The Bug Out Bag: An Overview of a Necessity

 

Just remember, “Bob is your friend.”

 

Who comes up with these neat names? “Bug Out Bag” equals B.O.B., get it?

 

Some people have been putting together survival supplies for years. Y2K was a bust and made a lot of people, right or wrong, look like paranoid fruitbars. I was more concerned with everyone else’s reaction to Y2K than Y2K as an “event.”

 

Before it was “Y2K,” it was the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In between those things, it was other things…

 

It’s not about being a lunatic, just being prepared. You know, DISASTER PREPARATION… You know, something the GOVERNMENT is telling you to do now…

 

What was once the sole domain of the mislabeled “paranoid, radical fringe,” is now Public Policy for the most part. It is not forced, of course, but they are giving you an idea how to go about getting started and you should take the information and build on that.

 

But if you think about it, hell, think back to the TV show “Dennis the Menace.” What was that hat Mr. Wilson was so proud of? My memory might be failing me, it was Mr. Wilson, right? The neighbor, wore glasses…

 

Well, anyway, he wore a Civil Defense hat. Remember those? Remember the “CD” emblem?

 

We used to be a lot smarter than we are now, it’s sad really.

 

There is NO ONE who works in any major city who would not benefit from a small backpack full of survival supplies now. Inevitably, some people will scoff at this or they will start making excuses that they don’t have room in the bag they tote around… Just like some people make excuses and plead “inconvenience” when it comes to carrying something as simple as O.C. Pepper Spray to defend themselves and then criticize the Police because they are unable to save them.

 

(I have actually had some people tell me that on a spiritual level, they feel if they carry any sort of weapon that the “Universe” will then dictate that they will be placed in a situation that they have to use it. If they refuse to carry a weapon, however, they will be protected and the dangerous situations won’t even happen to them. Such is the nature of strange philosophies now in this country… Do not argue with these people, they don’t have a screw loose, they have multiple screws rattling around…)

 

You might have to exit the workplace; you might not be able to make it home. You might not be able to get anything to eat. And, you might not be able to get anything to eat that you can afford on the money you have in your pocket because the fast food restaurants might all be closed, the ATMs might not work either (power loss or Telco problems, etc.). If they do work, they might be empty from everyone else tapping their accounts for emergency funds.

 

Best to have a little bit of food and clean water to carry you through such a thing…

 

It is better to be able to have some clean water, have the ability to start a safe (contained) fire, have some rice and then boil it up and pour Tabasco on it. The alternative to paying some scalping bastard at a hotdog stand five times (Or more!) his regular prices for a piece of cylindrical mystery meat on an elongated piece of bread. And a bottle of water that costs several dollars instead of a couple bucks is unforgivable. See where I’m coming from? From what I understand, there are laws in place to stop this – but that won’t do you much good during the situation… If the situation is really bad, don’t bet on the Police being able to respond to calls for help of ANY kind, let alone dealing with people who profiteer off of tragedies to make a few bucks.

 

Also, if you live in a place like New York and you see people doing this sort of thing, NEVER buy anything from that bastard AGAIN. Shun them.

 

Just this past summer (2003), New York City and a huge chunk of The East Coast (and part of Canada) suffered a blackout. Remember the New Yorkers walking home? Give it some thought. It’s not “paranoia” and only people who suffer with The Ostrich Syndrome would call any of this paranoia. Some people hide from the reality of things and when they see someone else refreshing their psyche with regard to reality, they call the sane person the nut. It is a rather unpleasant defense mechanism that human beings have. It drives people who are usually rational and logical to the emotional throes of gun control as well.

 

Starting out

 

You want to choose your survival essentials carefully, after that; it is usually personal taste, climate, season and/or geography that will drive your need for “extras.” Weight and space is another real concern. You don’t want to be humping a huge, heavy pack through a city street. You choose your basics, you know what you need, then add on as required.

 

Water

 

It is a good idea to have some sort of water in your bag and not simply the ability to purify water. Both are important, but having the water on-hand is very important.

 

You can use Nalgene bottles or you can have sealed, pre-packaged water packs from various suppliers. The sealed packs are obviously very attractive because you don’t have to swap the water out. It has an expiration date and you simply replace it and dispose of the old supply when you reach the expiration date.

 

Food

 

So, you need some food and you need some that is going to last. Let’s say a 48-hour supply. Something you can carry on your back or in a shoulder bag. Something that will not go bad for months and leave you with something resembling Penicillin instead of edible niceties…

 

So, you might want a couple of small cans of…Dinty Moore Beef Stew in there, perhaps Starkist Tuna is your thing and you would prefer that, fine. Dinty Moore is great camping fare! You peel the label off of the can, take a P-38 can opener and crack it open. Then, using a pair of pliers, you put that can over an open flame, prop the can up so it does not fall over. Stir with a spoon and in a few minutes, VOILA! You have hot food. You can do this with Hormel Chili and a lot of other things. You can have an ample supply of the many mysterious corporate concoctions available as “Potted Meat, Deviled Ham and SPAM” as well as other things. Much like Scrapple, these meat-like substances can be summed up by merely saying, “Everything but the OINK is in there…”

 

You put in a half dozen to an even dozen of your preferred flavor of MetRx bars in there (Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough are the best tasting in my opinion, just for those that have never had them.).

