Bug Out Bags – How to Get Started

Bug Out Bags

How to get Started

and then what?�

BOB Modules�

The term Bug Out Bag, gets bantered around alot. You’d think it would be easy to set one up from all the information on the net. Essentually theyre made up of;�

1) Clothing – for winter and summer conditions consisting of a base layer, second or mid layer, outer layer and accessories such as boots and gloves etc. By layering your clothing you avoid sweating, which is a killer whether in summer or winter. It will leed to hyperthermia in either extreme.�

2) Hygiene – Sure you can go a couple of weeks without a shower and just the basics, but what about after that if the situation demands a longer term answer. Even basic hygeine will avoid salmanella poisoning when handling food� and contaminating water supplies.�

3) Shelter – The better organised in this area, the less exposure to the elements. Then the longer it remains easier to rely on your own support.�

4) Communications – Not just with other people, but also what is occuring on the outside world and around you.�

5) Navigation – Doesnt have to be fancy, just a good old map and compass will outlast electronic gizmo’s.�

6) Fire – Dont just have one form of starting a fire. Have a kit set up with many differnt types, from flint and steel to butane lighters. The basics will last the longest and be the most reliable but trying to provide a heat source in a hurry under adverse conditions, should take every advantage you can get.�

7) Cooking- just the ability to boil water in a pot can be taken for granted by most, until they have to try living without the basics around polluted water sources.�

8) Food – Take to guess work out of menu’s and find a good source of MRE’s. Theyre designed to last 5 years and have breakfast, lunch and dinners all in the one package. No storage woe’s�

9) Water – Not just the amount you intend to carry but also cover purification methods.�

10) Tools – Bugging out just doesnt mean a short term camping trip but will also require supporting yourself, building shelter , hunting for additional food supplies etc.�

11) First Aid – A good kit, medical supplies and the knowledge of how to use them, should have more importance than most give it. You wont be able to run down or call the local GP post SHTF.�

12) Hunting /Foraging – Prepackaged foods will be great as a support base to get you on your feet but will need to be supplimented to last any time.�

13) Self Defense – Doesnt neccessarily mean firearms, but having the ability and tools whether pyhsically, mentally or hardware available to adequatley look after yourself.�

The standard description of a BOB is a 72 hour bag. Thats 3 days. Is that really enough in reality. Dont get me wrong, everyone should have a minimum of 3 days of supplies in a bag ready to go at any time as a backup. But I see more and more people relying on that bag as their primary support without ever testing the contents or themselves. It seems to have become more like a feel good solution, rather than a practical one.�

If leaving home and intending to return in a few days, or being away from home and trying to get back to your place of residence, or travelling to a pre-arranged destination, (retreat/bug out location). Then 3 days may be all thats needed, but as seen in several countries. In the US with Katrina or Australia with the Victorian bush fires. People are still homeless after many months. Three Days will get you out of there but then what. You’ll end up becoming nothing more than a refugee in your own country, probably only a few miles from where you originally lived. Having to rely on others or even worse, the government. It hard enough getting help out of them on a normal day, let alone during a national emergency. Your level of comfort during this time will rely on your own preparedness.�

Setting up bug out bags can be costly or cheap depending on how you want to begin and are generally upgraded often. When you start to find better items, it hard to stop. The points Im trying to get across are;

1) Test your gear and yourself to see if it will all work and not just for three days. Take three days of food and then try to extend yourself to see how long you may last in a real emergency.

2) Start thinking of not just short term but also senarios involving longer term options.

3) Start to consider modules as an option, meaning dont just have one kit prepared for what you think may occur to cover all bases but also several kits of varying sizes. to cover all eventualities and different lengths of time but also specialized items. I know easier said than done.�

I started out with a small pack to last a week, to cover what I thought were all bases. Then after testing found flaws. Either in the weight of not being able to carry that much gear anymore, or something as easy as underestimating my requirements in one or more of the above fields. I couldnt get it right no matter what I did. Carrying enough ammo for hunting and defense means the weight of multiple firearms, spare parts and cleaning equipment. A small first aid kit is great for hiking but not if a serious accident were to occur. Shelter is a good example. A hootchie is small, easy to set up and will provide the minimal needs for short term use, but what if you become stuck for extended periods and end up having to shelter more than yourself but family or friends also. We cant do everything by ourselves. We can only learn so many skills to cover so much information or stand on guard for so many hours, or own so much gear by ourselves. This is where networking with others comes into play.�

At this point I started upgrading my gear to try and find the perfect BOB for myself and came to the realization there was no such thing. I ended up with a lot of crap that I either sold off or traded on to others, but during that process also found what started to work for me. None of it however, was going to fit into the one bag to cover all eventualities. This is when I started to use a module system. This made it easier to load a vehicle. Ive taken hours to load my 4WD with gear for a normal camping trip. This is of no use if needing to bug out in under 15 minutes. It also made it possible that if one kit were compromised another could be used to back it up, never to rely on all my eggs in one basket. Compromised either by theft, breakages, or not spending the time rotating disposable stock before useby dates.�

