‘Keeping you alive’
A BOB (bug out bag) is basically a kit that contains everything you need in order to survive on your own for at least 72 hours. (The number 72 comes from the fact that we as humans cannot survive for longer than 72 hours without water.)
The focus with a BOB is on evacuation from a disaster. A BOB is not a survival kit. Its purpose is to get you through the first 72 hours post disaster. It is not something you take camping to your favorite lake or on a hike. It is a temporary emergency kit.
Other names for a BOB include: go bag, 72-hour kit, grab bag, battle box, or a Personal Emergency Relocation Kit (PERK). Regardless of what you choose to call it, the purpose remains the same; to have a prepared bag ready to go in the event of an evacuation from a disaster.
BEFORE YOU BUILD YOUR OWN
Your BOB should be packed based on your bug out plan. It’s difficult to know what you’ll need to pack if you don’t know where you’ll be or what you’ll be doing. Plan first, then pack.
Do some research into why you need things before you just take someone’s word that you do, especially if they’re trying to sell you something. You should have a bug out route already specified, ad that route may include other locations that could supplement your BOB.
What should you put in your BOB? That is entirely up to your personality and opinion. Although here are some tips below, take time to research for yourself what is of highest priority to you and your family. These things can get you pointed in the right direction:
- Tools – map, hand shovel, fire starter kit, bowie knife
- Light and fire starter kit
- First aid kit
- Solar crank AM/FM radio
- Tying, binding, snaring (cords, ropes)
- Water (with filter)
- Food – items should be light weight, provide essential nutrients and be suitable for long-term storage of one year or more. (That way it’s easy to replace the food on a yearly basis)
- Personal hygiene items
- Cooking and eating utensils
- Small sewing kit
- Apparel – light-weight work gloves, beanie hat, extra socks, and head net. (plus of course, extra shirt, trousers and underwear)
- Outdoor survival kit – compass, extra flashlight and batteries
- Firearm – Again it is your personal choice of a handgun or rifle. A common rifle would be a .22 (Don’t forget about ammunition – typically about 100 rounds per weapon)
Each item listed above should be the minimum amount needed for your 72-hour kit. Remember to pack spares of the most important things. This is not the mandatory list, but some very important items to get you started on your own BOB.
‘Knowledge takes time. Some would rather pack the weight than spend the time.’ - Creek Stewart
Knowledge weighs nothing. It does not come freely though. The sacrifice in gaining knowledge is your time. The more you learn about shelter, fire, water, and food, the less gear you’ll need to pack.
People tend to always ask how they can decrease the weight of their BOB. Each person is different, but in order to decrease your own BOB, knowledge is what you must gain. For example, if you understood the uses of a tarp vs. a tent, you could save a few pounds. However, with a tarp, you will always have at least one opening, which gives access to the elements, insects, and other unwanted creatures. Tarps are much lighter and might save a minute or two in the setup process.
Learning skills can mean less equipment you’ll have to carry. If you can make a field-expedient fishing pole, for example, you don’t need a fishing pole in your BOB. Also remember that survival skills can be used for bartering. So it is in your best interest to learn how to do and make things in the wild.
Have you ever tried to go get something and it is gone, broken, or malfunctioning? Well don’t plan on anything changing when your reach inside your BOB for something you really need. Do your best to pack two of something, instead of just one. You will be glad you did. This is one highly recommended technique from experts, and survivalists who have seen the need first hand. Erase the worry and pack spares of all your most important things.
Keep your bags ready to go. Don’t have them lying all over the floor after you finish counting things or get back from a camping trip. It’s better to grab what you have at short notice than not be able to grab much because you didn’t have time.
You’re trying to plan for worst case here and worse case is that you have a few minutes to go. Don’t spend it packing. Put your families BOB’s in the garage or storage room, and make sure every member knows where they are, and what is in them. The storage place for your BOB should be cool and dark, that means no extra heat or humidity.
Another good tip is to always keep your vehicles gas tank at least half-way full. You never know when you will have to leave within minutes, and little steps like this one could save your life.
Some items will have to be rotated every so often. It depends on the item, but if it is food, packaged or not, it will have an expiration date. Pay attention to those dates and keep usable items in your BOB.
Some items to rotate may include:
- Personal hygiene
- Ammunition (as long as you prevent exposure to extreme heat, high humidity and temperature fluctuations, your ammunition can be expected to last 10 years)
It is up to you whether to rotate regular items every 6 months or 1 year. Make a list of what you will need to rotate and keep your BOB updated.
One of the biggest priorities and must haves in your BOB is fire starting supplies. Fire is without a doubt in a survivor’s top 5 priorities. A bug out bag without a guaranteed way to start a fire is incomplete and practically useless.
Fire is a tool that can be used to regulate your core body temperature and avoid/recover from hypothermia in cold weather conditions. It can quickly dry wet clothe and heat rocks for radiant heat while you sleep. Fire can provide light in the dark and boost the morale of those who may be emotionally exhausted. It can be used to boil water and disinfect water. Fire can be used as a signal asking for help/rescue. It can be used to cook food. Fire can help you prepare tools/weapons. And among many other things, it gives you light in darkness.
Many survivors were saved by their ability to start a fire. Therefore, it wasn’t the fire that saved them, but their ability. They took the time to learn such a crucial life-saving skill, and that time was well spent. Don’t get overwhelmed with the time it might take to learn survival skills or create a BOB. Think about how it is time well spent, not wasted.
EMERGENCY MEETING LOCATION
Having a plan for your family and close friends during emergencies and natural disasters removes worries and alleviates stress during extremely difficult times. If your family and close friends all knows your emergency meeting place, you can focus your energies on recovering from a disaster instead of responding. Setting up an emergency meeting location is easy and just takes a few minutes.
There might be a location in your neighborhood that would be accessible in the event of a disaster. If not, you might also need to plan a location out of town.
Most local churches, or even schools offer their buildings as emergency meeting locations. Reach out to those locations and make a plan on what would be the best fit for your family and close friends.
Some people live near mountains, forests, or valleys. If you cannot meet locally, take a drive to possible surrounding areas, and choose a safe meeting place. It is wise to have a map with you at all times in case you get lost, especially when you are looking for the meeting place.