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Your Bug-Out Bag May Be Useless And You Don’t Even Know It

bug-out bag. Weigh too much?Over the past few years, I have read many articles on various websites concerning “bug out-bags” and “get-home bags.” Those are, in my humble opinion, two different things. But there are two factors that both share, and many people overlook.

The “bug-out bag” should be designed to help you survive for about 72 hours while evacuating from a disaster area. A “get-home bag” includes those essential items you will need to get home in case you are stranded or in the event of an emergency.

Notice a common theme that both of those share? It’s mobility — the ability to move quickly and safely to whatever location you choose.  Both should be designed for movement, ala speed. The lighter your load, the faster and further you able to travel. This is CRITICAL if your mode of transportation actively involves your feet!

Everyone’s situation is different, so I cannot tell you every item you should or should not be packing. I can tell you that your bag, regardless of your conditions, should be packed with pace in mind. Ounces = pounds, pounds = pain. The more pain you have, the slower and less effective you become. Weight is the element too often overlooked.

You are more vulnerable while on the move. And I’m not talking about roving bands of marauders that so many people envision. I’m talking about being susceptible to the elements, to fatigue, to stress — being vulnerable to the unknown.

At home (or bug-out location) you are not as exposed. You will hopefully feel safer and more secure in familiar surroundings. The more rapidly you can get there, the better off you will be.

The pack for anybody who wants to be fully prepared for an unexpected emergency

So with all that in mind, look through your bag, and ask yourself “Do I HAVE to have this item to get home? Should I sacrifice swiftness for this piece of equipment? Is this item essential for my journey or could I go ahead and store it at my bug-out location?”

After you decide, “Yup, all this must be in my bag!” you need to put that bag on and travel with it. And I don’t mean around the block. Can you carry it a mile? 5 miles? A full day’s march? Could you run in a full sprint with it on? How easy is it for you to climb/jump/crawl with it on? If you don’t like your answers to those questions, start re-evaluating your bag contents again.

I walk about two miles with my pack 3-4 times a week. After the first few days of packing it around, I quickly re-evaluated what was vital in my bag and what I could do without.

I’ve read/seen people pack things like weeks’ worth of food, camping stove and fuel, tent, sleeping bag, multiple changes of clothing, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, etc. It’s like they are going on an extended camping trip. If you need all of that to safely reach your destination or live for 72 hours, maybe you should consider a different locale?

I pack “lite”.  I will sacrifice some comfort for speed during my trek. I’ll give up some luxuries for haste. I don’t have to cook my food to get where I’m going. I can make do with rope and a tarp as opposed to a tent. I’m not bugging out through Afghanistan, so I won’t need to carry 200 rounds of ammo.

The other element I want to stress is the ability to blend into your surroundings. While the milspec, camo-framed backpack you carry may look great and hold a lot, how practical is it? It will certainly draw the eye and get noticed. Nothing stands out more than a guy carrying one of those during an urban crisis. (My pack is a backpack you would see on a high school or college campus, yet heavy duty. Since I live/work in a college town, it blends in.)

Also, how “quiet” is your bag? Hopefully you are not a “one man band” that people can hear coming from a mile away. Make sure your bag is not unnecessarily noisy. I don’t hang anything from the outside of my bag. This helps reduce the possibility of noise and reduces the chance of my bag getting caught on something…like a low hanging tree branch.

YOU should know best what you need. Just make sure that the items you carry are crucial, and are worth their weight in your bag.

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6 comments

  1. When on patrol in Nam we didn’t carry much at all except a poncho,knife, ammo, water, food and a change of socks. anything else wasn’t needed. My bob is similar except the knife is a multi-tool.

  2. Hey, Old Nam Vet……Know whut ya mean. Except, where’d ya get the socks? I had a “dose” of Dr. Daniels elixir with me. Sure helped things. Kept a ‘long knife’ handy for the three-steppers. Would have liked to have a real ‘striker’……AKA magnesium source of ignition. And, being ‘obvious’ was, and isn’t, a concern, whatever backpack I use is my business. If it helps being alive, I use it. And I am quite. Learned the hard way. VC have ears just like the ‘zombies’.

    hawkeyes

  3. I had two pair. One of the lucky ones they weren’t really clean just dry. On the VC having ears, oh yeah. I completely forgot about the snakes though. Never had a problem, guess I was really lucky…May we survive longer that a bottle of Daniels. I’m getting tired though…on another note: I’m worried about the fellow patriots that say they’re going to fight when they have no idea what their going to face if the shooting starts here especially since they may fellow county men. I’m almost to the point of leaving the US… see you on the other side

  4. Prepare BEFORE the crisis happens and you’ll do a much better job. Backpacks are great, IF you take
    the time to prepare and try hiking with it BEFORE the crisis happens. MOST Americans cannot
    walk 25-30 miles per day because we are too fat and weak. I work 11 miles from home, so
    I have a GHB (Get Home Bag) in my car with MREs, Power bars, water bottles, fire starters, etc.
    The water bottles are stainless steel so that I can boil water in them if necessary (remove top 1st)
    I have boots in my trunk, 2 knives and flashlight in the car and a small pistol in the GHB.
    Railroad tracks near my office run to within a couple blocks of my house. I’ll follow those home
    to stay off roadways and away from masses of people.

  5. Hello, i believe that i saw you visited my weblog thus i came to return the want?.I’m trying to to find issues to improve my web site!I guess its adequate
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