Some of you, if not all of you have heard of a bug-out-bag. There has been some debate over
contents, and the bags actual function. The bag is also referred to as a 72-hour bag, because
typically, rescue personnel begin rescue operations within a 72-hour timeframe after the onset of
a disaster. Obviously, not everyone effected by the event will be rescued or have contact with the
authorities. It is then conceivable it may be just you and your bug-out-bag for an extended
period. The bag is designed for emergency evacuations and it should not be confused with a
long-term survival pack. Hence the name Bug-Out, or in military jargon a Go-Bag. The bag’s
intended purpose is to allow you a quick evacuation, you grab your bag and go and in theory,
you have enough supplies in the bag to sustain yourself for 72 hours.
The Bags Contents
The basics in any survival situation are always the same you need clean air, shelter, water and
food in that order. Therefore, you need supplies, tools and materials that provide you the
essentials. The following is a list of essentials that must be adapted for individual needs such as
medications, eyeglasses and so forth.
-First Aid Kit Recommend You Build Your Own And Include Betadine As A Topical
Antiseptic And A Suture Kit For Sewing Wounds Closed
– 3 To 5 Days Supply Of Meals Ready To Eat (MREs) Each MRE Is One Meal And Is
– 3 To 5 Day Supply Of Drinking Water The Standard Is One Gallon A Day However 2
Quarts Is Sufficient If You Only Use It For Drinking And Not For Personal Hygiene
Water Weighs Roughly 8.5 Pounds or 3.8 Kilos Per Gallon
– Multi-Tool Knife
– Fixed Bladed Knife
– Magnesium Stick For Fire Starting
– Mess Kit With One Quart Canteen And Cup For Cooking Or Boiling Water
– One-Quart Stainless Steel Canteen Can Boil Water In Or Cook Broths
– Coffee Filters Cheese Cloth Or Suitable Material For Water Filtration
-Slim Battery Operated Flashlight
-550 Paracord Or Suitable Nylon Rope 50 Feet
– 2 Rain Ponchos Can Be Converted Into Emergency Shelter
-Waterproof Tarp For Shelter And Ground Cloth
-12 To 15 Pound Monofilament Fishing Line Monofilament Is Less Brittle And Has
– Light Sticks
-Several Fish Hooks
-20 To 24 Gauge Wire For Snares And Bindings Must Be Copper Brass Or Stainless Steel
– Sleeping Bag Mummy Type Is Recommended
-Two Vials Of 2% Liquid Iodine Or Tablets For Water Purification
– Duct Tape
– Sheet Of Clear Plastic For Water Collection
– Two Clear Or White 30 To 50 Gallon Garbage Bags
– Lensatic Compass And Topographical Map Include Local Maps
– Cash Include Change
– Potable Radio Crank Or Battery Operated
– Folding Entrenching Tool For Burying Garbage And Digging Latrines
– Machete If Space Allows
– Personal Protection Recommend A Collapsible Stun Baton Used To Stop Animals And
Humans Handgun Is An Option
– Folding Saw If Space Allows
– Extra Socks
– Small Binoculars
– Collapsible Hiking Stick Can Be Used As Personal Protection
– Insect Repellent And Or Mosquito Netting
The bag itself should be water repellent if not waterproof. A military Alice Pack is
recommended. The pack can be used with or without the frame.
When to Bug Out?
Disasters to include natural and manmade ones will disrupt everyone’s daily lives and routines.
Typically, there will be power disruptions, and your gas and water supply may be shut off, as
well. In an urban environment, having utilities disrupted can be catastrophic if the disruption
extends beyond 72 hours. Traffic cannot move, and police have turned militaristic to keep order
and people are in a high state of distress creating a dangerous situation. When people do not
know what to do next, they panic. Soon people will begin looting for survival and others will
take advantage of the situation. Now is the time to grab your bug-out-bag and make your escape.
