This article is an expansion of my article titled: Meet Mr. B.O.B G.O.O.D. If you haven't already read it, click the link to it and go read it first, it's short and a quick read. I'll wait.....
....Okay, now that you have read my Bob Good article you may have some questions, even doubts, as to why I listed certain items and left others out. This article is longer and will go into detail not only addressing the "why" behind each item in my Bug Out Bag design but I will share my "philosophy" concerning Bug Out Preparedness.
MUCH has been written and posted on the internet about the topic of the Bug Out Bag, but I promise this article will not be a re-hash of what has already been said (written) and repeated over and over hundreds of times in the myriad of B.O.B. blogs, articles and booklets out there on the topic.
In this article I am going to tackle what used to be one of the big "secrets" among Survivalists, before it was "cool" or "normal" to be a Survi.... uh,"Prepper". That "secret" was the "Bug Out" and the accompanying "Bug Out Bag". Bug Out Bags evolved from the concerns that one may not be near their remote cabin retreat, or basement bomb shelter, if "shit hit the fan" and thus would be caught unprepared, even though they actually had a safe and supplied shelter, somewhere else. I mean, who wants to suffer, or die, from irony, right? Therefore,the Bug Bag was developed simply as a temporary measure to assist in mobile survival.
It, the Bug Out Bag, was developed as a stop-gap measure in the immediate hours (1 to 72)following a major disaster, social collapse, foreign invasion, or whatever. The B.O.B. is simply to help you get home, or a safer, and more secure, destination. NONE of us can live like wandering nomads out of a bag for long. Eventually we all would need more things than we can carry. With this understanding I developed a B.O.B. list of specific items that I feel are the most essential in the first 24 to 72 hours (1 to 3 days) and have certain "rules" about those items and the bag itself.
The acronymical "B.o.b. G.o.o.d." is my personal design for a Bug Out Bag for Getting Out Of Dodge.
In my Bob Good article I was introducing you to a good friend of mine, you know, we all have that one friend we can really count on when things go bad in our lives.
Mr. Good is a friend who is always around and will be there for me like the proverbial "ace in the hole" to help bail me out of a jam. My original article about good ole Bob is short, sweet and to the point, as far as contents and basic explanation of said contents go. But, I know that there needs to be further explanation behind the method to my madness -well, my reasoning for what I listed, and for what I did not list, as essential Bug Out Bag items that is.
The very purpose for Mr. Good being in my life is two-fold:
1) Emergency Evacuation -due to a natural disaster and/or social collapse (riots)
2) Escape & Evasion -from marauders rampaging after a disaster/collapse; from Police State/Martial Law enFORCErs; from foreign military invasion troops (from Asia, see Ezekiel chapter 38)
Bob is a specialist in both sets of "E Factors" and thus a dual purpose kind of guy.
If you don't understand the difference, or separate dynamics, of Emergency Evacuation and Escape & Evasion don't fret. Keep reading this article and you will.
Survivalism (now-a-days commonly known by the "soccer-moms" and the yuppie class as "Prepping") is simply a way of life, a mentality, that involves imaging different problem scenarios in your mind and then creating solutions through thorough planning, and then purchasing select items and setting up procedures ("Preps") to express those plans.
The above is my own personal definition of Survivalism, also-known-as (by the preppy types) as "Prepping". How fitting the upper middle class, and "hip", who in high school we (the country kids, or poorer ones, aka. White Trash and Rednecks) used to call the "preppies", turned what was known as "Survivalism" into "Prepping" by simply changing words. I remember the days when preparing for natural disasters, social upheaval, economic collapse or foreign military invasion was called SURVIVALISM and people who lived the SURVIVAL lifestyle were called SURVIVALISTS.
The Survivalists a few of decades ago were not paranoid, camo wearing, gun-toting nuts living in remote areas mindlessly rambling on about Government conspiracies or the "End of Days" any more than "Preppers" are today. But then again, MILITIA types back in previous decades (1950's to 1980's) were PROUD TO BE WHITE, AND DESPISED RACIAL INTEGRATION AND MULTICULTURALISM.
The neo-"milita" movement that arose in the 1990's was a "new and improved" multicultural mix mash of the middle and upper middle class playing soldier and "war" for the Major Media cameras. Their militia group spokesmen would always make a point to state that they had members that were Black or "not White", that some members were Buddhist or of other non-Christian religions, and that some were homosexual. They always would make a point of issuing their weak-as-water politically-correct disclaimers about how they weren't racist, how they supported Law Enforcement and the Military and were "pro-Constitution" ...blah, blah, blah.....burning the blue United Nations flag in protest and yet living "The Dream" of Internationali$ts by supporting and defending Multiculturalism and Interracialism -both agendas of Internationali$m.
Not trying to go into a tangent here, but the fact is Preparing to SURVIVE is a Survivalist thing, just like wanting to defend American "core values, tradition, and cultural heritage" is a WHITE THING.
Now, back to Survival Scenario Planning & Preparing and what it means as far as "Bug Out" kits are concerned: Simply imagine in your mind a scenario in which a natural disaster hits your area, such a major earthquake. How would you pack a bag of the basic essential NEEDS you would NEED to have (not WANT,or would LIKE TO have) for the first 3 days, 72 hours?
Now keep in mind this bag-o-goodies has to be realistic in weight and the items inside practical and necessary for a 3 day stay in the woods, abandoned building, automobile or the sort.
Using your mind and coupling the creativity of your imagination with what logic-based facts, skill and memories you know and have you can come up with a very practical list of things you would need for a 3 day bare-bones unplanned "camping trip". Such an away-from-home 3 day emergency "camp trip" would not be for "fun" but that don't mean the mind "games" or "what-ifs", of Survival Scenario Imagery & Planning can't be enlightening, positive and even fun mental "chess games".
