A portable radio is an invaluable information gathering device. A radio signal of some kind is almost always in range and if there is something truly catastrophic you're probably going to hear about it. Anyone who wants to know what is going on in the world while bugging out should definitely consider including either a portable receiver or transceiver radio.
Choosing a Portable Receiver Radio
When choosing a radio for a Bug out Bag, there are many factors to consider. The most important are going to be durability, efficiency, size, weight, and bands received. There is no doubt that a Portable radio in a BOB is going to need to be durable, efficient , and as small and light as possible. The bands that the radio receives are also going to be very important as they will determine what sort of information is available to you and where that information comes from. There are also many various features such as wind-up/solar radios, integrated cell phone chargers, internal flash lights, strobe lights, and all sorts of other gadgets that you will want to consider when choosing your radio.
Portable Transceiver Radios
In addition to merely monitoring news, weather and emergency broadcasts during a disaster you may want to be able to communicate with others. To do this one needs a portable two-way radio such as a Walkie Talkie or a Portable Transceiver. Some portable transceivers combine the features of a portable receiver with two-way communications on the FRS, GMRS or Amateur Radio bands.
Commercial/Government Radio Bands
AM/FM radios are extremely common and cheap, the AM and FM bands are also the most commonly used by commercial broadcast companies. No BOB radio should be without the ability to pick up these bands.
Shortwave is not as common as AM/FM, but these radios are still readily available. Shortwave is different from AM/FM in that it allows a listener to listen to broadcasts from anywhere in the world.
The NOAA broadcasts weather information in clear, concise form and can be extremely valuable.
Please note that analog VHF/UHF television broadcasts have ended in the United States, but your country may still be using these bands
Analog television signals are broadcast on VHF/UHF bands. If you have a radio that picks these up you will be able to listen to local TV broadcasts including news.
Scanners are radio receivers used to monitor UHF FM bands belonging to police, fire, EMS and other agencies. Due to scrambling of signals by some police agencies not all communications can be monitored. Cellphones also use UHF bands but due to legal prohibitions scanners are now blocked from monitoring wireless phone calls.