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Most of the people in my political circle have bug-out bags. They have these gigantic bags filled with stuff they’ll need to survive an apocalyptic event: a nuclear bomb, the eruption of the Yellowstone caldera, the collapse of the financial system, an electro-magnetic pulse, the end of The Walking Dead, etc. I’m often chastised for owning numerous guns but refusing to get into prepping. Sorry. I’m thoroughly uninterested in “prepping.” I don’t own a bug-out bag. Here’s why . . .

First, I don’t want to spend my money on items I may never use. I know: fire extinguishers. Household insurance. A first-aid kit. My everyday carry gun. But these are things that I won’t be able to get when I need them if I don’t have them when I do.

While you could say the same about a foot-long saw-toothed machete or a folding latrine shovel, I’m betting I’ll have enough time to get home and find/steal/beg/borrow something suitable for cutting trees and eliminating my bowels when it’s The End of the World As We Know It.

If I can’t get home to my stuff, if there’s a nuclear detonation nearby, I’ll either fry or have to hunker down for days to avoid the radiation. Sure, in that situation, I could use a few of the things people put in their bug-out bags – those CLIFF bars look tasty and you can’t toast marshmallows without a fire. But, as Blanche Dubois said, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

They won’t be so kind! preppers protest. It’ll be every man and woman for themselves! If it’s so dire of a situation that myself and my kids need to fend off scavengers while living on the meagre provisions in my bug-out bag, I’m out. Or in. As getting to and staying in my home.

Hunkering down in my warm home (I heat it with wood) is a far better option to than any sort of “living in nature” escape plan. I’ll have full access to all my guns and ammo. I’ve got enough food and water to last long enough to band together with my neighbors for our mutual survival. That, to me, is enough of a plan for anything but a major, instant calamity.

But how will you get home? I’ll drive. But what if you can’t? In a Jeep? Anyway, tell me what I need to get home – aside from proper clothing, a couple of juice boxes, some snacks, a good sense of direction and my carry gun. And let’s call that my “bug in” bag.

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  1. I don’t have a dedicated bug out bag at the moment, but I do have an M83 with ammo and water and a 74 in my trunk. Should be good enough for long enough.

    • Sounds like the writer here has a long list of excuses for being lazy , to me . To each their own , I have no problem with anyone who chooses to be unprepared for emergencies as long as those individuals don’t expect me to share my preps WSHTF .
      My brother in law scoffs at my preps on a regular basis and yet has made the comment that if SHTF , he’ll know where to come . I may be forgiving if it comes down to that , but I might also be in a bad state of mind and use my preps to thwart his imposing .
      I have been a serious prepper since 1988 and have acquired all means of self sustenance available . What I couldn’t find on the open market I’ve fabricated myself . I’ve taught others how to prepare and what to look for .
      I recommend you prepare .

    • I converted my small hydration pack into a get home bag. It is small and lite weight which will help me climb, run, get into tight spaces to hide or get away, and enough supplies to sustain me for a few days.

      I live 20 miles from work and could walk home in 8 hours provided that I don’t have to make a detour and I have walked the distance with my small bag before.

      So it is not nessary to have a large BOB all the time.

      However I do have a BOB at home and I don’t plan to bug out unless I am forced to.

      All options are on the table and don’t want to regret it for the rest of my life.

  2. I don’t prep much of anything myself. I do plan on a water and long term food supply for up to 30 days at my house, but that is about as far as I will go. I’ve been in a few situations where out of sheer dumb luck I didn’t lose power during a snowpocalypse storm. Everyone else about a half mile around me lost power for two weeks. Needless to say, their food went bad. A bug out bag? I don’t live far enough away to need something to get me home and where I work I can’t bring a firearm.

    • Yeah I know how tough it is not being able to drive through the snow drifts to the store to get ice to keep your food from spoiling. Too much snow but no ice, now that’s ironic.

      • I kid you not. True story. See my comment to Tom below. Snowed in, no power. I put the perishable stuff in the snow right outside my door. Hear a noise. Check. Find a squirrel(ain’t they all comatose this time of year) face down in a box of my ice cream sammiches. You do not want to come between a fat redneck and his ice cream sammiches.

        Who new squirrels would eat ice cream sammiches?

        • Everybody eats ice cream sammiches.
          My uncle said that a couple of years ago a co worker told him when the power went out during several days, he lost close to 100 lbs of meat because the power was out for over a week. My uncle looked at him and said, “The power was out because of an ice storm.” His co worker said, “Yeah, for over a week. The there was no power to the freezer and the meat went bad.” My uncle waited a minute and said, “It never got above freezing outside.” My uncle said you could see the light bulb go off over his head and he started cussing a blue streak.

        • “Ice storm”? I listened to an aggressive, know-it-all neighbor who has a habit of getting into physical confrontations with neighbors here in NW N.J. bitching as he was shoveling out his 4-wheel drive Tahoe, he was complaining that he had to go out for ice for his refrigerator/freezer and bottled water to flush his toilets, what was I doing when I heard this madness? I was filling ziplock bags with some of the 2+ feet of freshly fallen snow to pack MY fridge and freezer with, I didn’t lose a stitch of food in the seven (7) days we were without power. As for flushing my toilet, the lake we live on plus what was melting on the roof and filling the 5 gallon pails I put under the downspouts supplied all the water I needed for that purpose. Some people truly are idiots and THAT imbecile is one some of my neighbors and I will have to watch out for should “S” ever “HTF” because he will be demanding that we “share”. Somebody might have something they are willing to “share” with him and his lazy, late teens early 20’s “kids” but I doubt it’ll be something he wants or expects.

  3. That reminds me of a twilight zone episode.
    A guy spends alot of time and money building a stocking a fallout shelter.
    When the day comes and he gets to the shelter before mankind is wiped off the earth by nuclear armageddon.
    He survives and waits the appropriate amount of time to leave the shelter7 only to find out a large tree is laying across the hatch blocking his only íway out.
    There he lives out his days with knowledge of his doom.

  4. You’re better off with a few weeks of food and water to insulate against local interruptions – storms causing stores to be cleaned out, municipal or well water unsafe – than relying on stocking a bag full of fantasy gear.

    Besides, where are these people going to go? Nobody has homes with families, or things worth guarding?

    I like civilization and I’ll try to work with my neighbors to re-establish it, starting with our neighborhood.

    • You’re better off with a few weeks of food and water


      I have enough canned goods and bottled H20 to get me through a month. Plastic plates, too, since I won’t waste valuable water on cleanup. I get my blood pressure meds three months at a time. Also enough cat food and litter for the same period of time. And some sterno to heat my food if and when the power goes out. Batteries and flashlights of course. And extra blankets.

      I’m not planning for TEOTWAWKI, just a major disruption of power and services due to a bad storm or something like that. For the zombie apocalypse, I have a sh!tload of guns and a crap ton of ammo.

      • As so poignantly and truthfully stated in that wonderful kids’ movie, The Incredible Journey, “the cat is a natural born hunter.” So save your money on the cat food but maybe buy more litter. Or more people food or ammo. Our cat (and probably yours) will attest to her hunting abilities.

        • @Paul, my cats are older now. While the big guy (21.5 pounds and not fat) could probably make a living on his own, the little one (a spoiled purebred) would’t last a week if he had to hunt for his dinner. Besides, cement-bags of cat kibble are cheap.

        • you sir hit the nail on the head. I wrote an article in our local gun community blog about my experiences thru 2 hurricanes and an epic ice storm. The one thing I could not obtain during those 3 natural disasters was ALCOHOL. ABC’s stores were closed during 2 of those events because they didnt have power and the staff could not get to the stores to open and operate them. During the 3rd event some jack wagon in the local government illegally but never the less effectively banned all alcohol sales in the county for several days.

