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  • Do I REALLY Need a Bug-Out Bag?

    Do I REALLY Need a ‘Bug-Out Bag’?


    Yes you do.


    Because “Fortune Favors the Prepared”.


    I’m shifting my original plans for this topic to the topic of Hurricane Sandy, which is apparently headed for the East Coast and even as I write this, thousands are reviewing the very topic I am speaking of today. Many will have to evacuate (“Bug-Out”) either by choice or forced evacuations. Many will choose to “Shelter / Survive in Place”. Either way, some quick reviews of what basic needs should be found in any Grab-bag of emergency gear is in order.

    The term “Bug-Out Bag” or “BOB” has taken on a life of its own in the last several years. No set of instructions for emergency preparation is complete if it does not list the need for a 72 hour (or more) supply of very basic necessities. We could discuss all the items that in an ideal situation would be found in either a Bug-Out Bag or “Get Home Again” bag. Right now, we are looking at absolute basics.

    Before I begin – one word of wisdom based on experience and personal knowledge of Mr. Murphy and his immutable law of probability… The only person you should absolutely depend on for your survival is yourself. How you survive is based on your preparations. If you refuse to prepare and are resting in your personal faith in a Government agency (local, state, Federal) to provide your every need in a crisis… please help out by at least taking a permanent marker and legibly writing your name, Social Security number, date of birth and drivers license number on the underside of your forearms and insides of your thighs, so identification is easier for those of us who pick up after a crisis.

    These basic necessities can be broken down simply into 3 categories - Water, Food, and Shelter. Some bloggers and others will substitute the Food for Fire. I include Fire making components into my Shelter category due to the fact that even though I always have at least three ways to start a fire, the components are relatively small and the space they take in my BOB is negligible.

    Let’s start with Water. Water is life… period.  All the preparations a person can make – all the elaborate shelter plans, emergency food supplies, accumulating and stockpiling misc. short and long-term Survival items… all of these things are moot if a water supply is not maintained or provided. You can live 3 or so weeks without food, but only 3 days or less without water.

    And, that water has to be drinkable. So besides a supply of water, how about including a filtered bottle, filter straw, and some water purification products? I have all 4 items in our BOBs.  Also, remember the more active you are, the more water you will require. At the very least, you are looking at a recommended 64 oz. (1/2 gallon) per person, per day. Women who are nursing, adults and children who are sick, being in a higher temperature environment (awake and sleeping) and many other factors will require more than normal water intake.

    Be prepared to choose to carry as much water as you can possibly carry and be prepared to leave out all but the most essential items in your BOBs if it means a choice between them and water. Water wins every time unless you know FOR CERTAIN (and who can?) that you will have a steady and dependable supply of potable water.

    Food?  Yeah… MREs are wonderful (most of them) and are simple to prepare. One problem with MREs is if space is a premium. You want at least 72 hours worth of food for each person, and ideally, this would be 3 meals a day, so nine MREs per person at the least. If you have a family of 4, that comes out to 36 meals and that is 3 cases of MREs. Is space at a premium? The perhaps some prepared survival food such as Mainstay  3600 Food Rations.  Each 9 piece food ration has 400 calories, and that means one package of Mainstay 3600 is 3 days of Survival food for one person. 4 packages of Mainstay 3600 can be packed into a space the size of just t2 MRE’s.

    Now, it should be remembered that this is SURVIVAL FOOD, and even though the vanilla shortbread flavor may get old to you after a day or so, it is going to give you some calories and the special formula of the Mainstay rations ensures that eating it does not invoke thirst.

    Just remember that you know how much you can take with you if you are bugging-out. I personally suggest a combination of various dehydrated foods, MREs, and Mainstay rations. I would eat a dehydrated meal or MRE for breakfast, a Mainstay bar for lunch, and another dehydrated meal or MRE for supper.

    Just remember – many dehydrated meals take at least a pint (16 oz.) or more of water to prepare, and you want to be on your guard against depending on meals that require large amounts of water to prepare and also may have a lot of sodium.

    Shelter – this could be a commercially available pup tent or one of the larger family-sized tents, or perhaps a large tarp you can use as both a cover and a ground cloth. A rolled-up MilSurp Sleeping Pad and / or a MilSurp Bivy cover will work as well.

    Now – if all you had were the above basic items, then you are already above the curve on preparedness, because even with all the talk of preparedness these days, most people will put it off until it is simply too late.

    There are commercially available kits which can take some of the work out of gathering many of the items you would not only need, but want in an emergency. One of these is the Survivor Industries Super Ark Personal Care Kit ( )

    Although it is a great kit on its own, there are still some other items you would want to have with you in an emergency. A pair of good flashlights with extra batteries, dust masks, clean bandanas, TOILET PAPER, hand sanitizer and personal wipes.  The best First Aid / Medical kit you can afford or assemble. A way to signal – a quality whistle, a Signal Panel, a flashing strobe light.