The mental exercises of imagining not-so-pleasant scenarios and then creatively thinking ways to preemptively make those potential scenarios better, or to avoid them all together, are things our minds do everyday anyway. As you drive down the road and see a truck in front of you with a load that appears like it may come flying off at any second your brain automatically is thinking, subconsciously at least, what you will do if it happens. Your mind goes into calculations of speed and distance as well as begins to create little images to imagine what ways things can happen if the truck looses it's load at different points immediately down the road.
This mental imagery technique is very helpful when you are consciously, purposefully and deliberately imagining different what-ifs in life and how to avoid or soften their affect on your life. It is a very natural and instinctual aspect of being human, and is wholesome, healthy and positive. Put another way: it is Responsibility defined. Survivalism is not paranoia ...and just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't a real danger. Survivalism is being responsible with your life and the lives of your family and seeking to be as self-reliant as possible and not wanting to be reliant and dependent on others, not when you don't have to be.
In the case of a natural disaster you will either be at home or away from home. Also, either your home will suffer damage, and/or the community around your home will. If your house is destroyed or unsafe for you to live in you will need, at the very least, the contents of your Emergency Evacuation kit (Bug Out Bag). Whether you stay on your property or not after a major natural disaster depends mostly on where you live and your local social environment, and population density. If you live in a rural area and your house was destroyed by a tornado you most likely could simply camp out in your own yard if you have no money for a hotel, or no friends or relatives to stay with. But if you have been flooded out you obviously are gonna have to evacuate. So, in your Emergency Evacuation Scenario Planning & Preparing, as far as a Bug Out Kit goes, you will think of the items that would make such a situation a little less hard on you. The Red Cross, and Government "emergency assistance" agencies all put out paper and cyber pamphlets with generalized lists for general items you would need in the wake of natural disasters.
If those lists are what you prefer to go by then by all means go by them. They are in fact "okay" and "better than nothing" as the saying goes. For that matter, there is a plethora of pre-packaged "72 Hour Survival Kits" marketed all over the place on the internet. Personally, I think they are pretty much all very lame but hey, if I had nothing, I would be thankful for one of those lame kits just the same.
But, in a survival situation I would be thankful for a lot of things I could get if I had nothing, was empty handed, no shelter, and naked ....sorry, didn't mean to give you that mental image, and yes, that is a mole, and yes, I do have tattoos there too...
Speaking of mental images, as we think our minds automatically do in fact create mental pictures, or images, of the things and people, and even physical movements we are thinking of. Most Martial Artists are aware that thinking of movements don't train the body to do the movement like practicing the physical movement itself. But it is a bio-mechanical and neurological fact that as we think about movements, such as say punching with your right hand, the brain automatically stimulates those nerves of the muscles of the right arm and hand that would be involved in the action, the punch. So, as most Martial Artist know, there is indeed science behind "imagining" your movements minutes, hours and even days before you do them. But, there is still nothing like actually doing, or moving and going through the physical actions to really neurologically ingrain things into the brain's muscle memory and muscle nerve fibers. Life is in the Doing and not just in the Thinking, but thinking before hand, the right type of thinking that is, goes a long way towards helping us achieve the physical aspects of something. We are what we think, and what we think about, remember that. A Survivalist, by very definition, at least mine, is a thinker, a planner, and then a doer.
You can spend some money and buy prepackaged kits, and all kinds of "prepping" gadgets, and say you are "ready" and then go on about your daily life. Or, you can get down and dirty serious with your preparing , the choice is yours.
Personally, I don't even like pre-packed first aid kits, actually I despise them. I like to build my one first aid kits by purchasing each item separately and specifically. Most pre-made kits, of any sort, even travel toiletry kits, are lame. You always end up with an assorted collection of impracticality. Too much of some things, not enough of another, items you'd never use, and items absent that you badly need.
At best, lists, even mine here, should be guide lines, or used to remind you of somethings you didn't think of as you make YOUR OWN list! Emergency Essential Lists made up by others besides yourself -including ME!- should only be used to give you ideas or to remind you of items you didn't think of as YOU MAKE YOUR OWN LIST!!
Only YOU can make the right list of Essentials for Emergency Survival for yourself and your family.
Only YOU should be picking and placing items you will be depending on in an emergency. DON'T depend on some merchant to make up your list of essential items or what types of those items you will need and package them in some pre-made "kit". That is lazy and simply throwing money at a problem instead of taking the time and effort to make your own preparations -and Bug Out Bags- that will best suit you in a very horrible time.
For more about my thoughts on the Survivalist Lifestyle & Philosophy see my article: What is a "Survivalist"?
The first purpose for my particular B.O.B. design is for Emergency Evacuation in such situations as natural disaster. I live in a earthquake zone so that is a big concern for me. But, there are also tornadoes in this area of the country. Then there are other threats such as the northwestern volcanoes (Mount St. Helens and Yellowstone) which can affect the whole country. There is always the possibility of immediate social unrest brought on by a major quake, in the ground on in the Stock Market, or some big news story (like the 1992 L.A. Riots). Such "flash mob riots" are always a possibility. If you live in a rural area you won't have to worry too much about large riots, but what if you are in a city conducting business when one breaks out? Never assume an event can't happen where you are, or at least not be affected by an event hundreds of miles away. News travels instantly in our modern electronic age and something bad that happened States away can cause almost instant panic in your tiny low-populated home town.
Never assume that in an emergency you can just gather up what you need and "live off the land". Survivalism is not "sexy" or "macho" as Hellywood would like to portray.
