In the prepper world, there is perhaps no single item more debated or discussed than the Bug Out Bag. At times, it seems as though the Bug Out Bag (or BOB) is the stuff of myth and legend. Survival literature is rife with descriptions of what you need to have in your BOB, what type of pack you should use, and where you should store it.
At the core, a BOB is nothing more than a collection of gear and supplies designed to keep the user alive until they reach a safe location. The BOB gives the user options as to accomplishing different goals or objectives. Anyone who has read my books or heard me speak knows that I am all about giving yourself options when it comes to survival planning. Locking yourself into any single course of action without available alternatives could mean a death sentence. Instead, a far better plan is to provide yourself with as many options as is reasonable, allowing you to choose the one that makes the most sense given the set of facts you face at the time.
The thing is, though, the BOB is, or should be, personalized and customized based upon the needs, the skills, and the experience level of the end user. There are a few really great premade BOBs on the market, such as those offered by Sustain Supply. However, even those need to be torn apart, played with, and added to in order to make them truly perfect for the user. Not too mention, the good ones are rather pricey.
In this blog series, I’m going to break down the BOB into various categories of supplies. For each, we’ll discuss different approaches to the goals needing to be met and present different options for meeting those goals. The idea here is for you to carefully weigh the different ideas presented, see how they fit into your own situation, and then apply them as needed. Some of what I’ll mention won’t work for you. That’s perfectly okay. Hopefully, though, at least some of it will fit very well for you and your family.
The different categories we’ll discuss are (these will become clickable once the blog posts for each go live):
Before we get into all of the nitty-gritty, let’s talk a bit more about what a BOB is and what it isn’t. In order to do that, we need to discuss bugging out, at least in a general sense.
I suppose we should define bugging out, just to make certain we’re all on the same page. For our purposes, bugging out means leaving the area with little to no expectation of returning in the immediate future. In other words, this isn’t a “stay at Grandma’s for a few days” sort of situation but rather a “grab Grandma on the way out of town” deal.
Bugging out should rarely be your primary plan of action in the event of a disaster. In all but a very small number of scenarios, you are far better off staying put than you are hitting the road. For most of us, home is where we have the majority of our supplies stored. Why in the world would we willingly leave all of that behind or try to quickly pack it all up into the family trickster?
Yes, you should have a bug out plan and a BOB. But, this should comprise only a small part of your overall disaster readiness planning.
Think about the disasters likely to befall you and your family. For each of them, consider whether it would make better sense to stay home or hit the road. On top of that, consider that for the few scenarios where bugging out might indeed be the best choice, with any of them you’ll need to get out ahead of the crowd in order to pull it off.
Forget all notions of heading for the woods like you saw in Red Dawn (either version). Keep in mind, you’re not the only person who saw the movie(s). Plus, if you lack a high degree of skill in bushcraft and such, you’re just dooming yourself to failure. Camping is one thing, living off the land for extended periods of time is quite another.
Your eventual bug out location is a key factor in planning your BOB. You need to have a realistic idea of the length of time you’ll be traveling. We’re not putting together a “head off to the woods and live forever” type of kit, here. The purpose of the BOB is to provide you with the supplies you need to get from Point A to Point B. We’ll get more into the specifics of planning as we go along in the blog series. Suffice it to say for now, have an idea of where you’ll be headed and how long it will take you to get there, on foot if necessary.
A BOB isn’t Santa’s Gift Bag, filled to the brim with all manner of gadgets, gizmos, and doohickeys. Nor is it some sort of magical device that automatically grants the user immunity against any and all dangers. It is simply a collection of gear and supplies designed to keep you alive, pure and simple.