By Prepper Ralph
So to begin with… Bug Out Bags(BOBs) are meant to let you leave on a moment’s notice with no questions asked and escape to a safe place or at least one less dangerous. Hopefully you’ll have a Bug Out Location(BOL) picked and you may even have considered hiding some supplies or a weapon w/ ammunition there. BOBs are meant to be lightweight, efficient in what their purpose is, and have as much equipment as is needed to see you through an initial SHTF/Unrest period. The Federal Gov’t through FEMA and also Red Cross states that 3 days of supplies should be enough to see you through whatever disaster there is until you can receive help. That help will typically be some sort of gov’t assistance(handout) and in the case of Katrina, took sometimes weeks or months to get to you. I personally recommend 1 week’s worth of supply, or the ability to procure it. So here is my list of the top things you would need in a BOB to keep you ready to go.
1) The bag… do not go cheap. As you know, I use the Spec-Ops Brand UAP(Ultimate Assault Pack) for mine. I highly recommend either you get one of these, or a similar bag of similar quality. Maxpedition makes a good one, Condor has brought out a “Pro” line of gear, and there are many more. If nothing else, go surplus and get a US Marine’s ILBE pack.
2) A Full tang knife between 5-7 inches long in the blade. I like Ka-Bar, Ontario makes great ones, Benchmade… the list goes on and on. Do not go cheap on this as this will in many cases be your primary tool. Make sure it is a good quality steel that is at a minimum High Carbon Steel
3) 7 strand mil-spec paracord. I suggest anywhere from 100-200 feet of it in a dark or earth tone color. Other’s like bankline, and that would work great as well, but consider this… With 1 foot of paracord, you get a total of 7 feet worth of 50# tensile strength cordage. It simply makes sense.
4) Shelter options. G0 light weight with this. I prefer a tarp set up and keep 2 ready to go in the trunk of my car. There are literally hundreds of ways to use them, and several uses outside of shelter as well. Either way, it needs to be lightweight. I’d suggest a 6×8 minimum and no larger than 10×8. You could also use a hammock setup as well.
5) Your cooking setup needs to be durable, but lightweight as well. I use a simple stainless steel pot and cup with a lid that fits both. My cookset cost less than $20 and is capable of being used directly in a fire.
6) Fire making is pretty simple and a no brainer. Buy Bic lighters and buy a lot of em. I keep several in my pack, my car, and all over the place at home. Survival is all about making life easier on your trek, not just living through it. An instant flame is just common sense. Carry also a good quality medium sized ferrocerium rod, and matches as well. I would use the Bic until it died, then the ferro rod. The matches would be my last hope.
7) Finally self defense. We are talking about survival, not a camping trip. Have yourself a good quality handgun in your pack or on your person, 2 extra mags at least, as well as another 100 rounds to replenish. I would suggest you have available at least 4 extra mags, other than the one in your weapon. Don’t use FMJ’s in your weapon since they provide the least amount of damage and transfer of injury. Use a quality HP round that you can test and insure that it work in your weapon. Remington, Federal, and Hornady are good ones, with Independence and some other’s being cheaper. A compact folding rifle in .22LR or 9mm would also be ideal, but it adds a lot more weight to your pack.
8) Water… Have a few water bottles full, but don’t worry about toting water as it weighs about 8# per gallon. With everything in your BOB and on your person, you can filter or sanitize water easily. You could also try a Sawyer Mini filter, Lifestraw, or the water tablets to purify it. Either way, this is going to be lightweight and minimal.
9) Food is pretty easy. Something dehydrated so that all you have to do is add hot water. Mountain House, Patriot Pantry, Thrive, Wise and several others make great food. Even something as simple as a flavored rice pack would be perfect. Have enough to last a week so 14 meals/servings will be perfect. Knowing what to forage along your route, as well as hunting/fishing can help you but food isn’t a main priority here – getting to your location is.
10) Cash should be kept and I would recommend $100 in smalls. 1’s, 5’s and 10’s only. No silver and no gold.
11) Pics of your family/loved ones. You may be able to provide a pic to the police or first responders if you can’t find your family.
12) A secure, encrypted flash drive with your personal information on it. Photo copied ID cards, SS Card, Medical info, insurance info etc. goes on this.
13) An extra phone charger… Duh! Add in an external battery power pack as well and you should be good. I would HIGHLY suggest you start using a smart phone. Android is the most popular system to use followed by the various Iphone models. If you have a new android, it can be encrypted and you can save hours of music, videos, GPS maps, pictures, and all the info on your flashdrive as well. It’s what I do. Plus you have internet, phone, text and voice messaging you can use, and in most cases a flashlight is built in.
14) A compass with a quality and up to date street level map. I keep a book of the entire state, as well as a folding map of the region I live in.
15) A good quality flashlight that is lightweight but very bright. Make it a simple one with off/on only. No need in a strobe effect. Streamlight, Olight, and many more would be perfect. Carry a pack of extra batteries as well.
16) 3 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of underwear, and 1 package of sanitary wet wipes.
17) Finally your medkit. It has dozens of uses and can be a whole other subject on it’s own. Should care for things from Major trauma, to boo boos and pain. If you want a good suggestion on what I carry, look up my posting on my personal IFAK.
All in all, this pack and it’s contents together should weigh less than 30#. Hope this helps and if you need advice on what to get, let me know via commenting below.
Thanks – Ralph
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