The scene, or scenario, at the beginning of the 1984 version (original) of the movie Red Dawn in which the guys raid a sporting goods store for camping and hunting supplies before "running to the hills" and "hitting the woods" ....yea, not realistic, nor good planning for the real world.
Now understand that your B.O.B. should always be with you, or readily available. You should have it in your vehicle or you can strategically stash one in a cache. You can bury one in a plastic container or barrel in some location enroute to your home from work or whatever destination you would want to bug to besides your house. The whole purpose of a Bug Out Bag is that it is a mobile thing, a travel bag, if you will. It is not meant to replace more substantial items and longer-term supplies that you should have at home, at your alternative bug out destination and/or cached somewhere.
Basically a Bug Our Bag is just to help you Bug Out! It is travel luggage of the Road Warrior-Rambo type, to put it bluntly, but not trying to romanticize either. A B.O.B. is like a fire extinguisher, you want to have it at the ready, but if you ever have to use it it won't be pretty, and you never want to have to use it.
The secondary purpose of my particular B.O.B. design is for Escape & Evasion. What that means is it is designed to use for LOW PROFILE hiding out on the run from a society, or a Government, gone amok ...or a surprised "Red Dawn" surprise foreign invasion (all 3 of which would very unlikely be totally by surprise -there would be some warning signs of some sort).
There are some very specific reasons I designed my Bag the way I did. Those reasons all center around the practical needs of someone who would need to stay mobile and low profile while hiding, surreptitiously so, very near the dwellings or occupied buildings of others. Stealth "camping" is the "secret" behind my bag design. This is one reason I do not list a tent and large sleeping bag, the other is simply for weight and bulk reasons. See the above book picture, FUGITIVE -How To Run, Hide, and Survive for more information on practical, mobile, outdoor low-profile living (click on the image).
Remember a Bug Out Bag is for "bugging out", in-other-words RUNNING FROM something or someone! A B.O.B. is not a for-fun backpacking set-up. It is a "worst-case-scenario" set-up of gear and supplies. It must be assumed, planned for, that in a situation in which you are actually using your Bug Bag that SHIT really has hit the proverbial fan and is being slung all over the place! Thus, you are trying to AVOID being hit said "shit" by being geared up and be able to run out and evade it!
This leads me to the issue of not having a backpacking tent in my B.O.B. item list. Air is number one to survival, water is a very close second, then comes warmth and shelter, with a close fourth being food. Staying dry and warm in cold weather, and cool and shaded in dangerously hot temperatures, can mean life or death just as much as having water or food. But, contrary to what many people think, you don't have to have a tent to be sheltered in a short term survival scenario.
Instead of a tent and sleeping bag a poncho and wool blanket are about the only portable "shelter" to carry. No, not ideal, but cowboys didn't carry tents or sleeping bags when they would ventured into the wilderness with just their horse and no wagon. Instead make-do temporary shelter can be constructed (quietly and in a low-profile manner) or simply found (old abandoned building for example). This bag is not for comfort, or a for-pleasure camping or backpacking trip, it is for deadly serious survival. Even if it is just for use after a local disaster you still may find yourself stuck over night in a area from home and no place to sleep and you may have to "borrow" someone's back woods to get some rest for the night. Some folks, even if they own 100's of acres, consider it "trespassing", even if you are just passing through and only stopping for the night and wanting to use just borrow a few square yards of their land to set up a shelter to sleep in until the next day.
Of course it is expected that people would be a little antsy after a natural or social disaster and paranoid of people not of their local community showing up in their "back 40", I know I would be. But, if you can't get to your destination by driving because of roads being damaged, or blocked or shut down and/or bridges destroyed due to a "super" earthquake or "super" volcano eruption you would have no choice but to walk. In the case of martial law, either established by the Government or an invading foreign military, you certainly won't be able to freely travel the roads and highways. You may have to walk distances across country that will take you more than a day to cover to get back home or whatever bugout destination you have.
My bag is designed, and always kept at the ready, so that it truly is a GRAB AND GO! bag. Snatch it out of the vehicle, out of the closet, or garage and go! It is designed to be ready as is. It has the 14 Key Items I believe to be the absolutely important to my, or your, basic survival for up to 3 days and nights away from home and comforts of civilization.
It is designed for 72 hours (3 days and 3 nights) and designed to be as light and practical, yet universal as possible.
My bag has what I call "The Mandatory Ten" with, what I call, the "The Essential Two" completing what I call the "Down & Dirty Dozen" .....with "The Extra Two" giving a total of the Key 14 Items. There are the "cheats", or "extra-extras", that I "slip in" like a small file, and map of my area in a gallon size Ziploc bag. One of the "Extra Two" items is a first aid kit which can contain little "slide-bys" like a needle and thread or bug repellent. I will get more into the 4 additional items but first let me go over and explain the 10 Mandatory Items -the 10 things I believe I, nor you, could do without in a 3 day primitive survival (not pleasure) camping trip.
I also call my Bug Out Bag a "Cowboy Kit" because it is loosely based on what the old West cowboys had with them as they rode their horses out on the rugged and remote western lands and would spend a night or two out under the starts. That is NOT to imply that they lived outside for extended periods of time without without other supplies and gear. Nor do I want you to think that my bag doesn't take into consideration the elements, seasons and weather. The bag is only for a temporary, or short, period of use. One would still have to find or forage for more needed items after the 3 day/72 hour mark. As to weather, such as extreme cold temperatures or pouring rain one would have to seek or make shelter out of what is available in the envirionment they are in. Having pre-positioned provisions (in caches) such as more ready-to-eat food and shelter materials like tarps and a tent can be ideal for the person evacuating on foot. But, that is all up to you, your ingenuity, drive, and finances.
