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 (https://www.bestglide.com/the-superark-survival-kit.html )
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!"