like a standard bug out bag, an urban bug out bag is designed as a survival kit to contain essential supplies that you may need. These supplies will be enough to cover approximately 72 hours after a disaster. The essential items in an urban bug out bag range from food and water supplies to survival sleeping gear.
How Is An Urban Bug Out Bag Different From A Regular Bug Out Bag?
The difference between an urban bug out bag and a regular bug out bag is that it will be packed with a city disaster situation in mind. Although some of the basic survival gear may be similar, it’s inevitable that the items you need in an emergency in the middle of a city will be different to those you need in the wild.
It’s important that the exterior of an urban bug out bag blends into a city situation so it may look different compared to a regular bug out bag. It may be slightly more compact and lightweight and in toned down colors such as black or gray.
Special Urban Considerations To Note
It may be easier to get access to shelter in a city disaster zone or emergency situation. Although you should never enter a building if you think it may be unstable, you’re likely to be able to find some kind of roof over your head so taking a tent or shelter is less of a high priority.
You’re likely to encounter a lot more people in an urban setting and this can have its complications, especially in an emergency situation. You may need to think carefully about your personal protection and security – not only in terms of you and your possessions but also in terms of coming into contact with disease or illness.
Depending on the scale and type of the emergency situation within the city, you may still be able to access clean drinking water and some food supplies. Having a small amount of physical money on you in order to pay for these could be important in case of being unable to use the internet or contactless transactions.
Air quality isn’t something you usually have to worry about in rural settings unless there’s a serious fire. In urban areas, you may be exposed to much higher levels of air pollution and with a disaster or emergency there could be extra contaminants from falling buildings or toxic debris.
Whereas in the wild you’ll need to be aware of different types of survival shelters that you can make and how to use the natural resources around you, it’s likely to be very different in an urban setting.
Depending on the type of emergency situation you are in with your urban bug out bag you may find that the most important items are simply a sleeping bag or mat. You are likely to be able to find shelter (in the form of a roof over your head) much more easily in an urban setting.
Try to find somewhere that is well lit (if there’s power) and that is safe and dry. You may want to go in a disused building although you need to be sure that it is structurally safe and that the roof and floors are stable.
Shelters such as bus stations, under a bridge or gazebos in parks or community areas could also be good places to sleep or protect yourself from wind and rain.
Organizing the contents of your urban bug out bag
It’s really important that you have easy access to the contents of your urban bug out bag – but you want to ensure that others don’t.
Security will be much more of a consideration with an urban bug out bag than with a standard bug out bag so make sure you take precautions such as using a small exterior padlock or having secret compartments. Try to avoid having anything hanging on the outside of your bug out bag as this could easily be taken by someone in a city.
The contents of your urban bug out bag should be securely stored but well organized. You should always make sure that the items you’ll need most frequently, or most urgently, are easiest to access or even have their own compartment.
Try using a modular pack system to help you get organized with your urban bug out bag. You can do this using the following process:
- Gather all the items you want to store in your urban bug out bag
- Try to group the items into categories such as ‘food supplies and snacks’, or ‘medical supplies’
- Package the items from the same categories together in Zip Loc bags so that they are separated from other categories. The clear bags will enable you to quickly visually identify the contents.
- Lay out the separated bags and work out which ones you’ll need most urgently and most frequently. Start to pack your urban bag out bag with these at the top or in places within the bag that are most accessible.
Keep Your Stuff Organized
An urban bug out is designed to provide you with the supplies you’ll need for the first 72 hours after a disaster or emergency situation. During this time, you may pack and unpack it multiple times so it’s essential that you keep your things organized.
Don’t be tempted to just shove items back in. Always replace items from their original location so that you know where to find them. If you do have to pack your bag quickly, try and reorganize it when you get a chance.
Pack for 72 hours
An urban bug out bag needs to provide you with enough to survive on for 72 hours. This is the most critical period after a disaster has occurred. Having food, water or survival gear during this time could save your life.
You may find yourself in busy urban areas where you don’t have a lot of space to move around. Your urban bug out bag needs to be compact and easy to carry on your back. Heavy loads will be a burden if you need to move quickly or dodge crowds with it on your back.
You should go for an urban bug out bag that offers you different compartments and use mesh inserts or your own dividers within the bag. Packing smartly and grouping all your items into categories will allow you to quickly grab what you need even if you’re on the run.
Remember that urban areas are a totally different landscape to the great outdoors. You’ll probably find less need for a tent or shelter building tools, but you’ll want to put greater emphasis on your personal security. Try to get out of the mindset of dangers you might face in the wild.
Items to include in your urban bug out bag
Putting together an urban bug out bag is cheap and quick yet it could save your life. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that urban settings require less resources or tools and get prepared today.
An urban bug out bag has the potential to keep you safe in challenging situations in dangerous city areas. We’ve done extensive research to provide you with this guide to everything you’ll need for your urban bug out bag to be ready to go when you need it.
Making sure your urban bug out bag is fully stocked with everything you need will give you the ultimate peace of mind as and when you have to use it.