Bug-out bags, sometimes known as BOBs or get-home bags, provide some basics to survive while evacuating from a disaster. While the philosophies of preppers vary regarding the bags and their contents, should guns and ammo be a part of yours?
Bug-out bags should include the really must-have items for a SHTF situation. They can save your life. The old expression “proper planning prevents piss-poor performance” comes to mind. The wise and prudent man (or woman) won’t make rookie mistakes in crafting his or her pack.
One big question: Should the pack include a firearm or ammo?
The biggest mistake people make in crafting their packs is over-estimating their load-carrying ability.
For most of us, our 18th birthday is nothing but a speck in the rear-view mirror. Our clothes have inexplicably shrunk in the laundry. We may have picked up ailments or disabilities along the way that we have to contend with. Carrying 60 or 80 pounds on a five-mile hike over even ideal terrain just isn’t in the cards.
When in the field, remember that ounces feel like pounds, and pounds equal pain.
Carrying a gun and ammunition in a pack will quickly add a lot of pain when bugging out, especially for those in poor physical shape. What’s more, the concealed carry handgun you’ll want to have probably should be about your person so it can be readily deployed if needed. Don’t bury your gat under your Gore-Tex and other gear.
As for extra ammunition? Like food and water, ammo weights a lot. Unless you expect to have to fight your way through Little Mogadishu on your way home, a sidearm and a reload or two will probably suffice for 99.99% of likely self-defense contingencies.
Also worth mentioning: Long guns strapped to you or your bug-out bag will attract (unwanted) attention, from both good guys and bad.
As for gear in general, seek out lightweight alternatives to what you might ordinarily pack. For instance, are you considering a Maglite because you have an extra old one laying around? Don’t even think about it. Buy a modern LED flashlight that uses a single, ubiquitous AA battery. It weighs a lot less than a single D-cell battery and will out-perform your Maglite in both brightness and run-time.
Water is heavy. If you live in regions with plenty of surface water, consider relying on water filtration over carrying your own in a bug-out situation. Filtration options range from something as easy and accessible as a Sawyer water filter (available at most Walmarts) to a more traditional hiking water-filtration unit from Katadyn or MSR.
Food can be heavy if you pack military-style MRE-type meals or canned foods. Instead, consider dehydrated meal pouches (Mountain House), or things like instant oatmeal or similar foods. Instant hot chocolate makes a comfort drink, too. Simply boil water, add it to the foods and you have yourself a hot meal. Yes, dehydrated foods tend to lack calories, but most of us have plenty of adipose tissue to burn, particularly in the short term, that your bug-out bag provisions are meant to cover.
I’ve seen my share of these get-home bags over the years. What’s more, I’ve made more than a couple myself. Back when I had more hair and less experience, my first prepping attempt barely fit in a large A.L.I.C.E. field pack (which is a 3,800-cubic-inch bag). Upon finishing it, I looked in awe at all the stuff I’d managed to stuff inside. “This is great!” I thought to myself proudly. Then I picked it up, and that aluminum frame creaked and groaned. So did I.
Working diligently, I pruned it down to 38 pounds and got it — barely — into a medium A.L.I.C.E. pack. From there, it gathered dust. Fast forward 20 years when I couldn’t walk through a Super Walmart buying groceries without needing a nap afterwards. I put that pack on and couldn’t walk 100 yards without needing a break. My legs burned by the time I’d made it back home.
So I went to the gym and got into shape.
I also bought a “hiking” backpack. Yeah, military packs look cool, but I wanted “sheeple” style. I’ve loaded it with fewer than 10 pounds of stuff. It includes a Camelbak-style water system. With a half-gallon of water, it’ll still weigh less than 15 pounds and it works for me.
Of course, your needs may differ from mine, depending on your bug-out location.
As for guns, here’s TTAG’s advice from SHTF Prep: Essential Survival Gear Everyone Should Have in a Bug-Out Bag:
A pistol-caliber carbine is arguably the best long gun for SHTF scenarios. With a semi-automatic rifle in your backpack armory, you can defend yourself against humans, animals and hunt in the bargain; this is why law enforcement and folks out on the range often had a rifle and pistol chambered for the same round as a back up. It just sort of speaks for itself.
You can also use a carbine conversion upper or carry a carbine in the same caliber as your pistol. In this role, 10mm is exceptional. This class of long guns are effective up to 200 yards for game hunting or self defense, depending on the chambering and load.
Some folks prefer an AR. The AR-15 is fantastic for self-defense or a gun fight, but .223 Remington is poor for hunting. An AR-10 in 7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester has more wallop for game at long distances and on the shoulder, but is equally suited to these roles as a scout rifle. Toting multi-round loaded magazines will be a pain, but it works in the urban and rural environment and for both roles.
Shotguns are excellent for defense at close range, but longer ranges require a rifled barrel and slugs which are not convenient to change at a moment’s notice. Carrying defense and hunting ammunition adds weight and complicates matters, so there’s that to contend with, and you don’t want to hunt small game with buckshot. If you don’t anticipate hunting or long-range shooting, buckshot and a tight choke (full or turkey) will get you up to about 50 yards.