 

 

A large container of water…some TABASCO, which always seems to make everything taste better…and you are good to go.

 

Put some candy bars in there! Good, fast energy, M & Ms are good for this and have been used in the past by the military. Sugar is good, cheap and fast energy for those that can take it without causing medical problems, etc.

 

As a matter of fact, in the U.S. Army SERE materials, there is mention of saving your sugar and then boiling it down into a hard candy and storing it for the time when you escape. Just a little background for you…

 

Mars M & M candies were used in the past by the military (WW2), the United States Air Force in particular seems incredibly fond of Chiclets gum for a sugar/energy source. You can find them in USAF Survival Kits going back to The Vietnam War.

 

I have a picture of an Arctic Ration Kit that the British use; there are Rolos chocolate/caramel candies in there too. Something else to think about, you have a wide assortment of sugary goodies to choose from.

 

 

(The picture above depicts vintage malted milk tablets from a World War Two Survival Kit.)

 

As a matter of fact, here is an interesting and rather humorous tidbit of information for you… Ovaltine powder and tablets used to come in small containers as well as other manufacturer’s malted milk tablets and these were placed in World War Two survival kits [1]. Pretty cool, huh? Tang for Astronauts and Ovaltine for the Commandos…

 

And, if you can get your hands on a supply of Hershey’s Tropical Bars, that would be great. These too were used in Survival Kits.

 

You could go all-out and purchase something like a Tilia food saver that can vacuum seal dried foods and whatnot. This is a really great idea for all sorts of survival foods. You can pack a lot of this stuff into a BOB using that method. Trail Mix, assorted nuts, dried fruit, beef jerky, the list of things you could place in long-term storage is basically only limited by your imagination.

 

You could duplicate the Arctic Ration Kit from the Brits by simply shopping at your local supermarket if you have a Tilia or Rival vacuum sealer (which is mentioned below). A good list of items patterned after that Kit but using goods available here would be:

 

Domino sugar packets

Carnation Powdered Milk

Herb Ox Beef Bullion

Lipton Tea Packets

Taster’s Choice (or other) Instant Coffee

Dried Apples and Apricots

Lipton Instant Soup

Boil In Bag Rice

Kleenex Tissue Pack

Matches

Salt Packets

Nestle, Land O Lakes or other Instant Hot Chocolate Drink

Quaker (or other) Instant Oat Meal

Nuts and Raisins

Toilet Paper

Hershey Bars (or other)

Rolos

Can (small) of meat spread (whatever type)

 

That is the list, leaving out the biscuits and Dextrose Tablets, but using things that you can buy here in a supermarket. You could assemble, in reality, your own MREs…in a way. Why not?

 

Ken Cook reminds me of the presence of GORP, which stands for, “Good Old Raisins and Peanuts.” Ken Cook further advises, “Stay away from prunes on the trail or add more Charmin and soothing ointment for swampass.”

 

You could also purchase a nice food dehydrator. Then you can purchase the fruits you want and dry them and store them in the Tilia or Rival food bags. My Dad actually bought the Ronco Food Dehydrator back in the 1970s, funny stuff. It worked too, considering it was just a cheap piece of plastic with equally cheap plastic trays in there…and a light bulb!

 

 

But if you get a good one, I do believe you can make jerky and other stuff with them too. I have to get one of them things one day…and a vacuum sealer…and…other things…

 

I would like to learn how to make real Pemmican, I have some instructions but I have to get around to doing it…make the beef jerky, pound the beef jerky into powder, render fat, mix everything with berries and insert into a sausage sleeve. I think the sausage skins/sleeves are the way to go, as I don’t feel like messing around with cleaned out intestines which is the traditional carrier for Pemmican…

 

Lemon Bars (Survival Rations) that are fortified with vitamins and whatnot seem to be a very attractive choice for your kit. They are sealed and dated and will last quite a while too.

 

I have a “Blow-Out” Emergency Medical Kit (Geared towards stopping moderate to severe hemorrhage…) from W.R. Mann at Realfighting Dot Com; it is packed in a Tilia bag. Recently, I have had a couple of things packed into vacuum-sealed bags manufactured by Rival. Rival makes a very good crock-pot! Their bags and the vacuum sealer appear to be excellent as well.

 

So, choose the rice you prefer, my preference is a bag of Zatarain’s (Cajun) Dirty Rice. Just take the Zat’s out of the box and take their sealed bag and place it in your sealed bag and you have a fairly tough bit of packaged food. Not as likely to bust leaving you with Cajun spices all over your latest Tom Clancy novel, know what I mean?

 

Containers, The BOB itself…

 

I would caution you against utilizing anything that resembles military gear for a pack or a vest. Think carefully now, OK? If you are in an urban or even a suburban setting and there is a terrorist incident… Do you really want to be walking or trotting around with a vest on that is designed to carry HAND GRENADES and magazines for AUTOMATIC WEAPONS and can be clearly identified as such by Police and Military Personnel?

