A Green Berets take on the Bug Out Bag -or- BoB…
What’s a BoB? The accepted answer is a 72 survival backpack with everything you need in it. Have you asked yourself why 72 hours? Seems kind of arbitrary if you ask me, why not 48 or 96? How long will your disaster last?
If you’re trying to pass off a tactical glamping pack as a BoB, I’m calling you out. Preppers should start thinking about the mission goal and not the mission gear. What I mean is the goal for BoB should be to get from point A, to Point B. That’s it. Now what tools do you need to do that? If your need to get to point B doesn’t exist, well then a BoB is not going to help you much.
Having spent a few years preparing for evasions in combat zones across the globe, this is a topic I’m intimately familiar with.
We strongly encourage the use of caches to supplement your bugging out plans. Get the tick target off your back, and go home as fast as you can! If you’re actually “bugging out” you should be able to sustain short duration jogging bursts with the BoB on your back….Food for thought.
If you’re actually bugging out, you’re in for a world of hurt, because it’s not going to be an easy stroll down the block. It will be a life changing event.
What goes in a bug out bag and why? So many questions, not a lot of consistent answers…
Lets simplify the equation: Do you have a need to go from point A to point B during an emergency? From work to home, home to a school, vice versa? In a vehicle, on foot or on a bike? Because there is a difference between a bag you can easily put in a car, and one you easily walk with…
Most of the BoBs I’ve seen floating around the internet are entirely too large, way too complex and couldn’t be hauled by a vast majority of the people who need a BoB. Consider small children have been lost in the woods without any supplies, during the cold and have survived. What exactly is it that you NEED?
This is how I rig my personal BoB
Fact is there’s no “list” so each mobile kit you produce MUST be tailored to your individual needs and circumstances. In Special Operations we will build our kits to fit the mission profile and evasion plan we going to exercise. There is no bag we grab and call it good to go.
72 hours is the national average it takes to restore utilities from the onset of an emergency, making it an almost pointless figure to use for real planning. This ranges all the way from Katrina to a local tornado. The number is irrelevant to the need. It’s just a planning tool to get you started, it’s not gospel.
I’ve had to build a few BoBs over the years for real world missions. These are some of the things I consider:
The bag: Preppers tend to recycle surplus milspec bags because they are comfortable and usually modular. Hiking backpacks are too and also have more useful color schemes than just camo and Crye. Have you considered luggage? I have as a well seasoned traveler I trust when I’m on the road….
Resist the urge to fill empty space……
Time: How long is this bag really supposed to support you? My experience has taught me that once you go over 24 hrs, you’re cutting into your speed and mobility. Again, if the goal is to get home…. then uh….
Food: How much? and what kind? Are you trying to just make it home or live comfortably until rescue? Protein powder and meal replacement shakes are a great way to get the fuel you need while conserving space, but then you need water? If it’s an emergency do you care if its tasty?
Water: Are you really going to carry 3 days worth of water and expect to go very far? Will you purify by filter or chemical? I like chemical because it reduces weight, can you boil?
Medical: You better have at least a trauma pack. Do you have chronic meds? Allergies?
Hygiene: Get some baby wipes, the appropriate female necessities and move out. Why do you feel like brushing your teeth is a priority during a time like this? If you’re in the field long enough to brush your teeth, your Bug out plan is failing.
Ammo: Are you trying to carry a combat load? Is there a hill you have to take or hostage you need to rescue on the way home? If you have the mindset of an assaulter you may be over packing. Lighten up and think evasion. Break contact and go home…
Fire: Can you start one? Will you bring fuel for a stove?
Shelter: Tents are heavy but provide comfort and moral….
Signal Kits: Are you trying to hide or get noticed? It sucks trying to rescue people who have gone out of their way to be unnoticed. A few flares and a radio go a long way…How about a safety vest?
Maps: Yep, you still need them. Batteries die and GPS lose signals.
The of course geographic essentials: This all goes out the window in an Alaskan winter or Arizona summer….
Have you actually hiked with all this gear? Turns out hiking is harder than most people think so many of the BoBs I’ve seen people suggest just wont work. They are at best vehicle bags. None of this should exceed 25% of your body weight unless you road march Infantry style on a regular basis…
If you feel like you need to have supplies on hand in the event of an emergency, consider building caches. This will lighten your carried load, and if you were separated from your BoB you will still have some food and water for the trip. Keep in mind you KNOW where your trying to go, why not set yourself up for success early on and go bury some emergency bacon…
The bottom line having a BoB is an ongoing process where you show me yours and I’ll show you mine. It needs to be refined and trained with. I have a general rule, if I don’t use it on 3 training or real world missions in a row, its gone. As your life circumstances change, so should your BoB. If the training you’re doing either doesn’t support using your BoB, or has determined you don’t need a BoB changes to your program must be made.
Don’t just build a BoB because that’s what all the “cool” preppers do, create a requirements driven approach to the purchases you make, and generate your requirements from effective training.
Planning means nothing with out training…..Rehearse rehearse rehearse…
Check out our friends at Cagmain The Crisis Application Group, or C.A.G. is a private group that consists of professionals and law-abiding citizens committed to self-defense and self-reliance. Their mission is to foster a mature network of proactive, training oriented adults and sponsor dialog across their national and international network.
Founded by retired and active duty Special Forces veterans the C.A.G. provides high quality educational content to their membership.