Evaluating various bug-out bags can be fun as well. Looking at others’ bags can help you identify any holes in your own preparation.
The gear site Gearmoose has a few located here. These include:
Bug-out bag #1: Really? Three-inch magnum buckshot for a pump shotgun to get home? Ignoring the questionable value of a shotgun here, has the person who put this together ever fired a three-inch magnum from a 12-gauge pump? I did, once. Never again. I’d never let my wife shoot them either. By the way, where’s the sling for that long gun?
Oh, and a total of 169 rounds of handgun ammo? I’m all for spare mags and extra ammo, but how much ammo do you need? How do you spell “overkill?” (Answer: O-n-e h-u-n-d-r-e-d s-i-x-t-y-n-i-n-e)
I like the his-and-hers flashlights and water bottles, even though smaller flashlight options are available to cut weight. The rope, knife, first aid kit, and multi-tool are pretty much standard must-haves. However, carrying a case (!) of 12 MREs on my back doesn’t sound like fun.
Lacking: Soap, a towel, work gloves, extra socks and underwear, feminine hygiene, baby wipes, Ziploc bags, and a warm hat all jump out. So too do polypropylene long underwear, a toothbrush and toothpaste.
I see the electronic GPS unit, but I’m not trusting that. You want a real map and a real compass. You can’t get anywhere in the United States if you don’t know where you are to begin with. Also missing is an Israeli Battle Dressing or similar for boo-boos that need more than a band-aid … not to mention some prescription or non-prescription meds. Shelter: Add a heavy-duty Mylar blanket, a poncho, tarp or similar waterproof material to keep precipitation off you.
Bug-out bag #2: A scoped lever-action rifle in .357 Magnum? Certainly a respectable choice and capable long arm with enough firepower. With a proper sling and some skill, a rifleman could use that levergun’s iron sights out to its effective range sans scope. A survivalist could use it for small game or bad guys. And schlepping an extra 100 rounds of 9mm ball ammo? Is someone expecting zombies or to go plinking on the way home?
Lacking: First and foremost, the vitally important compass and map(s). That’s in addition to all of the aforementioned stuff from the first pack. How about a fire starter?
The radios and the miniature SAS Survival Handbook are great, as is the folding entrenching tool (hopefully made in America, because the Chinese-made models usually fail on the first dig). Oh, and I want something besides Clif Bars to eat. But maybe that’s just me.
What’s in your bug-out bag? Takedown rifle, single shot or semi-auto? A carbine in 45 ACP, handguns in 22 rimfire or 22 WMR, or your home defense or CCW handgun?
More from The Truth About Guns:
Ruger 10/22 with Tactical Mods. World’s Best Bug Out Gun?
SHTF Prep: Essential Survival Gear Everyone Should Have In a Bug Out Bag
GLOCK 17 vs GLOCK 19: Picking A Plastic Pistol
Holstered: Choosing the Right GLOCK 17 or GLOCK 19 Holster
I keep plenty of loaded mags in mine, but the gat comes and goes. All depends on where the BOB is left alone.
Don’t want a gun stolen or dug out and played with by others.
But yes, if the ballon goes up, my BOB is locked and loaded.
Also keep a few new-in-bag mags with boxed ammo. The packaging adds a little weight but hey, already got several loaded mags packed up and also on the flak.
My bag is built for offense and to sustain me in the field… because if I get chased out of my location, the fighting is already here.
Sub2k gen 2 in .40 glock mags. Three 22 round stick mags, first aid/survival kit with quick clot, lifestraw, two 12 hour large glowsticks, a two-tone silver/gold space blanket, 3600 calorie 3 day mainstay emergency ration, hand crank led flashlight, pair of socks, spare shirt, bandana, camo stick, gaff tape, 3 different firestarters and tinder in separate double waterproof container all in a SOG daypack. Less than 10 lbs . So, yes ammo among other things.
My kit is extremely similar, though the Sub2k is in 9mm, only gun I would have preferred in .40, but I happened upon this one NIB for $350, and wasn’t going to pass that up. I have a full IFAK kit as well as a more traditional first aid kit, tube tent, and a reinforced mylar blanket, the regular ones tend to shred pretty easily. Otherwise about the same. weighs between 15 and 20 pounds.
YES…in a true bugout situation guns &ammo transend EVERTHING ELSE.
Not hardly, it may be a good follow on consideration but you need to get your water, food and shelter straight before even considering defense. I would put first aid, fire starting, lighting and cutlery before a gun. The myth of a roving gun man making do is just that. If you think that you can just shoot all your neighbors when the big one hits, you will find yourself in a sore place once order restores itself, if not before.
Sez you…you don’t live just outside of Chicago…
I would posit that you should still consider the basics before a gun, the chances of using a gun even in a crisis is still small.
The chances of needing a bug out bag are smaller so if you need a BOB then you will need a gun
Just get yourself a mule to carry the heavy stuff: Dutch oven, double burner Coleman camp stove, 10 pounds of bacon, etc.
