Much has been written, discussed, debated, and argued over the concept of the “Bug Out Bag” including what should be in it, how long the contents should last, how empty or full to have it, with many related subjects thrown into the mix.
This post is not about reinventing the wheel or supplying yet another pack list modified by one or two items. The readership is most likely well-acquainted with the topic and have their own BOB’s equipped and ready to go.
The focus of this writing is to outline where the BOB actually fits into one’s preparation/survival plan and to bring out the plain truth that the BOB, if relied upon solely as ‘my preps’ will only marginally increase the odds for survival by the owner when the SHTF for an unknown duration.
The botoom line is the BOB is one more tool to use in the overall preparedness effort. It’s simply a stop-gap measure to supply the owner with necessities enroute to his or her location during an emergency or disaster situation, or ‘the big one’ AKA ‘the S has HTF’.
Some worthwhile questions on the practicality of “Bugging Out” itself include, but aren’t limited to:
Do you have a place to ‘bug out’ to or are you going to live ‘on the road’ and take your chances on finding a ‘landing spot’ (‘survival roulette’)?
If you do have a place to go, are you pre-positioning your mid and long term supplies?
Do you have a secondary and tertiary route selected that you’ve actually reconnoitered?
If going overland, how will you navigate through areas that will be secured by local residents and most likely hostile to strangers passing through?
Will you be prepared to sleep, eat, and establish temporary shelter that’s reasonably secure for the duration of your trip to your ‘safe house’?
Is it more prudent to ‘Bug In’?
If so, will you keep your BOB ready in case SIP (Shelter In Place) loses viability?
The questions you ask yourself in planning will determine what and how much needs to be in your BOB. You will, however, need to resist the tendency to overpack. The BOB should weigh no more than 1/4 of your body weight. Otherwise, you won’t be ‘bugging out’ anywhere anytime soon. Especially if you’re not fit, don’t exercise, and have no aerobic stamina.
When it comes to the ‘daily grind’, the first place the BOB fits in the plan is in your to get you home if the vehicle fails during an emergency situation such as a severe storm or power outage. Contents should fit the general parameters of the trek home. Remember, you’re purpose is to get home; you can repack for your BO location once you get home. If your daily routine takes you more than 5 miles from home, your planning should include good, comfortable, durable footwear, water, food equivalent to one meal, a small GPS and an up-to-date road map of the local area. If the GPS goes down, the map should suffice for short tripsIndividual knowledge of areas to avoid helps considerably.
Each member of the family with their own vehicle should have their own BOB in the vehicle and have the contents modified for weather extremes as applicable.
Strategically, if your vehicle gets you home, or in a SHTF situation you’ve called it right when to ‘Bug Out’ and you don’t get caught up in grid-lock or checkpoints (as there will be a small window of time before these show stoppers occur) and get to your bug out location intact, you’re golden.
If your vehicle dies, gets stopped, or for any reason you’re forced to abandon it, the strategy to employ is one of “no contact” if at all possible at all times on your way to your destination. That might take some thinking and pre-event ‘dry runs’ so you know how best to negotiate the routes you’ve chosen. Keeping your contact with other people as limited as possible greatly reduces your chances of being robbed by those who see you as an easy target or those who ‘legally’ confiscate your BOB because you ‘must be up to no good’ or the contents of your BOB have been declared ‘contraband’ by TPTB.
‘No Contact’ will also by necessity modify your contents or how you use your contents when executing your bug out plan. As you look at the items in your BOB, and you consider that not being seen is the best method for avoiding contact, you’ll come to the conclusion that you might need to spend some time without a fire, or need a well-insulated sleeping bag (again, weather, geographic region, and situation depending) or have more than just one or two bottles of water or having some hygiene items with you.
Security can only be achieved by employing a combination of tools and tactics; invisibility from people along the way is the best tool you’ll have. Sure, having a weapon for acute emergencies to save your life or the lives of others is non-negotiable, but in your planning, ‘no contact’ is more powerful than the weapon, because the weapon won’t be employed except as a ‘security blanket’ if you’re not discovered.
Again, remember the BOB is only one of your many tools to help you survive when hard times come. It’s not meant to be by any stretch of the imagination, ‘the cornerstone’ of your preparations.