Basic Bug Out Bag Knowledge Guide
One of the biggest decisions a prepper will ever make is whether to bug out or to hunker down and ride out a crisis.
As a prepper in the UK you have to approach the whole bug out scenario a bit differently to our American friends who have literally millions of square miles of untamed wilderness to escape into.
The idea of finding and setting up a bug out location away from preying eyes is far easier over there.
Unfortunately in the UK we have some 62 million people crammed into a country the size of a postage stamp. So finding that elusive bug out retreat can prove somewhat difficult – but, not impossible, just needs a lot more thought, in fact a bug out location is a whole new ball game and a whole article in itself, so I will save that for a later date.
Always have your bug out bag ready
But in actually making that final decision to bug out, you must ensure you have a safe location to head for. This is known as your Bug Out Location or BOL.
The actual disaster you are trying to get away from will determine how you make your ‘escape’. Is it a natural disaster, man-made or a slow decline?
Any of these can affect how you remove yourself from your current location and head for your safe haven.
With your preferred bug out location chosen. (Bearing in mind that all preppers will most certainly have more than one, in fact a choice of three is the norm).
All pre-selected, inspected and visited regularly, as well as stocked up with supply caches hidden out of site, you are now in a position to make a successful bug out.
Quite how you get to any of them will be the main problem.
Leave too early and the actual disaster may well calm down, meaning you would be far better hunkering down at home and riding out the problem.
Leave too late and you risk the chance of not getting there or being compromised by others in search of food and supplies.
Either way, as soon as you make that decision to bug out you are effectively making yourself a refugee. Homeless and either totally self-reliant or, at the mercy of the government. I know which one I would choose.
So why do you need a bug out bag?
Chances are public transport will either be non-existent or heavily monitored by police or army personnel, that’s if you’re even allowed to travel anyway.
Road transport could very well be snarled up and grid-locked as panic sets in.
In fact your most sensible choice when travelling is by foot, avoiding the main populated routes and ideally at night.
That being the case, your bug out bag is your only real lifeline between your old home and getting to your bug out location.
A bug out bag goes by several names, but is essentially all the survival equipment you will require for about the next 72 hours of travel.
Plus a bit more long term survival equipment topping it up.
It is not a full on survival pack that’s going to keep you alive for the next ten years!
That’s why you have a pre-planned bug out location – that’s your safe haven.
The biggest mistake preppers make is to pack far too much into their bug out bag, thinking that they can survive forever on the contents of that one little bag. If you have no pre-planned bug out location to actually go to, then think very hard about your choice to bug out – where do you really think you’re going to go?
Bug out Bag Essentials:
No two bags are the same. Make yours as personal to your needs as possible while still fulfilling your survival criteria.
This is my personal bug out bag, it is quite minimalist and designed to help me move as fast as possible and not be bogged down with a load of unnecessary equipment on my back.
I’m not military trained. In fact, I very much doubt if I could last much more than a week without quite a bit more survival equipment.!
Unlike the SAS who can actually survive, using just a small survival tin.
But then again they have been trained for years by highly skilled instructors. I, like most preppers, are just an average Joe…
Common Bug Out Bag Mistakes:
#1 Do not buy the bag first.
Get your kit together before you purchase you bag, that way you have a far better idea of size, number of compartments and what will fit.
#2 Do not purchase your bag on looks alone.
It must have several independent areas for your equipment to be positioned separately.
Extra pockets and the ability to use 'add-ons' is very useful.
#3 Don’t go too tactical. With your matching camo trousers and jacket AND a rucksack.
You are trying to blend in and go un-noticed as you make your way to your bug out location. If you are fully ‘camo’d up’ with army gear and assault clothing then you’ll stand out and more likely become a target of people’s attention.
But also, don't go day glow bright colours either!
Choosing a good colour to blend in is a difficult choice as you definitely do not want to be saying, 'look at me'.....
I have gone with light digi camo as I think it's easy on the eye and generally blends in. Mixing it up with 'normal' clothing will help.
Common Bug Out Misconceptions:
#1 ”It’s going to be easy”. - “Yeah, right”, of course it is – with advanced planning you stand a better chance of survival. If you haven’t planned your bag, your equipment, or your route. Then I would suggest you just stay at home with the others!
#2 “I can do it”. - “Only if you have practiced first”. Along with planning a bug out, you must have actually practiced the whole bug out scenario and lived as an escaping refugee. Not once or twice, but regular practice and improvement.
#3 “I’m fit and healthy, it will be just like a nice walk”. – Well unless you walk 10 miles a day, across difficult terrain with a small child on your shoulders, you’re in for a surprise. You have to be fit to hike a distance with a rucksack on your back – just give it a try.
I cannot stress enough;
a bug out bag is a temporary means to carry essential supplies for about 72 hours only and a means of helping get you to your safe location away from people and away from danger.
The equipment you carry is not for long term survival, but must be solid enough to help you cover ground fast, be undetected and get there in one piece, fit, healthy and ready to start the process of actually surviving a disaster.
For full off grid survival, an in depth survival plan with far more specific equipment is needed.
Your bug out bag will need to have all the bushcraft tools and essentials to set up a survival camp as well as you having full on bushcraft survival knowledge and skills to help you survive long term.
Agreed.. too many people pack far too much gear in a bug out bag that's far too big.!
Your real survival skills are in your head - it's what you know that will get you through.
Choosing the right bag for you revolves around your abilities and needs, and your fitness to carry it for distance.
Happy Prepping Folks.
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