10 pounds of bacon? ONLY 10 pounds of bacon? What are you, some kind of closet vegetarian?
Its enough when the bacon is for added flavor when wrapped around all the steak and shrimp.
What! No japaleno’s? Yer gonna need some cheeze to stuff the peppers with also.
Yep. You can eat the mule.
Amex card. Don’t bug out without it.
No. Your gun is already on your body. More ammo, yes.
Bug out bags are for water, food and shelter.
Rule of 3 stuff.
This. This right here. If you have to dig your firearm out of a pack, you’re doing it all wrong. And if you’re keeping ammunition in the pack, it better be back-up for the ammunition already on your body.
Couldn’t agree more. Gun(s) should be on your person. Keep any pack under 30lbs.
I disagree, I have to work 6 to 10 hours a day in a gun free environment. Something happens and I am weaponless. I have a gun in the car because I can’t take it in. That still leaves me 5-10 minutes away from a real weapon.
It’s more like 3-5 minutes if the shooter has poor aim.
When I was 27 I did a four day hike in CO. Hiked ten miles in with 60 lbs on my back. If you have a good hiking bag it does wonders distributing weight. I would use that pack, but would keep it under 30lbs as I’m not 27 anymore. That 30 lbs would feel like 15 in a book bag with simple waist belt. Ive evacuated for hurricanes and I’ve stayed for even more. The only thing in FL I’d worry about is iodine tables, pistol, maybe a couple snickers, first aid kit, a gallon of water and a extra bottle to help with the iodine.
I do ultralight hiking. Done a bunch of short ones. One thru hike(AT 2010). All my camping gear hits at around 8lbs, so with food and water(4 days food, 1L water) I’m at around 18 lbs. I’d add weapons and ammo to that. Get a sawyer squeeze filter, it’s light and good forever, and beats the old, heavier filters.
Definitely agree about keeping the weight down. That will depend on your abilities and being in shape, but light and fast is best for just about any scenario. I have injuries from carrying too much heavy crap in the military, so when I started hiking I decided there was no way in hell I’m carrying a heavy pack.
For just a short term bug out bag it would be even lighter, 15lbs or less. I honestly don’t want to carry any more than 30lbs under any conditions.
Not to be a knob….well OK, I’m being a knob, but I thought the picture was a pocket dump. We all know they have been getting a little silly.
I thought the very same thing, until I didn’t see the ubiquitous Field Notes.
You should have a gun on your person or at least handy at all times. Big out bag is good for extra mags and maybe a backup weapon.
Also a bug out rifle bag with your bug out bag is cool.
Yes, a smallish pistol with about 30 rounds. A Ruger LCP or LC9 would be perfect.
Ruger PK380. Two extra mags and two boxes of hollow point ammo. LCP is a bitch to shoot.
Guns, ammo and cash.
As long as you have those, you have everything else.
The second bag has a machete, knife, shovel and a hatchet. Is he building a house?
Just missing some plastic sheeting, and an extra role of duck tape to make a portalable body disposal kit
Would be good if you have to build a shelter.
Five quick suggestions:
Make all your batteries Li-Ion. They’re resistant to cold and they weigh less than alkaline pile batteries.
Replace Nagene bottles with Platypus bags. When not in use they pack down to being very small and they’re light. They come in sizes varying from 0.5L to 2.0L (there may be other options that I don’t know about). These things are a lot tougher than you’d expect. Unless you take a knife to them they’re not going to pop.
Centering this around a “technical” pack is a good idea because they don’t stand out the way military style bags do. Something like a Marmot Aspen 35(L) works well and is comfortable but you want to break the pack in before you actually need it. The first five miles on a new pack suck and you don’t want those to be the first five miles of a 25 mile trek home.
Consider a camp stove. They’re light and allow you to heat water, melt snow or cook food if you need to and the fire hazard/light signature is minimal compared to lighting a fire, even a Dakota Hole Fire. The burn time on a 16oz canister is pretty darn long once you know how to use the stove. Unless you’re gonna be out for two weeks that amount of IsoPro fuel should get you through.
Finally, grab a red bike light so that it can go on the back of your bag and make you visible to vehicles at night. Walking most of the way to safety only to be run over by someone who didn’t see you would suck.
I like your weight considerations, I live on a budget but as I upgrade my pack keeps getting lighter.
X2 on the Li-ion batteries.
I had lots of trouble with battery life on some of my battery powered hunting gear until I switched. November cold is brutal on batteries.
X *ZERO* on the Li-ion, Li po, or similar batteries. They are a HUGE mistake for a BOB.
What does your BOB do most of the time? It sits there doing NOTHING. Doing nothing to a Lithium ‘pouch’-type battery KILLS it dead. They self-discharge all on their own, and when they discharge below a certain point, they cannot be recharged.
Remember that story a year or so back on what happened to a Tesla driver who parked his nearly-depleted battery Tesla at an airport and didn’t return for a number of months?