        • Distilled spirits do not go bad…someone gave me a bottle of VO with a 1958 tax stamp on it, and it was just fine.
          Invest $50, and put it away for your 100th birthday party…or in case of emergencies. 😉

        • jimmyjames:

          As I have mentioned before in other topics here, in MOST states once a governor declares a “State of Emergency” (and I’m NOT talking “Martial Law” here) which is typical when “natural disasters” ie. severe storms hit or are due to impact his/her state ALL sales of firearms, ammunition, and alcohol are PROHIBITED!

          TTAG readers:

          Take note of what I said above, DON’T wait until the last minute to stock up on ammo, firearms, or alcoholic beverages after all what good will it do to arrive at your local retailer only to be turned away and have to face a SHTF event BOTH unarmed and sober.

    • I’ve actually done disaster relief and I have a lot of disaster prep at home, but I don’t do a bug out. I know where my stuff is, and I know what I’d need to grab to bug out…but if we’re in such a bad shape that the 15 minutes it’d take me gather it up and load it in the van would be life vs death then I seriously question the survivability of the situation anyway. And events that require that type of bug out are much less likely than events that interrupt services for a short period of time and maybe require alternate heating and cooking and a week or two of food, water, meds, etc. And house repair gear and equipment.

      • Erh, there’s apparently several Pauls. This is confusing.

        I have, at home, a few gallon jugs of water, And 5 5 gallon jugs I can fill up in about 10 minutes. 18 gallons of gasoline. 2-3 weeks of food and the like. Repair equipment, tarps, propane stove with 2 tanks, a camp cooking grill, a fire pit, fire wood, etc.

        • I learned about the two tanks at a big graduation cook-out 25 years ago.
          The grill died, and I was thinking that it ruined lunch, when the host’s son in law grabbed her spare tank and refired the grill.

          Two tanks means never running out, and never paying to refill a tank that isn’t empty yet.

      • In a SHTF the likelihood of secondary catastrophes greatly increase. A house fire could leave you with nothing but the clothes on your back, and in the middle of a SHTF no support system, with no police a riot could pop up on your lawn, where is the closest nuke plant? chemicals? what happens if you see a poison gas cloud coming down your street?

    • “Most of the people in my political circle have bug-out bags. They have these gigantic bags filled with stuff they’ll need to survive an apocalyptic event: a nuclear bomb, the eruption of the Yellowstone caldera, the collapse of the financial system, an electro-magnetic pulse, the end of The Walking Dead, etc?”

      “A bag filled with fantasy items”

      Actually, no, they are not. Bug out bags are built on basic human needs:

      Air–they MIGHT have a gas mask, but mine doesn’t, I do have a couple bandanas and n95 masks.$5
      Shelter–maintaining a stable body temperature is the next priority for a prepper. At minimum a few space blankets and some fire starters ($5) I personally have an emergency tent and sleeping bag $15, and a dry set of clothes ($50). A good knife and hatched makes shelter easier to build ($100)
      Defense–obviously you don’t mind spend thousands on guns so I won’t defend the need for this. I would point out that if your house burns to the ground with all your guns and ammo in it, or if you can’t get home, a bag with a gun and some ammo might come in handy! ($500–having a gun when all of yours are under a collapsed smoldering house PRICELESS)
      Water–Its hard to pack especially long term and in quantities that would satisfy but it is important to have means to collect and purify water because man can live only 3 days without water. ($20)
      Food–eventually you will need it and it makes it easier to travel. If you loose you house and you need to hike to a friends, a safe area, a fema camp having food will be something you are thankful for. (72hrs–$10)

      Sure I survival saw, a couple knives, comms gear, and some other toys in my bag but for less than the price of one AR that pretty common sense gear could save your A$$.

      Cars break, roads close, homes collapse and burn down. S#IT happens and when the SHTF S#IT can kill you!

  5. I don’t have one either. I don’t live in a coastal evacuation zone and the chance of having evacuate is beyond slim. I have everything I need at home and there’s little reason for me to leave there for weeks or months (if needed).

  6. The thing is to, have these people ever rucked long distances with a ruck?

    I do 12 miles once a week with 65lbs in about 2 1/2 hours. It’s not easy. I’m in the army, so I do it to stay in shape and keep up.

    I don’t think people have a clue how hard it is of they haven’t done it before.

    • I’m not in the shape I used to be but yeah my backpacking days are another part of why I don’t really worry about a bug out bag, particularly one loaded with ammo and other heavy stuff. I did, at one point, a 70ish mile backpacking trip. I didn’t have more than about 30 lbs of gear (light sleeping bag, tarp and rope, etc)…boiled and filtered water since I overnighted near a stream but still carried 1.5 gallons.

      My legs were jelly after that. Ugh. People that have 200-300 rounds and 5 gallons of water and food and an axe and a saw and and and and….and somehow think they’ll carry all that on foot. Try loading up just the ammo and one gallon of water and hiking 5 or 6 miles of rough country in anything approaching reasonable time (under 3 hours). It’s a wake up call! Then think about those emergency blankets, stove, matches, tent, sleeping bags, TP, etc added to that load

  7. My bugout fantasy days are over for the time being. There is no realistic way to bugout with two children under 3, I do have a get home bag packed in both vehicles and enough stuff at he house to make it a full month without any need for replenishment and do it comfortably. I always find it interesting when an individual who feels that it is important to be prepared for a violent encounter by carrying a gun doesn’t find it necessary to be prepared for other eventualities.

    • “I always find it interesting when an individual who feels that it is important to be prepared for a violent encounter by carrying a gun doesn’t find it necessary to be prepared for other eventualities.”

      This. I’m not bugout, prepper, apocalypto crazy, but I have friends who preach being ready for anything as the reason they carry and then only have their EDC gun and nothing else. I EDC carry my Glock 19 with one mag in the gun, one in the holster pouch, and one in the snagmag (would carry 2 mags but in CT the 10 round limit brought me to 3), along with a knife, flashlight, phone, keys and wallet. In the car I have a small backpack filled with essentials such as sweatshirt, handcrank radio, para cord, food, water, etc, not a crazy bug out but an essentials bag I call it.

        • Gotta have some bugout tunes, I mean, hey, I even have a bugout playlist on my phone, so I can rock out as the world ends.

        • I understand having a radio before, but not after; besides, aren’t they relics of Hitler?

        • It’s a multi function type thing, charger, radio, light, etc. you know just a nifty little device I tossed in the car bag.

        • English Person:

          The radio is for information as to what is happening local, but more important is what’s happening around the planet.

          For $50 you can get a serviceable basic shortwave radio.

          And a way to recharge nicads, nickle metal hydride, LiPo, etc.

        • Hence why I said before and after; in preparing a survival plan one must be critical of the real value of a radio and be aware it has the potential to compromise and hinder survival.

        • Just how does a receiver hinder your survival?

          Outside of someone relatively nearby that has some *very* expensive gear that can pick up the various internal oscillators radiating in the superhet?

        • Well, if your theoretical SHTF situation involves the aggressive and unfriendly takeover of your local/national infrastructure, you may want to think carefully about if and how you respond to any ‘we have cookies’ announcements.
          Like I said, it was one of Hitler’s favourite gifts.

        • This whole radio bit falls into the “it’s nice to have” and would probably be useful in most situations.

          The scenario that English is describing, while possible, is far less likely than something like a storm stranding you/your vehicle in an area where extra supplies are needed.

          The argument posed is not a reason to avoid having a radio. A hostile takeover situation like those done in WWII would be something that you are likely to know about. In the event where the authorities, especially local authorities, are compromised by outside forces don’t listen to the “we have cookies” announcements and then go to check out the cookies… Having the device itself puts you at very little risk in such an event, it can provide useful information because even propaganda by such groups tells you something, and having something to listen or get power from is a useful tool especially too keep the spirits up.

