This is the Camebak BFM. This is the bag I use as my BOB.
Depending on how long you have been in the survival movement you have probably heard about a bug-out bag. It goes by many names, but they all refer to the same thing. A pack with supplies to help you get by for 72 hours or so. There are many lists out there of what people say you should have, but the truth is your specific situation is going to dictate what needs to be in your bag. That being said, there are some things that most people can agree should be in your bag. That is what we will cover today.
Let”s start with why we should have a BOB(bug-out bag). To do that let’s define what a BOB is intended to be. It is a portable pack containing supplies to help you evacuate a disaster for 72 hours. It is not intended to give you all you need to survive indefinitely in the wilderness. It is designed to allow you to evacuate quickly in response to a disaster. The 72 hour suggestion comes from a FEMA recommendation to have that amount on hand due to the chance that it could take up to 72 hours for FEMA to respond to a disaster.
There are many groups that recommend having a BOB. A few of these include:
The Church of Latter Day Saints
Canadian Red Cross
What needs to be included in your bag. Specifics are going to very depending on your geographic location and personal needs, but lets stick with what everyone could probably use.
-72-hours of food and water. This could be MRE’s, freeze dried foods or any other non-perishable foods. Remember that if your bag is kept in your car the heat can effect the life of your foods. The U.S recommendation for water is 1 gallon per day per person.
-I would also pack some sort of water filtration device. I like the new water bottles with filters built into the top.
-Weather appropriate clothing. I like to change out my bag contents every six months. I replace the food and water at this time and I change out some of the clothing depending on the upcoming seasons. I like to change mine in March and also in September. I like these months because they are before the temperatures change too much.
-A good first-aid kit. I would probably make one yourself instead of using the premade ones in most cases. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need 8,000 different adhesive bandages. I actually do like to buy the pre-made ones, but what I do is take out the contents and fill it with what I feel is more important. I take all of the left over items and set them aside for home use or to refill my kit if needed. At least for me, using the case with the big red cross on it dummy proofs knowing what that particular container is for in my bag.
-I always want to have multiple fire-starting tools. This normally includes: matches, lighter, and a ferrocerium rod. Steel wool is another great option. You can use steel wool and a 9-volt battery to get a fire going very quickly.
-I always like to have a map included. I think you should include maps that are detailed enough that they show all of the county roads and have contour lines so you know the terrain. A good compass is also something that needs to be included. Being able to orient your map to your compass and get you a directional azimuth is a skill that is easily acquired and can be a lifesaver.
-Medication. This isn’t included with the first-aid kit because I am referring to prescription medication. If you need medication you need to make sure you have enough on hand in the event of a disaster. I would recommend getting a few months supply instead of filling it monthly. It may seem a larger expense up front, but you need to remember it is still the same basic price broken down monthly and it gives you that supply upfront.
-Radio. I would recommend a hand crank/battery combo radio with weather bands.
-Lighting. I like to include an LED flashlight. I prefer LED for the battery life. I also like to have some emergency candles and glow sticks.
-Duct tape and 550 cord. These are two irreplaceable items in any bag. They are both so versatile and don’t take up a lot of space.
-Firearm. I really think you need to include a firearm, but check with your local laws and see what is allowed. I carry a compact automatic pistol, but there is nothing wrong with a good revolver. It is up to what you are most comfortable with. I would also like to include a .22 caliber rifle. It wont necessarily fit in your bag, but would come in very handy if things stretched out a little longer.
-I also try to keep some cash in my bag. In a disaster situation you may not have access to your money if it is in a bank. I would recommend a few ounces of junk silver as well.
-Certified copies of important documents.(birth certificates, wedding certificates, bank account information, etc…)
-An emergency plan. Everyone in your family needs this in there bag. It needs to include emergency phone numbers and addresses and directions to at least 3 rally points. Evacuation routes to all of these rally points and a backup route for each.
-Knives. I always include two knives. This is for two reasons. First off is redundancy. Remember 2 is 1 and 1 is none. The second is that I always like to have a good fixed blade knife and a good folding blade also( on a side note I have a review of two excellent fixed blade knives on this site). I like to keep the folding knife on my person and the fixed blade in the bag.
-Small fishing kit. I use an “Altoid” can. Include some small hooks, fishing line, small weights, a small bobber and a few small lures if there is enough room. This doesn’t fit with fishing, but I also like to include some wire for making snares.
-Signal mirror. You can learn how to use a signal mirror in a relatively short amount of time. There are video’s online that will show you this. For me the easiest way to do it is hold the mirror near your eye and get the reflected light to shine on your other hand. Make your hand into a “C” shape and have the majority of the light pass through the C with just a little on the side to show you that it is still in the right place. Once you have it in place move your hand, while keeping the light in the C, until you can see what you were trying to signal is visible through the C as well. At that point slightly turn the mirror back and forth.