Episode-179- The Bug Out Bag — 33 Comments

  1. Just an FYI, Even Pepper Spray and Stun Guns were confiscated when people went to FEMA shelters after Katrina. They were allowed NO weapons (knives, firearms, sprays, clubs, saps, or even “ninja death stars” (their wording).

  2. I enjoyed the show. It reminded me that I could stand to go back and update my own bag. Even though I liked your idea of “backpack”, as a woman, I can’t imagine carrying all of that on my back. I have a nice durable green “non-feminine” suitcase on wheels. It looks like a large duffle, but the wheels help.

    Anyway, I would like to know your comments on the emergency radios and their relationship to the soon be new “digital signal” change that is expected to go into effect. I have a nice one by Eton, but don’t know what kind of signal I will still be receiving after the change.

  3. Don’t forget to put everything in your bug out bag in clear platic bags. You don’t want to get things wet if you need to use the BOB. The plastic bags add very little weight and can be used for other purposes.

  4. If you put a bag together for someone else make sure that it fits them. I took my sister backpacking and she was miserable. When I got back I researched how a pack is supposed to fit a woman and there are some important differences. For women, most of the the weight should be on the hip belt. The hip belt should sit on the top half of the hip bones. The torso length is smaller even on a taller woman. You also have to make sure the shoulder straps go around the bust. My sister bought a woman’s backpack and now she loves backpacking. The pack made a big difference.

  5. Caught this podcast driving in this morning; just a quick comment to note how much of this build out strikes me as remarkably similar to what my wife and I (or family) would pack out for for a three-day-two-night backpacking/camping excursion.

    I was also musing over what the total cost –esp given the current economy– would be of equipping a small family w/ the necessary bug out prep. Not real cheap, eh?

  6. OK here we go, seven responses in one post.

    @derajer, Thanks good resources.

    @Professor, True but that was at shelters not when people were on the move and on the streets, etc. I don’t agree with the decision but at least in a “shelter” there is some control and some protection.

    @JJ, the digital signal change effects TV not radio.

    @DrReason, Good suggestion, I don’t know about “everything though. I don’t have my fuel canister, my ax, etc in plastic, don’t really need to in fact it would impair access but I get your point and it is a good one.

    ken325, Another great point and so long as they will play along enough to try the thing on you should do it. I have heard this concern about weight too, my view on that is pack as much as you think you need and if it is too heavy and IF you have to move on foot the owner can decide what to leave behind. Old military mindset of better to have and not need then need and not have.

    @Jim3, spot on most people give no thought to load distribution and many carry a pack way to low on the back with straps way to loose.

    @Darrell, Doesn’t it make sense that the same stuff you would need for three days with out services is the same stuff you take when you choose to go with out services for the same period of time? (grin) This is why so many test BOBs by camping, once your out there you can’t just pop in to the store.

    Also on price it depends sure if you try to do it all at once but if you have to start with an old duffel and some bottled water and tuna, at least you have something. You can assemble the documentation for no cost and it may be as valuable as the rest. Some bics and a few boxes of matches are under 3 bucks. I hope you own clothing if so taking an older set and keeping it in a bag is pretty simple. No money right now for a nice K-Bar, get a cheap 9 dollar lock back at least you have a knife, then upgrade and build out over time.

  7. JJ,

    I understand that you may not be comfortable toting a backpack. But one thing that most people don\’t take into consideration is that a suitcase is not easy to carry.

    Especially over rubble (earthquake, tornado, hurricane, etc.) or even on anything but a nice, smooth floor.

    Plus, a backpack allows you to have both hands free, if you are forced to climb over something.

    One option would be to use one of the rolling backpack duffles, such as those made by Eagle Creek. These have wheels so you can pull them, but they also have a full suspension harness that allows you to carry them as a backpack.

    Just a suggestion, hope it helps.

    The Professor

  8. A quick second chime in: heartily agree on the long term mobility and carry efficiency of a backpack folks.

    I’ve been getting outdoors since my childhood and been using backpacks (of various sizes and shapes) to haul gear ever since. Now that I’m a working IT professional I get to be “hip” and carry messenger bags (which do work in limited terms) but I’d shudder to think of hauling a love seat size duffel bag, or massive single strapped bag, for miles over rough and uncharted terrain.