    • Bob,

      Having small children is more of a reason to have a bug out bag… if your house burns down and you have to bug out…you as an adult could probably survive with very little for a week…but your kids? Do you really want to out live them and watch them suffer and die.

      Bugging out isn’t about a fantasy of going into the bush and living a blue lagoon fantasy, its about leaving your home as a strategy or because of necessity and going (hopefully) SOMEWHERE else.

      Whether its go to your next door neighbor with enough STUFF to not be a burden, walking to grandmas, or to a cabin you or a friend has in the woods…bugging out is about having the stuff to get there without dying or watching your family dying! In a shorter scenario its may even be just about surviving long enough for help to get to you in a regional disaster. Just two weeks ago I read about historic ice storms in the NW leaving people cold and alone for two weeks. If your house got crushed by a tree or your heating system failed would you really not want a BOB to take care of your kids for a week?

  8. That’s not really the right response, pal.

    But, I wish the article was actually a comprehensive view of a minimalist “get-home” kit, and not a “meh, I’ll take back roads and drink juicies”.

  9. Its not about living in the wilderness its about having the nesscarry items whatever they may be for you. In case you have to leave or are forced to leave your primary residence. Who knows you may have to stay at a hospital with a loved one for a number of days and having some clothes and comort items might make that situation just a little easier. Or if a situation that ever comes up and you don’t have time to pack. There is a common misconception that you have everything in your bag to live off the land, the reality is that having to use a bag on that level is slim.

    • Re: Where are you going to run to.

      Depends on the type and scale of the disaster. In the even of a nuclear accident I’d likely go a few hundred miles to live with relatives. That trip normally takes 6 hours but if lots of people were being evacuated it could easily take several days.

      Good enough?

  10. Bug out bags are not just for preppers trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. Bug out bags are for things as simple as floods, house fires, forest fires, storms, or whatever the regional issue the world can swing at you. Heck, if your neighbor goes postal, your local SWAT team may evacuate your house, prevent you from going back for days. Oh, here is a good one: You are traveling, ATM machines are down, you are out of gas, and the town you are in has a population of zero after dark. The point is this — pack something. If bug out bag is too preppy for you, call it something else — get-home-bag, overnight bag, survival bag, etc. I keep a “survival kit” in my Jeep. If I get stuck on the side of some isolated dirt road or I have to outrun a raging flash flood that is going to mow over my house, I got something – water, food, fire, shelter, gun, ammo, etc. Without it, what are you? A refugee waiting on FEMA to give you a bottle of water and some crackers.

    • This here. Wildfires move pretty fast if you’re in a forested area, for example. I keep a packed camp box for our ever-more-frequent camping trips, which has tools, first aid, water filtration, marshmallows, and the like. I keep FEMA’s list in it so if we have to pack and go, I can throw in whatever else we need. Like Sara, I don’t much care about stocking a BOB, but with two Boy Scouts in the house, we always have a box packed with gear anyhow.

      • Perfect example. Whatever you have to call it — bug out bag, get home bag, survival kit, get-out-of-dodge bag, etc., have one. Things happen, period, and it doesn’t always happen to the other guy. Have the essentials – food, water, trauma kit, maybe a shelter or tarp, fire, etc. Whatever else you want to have in a bag, up to you. It does not have to be expensive either. Be realistic. You are more likely to be stuck in traffic with thousands of other evacuees with no grocery stores open to buy food and water than surviving (or not surviving) by hunting rabbits and picking berries in the wilds. In most regional disasters, the local authorities are typically overwhelmed, and it often takes days and weeks for FEMA to transport needed supplies – food, water, shelter, etc. – to the affected area. If roads and rails are damaged, most cities will run out of food in less than 3-days. This is reality. I once worked for the DOE in Portland Oregon when I found out that if there is a major earthquake in Portland, the government will shutdown all the bridges and keep them closed for days, which essentially means that all transportation stops cold, i.e., no food or clean water. The point is that crap happens all the time, and survival is often your responsibility. Be the Boy Scott that Rokurota spoke of. Be Prepared. Be Realistic…and know what is realistic. Don’t be that guy on TV complaining that his kids are hungry and the government is too slow to help.

  11. I don’t bug out, i bug in. I am looking forward to the colapse of the economy. The next currency will be ammuntion and I will finally be a rich man.

    I have enough ammo to get as many bug out bags as i want.

  12. My bug-out bag is mostly toiletries, spare cash, copies of IDs and documents, and baby supplies. I find it more likely I’ll need to spend an unexpected night or two in a shelter, hotel, or families’ home then out in a field fighting invading UN forces.

    • A “public” shelter will be like a roach motel. sure authorities WILL allow you to “check-in” but like the Hotel California you’ll NEVER be permitted to leave and forget thinking you’ll be allowed to bring in ANY type of “weapon”, even pocket knives will be verboten. Best to survive on the “outside”, don’t dare cross the threshold of a “pubic shelter”.

    • Unless you neighbor also has ammo. In which case you just a hungry raider waiting to be put down like the predator you are.

  13. “Hunkering down in my warm home (I heat it with wood) is a far better option to than any sort of “living in nature” escape plan. ”

    You’re looking at it all wrong. It’s not a supposed be a “live out your days in the woods” bag, it is a “get the hell out of dodge” bag. As in, go somewhere else; it’s bag to help you get from point A to B. A friends, a loved one’s, a hotel 500miles aways, doesn’t matter.

    The whole premise of the bug-out is that you CAN’T stay put, that your home, or whatever, is uninhabitable (under water, on fire, collapsed, covered in snow to the roof, etc.)

  14. I don’t have a bug out bag either, I live in a fortified tower in the mountains, if I have to bug out of that there is no where left to go.

    I do have a get home bag though, and given that a shopping trip is usually fifty miles out it has a fair bit of supplies in it for the week it could take to walk home after Z day.

  15. A bug-out bag is not just for end-of-the-world scenarios, they are for if your particular area gets hit with a crisis, and you need to get out, for example earthquake, wild fire, flood, etc…prepping is a philosophy that can entail anything from knowing basic medical knowledge in the event that Uncle Fred starts having chest pains at Christmas dinner to knowing how to start a fire completely from scratch if lost in the wilderness to knowing how to handle a long-term societal collapse situation.

  16. I think you misunderstand the purpose of a bug out bag. Sure some people think they could prep for a nuclear war, or the zombies, but most of us are prepping for the next Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, and so on and so forth because we don’t think the government will be there to help us. Remember how many day it took to get water to the Super Dome. In terms of borrowing or taking from others, sorry, but if you aren’t my family you aren’t getting anything in my bug out bag, food, water, or anything.

  17. ” It’ll be every man and woman for themselves!”

    Spoken like someone who learned what they know about preppers from watching YouTube videos. At pecos run and gun there are a fair number of people who would probably identify as preppers if you forced them to identify as something, generally they were some of the nicest most generous and welcoming people I have ever met.

    Yes there are assholes in this world, some of them are probably well prepared or may even call themselves preppers and I have no doubt some people of the gun who would not hesitate to slam the door in a needy person’s face or prematurely resort to violence in a tough situation, but that so far does not describe anyone I have ever met who is a “prepper”

  18. I’ve moved around a bit and been subjected to a variety of climates. I’ve been at 60 below. I’ve seen tornados and got sideswiped by a hurricane. Loma prieta quake of 89, all mine. In texas not only do they have tornados and hurricanes they also have hail storms that will jack your shit up.

    I was activated into FEMA during flooding in WV. I keep a blanket, some water and multiple ways to start a fire in my 4runner along with a couple of flashlights.

    At home I have enough food and water for a solid month of shelter in place.

    But from my experiences, including my FEMA induction, community is the way to survive a bad event.

    Run off into the wilds with your Bear grylls gear. And let the coyotes play with your skull.

    • How do you keep the water from bursting its container when the ambient temperature is below freezing? That’s the biggest reason I don’t keep water in my car year-round.