Now Is Not the Time for Bunker or Siege Mentality
You cannot protect the building you live or the possessions inside your apartment. You are
vulnerable if you live on the upper floors. Buildings can be set on fire and or damaged leaving
you stranded without a way down from the upper floors. Stairwells will be ambush zones and
elevators are death traps. You need to be on foot and moving away from the chaos. Soon the
streets will be filled with people that have a mob mentality. Friends, neighbors and strangers will
be looking for those that have prepared.
Plan on Plans Failing
Plans will fail and your timing may be off. Expect this and work through it. Ideally, you have
walked the immediate escape route. Driving a route gives you a different perspective on
landmarks and streets. Things always look different when you are driving because you cannot
fully take in everything around you.
Your pack must be carried on your back. Hands must be free for balance and protection. Use
your walking stick for balance and protection and have any other personal protection close. The
average person can walk three miles per-hour. Take terrain and obstacles into account when
tabulating miles you can walk daily. Your goal is the remove yourself from the urban sprawl and
get beyond the suburbs. This may take several days. No matter where you live, there is
countryside just beyond the city sprawl. Your goal is to get there and lose yourself in the woods.
You may find abandoned structures and homes along the way, salvage for resources as needed.
Your Greatest Asset Will Also Be a Target
The pack on your back will be a beacon to those that did not prepare. They of course, will want
what you have. The early morning hours are the best times to escape for various reasons.
Marauders and looters will be tired out and holed up somewhere; others will be barricaded in
their homes. Now is the time for you to set out. You goal is to reduce the number of people that
see your pack. Most will know what it is and what is inside, some may even be desperate enough
to challenge you for it.
It simply means know what is going on around you. Do not walk with your head down, looking
dejected and worn out, this makes you a target. Unorganized ad hoc gangs and criminals are lazy
by nature so they look for the easy jobs first. Make it hard by looking ready and showing
confidence. Having any weapons within sight shows, you are serious.
Once the decision has been made to bug out you no longer have a base camp. You will begin to
worry about your supplies and will begin to wonder if they will last until, things calm down. You
must trust in your training and preparedness, second-guessing yourself is not helpful and
counterproductive. At this point, your stress level may be rising and you will tend to drink and
eat more. You must carefully ration your food. You can only carry so much food and water, three
to five days is the limit. Knowing all this you must also plan to supplement your bug-out bag
supplies as you make your way out of the disaster zone. Foraging may include borrowing a
vehicle to get you across any bridges if the road is clear. Bridges and any roadways that
essentially traps you, and leaves no escape route if you are walking, is a danger zone. The best
way to traverse these is in a vehicle.
Supplemental Food and Water Supplies
Patio gardens and backyard gardens are ideal places to gather edible vegetables. Produce does
not require preparation. People living in the city often times grow vegetables all year around, you
just need to know where to look. Small green houses can be attached to condominiums, row
houses and even on some patios and balconies. Make it a point to look for gardens to supplement
your food supply.
Some people may have simply abandoned their homes and out of panic and out of a lack of
knowledge, may have left valuable resources behind. When your city is in ruins around you this
is an acceptable means of survival. You must assume any water from any faucets is contaminated
so do not drink any tap water without first purifying it by boiling or using the 2% liquid iodine or
tablets. The water treatment plant is likely to be shut down or destroyed.
Note: Boiling is the preferred method of purifying water, if you have a suitable container and the means to make a fire. Water must rapid boil for a minimum of one minute at sea level and three minutes if over 7,000 feet or 2,133 meters above sea level. Two percent liquid iodine is an acceptable method of purifying drinking water, as well. The ratio is 5 drops of iodine per one-quart of water. Shake the canteen well and allow 30 minutes before drinking.
Use any gathered resources first and save your bug-out-bag supplies for when you have made it
out of the disaster zone. Look for unopened bottled water in every abandoned home along with
any non-perishable foods that can be eaten while you walk, again do this to save on your
emergency stores. Avoid commercials establishments such as grocery stores and convenience stores, looters will be active, and likely anything of value will be gone. Additionally, police and possibly even troops will be patrolling these areas more closely, as well. Avoid contact with police or troops at this point. They will not know your intentions and may consider you part of the problem.