Just remember: LOW PROFILE is a good policy of discipline to keep in mind when gearing and supplying up either your bug bag or caches of supplies. Low Profile means: sound low, colors low, and activity low.
The Old West cowboy carried on his person and/or in his saddle bags:
1) at least one bandanna [I recommend at least 3 bandannas or cloths. Dark in color]
2) a flint (to start fires) or matches [I recommend a modern cigarette lighter]
3) a fixed blade/sheath knife, like a Bowie or Arkansas Toothpick
4) a second knife, smaller in size either a fixed blade or a folding type[I recommend a large folding knife with a locking mechanism]
5) a sharpening stone to keep his number one camp tool (knife) sharp and usable [a modern portable sharpening gadget or a small traditional "wet" stone]
6) some twine, small rope, cordage [I recommend 550 paracord]
7) a coat/duster (something to help him stay dry as possible in rain) [I recommend a heavy duty dark or camouflage modern rubberized poncho]
8) a blanket (bed roll) [sleeping bag is fine, but I recommend a dark or subdued color wool blanket]
9) a canteen [I recommend the modern military type]
10) a metal cup [I recommend the modern military type and the accompanying cup it fits into for convenience and compactness]
The above 'cowboy" items are what my Mandatory Ten list is based on.
I do "cheat" and add small, and light, "extra-extras" like a steel wool to keep the metal cup clean inside and out and a tiny file to fix any nicks or broken tips on knife blades.
I used the basic principle of what are the hardest necessities to make in the outdoors and yet would be needed most in a short but primitive 72 hour survival situation.
One of the toughest things to make is a vessel to hold and carry water. Another is something you can boil that water in -to kill bacteria or heat for a beverage to boil food. The military canteen and metal cup set is the best and most practical, and compact, set up for these 2 very needed items for water holding, handling and usage.
The (U.S.) Military canteen and metal cup combo also has little extras that can be had for making cooking in the metal cup all that more easy.
Just as hard to make is something to tie things with, such as to replace a broken boot lace, or lash a emergency shelter together with. Military 550 paracord is a very rugged general purpose "mini-rope" that can fulfill numerous roles. 25 foot to 100 foot paracord will take care of most immediate tying, lashing, holding, and repair tasks.
550 paracord works great as replacement boot or shoe laces as well. It also makes for a great garrote material in the case of "foreign invasion" -a Red Dawn type situation- or in the case of self-defense against marauders -a Road Warrior situation. Figured I'd just thrown that idea in there.
Contrary to what some wannabe "Rambos" fantasize, making fire is extremely hard by Bow-Drill method, and takes skill and lots of experience to do. It is hard to do by Flint & Steel method and can be hard enough with a cigarette lighter in wet and rainy and or freezing cold conditions. It is fool hardy to assume that because you have read some outdoor survival book or watched a few videos to think you can just go out into the woods and pick the right type wood and construct a Bow Drill and successfully start a fire. Not only is that bad planning/preparing it shows a lack of mature understanding of the possible conditions that would exist in the first place that would require one to be living off of the items in a 4 E Bug Out Bag.
I do include a modern Flint-Steel fire starter in my kit to compliment the Bic cigarette lighter(s) but I would never recommend it being the first or only fire starting tool in your B.O.B. kit. You can leave it (the Flint-Steel) out of your B.O.B. for that matter as long as you have a lighter or two. Matches, don't even bother with putting them in your bag.
I do recommend Bic brand only because I have consistently found that brand of lighter to be the more durable, long-lasting and dependable. I certainly am making no money from such an endorsement and to be fair, or honest, Bic brand writing pens suck compared to other brands and I absolutely HATE Bic brand razors, I wouldn't shave a cat with them. But, take it from an ex pack and a half a day smoker, all other brands of lighters, besides Bic, have failed me many times. For what it is worth, years ago, I was, in affect, homeless and lived off a campfire for a period of over 3 months, Bic was my friend many a morning when I wanted a pot of coffee and at dinner time in the evening. I found as a smoker that the large Bic lighters lasted months longer than any other brand cigarette lighter. I don't smoke anymore but part of my E.D.C. (everyday carry) items I always have on me is a Bic lighter in my pocket along with my knife/knives, and bandanna in my other pockets. I never leave home without my Bic.
I also recommend that you pick out the brighter color Bics. Red is good, yellow and orange are as well. Even in a life and death Escape and Evasion situation your lighter doesn't need to be black, or olive drab, or camouflage. If you drop it in the leaves of the floor of a forest or in the dark the lighter colors make it easier and faster to be seen and recovered. Yes lighter and brighter color lighters are much easier and quicker seen by enemy and criminal elements that may be hunting you or patrolling the area but the answer to that is don't leave it laying or forget it, or drop it and loose it -a bright color helps you not loose it, or forget it, and leave it laying.
Something else that should be obvious is: in a Escape and/or Evasion situation you most likely won't be able to make a fire, not even a small one or low-profile Dakota Hole type. Keep this fact in mind when building your Bug Out Bag. A true hardcore B.O.B. is not just a "Red Cross Emergency Evacuation" kit it is a true SURVIVAL bag. Meaning it is designed and packed with the fore-thought that the user may be in a hostile, "behind-enemy-lines" type of evasion situation.
Bright color backpacks/bags and bright happy colored items (except the tiny cigarette lighter that would never be out/used if potentially dangerous people are near anyway) are, in my estimation, something only the naive use for Bobs. Bug Out Bags are not for fun weekend camping or hiking trips. If you're using a Bob chances are you are not wanting to be seen very easily.