      • I’ve had good success taking a gallon jug and filling it like 2/3rds full. I live in an area with lows below freezing but *most* days our highs hit in the low 40s even during winter so if I stick it on the dash in the sun it’ll thaw all right. It’s not a perfect solution–what if it’s one of the days that stays in the teens all day?–but I don’t have a better one

      • Plastic water bottles seem to handle freezing surprisingly well. I keep some drinking water bottles in the freezer for use in coolers as an alternative to those blue packs without trouble. In the cars I keep one of the 1 gallon Arrowhead bottles (thick plastic). They don’t leak but they sometimes sweat.

  19. Pretty much on the same plain as many others here. Bug out in place. Hard to move family and resources. Better to ammo up, keep your neighbors close and your enemies closer (so you know where they are).

  20. Store some water and dry food, have some way to stay warm and you will be mostly ok. A ‘bug out bag’ can be as fat or skinny as you need. At the least, you should have a bag with medicines, some basic medical supplies, and some random items you may need like a water purifier.

    It is foolish to not have something.

  21. While I have everything in that opening picture, there is no way I would want to carry that.
    After a lot of thought and reading, mine is a get home bag. It has very few items.
    A couple bottles of water, power bars, flashlight, headlight, Ruger 22/45 lite with 6 loaded mags and a 100 round box of spare ammo.
    Living in a very small town well away from a metroplex area is a very good thing. If the SHTF, most of the bad people will stay in places like Portland raping and pillaging.
    We had a whopper of a snow storm in ’08. And as I’m the last power pole in the area, the neighbors were out for 3 days. My propane powered generator kept things cozy warm, and coffee brewing.

    • I cooked on a kerosene heater when I got snowed in once back in WV. For 3 days the high temperature was 0. Considering I was in a trailer at the time I think I did ok. Still got all my fingers and toes.

    • Beat me to it. Cars break down in the darnest places (especially Jeeps) and being stuck in a backroad in the freezing cold with children and no supplies is a personal nightmare of mine. When I lived in NH my car was always stocked with winter clothing, food, water, tools and sleeping gear. The winter is a harsh teacher of one’s prideful errors in judgement.

      • That’s the truth. I had the fuel pump go out on my truck while scouting for firewood this summer. It was nice to know that if I had to stay overnight all I was really missing was an air mattress.

  22. I do have a bug out bag. Not some doomsday prepping type bag. But a bag full of stuff I am likely to actually need.

    Extra ammo, snacks, extra clothes, water, matches, spare knife, spare flashlight, batteries, portable phone charger.
    Stuff I can use until I get home.

  23. I agree with you Sara. No bug-out/in bag either. Just some extra heavy duty jumper cables. Use them more than you would think. I don’t see a need for a bag as I am usually never more than 20 miles from home.

    Actually, I need some advice. I’m repairing some ATV trails around the house. Anybody have any ideas on how to build a cheap bridge over a creek that’s about 8′ deep and 12′ across. If I ever have to evacuate that way, I need to have it fixed.

    • Cheapest: cut down some trees, and haul ’em across and lash them together.

      Other ideas I’ve seen: surplus railroad ties or telephone poles

      Full on red neck engineering: old truck beds or used up utility trailer bodies

      • At another location, I used some pallets to get across a small creek bed. This large one is bedeviling me. I’m all about red neck engine-earring. Just can’t quite figure this one out. Bad location.

        • Without seeing the site and the environs, I’d probably fell the nearest, straightest trees and run 20-24′ lengths across to give you good footing on the other side. The extra length for erosion and solid footing. I’d probably spike them together laterally with some rebar or cross members to hold it together. I suppose you could also use rope or cable to bind them instead. The bad thing about an old truck or trailer bed is you have to get it there. travels not too long ago, I saw someone has an old railroad flat car as a bridge on their property.

    • Might be over thinking this. Tie your stuff down good. Dump a load of dirt on your side of the creek. Hit it about 40mph. Kids will love it…wife my protest this plan so its best she not know about it ahead of time. Do this at your own risk. I don’t expect anyone to follow after you.

    • David B,

      While the creek might be 8 feet deep and 12 feet wide right now, does it ever flood? If so, any bridge that you make could be impassable during a flood … not to mention the fact that a flood could actually wash your bridge away if the flood was severe.

      I wonder if you would be better off making a pontoon bridge? It could float up and down with the creek level. And if you anchored it properly, a severe flood would not wash it away. I guess it all depends on whether or not you want to walk across the creek, drive a 400 pound ATV across the creek, or drive a car across the creek. If the situation was so ugly that you were evacuating your home, an ATV might be a superior choice: it can get through awful terrain and narrow trails … and gets MUCH better gas mileage than a car.

      Having just talked myself into the merits of an ATV, I would construct a bridge for the ATV and rider. It would be fairly easy and inexpensive to make a bridge that can handle that. Start with two concrete pillars (1 foot diameter, 6+ feet below ground, and at least 1 foot above ground) on both ends. Make sure you have BIG (at least 3/4 inch diameter) anchor bolts that extend a solid foot into the concrete pillars to attach beams to the pillars. Then I would install beams on the pillars across the creek. You would probably need a small crane to lift them up and set them in place. Once the beams are in place, you could run 2×6 planks across. Oh, and make sure you put at least 6 pieces of steel reinforcing rod (vertically) in each concrete pillar.

      Such a bridge would probably cost on the order of $2,000 … about half of the cost for the crane. If you could find a way to set the beams in place without the expense of a crane, I think the bridge would cost less than $1,000.

  24. We’ve got a pretty good supply of food and stuff to shelter in place. I keep enough stuff in my truck to get me home, and I’ve got a little EDC kit in my briefcase to get me to my truck. I do have a little micro bug out bag I take when I travel in a company vehicle or on road trips. More than an EDC and less than a full on live out of bag.

  25. Sara’s right. It’s like: What are the chances of TWO passenger planes being plowed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon (with all their shoot down missiles) and a PA field? At the same time. Absolutely NONE.

    What are the chances Obama supporting ISIS? NONE, we sold 13,750 TOW missiles (THIS YEAR) to Saudi Arabia (who gave them to ISIS to fight ASSAD and the Russians. The TOW is an anti tank missile. How many tanks are the Saudis planning on stopping? The Iranians have 1,800 tanks!

    What are the chances of Turkey supporting ISIS? NONE (Oh yea?)

    What are the chances we will double cross the Kurds again? 100%

    I have a bug out bag. Look up cognitive dissonance.

  26. I have a small and lightweight backpack in my vehicle which is a “get home” bag. It has a tarp, knife, small flashlight, spare batteries, compass, fire making essentials, two water bottles, and a water filter/purifier for refilling the bottles. I should have a few food items but have yet to find something that doesn’t spoil/melt in high heat during the summer. Much beyond that gets too heavy and bulky.

    The really interesting question is, “When would you ever need it? Why wouldn’t you just drive home in a stressful event?” I can think of two primary events that would render a vehicle useless: a nuclear electromagnetic pulse and a military or terrorist attack on the electric grid. An electromagnetic pulse would fry most electrical and electronic systems … including the electrical/electronic systems in everyone’s vehicles. An attack that shut down the electric grid in a large region would of course shut down all traffic lights. If there are no working traffic lights in a large metro area (like Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Washington D.C.), gridlock will happen almost immediately and a car will be next to useless. Now imagine being 30 miles or even 60 miles from home in that situation. A “get home” bag would be instrumental in making it home, especially if weather conditions were harsh.

  27. Unless you live in a super dense area or along a cat5 hurricane track, I believe in shelter-in-place. Your neighbors will likely do the same, and you dont have to carry everything with you (and lose everything else). For those rich enough to have a piece of remote property, my hats to you, and good luck.

    • People who have municipal water and sewage will be in a really bad situation almost immediately if there is a regional disruption to electricity which runs the water and sewage pumps. Sheltering in place becomes untenable if you don’t have any water to drink and sewage backs up into your lowest floor.

