kids bugout bag

Kids Bugout Bag
How and what to pack in your child's bugout bag

Little kids don't really need a bug out bag, but it's helpful they
carry their load of food and personal items. Kids can't carry as
much as adults, so the bugout bag that fits your kid best is a
school backpack. Be prepared for your child with a bugout bag.

Below is our list of bugout bag essentials and packing tips to
help guide your way and survive...

How to pack bugout bags for your kids

Packing a bugout bag for a little kid is unlike packing one for an
adult. Unless he or she is a trained scout, you won't need a fire
starter, for example. In addition to fire starting for camp heat,
the adult(s) accompanying the child likely will be carrying the
extra load of the camp stove, food, first aid and shelter. So what
should you pack for your child?

If you're still in the diaper bag phase of rearing children, you can
pretty much count on that diaper bag as your baby's bugout-bag
with a few modifications. (See the list below for that.)  Just make
sure the diaper bag is always fully loaded and ready to go. With
modifications and management of contents you're, well, good to

As soon as your child is able to carry a small backpack, then you
should pack a bugout bag for him or her. Be sure to re-evaluate
the backpack every year to swap out contents to meet your
child's growing needs. A list of what to pack in your bugout bag is
what follows...

What kind of a bugout bag should you get for your child?
Your child's bugout bag should look like an ordinary school
backpack and not a paramilitary-style backpack covered with
molle straps. Don't worry too much about the colors the way you
would for an adult backpack; however, if possible choose

  • Pick just about any color: Kids backpacks by design fit
    children's taste and are bright and colorful, so wearing one
    in just about any design is perfectly appropriate.  Perhaps
    you should stay away only from bright orange or the neon
    colors. You'll blend in with the crowd nicely in an urban
    environment in just about any design you choose.

  • Stick to day backpack. Skip the back country backpacks. A
    day backpack will suffice. If your child is wearing a
    wilderness backpack, he or she will attract unwanted
    attention from desperate looters. In desperate times your
    child could be the target and an easy prey.

Follow these ideas to ensure no one  swipes the life-sustaining
water, food, warmth you planned for your child...

Important points about selecting your child's bugout bag:

  • Change your child's bugout bag as often as you change
    shoes! Obviously a teenager can carry more of load than a
    four year old and will have different needs.

  • Make sure your child knows the contents. Any parent
    who's ever packed bags for sleepover knows that teeth don't
    get brushed, underwear don't get changed, and hair doesn't
    get brushed. Why bother packing these things then? Parents
    may like to lay out the contents of the bugout bag, and
    make your child pack the bag if he or she is old enough.

  • Your kid's bugout bag should be a different color than the
    school backpack It would be a serious error to buy a
    backpack in the same color as the school knapsack. If your
    child's school backpack is blue, make sure the bugout bag is
    in green (or other favorite color) so as not to grab the wrong

  • Skip the tactical bags with molle, or  A.L.I.C.E. bag.  
    An A.L.I.C.E bag is an All-purpose Lightweight Individual
    Carrying Equipment bag designed to lighten the load by
    distributing the weight more evenly. While it has such
    benefits, you should avoid these types of bags. Certainly it
    will look awkward for a child to be wearing it and you will
    stand out in a crowd. With shows like Doomsday Preppers,
    everyone is sure to recognize the value a prepper family
    brings. You should look as though you have nothing.

  • Which Brands? High Sierra backpacks, including the blue
    one at the top left-hand of the page, and the fat boy,
    pictured left and right, are of a durable construction and
    dependable quality. You'll be able to pack what you need
    and look inconspicuous. The back is of good quality and yet  
    reasonably priced in the $35 range. Don't skimp on the
    backpack. Pack as though it's the last backpack you'll ever

Here's how to enhance your bugout bag prepper style:

  • Plant a decoy bag inside the backpack. To discourage
    looters from taking all your child's things. Place a brown
    paper bag decoy on the top portion of the filled backpack, so
    that it looks like a lunch. Inside this "lunch sack" you'll
    include a napkin, juice drink, small snacks and include a zip
    lock bag with crumbs to look like your child has eaten the
    sandwich. That's all a looter would be looking for and would
    toss the rest of the bag should a severe SHTF scenario
    occur. You can also plan a strategy with your child, in which
    he or she is trained to throw this decoy bag to the looter,
    and then run the other way with the rest of the contents
    secured in the backpack. Mind you, that the real stash of
    food and water will be in the middle of the bag.

  • Disguise the good stuff. Hello chicken! Here's an
    unconventional idea: pack some of your family's lightweight
    food, like freeze dried chicken, into a Hello Kitty or Teenage
    Mutant Ninja Turtle backpack. Hide the food with a stuffy or
    blanket on top. A Hello Kitty backpack is the last place a
    looter would expect to find freeze dried chicken. Legacy
    Foods freeze dried chicken dices are so good you can eat
    them straight from the bag.

  • Put an empty water bottle in the side pouch. It seems odd
    to place an empty water bottle on the side, but here's why...
    Even if you have a bugout bag for your child loaded with
    protein drinks, Gatorade powders, and water, it's better to
    "advertise" that you're empty! This is the prepper strategy.
    You know, the "Nothing to see here, move along," idea.