The Red Cross, nor F.E.M.A., will never mention the known FACT that emergency and disaster situations bring out the worst in the worst -the criminal element (that Government actually encourages the existence of) become only more criminal during the chaotic period after disasters (and/or before real social change, when the People finally begin to deal out real Justice). But during a time of total social chaos and "civil breakdown" the MOB RULES and they will attack you (see below).
By-the-way such periods are NOT "anarchy" they are CHAOS -Anarchy is a condition of NATURAL SOCIAL ORDER based on the Natural Law principles of local community autonomy AND individual self-rule. Anarchy is a harmonious balance of individual freedom and social responsibility without the DEPENDENCE upon a Big Brother called "Government", or a State telling you what you have to do and not do to be a so-called "good Citizen".
A transition period in which the Mommy & Daddy State aren't "policing" the people and where people have not yet grown up and accepted social responsibility to look out for, and take care of themselves, and each other, will indeed be a chaotic stage. Such a stage of social limbo (commonly called "societal collapse") would require people to be prepared to evade dangerous people when possible and engage them in battle when necessary.
Having the above knowledge is the "secret" behind my B.O.B. design: that it is usable in a Life & Death struggle, not just against the outdoor elements, but against other human beings who don't want to behave like humans. NO, I am not being cynical, it is just a fact that populations conditioned to expect Government to keep Law & Order (deal with REAL criminals such as thieves, rapists and murders) and to assist the needy go through a 'culture shock' period when they are suddenly without their "Big Brother" to babysit them ...and doing what they, the People, should of been doing themselves all along!
This is why I highly recommend everything in your B.O.B. Bag, and the bag itself, be dark in color, or subdued in natural earth tones, except the cigarette lighter(s). I do NOT say your bag and it's contents all be Military olive drab or Military camouflage, or even Military type products in general. Although slightly used Military items can in many cases be bought cheaper than non-Military "civilian" outdoor camping and hunting products.
I do know the old saying that things made for the Military are "made by the lowest bidder". But I do NOT believe that saying, not when it is a fact that the vast majority of the U.S. Federal Budget goes to Military expenditures -close to 700 billion yearly, as of late. And, considering the fact that the U.S. Military is basically the "World Police" force for the International Banking & Mercantile Cla$$ it is no wonder that Military gear, even used second-hand stuff bought at a Army-Navy Surplus or flea market, is good, rugged stuff.
Of course Military gear, from the U.S. or European militaries, is usually gonna come in some shade of olive drab or pattern of camouflage, or even black, so it is gonna automatically be of the right color for low-profile outdoor Escape & Evasion.
But, civilian camping and hunting products are also available in subdued colors and camo patterns. One big advantage to having a commercially available bag filled with commercially sold outdoor products as opposed to used/
I for one don't give a damn, so I don't have that concern.
But then again, I don't recommend everyone live the lifestyle I have and do, or be as outspoken against the Sy$tem, or get lots of politically-incorrect tattoos, or wave a "red flag", and their middle finger, in the face of the Red Beast of Babylon as I have and do.
All that does is get you on a "Watch List" -I was able to confirm my being added to such a list years ago, and once your name is added to a list, in a computer, it don't come off. In times of social crisis Government enFORCErs will know who to watch closer and even who to "quarantine". Lots of talk has been made about the alleged "FEMA Interment Camps" being set up around America, and can all be considered conspiracy theory paranoia ....but, over 8 decades ago, with MUCH LESS technological (computer) help the United States Government was able to successfully intern thousands of Japanese AND Germans and do it quite quickly.
My B.O.B. design is based on Escape & Evasion (for about 3 days at a time).
The "escaping" part means literally "bugging out" and "getting out of Dodge" before the round ups begin immediately after, or before, a formal and public Declaration of Marital Law.
This is NOT meant to take away from the fact that my B.O.B. is also extremely practical for the less "macho" aspect of simply surviving after a tornado, earthquake or some other natural disaster. Although, I do believe Martial Law would be in affect following a sever natural disaster such as a "super" volcano eruption (Yellow Stone), sever earthquake (Mid-West or West Coast), Stock Market Collapse, or meteor strike, or some plague (man-engineered or natural) outbreak.
Either way, my B.O.B. design I believe is the most practical, realistic, and universal design out there.
Years ago, inthe middle 1990's, a well know Primitive Outdoor Survival Expert, instructor and author challenged the readers of American Survival Guide (a magazine he was a regular contributing writer for) to list their "most essential ten items" to have with them in a outdoor survival situation. Yes, I did get the idea for my title "Mandatory Ten" from his challenge, and yes, I sent in my list.
He used my list as a featured list in his next article about what readers had sent in to him as their mandatory 10 items for survival. He said mine was what he considered to be one of the most comprehensive and complete, and even expressed delight that I had included cordage (550 paracord ). I did, and always will consider it a GREAT HONOR to of had my list considered one of the "best" for the 10 items one would want and need in a outdoor survival situation by a professional primitive survival expert.
I have had NO formal outdoor survival training, nor am I any sort of expert on primitive outdoor techniques or woods craft. I am not even what you would call a "outdoorsman", nor am I into hunting or fishing, or even that much of a camper. And I, quite frankly, believe that gives me an edge in coming up with what I believe is the best listing of "Mandatory Ten" items a person in a survival situation would need. Professional Outdoor and Survival Experts are sometimes like professional Martial Art Experts in that they assume their students are capable of, or think of, certain things they consider "basic". A good example is telling people to put fishing tackle in their survival bag, and just assuming everyone would be able to fish, or that it would even be viable. The same can be said for small animal snare wire and gadgets: trapping lil furry animals is not an activity someone in a Bug Out or Evasion situation is going to be doing. Now, if you're living like the mountain man of old, totally remote, away from almost all other people and living off the land long-term, that is a different story. But this article is about Bug Out Bags, my design specifically, and what they are for, which is BUGGING OUT.