 

I don’t think so. Hey, if you must do this, I think you’re taking your life into your own hands and it is an unnecessary risk, but it is your life, after all…

 

If you are lucky, you won’t get shot on sight during such a state of emergency. If you are really lucky, you will be able to fight off the hordes of people trying to scarf up your supplies after some National Guardsman dumps all of your stuff on the sidewalk because he thinks you’re a terrorist and he has to check and see if you have some sort of … SOMETHING … you are not supposed to have…

 

Meanwhile, you are lying face down with the muzzle of a Squad Automatic Weapon pressed firmly into your ear - wishing you had put some more thought into the outer Bug Out Bag container instead of landing the ”buy of the century” at Joe Shit the Ragman’s Military Surplus Emporium…

 

So, you don’t want to be sporting an ALICE Pack or some other piece of equipment as an outer container (as excellent as they are). And although I think the classic “Photographer’s Vest” would be OK, don’t use like…some sort of “Eagle Assault Vest” or you are asking for trouble…

 

If you are leaving your house because of the threat of a mudslide, you can pull it off, if it is some other incident; it’s not a good idea at all.

 

What you want is something that simply screams, “M-T-V GENERATION!” Instead of, “I’m a Terrorist, please shoot me now.” You want something that screams, “GRATEFUL DEAD!” instead of “SEAL Team Six.” Avoid peace signs, they scream, “Filthy Hippy Demonstrator.” Go in for rainbows, World Wildlife Fund and YUPPIE colors…trust me. Sure, you might have to have some anti-nausea medicine on hand to keep from projectile vomiting at the sight of your own Gucci-flage, but alive and queasy is better than hassled or finding out if SS109 really doesn’t tumble like old M16 ammunition...

 

Don’t be insulted, basically, you want to look like every other bonehead walking down the street - out of whatever mess you find yourself in. The exception being if you have to move out of an area where people are protesting a World Bank Meeting or something like that, then, you don’t want to look like a terrorist OR like a Hippy/Commie or you will be targeted. Strike a balance.

 

A lot of people have military type clothing, but military type bags and packs are best left alone by the city dweller in such an emergency.

 

Inner Containers

 

You need something to carry other items in. Like…water and rice and these sorts of things. You can carry canned goods like the aforementioned Dinty Moore Beef Stew, but they tend to be quite heavy. Rice weighs nothing, water is heavy but there is no way of getting around that problem.

 

I would suggest Nalgene Bottles, they are EXCELLENT! I have to thank my friend Alex for suggesting them. These bottles are very tough indeed; they seal up well too. So, the Nalgene bottle is an excellent way to carry water and a second way of carrying rice – as opposed to sealing rice up in vacuum bags, etc.

 

Another manufacturer also makes a metallic cup with folding handles that can be placed on the bottom of the 32-ounce Nalgene bottle.

 

While we are on the subject, you might want to get some sort of surplus “Mess Kit,” meaning, something small to cook in and eat on. A set of utensils would not be a bad idea either. If you buy surplus mess kits, etc., take them home and boil them for several minutes in a large pot. You want to rinse them off and then place them in a large pot and bring that to a good, steady, rolling boil for several minutes. Then place them in your sink and get the water really hot again and wash them thoroughly with something like Dawn Antibacterial Dish Soap. I frequent one pretty cool surplus store from time to time and the rat turds on the floor outnumber the tent pegs they have for sale. Boil the gear, you don’t know where this stuff has been stored for decades.

 

So, if you have a couple/few of these types of bottles, you should be good to go. You should carry water purification tablets for a number of reasons anyway. If you forget to change your water for a few days, if you cannot keep up with that sort of thing during the daily hustle and bustle of life, you want to have the ability to purify it so you don’t get violently ill. You can also buy pre-packaged and dated water packs too.

 

In the case of a terrorist incident, it would probably be a great idea to consider the water in a building, straight from the tap, as being contaminated anyway. Put the Potable Aqua tablets in it, better safe than sorry. Even if the “authorities” inform the public that the water is OK to drink, treat it anyway because quite frankly, you should not bet your life on someone making statements from the government who might not know everything or they might be incompetent. They might not tell the People everything for fear of creating a panic…something to think about.

 

I am not a Biochemist, OK? But I don’t think placing Potable Aqua tablets into water is going to make that water safe if some terrorist contaminates the water supply… I just don’t know, it is really bad news when you consider all of the possibilities… It depends on what they use and in what concentration. I am approaching it more from this standpoint, “Carry your own water and you know it is safe.”

 

Also, things like Earthquakes, they can rupture underground lines completely or partially, allowing contaminates to enter into the water system, best to purify the water. Dirt and rust is bad enough, you don’t want to be drinking water contaminated with sewage. What you don’t see or smell can still be present and can still kill you.

 

First Aid Kit

 

You want a relatively comprehensive First Aid Kit. I wrote an article on them months ago, check it out so I don’t have to put everything back in here. Updates and new items may be reviewed in the future as well. But for now, that is a good place to start. Obviously, if you are in New York City, you don’t have an urgent need for a Sawyer Extractor (for snakebites). Always adjust accordingly. You need a suitable sized kit that can handle everything from a splinter to arterial bleeding.

 

We all have blood and when we lose it in copious amounts, it kills us. So that is a great concern. Quick Clot is quite controversial among some people. It remains possibly the only thing that will save you in some circumstances. Yes, it will get hot, yes; it could burn you because the chemical reaction that forms the blood clot causes heat. Always use direct pressure first and really – do not use Quick Clot until it becomes obvious that you will DIE if you do not use it. That’s the general rule for this stuff.