It destroyed his battery to the tune of $40,000. The car sensed the depleted battery and did as it was programmed to do, meaning, it dutifully called his cell phone that he didn’t answer, and sent e-mail to an account he didn’t read. He got home to a dead car that wouldn’t take a charge.
Tesla warns of this in their owner’s manual.
I *LOVE* Li-Ion, Li-Po-type batteries. They have the highest energy density available at a reasonable price. They make thin things like iPhones possible. They are also fickle critters that have serious limitations and are easily destroyed.
Dry Lithium non-rechargeable batteries are excellent, with a 10-year shelf life. Next best are Alkaline cells.
Li-ion-Li-Po pouch batteries are a massive mistake for a BOB or survival situation…
All batteries self discharge. LI-ion’s are not the worst. If you get rechargeable Li-ions you can get 1000’s of recharge cycles from them. Even to dead.
I keep an old Charter Arms AR7 rifle and a couple boxes of ammo and a spare mag in my BOB. Yeah, it’s “only” a .22, but it’s better than nothing, it doesn’t take up much room, doesn’t weigh a whole lot, and most importantly, IT’S ALWAYS THERE. If I want something more serious than a .22, I ALWAYS have my EDC pistol. Oh, and a small HF ham radio, battery packs, small solar charger, and wire antenna, in case cell service is down and I need to call for help…
I saw someone included some cheapo HTs. Worthless. I think comms is an important and overlooked part of a BOB. A single band Morse Code transceiver can use a 9v transistor battery, has a range in the hundreds of miles using a simple wire antenna, and can fit in a Altoids tin. A schedule of operating times and frequencies with loved ones and support should be maintained with the equipment. Learn Morse Code. It’s challenging and keeps your brain in shape. Get your ham radio license and learn about low-power operations, antennas, propagation. Think of it as a survival tool.
The monoband CW transceivers are a nice idea, but these days not everyone understands, or uses, Morse code (especially since they dropped the code requirement for US ham licenses – I was one of the last group that had to pass the 5WPM test to upgrade to General years ago). I have a US ham license – Extra class. My transceiver is a Xiegu X1M Platinum, which runs on 12 volts and does CW and SSB. Battery packs are rated at 15AH (realistically 5AH) LiPo. It’s a great little radio, especially since I installed an aftermarket AGC board. I can also use it with a 45 watt amplifier that is the same size as the radio. I just bought an Elecraft T1 auto-tuner that runs on 9V batteries and is about the same size as a pack of playing cards (or just slightly larger). The whole thing fits into a Sherpa bag that was originally intended for a Yaesu FT-817, and has a waist belt as well as a shoulder strap to help distribute the (minimal) weight better. An end-fed wire with a 9:1 un-un makes a great compact antenna.
Somebody read Survivors. Good fun read.
Who’s the author?
I rarely travel anywhere without my ham radio equipment anyway. Too much fun! 🙂
X2 on the AR-7, on my third iteration, and the Henry is pretty reliable with the subsonics for my suppressor. Taken two coyotes with the combo.
If worried about theft, pull the little receiver and stuff it in a hidden spot elsewhere in the vehicle, or another assessor BoB.
But the main firearm should be the one on your person, or if leaving home, the one that you sling as you go out the door.
I agree the you should have your carry pistol. But what if it fails? What if you need to hunt small game? What if you want encourage some one to stay more than 25 yards away?
So I keep a marlin 75 with my gear. Know it’s only a 22 lr rifle, but you can easily carry 200 rounds for it in a water tight soap container in the outer pocket of you pack. That’s a lot of rounds and not a lot of weight.
Instead of a hand held lightweight light, why not a head light? And merino wool base layer is better than poly pro.
Wool blanket in a confederate bedroll with milspec poncho. Shoulder bag, surplus, with stainless steel cup and 1 quart stainless steel billy can attached to shoulder strap of bag. Inside bag 2 stainless steel water bottles. 2 mre’s and some power bars. .38 and one box of ammo. Mora companion.
In various pockets firestarters, swiss army knife, etc. J frame in pocket holster in pocket.
Appropriate clothing and foot gear for weather and locale.
Don’t stick out. Don’t call attention to yourself.
Add a trauma kit and you have what I got.
I carry extra loaded magazines in my bug out bag for my 556 e r 15 and two handguns that I carry a Smith & Wesson M&P 9 full size performance center and a Glock 19 everything else goes on me including the AR-15 in the handguns the only thing I carry in my bug out bag is the magazines already loaded first aid kit two pairs a dry socks cupola Ivy’s couple bags of saline few other needed items. Anna cellular charger solar powered. Couple other goodies Like a Knife serrated edge Spyderco. And so on
Saw the picture and thought this was another EDC pocket dump…..
Which bag? The one in the truck, the desk at work, or the one at home that lives by the safe?
The work and truck bags don’t have a gun, as I work at a federal facility and that would be “bad.”
The bag at home doesn’t either, because if I’m grabbing that one I’m also grabbing a rifle, handgun, and preloaded ammo can with magazines for both … that’s why the BOB is next to the safe.
