My Bug-Out Bag And Why I Have One

After a recent post on the idea of Askesis I did a review of the contents in my bug-out bag. The plan is to do a little winter practice bug-out with said bag. This led to a discussion with a friend about just why I decided to put together a kit like this. Before explaining why I have a BOB, I’ll explain what it is.

A bug-out bag is simply a pack that has been pre-stocked with what you need to survive for 72 hours while trying to walk out of a disaster area. There are many variations on the bug-out theme and a huge amount of information available on the topic. The bag concept assumes you either don’t have a vehicle or you are forced to abandon it. If you have a vehicle then the range of items you can carry with you goes up significantly. The core idea though is to have what you need, ready to carry on your back. There are also time line variations.  People prepare kits for shorter term like the 24 hour get-home bag and longer term, larger kits if you don’t think you will be coming back or have a very long trek to some safe destination.

Rather than ramble on at length about the items that might go in a BOB I’ll direct you here. There are many sources for info but I think this gentleman has created some of the most thorough and articulate presentations I have found (he even taste tests survival rations!). Needless to say, BOB supplies need to help you stay warm and dry, get fluids, eat and not get lost…. pretty much in that order.  The bag, along with some other gear and supplies, is now a permanent fixture in my car trunk.

I didn’t organize a BOB because I am expecting to face the Zombie Apocalypse or survive the end of the world ala The Road. Sure, I’d try to rise to the occasion if such events occurred but given that I live in a suburb of Boston I’d probably be toast. My game plan for nuclear war is to pour a scotch and wait for the pretty colors. So why bother with preparedness?

No, I’m not preparing for this….I hope.

Originally I was motivated by self-sufficiency. As I’ve discussed in a previous post, I believe finding ways to maintain and increase self-reliance are central to the achievement of άγαθός (agathos) as a personal philosophy. I’m not sure what can foster more self-reliance than the ability to survive and thrive under adverse conditions when societal structures are not in place to make it easy.

As I delved deeper into the topic and began assembling things I needed for the BOB (as well as Bug-IN supplies for home) it all just made sense. While Armageddon may not be at hand there are other considerations. Being stranded in a blizzard, evacuating from other natural disasters, civil unrest, deciding to get out of Dodge if some pandemic is beginning are just some of life’s cheery possibilities. Yes, the likelihood of such things happening is relatively slim but I’m sure the folks in New Orleans and, more recently, Brisbane weren’t thinking disaster was on the menu either. If something were to go awry and you had to get moving in a hurry, do you like the idea of being a refugee with just the clothes on your back and dependent on FEMA for your future? Doesn’t appeal much to me either.

Considering that it just isn’t that expensive and doesn’t require Herculean effort to put together a bag for each family member, I can’t really see a downside. Besides, next time you go camping you’re already packed.

Some of the stuff that goes in the BOB kit

8 Responses to “My Bug-Out Bag And Why I Have One”

  1. I don’t have a bug out bag but it is probably a good idea to have one. As an Aussie I have been saddened by the fate of my country men who have been caught up in the floods in rural Victoria and so much of Queensland. I first came across the idae of a survival kit years ago when I lived in earthquake Japan. I remember being advised to assemble the sort of kit that could keep me going for a couple of days in the event of our city being trasked by a big quake

  2. Good on you! My favorite resource has been Jim MacDonald’s Jump Kit page but then he’s one of our EMTs here, so I might be partial. Of course, I don’t need a taste test on survival rations…I’m allergic to the ingredients in most, so Tanka Bars are the travel option and my similarly afflicted SCCS associate has started work discussing the bug-in storage options

    I’m with you on how much of a disaster I’m even willing to bother surviving. Spending a lot of time in communication with various preppers, I have come to call myself a hillbilly survivalist rather than a bunker survivalist. If the livestock and horses won’t make it, I think I’ll pack it in too. After all these years on the wagon, a scotch sounds like a plan should the missiles fly. But there is so much that can happen in between. Current economic situation itself makes it nice to have a good store of food and work towards getting less reliant on the grid. ~;)

  3. My favorite book on the subject is 98.6 DEGREES the art of keeping YOUR ASS ALIVE! by Cody Lundin.


  4. @dangerousmeredith I’ve spoken to a couple of acquaintances in Australia and it sounds like they have had a really rough time. Events like that give the rest of us some idea of what can happen and how to prep but that isn’t much consolation for them. That’s interesting about Japan. I guess they have had their share of natural disasters.

    @Saigh Thanks for the link. I hear you on the food issue. I’m mildly gluten intolerant and a lot of the backpacker foods and MREs are packed with the stuff. Fortunately I can get away with it for a few days before it really starts to bug me. Its a pain because for long term in-house emergency food its so easy to store a lot of grain. I guess I’ll be eating a LOT of rice 🙂

    @Josh Thanks, that looks like a good one to check out. The title pretty much says it all.

  5. Joe, please keep watching the Sarah Connor Charm School blog then, because Thistle will be writing more about food storage and is likewise gluten intolerant. Tanka bars have been a great find, bison and cranberries, no gluten, no soy and helps the Lakota develop sustainable animal husbandry and a growing business. And very tasty, which sometimes gets in the way of storage but does keep up a good rotation. ~;)

    We’re fortunate, living up here, raising chickens, having a fish pond, for a bug-in situation stored food is only a part of what we’d need to rely on. We’ll probably be putting in a lot more grain, but most of that will probably go to the chickens.

  6. Saigh-

    As long as there’s insects chickens will be fine.

    No need to poison them with grain.
    Instead of grain go fruit or vegetable leave the chicken coup near garden. Chickens eat the insects and fertilize the crops. No need for pesticides.

    Just my thoughts on that matter,

  7. Josh, where do you think I live? Insects and foraged plant food do fine for our chickens, oh, maybe two months?

    The consideration for giving the chickens grain is that it does store well compared to many of the other vegetative matter we might store. It would be there no matter what and, well, WE’RE certainly not going to want to eat it. And chickens, unlike humans and cows, are designed to digest grain quite efficcently. In the late summer when the grass heads bloom, that’s what you’ll see the chickens eating on their own.

    However, it certainly would never be the only thing they eat. And the intention is to eventually get big greenhouses so they can forage in them during our very unforagable winters, but that didn’t happen this past year. Yes, fertilizer.

    • Saigh – Point taken.

      You are right need to take in climate and geography into accout. I was thing more along the lines of a project I’m designing looking about yearround greenhouse too.

      I guess where on the same page.


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