 

W.R. Mann has forwarded me a new type of Tourniquet designed by an Emergency Medical Technician. I am going to try to get with a Doctor and an EMT locally and see what they think about it. It looks excellent to me.

 

Oh, one more thing, there is a product on the market called Purell. This is a hand sanitizer, which requires NO water. You use this stuff to wash your hands and this is very important if you have a limited supply of clean water and you are field-dressing animals. Working in all sorts of dirt, etc., can leave your hands with all sorts of germs that you don’t want to ingest in a survival situation. The last thing you want is to be herking your guts up while you are lost. You can get small bottles of this stuff at your local Pharmacy, etc.

 

Medication

 

If you are asthmatic, you want to get with your Doctor about extra Inhalers. You don’t want to be caught without an extra Rescue Inhaler.

 

For very bad allergies, you want to have the medication necessary for this sort of thing as well. You know what you need, acquire it, from inhalers to Zyrtec to antibiotics. Obtain it and keep it in the bag.

 

Over the counter medications that can make life less miserable is a good idea. Having something like Advil, Antacids or perhaps some Orajel can mean the difference between being as comfortable as circumstances permit and being absolutely miserable. Your teeth can be in absolutely fabulous condition, you can trip and fall on your face, or something can hit you in the face and damage you. Prepare for that, the teeth are fragile and if you have a problem or suffer an injury there, the difference between being miserable – possibly to the point of being incapacitated – is a $6.00 tube of Orajel; purchase the maximum strength tube that is 20% benzocaine. Do not use if you are allergic to local anesthetics such as novacaine, etc.

 

Another thing to consider is a Japanese Pharmaceutical product known as “Salonpas.”

 

These are 2.56 X 1.65 inch pads with adhesive backing. I really wore my arm out one time and it hurt so badly I could not raise it. My Wife kept telling me to use these things and I refused. I figured anything that smelled like menthol and was cheap as dirt wouldn’t work. I was very wrong. These medicated pads work great. I let her place one on the upper arm and about three hours later, I could move it. A few hours more and it was like it never hurt at all.

 

So, if you twisted something or got busted up somehow and you just had to get out of the area, not being able to afford the luxury of holing up to “rest” somewhere… You could use these to make the pain bearable and with some luck, all the pain might be alleviated.

 

At a local pharmacy, I buy boxes that contain 40 sheets in the size mentioned above. You know how much? $4.00 at a small, privately owned pharmacy. In most parts of the country, you cannot throw a dead cat without hitting a Rite-Aid or a CVS. In my area, they charge exactly double what the independent pharmacies charge. Your experience may differ.

 

Active Ingredients:

 

Methyl Salicylate 132mg

Camphor 25mg

Menthol 120mg

Tocopherol Acetate 21mg

 

Everything listed so far is what I keep on hand and you can add in Sudafed and Benadryl.

 

You can use “Valu-Dryl” as a replacement just like you can get cheaper brand name replacements for Sudafed.

 

As far as replacements for Advil, I find that the new Advil Liqui-Gel green things are the best headache and general flu symptom “aches and pains” reliever yet.

 

Shelter

 

Can you utilize something like a tarp – like an SAS “Basha” for shelter? If so, do some shopping around and some research and get that in your BOB. You might have to slum it in a refrigerator box like some unfortunate homeless individual if you are located in a city, keep the O.C. Pepper Spray in hand as you sleep if you have to do this. Prepare to defend yourself…

 

If you are in a city, you might be able to spend a night in a public or private shelter. If they insist on taking your gear and “holding it” for you, pass them on and keep walking. You won’t have any gear left when you wake up. Or, you might get into some trouble; especially if you have a fixed blade knife in there or something and they pilfer through your gear and discover it. You can take this to the bank: if some Red Cross Volunteer thinks you have a knife or they discover it, WHATEVER, airplanes could be actively falling out of the sky and they would consider YOU a threat to be dealt with by contacting whatever Law Enforcement was available. Ditto that for City, County and State – sponsored shelters.

 

What time of year is it? What is the climate like where you are now for that time of year and what might it be like if some inclement weather strikes days or weeks later?

 

These are all things to consider. Sweaters, windbreakers, light, medium and heavy jackets/coats. Boots, tennis shoes, whatever you might envision having a need for, consider it with the space and weight constraints and add according to real need. Weather and seasonal considerations rule your choices after carefully considering the size and weight of the items(s) involved.

 

Other “Cloth”

 

Bandanas! Carry a few of them, they are excellent for so many things, consult the article on this website for further information on them and other items similar to them for survival use.

 

·        Bandanas

·        Balaclavas, Headovers and Wristovers

·        Muslin Bandage (Military Surplus, etc.) Triangular Bandage

·        French “Cheiche”

·        Heavy-Duty work gloves

 

Tools

 

Do you think you will need basic tools? What if your vehicle breaks down? Perhaps your “vehicle” is your bicycle, prepare to make minor repairs. I know you can’t carry a transmission for a Hummer around in your BOB, but you get the idea. Having a kit to plug tires and knowing, beforehand, how to use it, can be a real lifesaver. Basic tools are an excellent thing to consider. Don’t wait until your life depends on it, to learn new and valuable skills.

 

Besides a great multitool and a pocketknife or small fixed blade knife, a hatchet can be an excellent tool to have for emergencies. I recommend Estwing Hatchets; they have no equal as far as I’m concerned.