It would depend on your situation, where plan to leave your kit, how secure that spot is, whether you can legally carry a weapon in your bag, among other considerations. For instance, as I live/work near a military post and have to go on post constantly, I can’t legally carry in my bag or on my person BUT I can ruck like a sonofabitch. (Yes, I know I can have my weapons registered with the post and carry them to/from the range) My car BOB is small and light, with just enough provisions to literally let me hump my ass from post to home ricky-tick.(Actually one of very few advantages to be in this tiny speck of a town is that I rarely ever have to be more than ten miles from home) That’s where my no-shit BOB gear is on stand-by.
Another question that this article touches on- and is really the 800lb gorilla nobody wants to discuss- is PT. I don’t care if your gear is 5lbs or 60- if you haven’t trained to carry it over distance, it aint happenin. Get up off of AR15.com and (respectfully) TTAG, go for a multi-mile hike with your BOB; go lift heavy shit; go acquire a huge used tire and flip/drag that thing a few hundred times; go run a few miles carrying/pushing your kid. Stuff like this every day is best, but 3-6 days a week can be sufficient. I’m as guilty as any of yall about lettin my PT slip, especially after a long/tiring week but PT is vital to any bugout/survival scenario.
If I may, TTAG might consider a recurring article/series on PT for those amongst us that may have let out physical fitness slip a bit as of late. Just my $.02.
This is why I love GoRuck weights. Toss them in your daily carry bag and suddenly you’ve got some mild PT with everything you do.
Your comment on “hiking with it” is spot on as well. Something some people may not consider, and it will vary with where you live, is that you might be forced to do some night navigation. You can collect a lot of useful data for night nav with a Fitbit and a smartphone. For instance, how many of your steps per mile, not the average the Fitbit gives you, but how many in a real mile? That may be affected by what you carry, so you should know that. Carrying weight will also affect your speed, so once you’ve collected enough data and averaged it you should have a good idea of how long it will take you to walk X distance while carrying Y load.
A .22 handgun plus 100 rounds seems pretty reasonable. Something like a Ruger MK IV hunter is a reasonable weight to get you food on the table.
I go back and forth about carrying my 1911-380 and 1911-22 for a “hit the road” situation. .380 is fairly light weight and gives you improved lethality against both two and four legged predators. If you are on the road solo you cannot realistically carry enough major caliber ammunition. I would rather have 500 rounds of 22lr than a 100 rounds of heavier stuff. In a without rule of law situation getting hit with a or 22lr is going to going to take the fight out someone.
Wait… You’re talking about bug out bags but talk about what you need to get home…. That’s a get home bag… Two different missions although they share commonality in some ways. If you are bugging out, you’re leaving home and in all likelihood you’ll be using some motorized conveyance. A get home bag assumes break down of common means of transportation and the need to possibly traverse areas that could be dangerous/hustle and that once you get home you can either hunker down or get your loaded bug out bag into your 4×4 and get outta Dodge…
It appears people have different schools of thought when creating their bug-out bags. I thought a bag was a short-term solution to aid you in making it to a secure destination. I don’t expect it to be a mobile armory or kitchen. After all, how many gun fights are people planning on having??? And is this trek supposed to take days, weeks, or months?
Unless you are talking about a situation of complete anarchy then your bag need not weight anywhere near 35 pounds. In any case your home is the best place to be in a without rule of law situation. You have friends and neighbors to form a community. You only abandon your home if you have no choice.
My bugout bag contains mostly tools and a first aid kit. If you think you are going to need food and a lot of water you will have to live off the land because you can’t carry enough. What you need is a lifestraw and a 22 cal bolt action rifle. You can carry a brick of 22lr in the space of a 50 round box of 5.56.
Honestly the weight of the bag depends on your situation.
Some people commute 50 miles from their house. They might have “weightier” considerations.
I pre-printed some strongly worded letters, signed them and put them in my big out bag for when there is no rule of law.
Or I acted like someone who understands what “no rule of law” actually means.
There’s also the consideration of TO WHERE you might bug out.
The recent evacuation relative to the Oroville Dam problem points out what seems to me the most likely situation: a geographically narrow problem with a bug-out to shelters outside the afflicted area.
Shelter living has a different set of requirements than open area camping. I’d strongly prefer a handgun in my BOB, but there’s good reason to expect, in CA, that such would be refused entry.
We might get SHTF, WROL, TEOTWAKI, and if we do, all the young or old and in shape might have a better chance to live through it all. Since I’m neither young nor in shape, maybe you other guys will get to scavenge my stuff when I’m gone in the Zombie Apocalypse.
I am a Red Cross disaster volunteer. We do an excellent job in providing shelter. That said, if you have any other alternative go there instead. A shelter is a place of last resort.
I’ve actually got two bags. One is a day-pack size bug out bag that stays in the bedroom. A box of .22lr and two pistol mags are all that’s in there ammo wise. It’s more stuff I would want in the event of, say, a fire.