      Anyone facing that problem will be forced to bug out if they want to live. And since a regional disruption to electricity prevents vehicular travel*, your only option will be to bug out on foot. Unless you are Bear Grylls, you won’t be able to survive very long with nothing more than the shirt on your back. Hence, the wise person would bring a backpack with essential survival equipment, also known as the “bug out bag”.

      * A regional disruption of electricity will disable traffic lights and the ensuing gridlock, frequent fender-benders, and empty fuel tanks will make travel by vehicle next to impossible.

      • When I lived with municipal water, there was never a drop in pressure during a power outage. They have generators to run the pumps. How much diesel fuel they have, I don’t know.

        Now on my own well, I have enough gas for my generator to last for weeks if I only run it periodically for water and other essentials.

        • Many (most?) municipal systems are pressurized by gravity via elevated storage tanks. The pumps are used to refill the tanks. Our EG guy here says it’s three-days supply up there should the pumps or power fail.

        • JSJ,

          And what happens to municipal water after three days with no electricity?

          More importantly, what happens to sewage almost immediately? Gravity will pull sewage down and create pressure in the sewage pipes at low elevations in the sewage system. That pressure will push sewage into the homes at those lower elevations. Unless there are check valves everywhere (which I have never heard about), that sewage will start pushing into homes in low lying areas. Are there any civil engineers that can comment about this?

        • Three days if the tower is full (5am in the morning). Big usage from then until 9am. By 10pm likely under 50% full. Typically refilled from wells at night.

        • Typical generator at sewer lift station is diesel with integral daytank only. Maybe anough fuel for one day of normal operation. Sewer lift station is a collection “well” below ground with a pump to lift the crap over the next terrain feature/hill on the way to the treatment facility. But if no water if flowing then sewer load drops off to minimal. Good for the residences on low lying area. Until it rains and BIG water gets dumped into the system.

          Potable water pump at a well or a water treatment facility may be natural gas or might be tank supplied propane/diesel (more sure). Many assume that NG is something other than an interruptible source. So the local gov’t likely does NOT have significant supply of fuel OH. Depend on tank truck to show up daily to refill when a long outage.

  28. Honest question I’m just curious on the editors reasoning, why do you always delete unfavorable comments? Only Pro 2A not 1A?

    • TTAG’s posting policy: No flaming the author, the website of fellow commentators. All comments about TTAG’s editorial stance or style should be directed to [email protected]. They will be answered promptly.

      • With all due respect I understand you need pageviews to pay for your Wilson Combat stuff, but could we have more Larry Correia (I thought you brought him on board) and less “Dear Diary?” Packing heat is just one facet of overall preparedness and I find that anyone who thinks it is the only one is really just armed for fashion.

  29. I care way more about the bag in my truck which contains the following items with my notes on usage:

    -a major trauma first aid kit containing tourniquets, clotting sponges, compression bandages, duct tape) [thankfully never except for the tape]
    -splints [see above]
    -a pissload of gauze and bandaids. [lost count of usage]
    -~1 gallon of water but normally just a case of .5 liter bottles [gets cycled through monthly handing out water to the homeless]
    -some food (broken up MREs and granola bars) [overnight stranding in Pecos]
    -toothbrush/toothpaste [overnight stranding in Pecos]
    -folding shovel [overnight stranding in Pecos]
    -baby wipes [picked up after overnight stranding in Pecos]
    -latex gloves [forgot them on a hunting trip]
    -sharp knives [see above]
    -a pair of running shoes [overnight stranding in Pecos]
    -a comfy backpack [overnight stranding in Pecos]
    -several mylar blankets [picked up after overnight stranding in Pecos]
    -rain jacket [all the time]
    -a couple hundred rounds of 9 mm and .22LR [killing time waiting for pickup in Pecos & impromptu shooting lessons]

    In the past 2 years that I’ve had that in my truck, I’ve gotten stranded overnight in the desert, handed out dozens of water bottles to homeless people, forgotten knives when hunting, and been first on the scene to an ugly car wreck. Nearly everything in that kit is a replacement after using up the original.

    Don’t discount a “bug out bag” as it has made my life much easier dozens of times over the last two years.

  30. I call mine a bug-home bag. Not into all the cool toys, just an old boy scout. I keep my small day hike/hunting bag in my trunk- its the same things I have used when caught by a storm, had to sleep overnight, outdoors. Shelter, water, food, fire. You don’t need much if you KISS, and practice using the simple basics.

    Same bag I carry walking the dogs in open space not far from home. That bag and a pair of good worn in hiking boots live in the trunk, and will be how I get home from work or running errands if wildfire/flood/emp/earthquake turns the SoCal freeways into a parking lot, and/or for some reason I cant drive on surface streets.

    I sleep good knowing its no big deal if it comes to that, just a couple three days of a long walks, worst case.

      • Geoff PR,

        I have thought a lot about bicycles in a situation where vehicular travel is a no-go. I definitely see the HUGE advantage of a bicycle over walking: a bicycle is faster and much easier than walking. On the down side, a bicycle is bulky (difficult to store in a vehicle, even a folding bicycle) and susceptible to mechanical failures, including flat tires. And there is another potential liability to a bicycle: for all intents and purposes they constrain you to roads, bicycle paths, and some well groomed hiking trails … locations where human predators could be waiting to ambush vulnerable travelers. If you are on foot, you can walk cross country and greatly minimize your odds of walking into an ambush. And cross country could be a more direct path. Furthermore, you can safely walk at night under cover of darkness without a flashlight. Trying to ride a bicycle at night without any light is dicey at best.

        Of course bicycles are useless in snow and highly undesirable in rain. (If poor traction in rain doesn’t cause you to crash, the tires will throw water on you and soak you to the bone within a few minutes guaranteeing that you are risking hypothermia.)

        Whether or not I would have/use a bicycle depends on a number of factors. Just like anything else, there pros and cons unique to each person and each situation.

        • A decent bike with reputable brand parts (Shimano, etc) tend not to break often.

          A rule of thumb, get a lower end bike from a local bike shop and avoid the Wal Mart type bikes like the plague. You can spend a whole lot more on a high-end bike, but those bikes tend to be very lightweight and the mechanical bits not as durable as the lower end ones.

          Modern puncture resistant bike tires are nearly bulletproof. I’ve been running Specialized Armadillos on my road bike for about 12 years now and have had a grand total of 2 flats.

          And that’s riding about 100 miles a week.

          I do keep a small air pump mounted on the frame for topping up the pressure, soft tires are much more strenuous to pedal.

          My .02 and worth every penny…

  31. “Anyway, tell me what I need to get home –”

    A way to get home, Sara.

    If you crash your Jeep, if it breaks down, you can’t get gas, or if the Jeep’s brain was zapped by EMP.

    In your Jeep keep a folding bicycle with puncture-proof tires.

    Optional is a baby trailer broken down to haul the kids.

  32. Totally agree with the author. If I “bug out,” where am I going? Into the UNKNOWN… and sharing that “space” with a LOT of unknown people. No shelter or solid walls between us and them. I’ll pass. I’m bugging IN… at home… my “fortress,” so to speak. My family will be MUCH better off staying home. It is inconceivable to me that it would be better “out there” than at home.

    • The point of a bug out plan is to deal with a situation where staying home isn’t an option. The idea isn’t to just wonder out at random but rather to be able to get to some place better.

  33. I feel like maybe you should have warmed up on a “Mommy’s Day In” blog, or something. This devil’s advocate post is full of speculation without a single word of actual experience.

    Every “SHTF” dreamer goes through the same phases of amateur thinking. Until they start to realize that the average person can only walk about 13 miles in 12 hours, and that’s without stopping. And that they’ll need roughly 20 ounces of water every 13 miles. And that their cute, little M&P Shield won’t hold a candle in an urban environment to an attacker with a Ruger 10/22.