 

You could use one as a vicious weapon for Self-defense if need be and it won’t raise the hackles of squeamish people like a larger knife or Tomahawk would either. Yet, it is every bit as viable. People talk about “Axe Murderers” yet if someone is carrying an axe in the woods, they don’t freak out. But if you carry a small fixed blade or folding knife, all of the sudden you are a mass murderer – waiting to happen. People tend to be emotional to the point of absurdity and terrified of their own shadow for the most part.

 

How big is your BOB? You could get a crowbar or pinch bar in there, adds a good bit of weight and takes up some space, but if you really need one, if you think there is a good chance you will…do it if you can.

 

A “Halligan Tool” might be a good idea as well. That would be a rather large, heavy and oddly shaped tool to be humping around…

 

Be keenly aware that some tools like crowbars and Halligan Tools could be considered “Burglar’s Tools” by some people, including Law Enforcement Personnel regardless of your NEED or INTENT to use them for survival.

 

I’m not going to discuss lockpicks at this time. Maybe some time in the future. There are a lot of people that think they are going to buy some and stick them in their bag and then, when the disaster happens, they will be able to pull out their handy copy of “Lockpicking Simplified” and they are going to be able to do what they want. It does not work that way…

 

An Automatic Centerpunch can allow you to escape your vehicle should you find your vehicle in water. Remember, in shallow water with you trapped in a vehicle upside-down with no means of escape equals death. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to be in deep water to die. Prepare. Keep one in your BOB and one in a center console of your vehicle.

 

Flashlights and Batteries

 

On this website, there are a lot of articles on LED lights. In the Survival Articles, I touch on them as well. Everything from fighting with them to the general “need” for them is on this site. Check them all out.

 

Maglites are excellent, but they are just as heavy and cumbersome as they are tough. They also eat up batteries…

 

Avoid them at this point because you can substitute SureFire Flashlights from Laser Products, Inc., and MANY small LED lights too. The SureFires eat batteries up badly, but you can have them (the lights) in reserve when you need a lot of intense white light.

 

A great combination for emergency lights in your BOB would be the Sure-Fire E2e and an Inova X5 because they both use the same types of Lithium batteries. And, they both use two of these batteries. You don’t want to have to carry around various types of batteries. You want a few lights but you want some crossover when it comes to the batteries they need. The CMG Ultra Infinity Task Light is just about the best pocket light I have come across for pure utility purposes…

 

Optics

 

Like a Sure-Fire Flashlight in your hand during a walk through a dark parking lot, spotting trouble beforehand can often save you the problems and danger of confrontations.

 

This holds true for optics as well.

 

You can survey an area with a simple set of binoculars, or a monocular, and decide if you wish to go that way or not. Or perhaps find another way out of whatever mess you find yourself thrust into…

 

When I was a kid, there were a few things that were off-limits for me. One was the always-loaded Walther P-38 9mm. Two other things happened to be the (real) magnifying glass on my Dad’s desk. Real glass, not plastic, stainless steel band going around it and secured in a real stainless steel handle – not the abysmal plastic things you see today that you can scratch with your fingernail (lens) or break easily (handle).

 

Another was the large set of Bushnell Binoculars in the mysterious camera case. You didn’t touch the binos because they were slightly over $100.00 and that was a lot of money back in the late 1970s.

 

Now, you could violate the NO TOUCH RULE on the Bushnell binos and the Magnifying Glass, but you never violated the RULE about the Walther and other things that were placed in the firearms category.

 

“Where are my binoculars! And where is my magnifying glass?”

 

Well, I used them quite a bit. It was his fault actually; he is the one that bought me a microscope and a telescope. I could not use the telescope in the woods so I used his binoculars and I could not examine bugs and other interesting things OUTSIDE with the microscope so I snatched his Magnifying Glass all of the time…

 

I never heard him say, “Who touched my pistol?”

 

I was not that stupid.

 

Nowadays, you can walk into a Sports Authority or a Wal-Mart, WHATEVER, and plunk down a twenty dollar bill and a ten dollar bill and purchase a half decent set of binoculars that will fit in your pocket.

 

A set manufactured by Bushnell, Tasco or Simmons – all commonly available – will do nicely. All of them are not very expensive and they work very well.

 

You should also consider a monocular, it takes up less space, and they are even handier as far as I’m concerned and usually a few bucks cheaper than binoculars.

 

8 X 25 or 10 X 25 are excellent POCKET sizes for binoculars.

 

Communications?

 

What? Yes, being able to communicate – sometimes the “communications” are one-way and you are receiving information…

 

Having the Grundig Emergency Radio I mentioned above is a good start. AM, FM, Shortwave One and Two – very attractive for getting news, especially during a disaster situation.

 

Having a “Police” scanner (which is obviously much more useful than simply monitoring the Police…) is a plus too. You can get a lot of information from a scanner. Bearcat Scanners, Radio Shack Scanners, shop around, read online reviews and choose wisely.

 

What about two-way communications? Well, there are CB (Citizen’s Band) radios that you can purchase with no hassle. (No FCC License since the 1970s either…)

 

The airwaves of CB’s are probably still littered with prepubescent commandos as it was in the 1980s and early 1990s. Then again, perhaps the offspring of these knuckleheads have been buying personal computers along with the shift of their parents to that medium – the generally crappy environment on most Internet Forums seems to hint at the shift from CB Radio to the Internet.

