Pet BOB, Part 6: Packing

This is Part 6 of a 6-part series on building an emergency BOB (bug-out bag) for you and your animals.

You’ve assembled all of the items for your bug-out bag, now how do you fit everything in?!

Shoe boxes and small plastic totes make excellent containers for organizing groups of items in your kit.  They can be labeled to make identification easier, and they will stack inside your backpack.  They will also help keep items from shifting when you’re carrying the pack.  Put these in the pack first: the bottom-most one will create a flat surface to help your pack sit upright.

An expandable file folder will let you keep your paperwork organized and protect it from the elements without taking up a lot of space.

Pack soft, stuff-able items like clothes and blankets around the boxes (hint: fold a blanket to put along the back of the pack to give you some cushioning when wearing the backpack).

Pack water bottles and snack food on the outside of the pack, or in outside pouches, to make them easy to get to on the go.  You want to stay hands-free as much of the time as possible, so being able to get food and water out and put it away easily helps keep your hands empty.

Attach bulky, sharp, or odd-shaped items to the outside of the pack.  This is where having all the extra straps, buckles, and netting on the outside of your backpack come in handy!  Camping or hiking backpacks may have a special pair of buckles and straps for holding a tent or sleeping bag.

Keep your valuables out of sight: pack them in an opaque container (like a cardboard box) and keep them in the bottom of your bag where they’re most difficult to access.  Desperate people will do desperate things, so don’t put temptation in front of them.  Use a wallet for your identification and any cash you may be carrying, not a purse.  If you’re carrying an emergency credit card, you should get a wallet with RFID protection, or get an RFID blocking insert for your existing wallet.

Keep the first aid kit at the top of the backpack where it’s easy to access.  Although this means moving it to get to anything else in the backpack, it also means that if you need it, you are not wasting time rummaging through your kit to find it.

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