Bug Out Bag Basics

We hear all of the time about having a readily available, pre-packed and pre-positioned bag to be used in the event of an evacuation.  The common term is Bug Out Bag (BOB).  Generally speaking, we’re talking about having enough “stuff” to sustain a person for at least 72 hours.

As the saying goes, Stuff Happens.  You may be able to anticipate these things, but you can’t always predict exactly when they’re going to happen.  Wild fires.  Floods.  Earthquakes.  Landslides.  Hurricanes.  Tornadoes.

A train carrying toxic sludge may overturn.  A refinery or chemical plant may catch on fire and belch toxic fumes.  A town such as Ferguson, MO, may erupt in violent civil unrest.

Regardless of the cause, it’s time to get out!

A bug out bag (or Get Home Bag if the emergency happens while you’re on the road) is one of the key components to preparedness and the maintenance of your personal independence.  Having the ability to, “ride out the storm” for those 72 hours while you sort out what’s going on is a big step in the right direction.

There seem to be as many opinions and suggestions as to what goes into a BOB as to when you’ll need to use one!  Choices are a good thing, but sometimes you need to focus your attention.

Here is some focus for you:  Hover the “Prep Topics” menu item at the top of this page.  A drop-down menu will list the “12 Impacts” for which you need to be prepared.  If your bag contains items and tools to help you meet each of those impacts, you’re likely to be OK.

So, planning is key.

And remember:  Each person in your household needs their own BOB.  Don’t scrimp when it comes to lives.

Will Your BOB Kill You?

Actually, not really a far-fetched question

There are two main ways I can see how not thinking logically about your Bug Out Bag can end up hurting you. The first is weight. Let’s assume that your bug out bag’s purpose of use is that you plan to walk out of town with it strapped to your back before the zombie hordes can breach the city. This will be your bedroom dresser, kitchen pantry, shelter, entertainment center and medicine cabinet all rolled into one tidy package. The average weight guidelines for a fully loaded backpack are no more than 25% of your overall body weight. For a 200 pound person (in good health) that is 50 pounds.


The second way I can see having a large pack could be dangerous is from the standpoint of a total collapse scenario where massive amounts of society are displaced, scared, hurting and desperate. With a large pack you are a greater target. If there are truly desperate people and they see you with a big pack full of supplies and goodies they may be more inclined to relieve you of that extra weight. If their children are freezing or starving and you are walking around with the Wal-Mart camping section attached in a big bright orange pack, they may decide that you need that less than they do.

The weight issue is a very important one.  Many folks – Boomers included – aren’t in the best of shape.  Carrying around an extra 20 to 50 pounds can be a strain on your back, knees, feet and heart.

Practice with your full BOB to make sure you are able to handle the load.

How Much Is Enough?

If things really go sideways, maybe that big bag – and your automobile – need to be considered

Most bug-out bags share one common fault; they’re designed to help you survive three days, nothing more. That means that on the fourth day, when your supplies start running out, you’re going to start going hungry.

Considering that most bug-out situations last more than three days, the whole concept of a bug-out bag is rather limited. It might get you to the next city down the road, but that’s about it. If you are going to have to live off of what you’re carrying, you’re going to need more than that bug-out bag can provide. In addition to the survival equipment that the bag probably has, you’re going to need more food, water, clothing and other supplies.

What if you could take more with you? How would that make a difference? What if you weren’t limited by the space in your backpack? What should you take along then?

I’ve got a separate kit in my car – my Get Home Bag – which contains much more gear.  Obviously, if I’m bugging out and I have access to my car, I’ll have this extra equipment available.

Getting A Bit Pricey, Here

This video is made for those of you who decide to wait until the very last minute.  Things are getting ugly, and you decide to hit Wally World – your local Walmart.

The biggest problem with this type of a “strategy” (if you can call it one) is that everyone else will be thinking the exact same thing.

This is really a great video, but he leaves out two very important items:  Communications.  Namely, a radio.  If things are bad, you want to know where they’re bad, and if the badness is moving in your direction.  Be sure to have a radio in your BOB.

The second item is safety – namely a self-defense weapon.  A handgun is your best option, as it is small and concealable, and can keep your attackers at a distance.   If you’re not comfortable with guns, get pepper spray or stun guns.  You need to have some way of protecting yourself if there is a break-down in civil order.

YOU are your last line of defense –

Don’t procrastinate.  Think of the TV stories we see every year of people rushing to the nearest Big Box store to buy supplies for a storm they knew was coming a week ago.

Every year, the west gets hit with wild fires, and every year, people scramble.  Every year, the south gets hit with hurricanes, and every year, people scramble.

You get the idea.  Don’t scramble.

Plan and act.


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