When I started this project, I ran a poll through Facebook to ask what people wanted to read about, and the resounding answer was an even split between ‘Bugging Out’ and what to pack in a Bug Out Bag. It’s been quite a while, but I’m adding a section right up at the top of the page specifically for different types of emergency bags, which I’m referring to as “Adventure Bags“.

There are several reasons for the name shift: the first is that I truly believe that the power of positive word association can make a difference. Remember, we’re prepping for Tuesday, not for doomsday. Say you have two backpacks. One is the bag you’d use for a spontaneous camping trip, a day at the beach, or a trip to a nice AirBnb with your closest friends. The other is the bag you have packed for SHTF™. The two bags contain almost the same items: a change of clothes, snacks, some tools, games, camping gear, etc. The key difference between the two is that one of them is going to put a smile on your face (because you’ve been working hard and you deserve that beach day), and the other is going to stress you out.

The second reason is that, if you’re anything like me, you might get into the habit of saving everything you have (and I mean everything) for a rainy day. If you have family who grew up in the Great Depression, or even if you’ve ever played through a Legend of Zelda game, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You throw everything in your bag, potions, arrows, fairy jars, specialized gear, anything and everything you might need to defeat the final boss, and then the final boss battle rolls around and it turns out you didn’t need any of it. This is exactly what you don’t want to do with your Adventure Bag. Any kind of emergency or disaster feels quite a bit like a final boss battle, and if you fall into the trap of hoarding everything in your bag, when that boss battle rolls around you might find that you don’t actually need many of the things you picked out, and you actually do need a few things you didn’t think about. An emergency bag isn’t supposed to be loaded to the gills with equipment from some list you found online and then stashed in a closet somewhere, you have to actually pick out the gear you like, and use it often, so by the time you really need it, you know exactly what you’re doing. You also want to avoid having supplies you know you’ll never use (even if everyone says you should have them).

The third and final reason is that a bag you pack for an overnight activity you enjoy is actually going to be better in the vast majority of survival situations than the one you’ve actually packed for survival. This might seem like an oxymoron, but it’s not. As I’ve mentioned, I live in Louisiana, and I’ve been in many, many hurricane evacuations. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually needed my tactical emergency bag, the one loaded up with MREs, saws, water filtration, solar power, camp stove, and all that jazz, during an evacuation. Now, the other bag? The one with my neck pillow, favorite snacks, comfy pajamas, gaming laptop, and most of the comforts of home? Yeah, I use that one daily. I practically live out of it. The key is to combine the two into one bag.

Something that tends to get lost in translation in disaster survival guides is that you’re not prepping for the disaster, you’re prepping for you, and nobody knows you better than yourself. Pack food that you like, even if it’s Cosmic Brownies and protein shakes. Pack your vintage Gameboy Color and a couple of spare AA batteries, if that’s what makes you happy. If you’re evacuating with a group, pack something y’all can do together. Make a Spotify playlist and sing along to it in your car while you drive. Try to have a little fun with it. Don’t just prep for disaster, prep for adventure.