Packing a Bug Out Bag? Don’t Forget These Three Items



bug out bag, bug out food, emergency food, emergency food storage

Packing your bug out bag can be a daunting task. Of course you want the basics — MREs, a flashlight, a weapon, a first aid kit, etc. With all of that, it can be hard to find room for much else, especially things that might be considered unnecessary “luxuries.”

Gaye Levy from Backdoor Survival has some ideas for some uncommon food items to include in your bug out bag — and why they’re important. Read on to learn more.

Three Uncommon Food Items for Your Bug Out Bag

Traditionally, when you think of the items in a bug out bag, you think of a flashlight, knife, water filter, fire starter, paracord, first aid kit, and a whole list of other items that before long, fill your pack with gear that will help you survive should you have to flee the safety and comfort of your home.

When it comes to food items, the items carried in a bug out bag (also called a BOB or GO bag), are often limited by weight.  MREs and freeze-dried meal pouches are popular, as are protein bars and jerky.  All that being said, this article is not about BOB food for consumption.  Instead, it is about three uncommon food items for the BOB that are handy for to have around for survival purposes.

Backdoor Survival Contributing Author Rob Hanus is back today with another Fast Track Tip as he tells about three important “spices of life”, salt, sugar, and baking soda,

The Spices of Life

When packing your bug-out or evacuation bags, it often is worthwhile to find items that have multiple uses. This saves on space and weight and cuts down on the amount of items you need to carry. This also applies to food items.

Here are three food items that you may not have thought of, but have multiple uses and you should include in your Go bags.

Baking soda

Though these three items are usually considered cooking essentials, they have more uses than just for cooking.

Salt can be used for anything from putting out grease fires to preserving meat, but there’s only a couple of aspects of salt that we’re interested in most. Salt is a vital nutrient and without salt in your diet, your body loses the ability to regulate critical functions. It also can flavor wild and foraged foods to make them more palatable.

We all know the value of having sugar, and having some of this in your pack can make the instant coffee or tea taste much better. This also comes in handy when making pine tea or other foraged herb. According to this study sugar may also heal wounds faster, as it has antibacterial properties.

Of the three, baking soda probably stands out as the oddest thing to pack in your Go bags. There are scores of household uses for baking soda, but a few we’re interested in include using it as an antacid and to relieve itch and irritation from bites, stings and rashes.

Individually, these three items have enough merit to include with your evacuation and survival kits, but there are also some great combinations that you can use these for.

Salt and baking soda makes a good toothpaste that is very shelf stable. You can leave out the toothpaste and simply brush with this old-fashioned mixture.

Probably the most important use is when you combine all three of these together to create an electrolyte mix. When you’re sweating a lot or have a diarrheal illness, you need to replace theelectrolytes that you’re losing. Mixing up all these of these components into 1 liter or quart of water creates an electrolyte replacement drink: 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Separately, any of these three items would be a valuable addition to your pack, but mixed together, they can become a life-saving mixture.

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For those that are of the curious type, here is some information on how valuable salt has been in US history: Salt Trade, Trails, and Wars.

The Importance of Electrolyte Replacement

Dehydration during a survival situation can result in severe illness and even death.  In 8 Reasons to Drink Water for Survival, I wrote about why water is important.  Equally important to drinking water, however, is understanding what to do if you have gone for a long period without sufficient water, or as Rob points out, water loss due to diarrhea (it happens, especially if drinking foul, unfiltered water).

Let me repeat the recipe for this simple electrolyte replacement drink:

Simple Electrolyte Replacement Drink

1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Mix in a quart (or liter) of water and drink when dehydrated

The Final Word

With each passing day, I seek out additional multi-use prep items.  Part of this has to do with the lack of space to store everything here is my hunker-down, bug-in location.  There is simply not room for everything I currently own let alone preps that are still on the bucket list.

The same theory applies to my bug-out-bag.  With a bug out bag, there are not only space limitations but weight limitations as well.  Try carrying 20 or 30 pounds on your back for even a couple of miles and you will know what I am talking about.

Fortunately, salt, sugar, and baking soda can be put into small packets or even in straws, then packed into odd corners of your pack.  Packaged as a trio, they would make an excellent barter item, along with this recipe for an electrolyte replacement drink.

I don’t know about you, but I hope never to have to rely on salt, sugar, and baking soda for survival.  But if I do, I will be ready.

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Can you think of some other multiple-use food items?  If so, be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Want to know more? Check out these related articles:

10 Multipurpose Items for Your Bug Out Bag

The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List

5 Survival Items for Your Bug Out Bag

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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  3. john-atlanta

    February 19, 2015 at 10:03 AM

    What I have decided upon for my BOB is a good nut cracker ! Note you should have a good pick, but, most swiss army type deals will have a flat blade screw driver that can do double duty to dig out the meat of a pecan or walnut.

    The nut cracker I picked has heavy arms, heavy hinge, and – metal prongs/stops – so you can not easily crush your fingers if the nut slips or breaks bad.

    I was thinking if there is one thing I could easily forage for in GA it is oak nuts, I still have not learned if sweetgum nuts can easily be eaten. The idea being the worse time to find food would be between fall and winter, when you would most likely be able to find the nuts, even while still on the trees.

    Plus, you could double up on the use for shellfish and things such as crabs and crayfish in coastal/swamp areas. Or to break bones of larger animals if you wanted the marrow. Also, could be a worse case last ditch poking weapon to eyes or airway, shatter a side window, or be used as a wrench or cap opener.

  4. Kelly Keith

    February 24, 2015 at 2:02 PM

    Try cyanine Pepper for cooking and for blood wounds there are other herbs to think about too.

  5. duggy dugg

    March 1, 2015 at 7:19 AM

    oregano oil disinfectant / anti viral

  6. mike vaughn

    September 14, 2016 at 11:48 PM

    Throw in a few cups of flour too. Whole wheat for the biggest nutritional punch and and you can make “Hard Tack” right at the camp fire! Hard Tack is just flour, water, and salt! Start with 2 cups of flour and slowly add water until you have a pliable dough, and add salt for a little flavor. if you add to much water just add a little more flour. You will need some aluminum foil(but whose BOB doesnt have foil) to put the mixture on and spread it out to 1/4″ thick. then cut into 3″x3″ squares and poke 16 holes into each square so they do not rise. The entire premise was to make a food that would not spoil and could be carried under any circumstances and eaten as is, even months or years after it was made!!! Make foil into a baking sheet like configuration. Seperate some coals from your fire to bake the hard tack over. (In an oven you would bake it for 2hrs at 250degrees then turn over and bake the same) This is the only time consuming and labor intensive step in the process, but when its complete you have the ideal survival food! It may be hard to chew and it may not be the tastiest thing you’ve ever put in your mouth, but it will keep you alive!!! If stored in a ziploc bag or sealed relatively well from weevils it will last for literally years!!! It’s great broken up in any wild game stew if you’re lucky enough to have a snare pay off!!!

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