Episode-1671- The Very Basic “Non Advanced” Bug Out Bag

backpackI want to do some back to basics shows, this one very basic.  Many of us have bug out bags, aka BOBs.  Some are very advanced and use a lot of specialized equipment.  There is a place for such things.  But some folks are so proud of their kitted up BOBs that when they talk about them newer folks to prepping get paralized.

As in well I need special forces ration bars, a solar panel, top notch ultralight rain gear, a 500 dollar survival knife, etc, etc, etc

And you know what folks, due to the quest for perfection and letting perfect be the enemy of the good, we have  a ton of folks our there who prep but they don’t even have a decent BOB.

To be honest my main advice is prep for bugging in first and foremost.  At home many of your survival needs are seen to, shelter is a big one, if nothing else you have a roof over your head.  But what if disaster strikes when you are not home? Or what if that roof isn’t over your head, what if a storm take it off?  What if you have to leave for the night or several due to something as basic as a medical emergency of a family member.

Every bit of that and more has happened to members of this audience, I have received countless “My BOB Saved My Butt” type emails ranging from the mundane to the insane.

Today we talk about simply getting a basic BOB done and doing it fast and cheap along with a few items to keep in your vehicles to supplement what you can and can’t realistically carry in your BOB.

The jist of today’s show is as follows, it is better that you have a very basic BOB that is lacking in a few areas then to have no BOB and be waiting for the budget, time, etc. to build a perfect one.   In other words there will be tons of opportunity to say things like, “but what about ______” but that isn’t the point today.  It is the basics, the minimum and a way to do it super fast, super cheap and build from there.

Join Me Today to Discuss

  • What is a BOB, what it is not
  • Why do you need a BOB
  • What is a BOBs biggest limitations
  • The First Items You Need
    • Clothing (3 days; not three outfits)
    • Sanitation
      • Powder
      • Soap
      • Towel and wash cloth
      • Personal Kit (saving, deodorant, toothpaste etc in ziplocks)
      • Toilet Paper – in ziplocks (zlb)
    • Light
      • A decent flash light
      • A headband flash light – Like This
      • 2 spare sets of batteries for each – in zlb
      • USB LED Light – Like This
    • Tools
      • A decent knife
      • A decent multi tool
      • Duct Tape
      • Zip Ties (reusable are awesome)
      • Cordage – bank line, paracord, rope, what you can get
    • Food
      • Beef Jerkey
      • Nuts
      • Pringles Chips
      • Canned Meats etc.  – pull tab is best
      • Crackers – packed so they won’t crush
      • Peanut butter
      • Granola Bars – crunchy
      • What ever you want but be realistic
    • Containers, Odds, Ends
      • Good water bottle (aluminum)
      • 2-4 Contractor Grade Garbage Bags
      • 2-4 Large Ziplock Bags – at least one gallon
      • Insect Repellent
      • Flask of Whiskey/Vodka etc.
    • Fire and Energy
    • Communications
      • Address Book – in zip lock bag
      • Cheap Transistor radio, with extra batteries – In zlb – Like This
      • Any and all important data on USB drive
      • Put Open Office on the USB Drive (mac and PC)
      • 2 Small Note Books and Three Pens
      • Set of ear buds or ear buds with mic for phone
    • Basic FAK – First Aid Kit
      • OTC Pain Meds
      • Antibiotic Ointment
      • Bandages
      • Gauze Pads
      • Bandaids
      • Two clean handkerchiefs
      • Scissors
    • Some Final Thoughts
      • Cash is best on your person but I’d not fault you for putting some in a BOB
      • Carry as much water as you can but keep a lot in your car/truck/work area
      • Store extra food in your car
      • Store blankets, etc. anything bulky in your car, under seats, etc
      • Tents suck, but they are better then nothing
      • Remember why you really have this bag, it ain’t to play Jack Bauer
      • Get a Scanner App for Your Phone
      • Get the Skype App for Your Phone
      • Get the Zello App
    • Never let perfect be the enemy of the good

Resources for today’s show…

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54 Responses to Episode-1671- The Very Basic “Non Advanced” Bug Out Bag

  1. Thank you! I’m enjoying these back to the basics shows.

    Would also consider doing a show on your “regular” FAK for your vehicle?

  2. Jack,
    Thanks for getting back to the basics. It’s nice to see an update to some of your older shows, a basics 2.0 if you will. Requirements may have changed over the past 7 years, new equipment has come out, and new knowledge has been obtained.

