Bug Out Bags
Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about bug out bags or in simpler terms, a survival bag. Many of our visitors want to know, what purpose a bug out bag serves. Others have a lot of questions about what to put in a bug out bag. So, I'll address both of those questions in this article. Lets address the concept of a bug out bag first.
Recently, I watched the movie "Salt" with Angelina Jolie. In the beginning of the movie, there is a scene where the main character, Evelyn Salt, has escaped from the people pursuing her, fellow CIA agents who believe she is a double agent. Once she eludes her pursuers, she returns to her apartment where she has mere moments to gather some clothing and essential items as she prepares to go on the run. In this scene, they clearly show Evelyn pull out a backpack from her closet. This is a bug out bag or in lay terms, a survival pack. It is a bag or pack that you have prepared ahead of time with the essential items you might need should you have to hastily exit your home, place of work or even your vehicle.
The concept of a survival pack is pretty basic. You are preparing for anything from a natural disaster to an unplanned jaunt into the woods. Imagine that a natural disaster has just occurred, a tornado has hit, a massive hurricane or you've lost electricity indefinitely due to a wind or ice storm. You have only moments to leave your house and you are going to be away for days. In that short time frame, you need to grab the essential things that will help you survive. In that moment, how much simpler would it be to grab your bug out bag that you have pre-packed with the most important items you need to survive? This bug out bag is full of essential items and ready to go at a moments notice.
So now that you understand the concept of a bug out bag, lets talk about the practical use for one. Yes, there is a chance that you may need to bug out one day and go on the lam for a few days. Johnny Law just might come knocking on your door one day because your cover as a deep sleeper agent has been blown. Realistically though, the practical need for a bug out bag lies more in emergency situations. I personally believe that this type of survival bag is an essential item to keep in your car in winter months. Especially if you live in a region where there is extended cold weather and a chance of blizzards. It is not unrealistic to think that you could potentially get a flat tire in the middle of a massive snow storm or get trapped in an ice storm that disables your vehicle. In this type of situation, you will need the basics of survival until help can reach your position. The essentials for survival are shelter, water and food. I would also recommend adding personal protection and some cash to that mix.
The first thing you need to do in a survival situation is take a mental inventory of your bodily functions and confirm that you are stable. Take a moment and make sure your heart rate is stable, you have no broken bones, no bleeding wounds or burns, etc., etc. Next, you need to be able to stay warm if you are in a cold climate and you need to secure water. You should carry some form of fire starter, a wool blanket and at least one liter of water in your bug out bag. Ideally, you should drink a gallon of water a day in a survival situation, but the weight would be prohibitive for your survival bag. A great addition to the bag would be water purification tablets. These tablets are light, efficient and easy to stow in your backpack. Ideally, select a bag that is compatible with a hydration bladder.
So, now you have hit two of the basic essentials to survival, you are warm and you have water. Next, you have to prepare for the long haul in the event that the time until rescue suddenly becomes days instead of hours. At this point, you should be thinking about shelter. With heat, shelter and water, you can survive for days without food. Staying warm, dry and hydrated is your main goal at this point. An excellent choice for shelter is some paracord and a poncho. These two items are incredibly versatile in a survival situation. Paracord has numerous use which we covered in another article, so we won't expand on that item here. You can read that article by clicking here. A poncho can not only protect you from the rain while you are on the move, it can also double as a tent like shelter when you make camp. You simply string a length of paracord between two trees or points of attachment and use the poncho like a military style pup tent.
Now that you are warm, hydrated, dry and have shelter, the focus now moves to food and sustenance. While most research indicates that you can survive for several days as long as you are hydrated, you can burn 3000 or more calories a day if you are on the move over long distances. I would recommend that your bug out bag contain at least 6000 to 9000 calories of sustenance. Basically, this is three days of food. This could be in the form of granola type bars, meat jerky or something along that line, but one of the best forms of sustenance comes in military style meals ready to eat, also known as MRE's. These meals are designed to give a soldier around 3000 calories per MRE. It varies per type of meal, but this is a good baseline of calories for this type of meal. Three MRE packs easily stow in the back pack you are using for your bug out bag. Additionally, these types of meals can last for extended periods of time without refrigeration. If you find yourself seriously stranded long term, you can use the paracord to trap game or for fishing.
Now, I will summarize my top ten list of items you need in your bug out bag. Most have been covered in depth in this article, but this list is an excellent list for a packing your survival bag.