Where to Store Your Bug Out Bag: Map Your Plan

So you’ve set aside food and supplies in case of a disaster, and you’re feeling fairly assured of your preparedness. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but if everything you’ve stocked away for a worst case emergency is stashed in a single place like your home, you’re putting yourself and your family at more risk than you need to.

What if when the time comes for you to reach for your bug out bag, your home is inaccessible for whatever reason? What if someone were to pillage through your home, or even worse- it burnt down or was otherwise destroyed in some way? It’s also very possible that you won’t be near your home and may have trouble getting there quickly during an emergency event. That’s a lot of “what ifs”, but being prepared is all about considering a range of possible scenarios of what could go wrong and doing the best you can to field them.

I don’t want to sound alarmist here, I just want you to be aware of how risky it is to put all of your eggs in one basket. You should have multiple survival kits across different locations. At a minimum you’ll want 2 storage spots, but ideally you have 3. If money and space afford it, then more than that is even better. So if your home is not enough, where else might you store your survival kit?


After your home, your job probably ranks pretty high on the list of places where you spend most of your time. It makes sense that if something were to happen that had you reaching for your bug out bag, you might be at or near work. If you work in an office, a small file cabinet would easily store essentials like a 3 day dry food supply, a walkie talkie, nuts, or a few bottles of water. If you don’t have a cabinet, you may have a locker that you’d also be able to place things in.

Be careful though, this is your work bug out bag- so don’t put anything in there that would get you fired, like weapons! The great part about keeping a bug out bag at work is that you may be able to stock some items for cheap, since water bottles, small snacks, and first aid cabinets are often freely available in the workplace.


If your children are still in school, see if they can store a few items in their lockers. This gives you peace of mind that if something were to happen while your children were at school, they’d be taken care of.


Wherever you go, there you are- and so is your car! If you don’t already have some supplies stored in your car, then it’s a great idea to do so now. If nothing else, it’s wise to keep a first aid kit in your car somewhat like this one:

Be mindful of what you store in your car however, as the inside of it along with the trunk can get exteremely hot. Make sure you’re not storing things that would perish or diminish excessively when exposed to heat over a long period of time, like plastic water bottles.

Dig a Hole

Burying your supplies can be a good idea, if used as a back up after you’ve exhausted all the other more accessible forms of storage. If you have access to land where you’re allowed to dig, it’s helpful to keep small items like batteries and dry food in a compact, waterproof and airtight container beneath the earth. You won’t want to dig so deep that it’ll be too much trouble digging it back up later- remember that manually digging takes up a lot of energy, and if food is scarce you’ll want to keep your energy expenditure low. A hole about 1 foot deep is the sweet spot, since it’s not so deep that it takes excessive effort to retrieve, but not so shallow that it would easily be exposed by eroding dirt and the rains anytime soon.

Store Supplies with a Trustworthy Friend

If you have a neighbor that you can trust or a close family member, it’s a good idea to have them hold a mini bug out bag just in case you can’t access yours. Letting others know that you’re a prepper is a tough decision that everyone handles differently. If you’ve chosen to let a good number of people know, some of those folks may decide that they want to collaborate with you in keeping a joint survival kit and escape plan in case of an emergency. You never know when planning for disaster outside of your immediate family may save your life.

Public Storage

I’m listing this one last because not only is it the most expensive option (the others are free), but after digging a hole, it’s also the most inaccessible. Public storage warehouses are usually gated or secured in some manner. If you ever needed to retrieve something from them in an emergency, it’s possible that it may not be during the warehouse’s business hours- or even worse there may be no staff manning the warehouse at all if things are bad enough! For these reasons I don’t recommend keeping things here that you’d need quickly or in the short term. It makes more sense to store excess supplies that you may need in the long term in offsite storage.

Anticipating and preparing for as many scenarios as you can reasonably manage is crucial to your own survival, as well as that of those who depend on you. The effort and cost of spreading out where you keep your bug out supplies is low, but the peace of mind and payoff it provides when SHTF is high and is therefore well worth it. Stay safe out there!