    Yep, a good backpack may be worth more then you’d think in dire times of primitive means.

    Great podcast and a lot of really sensible, sound, sane advice.

  9. Jack,

    Thank you for doing this particular podcast, I’ve been meaning to setup a BOB and haven’t for various reasons (mostly my lazy ass). SWMBO does though agree with designing one and putting it together for my family asap; so thank you again. Thanks also to the commenters, as there are links to very handy information about designing and equipping a BOB (or as a good friend calls is a GOOD bag (Get Out Of Dodge)).

  10. There is a great list of items that can be used for a 72 hr disaster preparedness kit that is broken down over a 20 week period. That way you purchase just a few items each week and do not field the cost at one time. It can be found at and then click on the helpful hints. Courtesy of the Sarpy/Cass Dept of Health in Nebraska. The list can be tailored to your specific needs, but it makes us think of things that we all take for granted every day.

  11. I have a nice Kabar but some kitchen knives will do the job just as well, and they are cheap. A 5 inch blade on a utility knife will handly many tasks at hand. Larger knives for other things and including acting as a small machete. Folding utility knives like you pick up at Home Depot or Lowes have a locking blade that\’s easily replaced or sharped. A pack of 5 extra blades takes up little space. These things are very handy for making traps and other general chores, including skinning animals. I keep several in packs, tool boxes, vehicles, fishing gear, etc. AND a folding filleting kinve is also great, and regular filleting knive is a great utility companion. You can have a great knife if you just look around at what you already have. Most will cost less than 10 bucks, and some half that.

  12. Trash bags

    Big thick trash bags. You can clean up after yourself, and put a hole in it for your head as a poncho. Also if you need to cross a body of water you can put your gear in one and float it across. Ive been close to doing that a couple of times when hitching and a bridge didnt offer any where to walk.

  13. Marc, this is my interpretation so please don’t act on it with our further clarification with the State of Texas.

    My understanding is you can not carry a knife with blade greater than five and one-half inches in Texas.

    It is also my understanding that this law is not enforced when a person is engaged in the lawful pursuit of fish or game. Hence a 8 inch fillet knife is not illegal if you are fishing but it is illegal if you are not.

    Further it is not illegal to own a knife over this length but it is to have it in public and have it accessible to you.

    Would a knife, sheathed, inside a BOB be considered accessible? I have no idea. I will talk to my bro-in-law who is a police officer in Grand Prairie and get his take on this.

    One thing for sure finding the fricken actual law is hard to do.

  14. OK Marc, here is what I can find about the exceptions,

    “Texas – Health, Safety & Morals – 46.02. Unlawful carrying weapons. (a) A person commits an offense if intentionally, knowingly , or recklessly carries on or about his person a handgun, illegal knife, or club. [Exceptions: official; actor was own premises; was traveling; engaged in lawful hunting, fishing, or other sporting activity; security guard].”

    My cautions,

    1. I found this on a private website not official from the State of Texas. I believe it is the actual law just not sure if anything has changed.

    2. What is the legal definition of “traveling”?

    More to follow,


  15. I’d actually be more interested to see if Texas has specific laws enacted during a crisis that supercede regular law.

    During the whole Bird-Flu scare, the State of Colorado (where I live) gave it’s governor extraordinary powers during times of crisis. These include the ability to secure food, liquor, ammunition & firearms, etc. as well as enforcing quarantines and nullifying the right to assemble.

    WHile you may be able to carry a 7″ blade while travelling (as an example), if you can demonstrate that you are moving from one location to another, if a “Crisis” is occurring you may not be able to possess it under those conditions.

    Ain’t it wonderful, this mish-mash of contradicting and interwoven laws?

  16. Jack,

    You have come to same place i have on this issue so I never keep a knife over 5.5 inches in my BoB during my daily drive from home to work. When engaged in a lawfull activity (hunting or fishing)i normally have a larger knife with me.

    Would love to here what your brother-in-law or any other LEO has to say on this.


  17. Google Maps –

    I’ve been looking at printing off, as suggested, maps using Google Maps. But I am not liking the way they are going to print out.