I do love the outdoors, I like to camp, but I am not a hunter, hiker, fisherman or camping enthusiast. I have traveled and I have camped enough to know a few truths about living out of a bag. Whether you are sleeping in hotel rooms, in your vehicle, on the ground outdoors, or couch surfing among the houses of friends certain truths about bags and what you carry are general and consistent.
One of those general truths is K.I.S. = Keep It Simple. (Yes, I left off the traditional second "S" and the "Simon" because your name is most likely not Simon, and I left off the alternative "Stupid" because you're most likely not stupid).
It is tempting to try to fit the kitchen sink in a bag. Keeping your list of items short and simple keeps your bag light as possible and easier to get things from, or put back in, during actual use. Over-stuffing your bag puts strain on your back and knees not to mention any zippers, seams and snaps on the bag.
Bags should not be so heavy as to be a struggle to carry with one hand, to throw over your shoulder, or to get on your back.
I once heard it said that second only to NFL football players ex Special Forces military veterans have the highest percentage of permanent knee damage -due to injuries from carrying over-weighted bags of gear.
In a survival situation a preventable injury, such as to a ankle or knee, from trying to carry everything including the kitchen sink in your B.O.B. could end up being a needlessly devastating factor.
Yes, bug spray, a radio, or large pair of binoculars would all come in handy, but can you risk the extra weight, and bulk? We aren't 4 legged, brute beasts or pack animals, we are two legged. bi-pedal humans with varying degrees of physical limitations.
Know your physical limitations and pack for slightly under that, weight (heft) and bulk (size) wise.
Now, back to the Mandatory Ten....
A couple of other items that were my friends during that period of "primitive" living in my young adult life, besides a Bic lighter, were my bandannas and my folding lock blade knife.
The bandannas were not just great for "cool" head bands and head covers (I didn't have a hat) but made decent wash rags and great make-do hot pads for handling hot metal camp cook wear (I did have more than just a metal canteen cup to cook and prepare coffee with, thankfully). Your bandanna don't have to actually be a bandanna, it can be a large cloth of any sort. But you will want 2 to 3 bandannas or cloths because you will use them for everything from pot holders, to washrags to face masks -just like the cowboys of old used their bandannas for multi-purpose usages.
Besides the lighter and bandanna the one item I used daily during the 3 month period of some what "primitive" living was a large lock blade knife. Mine, at that time was the very common Buck model 110 (see image below). I no longer have that knife and will eventually replace it mostly out of personal nostalgia for both the model of knife and of my younger and "wilder" adult years.
Since the late 90's I have been a huge fan of Cold Steel Voyagers (pictured below) as my E.D.C. (everyday carry) knife and as my B.O.B. folding lock blade knife. I prefer the I am a fan of Cold Steel products in general for two reasons. One, their stuff really is super tough and rugged, and second, because they make lots of fun, big-boy toys as well. "Toys" (like throwing axes, spears and swords) that are truly functional, and though not inexpensive, they actually can be used as opposed to commonly marketed junk "fantasy" products that are for hanging on the wall to "look cool" as they collect dust.
Also, as to knives, and an Emergency Evacuation or Escape & Evasion kit I strongly suggest a second knife that is large, but not too large for your hand size and grip strength. You want a fixed-blade, non folding, knife that has a sheath with it that protects your bag and contents from puncture and tear and so you can carry it on your waist with a belt when in a actual survival situation. You may wonder why I mention a sheath for a fixed-bladed knife but I have seen Bug Bags that people put together that contained sheath knives that had no sheaths! I know right? Hard to believe, but I have seen it more than once.
There are many worthy brands of folding and fixed bladed knives that I wouldn't be afraid to depend my survival on, such as Buck's folding lock-blade Model 110 I mentioned before or Buck's Woodsman model sheath knife (pictured above). Ontario Knives makes descent and affordable knives. The are the maker of an old standby survival knife, a classic in design in it's own right. It is called a "pilot survival knife" but it is certainly of a very utilitarian use and universally fit for anyone's hand (see below image).
Another classic and dependable sheath knife is the good ole KA-BAR brand USMC Knife, the classic style one is picture below, but they make more "up to date" looking ones as well.
Personally I highly recommend, again, Cold Steel brand knives, they make a variety of tough and rugged sheath knives (as well as folders) and they come in all sizes, shapes and designs. For the big strong guy I recommend something in the size and weight range of the Trail Master (see below image).
For the average built person, man or woman, I recommend something like the Recon Scout (see below).
For the smaller stature or lighter built men and the women I recommend something along the line of the SRK (below). It is a very practical size for general camp chores and survival usage, including fighting in self-defense, if need be.
I love the Recon Scout, it's weight and size is perfect from my hand and wrist.
I am 5'10" and weigh well under 195lbs, but I do have reasonable strength and am more muscular than most men my height, weight and age because I weight train 4 to 5 days a week "religiously".
The purpose of the large fixed blade knife for the B.O.B. kit is two fold: it is a general camp tool AND a weapon against predators like wild dogs, both of the 4 and 2 legged variety.
All primitive outdoor professional survival experts and instructors will tell you that if you could have ONLY ONE item with you in a outdoor survival situation (no matter the terrain: desert, mountains, woods, tropical or frozen tundra) pick the KNIFE!
They say that because the knife is for camp chores and making and fashioning other items you would need in the outdoors to survive.
