Having to leave your home in an emergency is one thing; having to do so without any previous planning is another. Add in children to that and you could have a nightmare on your hands. You’re probably already thinking about some of the “what-ifs” that could come your way, and hey, we don’t blame you! We’re right there with you, considering all the possibilities and options.
We’ve already talked about bugging out with a baby, but what if you’ve got older kids – old enough to carry their own emergency supplies? Dealing with emergency situations with older children may be even harder – with older children, they are aware of what’s gone and what they’re leaving; there are more emotions and more fears. But with a little bit of preparation, you can provide some stability and comfort during the crisis you’re facing.
Choosing the Right Pack for Your Child’s Bug-Out Bag
I can’t say this clearly enough: do not buy a cheap book bag for your child’s bug out bag. The most essential part of packing a bug out bag for your child is choosing a pack that they can comfortably carry. If they’re uncomfortable and hurting, it won’t be long before you’re trying to carry your pack and equipment, them and their pack. Spend a little money and buy a decent back pack. In my personal experience, Land’s End back packs are of excellent quality and the company stands behind their product. They’ll send you a replacement if it breaks. Coleman backpacks are great too, and I still have the L.L. Bean I got as a 9th grader in high school – I still use it for the beach and camping! I’m 33 years old!
Weight of the Pack
When packing a bug out pack for your child, keep a close eye on the weight of the pack. Children’s packs should be under 10% of their body weight, so a 40lb child should have a pack weighing no more than 4lbs. If you try to make the pack too heavy, they’ll be complaining faster and you could also hurt their backs, so weigh as you go, and take out anything that’s too heavy.
Food in the Emergency Pack
If your kids are picky now, they’re going to be picky in an emergency, so be sure to pack a favorite snack, like a granola bar, dried fruit, etc. Anything familiar will be a comfort to your children while everything else around them is in a state of chaos, and the lighter the snack is the better, since you’re going to try to keep the pack’s weight low.