Tag Archives: bug-out

Do you need a Bug Out Bag if you are Bugging In?

It seems fairly likely that if you plan to “bug out”, you need a “Bug Out Bag”.  But do you need one if you plan to “bug in” (NOT bug out).

I answer this question here:




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BOBs and INCHes and GHBs, oh my

“Everybody” knows about the “Bug Out Bag”, or BOB.  And many people use the term inaccurately.  There are actually several “flavors” of emergency kits which are not quite interchangeable; I attempted to differentiate between them here:



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The difference between preps, Bug Out Bags and survival kits.

Emergency situations are usually much easier to deal with if you have the proper equipment and supplies.  There are three related categories of attempting to make sure you have such supplies and equipment.

The first is oriented towards staying in a fixed location, either your home, or a set-up-in-advance alternate residence.  This is known as “prepping”, coined from the word “preparing”.  A “prepper” works to stock up on food and water, as well as other things they expect to need during a disaster which are likely to be in short supply.  This often includes a large arsenal to defend their “preps” against those who do not have any preparation for disaster and who are expected to riot and loot when they can’t get what they want or need, or just because law enforcement is not effectively available.  There are a couple of problems with this philosophy; it might work out very well if you stay at that location and there is limited impact on the location from the disaster or invading people.  But if a prepper needs to LEAVE the location, much of the expensive preps are likely to be lost.

The next is similar, but oriented towards being on the move, either “permanently” or to get to a safer location.  Again it is theorized that “other people” will tend to be dangerous, so avoiding them and having defenses against them are key elements.  One term to describe this is “bugging out” and the equipment and supplies are known as a “Bug Out Bag” or “BOB”.  The key element of this is a pack which you can carry “all day” if you are on foot.  It may also have additional equipment and supplies carried in a vehicle as long as practical, at which time you would have to discard it or hide it for possible future retrieval.

Both of these methodologies may be enhanced by “caches”, which are hidden sets of supplies.  This can reduce the chances of losing ALL your preps, or enhances your ability to “bug out” to a specific location by having spaced out “supply dumps” along the route(s).

The last viewpoint is that of a “survival kit”.  This varies from the other two in one major aspect – that it is based on the concept that other people are your friends, not the enemy.  Signalling is a key aspect, and the focus is on short term rather than the longer term focus of the other two viewpoints.

So which is right for you?  That’s up to you; based on what you expect to happen, what you are comfortable with and even what you can afford.  Let me suggest that all three have some benefit.  The government urges everyone to have “3 days” worth of preps.  Considering the source of this advice, I’d say that 7 days would be a minimum and 30 days better yet.  Longer would be up to you and dependent on how likely it is that you will experience mobs of attackers or other risks to your preps (ie, in a city or highly urbanized area, or an area subject to severe weather disasters, long term preps are somewhat unlikely to be used, by you at least).  Next, you want to have an emergency bag (sort of a short-term BOB) you can grab if you need to leave your home, or if you are away from home, to help you get back there.  Both of these should be focused on wide spread disasters.  You should also always have access to a survival kit appropriate for your activities at any time, for those “individual” disasters.

To avoid excessive duplication of equipment/supplies, modularity can be of use.  For instance, a small survival kit can have some of the small elements of a larger kit, and be contained in or attached to that larger kit when not in use by itself.  A decent survival kit should be in the pocket of your BOB, easily available if you need to temporarily or permanently ditch the BOB.

As you can see, all of these disciplines have similar goals but differing methodologies and focus.  There can be and should be a fair degree of overlap, because many of the basic needs of man are applicable to many emergency situations.


Filed under Emergency preparedness