 

CB Radio is an option; perhaps you should explore it if you have the need.

 

There are better things out there, however…

 

FRS (Family Radio Service) two-way communications offer an affordable and reliable means. Motorola Talk-About radios and various Kenwood radios Free-Talk, etc. are worth looking into.

 

GMRS (General Radio Mobile Service) radios, I believe you need a FCC License for these, it is a nominal fee. I don’t know about the legalities of using them for personal use. Research!

 

There is a new band of frequencies that have been made available to the public like FRS. These are

 

And you should be doing some research and look into them as well, they appear to be quite attractive.

 

There are always FCC Rules governing the use of two-way radio communications and you must abide by them or suffer the consequences should they find you in violation of it.

 

If you want to really go effective and “high-tech,” you could always get your HAM Radio License after testing for it and then purchase an excellent handheld transceiver. The FCC Rules apply here as well, and they are enforced strictly because when you have a radio like that, you can really have communications with…people that you should not be interrupting during their work, I’ll leave it at that. But if you were to do such a thing, you would be spending some time at Club-Fed.

 

Cellular phones and things like Nextel, I have NO experience with. I can’t stand them and don’t know if I will EVER own one. Well, that is not quite accurate, I have had two jobs that utilized Nextel Commo and they both sucked. When Nextel goes down, that’s it, no service. During a disaster, a cell phone or Nextel might very well be a lifesaver but it might leave you with no communications too. I prefer the idea of having some sort of FRS radio at this point.

 

Never underestimate the amount of people in your area that might be preparing just like you are. You might get help from them during such an event.

 

They are convenient and a pain in the ass at the same time as far as I am concerned. They are surely en vogue, but I find them to be…well, a sign of the times I don’t particularly care for.

 

So, if you are “bugging out” with friends or family, these things could be quite the lifesaver, consider them.

 

A Grundig FR-200 Radio, a couple of two-way walkie-talkie types of radios and a scanner…you would be in good shape! They won’t take up much room at all in your bag. Depending on the area you are in, they might come in quite handy.

 

Don’t forget to have extra batteries on hand, perhaps rechargeable ones at that and a small solar panel would be a great idea if you expect power to be out for a long period of time, etc.

 

For some news and information, I suggest you purchase Grundig’s Emergency Radio mentioned above. I will place the review for this radio on this website when this article is posted. I bought mine at Radio Shack for the miserly sum of $42.00 and it is a good piece of gear as far as I’m concerned.

 

Things that get food

 

Slingshots and Slings. Don’t fall for just any company’s advertising when they call something a “Wristrocket.” There are two types of Slingshots that use surgical tubing bands, the Original Wristrocket and everything else.

 

Well, there is the Com-Bow Sling, but that is something else I missed out on in the 1980s, unfortunately. (A “compound” slingshot that could also fire a type of quarrel.)

 

Beware of things called “Wristrockets” now. Most are poor executions in materials and angle of yoke-to-grip when compared to the older ones. If that is all you can get, get a couple of them and some spare bands…and some lead and steel balls and have at it! Learn how to shoot them well. They are incredibly powerful and effective on small game – the rest is up to you.

 

I wrote a bit about them in another article and I think highly of them.

 

I almost landed another one some time ago, here is a picture I lifted of a vintage one that still has “Wrist Rocket” vertically down the grip.

 

 

Next is Robert Humelbaugh’s creation, a modern Sling. You know, a simple device – A David Sling. David and Goliath. This thing will HURL large projectiles and has the capability of downing larger game. Again, that is up to you really.

 

I don’t think anyone residing in a city is going to have the time and space to get good with a Slingshot (although it is possible) let alone a Sling (which takes a much larger area, especially when you are first learning how to use the thing). But for those that wish to learn and can find a place to do it, it’s a good idea. For those in the suburbs that have greater access to more private areas – woods and large fields away from traffic, houses and warehouses, it’s definitely something you should get into.

 

It’s not nearly so hard to do as some would make it out and it is hardly a “joke.” You will kill small game all day long with a Wristrocket once you get good with it. For those that don't believe that, oh well…

 

And for anyone that thinks a Sling is a “joke,” they really need a reality check. They are even more deadly than the Slingshot – just harder to Master to the degree that you can hunt small game with it.

 

You can launch incredibly large steel or lead balls as well as rocks with these. I have not Mastered the Sling yet. But I’m working on it. The Slingshot I Mastered long, long ago. They are entirely different.

 

You can get one of Robert’s awesome Slings, constructed out of heavy-duty Cordura Nylon and ParaCord by contacting him at Survival Sheaths.

 

Pellets

 

I have only owned one pellet pistol that was accurate and powerful enough to take small game reliably. That is the key word, reliably.

 

Because we are talking about a Bug Out Bag, we have to limit ourselves to the pistol variety of pellet guns.

 

That pellet pistol was the Beeman P-1 Magnum in .177 Cal. (4.5mm)

 

Back in 1988 when I bought one, they were about $200.00 and if you wanted to shoot indoors or hunt squirrel and rabbit, quietly in thick woods and brush, it did a fine job.

