What would you do if you heard,
tornado sirens (loud audio)
or the emergency alert tones
…come across your TV, phone or radio telling you to evacuate as soon as possible? Some horrible fate was headed directly towards you and your family, and you have a very small window of time to escape. Obviously, you would spring into action and do what you could to save your life and the lives of your loved ones.
Imagine you have less than a couple of minutes to gather everything you need to survive in the wild. You don’t have a car to get out of dodge when it hits the fan. You can’t stop by the store on your way out of town. What you can gather and carry is all you have. Wouldn’t you want to make sure you had as much as possible that would ensure you could survive on your own?
This is why preppers all around the world are putting together a bug out bag (BOB). This bug out bag ensures they have everything they need (bug out gear) should they get the signal to leave their home in a hurry. When every second counts, you don’t have time to go through a checklist or check under the bed for a missing sock. In an emergency, you want to give yourself every advantage by being prepared. “Chance favors the prepared mind.” -Louis Pasteur
There are some things you will want to have stashed in a backpack. This backpack is your bug out bag. All of the gear and supplies inside the bag will be used to keep you and your family alive as you fend for yourselves in the wilderness. As you can imagine, every single piece of gear in that bag is going to be critical.
Chance favors the prepared mind.Louis Pasteur
Choosing the Bag
The right bag is just as important as the gear that will be in the bag. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but it is a good idea to get a good quality backpack that is durable and feels good on you. Not all bags are created equal. Just ask any long distance hiker. Ideally, you would want a pack with an internal frame. This is going to give you a lot more room inside while distributing the weight across your hips. Internal frames allow you to carry more gear without feeling the strain.
Your pack doesn’t need to weigh anymore than 40 pounds at the most. Even that is going to be taxing if you are covering a lot of ground. Hip belts help keep the pack straight on your back which will make it feel better and prevent it from throwing you off balance. Make sure the shoulder straps are padded. The pack should be an appropriate size for you.
If you are putting together bug out bags for each member of the family, make sure each person tries on the pack before buying. A pack that is too big or too small will cause problems that could slow you down or result in an injury.
This is so important. It is hard to get across the importance of every tool you put into your bag, but what it really boils down to is the difference between life and death. Having inferior gear or the wrong gear altogether may mean you can’t start a fire or you can’t purify your water, both of which could be the very thing that puts your life in extreme jeopardy. Spend some time reading reviews and finding the best gear for your price range. You don’t always have to spend a lot to get a functional, quality piece of gear.
This is probably one of the most important elements to your bug out bag. Never leave home without a way to make water you find in the wild safe for you to drink. Water that comes from a lake, stream or crystal clear mountain creek is likely filled with parasites, viruses and bacteria that can make you extremely ill. It is has to be purified before you drink it.
Average amount of water making up the human body
When dizziness/fatigue kicks in
When physical/mental deterioration occurs
When death can occur
Starting a fire can keep you warm, provide comfort and light, be used to purify water and cook a meal. This is another must have. Never leave home without a way to start a fire and purify water.
In a survival situation, you need to be able to have some kind of shelter to keep you out of the elements, in hot and cold weather situations. Having a few tools on hand can help speed up the process. The items listed in this section are multi-functional and can be used for a number of different tasks.
This isn’t an absolute necessity, but packing along some lightweight, easy-to-carry foods will help give you the fuel you need to keep going. Technically, you can live a few weeks without eating, but you will be so weak, it will be difficult to do what needs to be done to survive. Pack along a few items to keep you going until you can find another source of food.
It is inevitable there will be some kind of injury while you are running for your life into unknown territory. You need to be prepared to clean a wound and keep it clean. Dirty wounds are an invitation for infection that can be life-threatening. Even the smallest cut or blister needs to be cared for to prevent it from becoming something serious. The following is a basic first aid kit. You can certainly add to it if you have the room or you have specific medical needs.
Don’t bother packing Neosporin or other triplebiotic creams. They only keep a wound wet, inviting bacteria growth and infection. Honey is best!
You may not think about hygiene when preparing a BOB, or you might not think it is important, but being dirty makes you feel miserable and can actually lead to some skin problems. It also opens you up for infection if you do happen to have an injury.
Walking blindly through the forest or unfamiliar terrain can result in a serious injury. You need to be able to see around you. It also gives you a sense of security and can help keep you calm. If you have a campfire, you don’t need to worry too much about using your light in camp, which will conserve battery power.
You will want to prepare to deal with cold nights, even if the daytime temperatures are warm. You will want to adjust your bug out bag supplies to suit the area you live and the season. Never wear cotton in a cold weather situation. It stays wet, which will chill your skin. Wool will stay dry and keep you much warmer. Wear a shirt/pants/socks under the wool garment if wool makes you itch.
With the basics covered, there are still plenty of items you can add to your bug out bag to give you every advantage. While you don’t want to pack everything but the kitchen sink, you do want to get as much bug out gear as possible into your bag.
You don’t have to pack everything on this list, but you will need some from each section to cover all your bases. You will realize that many of these items can be used for multiple purposes, which is the goal in a survival situation. Make sure the items you choose are durable enough to be reused time and again.
More Helpful Suggestions
When you are packing your bug out bag, it is a good idea to have your survival outfit all ready. If you have time, change into the clothes you will wear into your survival situation. Loose fitting pants with lots of pockets allows you to carry gear on your person. If you happen to lose your pack, you will still have the essentials to stay alive. It helps take the weight off your back as well.
Sturdy hiking boots are also a huge help. You don’t want to be wearing tennis shoes or flip flops into the wilderness, or over any ongoing rough terrain. Your clothing is your first line of protection against the elements. With your bag packed and ready, you will have a few minutes to quickly change into appropriate attire. Your feet are going to be your most valuable asset. Make sure you protect them!
Spend some time organizing your bug out bag with the most frequently used items placed at the top or in outside pockets. Using carabiner clips can also save space in your bag. Hang items like a flashlight, canteen or compass from clips that should be a part of your backpack.
Keeping like items together in Ziploc bags will not only ensure they stay dry, but make it easy for you to find what you need without dumping your entire bag out.
Every bag with bug out gear is going to be unique. Build yours to suit you and your needs, and continuously adjust and update as needed.
Until next time
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