By the author of The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices
Have you ever considered a bug-out bag for your little ones? Well, imagine this: disaster has struck, and you decide to get your family out of the house and head for the hills. One of those family members happens to be a toddler. While you’ve undoubtedly built your bug-out bag for such an event, what about a bug-out bag for toddlers?
Sure, many people with small children stash things for the kids in their bug-out bags. But, wouldn’t it be wise to have a special bag just for them? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a toddler bug-out bag and what should go in those bags.
Pros of a bug-out bag for toddlers
Imagine you and your family are on your way to your survival retreat, and there’s a roadblock up ahead where gunfire has just erupted. You have no chance of turning around, and you’re a two-day hike from your destination. Do you and your kids have what it takes to make the walk?
It’s important to ensure that your family has what they need to stay safe at all times. Particularly during events such as hurricanes, floods, wild fires, and even civil unrest and riots. You need to quickly throw essentials in the car and get the heck out of dodge in these situations. Should anything push you out into the woods or knock you off course as you journey to your BOL, having ready-to-go BOBs could be life-savers. Having a bug-out bag for your toddler can also help ensure an easier getaway.
Two main advantages of a toddler BOB
Face it. Kids gear is bulky. Whether we’re talking about diapers, blankies, toys, or whatever else, it all takes up space in your pack. You need to carry as many of the items necessary to survive as possible in your BOB.
If you can’t carry much food with you because you have a bunch of diapers taking up space, you have to find a solution. A toddler BOB can be a small part of that solution.
#2: Comfort items close to the kids
Many kids don’t do well if they know their favorite toy is just out of reach. They want to KNOW their favorite item is there with them. Having it in the mini BOL will help do just that. While you may be able to live a spartan lifestyle, your kid cannot. They need the small comforts that you deem unnecessary to survive. For a kid, they are necessary.
Cons of a bug-out bag for toddlers
The main thing that sucks about a toddler’s BOB is that you’re eventually going to end up carrying it. If you’re evacuating from a hurricane and can quickly toss your kid’s BOB into the SUV as you head for relatives in Tennessee, then this is no big deal.
If you’re trekking 20 miles through the woods to your mountain retreat as you avoid enemy invaders, that’s a bit of a different story. Your kid will help to carry their BOB, but that’s all they’re doing – helping. You, as the adult, are primarily responsible for ensuring everyone and everything gets from Point A to Point B.
What to pack in a bug-out bag for toddlers
The main thing I think about with a toddler BOB is saving myself space in my own kit. Remember, that’s space, not weight. There’s a huge difference between the two. If you load your kid down with all kinds of heavy items, they will not go anywhere. Your toddler’s BOB should not weigh any more than 1-2lbs.
First you will need the bag. If your child already has one that is lightweight and durable you can use that. If you need one here is a fantastic, lightweight and super cute bag from Dueter.
Every kid has their favorite toy, and as a parent, you know how devastating it can be to them to lose it. I consider this to be the first necessity for a toddler’s BOB. Kids need routine, and losing their favorite belonging hurts my heart and is a huge deal in the world of a little kid. Cut the crap about “it’s not a necessity.” You love your kid. Pack their dang toy.
Your kid may very well have their favorite blankie. Some of these are no larger than a dishrag. Others are kid-sized. Either way, it will fit in your toddler’s BOB saving you quite a bit of space in your BOB. Also, you won’t be adding unnecessary weight to your kid’s bag.
I focus on dry goods here. A few little bags of gummies and Goldfish are the only things I add to this category. I avoid pouches as they’re a heavier food item compared to dry goods. I can carry those.
A little raincoat rolled up doesn’t weigh much and can easily be carried by a toddler. I consider Rainproof clothing an essential component of a BOB, and your child needs protection from the elements. A raincoat can be a little piece of the puzzle to help do such.
By no means would I make the kid carry his entire stash of diapers. I don’t see a problem with 2-3 being in here, though. They’re light items that a kid can carry with ease. And, they will be as easy to get to as possible as the daily accidents happen.
These don’t need to be super fancy. Just something small and easy to use.
What NOT to pack in a bug-out bag for toddlers
You have to have water with you in your BOB, but don’t make your kid carry it. Water is heavy. You are the one that carries liquids and sippy cups.
Wipes saturated with liquid are heavy. Don’t make your kid have a weight strapped to their back. Figure out a way to make room for the wipes in your own BOB.
Actual survival gear
Do you only have one fire striker? Is it a good idea to put that in the hands of a 2-year-old in a survival situation? I don’t think so. If it’s essential to life, the kid doesn’t get to carry it—end of story.
This should be a no-brainer. If the item is potentially dangerous, your kid doesn’t need to have it in their pack. Odds are they’ll open up their bag at some point when you’re not looking. Be responsible and keep the dangerous stuff on your person.
“Da’ee, look! I ha’ bahpah TOO!”
Many of you know the physical and emotional toll disasters can have on people. Just think of the toll on young children. The mental and emotional well-being of your kids is just as important as their physical well-being. Teaching them to be resilient and competent will help with this.
Help give them a sense of security by talking to them, in a way they can understand, about these situations and what you expect from them. Make sure to involve them in crafting a bug-out/evacuation plan for your family. A toddler BOB is a cool way for a toddler to “help” and keep some of their essentials as easy to access as possible.
What are your thoughts on the situation? Do you agree or disagree with the steps I lay out here? Are there other tweaks you would make? What would you put in a bug-out bag for toddlers? Let me know in the comments below!
Aden Tate has a master’s in public health and is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com, TheFrugalite.com, PewPewTactical.com, SurvivalBlog.com, SHTFBlog.com, ApartmentPrepper.com, HomesteadAndPrepper.com, and PrepperPress.com. Along with being a freelance writer, he also works part-time as a locksmith. Aden has an LLC for his micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has two published books, The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.