    Suddenly, that 7-minute drive to Zumba class is a 10-hour, dehydrating walk home.

    Look at your friends funny, if that helps you drum up more clickbait material… Go on with your hip and edgy self. Anyone who has ever needed a “go bag” knows their value. And promoting unpreparedness to the masses just means fewer speed bumps for the survivors.

  34. The “I don’t have a bag, I’ll just take my neighbor’s” comments are disturbing.

    I don’t have something, I know I don’t have it, and I don’t want to take responsibility for it, now while I have the chance, so I’ll just take it from someone else who earned it later.

    I bet you folks also voted of Obama.

  35. Sorry, but you have an optimistic and limited view. Planning for the best is not how you survive anything. Ever. This is coming from the same guys who say you can never have enough ammo, or that we should buy as many guns/ammo/mags in case of the government banning them.

    Except this is worse. You really want to slack in the one bit of preparedness that could matter? I mean, you already prep in case of a gun grab. Sorry, but it’s a hypocritical and shortsighted view.

    You sure put a lot of faith in proving Murphy’s Law won’t kill you in the first week or month.

  36. I’ve got absolutely no where to go and no way to get there. Can’t hike, too darn old and the wife would never make it either, too many bridges, over passes etc. between me and the rest of the world so driving is out of the question. Have some food and a goodly supply of ammo and matched firearms. I’ll celebrate have 3 of the same thing for parts if needed, s c r e w diversity. .22, 9mm, 5.56 and 300blk. I’m covered.

  37. I too fear amassing anything that doesn’t comfortably duct tape to my head.
    TTAG ran a post one time about a man killed in his kitchen with a handgun just a few too many feet away. I think of Tom Hank’s charachter in Cast Away, when he got his car keys back with the Swiss Army knife; and how handy a loghter would have been.
    I think, no matter whatcha got, or whether you got a bag to put it in or not, you gotta be resourceful, Semper Gumby and SEABEE UP Find a Way, Or make One. The Bible says, that GOD said ‘I gave (give) you everything you need’. My GOD is a Great and Big God, I never doubt Him. I’m sure, when I need the SatPhone God will get me through.
    I don’t know about befriending or counting on anyone else, but two is one, and one is none, and people interested in ‘tomorrow’ tend to coalesce in at least equal measure to bad actors. If we encounter times like those, be of good cheer, when we rally, you will find I’ve gone out ahead of you, and built you an airport, and a hospital with hot and cold water, a school K-12, and a strip mall with a barbershop and small theater. If you trade me prayers, when you arrive, I’ll put a cold beer in your hand to check to see if you’re ‘friendly’. ?

  38. Extreme prepping is a mental disorder pushed by secretly sponsored gear reviewers and paranoid religious nutjobs. So many people built bomb shelters in their backyards during the Cold War. They spent all of that money and effort on a bunker that’s now decaying and forgotten about. The same thing will happen with your prepping supplies.

    If you want to prep, then do what I did: buy things that are dual purpose so they won’t be a complete waste of money. A lot of the stuff that preppers buy can be used for enjoying the outdoors or defending your home. I have a pack filled with stuff that I use when I go hiking that has almost of the same stuff that a prepper would want (shelter, fire, water purification, freeze-dried meals, bug spray, et cetera). And the guns that I use for self-defense could be used during a societal collapse as well.

    • What’s your definition of “extreme”? I know people on the Jersey Shore who spent over a month in their homes after Hurricane Sandy, their preps sustained them, their neighbors whose homes suffered no more damage than losing “modern conveniences” like public utilities ie. city water, electricity, gas, sewerage, and cable service, bugged out only to come back a few weeks later and find their houses looted.

      • I guess-let’s promote being less prepared. And I live very close to where the natives are getting restless-Chicago. Interesting nom de plume…

        • If you’re talking to me it’s a homage to Bloom-BOIGs’ puppet, Shannon, mocking her misshapen, silicone enhanced mammaries or cut-rate nose-job would’ve resulted in a screen-name that’s too long. I’m sure she reads what she would deem “enemy” intelligence reports here daily and I want her to be revolted every time she sees it.

      • JWM-I’m a saved Christian-the best prep of all. I’m NOT in any closet…I don’t brag about guns I have,$ or having a bunker in the mountains. The world is going to hell-be prepared…SEE: Sandy,Katrina or E-F 5 tornadoes-or if you prefer-Ferguson,Baltimore or the west-side of Chicago 1968…POTG constantly talk about always being armed-even ridiculous extremes(bathroom carry,hand-cannon carry and more gadgets than Batman)and yet joke about prepping.

  39. Back in the days when I had a job I was on the national doomsday team. I had a bug out bag in my car with some underwear, extra jeans, shirts and toiletries. After 9-11 I had a neighbor with the annoying habit of asking me “are we safe?” I finally told him that if you see me leave the house in the middle of the night shortly followed by my wife then the answer is no. He didn’t know about my collateral duties so he didn’t get the joke.

    • Why don’t you have a job? Wi (and Iowa) unemployment is under 4.5%. So many deadbeats loving sucking on the welfare teats that jobs are open EVERYWHERE.

      • I believe tdinwisconsin is retired-but I guess he can speak for himself. I haven’t had a real job in 22 years-I’m self-employed. Save your diatribe for someone who deserves it neiowa…

  40. I can’t agree more with your “no bug OUT” bag. I’m bugging in myself as well. I’m a WW2 reenactor. We do armor. We have halftracks, an SPG, a sherman, a few jeeps, multiple trucks, me personally an M35A3 2 1/2 ton. Why do I have a bug IN bag? Because I’ll need to go get some people in the event of a BIG cataclysmic event. Recently here in S.E. michigan we saw some of the heaviest rainfall and flooding in most people’s lifetimes. A week of major freeways down, thousands of cars stranded, etc. I WILL go help these people. I WILL need “stuff” to do that. Guns are great and all, but will my 1919A4 help get grandma Hazel’s car out of the floodwaters beneath an underpass? What if I can’t get to my Deuce and I need to use my Lil ’06 dodge? What if I’m at work? Play? Etc? I keep my bug in bag to help OTHERS in need. I love these dog eat dog doomsday preppers…. come on guys, stop loading schoolbusses with Kraft dinner and grab this clevis and go snap it to the lower control arm! Jeez! We’re a civilized people! And if you have 1500 boxes of craft dinner, and you happen to drive by where I’ve got my GP Medium (that i keep in the back of the Deuce along with parts of my field kitchen) set up for 20 people to get out of the rain because they thought their cars doubled as speedboats on a high spot near an overpass, toss about 100 of them out of the window and I’ll whip up something for the people’s to munch on while they wait for either their families, the conditions to settle, or some form of organized movement or regroup/assessment of their property. It’s common sense. And we all need to start using it. If you’re the kind of person thats crazy enough to go hunting house to house, truck to truck, tent to tent, after a flood, terrorist attack, hurricane, ice storm, etc… then that person is already likely a criminal, because thats the behavior of criminals, and they likely won’t make it anyway. That’s how I prep, folks. Like a sane person who has a few nicknacks, snacks, and tools to help others. Enough firepower to defence it from the criminal element? Easily. But come on. What more do you need than a First aid kit in the center console for car accidents, tow straps, blankets, rain coat, spare socks, spare boots, spare water, carry piece, and a Deuce full of my WW2 gear?

  41. So we’re supposed to have a bug out bag? So tell me, what do I need in mine to get me from the rig where I work 100 miles off the Louisiana coast to near Houston Texas?

    Second, how am I supposed to get this bag through TSA security and off shore to my rig?

  42. The Mormons have a sensible outlook on ‘prepping’.

    Have a year’s worth of basic foodstuffs. You don’t buy it all at once, just some extras as time goes by.

