Bug Out Bags
Who, what, when, why, and where:
Why do I need one?
Whether you are planning for a massive financial collapse, an EMP strike, a tornado, or the Zombie Apocalypse (or Zombie Alpacalips for our Facebook fans), the ability to evacuate, or Bug Out, quickly will help keep you alive. Are you planning for something or everything. It makes a difference.
How much weight can I carry?
You know your body. How much weight can you carry while hiking for 3 days? It’s not a walk in the park. You may be climbing over debris, avoiding looters, or navigating through steep terrain. Be honest with yourself and don’t over pack. Depending on what you decide, your Bug Out Bag (BOB) could weigh between 20 and 50 pounds.
How far can I carry it?
How far do you think you can travel, on foot, in three days? What is your terrain like? Weather will play a factor too. Can you carry enough stuff to make it to safety?
How far will I have to go?
Where are you headed? Just out of harms way? Out of town? Out of state? You need to have predetermined destinations and routes. You need to try to contact family and friends to let them know where you’re headed. Could you make it on foot or will safety be a car ride away?
What size pack actually fits me?
Do you know where a pack is supposed to sit on your body? A standard backpack with proper straps should make the weight of the backpack bear on your hips not on your shoulders. It should fit from your T-shirt collar to your hip bones. It should have a waist strap and a pectoral/chest strap. This will make your pack feel as light as possible.
Where should I keep it?
This is a pretty important question. Do you keep it at home? How about in your car? Maybe at work? I can’t answer this for you but I can help a little. I have a small EDC (Every Day Carry) kit that I keep with me. It is designed to get me to my car. I have a car kit. It is designed to get me home. I have a GoBag. It is designed to get me out of Dodge (G.O.O.D.). In a pinch I can use my EDC and my Car Kit as a go bag. I’d be missing a few things but I wouldn’t be totally out of luck. Technically, I would be short on would be food and water. Except I always have water in the car. I usually have some food in the car or at work with me. So I could quickly gather what I need. This may seem like a lot of gear… Really it is. You don’t have to do it all at once. Build an EDC… Then build a GoBag… Then later you can build a Car Kit to fill in the gaps. The idea is that if you and your EDC kit can get to the car and its kit, you have a better chance of getting home to your GoBag. Then you’d have plenty of gear to evacuate with. If you had to abandon the car later you’d have everything you needed to go on foot.
Now that we’ve answered all the questions….let’s meet the team!
Please allow me to introduce BOB. Everyone say “Hi BOB!” BOB is your new best friend. He’s the one you can count on when disaster strikes. Especially if you are evacuated. BOB or Bug Out Bag, Bail Out Bag, Go-Bag, 72 hour bag. Whatever you call it, it is your lifeline in an emergency. It is designed to do several things. It can provide food, shelter, and warmth should a disaster happen and you need to leave home. It can give you the tools you need to get from point A to point B should you need to relocate during a disaster.
Compact, durable, and efficient, these should be the qualities to look for in your BOB items.
These are the categories you’ll be dealing with:
Other Tools & Necessities
Each of these is crucial. I have a huge list of BOB items. You don’t need ALL of them. You need to decide what to carry based on:
Your physical ability/health
Your stature (pack size)
Your family size (adults/children)
If you are not in great physical condition, don’t plan on carrying an 80 pound BOB very far. So decide how much you can carry and tailor your kit to match your ability.
My favorite part about prepping. Not necessarily gadgets but good old fashioned hardware. Don’t get me wrong, I like the gadgets too. I just hate to rely on high tech toys. Some are crucial but most are just designed to replace a skill. Skills don’t break and knowledge weighs nothing. Don’t be dependent on fancy doodads. 95% of this gear is worthless if you don’t know how to use it. Some of it is unnecessary if you have the right skills.
Here it goes. Pick and choose whatever you feel YOU need.
