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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What's in my bug-out bag?

What's in my bug-out/prepper/emergency bag?

Last month I wrote an article asking what direction your preparations might be taking.  I also wrote an article about the best firearm for a bug-out bag.  That received a lot responses as comments on the blog and on reddit.  As can be expected, everyone has some passionate ideas when it comes to all this.  We thank you for your participation and encourage you to continue.
I would like to specifically discuss bug-out bags.  I will go over what is in mine, and please share your ideas.  Tell me if some of the stuff I have have is not necessary and please share what else I should include.

Mountainsmith Centennial 30First, let's go over the basics.

What are the basics?  This could mean different things to different people, however, because they're basic, we should be all be nearly on the same page here.

Most prepper/emergency planning groups and sources say that we should have enough supplies ready to go at a moment's notice for each person in your home for at least 72 hours.

I agree.  More is always better of course, but then the bag gets a bit too heavy and runs out of room.

(grammer will break down quite a bit now because I am mostly listing things out)


I have 6 bottles of water, a filled metal water bottle,  a water filtration unit and drinking water tablets.


Mainstay Emergency Food - 3600 CalorieThere are emergency food bars, cereal bars, power bars that provide enough food for a few days.  I have vitamins and electrolyte powder to put in water too.  I admit, that going over the calorie situation in the bag I feel like I am lacking there.

Security and Hunting:

I consider a firearm in a bug-out bag to be an essential. I go back and forth quite a bit with what is the right option for me.  I went into a lot of detail my ideas about this in previous article.  Please feel free to read that.  I've decided to keep a Walther P22 (22lr) pistol 3 extra magazine and about 400 rounds of ammo. I like 22lr for a lot reasons.  It's light, good for hunting and better than most think  when it comes to defense.  I typically conceal carry a compact 9mm.  Therefore, I keep a couple hundred rounds of 9mm in the bag too.  It's an insurance policy, plus ammo is good for barter if things every really go that bad.

There are two tactical knives in the bag which can be used for a variety of uses.

Roll of fishing line and fishing hooks.  Seems random.

First Aid:

I would say that first aid supplies are tied with 3 on this list with a firearm.  Some would place it before firearms, and some would place it after.

G P Waterproof OD Military First Aid KitIn my bag:

Standard first aid kit, ace bandages, suture kit, surgical tape, gauze, bandages, antibiotic ointment, antibiotics, over the counter pain meds,  surplus surgical kit, and rubbing alcohol.

A lot of the above is standard of course.  I bought the surplus surgical kit online.  it doesn't take up a lot of room and I say, why not?

American Red Cross FRX2Communication:
Pair of Motorola 2-way radios.  There is a combination cranck emergency radio, weather radio and flashlight and there is a CB radio in the bag.


2 Led Flashlights plus the hand-cranked radio/flashlight mentioned earlier.


Flint fire starter plus a few packs of water proof matches.


500' Parachute CordRoll of twine, roll of duct tape, compass, 100 feet of 500 test paracord, needle and thread kit, some cash, hand wipes, anti-bacterial lotion, rain parkas, emergency blankets, a monocular, and lots of batteries.  Batteries are heavy, but like the ammo, I like them there.

I hope I haven't missed something.  Please tell me of essentials that you think I should have in my bag.

Thanks for reading!

Timmy NoOne

Update - 6-13-2013

We've gotten a lot of comments and shared info from people over at reddit.com.  Here are a few of the comments.

Reddit user "never-downvotes" says:

2x 1L bottles (2 L of water) 2x MRE snack bars First aid kit (meds, bandages, moleskin, needle/thread) Fire starting stuff: lighter, decently large knife to cut/baton wood, very small firesteel, esbit fuel tabs) Water boiling stuff: empty 1L nalgene, aluminum cup that fits over nalgene, bandanna to filter water Communication: Large marsh pen, Walkie talkie w. weather station/alerts, pen, pencil, notepad Misc tools: leatherman, regular knife, backup small knife, flashlight, Misc consumables: Batteries for light, walkie clothes: jacket, change of clothes(x1)
Mine is a get home safely bag, if it takes longer than one night out then I'm in trouble. where I live/work/go, I am within 3-5 hour walking distance home. One day minimum ration (MRE, 1L water), and one extra just in case. It doesnt get cold NOR hot where I live (yay tropics) so unless the weather gets unheard of cold or hot, I will not get heatstrokes or hypothermia as long as I have a thermal blanket. one change of clothes for if I get uncomfortably wet and want to dry off the pair I'm wearing by a fire.
Only thing I'm worried about is water, which is why the emphasis is on fire starting supplies and water making supplies. Lots of streams where I live that never run dry and it also rains often so I should be ok on it though. Decided against carrying another liter of water because that'd make my pack a bit heavier than I wanted. The food should be more than enough for a good 2 day walk where only 1 day is required. If needed, I could probably stretch the snack bars, MREs to tide me for over a week.

Vermont's Barre Army Navy Store is a full-service online shop offering camping, hiking, outdoor, military, and surplus gear and supplies.


BlueTrain said...

Generally speaking, the choices are pretty good but I have my own viewpoint on the matter. However, I also think that where you live makes a big difference in what you need to plan for.

Most serious things you should be expecting sooner or later would not involve going anywhere. But that doesn't eliminate the need for good preparation. A simple thing like the loss of electricity is a serious thing. If you don't think it is, they you probably aren't reading anything on the internet anyway.

Sometimes evacuation may be required, generally for weather related emergencies. You'll need a vehicle ready to go. Forget having to walk anywhere (more on that later). Also forget wilderness survival unless that's where you live now. But you'll still need to provide yourself and your family the capability to camp somewhere for a couple of weeks. Don't count on living off the land. All the land within a day's drive from where I live is already spoken for.

I see no reason for a firearm unless you're hoping for a total breakdown of the social order. But for the other things, consider shelf life of food and batteries. Also keep things in a "grab and go" sort of arrangement for the day the river goes over the banks.

BlueTrain said...

Part 2:
It is not outside the realm of possibility that there may be an emergency when you are away from home. This may be more likely in areas that experience earthquakes. For an emergency away from home it might be handy to have a small second-story kit to deal with the situation. This aspect does not seem to be visualized by many writers on the subject. The key is where you are, how far from home you are and how you commute. A serious weather emergency, such as a sudden snow storm (it's happened a few times to me) may preclude returning home but otherwise doesn't constitute much of an emergency but more of an inconvenience. Naturally, it is a negligible possibility in August, but the rule of thumb is to always be prepared to spend the night away from home. The worst possibility is having to walk home.

BlueTrain said...

My apologies to Mr. Reddit, who had already mentioned some of the things I talked about.

Anonymous said...

I feel compelled to mention that not that long ago a forest fire suddenly and without warning changed directions and forced my brother's family to evacuate in the middle of night. My nephew (the Eagle Scout) had a go bag, the rest did not. Everyone had to leave in their PJ's and barefoot. They just barely made it out alive. When they got to the shelter, my nephew was the only one with clean undies, clothes and shoes. He also had a toothbrush, deodorant, mess kit, flashlight, drinking water, etc. Everyone else had to wait for the emergency supplies to arrive, which started trickling in 24 hours later. . .

It does not take a zombie Apocalypse or a sharknadoe to require a bug out bag. You can be suddenly relocated because of a toxic chemical spill, fire, flood, earthquake--and you seldom get prior warning or time to put on shoes, let alone pack a bag.

My bag is a standard backpack with 3 days food and water, and enough items to keep my comfy until FEMA can arrive, or search and rescue can find me.