How Much Clothes Should Be In A Bug Out Bag?

We don’t like to think about it much, but disaster does strike. When it does, will you be prepared? When considering what to include in a disaster kit, clothing is sometimes overlooked. The truth is that not even rescue workers deem clothing as essential, but having to go without could mean the difference between surviving or not. Knowing how much clothes should be in a bug out bag will save you the stress of trying to make do in a bad situation.

The general rule is to keep three days’ worth of clothing, shoes and weather-resistant items with you in your bug out bag. Consider rotating the clothing with the seasons to ensure you are prepared at all times.

Did you know that a staggering 48% of people living in the United States do not have emergency supplies for a time of disaster? While you do not want to carry excess gear in a bug out bag, having clothing is definitely a necessity in times of danger. Let’s look at why it’s essential to have clothes in your bug out bag, what types of clothing you should go with and just how much of everything is advisable per person.

Why Do I Need Clothes In My Bug Out Bag?

It may seem like the least important item to consider and maintain, but clothing is vital for various reasons.

  1. Warmth. In a time of disaster, access to heat may be cut off. You may also be exposed to the elements in ways that you are not accustomed. Having clean, dry clothing will help you maintain a constant body temperature, which will help you stay healthy.
  2. Modesty.  In times of disaster, it often happens that clothing is damaged or, in some cases, even ripped entirely off. Having a supply of clothing will allow you to maintain modesty, which will also keep you safe from predatory eyes.
  1. Safety from infection. Having areas of skin exposed, especially if you have cuts and open wounds, provides the opportunity for infection to enter the body and spread. Covering up as much as possible will also help prevent scratches and wounds from occurring in the first place.
  2. Feelings of normalcy. When we are distressed, it can sometimes be the smallest of routines that help us feel grounded. Since we are accustomed to getting dressed every day, having clothes to change into can be a reassuring exercise.
  3. Maintaining self-image. Even in times of disaster, having the option to wear clean clothes and keep up a small amount of grooming can help give us a boost of confidence.  Remembering who we are and what we are capable of goes a long way in helping us overcome a bad situation.

What Clothes To Put In A Bug Out Bag

While the answer to this will vary from person to person depending on your location, the season, and your particular needs, there are a few basics you should consider including in your bug out bag to make the best use of it.

  • Weatherproof jacket. A lightweight, foldable or rollable jacket that can withstand rain, sleet, and wind is a good option.
  • Warm hat. Include a beanie or cap that will block heat from escaping and provide protection from the sun or light rain.
  • Sturdy gloves.  Including a pair of sturdy gloves could provide protection from the cold and help with climbing and foraging if needed.
  • Closed shoes.  Strong closed shoes will come in handy for walking long distances and help keep your feet from getting injured by falling items or sharp objects.
  • Clothing and underwear. Having a change of clothes is a necessity for a bug out bag. The general rule is to have three days’ worth of clothing, but even one will do if you are packing light. Maintain your clothing stash by regularly checking if the items fit and are appropriate for the season.

How Much Clothes Should Be In A Bug Out Bag?

The question of how much to pack is a good one when considering a bug out bag. The goal is to carry as little as possible; however, your clothes should also cover a few aspects:

  • Warmth
  • Protection from the elements
  • They should fit you well
  • They should be sturdy
  • They should fulfil a few purposes, eg. A piece of rope can be used as a belt and a survival tool

Now let’s look at how much of everything you should pack.

Technically, you can keep the same outfit on for as long as you like or need it, but it is recommended that you pack enough clothes for three changes. This is to accommodate for clothes getting damaged or soiled beyond repair. Three days’ worth of clothing also allows time and opportunity for you to wash and air dry your clothes on a rotation. Wearing wet or damp clothing is uncomfortable and can lead to illness.

If you are packing a bug out bag for children, it is advisable to pack an extra set or 2. It is common for children to begin wetting the bed during times of trauma.

Pack 1 of:

  • Pair of gloves
  • Jacket
  • Hat

Pack 2 of:

  • Pairs of shoes

Pack 3 of:

  • Strong trousers
  • T-shirts
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Socks
  • Underwear

It is crucial to keep the right attitude when using the clothes in your bug out bag. Often, when rescue workers offer assistance, clothing is not included, as it is not deemed essential. In a time of disaster, only change clothes when absolutely necessary to ensure that you have supplies during and after the event.

How Much Clothes Should Be In A Bug Out Bag: Last Words

Packing your bug out bag is really a matter of knowing yourself and those you are packing for. 

Pack clothes that are sturdy, comfortable, and functional. Remember to keep the clothes current for the season and make sure they fit your body. When packing a bug-out bag, the aim is to pack light but know that you have the essentials to survive if you are faced with a disaster. 

Although it is not a time for luxuries, a few comforts will go a long way in keeping morale up while you face the situations before you. Having enough clothes to stay warm, dry, and relatively non-smelly will help you and your loved ones stay healthy and strong until things return to normal.


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