  • Add backpack clips. Why add backpack clips to your child's
    bugout bag? Well, adding cute little backpack clips will make
    your child's bugout bag look like an ordinary school
    backpack, and not worthy of stealing. With lunch bag decoy,
    an empty water bottle and a toy your child's bag has all the
    signs of "nothing" and this, my prepper friends, is the art of
    camouflage! Best of all, the clip will double as a toy to
    entertain and comfort a younger child. A prepper can even
    refill the little toy with a secret compartment of sweet
    edibles (jellybeans or Chiclets).

The best thing about a bugout bag that looks like it's a school
backpack is that it's roomy enough to fit the essentials and yet
not too big.

What should you pack in a child's bag?
What to pack in your child's bugout bag (in order of importance):
  1. Water. Make sure your kid knows how to open a water
    bottle, which may be seemingly easy, but difficult for little
  2. Metal Water Container. Water is life and you will be able to
    boil a cup of water for your child to purify it if you have a
    metal container. Left is a space saver idea that combines a
    metal cup with a water container. Every member of the
    family should own a metal water container.
  3. Personal Water filter.  One consideration is that the filter
    will require the ability to suction water up through a straw,
    which may be difficult at first; however, LifeStraw, pictured
    left, has been used in third world countries to help children
    get adequate clean drinking water.
  4. Food and Snacks. Protein bars,
  5. Handwamers. Handwarmers are especially important if your
    child is not equipped or skilled in building a campfire. Teach
    your child how to use them.
  6. Headlamp. Headlamps are fun for kids, but they can be
    bothersome too because ordinarily the fit adult heads.
  7. Chewing gum / hard candy. This seems like an odd idea
    for a bugout bag, but including chewing gum for survival and
    (hard candies) in your bugout bag will be especially
    important to help calm kids and to provide them with a burst
    of energy. These sweets pack light and may come in handy
    to keep a child quiet or to provide a sense of normality to a
    stressful situation. Just make sure that if you're in bear
    country the candy goes into a bear canister along with any
    other sweet smelling foods, sunscreens and toothpaste.
  8. Change of clothes (pack yoga-style loose fitting pants
    which can double as pajamas, T-shirt, sweat-shirt jacket,
    underwear, and wool socks).
  9. Hygiene - toothbrush + paste, dental floss, comb/brush.
  10. Light Sleeping bag. This waterproof lightweight summer
    school sleeping bag fits most campers up to five feet, 11
    inches tall. It's light as a butterfly! Well, almost -- The
    super light sleeping bag, pictured right weighs just 1.5 lbs.,
    making it the ideal choice for children to carry on their own.
    Don't count on it for the snow, but for the other seasons it
    should work out just fine.
  11. Rain Poncho. The only down side of the child's red
    emergency poncho, pictured immediate right is that it will be
    seen from far away, but of course that's also the point of
    this poncho. It can help you quickly spot your child in a
    crowd! If your child is lost you can instruct him or her to
    place the poncho on for visibilty. This should be part of the
    routine prepping drills you do with your child.
  12. Pandemic mask.
  13. Personal sundries: prescriptions, glasses, diabetic supplies,
    diapers and wipes, for little ones or menstrual pads for teen

The 37-piece bugout bag designed just for kids above gives you
an idea of what to pack for your child. If you want to get the
survival kit, keep the contents and toss the bag. This red bag is a
red flag to looters!

Extras if you have room (or pack them in your own bag):
  1. Pillowcase (stuff your child's second set of clothes in it)
  2. Chapstick. Kids may get parched and the Chapstick or your
    favorite lip balm, will provide you with the bonus of a fuel.
  3. Gloves and gaiters
  4. Vitamins
  5. Medications (non-prescription) Thermometer and fever
    reducer, Benedryl
  6. Writing pad and pen for drawing, games, journal.
  7. Leatherman, firestarter or other survival tool only if your
    teen is responsible and trained on how to use these items

Food and snacks
  • Pedialyte powder, Gatorade powder, or suitable oral re-
  • Beef jerky
  • Fruit leathers and sticks (no sugar ladened fruit roll-ups).
  • Cheerios or O -type cereals (comfort food of the pickiest
  • Hard candies to boost morale and provide extra energy
  • See our complete list of bugout foods.

Teach Survival Skills to your Kids
Anyone can get lost while camping or on a hike and the book,
Survivor Kid, pictured right, teaches young adventurers the
survival skills they need if they ever find themselves lost or in a
dangerous situation in the wild.

Written by a search and rescue professional and lifelong camper,
it s filled with safe and practical advice on building shelters and
fires, signaling for help, finding water and food, dealing with
dangerous animals, learning how to navigate, and avoiding
injuries in the wilderness.

Ten projects include building a simple brush shelter, using a
reflective surface to start a fire, testing your navigation skills
with a treasure hunt, and casting animal tracks to improve your
observation skills.

Want to teach your kids more survival skills?
Kids will love to get involved with your prepping. Work with them
to build their own bugout bag so they know what's inside. Show
them how to use the kit contents. Also, be sure to print
instructions for kids who can read, in case they get separated
from you in crisis.

Here's more on
prepping with kids.

Happy endings...
The happiest place on earth is your home; however, if it's not
safe it's not a happy place for your kids. Bring something from
home in your bugout bag to comfort your child even if it's just a
picture. Never make promises that you will return, but comfort
your kids by telling them that no one can ever take away the

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