Bug out bag…if you don’t have one get one! The “Bug Out Bag” is another focal point in all “Prepper” households. What kind of pack should you get? What should you put in your pack? Have you thought of everything? Should you buy a “pre-packaged” bag/ backpack?
These are all valid questions, worth putting thought into. After all, your “bug out bag” is supposed to make the difference between life or death. YOUR LIFE OR DEATH!
Now if you are like most of us, you are trying to reach your goals on a tight budget. Hell, if you’re like most of us, you are still trying to figure out what all your goals are and in what order they should be met. It can all get so overwhelming to think about sometimes. What to do first? What you can afford? Where can you cut costs? And this line of questioning is just for the most basic things let alone the “safe location” or the land you have thought about trying to put aside for. At least that is how it plays out in my mind.
Ideally, the “bug out bag” is your GO-TO personal source if the SHTF (Sh*t Hits The Fan). This bag,, or preferably back pack, will have everything you may need to survive for at least 24-78 hours. Now if you have babies or toddlers, you will have to plan to pack and carry extra items for them as well. Again, much to consider! Everyone will find they have slightly different needs from the next guy. It is for this very reason that I DO NOT advocate buying a “pre-packed” bug out bag. This bags are easily found on most any survival site you come across, and I have even seen them locally being sold on Craig’s List lately.
These prepacked bags are always more expensive than they are worth when you break the contents down. For instance, I don’t want to pay $5 for a roll of “campers toilet paper”. Come on! You can just as easily go to your bathroom right this minute and pull of a length of toilet paper, roll it or fold it up, and have just as much or more of exactly what you get in a campers roll. You obviously won’t have room for a full roll in your survival bag or at least you shouldn’t if you have packed EVERYTHING ELSE you’ll need. However, I will say that if you pull out the cardboard insert in the middle of the toilet paper you will save yourself some valuable space making it more feasible to bring along a full roll.
Now the pack itself needs to be worthy of the mission, but this does not mean you need to spend on a brand new top of line pack. Of course this is always nice to have, but not very cost effective. You can find used survival packs at your local military surplus stores. Here, where I live, there are many indoor swap-meets that are open daily where you can look for a military type pack. The outdoor swap-meets are another great source to find exactly what you need CHEAP! I’m not saying to substitute quality. Your pack needs to be sturdy and free of damage if possible.
If you have a second hand military pack be sure all your closure straps and clasps are there and working. Last thing you want to have happen is get to bug out bag all packed up, throw it over your shoulder and have the contents fall right back out because the clasps wouldn’t latch or the snaps were missing. You get my point. Chances are if you go to a second hand store, military surplus, swap meet or the like, you will have more than 1 pack to choose from anyway. Take your time, look it over.
So you’ve found the pack, now what should be in it? This is really up to you and what you find most important. I will tell you that when we first started putting together our 72 hour packs in my house, mine was full of SURVIVAL GEAR and my wife’s was full of every soap, shampoo, and lotion she had ever taken from a hotel or motel since we’ve been together. True story!
For me, my list of gear was a no-brainer. But then I had a childhood where hunting and camping were 2nd nature, and I have been actively planning for and thinking on the “if” for quite a while now. For someone who is new to prepping, I can see where you may not have the first clue what to pack beyond a sleeping bag and what you might normally take on a camping trip. Let’s narrow it down.
We are packing to survive for up to three days. What do we need to bring?
- Water: Ideally you would have a pack that has a water bladder to fill. I carry 5 liters of water in mine (3 in the Hydration bladder and 2 canteens with charcoal filters) because I carry extra for my kids
- A good SHARP knife (I actually have 3 in my pack) and an E-Tool.
- Means to start a fire. (lighter, magnesium sticks, matches in a water proof bag)
- Food – whether it be MRE’s or maybe even simple protein bars. Best in my humble opinion; is anything you don’t have to warm up or cook. Not because I cannot, but because cooking food and fires can be smelled a long way off. When you’re bugging out, possibly in the midst of a bunch of hungry people, its best not to tempt trouble no matter how well armed you might be. I also carry about 5 times the food I “think” I am going to need.
- Couple pairs of dry socks.
- ** if you have a firearm be sure you have packed extra ammo**
- Some ParaCord @least 100’ & some Carabineers. This can prove invaluable for many situations.
- Door stops (If you’re scrounging and come across doors that shut and you don’t have a key or know of another way out.
- First aid kit of some kind. (I include lots of herbal remedies in mine).
- I also have an assortment of Mylar blankets, wire cutters, straight razor, mirror, etc. Most are dual purpose grooming and survival.
- Extra sunglasses and binoculars.
- I keep and extra ball cap or boonie hat fastened to my pack.
- 100 hr candle, flashlight, and extra batteries.
- One last thing. I really think Hoodia is an important herb for all preppers. It is used by the African Bushmen to suppress appetite and thirst on long journeys. I have 3 kids and a wife that I love, I also have limited finances. If I can miss a few meals here and there stretching my supply for my family, so be it. (If I can do it painlessly even better). *If you are packing for a baby, do not forget to pack the diapers (kind of has to be cloth) and formula if needed. Powdered over wet formula for the weight factor, but consider also with powder how much of the drinking water will go to the bottles alone?
Most of these things when purchased separately are much cheaper than in a prepackaged back pack. You probably have some of these things already at home and won’t need to go buy brand new stuff like first aid items (bandages, gauze, etc…) The socks don’t have to be brand new either but I bought some good ones and put them up. Cushioned wick away boot socks of some kind most likely will serve you best. Anything is better than nothing, but with a little planning, piece of mind is right around the corner.