Bug out survival planning: How to make medications last in your bug-out bag
By Zoey Sky // Jun 27, 2020

Before you head to your hideout, you must first prep your bug-out bag (BOB) so you have enough supplies to last you at least 72 hours during evacuation. But if you or a family member has a health condition that requires medication, you must plan for meds to last as long as you're on the move. (h/t to BeansBulletsBandagesAndYou.com)


Like the food and gear in your survival stockpile at home, the items in your BOB must be checked and rotated regularly to avoid expiration when you need them most.

Non-food items like medication can deteriorate over time. Even if your meds can still be used beyond the listed expiration dates, this doesn't mean they will last forever.

Detailed below are three suggestions to make sure medication lasts long in your BOB.

Keep medications fresh in a controlled environment

Note that extreme heat, freeze and thaw cycles, humidity and sunlight can cause chemical degradation. Store your bags in a cool, dark and low-humidity room in your house.

You need to be more attentive to BOBs stored in your car because they exposed more frequently to light or humidity. One option is to keep car BOBs stored in a dark area and seal them to reduce humidity.

Rotate the supplies in your car more frequently than your BOB at home to ensure that your supplies stay fresh if you need to bug out using your car.

Switch out your stocks regularly

As the seasons change, replace the items in your BOBs for more weather-appropriate gear. Once winter is over, replace your winter gear with more comfortable clothes, then replace the medications in your supplies. (Related: These important items deserve a place in every bug-out bag.)

Once you've replenished your supply of prescription medications from your BOBs, take out the old meds and put them in daily dispensers so your preps don't go to waste.

Pill boxes

Pill boxes will keep your meds organized, especially if you need to take several pills for your condition.

Prepping a pill box for your BOB will make it easier to keep track of the meds that you've already taken and those you still need to take. Prep two boxes, with one pill box full of daily medications for your BOB, with a second box for your daily use.

You can also add herbal supplements and vitamins to your BOB so you can boost your overall health while bugging out.

Pill boxes also offer other benefits, such as:

  • Letting you know in advance if your prescription is about to run out.
  • It gives you easy access to one week’s worth of prescription medications for your BOB.
  • When stored in a quality pill box, your meds will last longer in your BOB.

Consider formulations when prepping your meds

Overall, liquid medications degrade the fastest. Gel caps will melt when exposed to heat, even when stored in your car BOB.

Spray bottles are bulky and they may not work when you need them to. Out of all your options, pills have the longest shelf-life.

Other medications for your BOBs

Below are other item suggestions for your BOB first aid kit.

Indigestion and upset stomach

  • Anti-diarrhea tablets
  • Ginger and peppermint tea bags for nausea and an upset stomach
  • Small cup for the tea

Infections and supplements

  • Activated charcoal for ingestion of toxins
  • Children’s vitamins, which are also safe for pregnant women and adults
  • Colloidal silver
  • Essential oils (e.g., clove, eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree oil, etc.)
  • Foot fungal ointment
  • Honey
  • Iron supplements, to be administered after blood loss
  • Rehydration salts
  • Vitamin D drops for breastfed babies

Before SHTF, prep your medications and replenish your supplies for your BOBs to ensure that they last for a long time.

Sources include:



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