Before we get into what a Bug Out Bag contains lets define what a BOB is. It is referred to several names such as BOB, Bolt Bag, Bail Out Bag, I.N.C.H Bag (I’m Never Coming Home Bag), Get Out of Dodge Bag (GOOD), and more. A BOB is a portable kit that normally contains the items one would require to survive 72 hours when evacuating from a disaster. Some kits are designed to last longer however we have to keep in mind that we want to be light as possible for speed if this becomes an evade situation. A BOB is not designed to live comfortable for 72 hours. It’s merely to stay alive while getting you from point A to point B. If you don’t have a Bug Out Location, then I would recommend having a few more things in your bag to last five to seven days. This will give you a couple days to begin planning for what lies ahead.
When choosing supplies for your bag, it is important to look at your environment. If you live in places that have an abundance of water supplies then it may not make as much sense to pack your bag full of water. If you live in more of a desert environment, miles from water sources, then it would be wise to pack out more water. Another consideration is that your BOB should more than likely change with the seasons. I have no need for a heavier jacket in the summer nor do I need a lighter jacket for the winter months. My bag constantly changes and is part of a routine. There are basic essentials that every bag should contain and from there you will need to start identifying environmental factors for where you live and where you plan on going.
For someone that is just now considering building your first Bug Out Bag, it can seem like a big task. The kits that are for sale online are packed full of foods, supplies out the wazoo, and in many cases can cost hundreds of dollars. If you would like for us to build you a BOB contact us and we will be more than happy to do so. Lets get to it. At the end of this discussion I will post links to each product in case you would like to make purchases.
There are a lot of opinions on water but one thing we all can agree on is that water is the number one thing you need to survive any environment. Here are some guidelines to follow however you need to identify your bodies capabilities and deficiencies. Statistics show that on average the human body can live without water for three days. This is without much physical exertion on the body. Factors also include how much water your body holds, perspires, weight, age, what shape you are in physically, and your environmental factors. Most survivalists state one liter per day, so if you have a three day BOB, then you should have at minimum three liters. As a former Navy SEAL I speak tactically and worse case scenario. If I can prevent, I do not plan on traveling during the day. I have no desire to be seen therefore I will perspire less. I will also be able to move slower because there’s less of a chance to be seen. My worse case scenario is I am being hunted so I want to move light and fast and under those conditions I won’t have much time to drink water, I only carry two liters. One liter in a water bag and the other in a bladder so I can suck on the run if need be. I would recommend always having a camel pak in your BOB.
Your body can only absorb about one liter of water per hour and that is under the most extreme heat and humidity. Most of the time you can only absorb a little less than half of this, Even though you are losing more than you are absorbing. This is part of your planning and why I say night travel is key if possible. Also drinking too much water is dangerous and will lead to water toxicity. This occurs when you dilute your bodies salt and other electrolytes. This condition is called Hyponatremia. To resolve this I carry Pedialyte packets that I will dump into my water as needed for proper hydration.
I will give you the key to success on this but most people will not be this extreme. You can train your body. Your body will respond based on how you feed and hydrate it. If your bodies muscle memory knows that it consumes one liter of water per day right now, then it says I can perspire this much and still function. If you deny your body less water in a very controlled regiment, then you can teach it to hold onto more water because now it knows that it won’t get anymore for that time period. Many men have trained their bodies to operate in conditions that a normal body would shrivel up and die. Half naked in freezing temperatures, 100+ mile runs in 130+ degree Arizona desert with an ounce of water, and many more. If you would like to study more on this watch The Ice Man. (Link)
There are a lot of items to choose from when it comes to nutrition. Energy bars, freeze dried meals that require hot water to hydrate, and more. It’s always a good idea to have a few of these in your bag but you only have so much space for gear. The good thing is the human body can go without food for about three weeks with considerations to physical exertion. Even though you can live that long without food your body and mind will pay the price. Our overall goal is to be fit enough to make good decisions under these new unforeseen circumstances. I recommend that you carry two MRE’s. Each meal has 3000 calories if you get the military grade and can be used throughout a 24 hour period if needed. The average person consumer around 1200-1500 calories per day. Once you get below 800 calories per day it is recommended to have a doctors supervision. Add the stress and physical exertion involved in a Bug Out and there are some potential issues. Here is what I run.
