Catastrophic events can transpire at any moment, and if one happens to affect you, will you be prepared to deal with the fallout? Every diligent prepper should have a “bug-out bag,” which is basically a portable survival kit containing essential items that will come in handy in disasters and emergency situations.

How big of a bug-out bag to use depends on how much you want to pack. Remember that the weight of the bag will add up quickly, so pack your items with that in mind. The average size of a bug-out bag is a large backpack (think of the kind you would use for hiking).
There are numerous items that can be put in a bug-out bag, but here are five things that are particularly important to have, especially in situations where the power grid goes down for an extended period of time or a life-threatening catastrophe occurs, like an EMP attack after a nuclear bomb explosion or cyberterrorism:

1. Water, water, and more water!
Science says that the human body can only go three days without water. Staying hydrated is absolutely crucial, and having clean drinking water is a must. Plan out the contents of your bug-out bag in a way that allows you to have enough water to stay properly hydrated. Some say that a gallon per day is ideal, but the weight of carrying around a few gallons will add up fast. Pack a minimum of three liters of fresh drinking water, and put the water in separate containers (so you can distribute the weight evenly in your bag). In addition to that, pack a collapsible bottle and a filter or purification system, in case you end up being forced to derive water from another source.

2. Food
In addition to water, you will also want to include some non-perishable food items in your bug-out bag—at least enough for a few days. Be mindful of nutritional value. Include items containing protein (to keep up your energy) and other essential nutrients (like carbohydrates and fat). Some examples of healthy, nutritionally rich foods are raisins and nuts (trail mix), SOS emergency food rations, and dehydrated products such as fruits and jerky. Also, think about packing some utensils and cookware, just in case. For those, metal is often recommended over plastic.

3. First Aid Materials and Items for Personal Hygiene
Obviously, you hope not to be injured during your survival trek, but should injury occur, you will want to be able to treat it properly. Keep a first aid kit handy, and think about throwing in some personal hygiene items as well. Treating injuries is no fun when you are running a severe risk of infection from dirty surfaces. In addition to bandages, antibiotic ointment, adhesive tape, and antiseptic solution, bring wet wipes, small towels, and hand sanitizer so that you can clean yourself up prior to treating any cuts or scrapes. Also, when it comes to personal hygiene, consider packing soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and one or two rolls of toilet paper.

4. A Source for Light and Heat
If you are stranded somewhere after a disaster (especially one where the power is out), you are likely going to be stuck there when night falls. As the day grows dark and the temperature decreases, you will want to make sure you have something to keep you warm and give you enough light to see your immediate surroundings. Keeping a few butane lighters, matches, and tinder in the bag is a great start. Also, remember to pack some portable LED lights (and batteries, of course!). For batteries and other items that could easily be damaged by moisture, place them in a waterproof compartment, so they can stay protected.

5. A Wireless Phone Charger
These days, almost everyone has a cell phone, but that phone will be no good in an emergency situation if it goes dead! Remember to pack a portable phone charger from a company like TYLT in your bug-out bag. You can purchase a hand turbine charger for your phone, which will be usable in situations where you do not have the option of plugging your phone charger into an outlet or using stationary electrical sources.

When planning for disaster, whether the disaster be natural (like hurricanes and earthquakes) or man-made (such as terrorist incidents and nuclear war), no amount of preparation can be enough. While there are many other items you can, and likely should, bring in your bug-out bag, these five items are both practical and absolutely essential.

Author's Bio: 

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.