    Label, date, and rotate. Dry and preserved, assume zero electricity.

    You’ll be better off than 90 percent of the population.

  43. I’m with the crowd: I have water, food and firewood to just stay home.

    The ONLY reason I’d need a BOB is if my wife/kids are stuck in town and I need to go retrieve them. It’s as simple as an extra gas can, some water, and seasonal clothing.

  44. I have 2 sons, 4 & 6, and I would go to any length to keep them safe. Right after my 1st son was born I started prepping. I keep a get home bag in the car, have about 6 months of food stored, a few extra propane tanks for the grill, and enough firearms and ammo to arm the neighborhood. Its easy to prepare over time. Every trip to Cosco I purchase an extra bag of rice, beams, pasta, etc. An extra $30-$40 in a $400 shopping trip goes un noticed. Toilet paper, razors, tampons, medication, etc purchased over a 6 year period. Me and my wife got married shortly after my 1st son was born and our minister told me that it was my responsibility to provide for my family’s safety amd security and be willing to die of kill for them(he actually said kill for them, not murder). On the very slim chance that I would ever need to use my supplies, it’s comforting to know the if all goes to hell, we will have a chance. I don’t want to have to make the choice to either see my kids die of starvation or have to kill my neighbors to feed them.

  45. No “bag” here because there’s no place worth walking to. My truck has the basics for a night or two on the road such as food, water, warm clothing etc. If there is any time to pack then the camping gear (already packed in tubs) gets loaded along with more food, clothing and whatever else there’s time for.

  46. Is having s big out bag “prepping”, or just being prepared in the non politicized and socially acceptable way?

    I live in hurricane country so I probably should have a bag.
    Being that it’s the Virgin Islands tho, there’s nowhere to run that doesn’t involve getting on a plane. So all I’ve really got is a bag with documents.

  47. If the government was ever right about anything, they are right about this. You need supplies to last 3 days/72hrs. At a minimum. Especially if you are old and or take prescription meds. You need at least 3 days worth of meds, water and food. Been through 2 hurricanes and an ice storm. Without power for 3 to 5 days each time. Pharmacies and grocery stores closed 1 to 2 days. When the grocery stores opened, there wasnt much left on the shelves. A lot of refrigerated foods had to be thrown out. No milk, eggs, butter, bacon, etc. Sitting here typing this, I realize that I need to get better prepared for the next 3 months of winter.

  48. What about a get-home-bag? What if traffic, EMP, or other obstructions prevent you from getting home in your Jeep? You’ve put all your eggs in one basket because you may never use the items in your bug-out-bag. While most disaster scenarios can involve bugging in, you seem to be in denial about the potential need for an “out” if S really HTF at your home.

  49. I don’t have a bug out bag either, but I do have food, water and some other stuff at the house in case of power going out. I always figure I’ll get home somehow with my EDC stuff. Once home, I have armed neighbors who won’t take crap from outsiders.

  50. Your usually better off sheltering in place than becoming a refugee. A bag like that just makes you a refugee in the woods which is unpleasant.

  51. I’d expect anyone with a young child to have a more focused attitude on both getting home to them in a disaster (Don’t worry, honey, this nice group of unshaven men say they will take care of me and get me right home to you…), and of securing their general welfare in the case of a serious emergency.

    Yes, the ‘kindness of strangers’ does exist. But wanting to bank your child’s life on it?

  52. I work with the public daily. This kindness of strangers of which you speak is not only uncommon, it is the first thing to fall by the wayside in the face of any inconvenience.

    As far as being click-bait, this was a great article. Your credibility took a bit of a hit though.

  53. I live in the San Francisco south-bay area and the likely hood of a devastating/disruptive earthquake has already been proven. So both my wife’s care and my truck have an emergency survival kit (food, water, shelter, other amenities).
    At home we have an increasing amount of stored food and water. Of course, the firearms and ammunition are there also along with all my camping gear.
    I don’t have a “bug out bag” per say, and both of us being in our 60s, we’re not in the shape to “bug” anywhere. We’ll be sheltering in place as long as possible, as safely as possible, and supporting our neighbors as much as feasible.

  54. Got all this stuff in triplicate and more trade stuff. Bug in. Live wayyyyy outside of town. Wood fireplace, whole house generator. Jeep, dogs, guns,lot’s o ammo.dry food stores,booze chickens and a trigger happy farm raised wife. We’re good.

  55. I have a bug out bag, but it’s aimed at the more practical circumstances that would happen to me. Hurricane or earthquake. Evacuation is possible, though unlikely. So it’s not really a bug-out bag, it’s just your standard 72 hour kit.

    Which is prudent if you live in areas this stuff can/has/will happen in. If not plan for what will.

  56. Our grandparents were preppers!!!! Ever wonder why our grandparents never threw anything away and stowed away months of canned food? They lived through the Great Depression.

  57. Just stopped by to note for those few who are wondering why TTAG published this–look at the size of the thread! And the vast majority are discussing the topic, not moaning about the allegedly questionable value of the article.

  58. I work 20 miles from my home. Dense urban to somewhat rural. I keep a Monsoon bag in the car with change of clothes, knife, multi-tool, water proof matches, water and energy bars. I also have a Sig 2022 with Streamlight and 3 mags. (in addition to my everyday carry.) The sole purpose of this bag is to get me home in the event of a disaster or emergency, and to my kids. Period. If my vehicle doesn’t work or the roads are impassable, I will hoof it, steal a bike, or whatever.

  59. I don’t have a BOB, but I do have a BIB. At home I have enough food for 3 squares for a month on top of whatever is in the pantry. I also have 72 hours worth of potable water before I will need to refill.

  60. Sara, while I agree that bugging-IN in a SHTF scenario is the best plan for you, some people should absolutely bug out of their initial location. When preparedness-types discuss the procedure and requirements of “bugging out” they always come to “THE BAG” because it’s fun and easy. You get to shop for a cool bag and cool gear, jam it in there, and you’re good, right?

    Obviously, the gear will not help you if you don’t know how to use it. Compasses, trauma kits, fire-starting, food and water prep, all of these require practice and training. But if we’re just discussing gear, I’ve found that many are confused about what exactly they need. The problem is that most simply refer to a “bug-out bag” as if there’s just a single bag filled with stuff that you need. This is a fallacy. There are actually at least three separate bags for three separate SHTF scenarios:

    1. A GET-HOME BAG. This is a bag, preferably a backpack kept in your vehicle or on your person when you venture away from your house. It’s purpose is to help you get from wherever you are when some crisis event occurs, back to your house. So the key is fast and light. About 15 lbs or less if possible. What if you’ve got to get from work to home or daycare to get your kid and the roads are blocked. You better be able to move quickly on foot.

    A few spare mags, knife, flashlight, am/fm/weather radio, a small pry bar, a light rain parka, some water, a meal bar, trauma kit, a local map and compass. Maybe a lighter, but you’re not camping out or hunkering down. Moving your ass is critical here, rest for a few and motivate hard. Speed is security.

    2. A 72-HR BUG OUT BAG. This is for you to get from your house to a pre-selected bug-out location. A little larger, with some provisions for short-term weather protection and fire-making for a few nights only. No huge sleeping bags, tents, etc. A bivvy bag, a poncho that can be tied down as a shelter, a couple MREs, lighters and ferro rods, plus the same stuff as the get-home bag. Stay under 40 lbs unless you’re an experienced go-rucker or former MARSOC. Again, emphasis on mobility and getting to your known destination.

    3. An I.N.C.H. BAG. This is a bag of last resort you keep at home and grab if you are overrun and must “abandon ship”. It means “I’m Never Coming Home”. You really must have some bushcraft or wilderness survival experience because you’re in deep trouble if you’re grabbing it and have no fallback location to go to. It’s a refugee bag. Tents, cold weather gear, fishing/hunting equipment, real Grizzly Adams stuff. You’ll be slow-marching into the woods and for an unknown period of time.