- MRE’s: Two meals stripped of everything except for the essentials and repackaged for space and weight.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Olive Oil is a very clean fuel that many pro athletes use for quick bursts of energy. If you can’t stomach the taste you can also get a small bottle of 100% honey. Do not get the cheap processed honey you often see at grocery stores. Get real honey from a nutrition store. It cost a little more but it is not the same. Your body under extreme conditions needs quick, clean fuel, that can be delivered to the body.
- Frog Fuel: Frog Fuel is my go to energy and SEALs have been using it for a long time. It comes in a one fluid ounce packet that contain necessary Amino Acids the body needs. Just like Olive Oil it is a very clean fuel. What I really like about Frog Fuel is that it only takes approximately one ounce of water to process whereas energy bars take 5-10 times this amount of water due to density and the bodies need to break the bar contents down during processing.
It is good to have a few articles of clothing. Worse case scenario you are caught with your britches down and don’t have time to get all decked out in your fancy tactical pants and boots. You might very well be in shorts and sandals when the SHTF.
- Pants: The only thing I will say on this is to consider the material. They should be protective yet not dense so that it will hold sweat. Wet clothes in mild temperatures can drop your body temperature by several degrees. I run rip stop material.
- Socks: I like carrying two pair of military style Wick Dry or Wool socks. I would stay away from cotton. You will be facing severe blisters which will slow your movement down. In some cases if infection sets in, you won’t be able to move at all.
- Tactical Boots: I like to run tennis shoe style hiking boots. There are a lot of different styles out there to choose from. I would just stay away from really stiff and/or heavy boots. Be light on your feet like a ninja.
- Shirts: I would pack out one short sleeve and one long sleeve. I like Under Armor Heat Gear. It prevents chaffing, and dries fairly quick. Mainly focus on 100% Polyester or a mixture of Polyester and Elastane.
- Long John Bottoms: These are self explanatory and often overlooked. If I had one thing in a bag it would be Long a John top and bottoms. You can be starving but if you are warm you will be fine. Add malnutrition to shivering and you are in for little to no rest.
- Hat: To keep your face from getting sunburned.
I’m sure the mindset is that it’s only 3 days I will be fine. Perhaps, but with today’s technology you can have a decent shelter that fits in the palm of one hand. The ground is a viscous place to be. You may be able to relax but it will be shirt lived. The ground will drain your heat extremely fast and there will be nothing you can do but stand up or spend more time breaking branches/leaves to lay on to create a barrier.
- Cover: Some type of tent or tarp and a way to set it up.
- Ground Barrier: A ground tarp or pad to keep from laying on the ground. Keep in mind a tarp or thin barrier will not keep the ground from draining your bodies heat. You need a ground pad. Yoga mats are cheap and really thin.
- Heat Barrier: Some type of heat barrier like a sleeping bag.
5. First Aid Kit
Trying to cover a first aid kit in a BOB is another animal in itself. I would recommend not buying a premade medical kit because although they are good to have on hand, you will not use 98% of it even in a medical emergency. With that being said that is my opinion based on my field experience in field survival scenarios, medical training, and evasive tactics, so if you would rather have a premade First Aid Kit by all means go for it. Here is what I run in mine that I have Seal-O-Mealed.
- Pain Meds: Tylenol and Motrin for pain. Midol because it has caffeine in it. Almost every American drinks coffee on a regular basis so you don’t realize that your body is addicted until you don’t have it. Caffeine withdrawals aren’t the end of the world but why not have a few on hand? I have used Midol for many years and so many people laugh at me and say are you having your monthly issues? Listen, I am all man and I have watched Midol take a women full of rage to peace and calm, so yes I will trust it in every situation.
- Alcohol Swabs: It is always a good idea to have these on hand to clean any cuts. Regardless of how minor it may be you are now exposed to the elements and just because you didn’t get an infection in your normal day to day life doesn’t mean you're exempt from it. Take the time to clean your wounds.