But, it is the number one survival tool for a more extreme purpose. Think of it this way: any ex-convict will tell you a "shank" or "shiv" (a homemade prison knife or stabbing weapon) is an essential "survival tool" for prison, the most dangerous environment on earth (second only to military battlefields).
Even modern Government militaries still issue knives to their ground troops. They issue them for the dual purpose of camp tools first and weapons second. They instruct their employees (soldiers) in basic knife fighting techniques because even on the "modern" battlefield with all the latest firearm and explosive technologies gadgets fail.
Anything with a moving part (like a firearm) or electronic circuitry (explosive detonator) can, and often does, fail. Most people who carry concealed handguns on their person also carry some sort of medium or large fighting-folder pocket knife. The reason is simple, the handgun can jam or malfunction and they want a back-up weapon for "just-in-case".
For thousands of years our ancestors defended themselves with blades and we will be using blades, just like bludgeoning weapons (clubs), to fight off and destroy enemies until Jesus comes back.
I say "empty handed" because it don't matter if you have knife, club, or gun, near or on your person if it's not in your hand when a enemy with a knife in hand is about 7 steps (21 feet) away you can die seconds.
If you have clicked on the THREE separate links I have provided above you have just watched 3 very short videos in which professional Self-Defense experts have demonstrated the virtual impossibility of stopping (empty handed) a knife attack. I have trained in Survival fighting (self-defense) off and on all my life and just going empty handed against someone with a simulated knife, or rubber training knife, has proven to me that a knife is definitely extremely (almost impossible) hard to defend against if empty handed.
I always say "A gun is useless without bullets and a knife without a way to sharpen it will quickly become useless". A sharpening stone, or one of those modern sharpening gadgets, is a must in your B.O.B. They take up very little room and weigh very little. With heavy and continuous use a knife can become, even a well made one, pretty dull pretty fast.
I recommend a small metal file as well, for repairs to badly damaged blades and knife tips as well.
The knife is a core tool that can make or fashion other tools. I suggest packing two in your B.O.B. One for more rugged use, the larger fixed-blade sheath knife, and a large folding lock-blade pocket knife.
I absolutely do NOT recommend using your sheath knife for something that is called "batoning". Batoning is splitting wood by using your knife as a wedge as you pound on the back of the blade to drive it down into a piece of wood to split it for firewood.
Nor would I suggest using your fixed blade sheath knife for chopping wood. No sheath knife is designed and constructed to do the task of a hatchet! Pounding on wood (chopping) or being pounded on (splitting wood) is NOT the design of a knife. Using your sheath knife, no matter the brand and quality, like a hatchet will only shorten it's lifespan. I suggest the best quality products you can find and afford for your survival B.O.B. because you will be depending your life upon each one of those items. But, if you carelessly demand that your equipment do more than it was designed for you will damage it and shorten it's useful life prematurely. A well made and heavy duty sheath knife can do a lot of camp tasks, but it is a knife, not a hatchet, ax or splitting maul.
I have used many a camp fire in my life and I have never had to split wood or chop lengths of wood to have an effective and practical fire, large or small, for heat, cooking or light. So-called "out-door experts" that teach batoning and beating the hell out of your knives should teach how to make camp fires without having to chop and split wood.
Even if you are in a position that you can make a fire safely without bringing attention to your presence (smoke in the day, fire-light at night and smoke smell, and crackling of wood in the fire, all the time) potential enemies would be drawn to your hacking and pounding with a hatchet, or "batoning" with your knife.
A camping folding saw is light and compact and can be used with little noise. That would be one of those "extra-extras" I mentioned earlier that you can add to your B.O.B. if you so choose.
Speaking of quiet, low-profile camping, if you have to construct a make-do shelter out of available materials you aren't going to want to be noisy during the fashioning of it. You also aren't interested in trying to build a vacation log-cabin.
You don't have to be Rambo, or some out-door expert, to to be able to spend two or three days and nights outside the comfort of a building and survive.
As I mentioned earlier cowboys of the 1800's didn't have tents and sleeping bags when they would spend 1 to 3 nights out in the fields with just what they could carry on their horses. They carried a bed rolls, which had a heavy wool blanket.
For their short stays out in the great outdoors (that weren't accompanied by wagons) their "shelter" was what they wore, their wide brimmed cowboy hat and their leather coats. Some wore the leather long "duster" c0ats. A duster certainly would be fine, but I suggest a modern rubberized, heavy duty rain poncho instead. A poncho will fit over your back pack, or should bag and it has a diversity of applications simply due to it's shape, size and construction, and being water proof.
The modern poncho is an improvement on the original ponchos of old because they are made of rubber and thus automatically ideal for wet weather.
In the (old) photo of me (kneeling with the shotgun) above you will see how I made a shelter out of a poncho that would work fine to keep light rain and wind off of me as I slept that night.
With the hoods on the modern ponchos one does not have to have a hat for head covering in rain. Ponchos come in different colors and some are heavier duty and more rugged than others. I strongly suggest you shop around and get the heaviest and toughest poncho you can buy. By-the-way, the best poncho is still lighter, more versatile, and much more less expensive, than a duster.
A wool blanket is something I would not want to spend the night outdoors without. You can do just fine over night outside without a sleeping bag, but you have to have something to cover you besides the clothes (and coat) you already have on.
One can simply cover up with a wool blanket (while fully clothed) and then throw the poncho over and on top of it the wool blanket to help seal in body warmth. While in an an E & E situation sleep will be secondary to being able to get up and quickly and quietly slip away from any approaching strangers, so sleeping while sitting leaned against a wall, or a tree, would be the standard. Remember this a is Bug Out Bag for bad times, you're not supplying up backpacking gear for a hiking pleasure trip.