  3. Jack….I changed from Cotton Balls to Cotton rounds used for washing your face…You get hundreds of them for a dollar at Dollar General, dip those in wax and they stack better and will stay lit for almost 10 minutes

  4. Another great toilet paper option is when you are in a public bathroom some companies use a paper without cardboard, when they change the roll they will often just put the small roll loose to be used. If it is a about quarter to half dollar size, I will grab it for my truck or BOB. No wasted space, compact and tight and a pretty good amount.

  5. There is a tool available, for free, called Portableapps.com.
    This is a tool that is installed on a portable device, thumbdrive, or cloud drive, and will run on almost any platform.
    There are a ton of apps available including Firefox, Openoffice, and Skype.
    You can carry your document (encrypted)and the apps ready to run without having to install them.
    The security available is great since you don’t have to install anything on the PC or MAC.
    And just for people like you, Jack, you can get all the apps you need to do your show even if you don’t have access to YOUR PC.
    A great tool for your preps.

    • Good suggestion. I’ve carried a suite of applications on an 8Gb thumb drive for several years to use at work where I can’t install software. There’s plenty of room on the drive for data in addition to the apps. PortableApps.com has pages of software, including games, that work with the Portable Apps program. No traces of software use remain on the host computer after exiting, so it’s stealthy too. I even use it on my home computer because Libre Office (better than Open Office, and is maintained) has tools that don’t exist in my version of MSOffice, and I don’t have to install it on my main computer. The apps are updated regularly and will install automatically whenever Portable Apps is opened. Highly recommended after several years of use.

  6. sunscreen

    sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil

    4 port w/12 plug only gives .5 amp per usb outlet – too low, at least one should be 2 amps. Also one report of overheating/melting.

    fuses?

    compass app for phone

    matches should be totally covered in wax or water might wick up and wet the heads. Matches should be strike anywhere (wax covering will protect from unwanted ignition but a good match case is advised)

    A lightweight hammock if weather allows

    Lightweight, emergency poncho, one or two mylar emergency blankets & 55 gallon drum liner for emergency rain shelter.

  7. I’ve never had an emergency, but I’ve used my BOB first aid kit several times for injured dogs. Flashlight, water, tweezers, gauze, Coban & a dog treat will make you a hero in the eyes of a panicking dog owner. Sure, they didn’t outfit a full 72 hr kit, but bandaging cuts has initiated several conversations about what I carry in my car. Tucson now has several pet owners who carry ziplock bag w/ cactus removal tweezers, cards & basic doggy first aid supplies in their car. It’s a start. . .

    While not part of today’s basic kit, but think about your four legged friends when you put a kit together.

  8. Another great episode I will be sharing with my family! The way you explain things makes these tasks much easier to accomplish. Step by step has always been the way that I was taught to get things done. Thanks again!

  9. I really like the medicine in individual packets. I bought 3 different pain revilers, Benedryl, Anti-diarrheal. Come 50-200 a box with 1-2 in each pack. Really like the Condor Rip-Away EMT Pouch for first aid kit. It folds out into 3 sections and hold alot of stuff. Folded up piece of bailing wire has saved me more than anything I’ve ever kept in my truck.

    • I second the bailing wire. It can hold parts on cars. One time used it to hold drive shaft up when u-joint broke. So we could tow it without the trans fluid leaking out.
      I gave some to my nephews and they gave me that look as in “What am I going to use this for?” Later one said “you know that wire you gave me? I was out in my Jeep and it really came in handy when we broke something”

  10. Jack,
    Have you done shows covering the Modern Survival Philosophy or the 6 Survival Tenants? Think that could fit in your Basics shows?

  11. One thing you didn’t mention…what packs do you recommend to store a basic or advanced bug out load? I have a 65 liter Kelty, but that currently is my backpacking pack. Heavy duty denier full of molle hooks ($$) or not too military looking to not attract attention? Size?

  12. Awesome show. I’d love to hear an “Advanced BOB” show, too.

    • I liked the idea of this episode, but I heartily agree that a more advanced episode for the listeners who have been here for a bit or are a bit more advanced in their preparedness lifestyle would be awesome.

      • Modern Survival

        Serious question do both of you have a bag with at least everything in it that I covered today? Do you?

        LOL

        • Yes, I do.

