Well, my last blog post got an overwhelmingly positive response on my Facebook page (just wish they’d have posted some of those comments HERE! ), and it sparked the question “What about a Bug Out Bag?”
I’ve got to be honest-that’s one hell of a loaded question. People have opinions on that subject like everything, and just like the Fender vs. Gibson, Ford vs. Chevy, and New Orleans Saints vs. Any Other Team argument, things can get pretty heated.
I’m going to open up with what Wikipedia says, then I’m going to tell you what *I* think. Y’all can take from it what’cha will.
Now, Wikipedia says you need enough food and water for 72 hours (in the US, it’s around a gallon per person per day), a first aid kit, something to start fire with, maps and whatnot, camping gear, appropriate clothes, bedding, medications (and medical records), battery or crank radio, lighting, firearms, cash, ID, Knife, tape, rope, tarps, pellet gun, wire, and a compass.
Sorry that’s just a list of stuff there, but that’s basically what most B.O.B. “Instructions” are.
As far as *I* care, the B.O.B. is one of those things that don’t rightly follow a hard and fast rule. It’s something that’s to get you and yours from point A to point B in the event of an emergency. It’s something you grab on your way out the door when the F5 is moving in. And while I believe in being prepared, I also believe in being able to CARRY it!
First off, and often overlooked is the actual BAG. Military Surplus is a great way to go-they’re rugged, and usually inexpensive. If you’ve got the money, I say splurge on a good bag. I’m not pushing any particular brand, but suffice to say you get what you pay for.
Next up is everything I listed in the previous article. I’m not talking about just tossing your E.D.C. fanny pack/pouch into your B.O.B., although you’ll want to do that too-I’m talking about duplicates of everything. Redundancy. It’s always a good thing. I’m not saying have two high-end multitools (although that’s certainly an option), but I AM saying have another first aid kit, extra protein bars, water, all that.
Add in the required food/water/fire starting stuff (I would suggest USCG Certified Ration Bars-between 2400 and 3600 calories per bar, light weight, and tasty!), a light tent (or Google the “Alpha Tent” and just use your poncho-that’s what I do), and a good sleeping bag system (including either a tarp or a good bedroll-TRUST ME)… Increase the size of your fishing kit, add in some snare wire, and a firearm.
Yes, I said a firearm. I personally have a RIA 1911 .45 ACP. I’m also looking at getting a Henry AR-7 Brushgun .22LR. I did like the Wiki’s suggestion on a pellet gun or a slingshot.
As far as rope goes, 550 paracord is the best. You can throw some in your bag, around your bag, or get one of those fancy survival belts.
Extra clothes are a must, appropriate for the season. My bag has two pair of BDU trousers, and the shirts I change out with the season. I’d stay away from cotton, just because when it gets wet, it takes FOR EVER to dry out. Wool boot socks are a must, as well as an extra pair of boots/shoes (in addition to the sturdy pair you’ll Get Out of Dodge in). One trick I’m about to look into is vacuum sealing the clothes, so they take up less space, AND stay dryer better. The plan is to take those vacuum seal bags they have on TV (you know the ones), and pack one outfit per bag. IF I can shrink ‘em down, I may throw in three to four changes of clothes.
I think that’s about it as far as I’m concerned. Yeah, have some maps if you can, and a compass is a must if you have the maps (take some orientation courses first-learn to properly use each piece of gear in your bag!), but don’t go OVERBOARD with the maps. Some sort of notebook and pen/pencil are good, too-a mate pointed out that in a stressful situation, you won’t remember everything, so use it as a logbook.
Probably the only SPECIFIC gear I suggest is a kukri knife, and a spear. The knife is smaller than a machete, and just as useful. The spear is a good walking staff, and can be used for hunting as well. Incidentally, those are also the items I get called out on the most.
Of course, there’s other stuff you can throw in, survival saws, hatchets, 3oz tents, the list goes on, and on. I’d also suggest some of those “Survival Kits in a Sardine Can” things, just so you’ve got a smattering of basics covered.
The one thing though, BUILD YOUR FIRST AID KIT. I said it in the last article, and I’m saying it here! Prebuilt first aid kits are an OK start, but fact is, they’re mostly filled with stuff you’ll never use, and not nearly enough of the stuff you DO use.
So, basically, the B.O.B. Can be a larger version of the E.D.C., just adding in gear to keep you going for 72 hours.
You can make it larger and it’s a “I’m Not Coming Home” bag, smaller and it’s a “Get-Home” bag, basically make it work for you.
The ULTIMATE KEY is to test it, and find what works. Your B.O.B. should ALWAYS be evolving, changing, and adapting to your situation, and what your particular needs may be. Your bag for a Spring Tornado would be different than that for a Blizzard would be different than that for an Earthquake would be different than that for a Flood.
I hope that helps. Please, leave comments on what YOU think should go into the bag.
And holy crap, that ended up being nearly two typed pages… That’s… Well… I’m pleased!