The Bug Out Bag (BOB) is the bag you grab when you’re leaving home in a hurry. More specifically, it’s the bag you grab when you’re leaving home and you don’t know where you’re going ““ you just know you’re getting the hell out of dodge.
This is what separates the BOB from a Go Bag (more on this later), or even a baby bag that one would keep by the door for a pregnant spouse. Those types of bags are packed with an idea of a destination and a specific job. The stuff in a baby bag should conform to a pregnant woman’s needs at a hospital ““ extra clothes, camera, iPod/books, toiletries, a TASER for obnoxious staff, etc.
The BOB’s main feature is versatility in an emergency. When you’re sitting at the table enjoying your morning coffee, and an emergency bulletin informs you there’s been a railroad accident and prevailing winds are now blowing a toxic cloud into your neighborhood ““ you should be ready to survive somewhere else for at least three days.
Why three days? Well, the main reason is that more than three days’ worth of gear wouldn’t be very easy to carry, which lowers your chances of survival. Also, we’re talking about urban survival, rather than survival in an austere environment like a jungle or desert.
But, those are mean streets out there, and it pays to be prepared. In fact, it can save you time ““ and maybe even your life ““ in a mass evacuation situation where exit routes get quickly clogged. So, what is a BOB exactly, what goes into it, and why should you have one?
The bag is just a bag. It should be easy to carry, so a sturdy mid-sized backpack with adjustable straps works well. A bag that can be carried different ways, such as backpack with a suitcase-style handle, is also a good choice. Pick a pack that, when full, will not be too much weight for the person carrying it.
A survival bag that is too heavy for you to carry comfortably is not helping you survive.
Bug Out Bag Contents
First, the basics Bug Out Bag Contents List:
- Essential clothing (socks, underwear, T-shirts, etc.)
- Money/emergency credit card
- a fully charged prepaid cell phone and phone card
- An extra cell phone charger for your phone
- A pocket flashlight
- A pocketknife
- A lighter
- Non-perishable food items (granola, dried fruit, jerky, nuts, etc.)
- A roll of good toilet paper
- Pen(s) and paper
- Hand sanitizer
- Spare toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and assorted travel toiletries
- At least one bottled water, and a storage container that can also be used for drinking
I know it sounds like a lot, but it’ll fit. And, there’ll be room for more “¦
I don’t want to sound evasive about the finer details, but the rest of what you pack will depend in part on where you live. If you live in the Southeast, hurricanes are a definite factor. If you live in the Southwest, persistent heat will be a factor. In the North, in the winter months, freezing cold is the killer. And so on. Here are some examples:
- Chemical hand warmers
- Thermal underwear
- An extra lighter
- Waterproof matches
- Hat, gloves, scarf, earmuffs, etc.
- Compact desalinization kit
- Waterproofed clothing items
- Rain slicker
- Extra bottled water (think about removing bulkier “essential items” to make room for more water
For more information listen to our episode on Bug Out Bags.