Encrypting important documents: Prepare your digital bug-out bag before SHTF
By Zoey Sky // Aug 13, 2020

Before disaster strikes, a prepper sets up a survival stockpile filled with gear and supplies and a bug-out bag (BOB). Once those are done, a prepper should also take the time to prep a digital BOB to secure important documents. (h/t to SHTFBlog.com)


Securing your personal data

Even if you don't need them right now, preparing a secure, digital copy of your documents can save you a lot of time when you actually need them. Start by saving digital copies of your IDs and other documents on a USB drive.

Once the first copy is done, make another copy and store it in a safety deposit box or a secure hiding place in your bug-out location. If you lose the first USB drive or you lose your home to a natural disaster, you can quickly retrieve your files using the back up USB drive.

Alternatively, you can take photos of your IDs using your phone. Send copies of the photos to your email account or to an online drive. However, photos of your IDs and documents can be lost. Someone else can also access your data if they manage to get ahold of your phone.

Check online for free ways to secure your data using encryption tools like BitLocker and VeraCrypt. (Related: Follow these useful tips to protect yourself from identity theft.)

Storing data in microSD cards

If you own a device that can read a microSD card, use one to store your information and keep your data portable. For added security, remove the microSD card from your device and hide it somewhere on your person, in a secret compartment in your room, or inside your survival stockpile.

Keep your information updated by giving documents detailed names, such as the day you scanned it and the expiration date. Doing this ensures that you can easily tell which files need updating.

Hide your bug-out USB drive or microSD card in a small container with emergency money. When SHTF, you can grab your digital BOB and have access to money so you can buy provisions

Documents to store in your digital BOB

Below are suggestions on IDs and important documents that you may want to store in your digital BOB.

  • Adoption papers
  • Amateur radio license and list of frequencies, handles and repeaters
  • Alimony or child support information
  • Apartment lease
  • Appraisals of property
  • Bank information (e.g., statements, account numbers, debit or credit card numbers)
  • Birth certificate
  • Car insurance
  • Certifications or certificates (e.g., CPR, SCUBA, Hunter Safety, etc.)
  • Concealed carry license
  • Death certificates
  • The deed to your home
  • Driver’s license
  • Emergency contacts addresses and phone numbers
  • A history of previous addresses and dates
  • Hunting or fishing license
  • IDs
  • Investment Account info
  • Last will and testament, a living will or power of attorney
  • Life insurance information
  • A list of your employment history, supervisors and their contact info
  • A list of your firearms’ serial numbers
  • Locations of your survival caches
  • Maps
  • Marriage license (or divorce papers)
  • Medical history, along with any allergies, existing conditions, identifying marks, medicines and primary care
  • Medical insurance cards
  • Mortgage papers
  • Passports
  • Photos of family members and pets for identification
  • Photos of your house or valuables (for insurance purposes)
  • Resume or CV
  • Retirement Account info
  • Social Security card
  • State or county disaster plan information
  • Tax information
  • Transcripts or Degrees
  • Vehicle registration
  • Vehicle title
  • Warranties

If you prefer to have physical copies of your IDs and documents, you need to factor in the available storage space in your BOB. You can't lug around a heavy bag, and your documents might get wet if you don't keep them in a waterproof envelope. But unlike USB drives or a microSD card, you don't need any device to access printed copies of your documents.

If you chose to store digital copies of your data, make sure you have a device that can access your info and backup power source to charge your phone when SHTF.

Before disaster strikes, prep your digital BOB and secure your IDs and important documents to protect your information from prying eyes.

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