The other bag, the “I’m Not Coming Home” or INCH bag lives next to the gun safe and that has a more substantial loadout. It’s not a light bag but it’s got everything I’d want to get far away and start over if need be.
I’ve made it through 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy and come to the realization a little preparation goes a LONG way.
Ok, I am probably a little different here….I have a lot in my get home bag. It’s heavy. It stays in my vehicle for emergencies and I have a family of 4. Something I don’t see much anymore is the saying “It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.” I am fully prepared to dump the extra weight if not needed. The problem is we never know what situation we’ll will be in….2 is 1 and 1 is none. I have redundant fire, shelter, water filtration, extra ammo, food gathering, etc. I even have dry bags with straps so my other family members can help carry the load. I get the point of the article, but preparedness is all about being prepared for multiple emergency situations. Even if it was a bug out bag, and I can carry for quite a while, I can dump what I can for weight if deemed not necessary. Cutting weight is great (especially since I’m not getting younger), but I encourage all to be prepared for as much as possible. I do encourage people to refine their bags and add lighter weight items, but for me and mine I will probably always start out with a heavy pack. My 2 cents…… Last thing I will be thinking in an emergency situation is I wish I hadn’t spent that $100 on extra equipment or supplies.
Excellent point about shedding what you don’t need. My 25 lb. bag, which remains in my car, is multi-purpose: disaster survival, BOB, get-home, as well as unexpectedl deployment locally with no opportunity to get supplies. As such, what I don’t need can be removed or redistributed or left in the car, lightening the bag considerably. It contains much of the aforementioned equipment, including trauma kit and especially a flat pry bar, a lesson i learned during S-&-R after a tornado. While it has a 20 rd box of 9mm Gold Dot in an outer pocket, it doesn’t include firearms – those will be on my person. I might have to ditch the bag at some point or leave it unattended – someone who’s of a mind to steal it is someone you don’t want arming themselves at your expense.
When figuring out what was going to be in my Bug-out-bag, I resorted to reading a few books. Only one of them had a serious discussion about the weight of your bag. Except for the decision about a gun, my old Boy Scouts Field Manual (circa 1960’s) is still a better reference for what to put in a bug-out bag, with adequate discussion about weight. Weight was more critical then because there were fewer really light-weight pieces of camping equipment. But it’s still critical if you’re 1) not in condition, 2) never hiked 10 miles in a day with a backpack in your life
If you have to walk home I suggest good boots, and a spare pair socks.
Money, including coins for vending machines.
Following the law in your location, place of work for a BOB. Many places prohibit weapons including Knifes, but a multi tool maybe allowed, or large screwdriver or hammer
Bug out bags are gay. I know everyone wants to cosplay The Walking Dead and buy a bunch of trinkets to throw in a bag, as would a teenage girl. But if the S ever HTF and the country went WROL, the multi tool and half gallon of water in your BOB is not going to do SHIT. This is especially true if you live in a city or have a family. Please post retarded comment below telling me I’m wrong. Also, use as many ridiculous acronyms as possible.
I live in the woods, fairly far from the nearest town which is small. My kits primary purpose is to allow me to get home on foot for the one day to one week of walking my normal travels would require. I also use it as an impromptu camping pack, when the weather is nice and I just decide to wander into the National Forest for a weekend.
Hope that’s retarded enough for you, and sorry I didn’t use a bunch of acronyms, I don’t like them either.
Same here. My “bug out bag” is more of a “get home bag”, since I have to drive over 20 miles to get to work, mostly through rural wooded areas. If things went to blazes while I was at work, and for whatever reason I couldn’t drive home, the equipment I have would get me home if necessary. And it doubles as camping gear, so it’s not wasted space or “trinkets”. Not everyone who preps for disaster or other emergency situations is some sort of “mall ninja” or Rick Grimes wannabe, and folks who generalize too much are SO “gay”…. 😉
You are wrong. I have never had to bug out or hike back to the house. I do use items ( returned or replaced soon after) from it 5 to 6 times a year.
@Joe B Please ignore the troll. Have a nice day.
In the BOB? Nah. My BOB is in my vehicle with my bug out rifle and pistol and their ammo. That is one helluva back pack in that picture. $420? Yikes!
My bob is in my car. It consists of a gallon of water, a water bottle, 4 protein bars which I replace regularly, a good pair of boots, emergency money and whatever firearm I happen to be carrying that day.
No, they belong on your person
This morning I had to chase Sow and her baby hogs out of my drive way with my vehicle, if I had the time before work to kill and dress them I would’ve. I live in the middle of nowhere, so running into animals both big and small is a concern in my neck of the woods. No better weapon that a shotgun to deal with animals big and small.
If you can’t handle 3 inch magnum, get a prescription for two testicles from your local doctor.
Sorry, but not everyone is naturally built like a muscle-bound meathead. Nobody appointed you judge and jury over how “manly” anyone else is. A 2-3/4″ slug or buckshot works just fine and is less punishing, and besides, not all shotguns will chamber 3″ shells (especially older used ones that fit into some peoples’ budgets better than a new gun will).