A module system is making up multiple versions of bug out bags in various sizes and uses. They dont have to be top of the line gear in each bag, but be designed for easier use and carriage. A bumbag with the above contents to cover the basics is the first module. It can be carried anywhere, left in the car etc. I can last out of a bum bag for several days if required. It wouldnt be comfortable, but can be done. This is refered to as my short term or survival kit.�

From there I have a small backpack, 50 litres capacity. This is what is normally termed a 72 hour kit. I dont particuarlly like that usage. It refers that 3 days are all you could last for out of that amount of equipment. This module is my mid sized kit. This is stored in my vehicle to get me home or to leave my residence without having to pack. It has the same contents as the smaller kit, just larger items for more sustained use. The difference being, a small kit may just need a heavy duty space blanket to provide shelter. A mid term kit may have a tarp or hootchie. A long term kit will use a tent.�

I then set up a long term kit, once again with essentually the same items just capable of larger water filtraion, a tent instead of a hootchie etc. I had more comfort in mind with this set up and used a large rollar bag to hold all the equipment. From there I started to design specialist kits for supplement uses. These involved larger first aid only bags, with specialist items such as blood pressure cuffs, stethoscope, O2 Pulse Oxymeter, suture kits etc. A tactical bag. Once again a rollar bag but holding only firearms, ammo, larger cleaning kits, spare parts. A clothing bag holding enough for several weeks and a spare pair of boots. A pet bob to hold dog and cat first aid supplies, tinned food, dry food, leashes, bowls, etc. A shelter bag, holding a large teepee, extra blankets and tarps for flooring.�

Ive found by going this way I can hike out of an area using the smaller packs or be set up for longer stays with the larger set ups. Mostly stored in rollar bags, these can be moved and packed quickly. I dont intend to leave my pets behind and am in the process of building a bug out vehicle out of a small bus to provide shelter aswell as transport to permanently hold my gear without the need to pack in a hurry. Once again if I were on my own, the back of a car would hold enough equipment, but when you start to include pets, family, children, friends an alternative way of thinking comes into play. A small trailer can hold enough prepacked equipment and food to last several weeks or months and can be left permanently packed, ready to hitch up at a moments notice. Having everything packed into individual packs allows for easier access. �

Examples of First Aid in modules. I like to use AMK First Aid kits, based on price and the way their set up in different sizes. The lightweight .7 model is just the right size to fit into a Maxpedition vertical GP pouch attached to my snupak bumbag, along with a medication doset box and wilderness medical flash card booklet. The next kit up in size uses the .9 model. The pro model occupies my fast response pack for emergencies and my larger BOB. For large scale use I then went to Accidental First Aid’s 4WD survival kit. This is similar to whats issued to the SES(State Emergency Service/Cert) but with more componentry. Then specialist items from above are added with several books on wilderness first response, and military medicine.�

Water Purification modules use a McNett filter straw in my bumbag with a capacity of 20 gals/75 litres. I prefer the Katadyn brand of filters as Im not replacing the internals on a regular basis, ceramics last forever, just have to keep an eye on filtering muddy or tanic water. The mini in the ultra light series has a 2000 gal or 7000 litre capacity for my mid size bob. I keep meaning to purchase a katadyn pocket model as the larger filters are easier to pump. Having a capacity of 13000 gal/50000 litres. I currently use a camp model as these can be hung from a tree overnight and dont require pumping, gravity does all the work. Capacity of 5300 gal/20000litres for the larger kit. Ive just purchased the drip filter model after seeing a youtube vid of a young couple doing a 5 day test on their preps and the amount of fuel required either in wood or propane to make water portable. These filters use three filter candles that reach a filtering capacity of 40000gal/150000 litres. This is optimal for use in a house if bugging in or at a retreat. Im intending it for use within my bov.�

The shelter modules contain a heavy duty space blanket and poncho attached to the bumbag. The mid sized unit uses a hottchie. While the largest bob has a Go-lite tipi. The module I use for additional sheltering requirements for friends and as a backup for the bus are a Frisport Lavvu tipi, Andersnatten model for 6-8 people. Tipi’s allow the use of internal fires unlike standard tents. Kifaru is also a good brand.�

Links to the best BOB articles that influenced me.�

Bob is your Friend


10 lessons learnt from bug out camp out


The big list


How to survive when disaster strikes – Dan Johnson


Outdoors Magizine Archives


Neil andrews All Kitted out


TJIN A Different look at BOBs


Schwert Urban Prep Kits PT 1&2