Meet Mr. B.O.B. G.O.O.D.

[This article by Bro. Ryan was originally published in 2010]

After you read this article be sure and read my more extensive article about Mr. B.o.b. G.o.od.: 4 E Kit Bob Good redux

 

Allow me to introduce to you a good friend of mine, Mr. Bob Good. Bob is a close and personal friend of mine and I've known him all his life. Bob is the kind of friend you would want along when things go bad. He has most of the essential items one would need to survive if a situation arises that requires such materials. He carries these items with him at all times. These items he is always sure to have total in cost less than a big screen television, and are priceless when needed. His name is actually spelled B.O.B. G.O.O.D. and is an acronym. The letters in his name stand for Bug Out Bag - Get Out Of Dodge. If you ever have to flee a dangerous situation, and temporarily stay in a outdoor setting, or even primitive urban environment Bob Good is the guy to bring along.

Much has been written about the subject commonly called "Bug-out Bags". Many Survival and Preparedness experts and amateurs alike have had plenty to say about these emergency escape "grab-and-go" kits. Most Preparedness enthusiasts are in agreement that the bag, or kit, must contain at least the bare necessities to maintain life in a primitive setting for up to seventy-two hours. Many label their Bug-out Bag designs with the common phrases of "Bug-out Bag" or "Emergency 72 Hour Kit".  I  call my personal design "Bob Good" to distinguish it from the common emergency-evacuation-kits. Years ago I can up with a concept for my own Bug-out Bag list of essential contents. I haven't seen a better one in my opinion. It must be understood that my kit design is based on certain factors that I deem as the most important when considering a emergency evacuation and temporary, but primitive, survival scenario.

Before I list what my "B.O.B. G.O.O.D." contains let me explain why it is was designed the way it is. I came up with my list of Bug-out Bag contents based on the following criteria:

Don't buy junk and stake your life on it. Sure "anything" is better than nothing, but what is your Survival worth? Stay away from cheaply made crap like the imported so-called "Survival Knife" picture here.

 

  1.  UTILITY & PRACTICALITY: Fist I envisioned what a Bug-out Bag must contain that will cover a wide range of temporary living environments. The very concept of any Bug-out Bag is that a user will be needing the contents of such a kit to survive. The possible environments and situations a bugging-out person could find themselves in are not always ideal and each have their own situational dynamics to contend with. The Bug-out Bag I designed had to be utilitarian in it's contents. Life can be very unpredictable and an ideal preplanned temporary survival bug-out destination, or rendezvous point, may not be the place you find yourself in a emergency situation.
  2.  LONG-TERM USE ITEMS: Second I considered the fact that a primitive survival situation may last possibly longer than the 72 hour window many Bug-out Bags are designed for. I compiled a list of the most essential items I knew a Survivor would need to support life in a Survival situation away from most modern comforts. In so doing I also sought out implements that were of the best make and material. In other words I didn't just want "a" knife, I wanted a rugged and well designed one as well. I didn't just want a cheaply made water canteen, I wanted one that had good threading on the lid and mouth and could take a lot of weight being dropped on it.
  3.  MOST ESSENTIAL ITEMS: The next consideration for a contents list is that the contents had to cover the most essential of human needs in a survival situation. I also knew that the vast majority of us can not make some of those very basic items we take for granite in daily life. Fire making implements being at the top of the list. Regardless of what is said in some primitive survival manuals, making a bow and drill, or trying to find a flint rock and piece of steel to create fire from "scratch" are extremely hard endeavors. Even if you find yourself escaping to the wilderness and actually have experience locating the right materials in the wild, and skilled enough to make a bow-drill, you may not have the time to make one before nightfall. That could be disastrous if it is a very cold winter night. It takes experience, great skill and knowledge for a person to make fire from scratch. Another item that is very hard to make in the wilderness from scratch is a vessel to carry water in or drink from. A third hard to make from scratch item is string, or cord. Basically I decided on the most essential tools and implements that evacuee would have immediate need for, but hardest to make, and included them in my contents list.
  4.  WEIGHT AND BULK: The weight of the over-all bag and it's contents had to be as light as realistically possible. Not only light, but not too big in size, or bulky. This is not only for these ease of carry and lugging around during a survival scenario, but for storage practicality when not in use as well. If a bag is too bulky and cumbersome it can be dangerous walking with it on your back or slug over your shoulder. As to the storage when not in use, if it is too big or bulky it may not stay in your car trunk, or S.U.V.,  for long. During the course of daily life it might get considered "in the way" and end up getting taken out, by you, and not be there when you need it. If you store a Bug-out kit in the closet of your bedroom and it is huge, it may get stuck piled behind junk in your garage or basement overtime. The key to a Bug-out Bag is that is is easily accessible to grab and run with. If it weighs a hundred pounds and hard to carry, you may actually skip grabbing it during all the chaos and uncertainty of a emergency evacuation. Also if it is so big it's get shoved into some corner of a storage building you just may not be able to grab it before you have to escape. A Bug-out Bag has to be accessible at all times. I have kept one in my car and one just like it in my bedroom closet for years. I may be away from my home when I have to "get-out-of-Dodge" thus the one in my automobile. I may not have my car at home, so the one at home, which is easy to get to, might I add. I would just have to use a different mode of travel, but at least I can travel on foot, if need be, without trying to carry some 80lbs ruck-sack like military soldiers do. You may be in better shape than a U.S.Army Ranger, but there are others that are healthy, but still unable to carry the burden of a pack mule.
This Survival Knife is well made and still affordable. It has metal running through the handle connecting to the blade and to the butt-end. No cheaply made hunk of scrap metal here. A sharpening stone is secured in the sheath.