          Surprised that you didn’t mention a spare set of eyeglasses for those of us who need corrective lenses, considering how badly you can be disadvantaged if you damage the only pair you have

        • Modern Survival

          Well I keep a case with extra glasses in mine, I have them in every glove box too. When I found this I just got 8 sets for about half what one set would cost at the store. http://www.zennioptical.com/

  13. One comment about Mountain House meals and heating them, any of the more commercial sized coffee makers, like a diner or gas station would have, will have a hot water tap, as do a lot of newer water coolers (look for ones that plug in). Not a completely reliable way to cook freeze dried food, but an option some people, particularly those who don’t drink tea over coffee, will overlook, and a hospital will have it.

  14. I was using Google Hangouts to call out while at Nicks workshop. Its probably not a bad idea for everyone to have a google voice number as well, for various reasons. This app allows you to call out with wifi.

    • Adrian the nerd

      Agreed – Google Hangouts is great for this on Android phones. I use it at work where I have wi-fi but poor cell coverage, as it allows me to make free outbound calls to regular phone numbers.
      You can even have people call your google voice phone number (also totally free) and have it set to forward to your regular cell number. This way you can answer it via the cell network if it’s available, but it also rings your phone over wi-fi/internet if cell service is unavailable.

      I’m not very familiar with iphones, but it looks like all of this functionality is also available on them as well (https://support.google.com/voice/answer/3437917?hl=en)

    • i have an iphone. it works fine.

  15. Really enjoyed this show, Jack. I’m recently married and this was a good reminder to put together a BOB for my new wife and to go through mine and make sure the basics are covered. Thanks for all you do through TSP!

  16. Richard Hauser

    Two more things I would suggest as an add:
    1. Swim googles, for two reasons: clear vision in smoke and seeing under water. The former is the main reason. A fire seems like a reasonable emergency to prepare for, so if you are in a building filled with smoke and you have to find your way out, then I think it would be easier if your eyes were clear. I figure you can use a wet bandanna as an impromptu breathing mask, but goggles seems like the easiest way to protect your eyes. $2 on Amazon.
    2. Glow in the dark tag: I work in a warehouse and when the lights go out, it is DARK. A little glow-in-the-dark tag on the top makes it easy to find my bag. Found one on Etsy for $2 but probably a dollar store purchase.

  17. Using zip top bags is a great idea. I like to use freezer bags because they are thicker and tougher.

  18. Great show. Made me nostalgic. About 6 or 7 years ago I heard the term “bug out bag” for the first time. I then looked for podcasts on the topic and The Survival Podcast came up. You made the show in your Jetta. Had never heard of you before that. Two other observations: read several years ago that some British SAS used pencils not pens–no leaks, no freezing, no dried out ink. If your buddy needs a writing instrument just saw the pencil in half. Also I think you might be able to do an additional episode on refinements to the BOB for special situations. Eg. 5, 10 or 15 pound weight limits., for a child, disabled, elderly. What would you put in each bag–admittedly the bag might not be optimal–but what items would make the cut?

    • Kids should carry their own ‘stuff’, it gives them a feeling of responsibility. Start with clothes, bedding, shelter half or small tarp, water filter (get a good one – VIRUSES!)/canteen w/cup, some food. They should carry their phone, their Ipod/Ipad, their sanitation and first aid kits, small fishing and trapping kits will keep them busy and happy. They should be taught the 5 C’s and carry that – cutting, container, cordage, combustion, cover. They won’t be able to carry much water or food but they should carry some stuff to help the family like a cook pot or hatchet or folding saw or map (remember, 2 is one and one is none so the kids can carry the second items). They should carry safety items like a whistle (remember – three blasts and a pause), an obnoxiously colored sheet of plastic or reflective tape or bandana, a signaling mirror. If they get separated they should have the gear and the knowledge/experience to survive alone for two or three days. Oh, stick in a pocket sized copy of John Wiseman’s SAS Survival Guide in a double zip lock bag in each child’s bag. There’s not a lot of weight there if you choose their gear wisely. In addition, let them carry what they think they need but make sure that they know that those are the first items that will be left behind if they can’t handle the weight. Younger kids who can’t care for themselves should carry what will keep them busy and out of your hair while you do the necessary chores but make sure they feel included – a small aluminum pot or food condiments or utensils wouldn’t be overly burdensome.

  19. Another idea for heavy trash bags is, that it never fails that you get a flat tire when it’s raining, so spread it out so your pants legs aren’t completely soaked. Also for the small empty Pringles can saltine crackers fit perfectly in them. I know square peg round hole but it works.