 

Of course, you run the risk of grief by carrying a simple pellet pistol in some areas, that is up to you. I’m just telling you, it’s a fine pellet pistol, IF it is still available and if the Quality Control is as high as it was in the late 1980s.

 

A Beeman Silver Jet 4.5mm pellet smoking out of a pellet pistol at slightly above 600-FPS (Feet Per Second) makes for a rather clean kill on small game if YOU have YOUR act together. I do not know of another commercially available pellet pistol that can launch a pellet at over 600 FPS.

 

The Stalk

In order to use Slingshots, Slings and Pellet Pistols effectively, you must practice and become very skilled in their use.

There are, however, some devious shortcuts you can take…

First of all, you have to learn how to hunt, which is beyond the scope of this article. More than that, you have to be patient, I can’t teach you that either. Nor can I teach you to be quiet and stealthy, hunting usually requires this. These come under the heading of “Personal Development.” Find a friend that knows how to do these things and get cracking.

But…hey, this is supposed to informative, right? Well, I think I wrote in another article about faking squirrels out, something my Dad taught me how to do.

Squirrels have the disgusting habit of trying to stay alive when you are actively trying to kill them. If you get an old bastard that has been through enough fights and shotgun blasts, they’re a little touchy at the sight of a human being holding something up that looks dangerous.

Take some fishing line (monofilament) or some ParaCord, fishing line is harder to see, and you tie that to a small tree or bush on one side of a tree where you have observed squirrel activity.

Oddly enough, squirrels are as stupid as they are smart; sounds like Zen to me. A slingshot takes two hands so… Take the line with you and go to the other side of the tree and tie one end of the line to a little bush or whatever then the other end of this line around the end of your shoe after you get back to the other side of the tree. If you get a crusty Old Boy lined up with your top yoke and he bolts, wiggle your foot a bit and shake that bush or small tree on the other side of the tree he is in and freak him out.

He will usually jump back around to the side you are on and you can get him.

Another thing you can learn to do is calling squirrels. Since that is something that takes a while to perfect, you can toss a squirrel call and a hawk call in your BOB – attaching them to your slingshot by a lanyard would be a good idea.

The squirrel call is an obvious choice, why the hawk call?

Well, we’re not hunting hawks. However, let’s say you want to freeze a rabbit in his tracks…so you can get him. Blast a hawk call. This tends to terrify bunnies and they will usually just F-r-e-e-z-e in place.

‘Enough said.

What about a Firearm?

Well, if you can legally do it, absolutely, you would be a fool not to include one. The problem is, there are millions who cannot do it where they work. You can have that for home use, etc., in most places. In others, you can carry it in your vehicle (legally).

If you envision “bugging out” to the ‘burbs that border on rural areas, or to rural or wilderness areas, I would suggest you check out firearms safety instruction and get cracking on becoming not only safe, but accurate with them as well.

 

Something absurdly simple like the Springfield Armory M6 Scout could procure a lot more small game (and even big game) than you are likely to snare. The M6 breaks down easily, folding in half actually. It is an excellent little item to have. You should, because of the design of it, including the odd “trigger,” take it out and shoot it A LOT before relying on it to save your life. With this particular firearm, remember, you could kill a deer with it. It’s illegal as all hell to do so with something like a .22 long rifle, but if you are starving, do what you have to do whenever you have to do it. It is MORAL for you to want to survive, so the law has to take a backseat at times to the pressing needs of survival…

 

I’m not encouraging you to illegally poach game, I don’t think the poaching laws are applicable when there is a disaster and you need to eat or if you are lost and you need some food. I think it is moral, ethical and legal to then put the law aside that was not designed to deal with those emergencies but to keep conservation in mind with normal, everyday life… The laws are put in place for a reason, animal conservation, preserving wildlife. The laws no longer apply when you are faced with a lack of food because of some extraordinary circumstance. Only take what you need, don’t be a hog about it. Eat what you kill.

 

More importantly, you would have to be very skilled to take down a deer with it. For years, people have poached deer with .22 caliber weapons and anyone that tells you otherwise does not know what they are talking about. Focus on accuracy.

 

The Springfield Armory M6 Scout, I just priced it the other day locally, it is $199.95 and that is not too bad for a bare bones, over and under .22 Long Rifle / .410 Shotgun Combination Gun. It has a cartridge trap built into the top of the “stock” so you can store a few more rounds of .22 Long Rifle cartridges and .410 Shotgun shells in it. Great idea. You can increase this by purchasing some sort of ammo carrier for the stock and mounting it instead of relying on the various slip-on and lace-on types of carriers. For a couple hundred bucks, you can have this and you can purchase .22 Long Rifle ammunition dirt cheap, as well as the .410 Shotgun rounds. Focusing on .410 Slugs as well as birdshot, etc.

 

If faced with a life-threatening situation with a human predator, you could defend yourself with the S/A M6 Scout. It is, after all, a firearm. But you have two shots, it’s not that fast on the reload and the two calibers involved are not exactly what I would call “first or second choice” defensive calibers although a .410 Shotgun Slug is about on par with a .44 Magnum according to Massad Ayoob. (If I remember correctly.)

