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Friday, 5 September 2014

The Ultimate Bug-Out Bag

There have been plenty of articles written on the virtues of keeping a “Bug-Out” bag at the ready. While some call it
paranoia, many of us would call it being prepared for the worst, after all, as the saying goes: Failing to Prepare, is
Preparing to Fail.
First, let’s look at what exactly a bug-out bag is for. The Bug-Out Bag is a portable kit containing all the essentials
you would need to survive in any realistic situation for 72 Hours at least. The Bug-Out bag is inherently personal, as it
will contain things that are relevant for your climate and terrain, or your personal and medical needs, but there are also
some universal contents that every kit should contain. In this article we’ll cover all the essential parts that make a
Bug-Out bag a useful piece of kit.

The Bag:
First things first. Most people are going to argue about what kind of bag is the best, since there are tons of options
available on the market, choosing the right bag is arguably the most difficult part of putting your kit together. There
are some points to keep in mind though, and these will help you make that decision a bit easier.
Firstly, a Bug-Out bag needs to be big enough to carry provisions for a minimum of 3 days. While this may seem like a lot,
especially for those who live in a city and are used to having all amenities at their finger tips, bear in mind you are
preparing for any situation here. Natural disasters like floods are going to cut you off from basic amenities for a few
days at the very least, while hostile threats could force you into the country side and live off the land until help can
be sought. So your gym kit bag isn’t going to cut it here.
Secondly, it needs to be portable and by that we mean it needs to have shoulder straps and be comfortable to wear and
carry. The last thing you want is to be forced to hike 20km with a heavy bag of provisions you can’t even carry. So make
sure, whatever you do, that you can comfortably carry your pack on your shoulders. Padded straps, a waist belt and sternum
straps are going to make your life a whole lot more comfortable when the time comes and that just may be the difference
Without getting too sales-pitchy, something like the Condor 3 Day Assault Pack would be ideal, even the Condor Colossus
Duffle Bag could work too, but anything smaller would probably be a waste of time.
The Contents:
Now, since we are putting together a Bug-Out Bag for any situation, there are going to be some universal must-have items.
There will also be some pieces of kit that are dependent on your environment – it’s no good telling you to pack an Arctic
weather jacket when you live in a desert, sure it’ll get cold but there are other ways to stay warm in this case.
We also need to remember, that although you have a nice, big, comfortable Back Pack, space is always at a premium and
deciding what to take and what to leave, could have serious consequences.
So, lets start with...
The Essentials:
This is a list of survival items and is universally accepted as must have items in any Bug-Out Bag.
- Good, Large Fixed Blade Knife – Used for anything from Hunting to Building a Shelter.
- Multi-tool or small bladed knife – for more delicate work.
- Fresh Bottled Water (3L) and Water Purification Tablets. (Straw Filter will also work.)
- Flint & Striker, Waterproof Matches & Tinder. (Always have more than one source of fire.)
- Good Flashlight with spare batteries & Glow Sticks.
- Decent first aid kit. (Depending on your medical expertise, you can expand your kit to a basic trauma kit if space
- Trauma Blanket. (Space Blanket) – Can double as an aerial recognition panel if need be.
- Small Solar/Wind Up Power AM/FM Radio.
- Paracord – Can be used for binding, snares, bow string, etc.
- Food – MRE’s are ideal. (Unpack them out of their cardboard packaging and discard non-essentials like spoons etc.
to make the pack more compact.)
- Small compact Mess Kit, including a stainless steel canteen cup.
- Personal Hygiene Kit. (Sanitizer, wet wipes, soap, toothpaste, etc.)
- Boonie Hat, Gloves, Extra Socks.
- Basic Survival Kit. – Compass, Signal Mirror, Fish Hooks & Line, etc.
- Medication. – If you require any medication for serious conditions, insulin for example, you should keep some in
your kit and change it out regularly so that it isn’t expired.
This is pretty much your basic kit, other items can be added into this depending on your personal requirements and
Remember that items like your Fixed Blade Knife, Flint & Striker, fresh water and survival kit should always be kept on
you (In your pockets, attached to your belt.) so that if you happen to lose your Pack you still have the basic elements
that will keep you alive.

Other items:
Now, we can also take a quick look at some other items which can be added to your kit. These may or may not be required,
depending on your terrain, environment, skill level, etc. But should give you some ideas.
- 1 Qt Canteen & Pouch
- 2 Qt Collapsible Canteen
- Machete or Tomahawk
- Esbit Stove & Fuel
- Protein/Energy Bars (Great for eating while on the move)
- Fresh Underwear
- Grid Fleece Top or Fleece Jacket if space allows.
- Boonie Hat & Shemagh
- Rain Poncho
- Lightweight Tarp
- Compact Roll Up Sleeping Bag
- Insect Repellent
- Snake Bite Kit
- LED Headlamp
- Solar Charger for Cell Phones
- Decent Amount of Local Currency
- Local Area Map in zip-loc Bag
- Military Survival Manual
Some of the above items might seem like luxuries, but if you can fit them into your kit then why not? Anything that will
make your life easier has the potential to save your life too. While you’re out in the bush living off the land, the
smallest bit of comfort can keep you going and not giving up is just as important as any skills or tools!
Self Defense:
One last thing we need to cover and that is self defense.
Even during a natural disaster things can quite quickly turn ugly, as was seen during Hurricane Katrina in the US. Local
police may be overwhelmed and unable to help everybody and the urban environment can quickly become a scary place to be.
When people get desperate they will often resort to violence to get what they need and you may be called on to protect
yourself or loved ones in such a situation.
This is a very personal thing and there are always going to be conflicting opinions on what is the right form of self
defense, as well as the argument that in a survival situation rules change. All we are going to say is that ensure you
have an effective means to defend yourself, whether you are highly skilled in empty hand techniques or simply have a can
of pepper spray, make sure you have something that you are confident in using.
When it comes to firearms, you want to ensure that you have extra ammo in your Bug-Out Bag, though of course here in SA
the law stipulates that ammo be kept in a safe. We’ll then recommend that you keep your Bug-Out Bag next to your safe so
that you can get your ammo and bug-out as quickly as possible if the SHTF.
Please feel free to share your thoughts end experiences when it comes to Bug-Out Bags.
At your service,
The GICS Team

1 comment:

  1. Hey this is great!! I'm kind of paranoid about earthquakes and tornadoes too and since I have two naughty kids and my wife to look after I was searching for some ideas on how to make a Bug out bag of my own that we could use in times of a disaster. My wife thinks this is rubbish but I'm really worried about the kids' safety and I wanted a separate kit for each one of us. Thanks for sharing the useful information with us.