Not a muscle bound bound meat head, and every man and woman(including a little sister) I grew up hunting with all handled 3 inch magnums fine, many a deer and hog are dead because of them. Many a turkey have fallen to 3.5 inch loads as well.
Farm family, then? I have relatives that do farm work and can handle that sort of thing, too. Myself, I don’t have a ton of upper body strength, and don’t like a lot of recoil. I work with a bunch of Neanderthals who think that anyone who can’t handle a .600 Nitro Express with one hand is some sort of wimp, and don’t hesitate to make their opinions known, on a constant basis.
Again, not everyone is comfortable shooting something that has that much recoil. Only shotgun I have that can use 3″ shells is an 870 with an 18-1/2″ barrel. Fired it with 1-1/4 ounce slugs once just to try it. Never again – I was feeling it the rest of the week (and yes, I know how to shoulder a gun properly). My .45-70 rolling block is about as much recoil as I want to deal with, but it’s a 9-pound rifle so the weight soaks up a lot of it. I can also handle a .45 auto without much trouble, but not a .44 magnum.
Fitness and skills first. If you’re a 300lb, wheezing diabetic with bad knees, you ain’t getting far. And skills and experience can help you improvise or scavenge if need arises. After this choose items that are simple, lightweight and compliment your needs. A gun is certainly part of the equation, but I get a kick out of tactical nerds with 3k rifles who get light headed tying their shoes. This will annoy some of you. Catch me if you want to complain.
I am wondering how good of a choice a folding bicycle would be as an addition to a bugout/get home kit? Granted, in the winter it would be a bear, but it would beat walking at any other time of year, and make carrying gear a bit easier, and the folding bikes don’t take up much room in a vehicle.
A folding bike is an *excellent* choice, IMO.
A few things, tho- Get puncture-proof tires for it, and a frame-mounted tire pump. A small step pump is lots faster, I would keep one with where you store the bike.
And a small battery-powered headlight and a flashing red rear.
One of those kiddie-hauling bike trailers work well with them…
Heck with the kiddie hauler – how about this?
Now that’s pretty cool, it’s bookmarked. $800-plus isn’t cheap.
If it’s a X-country trip, that would be neat. If not, kinda heavy to lug around. Being able to sleep up off the wet ground is a plus…
The extra carrying capability is good, too. I also saw an Instructable (http://www.instructables.com/id/Bikesport-Micro-Camper/) that shows how to make a telescoping one-person bike camper with a wooden shell, which might actually be a bit lighter weight and certainly less expensive, but I think not as compact.
You run faster than 850 feet per second? 🙂
BOB lives in car. I live in a rather secluded area about a 2 hour walk from where I work. I’m mostly worried about getting home.
In bag: I have maps in a clear plastic ziploc bag, alcohol pens, flashlight w/ colored lenses, 2 compasses (lensatic + orienteering), first aid kit, 3qt water, 1 MRE, gloves, balaclava, spare socks etc…
In car: goretex parka (+ liner if I’m not already wearing it), long underwear. If not on my person, my Beretta 92 w/ 3 15rd mags plus holster.
I have additional supplies at home along with my rifles. I have multiple secondary bug out locations consisting of land owned by relatives and existing agreements that we can crash at each others (vacation) homes in an emergency. As such I have keys to all these places as well in my safe, with my rifles. If I have to move to one of those secondary locations, things have really gone bad, so that’s when plate carrier goes on, along with woodland camo.
You can have ammo or condoms and lube. I’ll take the ammo.
I have two get home bags. One is in my truck. Yup, there is a gun in it…an old Browning SA-22 Takedown with a Speedy Loader, for a total of 100 rounds. It’s also got a fully stocked first aid kit, 7 days of food, two changes of clothes, an extra set of hiking boots, flashlight with extra batteries, a Baofeng UV-82 with a car antenna, water bladder, water filter, a small tent, 100 ft of paracords, a wonderfully comfortable sleeping bag, and…well, you get the idea – it’s well stocked. And there is no way on God’s green earth that I can carry that sucker home on my back if the truck is unavailable for whatever reason.
So I keep a 2nd bag in the event I need to hoof it. There is a gun in it…a CZ-82 with 4 extra loaded mags, for a total of 60 rounds. It’s also got a really sparse first aid kit, some Lifestraws, a metal water bottle, an emergency blanket, a pancho, a few trash bags, 3 days of food in the form of life raft rations, a change of underwear and socks, a little flashlight, a little cooking pot, and one of those $10 twig burner German army stoves with some fire pellets. I keep the weight down under 30 pounds because there is no way my old, fat butt can handle humping anymore than that.
My get home bag resides in my vehicle. If I don’t have my car, I’m not able to carry anyway. I’m still lacking a good med kit, but I carry a mag carrier with 2 G17 mags filled with HP, plus 2 G19 mags will ball and 2 G18 mags with ball. I also have 3 AR mags in case I’m able to acquire an AR before I get to my rifle.