A rugged, dark or subdued color wool blanket is very inexpensive and easy to find. A blanket is very versatile and can be used for extra warmth in cold weather even while walking and moving about on foot, by simply draping it over your shoulders. Like the poncho a blanket can be used for other emergency purposes besides covering your body.
The ancient White European tribes, like the Celts and the others traveled with the "sleeping bags" of the day, their bedrolls, on them in the form of a "cape" or "drape" of heavy wool. It served as their rain gear, coat and blanket all in one.
We sometimes forget that until recently (just the last few generations) people did just fine without the modern camping inventions and outdoor equipment we just "assume" now that we "need" -like a modern sleeping bag or backpacker's tent.
When it comes to a B.O.B., like anything else to do with Survival, Keep It Simple. Sometimes the latest and greatest camping gear and outdoor gadgetry is more trouble (not to mention more costly) than it would be worth in a Survival situation.
Do not misunderstand me here: If you live in the colder regions of America then you will have to gear for the harsh winter weather conditions. That would mean putting the heavy duty winter weather rated sleeping bag in, or on, your B.O.B. You will have to adjust your B.O.B. (it's contents") to meet your specific regional factors. Not just regional weather either. If you live near a large metropolis then you will definitely want to adjust the contents, and appearance of your B.O.B. for a urban, suburban and outlying city area environment. That means you definitely don't want your gear to look camouflage or olive drab and thus "militia looking". You don't want undue attention from paranoid "civilians", cops, National Guard troops during times of martial law.
If you have read my Meet Mr. B.O.B. G.O.O.D. article you will know that I also have a total of 4 other items, 2 I call the "Essential Two" and two others I call the "Extra Two".
The Essential Two includes FOOD, ready to eat food. Nuts, trial mix, beef jerky, military type "Meals Read to Eat", camp foods, energy bars, ect., ect. ect. Foods that don't need to be cooked, heated up or require boiling water; Foods that can be eaten on the go, and/or in a stealthy manner.
I recommend having ready-to-eat, no-heat/no-cook food in your bag at ALL times (rotated regularly for freshness). If you are storing your B.O.B. in your vehicle you may not want to store foods that won't melt during the Summer heat, like some meal replacement bars. I recommend you store enough for 9 servings of such foods. 9 servings will give you 9 meals and thus, at 3 meals a day, give you 3 days worth of food. Keep in mind the calories you may be expending in 3 hard, harsh and stressful days of on-the-move survival. If you have read my Meet Mr. Bob Good article you will know that I believe that the majority of weight in your B.O.B. should be from FOOD.
The second of the Two Essentials is WATER, but you can only carry so much water at one time - and I do recommend storing two quarts of unopened (bottling factory sealed) drinking water in your B.O.B.
A good, quality, water PURIFIER should be purchased for your B.O.B. Don't just place iodine tablets and assume that will be good enough. You want the best backpacker water purifier you can find and afford to remove not just bacteria but man-introduced chemicals that many water ways have in them today.
The Mandatory 10 and the 2 Essentials make what I call the "Down & Dirty Dozen" of absolute essentials for any Bug Out Bag.
The Two Extras are a Flashlight (with an unopened pack of batteries) and a First Aid Kit.
Like the pre-made Bug Out Kits I mentioned earlier I hate pre-made first aid kits. The manufacturers never put the actual items you will most commonly need, instead they put in what is cheapest for them to put in their kits. Merchandisers always make their compilations of "pre-made" kits, of any sort, appear like they are just full of lots of useful stuff. The fact is such pre-made kits, even automotive "emergency break-down" kits, are full of the lowest grade of items, and mostly loaded with "fluff" items to make it look like the customer is getting a good deal. I recommend building your own first aid kit.
Buy items you know you would use the most of and leave out the least important. Think, what was used the most when you, or someone in your family, accidently injured themselves? You don't need lots of bandaids, but you will need all the gauze and sterile square bandages you got when you have a bad cut or burn to bandage. I strongly suggest keeping your first aid kit simple, generalized and "primitive".
I have rolls of gauze to hold bandages. I also have rolls of Ace bandages for both holding bandages and for injuries to joints, muscles or bones. Finally, I do place a few basic, general size (water proof) band aids in my first aid kits (they work great for foot blisters) but I put many more 4" x 4" square sterile bandages in them. You can always cut them in half or in smaller pieces, if you don't need the whole large square All 3 items (pictured above) I believe make a good general supply set for a first aid kit.
Finally, I also put a few individually wrapped women's menstrual pads in my first aid kits. They are much less expensive than the battle dressings like the military has and they work just as well for heavy bleeding areas besides the ones between a woman's legs.
Groping around in the dark can be very stressful. The cigarette lighter would would work for short periods of light but would become too, and hot, impractical to hold for any length of time. Wind would make using a lighter for a light source extremely hard. And for low-profile camping a flashlight can be directed down and it's light dampered to prevent the light being seen from a distance. A flashlight can be stuck down inside you B.O.B. and used to see it's contents and find items without creating too much light that could give away your position.
The First Aid can contain some of those small, and light "extra-extras" I have mentioned before, such as a small sewing kit (a ripped crotch in your jeans isn't fun) or a small mirror (not for vanity but to see facial and hard to see areas for injuries) or perhaps a small bottle of no-water hand cleaner/disinfectant or bug repellent.
Finally, remember that in building and packing your B.O.B. that "zip" sealing quart and gallon food storage/freezer bags are your friend! You can pack inside such bags your first aid times, or your folding knife, or bandannas, or what ever you wouldn't want to get wet (from you B.O.B. getting rained on or accidentally dropped in a river).