A couple years ago I put together a bug-out bag. It was a fun project, though I'm not sure how much peace-of-mind it actually generated.
Now, a lot of the food & drugs I purchased in early 2016 have passed their expiration dates. So I'm refreshing those stocks to maintain the bag's functionality.
According to this ProPublica investigation (a), a lot of drugs don't actually lose there potency when they expire. The expiration date is just the date past which the manufacturer no longer guarantees the drug's efficacy.
The drugs I have in my bag aren't life-saving (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antihistamine, dramamine, and an antidiarrheal), so I'm not going to replace them. I think they'll retain potency for a long time, and it's not the end of the world if they don't.
I'm less confident about the foodstuffs. I originally packed:
- Squeezable tubes of peanut butter
- KIND Nut & Chocolate Bars
- A few freeze-dried meals
The freeze-dried meals haven't hit their expiration dates yet, so I'm keeping those. The KIND bars expired about a year after I bought them, so I won't be buying more KIND bars (replacing each year is a pain).
Same with the peanut butter tubes. Dried peanut butter powder apparently lasts much longer than its wet counterpart, so I bought some of that. I also bought some tuna pouches, because they last 3+ years & don't require any preparation before eating.
I considered buying beef jerky, but it's expensive & I prefer tuna anyway.
Finally, I bought a case of Meals, Ready-to-Eat. This would be hard to carry with me, but they last forever & have a lot of variety. Probably good to keep around the house for scenarios in which I don't end up hitting the road.
All the other supplies aren't perishable, so probably won't ever need to be updated. I also ordered a small bottle of Dr. Bronner's; it's sorta crazy that I didn't include soap in my first pass.