Have One, But Be Realistic.
I’ve been what you would call a prepper since before Kurt Saxon ever coined the term “Survivalist”, which was long before the term “Prepper” was a thing.
And boy the “culture” of being prepared has morphed several times over the last 5 decades. Actually, long ago it wasn’t even a culture. I was born during the time when the most prepared families were building bomb shelters in their backyards. And they were called crazy back then too.
Here on the Gulf Coast though, being ready for a hurricane was just a part of living here. As for the "Red Menace", that was bomb shelters if you could afford it, and a lot more supplies. Back then, "Red Dawn" wasn't even thought of. And we all knew the Ruskies didn't have a chance if they tried, since we all had our thurty-thurty's, 45's, and a box of shells each.
Why do I bring this up? Well, I brought up the subject of GHB/EDC bag contents in the MoF Group on Fakebook after a buckle broke on my EDC bag. Then after I made those posts, EDC/GHB/BOB bags were the subject on episodes of podcasts I listen to.
On one of those episodes, there was a comment something like “no one needs a Bug-Out-Bag if they don’t have anywhere to bug out to, right?”
I don’t agree. I believe everyone should have a Bug-Out-Bag. But I also don’t think of Bug-Out-Bags the way most people do either.
So, what does “Bug Out” mean to you? For me, it means we have to leave our home immediately for our safety. No advance warning. We need to leave ASAP.
Recently I also posted in the MoF Fakebook Group about a cut gas line in our neighborhood. It turned out to be a small service line that someone cut in their backyard, and was no danger to us or our home. Yet we didn’t know that at the time. As soon as I realized what I was hearing, then smelling, I put our Bug-Out-Bags by the front door ready to go. We almost “bugged out”.
Yet it was just our Bug-Out-Bags I positioned by the door. None of our camping gear. None of our cooking gear. None of our Food kits. None of our SHTF weapons kits. None of our Blackout kits. That’s because I don’t think of our Bug-Out-Bags as packs for us to go out, be off grid, and survive “in the wild”.
Rather, our Bug-Out-Bags contain the items we need if for some unexpected reason we have to leave to our home, be it just evacuate our home for a short time before coming back home, or if it’s because our home has been, or will be, damaged or destroyed, and we have to abandon it.
Our Bug-Out-Bags have no food. No water. No “off grid” gear. What they do contain, is copies of important documents, account information, medical information, insurance information, things of that nature. Not just hard copies, but also digital backups of our data, especially family pictures. They include changes of clothes. They also have a small supply of my wife's prescription meds, as well as some OTC meds. But not really anything else.
If we had needed to leave our home and stay at either a hotel, or with a family member, until it was safe to return, our Bug-Out-Bags contain what we we may have realistically needed, in a realistic situation.
If that cut gas line had been worse, and then ignited, and then damaged or destroyed our house, what would we have had to do next? We wouldn’t have needed to find a place to pitch a tent, we would have needed to go rent a hotel room. We wouldn’t need to be able to make a fire to cook dinner, we’d have needed to be able to pay for a meal at a food establishment. We would have needed to be able to contact our insurance company. If one of us was injured, we wouldn’t need stuff to build a makeshift splint, we’d have needed to be able to provide healthcare insurance information, along with medical history, at the ER. Everything in house can be replaced. But what will it take to do so? We had everything we "needed" in our Bug-Out-Bags. From house insurance information, to a copy of our deed, to medical records, etc.
It’s fun building the various bags. Be they a BoB, GHB, EDC, or even a "I’m Never Coming Home" bag. But think about them critically. What are your realistic needs? What will you realistically need to do? Example: If you work just 3 miles from home, do you realistically need a fishing kit in your GHB? Or, if you live in Wyoming, do you really need a bottle mosquito repellant during winter?
If you plan to put together a Bug-out-Bag, keep it realistic. It’s not realistic to build one for sustaining you in the wild for months during a nuclear holocaust, but building one in case something is going to cause you to leave your home unexpectedly for a day or two is realistic. Also realistic, is your home being damage, or god forbid, destroyed. Plan on your bag having what you will need in that type of realistic scenario, rather than the fantasy of living off-grid during “Red Dawn” as a “Wolverine” fighting the Fed Bois.
As you consider your various bags, think critically, and realistically. Avoid the trap of the “fantasy”, and “oh, ah, cool gear” just for the sake of cool shit being in your bag. Keep it real. But also keep it relevant. Here on the Gulf Coast, I'd be stupid to not have that bottle of mosquito repellent in my bag......year round.....In. Every. Bag. As long as we “Bug-Out” in time, all our Bug-out-Bags need to contain is the “stuff” we’ll need immediately, and what we’ll need to restore our lifestyle.
And then there’s this... Does a Bug-Out-Bag even need to be a bag? Remember those BoB's I mentioned we had at the front door ready to go? Well, the weren’t Bags at all. They’re actually carry-on luggage with handles and rollers. I just pulled them out of the coat-closet in the hallway, and put them by the front door. Since I ain’t gonna Bug-Out without a vehicle, there is no need for it to be a pack/bag.
My EDC bag is also my GHB, and it is a pack/bag. Simply because “Every Day” I carry it into my desk at work, and it’s possible I may need to “Get Home” without my vehicle.