Other vehicular items include a sleeping bag, water, and 2 full sets of season appropriate clothes. I’m a firm believer of bringing anything acceptable and choosing what to take in the moment.
My BOB is a whole other beast.
Lhstr, I have my EDC with me, if my EDC is not allowed, I’m not there. I always have a small pack in my vehicle. Carry; water, cordage, small first aid, food bar and a couple pain killers. I can go for 100 miles plus or minus with this pack. I do have plans though. In fact 2 or 3 plans. Its called Sur. mode.
p.s. I’m old, thats why I put only 100 miles down.
I wrote up a long rambling response that highlighted some good ideas and pitfalls to avoid. Then the internet ate it. The very, very short version. Think about the early settlers. They did not have any hitec items and used single action revolvers, lever guns and double shotguns before that cap and ball, before that flintlocks There’s a lesson there.
And homo habilis did not have fire, James what is your point?
In 2017 when some folks debate preparing for the unknown with a 72 hour pack, technology is an advantage. Remember entire settlements festooned with your cap and ball disappeared from the earth under terrible conditions. Hi-strength, durable materials with low weight are an advantage.
Perhaps you meant that the right mental approach and experience/ technique is as valuable as the equipment. If so, i whole heartedly agree. There are certainly times with equipment when weight has been shed but with it durability and the result is not good. More so than equipment, skills are at issue. The ability to tie a knot for instance is invaluable in transforming parachord, duct tape, shoe laces etc into invaluable tools.
That’s it. You can have a thousand high tec do-dads and you have 0 skill level and the drive to survive against whatever is thrown your way, your done. Something as simple as being wet can do you in. Until you get outside and play with these toys they are nothing but a placebo that makes you “feel” better. I’ve been wet and cold in 40 deg weather praying for the sun to come up, it’s a good learning tool. (drybags, are awesome when canoeing with noobs, lesson learned the hard way) As far as firearms go I think it would be better to look like Joe Hunter than GI Joe. I’m lucky that I just have to bug-in if problems arise due to location and preparedness. Thru actual use you can fine tune you plans and equiptment to work for you. Sling that pack, walk 4-8 miles and spend the night with it. See how the internet does vs real life. Better to learn NOW vs a real disaster.
Something cool to use if .22 is your flavor. Marble Arms Catch .22 Case. Only holds 50 rounds but is really handy.
As for obvious long gun avoidance, consider the weather . a stylish long coat of a business man could make your return trip home more comfortable in in climate weather, complete with slung ar pistol concealed. Trench coats and dusters can function similarly in certain locals and till not look out place. That and a small satchel for the business coat, or backpack for the other two, and you wouldn’t look out of place in an unfortunate situation.
Bug out bag will have firearms and ammo. I’ll pick anything else up at walmart when and if I need it.
Another Rhodes scholar…
Unless you live in the parking lot of a Walmart and know when disaster will strike, you might want to reconsider.
Taking a strategic approach one might think in terms of probability. The most likely emergencies are not solved with firearms. A gun does little against a storm, a building fire, or a cold night. They are also incredibly loud which will attract attention when in many cases is unwanted.
Simply they are a tool for a specific job and do not replace basic preparedness. Deciding to raid a Walmart at 3 in the morning as a flood pours in might be harder than you can imagine now sitting at home sipping a whiskey.
It’s my bag, I’ll pack it with what I want to. All you geniuses’ can pound sand. If there is no room for a case of beer in there, you have done it wrong. (People really get scholarships for studying rhodes?)
Firearm is where it belongs. On my person. I do keep a second bag with a Kriss Vector (45) and an AR plate. Primary bag has trauma kit, life straw, iodine tablets, headlamps, multiple ways to start fire, food rations and emergency shelter/blankets. I also like to pack a kite incase I get bored.
There’s a basic difference between a “Bug Out” bag and a “Get Home” bag. I carry a Get Home bag in my vehicle. It is as light as possible with the kinds of relatively short term necessities I might need to get from point A to home at a range one could walk in a couple of days. But in the end, I will be home. It does not include guns or ammo because I live adjacent to two Fascist states where my CCP is not recognized, and I don’t need to get arrested after an accident because I had an illegal (in that state) gun in my trunk.
My Bug Out bag is very different. Larger (a genuine backpacking pack), with more equipment and supplies because it is designed to ‘Bug Out’ from my home if the need arises. Along with the pack is a set of field clothes, tac gear, and guns and ammo.
Two different bags for two different purposes.
When the zombie apocalypse comes we know that mechanical weapons fail and get people killed. I carry a machete as my only defensive tool.
One thing I never see in other peoples lists is nails. With a blue tarp, 550 cord and a dozen nails you can build a real shelter almost anywhere that isn’t desert. The kit I carry (commuting 50 miles from home to city) is based on the real experience I had sleeping on the street in front of Grand Central during the blackout; a clean t shirt, 3 liters of water, toilet kit, space blanket, airline blanket, Swiss knife, power bars and clif bars. And a small pry bar, which isn’t likely to cause offense with the NYPD
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