  20. Might want to throw a pack of smokes in with that flask…in a ZLB.

    Nothing will make friends faster than handing out cigarettes to stressed out smokers.

  21. autofabwelding

    Thanks for the shout out Jack
    -The Zello Crew

  22. The other nice thing about carrying a tube of Pringles is that they can be used as a surprisingly good fire starter in a pinch.

  23. Re: Skype on mobile phone.
    Many phones now offer wi-fi calling included. iOS 9 added it as a feature for iPhones. To turn it on, look under: settings->phone.

    Some alternative service providers (Republic Wireless) base their model on this feature and are able to provide cheap plans in part because they don’t rely on buying bandwidth on cell towers.

    • Richard Hauser

      I did this with my wife at Disney where she had no coverage but there is free WiFi, just make sure you try it before you need it as she needed to register for E-911 service and it wouldn’t let her use the phone over WiFi till she did.

    • I’ve used Republic in extremely remote places without any cell service (3rd world).

      As a bonus, my bill last month was $11.48

      😉

  24. I really like your quote “never let the perfect be the enemy of the good” It speaks volumes.

  25. An adjunct or alternative to zip lock bags for storing clean fresh clothing and other items is using a vacuum sealer (like the Food Saver) and appropriate sized bags. Very space efficient and waterproof. Keeps item tightly packed as well. The only downside is that it’s one use packaging.

  26. Curious on thoughts around multiple people, i.e. family and multiple bags. Assume 2 adults and a couple kids… How much overlap, some stuff adults carry and kids don’t need to etc. What to keep in the car, which car? Primary driver keep bag in their respective car, with kids bags in house? Or everyone has a BoB in house, but each car bag is separate.. Just looking for thoughts or what others do?

    • Modern Survival

      Every adult should have at least the minimal gear 100% in their own kit. No guarantee the other will be around. Kids should carry what is possible and safe for their ages. A bag supports one person for three days, not two, certainly not four.

      Space and load bearing are your limitations. Hence everyone needs to have their own bag.

  27. Robert Desrosiers

    A couple of additions to what you have already disscussed; Ziplock makes great bags although they also make vacuum seal ( with a one way valve) bags that you can purchase with a small light weight hand pump to suck out the air, they work amazingly well but only for a few times and then the valve seems to get distorted. Ive used them for food and also to compress small colthing items for back packing to save space, ( you can carry the pump with you)
    Second; making sure you can carry the BOB load is a must. Prior to my youngest going on his first backpacking trip I pushed him to go walk at our local park where he can easily walk 3 miles without returning to origin, hills and flatlands, pathways easy and difficult and he realized that what felt bearable standing in the living room was not the same as actually walking with it.
    Thanks, Jack!

  28. Al in Illinois

    Great list! I’d add a small bottle of hand sanitizer that clips on the outside of the bag. Comes in handy, costs little, and weighs nothing…

  29. Jammies and slippers.

  30. marcel.boudreau@gmail.com

    I put together BOBs for my two sons and I last year. I haven’t even tried to do one for my wife – I believe on focusing on what I can change.

    Anyway, even before I settled on a bag (I ended up sewing one from scratch), I just started collecting things in a trio of 5 Gal pails in my den. I figured it made more sense to start, and since I didn’t know how big this was going to get, I started with the contents. This Christmas break I plan on tagging my boys and we’ll go through their BOBs (and mine too) to see what needs revision and what needs adding.

    I highly suggest start small, a couple of things at a time.

    I’m loving these back to basics casts too.

  31. Tracy kuykendall

    Was listening to this episode a few days ago to get through some older ones before the post event episodes start back.
    Had to smile and ponder the fact, that the more things change, the more they stay the same, we’ve progressed from grass rope and feed sack twine (what my grandparents always kept), to black tape and bailing wire (what my dad and many others used) to zip ties and duct tape to patch together just about anything that needs fixing.

  32. Great tips!

    I finally feel motivated to get a basic “complete” bob
    done.
    I have paracord but am considering upgrading to bank line. I found one on Amazon by SGT knots that looks good.

    Was wondering…
    What would be an example of the kind of rope Jack mentioned we should have that would be “good”, “soft”, and pull a heavy load, but not dig into your hands?

    Thanks again for such a great podcast on the basics.

    Thanks!

  33. What powders are TSP listeners carrying?