Basically, my main criteria for making a Bug-out Bag contents list was that the overall kit had to contain what is essential, practical, utilitarian, and capable of use past the 72 hour window if need be.
I broke down the list of contents into sections. The first list is what I term "MANDATORY TEN". The 10 items, or "tools", that a person would have to have to survive, even for a couple of days. I then added a second list of 2 more items that are as essential, (and yes even more "mandatory" then the first ten items).
I added a second 2-item list to bring the total of  mandatory and essential items to 14.
Minus any important medications one is prescribed to take, and more clothing and boots, I think you will agree the following list covers life-sustaining essentials.

"The MANDATORY TEN"

Military Paracord, available from Army Surplus Stores and Camping Supply stores.
  1.  Canteen: -I prefer the military issue type canteen.
  2.  Metal Cup -to eat and cook over a open fire with. I find the metal canteen-shaped cups of the military  work great. They save space as they fit over a canteen and they have large handles to use when cooking with them over a fire. The military ones made to fit over military canteens are also of good size and therefore make good mini-cook pots.You also will want to add a large metal table spoon, like backpackers carry to eat and cook with. There are military issue ones available as well.
  3.  Sheath Knife/Fixed Blade Knife -This is a utility tool and will take a lot of abuse. It can also serve as a defensive weapon, but the first purpose is to use as a utility knife. It needs to be well made and not some cheap piece of junk, nor some fantasy "warrior blade" type thing.
  4.  Folding Knife -this is not redundancy here, the folding knife is for finer cutting chores and not to be used for light prying, that is what the larger fixed-blade sheath knife is for.
  5.  Knife Sharpener -if I have to explain this one perhaps you don't need to carry knives, or handle them. As a firearm is of absolute no use without ammunition so is a dull knife with no way to keep it sharpened.
  6. 6) Pocket/Cigarette Lighter-waterproofed matches, magnesium sticks and the other fancy modern fire-starting gadgets available from camping supply stores are also worth carrying, but nothing beats a pocket lighter when you need a flame real fast.
  7.  50' of Paracord/String -I prefer military style paracord. It is strong and a length can be cut to replace a shoe or boot lace and a million other uses. Trying to make twine or string in the wilderness, especially of any real length is not something you want to try to do in an emergency.
  8.  Poncho -military issue or store bought it don't matter. Just be sure to get one that is well made and of heavy material. You want a poncho instead of a rain coat because it will cover your bag from the rain while you are packing your bag on your back. A poncho can be made to serve many other purposes too.
  9.  Blanket -yes a blanket takes up room in a bag, but it will be worth the space usage when you have to actually take it out and use it. You don't just have to be asleep to use a blanket, you can wear it wrapped around you as you move about to help keep you warm.
  10.  Bandanna -it has a hundred uses from being a wash cloth to being a make-shift bandage. Pack 2 or 3. Any square cloth material will work, the bigger the better.
Military Issue Canteen and Metal Cup (w/cover for belt carry -optional).

I would highly suggest you not just go out and purchase these items. Take your time and look around before you buy. Many of the above items can be picked up at military surplus stores and are military issue and thus proven designs and made ruggedly. You want the most rugged and tough versions of the items on the above list.

Now for those other 2 essential and mandatory items it takes just to stay alive.

"The ESSENTIAL TWO"

Camping/Backpacking Water Purifiers mean being able to turn water obtained from questionable sources into safe drinking water. Consult manufacturers instructions when learning what they can and can not remove from water.

