Count me among those who are unsettled by the concept of "having a bag packed." Still, it helps to remember that this is part of basic emergency preparedness, which is recommended for everyone, always
by the Red Cross and government agencies. It isn't really different from installing smoke detectors, learning first aid or CPR, or using seatbelts and bike helmets. It's just not as widely practiced as those things... probably because it takes quite a bit of time and effort... and maybe because of the "yikes" factor that we've all experienced.
IMO, this vague sense of impending doom is accentuated by the name "bug out bag," which reminds me of some of the more extreme survivalist/conspiracy types... the ones who are all stoked to GTHOOD
in their stealth-modified Jeeps when TSHTF, because TEOTWAWKI
is about to happen (and has been "about to happen" since some time in the mid-70's, judging by the age of some of these guys' food stashes). "Go bag" sounds a lot more reassuring, but it makes me think of those gel pouches
that you can pee in (which, perhaps not coincidentally, are included in our supplies.
). So I think I'll just call ours a "72 hour emergency bag."
On a related note, I'm thinking it would make sense to split the necessary items into two categories:
#1 - "just in case" bag, containing the things that might come in handy in everyday situations (changes of clothes, first aid kit, snacks, etc.), to be kept near the door, and brought on every outing more than a few blocks away.
#2 - emergency bag, with things we'd only need in a bona fide crisis (sleeping bags, additional food & water, extra medication, copies of important documents, etc.), to be kept in the closet near the front door.
Of course, when you have five family members -- each of whom needs food, spare clothes and shoes, bedding, and three gallons of water -- anything in the realm of "bag" doesn't even begin to cover it. What we need is a TARDIS