    A small AM/FM/ Weather Band radio with extra batteries and / or a Solar charger and hand crank charger. A small tool set including screwdrivers, adjustable wrench, and a good hammer… I can go on and on and at a future date, I will not only show what sort of items I recommend, but will show one of my BOBs and why I chose what I did. These are just the basics. Many of these item types and much more can be found on this web site.

    One last item for your basic kit -  A roll of quality Duct Tape. If you have the room – several rolls. Duct Tape can give a temporary repair to many items and is too valuable to not have.

    One thing you cannot purchase is one of the most valuable commodities, and that is knowledge.  Listen to the news and weather reports, know the evacuation routes out of your area and have a contingency plan to shelter / Survive in place if you choose or need to.

    Preparation is more than just collecting items you hope you never need, it is learning all you can and applying that to your situation.

    As always…  " Fortuna favet præparaverat  -  Fortune Favors the Prepared!"

  • Survival Equipment Requirements for Alaskan and Canadian Air Travel

    As survival and adventure enthusiasts, not too long ago we choose to plan several flights from the southern United States, through Canada, and into Alaska. As we packed our Cessna, we had to make sure we packed for every possible circumstance. Both Alaska and Canada require specific survival equipment before flying in their airspace, according to government regulations. Before our trip we gathered everything, we needed, plus a few extras, but we found ourselves struggling to find exactly what we needed.

    Through a great deal of shopping and research we finally had everything required: the equipment, the airplane, and our adventurous spirit. We found ourselves completely mystified by the beauty of the “Great Alaskan Wilderness”. As we few over 3,000 miles, we were shocked by how truly wild the Alaskan and Canadian wilderness truly was! After seeing the wilderness below, counted ourselves lucky for the survival equipment they required.


    Flying Through Canada

    Think of survival equipment as a secondary insurance policy. Although flying this terrain is considered safe, there is always a possibility of something serious happening, especially in areas where help is far away. Due to the vast expanse of unpopulated and wild terrain, Canadian authorities used to be extremely thorough in their approach to required survival equipment; however, deregulation has left rules undefined and vague. Canadian statues require the means for starting a fire; providing shelter; purifying water; and signaling distress. More information can be found at

    The former regulations can be considered a guideline for all DIY survival kits. The items required were specific in terms of value and quality, for example acceptable rations are “Food having a caloric value of at least 10,000 calories per person”. They also required: cooking utensils, matches, compass, axe, flexible saw, a stove and fuel (certain conditions apply), 30 feet of snare wire, fishing equipment, a gill net, mosquito nets, tent, sleeping bags (conditions apply), snow shoes (when expecting snow), signal mirror, pyrotechnic distress signals, knife, survival manual, and a conspicuity panel (Signal Panel).

    Although Canada is known for its aggressive bear population, we DO NOT recommend carrying a firearm into Canada on your trip. Canadian Customs have strict regulations regarding firearms which may cause problems for you in the future; handguns are prohibited and all long rifles must be registered. Consider carrying an airhorn or other loud noise making device instead.


    Flying Through Alaskan Glacier Fields

    The Alaskan state laws are more lenient and less specific compared to former Canadian regulations. Found in the AS 02.35.110 section of the Alaskan statutes, air travelers are required to carry: rations for each occupant to sustain life for one week, an axe, first aid kit, a survival fishing kit, knife, fire starter, mosquito head nets (much needed!), and two signaling devices.  They also require a set of snowshoes, a sleeping bag, and one wool blanket per occupant during winter months. There is no longer a requirement to carry a “survival” firearm. More information can be found at


    Preparing to Travel

    Any prudent traveler should carry at least the minimal survival equipment; enough to take care of immediate needs when rescue is far away. Although regulations are vague, it is essential to prepare for any possibility. For minimal expense, you can have a basic survival kit that could save your life.  Adventure survival equipment offers their own Alaska Aviation Survival Kit that was created in conjunction with Let’s Fly Alaska. Whether you purchase a premade survival it or make your own, remember:

    • First aid items can save your life
    • Always carry at least two signaling devices
    • Clothing, shelter, and fire provide essential heat
    • People can survive without food but water is an immediate need
    • Include a small, inexpensive survival manual, regardless of skill or knowledge


    Fortune Favors the Prepared!

    Information from this article was published in a copy of Cessna Owner Magazine and Piper Owner Magazine.  It is reprinted here with permission from the author.


    This entry was posted on August 9, 2012 by Brian Greenlee.

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