When things go sideways, you won’t have time to grab all of the necessary survival gear and supplies – enter the Bug Out Bag. Unlike your EDC, the focus here is survival. Most BOB’s are designed to support 72 hour survival in the event of sudden evacuation, though many survivalists plan and equip their bags to last quite a bit longer.
The term ‘bug out’ is was first popularized during the Korean War and refers to instruction given to troops directed to ‘bug out’ when their position was no longer favorable and overrun by hostile forces was imminent. A BOB, also referred to as a 72 Hour Bag, Get Out of Dodge Bag (GOOD Bag), EVAC Bag, Battle Box, and I’m Never Coming Home Bag (INCH Bag), supports your quick exit strategy. As such, there are some considerations to take into mind when planning out the contents of your bag.
Organization is key. Not only should you be able to navigate your bag quickly and efficiently, organization will allow you to get the maximum space out of your bag. Practice is another must – it doesn’t matter how great your equipment is or how well it’s packed away if you don’t know how to use it or fit everything back into your pack. Doing a few test runs with your equipment periodically will not only ensure that everything still works properly, it will keep your skills and memory of the bag layout sharp.
When your survival is on the line, the last thing you want to do is take what you pack in your BOB lightly. Many people spend months and even years tweaking the content of their BOB, but as a general rule these items are the bare minimum that you should equip your pack with.
Hydration is life. We all know that you can survive much longer without food that you can without water so hydration should always be first on your list. Carry at least 1 liter of water per day. Because most BOB kits are designed to last for at least 72 hours, you should carry at least 3 litres of drinking water. You can carry a metal water bottle, water bladder, or other collapsible water bottle. A portable water filter and water purification tablets are also great additions to your you BOB.
Food and Food Prep
Again, the key here is to pack with 72 hours of survival in mind. When choosing food items, non-perishable items are highly recommended. Don’t go crazy with dehydrated foods that require water because you can never be sure how scare water may be. Always err on the side of caution. Some surefire winners are MREs, dehydrated camping meals, and protein/energy bars.
Just as important is equipment to cook your food. Consider packing out a metal pot to boil water, a spork, a metal up, and even a metal pan or plate. In addition to basic matches and equipment to start a fire, you may want to pack a lightweight camping stove with a few fuel canisters.
You don’t have to build a first aid kit from scratch, but if you do opt for a premade kit ensure that you have the basics, to include: Butterfly bandages, standard band-aids, medical tape, tourniquet, super glue, antiseptic cream, pain relievers, and antihistamines are all good examples of what to carry in a basic first aid kit.
Protection from the elements is one of the most necessary things to set up once you’ve established a base. In order to survive, you need to be able to stay warm and dry. Supplies to create a shelter in your pack should include a tent or tarp that you can use as a tent, a ground tarp or sleeping pad to stay dry and add at least a small level of comfort, and a bedroll or lightweight waterproof sleeping bag.
Again, the importance here is to stay warm and dry. Include a change of clothes in your BOB because the last thing you want to be is wet when you’re out in the elements. Include a warm jacket, long underwear, a hat, extra socks, tactical gloves, body warmers, and boots at bare minimum. Remember to only carry as much additional clothing as you need for survival.
Though items such as fire starters and communication equipment are a given, their importance shouldn’t be underestimated. Comms will be invaluable to get information of weather and other potential threats as well as communicate with others. A hand cranked radio is your best bet to stay connected to the world. Other important communication equipment includes a survival whistle, simple pencil and paper, and a fully charged cell phone.
Ultimately what you choose to keep in your BOB is up to you, and this should be regarded as a good starting point. Other items to consider are tools, weapons, surveillance equipment, and navigation equipment. Many people tweak their bags throughout the years to find the perfect setup for them. Having your BOB set up is a great peace of mind for anyone that worries about having to quickly respond to an emergency.