What is a bug out bag?
In short, when a major crisis hits (earthquake, pandemic, massive black out – EMP, etc) you may, for your safety, be faced with having to leave (bug out) in a matter of minutes from wherever you are. In short, you need to “Get Out of Dodge” and need your bug out bag ready to go.
Do I need a bug out bag?
Yes, everyone should have a bug out bag ready to grab. Sadly, hardly anyone does except the smart ones.
What if I live in a big city like New York City or a large metro area like Coastal Southern California?
Those that live in a major city or metro area are especially vulnerable to major crisis situations. Why? Because in the event the crisis lasts for more than three days (and keep in mind an EMP could last for months) people will quickly run out of food and water and that’s when all heck starts to break out. You want no part of that. New York City is at the top of the list of areas vulnerable to a prolonged crisis. However, if you live in or near a city of 500,000 or more, in the event of major crisis, you’re going to want a bug out bag ready and waiting! Need more convincing? I suggest you read William Forstchen’s book One Second After. Warning: it’s a very scary read.
Bug out bag checklist:
So what goes in a bug out bag and keep it at a manageable weight? There are literally books written on this topic. The list below includes the essentials.
- First: you’re going to need the actual bug out bag. Go on amazon.com and type in Explorer Tactical Bag. This will up bring a nice assortment of bug out bags. You can get great bug out bag for well under $75.
- Water filter – Lifestraw is good brand and cheap.
- Durable water bottle.
- Food items: make them light weight, calorie dense and suitable for long term storage. Trail mix, beef jerky, dried fruit.
- Tools: Glock shovel, fire starter, durable flashlight, at least two knives, one for pocket the other for belt, clips to hang stuff on side of your bug out bag.
- Bug out first aid kit: check online Amazon or REI.
- Small solar crank AM/FM radio the size of a dollar bill. Hand held police scanner is also useful.
- Tying, binding, snaring tools. Learn how to use these first. Search online for tips & books.
- Personal hygiene items: TP, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc. Not essential but helpful.
- Eating utensils: collapsible dish, fork, spoon (you already have a knife).
- Sewing kit – this is essential
- Marine style camo hat, light weight work gloves, extra socks, 8×10 tarp
- Compass, camo compact, map of state you’re in
- Guns: I like a.22 cal since the pistol and the long rifle can share the same rounds. Stopping power and range not great though. 9mm or a.38 are good back up options. AR-15 with collapsible stock is outstanding as well. Get training and practice at a gun range.
Other bug out bag stuff to consider:
- Backpack rain cover
- Chap stick
- Small survival fishing kit
- Duct tape
- Flash (Thumb) drive
- Small hatchet
- Steel wool & 9 volt battery – great fire starter but store apart from each other
- Pen and pencil
- Pocket chain saw
- Siphon or clear plastic hose, 5-6 feet long
- Sling shot
- Small solar charging kit
If you’re new to survival skills and building a bug out bag, don’t panic, it’s OK. Print out a copy of this article and between Amazon and a trip to your local Wal-Mart you’ll be well on your way to getting this built. Once you have the stuff you need for the bug out bag then you need to start building your reservoir of survival knowledge. Take it “one bite” at a time.
If you’re not comfortable with guns, then hold off on this for now. Once you have your bug out bag built, sans gun, then find a gun range that is novice friendly. Call around, you’ll find one. Then, visit that gun range and explain you’re a novice and need training. They will glad to help you. There are ranges that will train a novice, including shooting their guns for $89. This is great way to get used to handing a gun and will help you know which gun you’re comfortable with before you lay down money to buy one.
Lastly, none of this is cost prohibitive. It just takes your personal commitment and a modest investment. Take a little time each month to practice an element of survival. It’s all about building a base of basic knowledge methodically one piece at a time. As long as you stick with it, within a few months you’ll have a solid survival skill set, be more confident in your abilities and even reduce stress by worrying less about the day it all hits the fan.
If you’re stressed out by what’s going on in the world today, join the crowd… me too! Taking modest steps to be emergency ready can actually lowers stress. Why? Because you have a plan. Regardless of the crisis, getting prepared now need not cost a ton or take countless hours of your time.