    Hope this helps.

  61. It makes sense to have a well-stocked cupboard, with plenty of canned goods and staples, and a plan for how to get water in an emergency. It also makes sense to have a gun, a few options for transportation, tools, and clothes suitable for a variety of weather conditions.

    Finally, it’s not a bad idea to have a packed bag of clothes. Not because you expect to suddenly find yourself having to hit the road Mad Max style, or to have to venture out into the great wilderness to live like a Mountain Man, but because it makes a spontaneous weekend trip a lot easier. Plus, if you keep it in your car, you’ll have it if inclement weather/natural disaster/the zombie hordes make it harder for you to get home in a timely manner.

  62. This “don’t bother preparing” article will cause more harm than good. With Hurricane Irene, parts of NJ lost power for 2+ weeks. But no one bothered to get a generator because… c’mon! That NEVER happens in NJ. Well, we didn’t even get to Halloween and a freak snowstorm dumped as much as 21″ of snow in NJ. Some people lost power for over 2 weeks again. But STILL most didn’t bother getting a generator because… c’mon! That NEVER happens in NJ. You may have heard of the next one: Hurricane Sandy? The rush on generators before the storm was insane. My co-worker drove all the way to Virginia to get one. And guess what? Some people lost power for over 2 weeks. Anecdotal as this evidence may be, it was a pretty common story for millions of people in the tri-state area.

    TL;DR – “But it hasn’t happened to ME” is an awful excuse to not have any preparations in place. Especially when a bag of useful stuff is well under $100, doesn’t go bad, and takes up minimal space.

  63. That’s an excellent point of view, if:

    1. You live in a location that is reasonably remote.
    2. It is well provisioned.
    3. It is defensible.
    4. It has a low signature, and a low probability of discovery.

    I could go on and on about security, availability of potable water, etc, etc, etc. But I think that what counts the most is that you have good neighbors and a good location. Any sort of survival scenario is going to be a team effort, or it is destined to fail.

    I have friends who seem to wish for some sort of apocalyptic event. To them it would be an excuse to go out and live off the land. I imagine them loading their 8 MPG Hummer with their 90 lb packs, umpteen firearms and 200 lbs of ammo, and either running out of fuel within 100 miles, sinking to the bottom of the first mud hole they encounter, or dying of anemia from mosquito bites. And I tell them in all sincerity that they really don’t want to do that. “If you think that something is going down then stop it before it starts! This country is worth defending, if for no other reason than if it goes down the tubes you will never be clean, warm, and well fed again!”

    And having said all that, I will admit that I have a bug-out-bag. It contains vitamins, NSAIDS, antibiotics, necessary prescription drugs, first aid kit, and a bunch of other stuff I can’t remember at the moment. It all fits in a WW II Tanker bag (about 18 X 8 X 8 inches) and weighs about 5 lbs, It’s for stuff like tornades, floods (unlikely at this elevation) and such, but God forbid SHTF I’m the rally point, and I plan on staying put.


  64. A little twist on Forest Gump’s famous quote “Stupid is as stupid does” – “One should never publish their ignorance.” This article is borderline stupid. The author obviously has no clue to what prepping is about. If more people would have been prepared for blizzards, flooding, hurricanes and earthquakes (think California) over the past few decades, how much pain and loss could have been avoided.

  65. I’m with the author to some extent…I don’t carry a bug-out bag. What I do carry is a get-home bag. Not some 50 or 60 pound behemoth, because my days of humping a full ruck for 20 miles ended a few decades ago. I use a small daypack with a few essentials (small 1st aid kit, some high-carb snacks, a small bottle of water and a small water filter, a pocket knife, a flashlight, a poncho, an emergency blanket, 100 ft. of paracord, some matches in a small aspirin bottle, and a CZ-82 with 4 loaded magazines). I figure that gets me through at least 3 days of traveling home by whatever means. Home to family, generator, garden, food stores, backup heating sources, etc.

  66. Bug out bag? What bug out bag? Oh, that’s just my gym bag. With swimming trunks, change of clothes, spare phone charger, multi tool, extra cash, water bottle, first aid kit, a few commonly used OTC medicines, bag of high-fat trail mix… It’s still thin and light enough to avoid attracting too much attention. That other bag in the minivan’s stow-n-go compartment? Just a few extra clothes for the family. Right next to usual the roadside breakdown gear.

    Sometimes the emergency is 3 kids in the back seat suddenly barfing all over each other. If you’re prepared for that, you’re way ahead of most folks.

  67. I don’t have a bug-out bag because I don’t plan to bug out. Like many here, my home is my castle, and it’s where I have supplies for emergencies.

    What I do have is a get-home bag. I work 30 miles away from where I live, and this being Western Washington, there’s always a possibility of a major earthquake (Cascadia fault, obviously, but there are several smaller local ones that can still produce significant damage). I have carefully read up on the various effects they would have on the infrastructure, and one thing that stood up is that a lot of bridges and highway overpasses will go down, and many roads will be cut off by landslides – and then of course there are always other potential obstacles like fallen trees and poles, and even just large cracks in the ground.

    So, given that most of that 30 miles are either on the freeway or in landslide areas, I have to assume that just driving home may not be an option. Consequently, my car has a ruck that would allow me to walk the rest of the way back home in relative comfort (even all 30 miles if need be). Given that it’s more than I can realistically walk in a day, it’s basically just a 3-day backpacking set – comfy hiking clothing with several combinable layers to tailor it to the weather, and spare change of clothing; food, water and basic water filtration supplies, drugs and first aid stuff; sources of fire and light; and a sleeping bag with a bivy. I also have a pair of good hiking shoes in the car.

    So nothing fancy, and definitely not aiming to “live in the wild” or such, but it does give me some peace of mind – and if it comes to that, it can also double as an actual bug-out bag, even if it’s not perfect in that role.

  68. No bug out bag here, either. A lot of supplies for sheltering in place, but unlike so many extremists, an OFWG and his spouse can only hang on for so long. That’s where having enough ammo and the means for mutual euthanasia come into play. Fatalistic? Morbid? Maybe, but if the S REALLY HTF, I’m not sure I want to be around.

  69. A couple of things. A vehicle is only good as long as roads are not blocked by other vehicles. If there are no substantial bodies of water between where you start and where you need to go, off roading in Jeep MIGHT work.

    I am good with hunkering down at home, too. I live in Central Illinois, so that is about the only option for me.

    I see the need for a get home pack as necessary if you EVER drive more than a days walk from home, say 20 miles. I am a hiker, no real backpacking here, but when I lived near the mountains I developed the habit of never going on even a short day hike without a small pack that had three days of survival supplies, tarp, fire making material, poncho, first aid kit, concentrated rations, toiletries etc. I’ve maintained that habit here, even though there aren’t even any real day long hikes near by. My hikes here are more like 2-4 hours max, several times a month, but I still always carry that three day pack, even though I am in a populated area. It doubles as my get home bag and keeps me in shape, too, as I will hopefully be living somewhere where I can actually backpack again someday. It is a small pack of book bag/laptop size so really only about a 15 pound pack, so takes up very little space. I also keep hiking boots, extra socks, a Zastava M88a, a couple of magazines and 50 rounds of ammo and $200 in cash locked in my trunk and hidden, too. I see this all as insurance. I may never need it but it gives me peace of mind to have it.

  70. It’s been a few years since this first was posted but I’ll add my two cents worth anyway.
    The author of this article has the absolute right to prep and carry or not as he sees fit. I hope he recognizes that some people (like myself) might have a long way to go if we have to get home at an unexpected time. People like me most plan for the long haul. I might have to walk/camp for as much as six weeks before I get home if I get stranded. That would take much more than a juice box and a snack.
    Here’s hoping he realizes that prepping is about much more than a quiet afternoon stroll.


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