2400 calorie meal bars
Pre-packaged (water, heat and eat)
-meals like Mountain house or Thrive
Hard candies (for morale)
Stainless Camp Cup
CRKT Eat ‘N Tool
Mini Stove and fuel or grill (Grilliput
Aqua Blox water
1 liter wide mouth bottle
collapsible water container or
-hydration bladder for pack
Mini hand sanitizer
Tube tent, tarp, or backpackers tent
2 large garbage bags
Paracord and knot tying chart
Lightweight bivy bag
Lightweight sleeping bag
Plastic drop cloth
Crank AM/FM/Weather radio
Sharpie, pencil, and notepad
Sighting Compass and guide
Small/Medium size first aid kit
Extra prescription meds if taken
Suture kit and guide
Quick clot or Celox
Butterfly/wound closure bandages
Small surgery kit
Dental care kit
*CHECK LOCAL LAWS FIRST*
Hand gun (whatever you are
-comfortable with) ammo, holster
Small or Collapsible Rifle ( 10/22
-takedown or AR-7 type) and ammo
Fixed blade knife
Blunt instruments, clubs, walking stick
Pepper spray/Bear Spray
•Other Tools & Necessities•
Full sized Multitool
Long run LED flashlight
LEDHeadlamp or strap for LED light
Batteries for all electronics (X2)
Travel toilet paper or tissue pack
Feminine hygiene product (if needed)
N95 particulate mask
Small Knife Sharpener
Folding Saw (with blades for wood/
Handcuff key (just in case)
2 sqft of Aluminum Foil
Waterproof bags / Dry Sacks
Wide brim hat
Hand warmer packets
Extra prescription glasses
Family info and contact kit
Go Towel (shower in a bag)
O R G A N I Z A T I O N !!!:
Now that we’ve talked about what to put in your BOB. I hope it didn’t overwhelm you. I really hope you don’t try to pack ALL of that in one bag. Speaking of packing, how exactly do we get this stuff into a backpack and not have to dump it out like Granny looking for a mint in her purse?
I use 1 liter wide mouth water bottles for most of my kit. 5 of them to be exact. A red one for first aid, a blue one for water supplies, a green one for cooking tools, a yellow one for rescue gear, and a black one to protect my fire starting goodies. I have a dry sack for my clothing items. I use a dry sack for my food as well. That way if I’m in bear or scavenger country I can hang my food out of reach of the critters easily. Your tools should go in their own compartment of the pack so as to not damage anything else. Your fixed blade knife should go on your pack where it it easily accessible. Mine is on my left shoulder strap. You should have the flashlight or headlamp in an easy to grab location as well. If night sets in, while you’re still traveling or setting up camp, you don’t want to have to fumble around for it.
I don’t know what your pack will look like. Pick one with several compartments and some organizer pouches. Decide on a layout that works for you. I can’t make that decision for you. Depending on your physical restrictions and personal skillset, you will need a pack between 2000 and 3000 cubic inches (roughly 30-50 liters).
I suggest you get the gear first and then stack it all together this will give you an idea of the pack size you will need. Try to buy it locally or from a place that takes returns. You don’t want to be stuck with a pack you can’t use. You’ll probably just end up buying the largest capacity for your body size. If you are 5’2″ and 100 pounds… Don’t buy a 60 liter pack. You’ll hate yourself. Not that you couldn’t carry the weight but it won’t fit your torso correctly. If you are not capable if carrying a pack for long distances, you may need to find one with wheels. Another small word of advice. Don’t pick a pack covered in bright colors and don’t pick a pack that screams “I HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED” to every passerby. In a true disaster, bad people get worse. Don’t be a victim of envy. Also, buy a rain cover for your bag. It’s cheap insurance.