    Steps Taken:
    Get directions for point a to point b. Point A being work, and B being home. Print – Printing give mini-map with text directions. And several will be on one 8 1/2×12 page.

    I’d prefer one map per page, with the route highlighted. Even if it turns into a 2 or 4 pages route map, that is find with me, as it should give other roads which could be used. Of course, several maps would be printed, to account for different routes (navigation rule of 3).

    I’m a bit curious as to if others are printing any maps, and how they are doing it. I like the idea of AAA’s Trip Tik or the Rand McNall Map books,.. but they are not zoomed in enough or they don’t cover the area I wish to have on the map page…

    Ideas? Thanks

  18. Trash Bags – On occasion you want to disappear,.. But in many cases you want to be found. Taking a lesson from Les Stroud – Use RED trash Bags.

    Other then as @infobomber mentioned you can slit the bag open and use as a shelter. Needs depends on use.

  19. Bug out bag. Try to take foods that do not take water to prepare, I see so many bug out
    bags with things like, instant oatmeal, hot chocolate & soups. The water should be for
    drinking & take vitamins & protein bars. I also take a bottle of fiber, not only is
    fiber needed but it also swells for a full feeling. I came across what is called
    Lifecaps. They are a capsule that has everything needed to survive without food with
    the exception of water. It is full of vitamins & minerals plus Iodine. Anyway, you take
    three of them a day & drink water. I can actually take enough food in one backpack to
    las 6 months because of these little Lifecaps, protein bars, fiber & water. I will run
    out of water in a week so I do carry a small filter & a couple of those straw water
    filters that filter the water as you suck.
    You do not always have the ability or time to heat water to make soup or oatmeal. Anyway,
    after I bought 25 bottles I found a coupon code & bought 75 bottles more. The coupon code
    is… healthcap It will get you 33% off. There are also sites that have those filter straws
    that are cheaper than any of the stores around here. (SLC) I think they are a really good
    idea along with some purification pills. I cannot remember the sites off the top of my head
    but you can Google for aquamira filter straw. Aquamira is the manufacture but do not buy
    off there site because I have found them for almost 1/2 what they want on their own site
    on other sites. Good luck, Gods speed & get serious about your bug out bag!

  20. Todd,

    A couple of suggestions, here:

    First, I’m not going to say anything negative about Lifecaps. Let me make one simple suggestion, though:

    Try living in a non-survival situation with these pills for just three days. Follow the recommended usage/dosage. See what happens.

    I would suggest that it’s not wise to rely upon items you have not tested yourself. You may find that they are somewhat. . .lacking.

    If you read carefully, you will find out that they ARE NOT FOOD. They state (and I quote from their website here) :

    \" When your body receives pure nutrients, it no longer feels hungry and can function as normal. If energy is needed, your body feels free to burn its naturally-stored fuel, or body fat. \"

    This means that Lifecaps are NOT food, they’re merely nutrients that FOOL the body into thinking it’s satisfied. Any exertion, exercise or work you do will make your body use it’s own bodyfat as a fuel source.

    I.e., it’s NOT FOOD. Storing these multivitamins will not feed you or provide you with the massive amount of calories you may need to survive a situation.

    Carry food. Period. Not just a super multivitamin.

    Second, in your message, you state that you \". . .will run out of water in a week. . .\"

    Exactly how much water do you carry in your pack?

    I ask, because if you are making a bug-out bag and expect any sort of physical exertion, then one week’s worth of water carried in your pack would weigh over 35 lbs., alone.

    How much water is enough for 7 days?

    The Professor

  21. Ration your sweat – not your water.

    I don’t know anything about Lifecaps,. so I am not going to say anything for or against that.

    Food items in the BOB: Oatmeal, Soups, Tea/Coffee – I can’t see any reason *NOT* to have these items. Part of the mentality of the BOB is mental support not just physical support.

    If you are in a ‘hard run’ then you are not going to have time to heat water,.. this is understandable. But if you are sitting somewhere, cold and wet, then a warm cup of soup, tea or a bowl of oatmeal is going to be a mental boost as well as a healthy boost to your core temperature.

