Oddly enough, i don’t really believe in the ‘Bug Out Bag’ concept. I think it’s a flawed concept that is an oversimplification of a more complicated concept.
See, you don’t really need one big Bug Out Bag, you need a number of smaller bags that are there for specific purposes and situations. Let’s talk about them here for a minute.
Do note that there’s a bunch of variants to these basic concepts, and you should adapt them to whatever makes sense for you and your situations.
Rudy’s Note: In addition to one or more of these bags, you should also have an ‘EDC’ or ‘Every Day Carry’ kit which is just a few things that are ALWAYS on your person. I won’t go into those kits in this post, just know that they’re important.
Concept #2 that is common to all of these is the Family Emergency Binder, which I’ll talk about some other time too.
First, you need to have what I like to call a ‘Get Home Bag’ … its sole purpose in life is to get you back home from where you are. Plan around where you usually are, and what areas you travel to and from.
Things to consider for your Get Home Bag are maps of the area, calorically dense but light weight food sources, some water, and a small first aid kid. If you generally don’t have good shoes on, make sure a good pair of walking or hiking shoes are part of it. Above all, don’t forget at least one pair of good socks. You’ll be amazed at how much better a fresh pair of socks will feel after walking for a few hours.
Second, you need to have a ‘Go Bag’ … this is the bag that sits next to your bed or by the front door. It’s what you grab on your way out the door if you need to bail for whatever reason. House fire, chemical train crashed a mile away, tornado, whatever. That’s the sort of thing we’re talking here.
This is a fairly small bag, similar to your Get Home Bag but it also has a change of clothes, and anything else you might need to stay out for about 24 hours or so. This is the bag that gets you to a hotel, or somewhere like that. You should also keep some copies of important documents and such.
Third, you need your ‘Three Day Pack’ … this is the pack that can sustain you for three days. Changes of clothing, food, water, medical kit, probably something you can rig a shelter with, that sort of thing. You’re still planning on coming back home or being somewhere reasonably normal at the end of those three days.
This thing can be kinda heavy, so make sure you’ve hiked with it or something. In fact, a weekend camping trip is a GREAT way to test out this bag and figure out what you need and what you can do without.
Finally, you have your “Never Coming Home” bag. This is as close to the proverbial Bug Out Bag as you can get. This covers everything you might need to survive an unknown period of time under the assumption that you’ll never come back home. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of this bag, and am not all that sure that it really is all that necessary.
Leaving for good isn’t something that should be taken lightly. You should have plans for any sort of short notice evac situation, using your Go Bag or the Three Day Pack, with plans on where you might go. Without those plans, you’re truly up a creek. And if you have more than that short notice, then you’ll have time to figure out if you need that last bag.
Your classic BOB harkens back to the days where the main plan for preppers was to Head For The Hills and figure it out there. I think most folks nowadays don’t find that to be a particularly wise plan, and rightly so. And since that philosophy has gone by the wayside, so should the giant 100lb BOB that came along with it.