Just to recap. Bugging out should be your last resort. When you bug out you leave behind your best shelter, most of your possessions, and perhaps your peace of mind. You are also more vulnerable when you bug out, whether it is by foot or vehicle. Nevertheless, it is sometimes necessary. If your neighborhood has gone from being on the edge of peaceful demonstrations to being in the middle of a riot it is time to move on.
In our scenario we are bugging out in our SUV. Alright, then why do you need a bug out bag? Because if you don’t you will forget the one thing that would have kept you alive. What is that you ask? Well, I have no idea, but if you had time to think about it, i.e., putting your bug out bag together ahead of time you would have packed it. Remember the five P’s-Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
Your bug out bag also serves the secondary function of allowing you to proceed on foot if something happens to your vehicle. Thus, the first two items that you need are a good pair of shoes and of course, the bag itself. Any good pair of hiking shoes will do. Just make sure that you break them in before your life depends on them. As for your pack the best advise that I can give you is make sure that your pack fits and that you can integrate a hydration system into it. You will appreciate being able to get a drink of water on the move.
The next two items that you need to include in your bug out bag are a sleeping bag and good tent. You need to be able to stay dry and warm. Hypothermia sucks. Oddly enough, if you look on YouTube more than half of the bug out bag videos you will see do not include these items. I find it odd that otherwise well prepared people would leave out these items. Maybe they are all planning on sleeping in debris huts. Which would lead me to believe that they have never actually used one. Building a debris hut is a great skill to have, its just not one you want to have to use.
While you should have some water in your hydration system in your pack, it will not be enough to keep you going for long. Thus, a good water filter would go a long ways towards keeping you alive. Even a survival straw is better than nothing. I would also advise keeping some water purification tablets on hand. If your life depends on something it doesn’t hurt to have a backup. One is none, two is one. I also carry a metal cup for boiling water in an emergency.
You also need to be able to start a fire. Being able to use a bow drill is a great skill to have. However, like sleeping in a debris hut, it is a skill I would prefer not to have to use. That is why I carry a lighter, some waterproof matches (in a waterproof container) and a fire steel. For tinder I carry dryer lint in a waterproof match box.
Knives. I love a good knife. In my bug out bag I have a Leatherman Wave, a Swiss Army Knife, and a Cold Steel Recon Tanto. Between these I can handle most cutting tasks. A Laplander saw is also a good thing to have. What knives you carry is up to you. Some prefer just to carry one big knife, others prefer a smaller knife and a hatchet. It really just depends on you own personal preference. If you haven’t been out in the woods enough to develop a preference then you need to camp more often.
In the food department I usually carry a few protein bars and MRE’s. I also carry two 110 traps for trapping small game. They don’t take up a lot of room and are the most versatile traps available. I also carry Para cord which can be used to make snares, for fishing line, and for about a thousand other uses (make sure you get actual Para cord with the five smaller inner strands). Some heavy fishing line with a good variety of hooks and sinkers should keep you fed. If you can, I would also include a .22 pistol such as a Ruger 22/45 or Browning Buckmark for small game. Avoid pistols like the Walther P22, Ruger SR22, and other “plinkers”. These guns are fun to shoot but not good choices for taking headshots at squirrels.
What else do you need? Raingear, extra socks, something to cook in, a flashlight (or three), hand sanitizer, baby wipes, medications, a few bandanas, and a good first aid kit for sure. How about a solar charger for your cellphone. There are dozens of other items I could suggest but what you can carry is limited both by your physical stamina and the size of your pack.
Do you think we missed something? Leave a comment and let us know.