 

  1. (11) Water Purifier -these are available from any camping supply corner or on-line store. The decent ones are not cheap, but well worth spending the money. You will notice I didn't just list "water" itself. Actually you do want some actual drinking water stored at all times in you B.O.B. For long term storage I keep an unopened quart/liter bottle of store-bought drinking water in my B.O.B.  As long as the factory seal is not broken the water will keep safely for years. I also find the extra bottle useful to gather and transport dirty, unfiltered and unpurified water gathered from a questionable source to a safe location for running through a water purifier. This keeps your main water vessel, or canteen, from being contaminated with unpurified water. The fact is no one can possibly carry all the water they will need for 3 to 30 days. Drinking, boiling food, washing your steel cup, spoon and hands, and other sanitary needs, will require more water than you can carry or store in a B.O.B. A water purifier will purify out most microorganisms that are dangerous to ingest or get inside of a wound. Having a water purifier to insure safe water is like having a tap water faucet in the wilderness. All one has to do if they have a purifier is, quite literally, "just add water". If you are in a survival spot, or hiding out from mass chaos, and there is no source of water to be found you won't be able to stay in that spot for long away. Having a water source is #1 priority to your survival. One can only carry so much drinking water with them when evacuating a dangerous area. Having a good water purifier in your B.O.B. is essential.As to water purification tablets available at camping supply stores they are recommended as well. But, the problem with purification tablets is they do not remove some things a purifier does.
  2.  (12) Food -it is my opinion that if one wants to weigh there Bug-out bag down with anything it should be with food items. Now I'm not saying throw some cans of canned chili in your bag, that would be plain stupid to do. Military Ready to Eat meals ("M.R.E.s") are ideal for such an application. You can purchase freshly manufactured ones from Survival Supply Outlets that are on-line. There is quite a selection available and they are tasty too, in my opinion. Complete meal M.R.E.'s that come with an entree, side snack, desert and drink mixes can be purchased. Or, you can just buy a selection of individually packaged entrees to stuff in your emergency evacuation bag. There are camping supply stores that carry commercially available vacuum packed meals for back-packing and camping trips. Energy bars, granola bars, bags of trail mixes and packages of your favorite nuts are all also good to use as stow-away food in your B.O.B. A small bag of hard candies to suck on is also not a bad idea to throw in there as well. Along with whatever food items you pack I highly suggest a small bottle of daily multivitamins be added to your overall food purchase list.
M.R.E. military style meals are very practical for long term "stowaway and forget" food storage inside of your Emergency Evacuation "Bug-out Bag". If bought recently made and from commercial sources they will keep for years unopened.

The above 2  items added to the previous list of "MANDATORY 10" makes up what I affectionately call "The DOWN & DIRTY DOZEN". I call it that simply because it is a list of 12 items one must have to survive even just a few days, but can be used for a few weeks if need be. The contents of my Bug-out bag design are based on the possibility that a given situation may require a Survivor to get "down and dirty" and live in a primitive manner for a few days to a few weeks.

The final two items I see worthy of carry in a Bug-out Bag one is trying to keep as light as possible are two items I see as next importance factor.



 "The EXTRA TWO"

The Maglite AA-cell battery flashlight can be employed as a hands-free "candle".
  1. (13) Flashlight - A small but rugged two "AA" cell battery flashlight is recommended. I prefer the Mag-Lite variety. It carries an extra bulb in the butt of it and is one tough flashlight. The added bonus of that particular light is the head and lens can be screwed off and slipped on the butt end making a small, hands-free "candle" light. I would suggest storing a unopened pack of 4 batteries in the Bag with the light. Don't store batteries inside of the actual flashlight, as they do go bad and can bust open causing a mess inside the flashlight.
  2. (14) First Aid & Sewing Kit -no the Sewing Kit is not for trying to sew up a laceration you may get out in the wild like John Rambo did in the movie First Blood. The Sewing Kit is for sewing any rips you may get in your clothing or replacing buttons. The contents of the First Aid Kit I will cover in another article, but suffice to say it don't have to resemble a paramedics trauma bag they carry around in their ambulances.

Now for the actual BAG itself. I am opposed to frame back-packs for one reason. They are bulky for automobile storage. I will leave that decision up to the individual though. They are the  most comfortable way to carry your survival tools, water and food, that is not disputed by this writer. Shoulder bags that are of the horizontal type with one long zipper opening running along the top are okay but they have draw backs. One drawback is they don't carry well if you have to walk any distance with them strung over a shoulder. A second drawback is the zipper. Zippers have a infamous record of busting, jamming up or just working open. I, personally prefer to pack my DOWN & DIRTY DOZEN and EXTRA TWO items in a military style large duffle bag. Those type carry bags are tough and ruggedly designed. They can be thrown around, drug and basically abused and they stick it out. They have a small strong carry or drag handle and shoulder straps for on the back carry as well. One other point about a bag is you want to leave "dead space" or unpacked room in your bag. This extra space can be for extra clothing, to store a coat what have you. Also the extra space serves for area to throw even more food and supplies in at a moments notice, or to place food and items in the Survivor gathers.

It is my sincere hope you never have to live out of this Bug-out Bag, but if you do, you won't regret having it.

Commerically available prepackaged "72 Hour" Emergency Evacuation Kits are better than nothing in an emergency. But many lack the rugged, long term use materials one may need in a longer Survival situation.