Do some research. Find gear that is of quality build. Find gear that is compact. Find gear that fits you. Find gear that helps improve YOUR skills. It is very rare for me to endorse a particular item. I do have recommendations for some items but there are too many products and too many personal opinions for me to tell YOU what you need. If you’re stuck on an item or category, email me or catch me on the Facebook page. I’ll be glad to help
Alright! You’ve answered the questions about “Bugging Out” . You’ve searched the interwebs for all the gear YOU need. You’ve traversed the hills and valleys (using your new found map and compass skills) for the perfect pack. Somehow you’ve managed to get all those goodies in Santa’s Sack O’ Survival. Now what? Do you toss it in a closet to get eaten by moths? Stuff it in the trunk next to last weeks gym shorts? I know! You go hide it in the back of the supply closet at work! Yeah! That’s the perfect spot!!! NO! You get off your duff and head out to the “Outernet” and try this stuff out!
Play (practice) with the items in your kit. Get familiar with them. It sucks trying to learn how to start a fire when it’s dark and rainy. Try the food. It won’t be gourmet but having an idea what to expect, you may decide to find alternatives due to taste, allergies, or size/weight restrictions. Don’t just buy gear and expect it to work. Test it!!! If you REALLY need this kit… You are going to be in a pretty crappy situation. This kit is to help you make the best of it. It is not the time to learn, it is the time to apply your skills to the tools at hand. Learn those skills in a safe setting. Learn them now! Try the water filter. Build a fire 5 different ways. Chop your own firewood. Navigate a 1/2 mile out and back (in the daylight and use the orange flagging to mark your trail… You know, just in case). Don’t let a disaster be a trial by fire. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. Remember,
Skills don’t break and knowledge weighs nothing!
Duh! I should know better:
Yeah, I screwed up. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone! You’ll ruin my DISreputation!
I am here to help you avoid some mistakes. I can’t save you from all of them. I do hope I can save you some time and money by learning from my mistakes.
Rule # 1
Your gear has a usable temperature range. Food spoils faster at higher temperatures. Bandaids get slimy in a summer car trunk. Medications loose their potency when toasted. We all know the car gets hot in the sun. If you keep your bag in the trunk, you’ll have to rotate your perishables and adhesive items more frequently. If you keep it in the closet with the electric water heater… Yeah. It’s not much better. Be mindful of freezing as well. Many items don’t take well to it either.
Water is our best friend and worst enemy.
Mold sucks. Period. Keep your gear away from moisture. I lost an entire travel trailer to mold. Winter storm came through and destroyed thousands of trees in our area. Had a medium sized branch fall on our Get Out Of Dodge trailer. I didn’t notice the quarter sized hole in the roof until spring. It looked like a science experiment in there.
Rule # 3
Just because it was expensive doesn’t mean it won’t break.
I’m a hard use kinda guy. I treat most things really well. I can’t really afford to replace things all the time. That being said, I do get lazy. The screwdriver says “not a prybar” for a reason. Does that stop me? NAH!
Try not to abuse your gear. You may really need it… 5 min after breaking it doing something stupid with it. Tool have an intended purpose. Only use them for what they are designed to do. I broke a really nice drill because the back worked just like a hammer, once. But not twice.
Rule # 4
Imitation is NOT the highest form of flattery.
The tool that looks just like the one you want but at 1/2 the price… Is probably not the tool you want. Cheap knock offs are taking over nearly every facet of our lives. Don’t get fooled. I bought a compass that I thought was EXACTLY the same as the Brunton 8040… Nope. Fell apart, IN MY PACK!
Rule # 5
Nothing is Idiot Proof!
Just because it looks really simple to operate does NOT mean you should throw out the instructions. Too many examples to list.
Rule # 6
If it ain’t broke, don’t try… Too often.
You should have some idea of the durability of your gear. It should ALWAYS hold up to normal use. Good gear can even handle occasional abuse. Try your gear and make sure it is up to the intended task but don’t go overboard. I had pretty nice hammer/demolition tool that we joking called my zombie apocalypse hammer. I showed it off to everyone I could find. I hit this, twisted that, and pryed the other thing. Guess what? After repeated abuse… That price of junk broke in two. Stupid tool!
A bug out bag is one if the most crucial things to have in your preparedness aresenal. I hope this has helped to take the anticipation out of building yours. Good luck!