    There is no need to *hard boil* water for tea/coffee, soup as it only needs to be somewhere on the order of 140 – 180 deg. You are not going to lose that much water by heating it.

  22. @Gene

    Great points and to add to them. The belief that if you use water to make soup or tea or even a dehydrated food like say a Mountain House ration is “wasting the water” is just that, a myth.

    Other then the very small portion of the water that is lost to steam the rest of the water isn’t gone, it is still consumed. This is a pretty simple concept that often escapes many people. It is indeed good to have some no prep foods but weight is weight. You either carry the additional weight as moisture in the hydrated food or you carry the weight as extra liquid water. In the end you still have practical weight limit and the same actual consumable amount of water.

    This makes having some dehydrated food more not less flexible. As you can choose to use the water to prep the food or defer food consumption and choose to just drink water depending on the situation. If you carry all hydrated food the water involved is tied up in the food and can only be used in one way.

    Cool stuff huh?

  23. ‘Water Myth’

    It the nearly 36 hours of considering my response regarding wasting water on making soup or a beverage, that was one of the point I had considered.

    If I make a cup of tea, It’s to drink, I’ll lose a pinch in the tea bag,.. But in the great grand scheme of things, it is minute.

    Depending on the event or arena,… water is more precious then gold. But so also is your mental ability to process a situation. However, with the right skill set and the proper tools, one can acquire water from *NEARLY* anywhere.

    You need to care enough water in you bag to get you through from point A to point C,.. and maybe a bit extra… but make sure you have the means to filter ‘new’ water also.

  24. When I assemble my kits, I have a set of guidelines that I strive to attain. In my case, this means that a full-blown PERK (Personal Emergency Resource Kit, what I call my type of BOB), must completely support the wearer for 24 hours with no outside support. It must provide support for 7 days with the water procurement/purification after 24 hours. It must provide support (almost) indefinitely with food and water procurement and preparation.

    I normally keep 6 MRE’s as food to eat in case I don’t have a few moments to prepare anything. I also have a one-quart bottle each of pasta stars, instant rice and dehydrated mashed potatoes and a small bag of “flavorings” such as beef, ham and chicken bouillon cubes (those flavoring packets from Ramen noodles work great, too). An Esbit-type stove, metal canteen cup and either fuel tabs or some handy twigs tend can boil water in less than 10 minutes. The Mashed potatoes need only hot water, the rice and pasta require you to cook an additional 10 minutes over heat to be perfect (just let it sit for a while, it’s all nutrition even if it’s not al dente).

    But, it goes a long way to stretching out the MRE foods.

    As Gene said, finding water is not that big of an issue, generally, unless you’re in the high Desert. Even then, hopefully, you should have already pre-located water sources and have them mapped on your bug-out route.

  25. Code Ready –
    I looked over, and even started to process the plan with CodeReady,.. but found that they are very limited in location.
    While it’s a great site from what I have read and reviewed thus far, it is pigeon-holed to one specific geographic area and is ‘nearly’ pointless for to many to use.
    If they expanded the site to cover the entire U.S.A – I think it would help even more people be better prepared.

    But it’s a great resource to start with.

  26. For anyone who wears dress shoes to work (especially women’s shoes with heels), I suggest throwing a pair of sneakers/socks in trunk.

    I also keep enough money stashed in the car to buy gas, go through a drive-thru, get my car out of the parking garage. This is for any time I accidentally leave my purse at home or find myself short of cash.

  27. Good Point Christine – Some have more then one bag,.. Each bag having a specific purpose. I was just thinking over the last week or so, that I need to add another set to my list.

    The GET Home bag.. While some items can be the same in the GHB and the BOB,.. you can include fewer items just to get you home… to your BOB,..

  28. It might be a good idea to keep a spare set of current prescription glasses/contacts in the bag, or at the least, a case for contacts that you may be wearing so you can take them out to rinse or when you sleep.

  29. The world today is ruled by the aggressive use of force, and in the event of chaos, it would be even more brutial. If you don\’t have the skill or the mindset to defend your supplies, you are simply gathering goodies for the goons who will take what you have just before they take your life. Prepare, but develop the skills and have the weapons to defend your supplies.