- Super Glue: I cannot stress this enough. World class pro athletes use this in training and competition. If you are cut you need to clean it and seal it. Hospitals use this same principal with medical grade liquid stitch glue. Pinch the walls together and squirt glue on top to bind the walls. Do not squirt it in the cut. The great thing about Super Glue is that the chemicals used begins breaking down after 24 hours. This will keep germs from getting into the cuts after cleaning. This works great for blisters on your feet as well. Pop the blister, cut a small hole in the bubble and squirt a little glue in it, pushing the bubble down. It will burn and you will whine like an infant for a minute but did you die?
- Mole Skin: This is to be used in conjunction with the Super Glue on blisters. You want to create a barrier between the skin, socks and foot wear. This process with the Super Glue will remove about 80% of the pain.
- Packing Gauze: Just in case you fall and puncture your skin.
- Gorilla Duct Tape: This can be used for may things but under extreme conditions such as a Bug Out a medical dressing tape won’t hold well. You will be constantly be trying to keep the bandage on the wound.
- Tourniquet: Another just in case you puncture an artery.
I won’t get into firearms because there are too many opinions on this. The only two things I would suggest is that it be discrete and concealable if possible and a common caliber. Don’t choose a FN 5.7, 38 Special, or something of that nature. The most common round is .22, 9mm, .40 cal, and .223. There are other calibers but they are a bit larger and not easy to conceal so I would stay in this range in my professional opinion.
7. Basic Gear
Basic gear sounds repetitive however these are things you should always have on hand even in your current day to day life.
- Portable Water Filter: These are a must so you can filter your water sources once you run out. You may not have the luxury of a faucet. It doesn't take much space and can be the difference between life and death.
- Lighter: I would highly recommend a butane torch lighter but any source will work.
- Magnesium Fire Starter: Do not ignore this one. A lighter is always better but it has too many working parts. It can break and the way they make things today it won’t last long unless you get a good old fashioned Zippo. A good Magnesium Starter will last a life time.
- Tree Saw: A saw is a great tool to have if you plan on cooking, creating a nice fire, or plans on making a shelter. If you are truly evading then you should have a more concealed fire and your shelter goes with you.
- 550 Cord: You can never go wrong with having parachute cord. It can be used from replacing a shoe string, to pitching a shelter, to making traps for food.
- Knife: Always have a good knife in your bag. Even if you have one on you daily. A knife is one of few things that we live by this mindset. "Two is One, One is None." Meaning sure as heck if you only have one it will become inoperable or lost for some odd reason. Murphy’s Law at its finest.
- Light: I run a rechargeable tactical light and then a head lamp. This is another "Two is One, One is None" item.
- Radio: I won’t say a radio is a necessity because most people aren't tied into one another to that level, however It is a good idea to have one or two just in case. You never know.
- GPS: I run a GPS. Unless our satellites are shut down then I want an ability to identify my paths if they should change.
This is not what many survivalists would call complete but survivalists have never been on foot being pursued by other humans with advantages. If you watch typical survivalists they are placed or place themselves in an environment and only face the elements which is hard enough in itself, but when you have to worry about other human involvement you can only pack so much before you become a hinder to yourself. This is why I refer to my bag as a Bug Out Bag or Bolt Bag. I have a place to be and I want to get there as fast as possible and if and when that location becomes compromised then I can quickly take off again.
Once again, you must consider how far you are planning to travel. Perhaps you don’t even have a place to go. You just know you can’t return home. Many don’t. If that be the case I would recommend packing more or maintaining your three day pack, with what is called trip aids. Many people do this believe it or not. Take small plastic seal-able containers and place whatever you feel you may need or need more of such as food, water, medical supplies, etc, and bury them in non conspicuous areas in different directions. Mark them with a GPS. When you bury them ensure you do so about 16 inches or animals can smell it and they will dig it up. Ideally 18” protects from the environment unless you are in an area that get a lot of rain. Then it could be as deep as 3'. This can be determined mostly by what is called flood/freeze zone, meaning when it floods or freezes how deep is the ground effected? It would be a good idea to Seal-O-Meal the contents to help further protect from animals and the environment.
Feel free to take a scroll through the products listed below and see if you need to add anything to your bag.
Have a great day and God bless,