 

You could place this in another sort of soft carrying case and then place it in the BOB. You could see if Eagle or some other company had a case suitable for it…or you could order the materials from Eagle and if you are handy at sewing, do it yourself! It could hold a small cleaning kit and a lot of ammunition if you designed it right…

 

More on firearms

 

Defensive Firearms are a bit more controversial. I (100%) believe in having that capability but it is beyond the scope of this article to get too involved with it. Just know that you should be researching that and if possible where you are, do it. For a handgun, think .38 Special or larger using excellent jacketed hollowpoint ammunition like Federal brand HydraShok.

 

Revolver vs. Semiautomatic I will leave to the various gun rags like “Handguns” and “Guns & Ammo.” Either will do as far as I am concerned for simple Self-defense.

 

(If you think you have to run some sort of gauntlet like the various unrealistic “combat handgun” competitions, training to kill all of these unarmed paper targets as if you are The Death Merchant, well…you might need a semiautomatic handgun quite badly. Please understand I am not “against” the semiautomatic handgun, not at all. I just think people condemn revolvers for all of the wrong reasons…)

 

In bear country, you might want to consider a .12 Ga. Pump or reliable semiautomatic shotgun (think Benelli M-1 Super-90 there…) but those won’t fit in a Bug Out Bag. So…something like a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum (Model #29 or #629 in Stainless Steel) handgun will have to do in a pinch.

 

So-called, “Assault Rifles” are a plus for Defensive use. Don’t misconstrue what I am about to say. I believe American Citizens should be able to own what they want with minimal hassle. But as I said before, it’s really a much larger topic that should be addressed alone and not as a part of this. Suffice it to say if you can obtain these things for use in the home in case of some severe emergency, do it and do it legally and responsibly. Other than that, discussing them is beyond the scope of this article, like the shotguns above for bear defense; they don’t fit in a Bug Out Bag anyway.

 

Long Guns, with the exception of the aforementioned M6 Scout or perhaps a Ruger 10/22 with a Choate folding stock, are not really Bug Out Bag equipment… They can, however, be BUG OUT equipment.

 

Time to Prepare

 

If you have time to prepare a bag of various things when you have a wildfire or hurricane coming your way, this is a bit different from a “Bug Out Bag.” Yet, it is just another thing I wanted to touch upon in closing.

 

Some things, like family photographs and various items, cannot be replaced. If there is a hurricane or wildfire coming your way, act accordingly to save these things placing them in a suitable container that you can pick up and run with at a moment’s notice.

 

The Bug Out Bag with essentials in it can and should be prepped NOW; this secondary bag with various things you want to preserve can be done on a case by case basis. Put some thought into what you want to save and the container that you can carry and have that as a set-aside in case you ever need it.

 

You can have a personal size BOB that you can carry back and forth to work, you can have a larger and more comprehensive bag in your vehicle. To add upon all of that, an even larger one or several medium-sized ones in a closet at home, standing ready for when you need them.

 

Closing

 

OK, hope you enjoyed this article. Please don’t write me back and inform me:

 

“Hey, in your Bug Out Bag Article, you forgot to mention ways to start fires and a bunch of other stuff…”

 

People actually do this. Some things I don’t touch on, some things I like redundancy. There are other Survival-related Articles on my site, don’t consider THIS Article to be an all-inclusive list of things for your BOB! Don’t consider the other articles to be all-inclusive lists of things you should have.

 

Go look at the First Aid Kit and Survival Kit Articles and include these Sub-Kits in your larger kit! If you think you have a great idea that was not mentioned, don’t hesitate to E-mail me, just please don’t lecture me because I can only write so much. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a very real possibility as it is without pushing the envelope. (grin)

 

On a more personal note, I try not to write about things unless I really know what I am talking about. There is enough senseless yammering going on in the world and I don’t want to add to it. As far as this article is concerned…I have experience with CB Radio and FRS, but I am not a HAM Radio Operator, nor do I own or operate anything in the GMRS realm. I just know things about them from others that do use these things.

 

Likewise, I have extensive firearms experience but there are so many people out there who are writing about them that know far more than I. I don’t make that a focus of what I do on this site. When I don’t know, I consult them, as is proper for any person to do.

 

I do not own that Springfield Armory Survival Carbine, but I would like to get one in the future. It is chosen because of its’ unique capabilities as well as Springfield Armory’s reputation with that particular firearm. I have experience with “combination firearms” like the older Savage Rifle/Shotguns combos, just not the specific one I mentioned in this article – The Springfield M6 Scout. If I do purchase one in the future, that would be something…that I think would fit in with this website as opposed to just writing about all sorts of firearms because there are entire (excellent) websites dedicated to that sort of thing. I would enjoy writing about the S.A. M6 Scout; I find that firearm quite interesting actually.

 

I have done some research on it and although I feel the “trigger” on it is rather funky… The M6 fills a niche that other firearms do not, so I think it is worth it to work around the weakness of the firearm because it is so unique and valuable in this area.

 

This next link is an excellent page on the M6 Scout and some associated information. Just about everything you need to know…

 

http://www.milesfortis.com/church/akc13.htm

 

This link is great! Turning your Survival Scout into a better Survival Scout!

 

http://www.oldjimbo.com/survival/v-shrake/m6.html

 

You will notice that there are not too many pictures in this article. That’s because pictures should not really be necessary in this sort of discussion.

 

Get your stuff together and be safe!

 


 

Don Rearic

 

copyright 2004 DonRearic.Com

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